Thursday 15 November 2012

Everyone's Okay by Carly Kimmel (Guest Blog)

This weekend after a particularly harrowing morning that included, amongst other disasters, my two-year-old "playfully" biting me so that I was compelled to drop him, which then led to him rolling into a table and cutting his eye, I decided I needed a self-imposed time-out.

"I'm going to get a coffee." I told my husband.

I didn’t have to say anything else. The coffee shop is nothing if not a sacred space where I go to check emails and stare blankly at white walls while sipping copious amounts of caffeine and trying to forget the horrors of my current day to day. My husband knows I only go when I desperately need to (at least once a day).

On the walk there, I dialed up my mother, returning a call that I had been putting off all morning. As the phone rang, I promised myself I would not report how chaotic things had been, but instead, channel an inner calm that is, at most times, all too foreign to me, and try to manifest that calmness into reality. Everything is great I would tell her. We're just enjoying a quiet weekend at home.

“Wesley split his eye open.”

The words were out of my mouth before she’d finished saying hello.

I heard her sigh on the other end of the line. “Again?” she asked.

I nodded, knowing she couldn’t see me, and gnawed on one of my fingernails.

“How’s Bea?” she asked.

My eight-month-old daughter is getting over pneumonia and requires breathing treatments 3x a day.

“Just fine,” I said. “Recovering, I think.”

I didn’t mention the explosive diarrhea that is an unfortunate side effect of the antibiotics she is taking or the hours of crying that I assume is a result of the double ear infection. Just fine. Everything is fine. Quiet weekend.

“Where are you?” she asked. “On your way to the coffee shop?”

And just like that, I was called out—right in the middle of my escape attempt.

“I just needed a quick break,” I said.

“You better get home,” she continued, “or something terrible is going to happen.”

Let me stop for a minute and fill you in on the fact that my mother is a notorious alarmist, and because she is the one that raised me, I tend to be a bit of the same. A couple of weeks ago a news story came out about a nanny in New York who had some sort of mental collapse and killed the children she was taking care of. It was one of those horrific nightmare stories that make you physically ill and then stays with you long after the media has moved on. I’d read something about it on facebook and promptly turned my computer off. I have enough anxiety as it is. My mother, however, called to tell me all about it as soon as she had heard.

“DO NOT leave the house while your sitter is there,” she said. “You can’t trust anyone else to watch your children!”

When I told her I didn’t want to hear the gory details, she cut me off with a lengthy description of the neighbor’s report that the mother’s screams could be heard throughout the building.

“Your children are only safe when your eyes are on them.”

And the thing is, she’s right (in my case, they are safer when my eyes are on them, whether they are ever really safe is up for debate, but I don’t want to get hung up on semantics). It’s just a matter of what level of risk I’m willing to take for a much needed breather. How terrible is terrible? What’s the worst that could happen while my husband is watching them and I’m staring at walls for an hour?

“I don’t care how hard it is,” my mother was saying, “they are at an age where you simply cannot check out.”

By this point, I had arrived at the coffee shop, ordered my latte to go, and was mournfully making my way back home. When I heard the screaming, I was still a couple of houses away. The voice was loud and easily identifiable.

“What did you do?” My husband was shrieking. “How much did you drink?”

Even before I made it into our kitchen, I knew what was happening. My son, the afore mentioned two-year-old who had earlier cut his eye on the coffee table, was standing there in his diaper, hysterically crying. My husband was shaking an almost empty bottle of Children’s Advil at him. Bea was sitting on the floor in the kitchen, watching, wide-eyed.

“It was for my booboo,” Wesley screamed. “Medicine for my eye!”

He pointed to his cut and grimaced, illustrating his point.

“We need to take him to the hospital,” I said, trying to stay calm.

“No!” Wesley screamed. “No hospital!”

We called Poison Control, and a very lovely lady there informed me that he could have finished the entire bottle and the worst that might happen would likely be a tummy ache. I guess the concentration is low for just this reason.

“He’s going to be okay,” she said, “at least for today.”

I laughed. For today. The truth is, I was too upset to cry.

Wes had used his potty stool to climb up on the counter and into the box of meds I had left out earlier in the day. He popped the cap off the bottle because I hadn’t screwed it on tightly enough the last time I’d given him some. So yes, essentially, this whole disaster was my fault.

And yet again, my alarmist mother was right. You don’t get breaks when you’re a mom, because, let’s face it, no matter how hard you try to do everything right, something terrible is always about to happen—whether it’s your fault or someone else’s, being a parent is living from one crisis to the next and every day you get to go to bed with all family members intact—or at least mostly intact—well it’s both a miracle and a victory.

Recently, I read an article that admonished parents to let their children fail. The author maintained that while watching said failures might be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, it will also be the most valuable lesson you can give them—learning how to fail with grace. And even though I’m thirty-five years old, and already a parent myself, failing with grace is something I’m still trying to master. Thankfully, these days, I get plenty of practice, and so far—or at least for today—everyone’s okay.

CARLY KIMMEL is the managing editor at
She holds an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside and a BA in English from UC Santa Cruz. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her much funnier husband, Jonathan and their two small children, Wesley and Beatrix. You can find her on Twitter @carlykimmel

Wednesday 31 October 2012

I'm Still Here!

I am here, but have been busy watching TV and writing a weekly column for the local paper innit. You can see it via the link above and can probably go to the past few weeks as well.
I still love you. I'll be back as soon as I can get off this sofa.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Top Ten Names For Girl's And Boy's Bits 2012

The other day we were at the park and our dog was rolling on her back having her tummy tickled by a load of kids. A few of the girls started pointing and asking "What's that?" at her lady-bits. My mate and I were like "Oh it's just her frou-frou" and carried on eating the kids crisps.
On the way home my 9 year old son told me that he'd been embarrassed about me calling it a Frou-Frou because didn't I know that it's called a Minnie and nobody else in the entire world has ever or will ever call it a Frou-Frou.
Which got me thinking.
No parenting manual I've ever seen has a chapter on what to call Boy's and Girl's bits to your children. It's one of those things that you don't really think about until your baby is born and then there's a moment and then you just decide. Or maybe you don't even think about it. Or maybe you have a huge discussion about it. The thing is, it's one of those parenting things that you just have to decide yourselves and I guess there is no right or wrong. Some families like to use the proper, 'grown-up', anatomically correct words and others like to use 'baby' words. Some families feel relaxed about it while others have a right dilemma. It's personal to each family.

You know there are baby name books and each year a published list of the Top Ten Names For Girls and Boys? Well I'm going to help you out even further and give you a list of names for Penis and Vagina, because, you know, it's as important as the name as the child themselves - it's used probably just as often in the early years innit. I've done, errrr, extensive research on Twitter to get these lists:

1. Minnie
2. Tuppence
3. Twinkle
4. Foof
5. Front bottom
6. Button
7. Vagina
8. B'jingo
9. Punani
10. Flower

1. Willy
2. Pee-Pee
3. Tinkle
4. Winky
5. Bits
6. Daddy button
7. Tweaky
8. Penis
9. Diddler
10. Junk

The least popular were "Black Forest" for girls and "Snake" for boys.

