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Saturday, 23 January 2016

I'm Stepping Out Of The Mum Wars

Since I've been blogging I've written posts on honest parenting; I've expressed my thoughts on how it feels to be judged by mums who seem to have their shit together more than I do; I've made jokes about how it's ok to sometimes think your kid is an asshole; and I've reached out to mums to reassure them that you don't have to live up to amazing parenting expectations. 
But here's the thing. Whilst I was doing that, a million other mum bloggers were doing the exact same thing. And accidentally, armed with blog posts, memes and social media status' we appear to have waged a war on the mums who DON'T feel the same way as us. The mums who DO have their shit together. Whilst trying to raise awareness that parenting isn't a competition, we have in fact entered a competition. 
I can't speak for the other mum bloggers out there, but I'm sure most of them would agree that this was never our intention. 
We never intended to make anyone feel inferior. We never set out to make parents feel that if they were perfect parents, they weren't REAL parents, and we never expected the kind of retaliation that some of us have received.
What began as a confession that we weren't perfect parents and a plea to end judgment on us has resulted in US now being called the judgers.
And because of this I need to set something straight. I do not judge perfect parents. What is there to judge? If you have things worked out and you're 100% clued up, then that's amazing. If anything I look up to you. 
If you talk about your parenting however and then compare this to mine, I will laugh at you. I will laugh, because that's my defence mechanism. That's my way of covering the emotional bruises that your statements are inflicting upon me. I'm not judging you. I'm protecting myself. 
It appears that with this feeling that perfect parents are now being judged, a whole new host of problems have arisen.
TWICE this week I have observed people referring to imperfect parenting as fashionable. Apparently it's now fashionable to call your children names, talk about how annoying they are, have an unclean house, and not wash for days. 
Last week I was accused of 'normalising' imperfect parenting behaviour. Can you imagine how that made me feel? 
It made me feel great. 
Because I do want to normalise imperfect parenting. I do want people to know that it's ok not to be perfect. 
But I wouldn't call it fashionable.
I wouldn't say it's fashionable to be a struggling parent. I'd say it's now become more acceptable to BE HONEST that you struggle. It's now acceptable to reach out to other mums and admit that your child has totally pressed your buttons today.
That doesn't mean we hate our children, or we ACTUALLY think they're assholes. It means we used our sense of humour to get us through a difficult day. 
Our children aren't going to look at what we blogged or tweeted about them in 10 years time and think they were unloved. They are going to look at our blogs and see their mummy's. Their mummy's humour, thoughts and emotions. Their honesty. And they'll know where that honesty came from. 
It came from the need to be the best mums we could be. It came from the need to get things off our chest so we could then put them feelings aside and continue to be mothers. 
And alongside our "asshole" blogs, there will be blogs of our unconditional love. Because that's parenthood. The rough comes with the smooth.
I can't continue to justify why I blog what I do. I can't continue to become angry when I see someone making another parent feel like a failure. And I can't continue to commentate on mum wars and then accidentally become embroiled in them.
I will not be placed in a box and told what type of parent I am. 
I'm tired. I'm tired of seeing the same argument over and over again. 
And who really cares? 
Really. 
Just be who you are. 
There is no competition. 
And in the words of Baz Luhrmann
"Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind,
The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself"


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Signs And Symptoms Of AHS In Children

My son suffers from a condition known as AHS. It's not a condition that's well researched but the research that is available would suggest that it's highly prevalent between ages 3-6 and is genetically passed down from the Father. It's not a syndrome that's particularly hard to diagnose, however there are some parents who will gladly accept the diagnosis and others who will be in denial, although AHS in their child will be clear for others to see.
Symptoms can include irrational behaviours such as insisting they don't like a particular food that they ate heaps of the previous day and then crying for said food once you've thrown it in the bin; repetitive behaviour such as asking the same question over and over again despite receiving the same answer each time; and mood swings that go beyond the scale. 
Typical AHS children will find it hard to accept "no" for an answer. They may retaliate with screaming, crying or throwing themselves on the floor. They may also exhibit defiant behaviour and will constantly push boundaries beyond the limit. 
It's difficult to recognise AHS in children when they are not displaying symptoms. It's not a consistent syndrome. Children with AHS tend to be extremely cute and adorable which lures you in to a false sense of belief ensuring that when they do exhibit symptoms you are taken by surprise and torn between their sweetness and their horrific-ness. 
As a parent to a child with AHS there is no particular answer to the issue. Some will find it comforting to google solutions, others will find support from other parents with AHS children, and others will self medicate with wine. 
There's no evidence that one coping mechanism is more successful than another. 
Other parents may judge AHS children and their families. They don't understand. This is fine. These parents are used to distasteful looks in public and sarcastic comments. 
But next time you see a child playing up in public with their parents flailing their arms in the air and looking bewildered,  bare in mind that they may be a parent to a child with AHS. Also known as Ass Hole Syndrome. 

