Thursday, 29 December 2011

Health & Safety

We had an incident yesterday which pretty much sums up my 2011 Family Experience: The Toddler got a book stuck on his head.
It's true. We were having an uneventful day, aside from the usual 47 squabbles and 28 backchats, driving home merrily from a trip when lo-and-behold it all went horribly wrong. Basically, The Toddler was having a jolly old time sat in his car seat looking at his new book, when he decided to see if the front cover would fit over his head. The book has a hole in it, you see:

Once Upon A Trauma
You know that situation when a kid gets his head stuck through railings and can't get out again? Well it was that. But with a Marks and Spencer bear book, ironically designed to sooth and settle.
It took ten minutes of calming him and some crafty scissor skills to remove the book from his head. The Husband was the hero. And he had to be the hero - because I spent the entire time laughing so hard that I peed myself. It was brilliant.
This incident got me thinking about how the experts are always lecturing about Health and Safety around your children. So much so that you spend your entire parenting life thinking that you're going to kill them. But shit happens. And by shit I mean rolling off the sofa, tumbling down stairs and gagging on baby food. I defy any parent to tell me that they haven't spent hours in A&E because their baby fell off the bed.
But what these experts fail to warn us of is the Health and Safety needed to take care of us parents. For example, this book should have come with a warning that if your toddler gets it stuck on their head, you are very likely to wet yourself from laughing.

So I've done a little list to keep you parents safe:
1. You should be warned that wasted hospital trips will cause you to miss your favourite TV shows.
2. Great care needs to taken of clothes when feeding baby food. Broccoli and Uggs are not a good mix.
3. Your hands are likely to get covered in poo when emptying a potty or wiping a bum.
4. Bending down to pick up mess will hurt your back and you are likely to get many scars from stepping on Lego.
5. It needs to be quite clear that the amount of time you spend trying to not kill your offspring could actually be spent drinking gin.

Anyway, The Toddler is fine, in case you were wondering. But I'm not. My new jeans smell like wee.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Twelve Days Of Christmas - My Version

On the twelfth day of Christmas my children sent to me:
12 juices spilling
11 dinner's disgusting
10 times a-fighting
9 mummy I need yous
8 why's that man smelling
7 you are stupids
6 pants a-peeing
5 smelly poos
4 kicks to groin
3 walls with pen
2 stolen gloves
and a hidden Land Rover key

Friday, 9 December 2011

When You're A Father Christmas Failure

So, yes, it's nearly Christmas and don't I know it. In the past five days I've been to three different versions of The Nativity with the common theme of BEING CRAP. Thank god I can get on Twitter in the school halls although I've been fighting The Toddler for the iPhone as he's been equally as pissed off about the fact that my kids have two seconds on stage behind forty other kids in an hour long production of "Carry On Cabbage-Patch Jesus". It would be quicker and less painful to have a blood transfusion.
And I really detest this sending-Christmas-cards-to-every-goddamn-kid tradition. If the other mothers are anything like me, cards will be scooped out of the bottom of bags and chucked immediately into the recycling. Because, let's face it, the cards are usually stupidly tiny and you can't tell half the time who they're from and you probably hate that kid anyway. Also, you need to help the environment by making sure your green bin is very full at all times.
But you know what, you'll be surprised to hear that I'm not actually that Bah-Humbug. I am fully looking forward to doing naff all at my Mother-In-Law's and I will gratefully accept all presents.
I digress. This year is probably the last time The Tweenager will believe in Father Christmas. And once he knows, he will make damn sure that the other two kids know that it's just Mummy & Daddy telling lies. So I'm kind of thinking that this Christmas has to be a bit special. Except I'm the weakest link. No actually, The Husband is. Off he trots to Christmas dos, client drinks and seasonal wankfests while I'm left to organise all the presents. Except for last Tuesday when he took the day off to shop with me - but then spent three hours on a conference call in Toys R Us. I'm just sorry that the weapons in the "Kids Can Kill Other Kids" aisle are all made of plastic. Of course the same row happened in Toys R Us that has been happening for the past eight Christmas's. Where I want to get absolutely everything off the kid's lists and The Husband wants to get absolutely nothing off the kid's lists but then suggests we get a pack of guns instead.
Me: "Honestly, have you met our children?"
Him: "Honestly, who is paying for all this crap?"
The guy in charge of the store's CCTV must show his family a good time each year by airing our footage. Hell, he probably has it on loop - beats The Sound Of Music any day.

Anyway, here we go. The Top Five Father Christmas Fails According To Me:
1) Taking The Toddler with me when hitting the shops. Firstly, because he wants everything. And secondly because I made the HUGE mistake of buying my 3 year old nephew's present when I had my 3 year old son in tow. And it wasn't even anything good. It was bloody ELEFUN so it wasn't as if I was willing to get two. So The Toddler had the most almighty hallelujah tantrum that the checkout lady was without a doubt wishing she could deck her hall with him.
2) Buying wrapping paper when out with the kids. Because, you know, they never remember to wipe their bums but they'll sure as hell remember that the paper their presents are wrapped in is exactly the paper that Mummy bought in Asda. And because I hate wrapping (it's a craft, after all), I'm going for the basic white-with-silver-snowflakes design so I can't even pass it off as being completely different to the one I purchased.
3) Letting The Toddler have an advent calendar. The person who invented Advent Calendars clearly did not have children. Trying to explain to a toddler that he can only open one door a day will leave you more red in the face than Rudolph's nose. My toddler's advent calendar lasted a triumphant nine days. On the first day of Christmas he tore off all the doors. On the second day of Christmas he had a huge strop because I wouldn't let him eat everything. On the eighth day of Christmas he had the remaining twelve chocolates for breakfast.
4) Ordering on Amazon so that your delivery arrives on a Saturday thus ensuring that your 8 year old child opens the door to the courier.
5) Losing the children's lists the day after they wrote them. I had to tell them that they had been posted to Santa even though they knew I hadn't left the house. My friends and relatives are under strict instructions to ask them at all times what they want for Christmas.

These fails are made all the worse by the fact that I am terrible at lying. I've tried everything - even resorted to "Oh those toys I left lying around are for the little orphans of Africa" because, let's face it, if you bring orphans into it then you can't possibly be lying.
But it'll be fine in the end. We'll be up at 5am on Christmas morning. And to survive the season until then, well, there's always the threat of Santa on speed dial.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

If Music Be The Food Of Love, I'll Starve Thanks

I am, or rather used to be, quite musical. Over the years I have played piano, cello and flute. The Husband once played the oboe. So I've always liked to think that our kids would be musical too. But, as you know, any thoughts I have usually turn out to be a load of old bollocks.
The Tomboy has expressed an interest in learning an instrument and because the last thing we want in this house is a piano, we've opted to let her have guitar lessons A) because a guitar is quite small and can live week in/week out in the back of the car B) it's not very loud and C) all guitar lessons are done at school.
I've also been thinking that if she grows up to be a singer/songwriter a la Taylor Swift, then I can manage her and be quids in. Hell, I don't even mind a bit of rehab if it means that I can retire happily off my daughter's income.
It's been going well. Or so I thought. This evening, our virtuoso daughter decided to treat me to a concert. She has been desperate to show me her playing skills by performing Happy Birthday and Jingle Bells.
This is how it went, a Symphony of five parts:
1. OVERTURE: The Tomboy spends 15 minutes finding the perfect place to sit. (Adagissimo: very, very slow)
2. FIRST MOVEMENT: She refuses to let me tune her (out of tune) guitar. (Bellicoso: aggressive, warlike)
3. SECOND MOVEMENT: There is a scuffle and slight bickering until she is happy with where I am holding up the music. (Affannato: anguished)
4. THIRD MOVEMENT: She plays at a tempo of one (wrong) note every 2.5 minutes. (Gemendo: groaningly)
5. FINALE: I start rocking in the corner and banging the wall. (Col pugno: with the fist)

Thank Mozart there is no ENCORE.

The Husband, is the meantime, is walking around very Vittorioso (victorious) because he's not been invited to the recital. He is con abbandono (free, relaxed).

Beethoven had obviously just heard his kid play the recorder when he said "Music should strike fire from the heart of man and bring tears from the eyes of woman".
Simon Cowell can stick his future record deal where the sun don't shine, for all I care. Because if music be the food of love, I'm happy to starve.