You're welcome.

Thursday 30 August 2012

How Much Fun Does A Kid Possibly Need?

I was flicking through my diary earlier today and realised that for the past six weeks we've been pretty busy. My kids, in fact, have had an awesome time and, even though I'll never admit it, it's not been too bad for me either. But in my children's minds what they think we've done compared to the reality of what we've actually done is completely different. I'll give you an example:

1. Been to the Olympics, in the actual Olympic stadium and even seen Team GB compete.
2. Holidayed in Norfolk. Twice. And spent a weekend in London.
3. Walked in woods, paddled in streams, had picnics, played with friends.
4. Lollies x 1000.

1. Not been out.
2. Nothing.
3. Feck all.
4. Not enough lollies.

In fact at one point after spending the day at Kew Gardens having fantastic fun they deemed it "the worst summer holiday ever" because I wouldn't go on a boat. Today after going to the cinema and stuffing ourselves silly on popcorn my daughter complained that "We've only been out once today." Last week they said they were "bored" - it was 7.53am.

I was discussing this with a friend earlier who has a similar experience and it dawned on me that it's entirely my fault. My children's expectations are HUGE and INSATIABLE basically because I have set the bar too high. And it's a bar that doesn't even serve gin for me.

The thing is, we don't own an X-box, Playstation, Wii and we have a dog that needs walking. So we have to go out every day. Which is a great excuse because if we stay home the kids invariably start to kill each other and there's only so many times I can lock myself in the downstairs loo pretending to be doing a poo. We, as a family, suffer badly from Cabin Fever so between the hours of 7am and 7pm we have to go out. A lot. And this going out is made even easier by doing stuff that I know the kids will enjoy and even better if I have a mate with kids to talk to.

Even more, I like to give the kids experiences. I want them to go to different places and enjoy doing various things. It's the one parenting thing I'm good at and damn it I'm going to exploit that because everything else I do is pretty shit. But there in lies the problem. THEY GET TOO MUCH.

I'll admit it - THEY ARE SPOILT. Not in a get-everything-they-want way. The only electronic stuff they have is a shared iPad and we don't actually have many toys. They are spoilt with FUN. Which would be fine if they appreciated it, but they don't and yet I keep on giving. I can't help it. I want these years to be enriched and I worry about being The Grinch Who Stole Childhood. I can't even count the amount of times I've threatened to give them a day of nothing but I won't carry it through because a day of nothing would mean me moving gin o'clock to 8am.

I've spent years of child benefit in these six weeks. I'll have to hide the credit card statement. But at least it's money spent on them for once - there are no new clothes hiding in my wardrobe. The entire school holiday has been done in last summer's frocks. So surely I should be the one complaining?

Let me have your thoughts. Don't bother commenting to tell me they're spoilt feckers because I know that. Also don't comment on my last season's clothes. Actually don't send comments. Send money please. And gin. And new appreciative, grateful children.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Dear Judgey McJudgeypants

Okay. I want to set a few things straight. I adore my children. Except the thing is, I don't always adore motherhood. There I've said it. I've got a mind that goes crazy and a need to do stuff other than take care of my kids 24/7. Some people don't like this. In fact they dislike it so much that they feel the need to tell me. They are so compelled to say it that it comes out as things like "People like you shouldn't have children." Which is okay because they're allowed to have an opinion but what I don't get is why they voice it - clearly when they know nothing about me or my life or how happy my family unit is or how sometimes I want to bang my head against this table.

These mothers are usually not my type. They're not my cup of tea but that's fine - each to their own innit. What works for them probably wouldn't work for me and vice versa but I don't criticise them, I don't tell them and I certainly don't feel the need to judge them without knowing anything about their lives. If their way of parenting works for them and the kids are healthy, safe and happy then that's brilliant. I'm certainly not going to tell them that I don't agree. In fact it's not that I don't even disagree, it just goes in one ear and out the other. Aren't we all in this together?

Somebody showed concerned that my children would one day read my tweets and blog. I've given this some thought and, you know what, I hope they do. I hope that I can disclose it all to them one day and we can have a right old laugh. Even more, I hope that they turn into adults who understand sarcasm, a sense of humour and tongue in cheek. In fact the best thing ever would be if it prepares them for having a family, gives them support and a few laughs during parenthood. Crikey, if me a few years ago could have read tweets and a blog like mine I would have found so much comfort in them. It took me ages to find friends who felt like I did and finding them was like finding the Holy Fecking Grail because it was such relief that I was, in fact, doing okay.

My stuff has also been called "Anti-Kids". Which, yeah, maybe to some it can come across as that. But I would love those people to spend a day in the company of me and my family. I find having children wonderful, challenging, frustrating, fun, infuriating, hilarious - and the rest. I can't stop being me just because I've got children. If I didn't have all these feelings then I wouldn't be me and my worst fear is to turn into 'just a mummy' because, really, I'm craving my own identity too.

I have never understood why parents judge each other. I'm not guilt free, of course I've judged but these days I'm really trying not to. Nine years as a mother has taught me that everybody has their own stuff going on and we're just mainly trying to do our best. My best is to love my children while still being myself. And I really hope my children do this when they become parents.

Yes some days I find difficult. I can't control my children's behaviour sometimes. They are so spirited which is the best way to be, but also the worst way to be - especially if you're their mother. They can be so funny, inspiring and gorgeous to be around, but they can also be revolting. Sometimes I don't know what the feck I'm doing or how to deal with a situation but does anybody, really? But I'm trying. I'm really fecking trying. Often the trying works, occasionally it fails.

After all ... I'm just a mum, standing in front of her kids, asking that we love each other.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Choose Your Battles Wisely

Parenting is a constant head fuck of what to do, what not to do, why should I do that and why did I get myself into this position in the first place. It is also a massive learning curve. One of the main lessons for me over the years is that, as a mum, I have to choose my battles wisely. Constantly fighting with three strong-willed kids would make everybody miserable and, hey, I've got to let them think they're getting their own way sometimes. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer innit.

Earlier today my toddler was in the car with his friend who decided to play with a little union jack flag that was left on the seat. Bearing in mind that I strapped both kids in and spotted the flag, it was totally my fault because it crossed my mind that it would cause trouble but I was too busy trying to get them into the car in less than 24 hours. Of course the minute my toddler clocked his mate with the flag, he went mental. Which didn't help as I was driving up the A1. (Directions to the play area - up the motorway until you feel like slitting your wrists). I should have battled this out with my toddler, because it's sharing MEH, but I didn't - I got his mate to give him a turn and left it at that until we reached our Final Destination. I didn't battle it because I was driving, and also because I just couldn't be arsed. Like I said - choose your battles wisely.

Battling is most definitely a non-consistent thing for me. It totally depends on what mood I'm in as to what arguments I can be bothered with. Yesterday, because I was knackered and wanted to watch the Olympics, I let my kids have their dinner in the front room and trash a toilet roll. I also let my toddler have Jelly Tots for dinner. But had I been in the mood for it, I would have fought until I won, regardless of blood shed.

