The Mum Next Door

brands worked with

There is a mum next door

you’ve caught sight of at dawn

dragging the bins out at night

dragging the kids out in the morn

mostly you hear her

and the little terrors she bred

screaming, crying, cbeebies on incessantly

the Gruffalo exhaustedly read

and I can bet my tax credits

on the fact that she’s lonely and sad

and that 38 times today the toddler has driven her mad

she worries so much about what her neighbours must think

she avoids their eyes as she stands sobbing at the kitchen sink

Lord oh Lord, what next door must hear

will she get reported for the children’s noisy tears?

You’ve seen her offspring in the garden

wearing only their nappies

you’ve seen her shouting at them not to eat worms

and with her husband in the morning all snappy

you’ve seen her put out the washing

covered in baked beans, looking grim

you’ve seen her blowing up the paddling pool

and sipping what looked like Tonic and Gin

you’ve not spoken to her yet

you assume she’s not got time

but she’d snap off your leg

for a neighbourly glass of wine

a chat, a smile, a cup of tea

all she needs is a bit of adult company

she wants you to tell her the kids are alright

and that she’s doing fine

that you don’t mind hearing the fights

every night at bed time

that you were her once

though it’s so long ago you’ve forgotten

that you don’t know how she does it

spending days cleaning and wiping bottoms

that you don’t judge her one bit

that sometimes kids, well, they can be little gits

I know this mum next door

and how hard she tries to be

(but fails at being) the perfect mummy

because the mum next door

well the mum next door is me.

Beholden

beholden

All days he’s had a yogurt-propelling snotty nose

and scrambled egg squelched between tiny sweaty toes.

All of the screeches and screams

tacky teething gels and nappy rash creams

with all the go-to-fucking-sleep nights

the fatigued and frazzled baby-Father fights

and the live long days of exhaustion

your long lost independent lives

tantrums, and he-won’t-eat-his-bastard-food slights

and you never wanted children anyway.

But then there’s a moment

isolated, suspended in your slack off Sunday

where you see:

with just one goofy, gapped grin

the reflection in your next of kin

it’s what you were both foraging for

all the thirty plus years before

and the cut-throat love throttles you

like gobbling down a podgy gold watch

and you see:

for the first time this week

his chimp-like rump

his bitty belly portly and plump

his full force, warm and fed

seeking his soft, safe, mummy-made bed

the prosperity you’ve both had

plummets through the navy nursery floor

and you swear

you won’t take parenthood for granted anymore.

 

Our love

our life

My Boy,

you were seen tonight.

 

Commended in the 2014 Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize

I am the back in the kitchen

I am the back in the kitchen

I am the back in the kitchen 

My mother was always in the kitchen

peeling potatoes

making gravy

boiling vegetables

washing up

cleaning up

ironing shirts

me stood

knee high

staring at her back

how earth shattering it is

the dawning realisation

that now

I am the back in the kitchen

not ignoring

you my darlings

and she wasn’t peeling potatoes

nothing so minor

she was caring

providing

feeding

keeping our home

a home

I am the back in the kitchen

now I understand

why it was so turned from me

and appreciate

that back

so much more

not ignoring

you my darlings

 

Farewell my baby years

Mummy's Writing Darling

I have a niggling feeling

now these years are drawing to a close

I should have counted every one of your lashes

and felt the softness between your toes

I should have spent less time eye-rolling

when you’d never settle in the night

spent those hours staring at your shoulders

in the silence, by candlelight

I should have done less complaining

about the mess around our home

left the unimportant chores

to trace wrinkles around new bones

I should have smelt the skin behind your ears

enjoyed hours stroking tiny heels

bottled the sound of your innocence

stopped the time turning wheels

I should have been present in every second

not sighed relief when you slept

I should have cradled your head when it fit in my palm

tasted every tear that you wept

I should have spent more time bare

and felt your flesh against mine

Oh my precious last born

becoming more precious than the first time

It seems it’s my turn to be the baby

As I say farewell to these baby years

you’ve slipped through my fingers

and I can not see you, my babies, for all my tears.