Monday, 7 November 2011


It dawned on me this morning that there isn't, in fact, such a thing as a Supermummy. We, as mothers, think they exist but actually it's a load of bollocks. I think now I've discovered this, it's going to change motherhood around the world. Or maybe not.
We have recently bought a Land Rover Discovery. Actually I say "We" but it was The Husband because let's face it I've got naff all money and I'm an expert at stealing from him. This purchase came about for two reasons:
1) We need the space.
The kids/dog/adults/baggage/snacks/crap/buggy in one vehicle has meant that every car journey has ended in tears/shouting/a slap/me storming out at traffic lights. The only way this family could go forward in a happy manner was to purchase a car that would hold us all for at least five minutes without it kicking off.
2) I had bashed the old car on one too many occasions.
These occasions included slamming wing mirror against various objects, scraping front/back panels about 3287 times and reversing into posts, walls and lampposts. Plus the inside was a toxic waste dump of old sweets, fruits shoots, dog dirt and cake. Basically The Husband could not ever never pick up one of his VIP clients to take them for a power lunch.
So I'm driving around in this car which is like the Holy Fecking Grail of any mother. I've been coverting one for years and I know plenty of mums that aspire to have one too.
But here's the rub - I'm still me.
I'm driving through the village this morning with swanky wanky car, my Ugg boots, my Louis Vuitton bag - looking the part I guess, of that Supermummy we've all green-eyed at - but I feel like a dick. A absolute prize cock. It just isn't me.
Sure I'm grateful that I've got these nice things but I've realised that they are not important - they will not magically turn me into a Supermummy. Because I still have to deal with all the shit of picking up the mess, cooking dinner for kids that moan, digging the whole toilet roll out of the loo, cleaning up spilt juice and wiping bums. And that Supermummy we see around town has to do the same entire thing as well. Looking the part is nothing. It doesn't mean that you will suddenly enjoy being a mum and bake cupcakes and go to the gym. It just means that for maybe a tiny moment, even if it's two seconds a week, you will think you are a Supermummy and for that two seconds I suggest milking it. After all, there'll be a random mum looking at you, wanting to be you and, well, you don't want to disappoint them, do you?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Yeah because, you know, I blog really regularly at the moment - NOT.
Anyway I'm going on holiday for a week. PROMISE will blog when I get back. Not that many people care.
Love Ya!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Rules Of The Special Love

Let's face it - sometimes us mothers don't feel like it. The kids have been hyper, the kids have been clingy, the kids in general...can often stop sexual desire dead in its tracks. Men do not see it this way. If you are a) AWAKE and b) ALIVE then they don't see why their needs cannot be met. Unfortunately there are certain occasions that raise their frisky heads like birthdays and anniversaries. Today is my wedding anniversary so I know the time is coming. As soon as The Husband tires of his laptop, he'll cuddle up close and make his move. I can't get out of it because whatdoyaknow we've got to rekindle our LOVE and celebrate nine *cough* wonderful *cough* years together. Avoidance is NOT AN OPTION, so instead I am referring to my (made up) book of Rules Of The Special Love:

1) Missionary only. To avoid any seizing up of muscles from unnatural poses and to enable over-the-shoulder facebooking and tweeting.
2) Definitely no doggy style because, I don't know what's happened but since turning 40 I'm getting more wind.
3) Never do it naked. (Although him seeing me naked might be a great avoidance tactic). Up the knicker leg is the best option plus you get a 'no need to wax' bonus.
4) No snogging and definitely no nipple foreplay. These boobies became the property of our children years ago.
5) Time slot of ten minutes. No negotiation. This may be extended to fifteen minutes if VERY special occasion where I have received bling, but only at my discretion.
6) NEVER ask me to shave or wax - this will only give off the impression that I want it more.
7) No role playing. Unless it involves sitting around watching crap telly.
8) Facial hair is illegal. If I'm putting out, then the least you can do is shave.
9) Sex toys are not an option. I only have that vibrator to keep The Toddler amused while I'm straightening my hair.
10) If I'm really having to do it, then I want at least two orgasms.

Husband - if you abide by these Golden Rules then you might find that I am more willing to engage. I might let it happen at Christmas too.

Monday, 19 September 2011


It's dawned on me tonight that I've asked The Husband countless times to change the lightbulb in the hallway over the past two weeks. And has he done it - has he feck. In fact, there are currently 8 lightbulbs dead in total. If there was a power cut, it would not make much difference to this house. I suppose I could do them but I'd end up smashing glass everywhere and, not only is he taller than me, but this is a MAN'S JOB...just how ironing is MY JOB. Oh I'm all for feminism and that, but when it comes to certain jobs around the house I do think THE MAN should step in.
For example, he should:
1. Empty the bin and put the wheelie bin out.
2. Walk the dog at night time.
3. Get rid of the ugly pink carnations he's bought when they go rotten.
4. Sort out the wires at the back of the telly.
5. Adjust children's bicycle seats.
There are MANY jobs I could add to this and I still don't think it's a lot to ask. I do ENDLESS chores around this house that I never ever involve him in. I do not think there has ever been a time when he has had to ask me to get a good frock out for the school run. He has never had to remind me to feed the children some chicken nuggets. There has not been countless requests to organise the TV programmes in order I want to watch them. I am more than capable of making sure these jobs get done.
The Husband seems to think that you can 'carry over' jobs from month-to-month in much the same way that you carry over days off. But I've got his number on that one. I will add more jobs until it's so overwhelming that he will have to spend a WHOLE WEEK doing jobs. And I will stick a little list on the fridge just to annoy him some more.
Here is a list of jobs The Husband is very GOOD at:
1. Falling asleep in front of the telly.
2. Leaving the wet stuff in the back of the car for two days after swimming lessons.
3. Stepping over a pile of dirty washing and, on occasion, moving it to the kitchen.
And before you start - yes he does work very hard and brings home the bacon and all that jazz, but But BUT this house is his responsibility too. If I let him get away with the lightbulbs then where will it end? I will end up taking on ALL the man jobs on top of my own - whenever will I have time to read Grazia??
As I write The Husband is indisposed - with his laptop - in a partially lit kitchen. There is a lone lightbulb on the work surface that will stay there for several days before being returned to the shed - because it doesn't fit anywhere. Oh he will get around to changing the bulbs eventually. When it gets to a point where he can't say anything without me mentioning it. Then there will be much huffing & puffing I'm sure, followed by a request for time in the bedroom. He will think that 1 Lightbulb Fix = 1 Special Love. But no wife has ever made love to her husband that lightly.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

How To Survive The School Playground

The most essential part of your attire is Ugg boots. No matter what crappy, smelly clothes you are wearing they will always be offset by Uggs. If you really have to go to school in your pyjamas or joggers, make sure you tuck your pants into a good pair of Uggs. This post is not sponsored by Ugg Australia by the way.
Hats are good if they are stylish. Berets and flat caps will make you look crazy. Also, invest in a great winter coat preferably in a fab colour. Shades must be worn at most times, but not when it is raining as you will look like a tit.
Above all be confident in what you wear. You will be known as a Stylish Mummy and that is as important as being a Good Mummy. In my world, anyway.

Do not be tempted to make friends with the first mother that speaks to you. Chances are there is a reason why they are being friendly - they are either fundraising or have no other friends. If you immediately befriend them, once you realise that you've actually made a mistake, the fun mums will have already formed their clique to which you will never be admitted.
Stay friendly with all but keep a slight distance. True friendship will always shine through. Be warned though: The mummies you make friends with in Reception will probably be your enemies by Year 4. Sometimes it takes that long to realise that someone is a two-faced bitch.

Never ever get dragged into the Sport Of Competitive Parenting. You will never win. Do not discuss your child's achievements with anyone. Because I can guarantee their child will have done better. Or the teacher will immediately come up to you and have a word about your kid's behaviour that day. Save any bragging for that phone call to grandparents.

4. PTA
PTA is not a bad thing but do not think that it makes you important. It's great to help out at a few things but don't walk around with a clipboard and a whistle. PTA often organises fun events for parents too and if your social life is a bit crappy, a school quiz night can be a real saviour. That's how sad I am these days. And the kiddies love a summer fayre, even though you'll find that you've spent two months child benefit on the coconut shy.

Always find a fanciable Dad. Playground flirting makes the school run a bit nicer. Never overstep the mark by joking about a blow job in front of his children. It's got to be innocent and fun. Do not fantasise about him when you are having special love with your other half.

Please feel free to add to this, folks.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Go The Fuck To School

The end is nigh, the holiday almost done
The weather has been hot, rainy and cool
You've seen lots of friends, had loads of fun
Now please, go the fuck back to school

We've been on a train, in the car, on a boat
For a swim in the sea and the outdoor pool
I'll take you somewhere for one very last time
If you swear you'll go the fuck back to school

Together we've been every minute, hour and day
Don't say you'll miss me because I'm no fool
Once you're back in that class it will be Mummy who?
For pete's sake go the fuck back to school

You've done all the things you have wanted to do
There's been no teachers, homework or rules
Hell no we can't go back to the holiday now
You know where you can go - to school

There's been ice-creams, cakes, sweeties and puds
I've not fed you healthy stuff, mush or gruel
Yes you will eat up all your bloody packed lunch
When you go the fuck back to school

The house is trashed with toys, games and stuff
The garden full of bikes, wheelbarrows and tools
I just need some space back, a room of my own
So please children Fuck.Back.To.School

The stuff is all bought, the uniforms are ironed
Your pens, pencils, shoes and bags are supercool
What - you're feeling poorly now????
Hell no! Go the fuck back to school!