So here's a little list of Battles With Kids and whether I think you should fight or not fight:
1. Wellies on a summer day - DON'T FIGHT. You'll end up even more hot & bothered.
2. Cleaning teeth - FIGHT. Although I would liked to have seen Napoleon win this one.
3. Eating sweets two seconds before dinner - FIGHT. But DON'T FIGHT if you're slaving over a hot oven and it's all likely to go tits up if you stray.
4. Killing each other in public - FIGHT. Especially if there are Mrs Judgey McJudgeson Mums around. This one is a pain especially if you're at a park and you just want to talk to your mate.
5. Anything for their safety - FIGHT. Like seatbelts, buggy straps, riding bikes on the road. This is shite because you have to do it but it's a really hard battle. Telling kids that something is for their own safety is like telling a vegetarian to eat meat.

What I have found to help is full battle armour, especially for the tough fights. Protection pads and helmets will also do. But failing that, just give the hell in and let Daddy deal. Which I'm a Sergeant Major at, innit.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Whatever Works Parenting

Recently the cover of Time Magazine featured a mother breastfeeding her almost-four-year-old son. The headline screamed “Are You Mom Enough?” and was the introduction to an article about Attachment Parenting. Yeah okay, the cover was controversial, but what annoys me most are all these new parenting methods which put extra pressure on mothers who don’t have a damn clue what they're doing (that’ll be ME). Do I go for Assertive-Democratic Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Permissive Parenting or Authoritarian Parenting? It’s hard enough just keeping my kids alive, never mind sticking to a certain parenting style. But I’m not one to judge. If breastfeeding a three year old works for that mum then that’s fine by me.

So I’ve been thinking about what does work for me and I’ve come up with a new philosophy. It’s called Whatever Works Parenting and, believe me, it gets me through the day a damn sight easier than hovering around a child who is allowed to do what they want just because the technique dictates that. I binned those parenting manuals years ago; they bring nothing but pain.

After I had my third child, my Aunt said to me “Don’t feel bad if they watch TV for hours, because if it gets you through the day then so be it” and, boy, was that the best advice ever. When you’ve got a toddler to entertain, a crying baby and a moody tweenager, I tell ya, no parenting guru is knocking on the door willing to lend a hand. There is no such thing as a text book child no matter what the experts say and, believe me, I’ve tried following them and it’s pure torture.

Here is the outline for Whatever Works Parenting:

1. Your sleep is important.
When you’re a parent, tiredness becomes the new legless. Sleep is a class A drug. Do whatever you have to do to get some and make sure you score well. It’s likely that you’ll wake up in a different bed to the one you went to sleep in or you’ll end up all in the same bed but so what. If it means you get that precious eight hours then so be it.

2. Go Ostrich.
Do like the Ostrich and bury your head in the sand, especially if your kids are running riot. If they’re not annoying anyone, there’s no bloodbath or eminent trips to A&E then let them get on with it.

3. Sod the potty training.
There is always the mother who declares her child is potty trained at 18 months. Before you ditch the nappies and spend your days clearing up ‘little accidents’, remember that nobody was still in nappies at 18 years because their mother didn’t do it early enough.

4. Don’t give constant attention.
Because your child will expect this forever. Your baby does not need to be sung to 24/7 and there’s nothing more annoying than a mother’s voice singing nursery rhymes.

5. Relax the rules.
Every child and every day is different. Just because the naughty step worked for one, it probably won’t work on another. Consistency isn’t always key because things (and children) change. Although saying that, empty threats such as Santa Claus on speed-dial always get results.

The key to Whatever Works Parenting not only is sod everyone else and do whatever works for you, but also SURVIVAL. Lying in bed with toddler then creeping out once he’s asleep, not sticking to a routine, giving biscuits for breakfast and ignoring the “shoulds” never harmed anyone. None of these new-fangled techniques used to exist and, well, we've all turned out okay ish errrr haven't we???

Tuesday 24 July 2012

The Church Of Ministry Of Mum

Since reading so much in the press recently about Scientology, I'm thinking about getting in on a piece of the action myself. My summer wardrobe is looking a bit sparse and is so last season that what better way to fund my shopping than setting up a cult. Yes, I chose to have children but I never chose to have them unfashionably. So I'm wondering about turning Ministry Of Mum into a cult because I need to make some money.

I was having a little moan about my husband last week to a friend and he said "Mmm you're okay living off him though, aren't you?" and I was shocked. Shocked because it's true and shocked because I realised that not having my own money is CRAP. Occasionally my husband will ask me where the money has gone and I rarely have any answers even though I know this question is due. He thinks I spend it on clothes and accessories although I insist that a) I've had this frock for ages and b) It was in the sale, only a fiver, would ya believe it.

I am desperate for some cash of my own although I don't particularly want a job. So I've been thinking that by expanding my blog into a cult - The Church Of Ministry Of Mum - I can get me some dosh. I am happy to be the authoritarian, charismatic leader as long as you guys, as faithful followers, pay me. It's worked for L. Ron Hubbard so why can't it work for me too.

So here is the outline for The Church Of Ministry Of Mum:
Meetings round my house, no kids allowed.
Gin & Tonics provided, with nibbles.
Moaning encouraged.
Be honest about your parenting.
Never judge, especially when someone makes a parenting confession.
Respect each other and understand that we once had a life.
Share excuses on how to get out of The Special Love.
Promise we won't harm anyone, husbands being the exception of course.
Never ever have a Silent Birth and actually never be silent.
Make sure we snog the face off any celebrity dads who join (preferably Tom Cruise).
A small subscription fee will be charged, as long as it funds my frocks.

Are you brainwashed yet? Hope so. I've got my eye on a nice green maxi dress.

Monday 16 July 2012

The Kind Of Parents We Are

I'm really lucky that lots of people identify with this blog. But I'm even luckier that they admit to it. Often I get comments from relieved parents who are usually being very hard on themselves, think they're rubbish and, well, feel a bit alone. Especially when there are Supermummys everywhere who make us feel crap. Yeah here's looking at you, Gwynnie.
So I've done a little survey and I'm hoping that these admissions strike a chord - especially with the mummies out there who are having a bad day. And hopefully make you feel a bit better because YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

These are the answers I got to my question: "What kind of a parent are you?":