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Invasion Of The Bed Hoppers

If you have a bed hopper you'll be familiar with some of their techniques. You'll be wise to their tactics. And you'll be no stranger to hanging out of your king sized bed whilst your child starfishes with a foot on your face and an elbow in your crotch. 
Bed hoppers come in all forms, shapes and sizes. But the one key thing they have in common is you will never escape their clutches in the midst of a dark night. 

Your bed is my bed hopper

This species is convinced that your bed is actually theirs. Therefore it will be standard behaviour for them to get in your bed from the offset and refuse to acknowledge that their own bed exists in the next room.
You can transfer them to their own bed once they're sleeping soundly, but a full inspection of your own sheets will be required before you retire yourself, to avoid lying on plastic teenage mutant ninja turtles or whatever other crappy toy they took to bed with them and is liable to poke you in your back.

Musical bed hopper

This breed can't quite decide which bed they'd like to invade. They'll begin in their own bed but will slowly work their way through each bed in the house as the night progresses, just to ensure that everyone in the household has a disturbed nights sleep. You may even participate in the game yourself if your bed is invaded and you're feeling squashed. If you have multiple musical bed hoppers you're pretty much going to have to get used to having around 2 hours sleep per night. 
Yeah. Life sucks. 

I had a nightmare, can I get in your bed hopper

You can recognise this type of bed hopper by the sound of your bedroom door creaking at 2am. You'll look up from behind your duvet to find two wide eyes peering from the end of your bed followed by "I had a bad dream, can I get in your bed?"
There's variation to this technique. They may have had a bad dream, seen a monster, feel poorly or heard a strange noise. Either way, that kids getting in your bed.

Houdini bed hopper

The Houdini bed hopper is the craftiest of them all. These wise asses will creep in to your room in the middle of the night like a trained assassin. You will not know of their presence until you wake up at 5am and realise there's a human body next to you/ on top of you/ suffocating you. If you have the energy to transfer them back to their own territory you can rest assured that when you wake in the morning they will be right back where you moved them from, staring at you and asking you bizarre questions such as "mummy? Why do people have bones?"

You may be in the position where you have a rare bed hopper who exhibits all bed hopping techniques and practices. In that case you're screwed. I suggest changing your entire sleep pattern or becoming a vampire. It's probably the only solution. 

Mummascribbles

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Semi Pro Diaries Of A Fitness Fanatic Extremely Healthy Mummy

I've joined a gym!
Yes yes, I can hear you all laughing and mocking me! I was kind of tricked in to it if I'm honest. But my days off work whilst Oliver is at school now involve me cleaning the house and then falling deeper and deeper in love with Dexter on Netflix as I lounge around on the sofa, heating on full wack, and eating cheese as I wait for the school run to commence at 3pm.
When you start to believe that you're in an actual relationship with a fictional sociopath it's time to get up off your arse and give your head a wobble.
That head wobbling came in the form of my friend who asked me to go and look round a gym with her but gave me strict instructions NOT to let her join.
Clearly I'm a terrible friend as we both emerged half an hour later with memberships, saving ourselves £2.50 each by taking the 'couples deal' which now technically means we're lesbians.
So my first gym experience went as follows:

The Semi Pro Diaries Of A Fitness Fanatic Extremely Healthy Mummy

Friday

8:00 
Change in to brand new gym gear BEFORE the school run. It's important for other parents on the playground to know that I'm extremely healthy/fit & spend my days off working out at the gym and NOT lying on the couch eating cheese.

8:15am
Root inside a cupboard for an oversized hoody. Nobody said gym gear was so snug! I Need something to hide this bulge that's protruding from my waistband. I'm going more for sleek/smooth hourglass figure mum, not pot bellied pig/drinks too much beer mum.

8:30
Set off for school run. Itching my boobs the whole time. Damned sports bra! Aren't they supposed to be comfy? Sports Direct well and truly saw me coming! 
Push it to the back of your mind Louise. Think happy and healthy thoughts. You're a new woman now. Plus, Gym rhymes with 
Ginn, so it can't all be bad.

9:00
Take an excruciatingly long time to get to the gym due to traffic & snow. Consider suggesting to my new lesbian lover (who we'll call LL) that we leave the gym for today & do 'snowy' things instead like drinking hot chocolate & marshmallows. Then courageously decide against it. Focus on the hydrotherapy pool. 

9:20 
Discuss with LL, who is driving how we now have the knowledge to NOT make an illegal u-turn to access the gym car park like we did the previous day when signing up. LL is adamant that she still believes you can make a U-turn if there's no sign telling you not to. This is debatable & not likely considering the amount of beeps we received.