I've spent two months child benefit on you kids
I've been nice and kind, not nasty or cruel
Now give me back my mummy time
I've got two words for you kids - Fucking School

(Go The Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach is the inspiration behind this post)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Six Week Hellidays

I had a dream last night. And before you say it, I know that people talking about their dreams is as boring as them talking about their children - but I don't care. It was a dream ABOUT my children so I'm giving you a double whammy of boredom. Feck it.
Anyway, I dreamt that the children were going back to school. Which, you might think, is the most perfect dream I could possibly ask for - except it wasn't. It was an anxiety dream...the kind of dream that really stresses you out and no matter what you do, the situation just gets worse and worse.
I dreamt that they were going back to school and I was so chilled from the hols that I was running really late. Nobody was dressed, packed lunches weren't made and it was 2pm and we still weren't ready. I woke up in a sweat, which isn't unusual during these weeks when I realise that I've got a day of my kids, but this time it was from the anxiety of them GOING TO SCHOOL. Either The Husband is spiking my drinks or the universe is trying to tell me something. Perhaps the NSPCC is trying to brainwash me. Whatever the cause, I've been a bit shocked.
So I've been thinking about this dream today. I've been wondering if in my subconscious I am actually enjoying the school holidays. Remind me never to do therapy. Anyway, this dream has panicked me a bit about having to get ready in the mornings so I am taking the following precautions so that the dream doesn't come true:
1) Camp out at the school gate the month night before the first day back.
2) Get that space food that NASA gives their astronauts and do the packed lunches now. That food lasts for light-years apparently.
3) Make the kids wear their uniforms every day from now on.
4) Start ignoring everyone in preparation for some of the mothers in the playground.
5) Buy lots of new outfits to ensure I am the best dressed.

I digress. Because my reason for this blog was to have a good old moan about the summer holidays. But I'm actually doing okay. I've only wanted to smash my head against the school gate twice. The Husband has taken two weeks off and we've decided rather than go away we're just going to do 'daycations'. For example, we went to Cambridge today. With the usual fighting in the car, spilt drinks, shouting, arguing etc. it was exactly like going abroad for two weeks, just without the swimming pool. These daycations seem to be working out okay because each day we do something different and I'm not spending any of my child benefit because The Husband is paying.
Not that I'm counting, but I've got exactly ELEVEN days left with the children after The Husband goes back to work. And I think I can do it. I really think I can. Of course Twitter has helped. And Valium. And the fact that the school gates opening once again is not just a dream.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Enough already!

Okay, okay! I know I've not blogged in soooo long. In fact I've just spent an hour staring at the computer screen in a trance.
The thing is, I've only got a limited amount of FUNNY. And I seem to be using it all up on Twitter. That's if you think I'm funny. Not a lot of people do.
Anyway, I know it's time to return to my blog because last night The Husband said "Please do your blog" and he HATES my blog. So the universe is definitely trying to tell me something.
So here's the deal. I will blog tomorrow night. And it will be good. Because that's how dedicated I am to my 3 readers.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Social Experiment

Ah remembered today that the whole point of writing 'Mum Versus Toddler' was because my friend came over last week. She is a very strict mum - big on boundaries, discipline and routine so she was pretty shocked to see how I am raising The Toddler and how he just wanders around doing his own thing. She actually asked me if he was a Social Experiment. It was brilliant. Okay, so she was joking but part of her meant it and I loved it. It was the funniest thing I'd heard for days.
I meant to write my whole blog about it but I went and bloody forgot! That's intelligence-after-children for you. They definitely take out some brain cells with the placenta.
Anyway, the truth is YES. The Toddler is a kind of Social Experiment in that I am interested to see if he turns out okay without me being clingy, naggy and strict on him. In essence - non-parenting. I'm so ready to jump on the other two that it will be most intriguing to find out what happens with The Toddler. I bet he turns out the best.
All this is said tongue-in-cheek of course. I'm not like that couple who are raising their child non-gender specific or whatever bollocks it's called. The child's grandparents for pete's sake don't even know if the kid is male or female. I understand that the parents don't want to put the social norm of pink for girls/ trains for boys stuff on the child but IT'S NATURE!!!! (Unless of course you count The Tomboy who is out there on her own. Gender-creative I like to call it.). Surely the child will feel that having a gender is wrong? It's been forced to keep its gender a secret? That's a parenting disaster waiting to happen, I'm sure. Which is great for me because it will make my fuck ups not look so bad.
In the future, if anybody blames The Toddler's behavioural problems on me, at least I can say that he was brought up knowing that he was a boy. Even though he'll probably end up in therapy with all the gender-neutral kids. He's got me for his mother, after all.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Mum Versus Toddler

I have messed up. Big stylie. My friends have been warning me for two and a half years - but have I listened? Have I hell. Yes, I admit it - I have created a monster. A beastie in the shape of The Toddler.
Okay, so in my defence, he is my last baby and as much as I complain about being a mum, there is a side to me that is a bit suckylala. I feel sorry for the Toddler because, in position of third child, he doesn't really get much. His toys don't have batteries, he never goes to Music With Mum, he gets dragged around shops and he is ignored. And because he is in the unenviable position of lowest on the ladder, I have let him get away with murder. He does whatever he wants, when he wants. Basically because I can't be arsed parenting a little one anymore and it makes my life easier.
Two & a half years in and I am paying the price. I have ignored the warning signs and the advice of my friends. The Toddler has become the Freddy Kruger of two year olds. I am fighting the Losing Battle Of Control. It is Mum Versus Toddler - and he is winning.
In military or police operations, there is something called Rules Of Engagement. The ROE determine when, where or how force shall be used. The British Military and NATO have very clear Rules. They are set in stone to provide a consistent, workable standard in avoiding major crisis. I suppose when it comes to parenting a child, there should be very specific Rules Of Parenting set in place too. For example:
1. Don't fetch and carry everything for child.
2. Don't let them play with scissors, screwdrivers, razors or hammers.
3. Always enforce discipline when child hits, scratches, shouts or bites.
4. Never let child have the remote control.
5. Faking memory loss to get out of clubs/parties is not acceptable.
6. Take photographs of child.
7. Do not let them touch absolutely everything.
8. Never steal the child's money.
9. Don't make up stuff because you don't understand their homework.
10. Avoid, at all cost, child being in charge.

However, in the history of military operations, there have been certain Rules Of Engagement failures, so there are bound to be such fuck-ups in parenting too. And I am a prime example. To be fair, my friends have mocked me but they have never actually given me a copy of the Rules Of Parenting. I blame them first and foremost. I blame The Husband second for not being around more.
The Toddler, at this current time, is pretty unmanageable. Having two older siblings he is picking up tongue pulling, shouting and words like "stupid" and "idiot". Although it's really cute when he says "Disgusting Bieber" instead of "Justin Bieber" as an insult.
My friends are like "See I told you so", but The Husband is not finding it so funny. He is shocked at the weekend when The Toddler performs or pulls a fast one. The way he reacts depends on if he is after The Special Love but often he is not very happy with me.
But you know what - I'm coping. The Toddler has just started nursery and I'm thinking that they can deal with him. They can teach him the proper way to behave then deliver him back to me. As long as I don't have to pay him any attention, I'm fine with that. Or it will be Mum Versus Nursery pretty damn soon.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Why I Am Ignoring You

I owe you an apology. I haven't been blogging. Maybe that's a good thing. Perhaps you feel a need to read my blog to atone for something. Or to check that you're not parenting as badly as me. Anyway, I'm sorry.
But it's not my fault you see.
It is because of Twitter.
It has taken over my life.
I know a lot of you don't 'get' it, but really, it's what I have always been looking for. I worship at the Church Of Twitter now. I bow at the Altar Of Tweet. I drink from the Cup Of #Hashtag.
I'll explain it: You write about stuff and you follow & are followed by people you don't know. So you end up making friends with folk you will probably never meet. Which suits me just fine because I am not as funny in real life. And I get to chat while I am wearing my comfys in bed. With bad hair. That's how I roll these days. I do not deal in real. Because if I did, my head would spin 360 degrees like Linda Blair.
Twitter has opened a new world to me. I now understand the importance of the #hashtag and why it appears on Sky News. There are millions of people tweeting. The Husband, of course, is not one of them. He hates it. He has no desire to hear about it, understand it, take interest in it. He now understands how I feel about his work.
Twitterville is also a place where paranoia doesn't exist for me, unlike the playground. I don't respond to everything and people don't have to respond to me. Except when someone 'unfollows' me - that I can't deal with. Yet it's okay for me to 'unfollow' if someone is boring or they piss me off or they go on about how they love Jesus.
Oh and a funny thing happened the other day. I wrote a bit of a cheeky tweet about Joss Stone and some random person wrote me "Shut The Fuck Up" which freaked me out for a nanosecond then I saw the humour in it. It was the best advice I've had in years (but then I quickly blocked them).
Anyway, it's interesting to see the different types of ways that people use Twitter. I, of course, am hilarious. And very good at mashing my hilarity into 140 characters.
It's like how Beyonce has Sasha Fierce or Keith from The Prodigy has Scary Man, I have created an alter-ego on Twitter with @MinistryOfMum. She is funny, quick witted and charming. Nothing like me at all. And that's precisely why I'll stick with Twitter. Because in real life I'm a bit of a Twit.