1. Drunk, impatient and I also spoil them.
2. Make it up as I go along.
3. Exhausted and short-tempered.
4. Tired, frustrated, proud and hope to hell I can pay for their therapy to correct what I get wrong.
5. Learning as I go along, making lots of mistakes, but sometimes strike lucky and get it right.
6. Not just here all week but here for the rest of my miserable downtrodden days.
7. The kind of parent for whom choosing which to save in a fall between the iPad and the child is like Sophie's choice.
8. An exhausted one who uses Cbeebies to fill the last hour of the day.
9. Easily irritated and prone to bribery.
10. I'm the kind of parent who dettol wipes a highchair in a cafe but brushes mouldy food off the one at home.
11. An exhausted one who feels guilty over working full time and not always being able to leave it at the door when I get home.
12. Always there. But not always there.
13. A guilty one.
14. I throw out their stuff then lie about where it is.
15. Disorganised and impatient.
16. Shite, most days, well that's how I feel.
17. The kind who ends a temper tantrum by stuffing child with Cheerios.
18. One that hangs in there, dragged along on the coattails of growth spurts, tantrums and giggles.
19. An okay, let's hope this works type of parent.
20. A busy one with a mixture of fairness, grumpiness, kindness and fun.
21. A mostly horizontal one.
22. A lazy, skint motivator.
23. An anything for a quiet life one.
24. I'm an irresponsible one with a pinch of clueless.
25. Still in training after 27 years.
26. I'm the parent who eats chocolate cake with her kid for breakfast, hates the playground and dances the stress away at night.
27. Rubbish first time round.
28. Tired, drunk, fed-up, proud, happy or working.
29. A haphazard, stresshead, lazy, inconsistent and tired one.
30. Right now, I'm the type of parent who's supervising her kids bathtime with a glass of wine in her hand.

Please feel free to add to this list! x

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Getting My Own Back

Last night I cooked spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. The kids always eat it up and therefore I feel like I've at least fed them something apart from McDonalds. I cooked the same spaghetti with the same sauce and the same ingredients that I've been doing for the past hundred years. This was their reaction:
"It's dis-ggggusting!"
"What is this???"
I despair.

So it got me thinking. The only way I'm ever going to get my own back on these kids is when I'm old and the opportunities will hopefully present themselves. There is definitely a list of things that I wouldn't do now but am looking forward to participating in when I'm about 80. Ever since I became a mother, I've become so ridiculously responsible in my actions that I'll be gagging for an occasional release in the other direction. This behaviour, when I'm a golden girl, is my promise to myself to catch up on all the stupid, socially gross and self-destructive things that I'm not doing now and, well, it keeps me going. Especially when my kids are pissing me off.

I have no bucket list of mystical places or extreme sports. My list is of stupid and perhaps illegal things that I'd never get away with as a parent of young children without social services getting involved.
Doing drugs is high on the list. It's been over decade since I did any kind of illegal substances. Except after my C section when I realised what prescription painkillers can do if you're taking too many when you don't actually need them. And when I'm in my 80s I will want to feel like that all the time.
Realistically I'll have to practice in moderation in case of grandchildren but hopefully I'll be able to indulge when they go home and I'm left alone in my retirement apartment. Even if it's just snorting vodka.
Wearing pyjamas everywhere is another must. At the moment I try and make an effort on my trips to & from the schoolyard and Asda. But since getting a dog I've been letting myself go a little and I plan to go the full way when I'm older. And I'm definitely wearing a visor with wraparound sunglasses.
Refuse to get in/out of my wheelchair. So these bloody kids will pay for all the time wasted trying to force them into the buggy and carseat.
Soil my incontinence pants at inopportune moments. That'll teach my toddler for always wanting to poo just as we're leaving for school.
And finally, be very very fussy about food even if I'm being liquid fed. And projectile vomit anything green.

I can't wait. I'll be fun again. And my kids will realise the many pains they've put me through. Only another thirty odd years to go...

Sunday 8 July 2012

Why I'm Not An Olympic Torchbearer

So we went to see the Olympic Torch in Stevenage today and it was great. The kids behaved, there were no embarrassing moments and the people stood next to us seemed to be having a great time too which is usually unheard of. I even had enough money left over from my child benefit to buy them all a flag, which they miraculously didn't whack each other with.

When we got back, I googled the torchbearers especially as I'd talked to one of their mums and said "You must be very proud" without a hint of sarcasm (also unheard of). But instead of inspiring me, it made me feel a bit depressed because, well, the four that I read about were these incredible people who had accomplished things against all the odds, been pillars of the community and were doing these amazing acts. While I sit and watch TV. It depressed me because I realised that, compared to them, I actually do feck all. I haven't beaten illness to then win a gold medal, I haven't encouraged deprived children to follow their dreams and I certainly haven't given up all my spare time to work at a centre for the homeless. But, you know what, we're all different innit. So I've been thinking about what my accomplishments are and although I'm not worthy of being an Olympic Torchbearer, well, it's made me not be so hard on myself.

1. I get three children ready, in the car and to three different schools without never ever being late. Even though, against the odds, I have spent 20 minutes on Twitter and I'm running dangerously low in petrol.

2. I have survived numerous school holidays without hardly even drinking during the day. And, in this spare time, I have encouraged my children to watch TV.

3. I try to be a nice person and will always help a friend out if it means looking after their dog, buying them ciggies or making them a G&T. And I rarely leave a text or tweet unanswered.

4. Quite often I cook my husband dinner to ensure he is fed and watered after a hard day in the office. Okay, so this is usually leftovers from the kid's dinner but, hey, you can't knock a bit of good food when you're starving.

5. On occasion I have been known to wear a nice outfit. Which totally inspires those mothers around me to think about getting out of their joggers.

And for anybody reading this who was a Torchbearer, well, I took three children and their mate to see the torch, in the pissing rain, got them to behave and didn't even lose one not even for a second. Which in itself is a super duper accomplishment which I'd like to see you try, especially with my kids.

Excuse me whilst I carry this lighter around my living room.

Saturday 30 June 2012

Parental Guilt Syndrome

This week I have been a bit poorly. I have had what can only be described as a heavy weight hanging over me. Google had no answers, neither did NHS Direct. I have had to self-diagnose. What I have been suffering from is Parental Guilt Syndrome. Here is my explanation:

Parental Guilt Syndrome comes from a fear of not doing enough for one's children. Or when you fuck up. Mothers who are especially lazy are most likely to suffer from this. Somehow,though, these mothers still find the energy to feel guilty.

Three things happened this week:

Okay, in my defence sports day was rescheduled. I had planned our holiday around sports day so we'd definitely miss it. However, due to that one nice day in April being our summer, it pissed it down and was moved to this week. So I actually didn't find out until the day. It came down to a decision between Starbucks with my mate or Sport's Day...and, well, I didn't want to disappoint my friend, or my cappuccino.
My son didn't really mind - EXCEPT there was an incident (see below).

My eldest can be a bit of a hypochondriac. Quite often I have to use the lines "If I don't see vomit, then you're not really sick" and "If there's no blood then you don't need a bandage." Really, I should have shares in Bandaid with the amount of plasters my children use.
The other night he was coughing and waking me up to the point where I was convinced that he was forcing the cough just so I'd sleep in his room. He was still managing to do somersaults on the trampoline at 9pm and eat 573 Oreos. But at Sports Day, he practically passed out with having trouble breathing and was a very sorry sight sat in the shade whilst everyone was doing the Three Legged Race. Or so I'm told - because I wasn't there.
I decided to take him to the doctors and, would ya believe it, he totally wasn't faking. He's developed asthma and had to go on the nebulizer plus be prescribed steroids.