9:40
Pass a Chinese restaurant that is supposed to be amazing. Suggest we skip the gym & go to the Chinese restaurant instead. Both laugh as though it were a joke. It wasn't.

9:50
Enter the gym as lesbian couple. Try and weigh myself. Fail to figure out how the scales work and then possibly, accidentally break them. 
Watch LL's entire body, including teeth and lips, quiver as she attempts to lift weights that are too heavy.
Snigger immaturely at somebody punching and beating up thin air. 

12:00
Finish work out & go to change in to swimsuits. Awkwardly get changed in front of several elderly ladies. Try and avoid looking at their bums. Try and avoid anyone looking at my bum.

12:15
Walk around poolside. Have a mild panic attack from a flash back of when I was aged 9, fell in to a pool fully clothed and not one person noticed. Horrifying.

13:30
After swim, steam & sauna (which to be honest is the real reason I joined) immediately jump on to social media and inform everyone that I am now a fit healthy mum who takes all exercise & health related things very very seriously.

18:00
Order Dominoes. I earned it

Saturday 

7:00am
Wake up paralysed. Vow to never ever go to the gym again. 
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Embarrassing Bodies: The Puzzled Mummy Edition

This afternoon whilst stood having a conversation with my sons daddy I got an overwhelming itch on my lower back. I reached round and scratched it and the relief was so good I pissed myself. That's right, you heard. I pissed myself. I hobbled to the toilet with my legs crossed, cursing about how having children ruins your bodily functions, and after sharing the incident with a friend (who found it hilarious and didn't sympathise whatsoever) she got me thinking about how utterly embarrassing being a parent is at times. 
Of course you will prepare yourself for the humiliation of  tantrums, the exploding poos that escape up your kids back, and all that jazz. But the real embarrassment comes as you watch your body transform and do things that make you think "THIS IS NOT MY LIFE."
It's the type of embarrassment that springs upon you on some idle Sunday when visiting family. Like the idle Sunday when I visited my cousin & partner who were proudly gushing about their beautiful new couch. I was allowed to sit on said couch because at this time my son was only 2 months old and his destruction techniques hadn't set in at that point. I wasn't covered in chocolate or snot, there was no chance of muddy shoes being wiped on the silky material from my child climbing over me, and allowing me to sit down whilst cradling my child should have been pretty much risk free. 
Or so I thought.
As my cousin left the room to make us a drink my son starting crying. He'd gone a particular long while without requesting to be fed, and as I was breastfeeding, my boobs were feeling extremely full and heavy. I lifted him up and whacked the melons out (another embarrassing post pregnancy body transformation), and something happened. Before my son actually got the chance to latch on, my milk squirted everywhere. All over the brand new couch. Did I mention it was made of material?
With my eyeballs almost popping out in dismay my mum immediately noticed what had happened and started frantically searching through her bag for baby wipes in a desperate attempt to cover up what had happened before anyone came back in the room. 
So a jolly family visit that should have been an enjoyable afternoon ended in my mum and I covertly scrubbing breastmilk of a pristine couch. Sorry mum. 
I guess my friend who encouraged me to write this post (Hi Maisa) felt it important that I do so because guess what? It's gross. No one will warn you. Because it's gross. You'll be expected to suck it up and deal with it.
So here are a few other pointers that expectant mums might like to take on board.
1) Like it or not, the chances are that you probably WILL shit yourself when giving birth.  No one will mention it. Your partner will look away trying to hide the look of repulsion from his face as the midwife whips it away. But you'll know. And one day you'll be sat quietly watching TV or reading a book, and then you'll remember that although at the time you were in a dreamy, gas and air daze, you actually shit yourself. And you didn't care.
2) Whether you choose to breastfeed or not your breasts WILL turn in to gigantic painful boulders and they WILL leak. They will leak when you least expect it, like when you open the door to the Royal Mail guy for instance and notice him looking at your chest. This is when you'll realise that you have two huge wet circles on the front of your top. Expect it. It will happen
3) You WILL at some point fear you are going bald. Actual hair balls will collect in your plug hole and on your pillows. If you're lucky you won't need to buy a wig.  
4) Your feet and ankles will be the size of elephants. But don't worry. They will return back to their normal size eventually. Give it a couple of years. You think I'm kidding don't you?
5) Your vagina will NEVER be the same again. Sorry kids, that's life. 
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Coercive Abuse