Dedicated to @The_M0therShip for ruining my marriage and probably my life

Thursday, 9 June 2011

How To...Avoid Bedtime

I watched 'How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days' and thought I'd tinker in a little 'How To' list myself. Can I just say MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY IS SO HOT! The first points 1-4 would not be applicable to him, of course. They are only relevant to The Husband when I am trying to avoid Special Love. Which is quite often. And will certainly be tonight. The Husband is out at an Awards Ceremony which he insists is very hard work with all the networking that has to be done when in fact it's just a jolly with free wine. Bastard. He will miss the last train then come in smelling of booze expecting a jolly with his wife. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Anyway, he's left bedtime all to me and that's how I came up with the idea. I have just been in the horror movie which is putting 3 kids to bed. Nightmare On My Street. Or The Bed Time Project. Or some other crap title that I am trying to make funny.

1. Make way too much noise on way to bed thus waking small child who will almost certainly want to get in bed with you.

2. Decide that you 'need to talk' once in bed, that way ensuring immediate zone out and slumber from The Husband.

3. Pray that a child has a nightmare or is sick. Or you think it is absolutely necessary to call NHS Direct for a potential splinter.

4. Make out you are really interested in what's on the telly while he is climbing the stairs. Even if it is something boring like the News or that new sitcom with the lady from Frasier.

5. Fake coldsore by pinching lip and Pritt Stick.

1. Ask for just 'one more book' in such a sickly sweet way that your mother will think she is starving you of great classics if she doesn't read another Curious George. Which is at least 3 pages too long.

2. Refuse to clean teeth. Or do clean teeth but spit out a toothpaste/saliva mixture all over the floor. It will guarantee at least six minutes of telling off.

3. Start coughing and having a headache even though you have just been running around like a looney.

4. Wake up little brother by shouting so that Mummy has to go settle him and you can carry on playing Top Trumps.

5. Be suddenly afraid of The Gruffalo.

Oh and I owe you all an apology. I've not blogged in ages. I am blaming Twitter. It's pulled me in when I said I would never do it. I love it. I will sacrifice a child for it. Please follow me @MinistryOfMum or there will be a curse put on you, involving putting my 3 kids to bed forever.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Just Saying...

A few things have happened around here over the past couple of days, that I would like to write a reminder to myself. I am hoping that you guys will also pay some attention to this list too, in case you find yourselves in similar scenarios.

1. Make sure there are no other dog walkers around when you are adjusting your knickers.

2. Put brake on buggy before turning round to put lead on The Dog. It is not nice for The Toddler's nose to get busted on the ground when the pushchair freewheels off the kerb and falls sideways.

3. If you are going to ground The Tweenager, then ground him. Letting him go to cricket and play with mates will not stop his back chat if the punishment means nothing.

4. Do not under any circumstances suggest to The Tomboy that she lets you plait her hair. Unless you want to be shrieked at like a banshee.

5. Try not to watch Peppa Pig episodes back to back, especially when The Toddler is doing something else.

6. Ensure that it IS one of your mates before slapping her bum and saying "Hello Cow Face".

7. Try not to wear your new white summer top when The Toddler is eating chocolate unless you want it to be your new brown summer top.

8. Don't suggest to The Husband that you go to bed early. He will misinterpret this.

9. Try to curb your language when stepping on Lego.

10. In the evening, staying up late for alone time seems like a good idea. In the morning, it's not such a good idea.

No moral to this little blog, folks. Just saying...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Damage Control Parenting

A trip to JJB Sports the other day coincided with me reading an article about President Obama's Middle East speech. Basically Obama blew it with his comments, so what does he do? He reverses course pretty damn quick. He employs his spin doctors to assert Damage Control. It's the same as poor old Harold Camping and his 'end of the world' prediction yesterday. I guess they will say that his ideas were 'misunderstood'. Although I did feel like I had been placed in hell this morning when it was all kicking off in my house.
Let me explain a bit about Damage Control. It's a term that is used by the navy in situations that might cause the sinking of a ship. Damage Control has also been adopted for politics, media and project management to describe the actions needed to deal with a problem that might bring danger or a negative reaction. Thanks, Wikipedia!
The Obama article and yesterday's non-Rapture got me thinking about the events that occur in this house and how, basically, The Husband and I are guilty of Damage Control Parenting.
Take the situation at JJB Sports. The Tweenager is really into cricket at the moment. Which is great because he is slightly better at it than he is at football. And he is crap at football. Anyway, all week he had been asking for cricket stuff and being the lovely supportive parents that we are, we promised that a trip to JJB Sports would be forthcoming, depending of course on his behaviour. We agreed with him on four things which quickly went down to one after his usual attitude and mumbles of "Whatever!". So off we trotted to JJB with The Tweenager excited about getting a bat.
Of course we're talking about my family here and a nice little trip to one store never goes as smoothly as you might think. The Tomboy, realising that The Tweenager was getting something and she probably wasn't, kicked off big styleeee and demanded cricket stuff too, even though she hates the game. The Toddler had just fallen asleep but pinged wide awake, sensing he was also missing out. The Tweenager, catching on that his special moment was about to be ruined by his siblings starting freaking out/moaning/whining/Tweenagering which, combined with his sister's tantrum, really wound up The Husband.
"THAT'S IT!" shrieked The Husband. "Nobody is getting ANYTHING!"
Cue my dash to the disabled lift with the pushchair.
"But Dad-deeee!" cried The Tweenager. "You promised!"
By this time I was heading for the exit.
I decided to keep out of it. Hell hath no fury like The Husband in a mood. I hid behind the footballs and waited. Ten minutes later, The Husband appeared with three very happy children. I'm wondering if disciplining has actually worked for once. Then I spotted the shopping bags. Oh yes, The Husband has backtracked on his original outcry and bought The Tweenager a cricket ball, The Tomboy a gym top and The Toddler a tennis ball.
"What's all that?" I asked sweetly.
"Damage control." replied The Husband, grinning.
I am all for Damage Control Parenting if it makes things easier. I know it's probably the anti-discipline method, but who cares?! If you can retract or reverse your actions to avoid a major kick off then do it.
I'll await Wikipedia's revised entry.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The New Mum Whisperer

One of my best friends has just had a baby. I am not being very supportive as I find myself telling her what and what not to do which is the WORST thing you can do to a New Mum. But I can't help myself. I like to think I am some kind of New Mum Whisperer. I will not be surprised if she stabs me with a (sterilised) knife.
Now New Mums are sweet & lovely in their innocence but, boy, they are frustrating especially when I think I know better. I have been laughing because she is sterilising everything, feeding at every cry and panicking about leaving the babe for more than two seconds. She doesn't have a clue and although I have three children and still don't know what I am doing, she turns to me for advice and, well, I like to give it. Needless to say, a year down the line, I doubt she will be talking to me. But this doesn't stop me.
Once upon a time, I was a New Mum and it was HORRIBLE when people used to tell me what to do. And yet here I am doing it to my friend. Her baby, in the future, will seek its revenge.
Oh but how I like to secretly think that I am a New Mum Whisperer. That both friends and strangers look to for help and advice. When I see a New Mum out with a newborn, I immediately become the all singing/all dancing WonderMum around my children so that the New Mum thinks "Gosh, I hope I'm like that". It's all a lie, of course, because if the New Mum actually spoke to me she would be giving her baby up for adoption pretty damn quick.
One thing I do know is that all parenting gurus are idiots. There is no such thing as a textbook baby. I will admit to quite liking Tracey Hogg because she is Northern, but by far the best advisor is Cesar Millan who is TV's Dog Whisperer. He has the ability to train any dog to behave and I reckon some of his wisdom makes sense for raising children.
No one would suggest using his harsher methods on children, although I would like to try them, but what's best about Millan is that he can retain authority without speaking. The Husband thinks he can also do this, with stern faces and looks, but Millan has the advantage in that dogs can't laugh. I, on the other hand, am rubbish at being quietly in control. Quite often I am weary and willing to do anything for a bit of peace & quiet so the kids sense this and obviously take advantage. But Millan never falters and the dogs are happy and well-behaved. Cesar Millan could no doubt train my children much better than Gina Ford. I can only hope that one day my kids will do stuff I ask them without barking.
I will leave it a couple of weeks until I stop my New Mum Whisperer act on my friend. Or maybe I'll hang on until the weaning stage as obviously I'm an expert at that. (This coming from the mother who fed her baby a rice cake at four months and nearly choked him).
But best I wait until my friend is at breaking point and then I will let her know the truth. Yet I'm sure by then she will have performed an act of her own on me, which I doubt will involve whispering.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Bad Celebrity Mums That Are My Role Models

I've been hearing a lot lately about Gwyneth Paltrow's website so I decided to check it out. It's supposedly really successful & popular and I'm pretty sure she gets more hits than I do. But you know what, it's bor-ingggg. The only interesting bit was where mate Stella McCartney and Gwyneth herself wrote about their day and the way they balance work/family. It made me laugh because it was such a load of crap. They have car services, chefs, nannies, assistants and, errrr, money that makes their day a hell of a lot easier. Gwynnie should bloody well come round here and try to get my kids to eat brown rice/sweet potato stirfry.
World's apart G and me.
So it got me thinking about which celebrity mums that I really like. Here's a little list:

BRITNEY SPEARS: Who can forget her very public meltdown/driving with kid on lap/shaved headed moments. General lack of care when with her kids. Love it. So goddamn real and not dissimilar to me.