My toddler is obsessed with painting. The extent of craft materials I allow in the house is one 27p paint palette from Asda. It's all he wants to do at the moment but he is so rubbish at actually getting the paint on the paper plus he always knocks over the water. Yesterday I told him that the paints had run out of batteries.

I've messed up a bit, you see? I'm hoping that my kids survive being parented better than I survive doing the parenting. Maybe I'm doing my best with what I have to work with. But Parental Guilt Syndrome is a fecker. It's been weighing heavy on me.

Thank god it can be cured with a swift dose of gin.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Mum Lies

I am not a very good liar. Not one little bit. In fact whenever I lie it's so damn obvious because I fabricate the most blown-up unbelievable stories ever. Like when I have spent £500 in one month on nothing - except there are a few new frocks in my wardrobe and my hair is lookin' good and my husband asks where all my money goes and I make up some crazy ass story about the kids needing expensive shoes and aren't school dinners very costly these days. Needless to say, I have a 100% record for being busted.
Although, saying that, my ability to lie to my children is AMAZEBALLS which is great because one of the major skills you need to be a parent is LYING. Thankfully when my brain cells diminished since having kids, my ability to lie increased.
Here's a list of my Top Five Mum Lies:

I defy any mother to say that she's never used this. It's practically parenting law to use this lie every goddamn day. "In a minute" is the answer to many, many things like "Can we have sweets?", "When's dinner ready?" and "Can we do that?".

This is mostly applied to those ride-ons outside supermarkets. I don't think my children have ever encountered one that works.
"It's broken" is also great to use whenever there is a threat of crafts. Today my toddler wasn't able to paint because, hey, the paints were "broken".

Mostly applied to the ice-cream van and the park. Used frequently in the summer months.

I can remember exactly when my child benefit arrives in my account but damn it, I can never remember to put money under a pillow. It does, however, mysteriously appear in the morning when the child has popped out of bed. That tooth fairy needs a personal assitant, I tell ya.

Which is a rubbish lie that never ever works. Except when asked if they can skip school but then it's not really a lie but a useful fact when you've planned a day in front of the telly. "Go to bed, it's the law" will rarely be believed and "Eat your carrots, it's the law" will just get laughed at.

Ahhhhh also Mums lie to each other, although I don't think I've done this much. I'm the first to admit how rubbish my kids are. Yet when that new mum is bragging about her kid walking at 6 months and that other one is boasting about her kid reading at 2 years...they're lying, right? Here are my top 3 Mum to Mum lies:

Especially that fecker who reckons their newborn slept through at 3 weeks old. I appreciate some babies do sleep through early but not as early as NEWBORN, surely? Or maybe they do - because I'd have no idea since my toddler is coming up 4 and is still a rubbish sleeper.

That's not always a lie but for the majority of mums is a laughably blatant one.

Actually, I use this all the time when my toddler is being badass because, you know, he's the Golden Child who can do no wrong. And mostly, my friends are gracious enough to believe me.

So please let me know about your MUM LIES - especially if they're as good as "If you eat your bogies, you'll get worms".

Thursday 14 June 2012

The Revolting Switch

This was the conversation I had with my husband last week:

HIM: "The kids have been pretty good today, haven't they?"
ME: "Yeah, apart from when you went into the shop and they were threatening to cut off each other's body parts."

Oh how we laughed. We laughed and laughed. Until something dawned on me - The kids have got this switch that is only flicked whenever their Dad is not around. It's a switch of revolting behaviour. A Revolting Switch. They are actually quite nice ... until Daddy exits and that's when it all turns, well, their heads turn - freaking 360 degrees, totally channelling Linda Blair's famous headspin in The Exorcist.

Of course DADDY never sees it. So of course he thinks it's me. And the kids always deny such behaviour. The greatest trick my children ever pulled was convincing Daddy that the behaviour didn't exist.

So I'm on a mission. I am determined next weekend for my husband to witness The Revolting Switch. Because - yippee! - I'm off to Britmums and he's got a full 24 hours of his children without me. I figure that the kids might well be clever but they're not that clever to survive 24 hours without threatening to kill each other in a slow and painful way.
And I won't believe him. Even if they've vomited devil puke all over him.

Friday 18 May 2012

Family Chat

I've always said that one of the important things I want my kids to have is social skills. And by 'social skills' I don't just mean being able to down a pint of beer in 5 seconds or nicely share a joint. I want them to be able to chat to different types of people and in various situations. I think my social skills are pretty good - I do like a chat, especially if it's over coffee & cake.  My husband also has good social skills too - as long as he doesn't talk about his work. It's one of those life things that we want to pass onto our children. We think it's more important than fricking fractions.

They are okay at it so far. They will say "Hello" and ask questions and, if you're unlucky, go through every photo on my phone telling you the story behind it. The girl child, if she was a superhero, would be Non Breathing Girl because she can talk at you for six hours straight. My son has learnt the art of sarcasm but his most favourite phrases are "What's for dinner?" and "Where's the computer?"

In order to develop their social skills, I've introduced games at the dinner table. Which works if I can get them to stop fidgeting and pushing carrots around the plate. These games include such delights as Good News/Bad News (example: the good news is we have no homework, the bad news is Mummy will make us read)  and Three Things That Happened Today, which is simply when you have to talk about your day.

This was last night's offering:

ME: "I walked the dog. I had a nice coffee. My friend phoned. I bought a hat."


HUSBAND: "Was if the coffee I made you?"

ME: "No. It was from Starbucks."

THE BOY: "School was boring. Where's the computer?"

THE GIRL: "Mummy, can you stop talking now please."

TODDLER: "Watch telly."

HUSBAND: "I don't know why you make them do this."

ME: "You have the social skills of a pig."


Tuesday 15 May 2012

My Top Five Child Milestones

This evening my toddler said "Bloody Hell". I'm thinking of marking it down in his Child Personal Health Record (red book) that comes free with every kid, under the title "Listens, retains information and uses in the correct context."

It got me thinking. The Chief of Health Visitors needs to meet with me because I reckon I could rewrite the red book in a more appropriate manner. Of course it's wonderful when your child rolls over, grows first tooth, sits up, crawls etc but I am much more thrilled by the following:

On a weekend, I used to get about five minutes lie-in before a child shouted "Mummyyyy the show has finished!". I now get about an extra forty minutes before they demand breakfast simply because they have finally worked out how to use the remote. I'm sure those anti-tv mums curse this milestone, but it's one of my favourites.

Sometimes it takes me 24 hours to get my kids in and out of the car. Getting a toddler into a car seat can be hell so thank the lord when other children become self-sufficient. I can put all my energy into the toddler whilst hearing the happy clip-clip from the other two seatbelts. And unloading is easier too - unless they climb through the front and exit roadside which has happened on more than one occasion. Errands aren't so bad now because I can get a pint of milk without feeling that I've caught the cow and milked it myself before even getting to the shop.