Before I write this I need to make it clear that these are my own meandering thoughts. 
I'm not going to discuss the consequences of the new coercive abuse law; whether I feel it will be affective, if it will have a positive or negative effect, whether it will be abused, or how they will gather evidence to prosecute. 
I want to talk about how I feel that this law being in place will raise awareness about how we are treated, or treat others every day. 
Coercive abuse to me is a massive issue. It shows no traces of being there, and others will be blind to your pain and suffering. In that sense, it's one of the most dangerous types of abuse and people who are experiencing it may not even be aware that's what it is, or will make excuses for it.
Examples of coercive abuse have been described by the CPS as "threats, humiliation and intimidation, or behaviour such as stopping a partner socialising, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps or dictating what they wear."
When an article regarding the new law was published in a national newspaper online I was completely gobsmacked at the comments. One reader commented that the law was pathetic and asked, is he not allowed to call his wife "fat" now for fear of being arrested. 
Well I'm sure you won't be arrested pet but you've just illustrated to the world what a dickhead you are. And believe it or not, calling your wife insulting names is actually emotionally abusive and just a general twatty thing to do.
Another commented that if his wife came downstairs wearing something that he didn't like he'd say "you're not going out the house wearing that" and that as her husband he was perfectly within his rights to say that.
What the actual fuck. Well no, no you're not. You're an arsehole and thank god I'm not your wife. 
These are all small behaviours that go by unrecognised but contribute to another person being made to feel controlled and/or humiliated. How is this acceptable? Why is it that only NOW as this new law has been introduced that people are questioning the way they act towards others, whether they feel it's acceptable or not? People they are supposed to care for, respect and love? Isn't it just common sense that you should just not be a dickhead? 
A lady questioned as to whether the law would now prevent her from snooping on her partners social media accounts. 
Well your partner has probably now changed their password so that's one problem solved, and really, why are you doing that anyway? Yes, people have insecurities and lack trust for one reason or another, but regardless as to the reasons you may give yourself in your head as to why you are prowling about on your partners Facebook, in reality you are invading their privacy and infringing on their human rights.
Technology has heightened this immeasurably. 
Facebook itself is probably a major cause of relationship breakdowns and insecurities, leading to one partner controlling another's social life and who they can and can't talk to. 
There's now even an app where you can track someone through their phone. 
I know this because my partner has it.
Fortunately for me (and for him) he's not a complete psychopath and uses this to check I get to and from work safely when it's dark. 
But can you imagine if he used it to actually track me as a form of control? And what the consequences would be if I was in a different place to where I had said I would be?
Sadly some of you reading this will know the consequences. You will have lived it and experienced it. Hopefully you are no longer, but some of you will be. And that makes me so sad. 
I don't know if the new law will have an effect on those who commit coercive abuse. But I do hope that those who are indirectly controlling or being controlled will take a step back and think "whoahhh! They/I act like that. And it's not acceptable. 
It's so easy to slip in to undesirable behaviours. Life gets you like that. Things happen, they mark you, you react. But maybe this will be a wake up call. Maybe as well as protecting those who suffer in abusive relationships, it will also remind people about the value of respect for another persons human rights and how it's not ok to act or be treated like an asshole. 



*Thankyou to everyone who debated this with me and turned my jumbled thoughts in to words 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Much Ado About Poo


"Have you seen Mummy's phone Oliver?"

"It's up my bum"

Well no, it wasn't actually up his bum, but these are the types of conversations I am having to endure recently since my 4 year old discovered toilet humour. Everything is "poo this" and "poo that."
Is poo really that funny? 
Every sentence is having a word within it replaced with "poo."
"What film would you like to watch?"
"Jurrasic Poo"
"What would you like for tea?"
"Poo sandwich"
"What time is it?"
"Poo o'clock"
Songs that we used to sing together have now been soiled, and Anna from frozen now sits at Elsa's door singing "do you wanna build a snow poo? Come on let's go and poo."

At first it was quite humorous. However, that was when poo talk remained inside the house and we could all laugh along 
"Oh yeah, you replaced that word with poo, how very funny" *eye roll*
Yesterday at the school gates my son dropped his angry bird mashem. A fellow parent picked it up and my son responded "Thankyou Poo."
He received a puzzled look.
He then turned to his friend and said,
"Let's trump on your mum."
Now I consider myself to have quite a good sense of humour. I'm partial to the odd poo joke once in a while. But really, there's only so many poo gags I can take before I go bat shit crazy. And when out in public it's getting to be quite embarrassing. There's really no need for other people to be exposed to my four year olds shit sense of humour (no pun intended). 
Toy companies are only encouraging this ridiculousness. There's actually now a game that requires you to scoop up plastic dog shit. Wonderful. Anyone who actually has scooped up dog faeces, or any sort of crap to be fair will know that it's far from entertaining or funny. It's gross. 

Will this madness ever stop? 
Is anyone else's kids obsessed with poo?
Is there a cure? 
I eagerly await your response 

Sincerely, 
The Confusing Diaries Of A Puzzled Poo.