DINA LOHAN: Makes no secret of living off Lindsay's success. And when LiLo is in court, she pushes the other daughter to make money through her music career. It's so how I will be with my kids - when they fly the nest I intend to milk them for all they've got.

SHARON OSBOURNE: Swearing, drinking, drugs and a successful reality show. Sharon has it all.

OCTOMUM: At first Nadya Suleman's feat of giving birth to eight babies seemed pretty amazing. Then we found out that she's an ex stripper, single, unemployed, already mother of six. It's so irresponsible you've got to admire her balls.

KERRY KATONA: Actually I can't stand her.

Gwyneth can piss off for all I care. And so can Jules Oliver, Myleene Klass etc.etc. They are not real. They are Robot Mums. My kids could beat their kids up anyday.
Rant over.
What a role model I am.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Ha! I am so proud of that title. Even though it's not really true. We actually had a nice time but I loved my play on words so much I had to use it.
I've not blogged in AGES. That's because we have been in Tenerife. I at last persuaded The Husband to take a cheeky week away. If he takes time off and is at home, the temptation to work is so great for him that what he actually does is just work from home. This really pisses me off because not only am I still lumbered with the children, I have to hear him on the phone saying "Blah Blah Blah...that's the way the cookie crumbles...Blah Blah diary changes daily...Blah Blah Blah...Claire, can you please sort out the children...Blah Blah Blah".
So we booked a last minute holiday and, boy, did I need it. Usually when we go away, we stay in a villa or an apartment but this time we decided to go to an all-inclusive hotel. It's not really our thing but I liked the idea of doing f-all for a week and saying to The Husband "But darling, the children really want YOU in the pool". If you've never been to an all-inclusive then basically the score is this - all your food, drinks, extras like icecream are free (well, you've already paid but you forget about that). The food is okay but when you've got kids that are always hungry it's a god send. And the best thing about the drinks is that the amount that gets spilt (about 18 a day) doesn't matter, because you just send the kids to get another.
The funniest thing about all-inclusive though is the people, especially the ones that go year in year out and make sure they get more than their money's worth by eating twenty times the amount they would normally and drinking from 8am til, well, 8am.
Anyway, the holiday was fun. I've been worried that I've not got much blog material - I mean a child getting lost or a huge public argument with The Husband would have been great - but here are some thoughts.

The Tomboy, as always, was mistaken for a boy about fifty times. Even though I carefully bought some mini denim shorts and a nice greenish tee, she wore the same clothes every day which consisted of The Tweenager's army trousers and a black skull top. Plus the beanie hat that she tucks her hair into. The best comment I got was from a waiter who said "Ooo you're so lucky, THREE boys, you've got a real football team there." I've stopped pointing out to people that she's a girl because that makes me look even weirder than I already am.

We have been converted to the joys of Kids Club and Mini Disco. If we timed The Toddler's sleep with a kids activity, we got about 45 mins kid-free. That was well worth the boring food in the restaurant.
Years ago a friend said to us "What, you don't go to all-inclusive? Don't your kids want a mini disco?" and oh how we laughed. But she is the one laughing now because I am a MASSIVE mini disco fan. It's the same songs every night and the same routines but the bit when The Tweenager fell off the stage was priceless.

The Tweenager had a holiday romance. It was really really cute. I over heard him telling his mate about it last night and he was like "Well, she's my ex now but she'll be my girlfriend on holiday next year". Love it. Perhaps he does have a nice side after all.

The Toddler loved it. As always he got to do what the hell he wanted but this time it was in armbands in the pool. The Husband made several comments of course about the way I am rearing him but he couldn't deny that ignoring The Toddler's behaviour meant extra time on the sun lounger.

So we're back home and things are getting back to normal. Oh I forgot to mention one incident. I was in the kiddie pool playing ball with The Toddler when he slipped over and grabbed the nearest thing to him to stop him from falling. It happened to be my bikini bottoms. Except he took hold of them a bit too well. He didn't slip over but he made damn sure that something did fall. Yes, folks, my bikini bottoms hit the deck, exposing my lady bits to approx 22 Germans, 7 Spanish and countless Brits.
I guess this year they did get their money's worth.

Friday, 22 April 2011

How To Be A Tomboy

Firstly, I LOVE the fact that Wikipedia has an entry for Tomboy. It does not, however, have an entry for Ultimate Tomboy. But this is what it says:
A tomboy is a girl who exhibits some characteristics and or behavior considered typical of the gender role of a boy, including the wearing of typically masculine-oriented types of clothes and engaging in games and activities that are often physical in nature, and which are considered in many cultures to be the domain of boys.
Although I agree with this entry, I've decided to do a little research myself. After studying my daughter closely for the past week or so, I have come up with this useful guide entitled How To Be A Tomboy.

Hang around with your big brother's mates to a point where they prefer you to him. Be funnier, cooler and better than him at everything. Soon you will be invited to parties and sleepovers and your brother will be left at home with only The Toddler to play with.

A tiny hint of pink is allowed, perhaps on boxer shorts but dress in football kits, anything with camouflage, Power Rangers dress up and ultimately your big brother's clothes. Choose clothes that allow you to become physically active at the drop of a hat - jeans and trainers are good, pretty dresses with sparkly party shoes are a definite no-no. Before you leave the house ask yourself "If somebody asks me to play football, am I ready to go?". If the answer is NO, then rush back and change into something more appropriate. Oh and definitely shop in the boys section.

Odds are, if you surround yourself with testosterone you're bound to hear unpleasant noises and smell unpleasant things. However have some self-respect, don't do it yourself. But laugh everytime a boy does it.

Football and cricket are cool. Try a martial art. Push your mother to let you go to wrestling club. Show your brother up by being very much better than him at everything.

Use words like "whatever" and "awesome" and "dude". Don't talk in a high pitched voice and don't be dramatic.

It's a sure thing that you will be often mistaken for being a boy.

Even though you're too little to skate board. Show off in front of the teenagers. Try dangerous stuff that makes your mother go a bit flappy. Sing Avril Lavigne's "SK8er Boy" at all times.

And run FAST. Faster than your brother who is two years older. Always make sure the boys are surprised when they are passed by a Tomboy.

Wear board shorts or all in one Spiderman costume. Sometimes wear this to go to the park.

Get down and dirty - always make sure you are grass stained. Steal a little. Tell lies. Push your dress sense to the point where it includes pyjama tops worn as shirts.

The ultimate goal of a Tomboy is to be always mistaken for a boy. Five times in one week is great. And even better if you start calling yourself MAX and only answer to this name. But above all, surprise your mother every day by pushing things even further. Only then will you be crowned Ultimate Tomboy.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

They Are Out Of School But I'm Still Learning

On Thursday I took the kids to London Zoo. Every now and again I feel the pressure to do something 'big' with them as it makes me feel better about being such a boring parent. I'm thinking that going to the zoo will make up for all the crap I usually force them to do in the school holidays such as walking the dog, trips to Sainsburys and waiting for me to get off the phone.
I cleverly met a friend who only has one child because I figured I could palm at least two off on her with the excuse that I was dealing with The Toddler. Bless her, she totally cottoned on, but was so goddamn sweet about it that at the end of the day I was practically begging her to let me take her son for the rest of the hols.