I hate that shovel-food-into-mouth stage, especially because very little of it gets where it's supposed to go. My toddler can now feed himself and I don't care that he walks around with his bowl while the dog has the occasional lick.

There is much screaming in our house directed at the kids to get dressed for school. The fact that I have to dress myself and the toddler is so much better than dressing two other kids as well. And even though the most common phrase in this house is "Get your shoes on" at least I don't have to try and bend over to reach their feet because, hey, I'm not getting any younger.

This takes time. My eldest can remember exactly what time his favourite shows are on but he often forgets to wipe his bum. The girl usually forgets to wash her hands so she often has smelly hands as well as a smelly bum.

I doubt these will be in many parents scrapbook but I'd put them in mine (if I wasn't so anti-craft). What milestones would you record?

Monday 14 May 2012

New Rule

I have introduced a new rule into our house (which currently has no rules), in light of my 8 year old son and 7 year old daughter trying to kill each other on a daily basis. It is:

"I don't mind a mess as long as you play nicely."

Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't. Usually I get a mess and they still kill each other but every now and again it works. They are into playing teenagers and gangsta rappers and building dens involving every object in the house. This is fine because it gives me the parenting holy grail which is Peace And Quiet. If I comment at all on the amount of stuff they are using, they quote me back at me and say "But you don't mind a mess as long as we're playing nicely." Which is true until I realise that Peace And Quiet don't come for free and the price you pay is TIDYING UP.

I do not like tidying up. Especially if there is Lego involved. I hate Lego - the dog chews it, the toddler eats it and the kids scatter it so that you are still finding bits in your bum crack days later.

Anyway since the aversion to tidying up runs in my family (it practically gallops), the aftermath of such a lovely playtime is always painful. Especially if my husband arrives home at the point where we're watching telly and pretending that the area upstairs doesn't exist, a bit like Roswell.

He says: "For god's sake, what's going on here?"
I say: "Yes there's a mess but they played nicely."

My husband is not a fan of this new rule. Especially when I apply it to myself. If the washing up hasn't been done, there are dirty clothes on the floor and dog poo in the garden. Even though I have been texting, drinking coffee, internet shopping and, you know, been playing nicely with my friends.

Friday 11 May 2012


I'm bored.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bored of social networking, I'm not bored of coffee with mates, hell I'm not even bored of gin. I'm bored of fricking Motherhood. It's tiring, it's constant and it's dull. The kids are arguing so much at the moment that I'm not even bothered about who did what and who looked at whom. It's not justice I'm interested in - it's peace and quiet. So I've been thinking about getting a job so I can have a little break. But it's not that easy.

The thing is, when you've not got family nearby, childcare don't come for free. And I'd need to earn a decent amount to pay for childcare. Which would probably cost me three times the amount that the provider normally charges because, I'm not even kidding, my kids are crazy bad ass.

My day reeks of groundhog: get woken early, fight them to get ready for school, drive around like a manic, read The Hungry Frigging Caterpillar, attempt to sort out their arguments, bribe the kids to sleep.

Now I've seen in magazines that some mums work, have successful careers, a great family life and are in total control. They look amazing, balance everything perfectly and still feel like going out and doing special love. Well I'll let you into a secret - THEY HAVE A NANNY. And I would kill for a nanny - even if she chain smoked, wore my clothes, stole loo roll and ran up a long distance phone bill.

My husband, bless him, has suggested that I get a night job stacking shelves at Aldi or Poundland. He didn't even mention John Lewis. But a night job would mean that the groundhog day as described would remain exactly the same except the part where I sleep would be replaced with me going out to work. (Note: I know a couple of fabulous mums who do this and are truely wonderful, far better creatures than I ever hope to be and are clearly far less selfish). So I always come up with reasons like who sorts the kids and what if they're ill, which my husband says are excuses but funny how the answer to these kind of questions is always ME.

However, as you might have guessed, my husband's not tolerating me at the moment. He has introduced something far more scarier than the special love. It is worthy of a Stephen King title so I shall call it The Talk.

The Talk is when he catches me unawares and starts quizzing me about what I'm doing in life, why I'm always moaning, when am I going to sort myself out and what the hell am I spending his money on. My husband is not interested in my crappy answers. He does not see that it is hard enough just being me. He cares not for my Twitter account or my blog.

The Talk comes when I least expect it. Like when I am sat drinking a coffee or watching Made In Chelsea and most of all when I'm sending a text. The Talk always starts the same way. His tone is softly softly as he says "So, have you been thinking about what you're doing?" At which point I feel a cold shiver down my back and realise there is no way to escape and believe me, I have tried but not even the special love can stop The Talk.

Oh my husband is good. He is very good. He can find faults and loopholes in everything I say. So much so that even the kids are thinking I should go back to work. And damn that survey that said children are not effected by a mother who works.

The Talk almost always ends in tears. I have been cross examined and objected to 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 other words as an act of kindness.

So here it is. This is what I'm looking for:
A part time job please. Three days a week that fits around school holidays and hours. That provides a nanny (free). Salary of £50k. Work uniform of Gucci provided. Occasional travel to the Bahamas and lunches at The Ivy with never ending supply of Grazia Magazine. Skills required: Twitter, sleep, coffee and watching reality shows.

I'm sure the offers will come flying in. But in the meantime, anyone know of a support group for victims of The Talk?

This blog is a mish mash of two old posts that were only read by three people, one of which was my mum.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Birthday Cake For Breakfast (The time I spent obeying my 3 year old's every word)

When I was little, I was a crazy kid. I always wanted to do bad ass stuff like climb on the roof to fly down like a chicken, empty all the liquids in the house into one jug for an 'experiment' and run around with the paddling pool in November. Top of my list was to eat a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes, naked. These days, I'm a boring fecker. I sit here sorting out paperwork, doing packed lunches, emptying the dryer, doing the washing up and hoping that one day I'll get to the bottom of the ironing pile.

So the other day I had the 'great' idea to spend some time doing whatever my 3 year old son wanted to do. Yep - those that know me will probably say that he does whatever he likes anyway, but this time I was gonna obey his every word. We would have a whole six hours doing whatever he chose to do. I was secretly hoping we'd sit naked watching crap telly but this is what happened:

"Party bag please." he said. "Let's eat it on top of the car." This was breakfast. Oh HELLO Malcolm from next door. Yes, we're sat on the car roof eating birthday cake in our pyjamas. "Let's do digging in the garden." So off we went, churning up mud and probably dog poo in the pouring rain.

We then walked the dog. We do this quite a lot, but not like this one. I have never played hide and seek with a sheep before. Nor have I taken off my shoes and rolled down a hill. We hopped, we skipped and I even attempted to run.

We got home. "I know, Mummy, let's make Christmas." Fortunately we've got a really rubbish collection of Christmas decorations - 5 bits of tinsel, 9 baubles and a crappy candle. Once they were out and placed & rearranged for half an hour, he discovered the bubble wrap in the cupboard under the stairs. You know, that junk cupboard with tins of foreign coins, keys that don't fit anywhere and dead batteries. "Let's squash the bubbles with our bumbums".

"Can we go on a bus to the park?" The park is two minutes from our house so we pretended to be on a bus. With me as the driver, looking like a tosser.

It was almost time to pick up the kids from school. Toddler was tired. "You choose now, Mum". But what should I choose? There were toxic lunch boxes to sort, a never ending pile of ironing and countless loads of washing up to be done.

Yet I had a better thought. I ate a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes. And I ate them naked.

Monday 30 April 2012

Mothers I'd Like to Punch (MILPs)

Oh celebrity mums. How they like to shove their teeny tiny baby bumps in our faces. How they love to show off the post baby body twenty seconds after giving birth. How they adore writing their parenting manuals, designing the babywear collections and declaring they do it all with no help whatsobloodyever.
It would be so refreshing to see a celeb saying it AS IT REALLY IS. Who admits to relying on a nanny, who struggles with losing the extra weight, who just looks fecking KNACKERED.
The lovely @midwifetomum and I have put together the following list of MILPs:


And to make love, not war - here are some MILFs:

Please feel free to comment and add to the list.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Parent Confessions

I want to start a Parent Confessions page where you can write things anonymously that you'd never normally admit to. Just as soon as I get my lazy arse in gear and figure out how to do it. Which might take a while. In the meantime, here's a little taster from me.

1. The one great thing I can teach my children is sarcasm.
I believe that they will grow up having sarcasm as their superpower. My 8 year old is already using sarcasm instead of his fists to fight back and he does it with humour.
Unfortunately, I will probably be on the receiving end of their sarcastic blows.

2. I don't believe that my kids will be professional sportspeople, actors or popstars.
I think this is a good thing. Of course I will support any dreams they have but I'll be truthful with them if they show no talent.
There's nothing worse than those kids on X Factor who honestly think they can sing because their family has told them so. When they're slated by the judging panel, you can see years of therapy ahead.
My kids probably will need therapy in the future anyway, but this will be down to my fuck-ups not because I told them a lie.

3. I can't wait until my kids can do their own washing, ironing and clean up after themselves.
Because in ten years time (and counting) I will be done and I will be a happier person for it. I know it's part of being a parent, but I really hate having to clean up their messes - especially when they've split juice, chucked Lego everywhere and pissed on the floor.
Short term goal - for them all to be able to wipe their own bums.

4. Sometimes my kids misbehave in public and I get embarrassed.
But that's okay. Because when they're teenagers I'll return the favour and they can use all the sarcasm they like, I'm going for it.

5. Mummy porn pisses me off. The pictures you see of celebs - Jennifer Lopez looking gorgeous with her week old twins, Angelina Jolie and her fifty kids looking fabulous, Victoria Beckham wearing D&G at Fashion Week whilst suffering from PND. Those images only exist to make us regular mums feel like shite. BUT I do sometimes aspire to be like them.

6. Quite often, instead of playing trains with my toddler, I pretend to be watching him but instead I'm texting or tweeting.

7. I love my husband. But sometimes I hate him. Especially when I've had a crappy day where the kids have practically killed each other (and me) and he comes in from work and says "They're just children."

8. On occasion, I have wondered about what my life would have been like if I didn't have children. And, on occasion, it is really really good.

9. I like that our toddler sleeps in bed with us most nights because it means I don't have to do The Special Love when I'm tired.

10. I do not like some children.

Soon, people, it will be your turn. Just give me a year or two to get it going...

Thursday 19 April 2012

Getting Off My Arse

A conversation with my mother the other day got my mind working overtime and set a fire under my Parental Guilt bonfire. Without going into detail, the brief exchange left me with knots in my stomach:
A) Because she made me feel bad.
B) Because I don't ever want to make my children feel like that.

On top of this, somebody asked me how often I read to my children. And you know what, I used to all the time - before it got a bit painful (see and before we bought an iPad. I don't hardly read to them at all now.

Cue volcanic explosion of parental guilt.

But let's get things straight. I'm no Kirsty Allsopp of a mother, one of those women born to parent. I am neither willing nor able to build a replica of Big Ben out of an egg box and yogurt pots. But in light of recent events, I've decided to make more of an effort to do more interesting stuff with the children, to stop shouting as much and to just have fun. Especially because my son has to write "News" and I once noticed that he often writes the same thing week in week out. My daughter tells everybody everything and most often it's lies. She tells her friends that I bake, paint, make her clothes and never tell her off. Well, no need to tell her friends the truth, but I suppose I could make the fiction a bit more fact.

So hence my epiphany. If I can just get off this sofa and do stuff with them then my son won't always write "Watched TV, played Angry Birds" and my daughter won't have to lie.

But it's all very well having an epiphany. It's the afterwards that is really really hard. Because you actually have to do something about it and I'm forgetting what kind of a lazy arse person I am. Parental guilt only really lasts about a day before you think "Oh feck it" and slip back into your old ways.

It's been going okay though. I've been reading to them and I've only thrown the book across the room twice. I've been playing shops. My Psycho Mum voice has been filed away for the time being. Hell, we even went to the park.

It's not making Big Ben, but it's something.

Dead Sperm Walking by A Dad (Guest Post)

Why did I want to guest blog this? Well after a chat briefly on twitter I said I would blog about this subject, yet I don't want to constantly blog and so I offered to guest blog this. A once in a life time blog. So that women knew and men don't fear the subject.

The subject..... The Snip.
Yes that's right. You heard me, I said - THE SNIP.

So background information first. Due to my mum having congenital dislocation of the hip, she was advised not to have any children as the doctors weren't sure if she could cope with the physical demands of labour itself. However - she did cos I am the end result! Some time after giving birth, she was advised to be sterilised on medical grounds. My dad disagreed and said he would be instead. So for me the whole concept of the snip is not an alien one. I understood the reasons why I hadn't got any brothers or sisters and what my dad went through (bus, train, taxi, op, taxi, train, bus all in one day).

Fast forward a few years and I am married and our second child has been born. I raise the subject - watch the wife squirm, I drop the subject. I raise the subject again sometime later - watch the wife squirm, I drop the subject. I raise the subject - the wife looks back at me and thinks. We chat about it. We run through the reasons why, we discuss some more and rather bizarrely it's me saying "Lets do it" and she's saying "err I'm not so sure" Anyway we agree after a few more months that I will indeed go for the snip. We have two kids and we don't want more. Now whilst I cannot predict the future, I cannot see the future changing for me in my life and so I go and see my GP.

It's a good job I had had a shower before hand as rather unexpectedly I was standing with my trousers down by my ankles and the GP giving my scrotum a quick once over. OK, that wasn't pleasant...but I suppose he was checking for any cancerous lumps etc..and not some cheap thrill. So sat back down in the chair he started quizzing me about my reasons why. I told them. He asked if we had discussed coils and implants, we had. He was about to go on when I dropped the clincher about my dad having had it. Well he agreed almost on the spot, any concerns about me being 32 seemed to vanish and he promised he would write to the clinic and get me booked in.