Anyway, I have learnt a few things as follows:
1. Never ever take your kids to London Zoo. It's a wonderful place but it bloody well costs a fortune. It was over 45quid just to get in, £13 to park and £15 on petrol. That was before we'd even seen any animals. Of course I didn't take anything to eat except a bag of crisps for me so it was a further £6 on rubbish chips. Ooooo and London Zoo are very clever because they tempt children away from the animals with bouncy castles, slides and facepainting which of course parents have to pay for. Plus I would like to find the man who installed the toddler helicopter ride by the monkeys, he owes me £4 in 50ps.
2. Never ever take your kids to London Zoo unless you want to see more than you expected. And you have to answer questions about stuff like this:

3. Never ever take your kids to London Zoo and expect them to be grateful. We were there for five hours, they had sweets, they had ice cream and yet at the end of the day they said it was boring and please could we go to the park.
4. Never ever sit near the clearly marked toilet area in the Animals In Action display. Unless you want your Tweenager's coat to be permanently stained with parrot poo.
5. Do not be surprised when your daughter is mistaken three times for a boy. Especially when she has tucked all her hair into a flat cap and is wearing this stunning outfit:

Apparently the Zoo are planning a Tomboy Enclosure for 2012

Fortunately, I did learn something actually useful and that is Symbiosis. Which is the living together of different species. Like between the yucca plant and the yucca moth - the insect fertilizes the plant and the plant supplies food for the baby moths. Neither can live without the other and it is basically what goes on within my family between the adults and the children.
Symbiosis can be divided into three main categories which can be illustrated within the Smith Animal Kingdom. I tried to explain this to the Zoo Keeper heading up the talk, but she looked rather like she wanted to put me in a cage with the chimps.
PARASITISM is what goes on between The Husband and Me. The host (THE HUSBAND) is always being exploited in some way but so slowly that the host's health only deteriorates little by little, meaning that the parasite (ME) can exploit over a long period of time. The parasite only spends a portion of its life in the relationship, usually to reproduce.
MUTUALISM is when both parties benefit and that is between Me and The Toddler. I constantly use The Toddler as the reason why I am not getting off my backside doing anything worthwhile and he therefore gets to spend quality time with his mama. We are both very happy within our set up.
COMPETITION is where both are harmed which is pretty much what goes on between The Tweenager and The Tomboy. For example, when two trees grow closely together and compete for light above ground, each therefore gets less light so they don't perform as well as if they grew on their own. I don't really need to explain that any further.

Anyway at least that's my good parenting deed done until the summer holidays. I'm not looking forward to the next trip out but I can't wait to see what I'm likely to learn. In the meantime, I'll carry on living in the zoo in my own home.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Family Feng Shui

I want to move house. I am desperate to move house. This house is okay but it needs stuff doing to it and it is getting on my nerves and even if we sorted/tidied/decorated, it would still drive me mad. But there is another reason to my wanting to sell. I strongly feel that if we move house, it will improve our home karma. Our Family Feng-shui if you like. For example, things like this happen to me on a daily basis:
Do not ever let your dog play with a juggling ball.
You are likely to find out what it is made of.

Feng-shui is an ancient form of aesthetics. It is basically that if you put things in the right place then you will get positivity. Having dead flowers in a vase for two weeks is not very good feng-shui. Neither is a burnt pan that you are avoiding washing up.

Obviously, I am not very good at feng-shuing my house so the family energy is often a bit negative. You will never ever find me installing a flowing water feature in a bright, clutter free room. Or placing incense sticks strategically in south-east corners. Apparently, to bring harmony to my family I need some smiley pictures, crap free cupboards and a fountain. I have read that wood is very good for the family although I'm not sure dog-chewed bits of branches count. So, as I cannot be arsed with any of this, I want to move house.

The Husband, of course, is opposed to the idea. Probably because I have no money and he will have to pay for the move plus any increase in our mortgage. He wants to extend this house. But by doing any home improvements, I believe we are just extending our bad family feng shui. I think a new house, fresh start, will bring us harmony. The Husband says "That's a load of old cock" but I say "It will create a happy and beneficial energy" to which The Husband says "Try tiding up once in a while and put your energy to some good instead of Facebooking".

I do not think I will win this one. Even if I bring in an Oriental Master. The Husband controls the purse strings. I am thinking the Husband can feng-shui off.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Miniblog for Mother's Day

There came a point yesterday where I had to ask my mummy friends on Facebook to stop bragging about what a lovely Mother's Day they were having. You see after my coffee in bed (cold, brought by The Husband) and my toast (cold, ate by The Toddler), it wasn't really a day to remember. I reminded the kids that they had made me cards at school. The Tweenager's was the best, he had written a poem which included the lines:

I am quite often heard trumpeting around the village in a tutu

The Husband was in a wind-up mood. He thought he was being hilarious when, in fact, he was being a pain-in-the-ass. His contribution to Mother's Day was giving me some flowers from Asda (reduced now £1) and talking me through what I had contributed to our three children:
  1. THE TWEENAGER: Moaning, asking the same question over&over, impatience.
  2. THE TOMBOY: Hot headiness, shouting, weird dress sense.
  3. THE TODDLER: Neediness.
We had the usual bickering, wrestling, answering back, stroppiness, crying, foot stamping, sarcasm and parenting pearls of wisdom from me. Maybe Clintons should stock up on "Happy Same As Every Other Day" cards.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

This Much I Know

I am cross with The Observer magazine because I sent them the link to my blog "My (not very interesting) Week In Pictures" and they have totally blanked me. Okay, so that was probably always the outcome but I thought for a minute that they might actually contact me with a request to publish it. So as payback I am going to nick another idea of theirs - the feature entitled "This Much I Know".

"This Much I Know" is an article where fascinating people share their thoughts and experiences with the reader. For example, this week Tom Conti (Actor, 69) shared delights such as "My temper manifests itself when I can't find something". What he failed to mention is that he actually met me once when he came to teach a class at my drama group. It was super amusing because he chose me and the boyfriend I had literally just dumped to act out a love scene. It was riveting stuff - for the audience anyway. Here goes:


Claire Smith (Stay at home sucker, 41)

  • I have always known that I wanted three children. What I didn't know was that it would bring out emotions and behaviours in me that I didn't even know existed. I have never felt such anger, frustration, irritation, anxiety and, erm, love before I became a mother.

  • Not working is a disappointment. It's not all leisuretime and lunches. Staying at home is the stuff that mental disorders are made of. Child benefit is clearly not enough to finance my shopping needs.

  • The Husband is Keyser Soze. He is ruthless, manipulative and influential to the point that after he has given you 'The Talk', you are left feeling that you have been utterly Keyser Sozed. His harshness is legendary. He has no pity for your tears. And after you have had The Talk, this side of his personality goes so underground that you can't believe it was The Husband who was speaking to you. The greatest trick The Husband ever pulled was convincing the world that The Talk didn't exist.

  • I cannot take drink anymore. I am inebriated after two Gin & Tonics. But there is nothing better to sober me up than a child who is pissing about in bed and won't go to sleep.

  • Before I got The Dog I struggled to walk anywhere. I yearned for drive through everythings. The Dog has forced me to go walking everyday and, boy, it's good.

  • I don't believe in much. But I believe that the X Factor is a fix, that The Toddler may be a serial killer in the making, that The Tomboy came from a chicken egg and that I need to stop eating crap.

  • I know that most parenting gurus talk a load of rubbish. I've read them all yet I am yet to find one that tells me how to keep the kids educationally occupied while I text and Facebook.

  • I think arts & crafts were invented by Mr Dyson. What other reason do you have to hoover?

  • There is such a thing as the MEN-strual cycle. Don't tell me that I am moody and hormonal every 28 days or so. I have been plotting The Husband's cycle and have discovered that he has his own little man period going on every month.

  • My children are growing up (I think) to be strong individuals. But I could do with less attitude every day.

  • If you think your day is going well, just don't take the kids out for dinner. Nothing else will make your day go more horribly wrong.

Claire Smith stars in her own life until the 8th of Forever, see website for details.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Room 101

As soon as I realised that this is blog number 101, it made me think about Room 101 from the novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' by George Orwell. If you haven't read it, then basically Room 101 is a torture chamber in the fictitious Ministry Of Love (Newspeak: Miniluv), in which prisoners are subjected to their own worst nightmare, such as spiders or heights or Katie Price.
Room 101 has become a popular name for a place where unpleasant things are done. On Big Brother it was the room where housemates were sent to do nasty tasks, like sorting maggots. The TV show 'Room 101' sees celebrities list their pet peeves which are then sent to the condemned room.
Okay, so in the real life Ministry Of Mum (Newspeak: Minimum), Room 101 is a place where I am put daily to atone for bad parenting and thoughtcrimes against my offspring. It is my land of nightmares - where every fear and phobia I have ever had is presented to me. I am put here to be punished for mistakes I make because I am too lazy or too busy thinking about where my next coffee is coming from. My Room 101 is every tantrum, stress, negotiation and cleanup I have to endure whilst being a mother of three. My children are the modern day equivalent of '1984's' Thought Police, they know everything I think, dream, fear and use it against me. Here are a few examples:

1) I often leave The Toddler to play outside in the garden while I sit in the kitchen on Facebook. However I forgot that a ladder is leaning against the shed. Fast forward to Room 101 and me discovering that not only has The Toddler climbed the ladder, but he is sat precariously on top of the shed roof eating leaves.
2) My order from the Next catalogue comes to about 300quid but I figure that it's on account so it's free, right? I am plunged into Room 101 when my bill arrives and all I have is 15quid left from my child benefit.
3) The Tweenager decides that it's warm enough to wear shorts for school. The Tomboy, of course, wants everything that Big Brother has. So I am back again in Room 101 when The Tomboy realises that I have no shorts for her, only a summer dress from two years ago, and she throws the mother of all tantrums 30 seconds before we have to leave for school.
4) Room 101 is full of pooey nappies and dog poo in the garden.
5) The pond is lush and lovely, bursting with frog spawn. Room 101 presents itself again by leaving a dead frog at my back door.
6) I have had a rubbish day - the children have been demanding, The Dog has been hyperactive, the washing machine is broken - all I want to do is watch crap telly and go to bed. Out of Room 101 appears The Husband, full of frisky ideas and in search of the special love.

Yes indeed, the thing that is Room 101 is the very worst thing in the world. And no amount of retail therapy or Starbucks can save me from it. George Orwell is the most truthful parenting guru I have ever read.

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Supermoon And The Smiths

It might look like an innocent mega-moon but it's an evil genius in disguise

On March 19th, a full moon of rare size and beauty rose in the sky, the biggest in almost 20 years. This moon, bless it, has been getting the blame for certain occurrences around the world such as the Japanese earthquake and, erm, five ships getting stranded near the Isle Of Wight. It has amused me because journalists have had to use the terms 'perigee' and 'apogee' in sentences, when anybody with an interest in horoscopes knows these are totally made up words.

The supermoon got my children very excited when I explained to them what they were going to see. We all waited with great anticipation for it to go dark. However, as usual, the kids reactions weren't what I had expected. They were utterly disappointed that:

a) They couldn't jump over it (like cows, apparently).
b) It didn't make their hair stand on end with its super strong gravity.
c) They could look at it with their naked eye and not go blind. Plus 3d glasses were of no use.

I have been defending the supermoon. I have heard people blame it, hope their lives change because of it and suggest that it marks the End Of The World. I've been thinking that it's all a load of rubbish. The supermoon should be taken for exactly what it is - lovely but forgettable - pretty much like a one night stand. Neither the supermoon or the human race should have any expectation or intention that the relationship will be extended beyond the sole encounter.

However, since this morning my opinion has changed. My one night stand with the supermoon is in question and I am in celestial turbulence. What I thought was a casual engagement may actually be the start of something more serious. I've realised that the supermoon has coincided with a series of events, prompting me to acknowledge that rather than simply controlling the tides, the moon is, in fact, responsible for happenings in my household. To illustrate:

A) The Toddler has learnt how to open the freezer. Which normally wouldn't bother me except he has become obsessed with the frozen peas. On Sunday, he managed to rip the packet open and spill peas all over the floor. This is the result:

The moon is not made of cheese, it's made of PEAS

B) The moon controls my bank balance. Its gravitational pull has sucked all the money out of my account. I have managed to spend over a hundred quid since Saturday and I've not even been anywhere. Although I did overspend a bit on
C) The Dog, who has not chewed anything for a while except sticks, decided to have a go with my bag. It's GUCCI for Christ's sake, and I bought it in Monte Carlo. It makes me feel like I too can have star potential.

The rip, with its 'tail' looks slightly like a shooting star if you squint a bit

D) The moon takes just over 27 days to complete its orbit around earth. And it's normally every 27 days that The Husband questions what I do all day. But since the supermoon, The Husband has had not one, but two Talks with me about what the heck am I doing on a daily basis. The Husband has clearly been showing his dark side. His behaviour causes my mood to wax and wane.
E) The moon is the only celestial body on which humans have landed. There are many conspiracy theories surrounding the lunar landing and there are many theories as to whether The Tomboy is really a girl or a boy. The Tomboy being female could be a very good hoax. (Okay, so I'm reaching for the stars a bit with that one...).
Well this might seem like far-fetched astrology to you, but to me it's pure science. It goes against everything I believed in before, yet my findings are based on fact not fiction.
And, if you're still not convinced, remember I am much more likely to tell you the truth than NASA.
(Fab moon photo taken by David Turner)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Chinese Water Torture And Reading Aloud

Chinese Water Torture is the popular name for a specific type of torture in which water is slowly dripped onto a person's forehead, driving the restrained victim insane. I imagine it was very effective although the Chinese have clearly never read aloud to my children.
You may not believe this because of the stuff I waffle on about, but I have a degree in English Literature. I am obsessed with books. So one of my top parenting objectives has always been to introduce my children to the wonderful world of literature and where better to start than the land of children's books. And because they are getting older, we have progressed onto reading chapter books at bedtime whilst The Toddler has his milk.
I am loving it because there is no more reading the same picture book with five words again and again until I fall asleep and the children are still bouncing off the walls. Plus I am really good at doing all the voices - especially American and the Villain.
At the moment we are reading 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' which is fantastic because I am a massive Roald Dahl fan. However I am starting to wonder if this is the right thing to do - just because I am loving Mr Dahl it doesn't mean that my children are going to. After starting Chapter 15 tonight, I want to share with you my experience of bedtime reading aloud to my children. It goes something like this:

Chapter 15 - The Chocolate Room.
"An Important Room, This!" cried Mr Wonka, taking a bunch of keys from his pocket and slipping one in the keyhole of the door.

"This is the nerve center of the whole factory, the heart of the whole business! And so beautiful! I insist upon my rooms being beautiful! I can't abide ugliness in factories! In we go then! But do be careful, my dear children! Don't lose your heads! Don't get overexcited! Keep very calm!"
Mr Wonka opened the door. Five children and nine grownups pushed their ways in - and oh, what an amazing sight it was that now met their eyes!
They were looking down upon a lovely valley. There were green meadows on either side of the valley, and along the bottom of it there flowed a great brown river.
What is more, there was a tremendous waterfall halfway along the river - a steep cliff over which the water curled and rolled in a solid sheet, and then went crashing down into a boiling churning whirlpool of froth and spray.
At this point I have to restrain my own arms from stabbing myself in the eye repeatedly with a bookmark. I am willing to tell all my secrets to my tormentors. Chinese Water Torture seems like a much more relaxing way to pass the time.

Friday, 11 March 2011

My (not very interesting) Week In Pictures

There is an article in The Observer Magazine entitled "My Week In Pictures" which is basically a photo journal with commentary shared by interesting/famous people like Edith Bowman, radio DJ and James Blunt, singer songwriter. It has caught my attention because I think it exists solely to make my life feel smaller and less interesting than it already is. So this is what I am going to do. I have been taking pics throughout the past week and I am going to emulate "My Week In Pictures" as follows, just to show that I too can be cultured, influential and worldly.

Claire Smith, Stay At Home Mum & Blogger

The Tweenager decided to watch a movie, this was his way of looking through and seeing what we have on DVD.

My latest crush. Seriously. Yes it's Rich from Imagination Movers.
I aspire to shag blokes from kids TV programmes. This is how high I set my sights these days.

I lost my tweezers and there is only one place to go when things go missing - The Tomboy's room. This is what else I found under her pillow, in her duvet and stuffed in socks.

I thought it might be fun for the kids to give me a list of what's good about mummy and what's bad about mummy. This is all they could come up with.

The Toddler's favourite pastime this week has been climbing up on the worktops and sitting on the breadbin. Beats taking him to a Toddler Group.

This week I have been mostly eating a combination of these fine foods. They make up my five a day.

I found this book in an old suitcase. It was given to me on my graduation. Funny though, Dr Seuss seems to have omitted the page which says "You will stay home and do nothing all day, you'll look after a Toddler and wish you could run away. Your brain will be dead, your conversation a bore, some days you will want to punch through a door".

I'm considering submitting it to The Observer. There must be somebody there who can relate to me. Then again, maybe not.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The United Nations, Obama And Me

There is a situation in Libya at the moment which I don't really know much about. I'm more into watching the news on MTV.
However since I wrote my last blog about The Husband's intentions during The Telling Off being classified information, I have been giving Libya some thought. After consideration, I'd like to draw an analogy with the Libyan situation, the United Nations and me.
At the moment, the Americans and the British want to impose sanctions against Gaddafi but the general feeling is that it should come from the United Nations and not from Obama. The analogy is that The Husband is Obama, I am Gaddafi and my friends are the United Nations. It works this way - when The Husband is in Telling Off Mode and wants to impose sanctions on me, he attempts to rally my friends into backing him up so they are a united community against me. He wants them to put pressure on me so that I will bow to him and stop my atrocities.
Of course what happens is that he can't really impose sanctions until he has got all members of my United Nations on his side. But there are Claire Smith supporters, in the same way there are Gaddafi supporters, and there is not a no fly zone on me.
For example, my friend who I will refer to as the equivalent of Kofi Annan, is a sometime supporter of The Husband however she has a situation going on in her own small country regarding dog poo in the garden. Where she agrees with me in some respects, she cannot condone my other atrocious behaviours. (Although I've seen her spend much of the United Nations money in Next). My friend has pointed out that Gaddafi, when interviewed and challenged, denies everything. Which is exactly what I do when confronted by The Husband. Like Gaddafi, I live in a delusional world where I have no protesters or uprising.
I'm hoping, as I'm sure that Gaddafi is, that enough support won't be generated and I can carry on running my regime.

Note: Assistant Political Correspondent on this article was Mrs C Morgan.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ministry Of Mum at DEFCON One

There is something which exists alongside The Talk and it is called The Telling Off. It doesn't happen as often as The Talk but it is a much more powerful force.
The United States Armed Forces use a warning system called DEFCON for states of alert. It is controlled by The President, but in our house it is controlled by The Husband. DEFCON 5 is the least severe and DEFCON 1 is the most severe. I'll explain:

DEFCON 5: Dog poo has been found in the garden.
DEFCON 4: The Toddler has been allowed to eat his dinner while riding his bike.
DEFCON 3: The Tweenager has spent eight hours on the computer.
DEFCON 2: "Get a job? How is that even possible?".
DEFCON 1: I have managed to spend £500 in two weeks on absolutely nothing.

It usually takes about fifteen minutes to get from 5 to 1 by which time I have no idea what has just happened except I have been given a serious ticking off. The Husband's intentions remain classified.

I've been thinking about this because for the past week or so The Husband has been cross - really cross. I know he is having a hard time at work (well, I think he is having a hard time at work, I haven't asked and even if I did ask I wouldn't stick around to wait for the answer). His work stress is becoming all mixed up with home stress. He has had to fire someone which I don't think he minds because it makes him feel important, but he really wishes he could fire me. For gross misconduct probably.
He says I am "treading water". I say "I have no idea what that means, darling". He wants me to come up with A Long Term Plan of where I am heading, which DOES NOT include Starbucks.
The Telling Off is horrible because at least with The Talk he is very gentle in his approach. The Telling Off is downright abusive and I am not allowed to argue. The Husband has a scary face and can twist&turn words in a way that I end up tongue tied, apologising to him for being a Bad Girl.
The Telling Off exists only to make me feel really really rubbish about myself and that I am wasting my life. Which I am, but The Husband isn't supposed to comment on that.
I write this as a Cry For Help because I know The Telling Off is due very very soon. There are poos in the garden, shepherds pie on the carpet and I seem to be mysteriously 300quid down. Ministry Of Mum is at DEFCON 1 - war is imminent.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

The Husband often talks about how the kids have inherited both the very best of us and the very worst of us. Obviously the worst being mainly from him, but I like to play along by suggesting that The Tweenager gets his stubbornness from me and, erm, perhaps The Toddler's self-centredness might be a teenie bit me too.

But I have to admit that The Tomboy's not so favourable characteristic seems to be definitely me, without a doubt. You see when I was little I had a short stint in hospital because I kept wetting myself. I was five. This was much to the horror of my mother (whose pride probably ended there) although still to this day she reckons I was potty trained at six months.
Anyway, The Tomboy will not ever never go for a wee. In the way that a camel can store water, The Tomboy can store wee for days and days. Just in case she is stranded in a desert and needs an emergency drink perhaps. Apparently the kidneys of the camel are very efficient at retaining water too and urine comes out gloopy. Which is interesting because when The Tomboy does eventually do a wee, it resembles a thick syrup.

In the morning when everybody in the world heads immediately for the toilet, The Tomboy insists that she does not need a wee. This enrages The Husband, not because she doesn't do anything, but because I ask and ask and ask "Has she done a wee yet? Has she done a wee?"
Normal practice is for me to drop her at school without so much as a tiny tinkle.
When I pick her up at 3.15pm, The Tomboy is always looking rather peaky but strangely seems to be quite vigorous in her movements. I say "Did you do a wee today? Do you need a wee?" and she always shakes her head.
At home, the dancing continues and she often sits funny on a chair. Anyone can tell that she is just bursting for a wee and yet she makes no move towards the bathroom.
At about 4.30pm, usually when I want her to switch off the telly and do a bit of homework, she will shriek "I need a wee!!! I need a wee!!!" at which point she dashes to the loo as if her life depends on it. And it probably does.

I have talked and questioned and even threatened The Tomboy. I have told her that if she doesn't do a wee then she will have to go to hospital like mummy did. I have explained that if she holds it in then her tummy will likely explode. None of this is making any difference.

I don't think she is ill. I think it is pretty much the same reason why I ended up in hospital for bladder checks at age five. The hospital were very quick to discover that my wetting was down to the fact that I just couldn't be bothered to go for a wee. The Husband reckons my laziness obviously started then from childhood and unfortunately The Tomboy is heading the same way. And that's certainly not in the direction of the toilet.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Talk

The Husband has introduced something more scarier than the special love. It is worthy of a Stephen King type title so I have called it The Talk. It is when he catches me unawares and starts quizzing me about what I am doing in life, when am I getting a job and what the hell am I spending his money on.

The Husband is not interested in excuses. He says he deals in fact not fiction. He does not see that it is hard enough just being me. He cares not for my blog. The Husband can sometimes be a w**ker.

The Talk always comes when I least expect it. Like when I am just about to dry my hair or put a coffee on. And most often when I am sending a text. The Talk always starts the same way. The Husband's tone is softly softly as he says "So have you been thinking about getting a job?". At which point I feel a shiver pass over me and realise there is no way to escape, and believe me, I have tried. Even the special love does not trump The Talk.

Oh The Husband is good, he is very good. He should have been a lawyer in the OJ Simpson case. He can find faults and loopholes in every sentence I say. So much so that the kids are even thinking that I should go back to work. And damn that survey in America that said your children are not effected by a mother who works.

The Talk almost always ends in tears as I have been questioned and argued with and cross-examined within an inch of my life. My tears are tears of gratitude that it is over. I am a victim of The Talk Syndrome, which resembles Stockholm Syndrome in that I am in love with my Captor and express positive feelings towards him that are so crazy in light of the trauma he has put me through. When he is not giving me The Talk, I mistake his lack of pressure as an act of kindness.

Unfortunately The Talk is here to stay. Until I sort my life out or get divorced. In the meantime, does anyone know of a support group for victims of The Talk?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

When Parental Controls Are Needed

I have been loving The Tweenager lately. For about a week he has been my favourite. Which doesn't happen very often. No I haven't had a lobotomy, we have just been bonding for once. It's totally to do with the fact that his gangsta attitude is laying dormant and he has been sweet & funny & cuddly. He has let me kiss him, count his freckles and hold his hand. And I've been loving it and savouring it because he is nearly 8 so it's probably the last time that I will ever have this time with him.

His change in behaviour is all down to a game on my laptop called Bin Weevils. Bin Weevils is a kids online virtual game where you can create your own virtual pet, play games and chat to friends. Now I know I am pretty much anti computer games but this is, at least, semi educational and it gives me two hours a day peace. Plus if The Tweenager gets his daily fix, he rewards me with love. I even earned extra Tweenager points by buying him a card in Sainsburys which lets him get into extra rooms. It was a fiver but it's cheaper than the thousands it will cost me in future therapy otherwise.

So it's all been going swimmingly - that is, until today. The Tweenager counts the seconds until 9.30am when he is allowed on Bin Weevils for an hour. However this morning he was unable to log on. His account, we've been informed, has been permanently blocked due to bad behaviour. Neither of us could understand this. It's not like he's been playing Call Of Duty. I said to him what could this mean to which he shrugged his shoulders. There then unravelled a series of revelations that's worthy of a Miss Marple episode.
9.30am: The Tweenager denies all knowledge
9.37am: The Tweenager tells me that he can type in words so the Bin Weevil grows a speech bubble and appears to speak these words
9.46am: The Tweenager mentions that his friend may have suggested they type in something not appropriate
9.53am: The Tweenager admits that his friend told him a few naughty words
10.01am: The Tweenager reveals that his friend told him some swear words and The Tweenager typed these words in for his Bin Weevil to speak.

I'm unsure what to do as I've already written a cross email to Mr Bin Weevil complaining that my son's account has been blocked and I look like an idiot now. Plus I'm going to have to exercise some kind of punishment by banning all computer access for the next 24hours. Which means I don't get to watch crap telly while he plays games. And I can't get hold of The Husband to transfer the role of Disciplining Parent onto him.

It appears The Tweenager's gangsta attitude hasn't been dormant after all.
It maybe hasn't been directed at me, but it's certainly been appearing online.