A few weeks pass and I get the letter confirming where and when.. The Marie Stopes clinic in a NHS hospital on a Friday in the month of November. D-day (or was it snip day) was fast approaching. I had told my mates and work colleagues, the majority had all said they felt I was too young at 32 to have the snip. They tried to persuade me to not have it, but my mind was made up.

A somewhat cold, grey chilly November Friday and I find myself in a room with 5 other nervous looking men and their somewhat smiling partners. And my smiling wife and kids. Men shifting in their seats looking apprehensive and some idiot turns up with their kids, just to make it all worse for everyone there.

Men being men, a brief raise of the head and a nod and an "alright" is exchanged. Nothing needs saying, we all know why we are here. There is an air of unease hanging over the place. We all suddenly have an idea of what the condemned man felt. The women, however, chatted a little. making comments bout "how normally he's so chatty and I can't shut him up, now I barely get two words out of him".

One by one we are called into another room and the process is explained to us. We are told what happens afterwards and what we need to do and how to make life a little more comfortable after the operation. I left my chat with the very professional woman and sat down, I looked at my wife and said, "last chance to change your mind, in 5 minutes there will be no going back" She said she was happy and gathered the kids and all our bits and would return in a period of time later after I had had it done.

My name is called, one bloke looks at me and says "Good luck", I smile and walk towards the operating theatre. I am asked if I have my tight fitting underwear with me - already on is the nervous reply. (No not Y-fronts, I have a purple pair of Bjorn Borg's own brand snug fitting "things" - for record I usually wear non-descript boxers and for once I am fashionable). The smell hits me first, burnt protein. Hmmmm..... this isn't good. Though I am glad I am number 4.. not number 17 (17!!!!! 17 snips in one day).

Then panic, WTF...a female doctor is performing the operation. Cue momentary panic...Look at crotch, please don't do anything...Please don't have that mind of your own. Be scared...but not too scared - family honour and all that. (YES I know, men obsessed with size...but look it's male pride here....just deal with it and move on - forget man-flu (I get colds thanks for asking) this is like a whole new league of self doubt and panic and OMFG..).

So with trousers and (new fashionable) Bjorn Borg sloggi things down by my ankles I get onto the operating table and lie down. "Something" is moved to one side (BE GOOD you git....) and a green sheet with a hole in the middle is laid over the top. Cold gel is squirted over the area to clean the area before operation. Farge that's cold.... The woman assisting is there to chat and take your mind of things. Kinda surreal really, talking about the weather and your job whilst a surgeon is about to stop your baby making capabilities for ever (well 1 in 5000 may end up with a "later on in life" pregnancy).

The Doc utters those immortal words that anyone who hates needles shudders at the mere thought of (and I'm one of them) "Just a slight scratch".... "Lying cow" I think... Needles in my arm .... I don't like.. Needle in my scrotum - mmmmmmmmmmmm noooooooo

"Don't you like needles" asks the surreal nurse.
"No.." I whimper.

Then Doc gets her machine to burn a hole in my scrotum. (Readers I can assure you it didn't hurt, but the smell wasn't pleasant). She roots about a bit. Finds the correct tube and "Beeeeep" ... as MC Hammer didn't say "It's burn time " the machine does its thing. Another slight scratch, a bit more rooting about..only she didn't leave it as long this time, the anaesthetic hasn't had time to properly work and I can feel a dull throb coming from my's not a pleasant pain...Machine goes "beeep" .. cue more burning and it's all done. A wad of gauze is pressed against the area. I get up, dress and walk out.

A welcome cup of coffee and biscuits are in the waiting room. Some chat with the bloke who had had his done before me and I spy a packet of biscuits...Oddly there are loads of a particular type. I don't want one and try to find the custard creams. Which funny fecker put ginger nuts in that box.......

Wife arrives looking cheery. Kids scoffing cakes and I'm allowed to leave. Clutching my take home bag. we get to the car. I plead for her to take it easy, having already spied the speed humps on the way out after the car park. She "forgets" and we hit the speed hum at normal speed... "Do you mind" (well the kids were in the back).. She giggles...and we hit the next one at the same speed... "OW" .. "Sorry" she giggles.. The third and forth are approached in the same manner.
"Stop the car"


Why...she asks why... COS IT BLOODY HURTS!... She says "sorry she had forgotten!!!!" (how can you forget...FFS) And as for the big roundabout........... OWWWWWWW

So home, a cushion needed for when the kids want to jump on my lap and I read through the literature in the bag. You get some leaflets, condoms and two addressed stamped envelopes and two sample bottles. Yup, two samples at weeks 12 and 14 are to be sent away to check you're "clear". Well..forms a plan... as soon as I feel ready.. I am going to make sure that there ain't no swimmers left in my tubes. Samples sent away and results checked.... Good lad, all clear....BUT you have to wait for the piece of paper from the clinic, if you don't and you have sex and Mrs gets pregnant they take no responsibility....after you receive said letter they take full responsibility.

Letter arrives...All good...

My dad had a tie, not sure where it's got to when we cleared his things after he died. Wish I had kept it. It had the male symbol sitting on top of the female symbol and three letters underneath... I.F.B.



You may may think we are may think I was too young, you may think that a man isn't a man if he has no swimmers....that's fine.

Only 1 in 10 men go for sterilisation. We don't talk about it openly. Yet if the subject arises (ahem) a knowing smile and "ahhh you're in our club now" look passes and nothing else needs to be do sorta feel a bit exclusive...Well I say we don't talk about it openly...I just have.

Hello my name is Mr X and IFB

Sorry all previous comments deleted. We had to remove and repost this blog as the author decided to change to anonymous.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

A Few Reasons Why I Am Not Nominated For Mum Of The Year

I'm nearly 43 and nothing has ever baffled me as much as this parenting thing. There is not a manual out there that can answer ANY of my questions. Quite often I say out loud "So how am I supposed to parent this?" - especially on those days when there's a toilet roll shoved down the loo and my daughter has cried six trillion times. I'm in my forties and I wish I could say that I've never felt better, but my memory isn't that sharp anymore. I am old and tired. I often wonder if I should have had children when I was much younger so I'd be better at blagging it. I know we all make slips but I'm starting to think I am making BIG mistakes. But you know what, I'm in a good place at the moment. People have even commented on how calm I am, which kinda freaks me out because I must have been demented before. And at least I've got some money saved up for my kid's future therapy. Anyway, looking back on my time parenting in my forties I can see a number of reasons why I have not yet been nominated for Mum Of The Year.

Reason One: My kids sometimes don't love me and sometimes I don't love my kids
Here's a conversation -
Child: "I don't love you when you're angry with me."
Me: "Oh well, nevermind."
Also, on those days when they've been arguing, fighting, whining, crying and generally revolting, I can pretty much say I don't love them.

Reason Two: Accusing my daughter of faking an injury and ignoring her
Because she constantly cries about every bump and bang even when nothing's happened. This morning, for example, I counted 27 new things wrong with her. And what made it worse was that she got wind her brother was seeing the doctor so she made up another 8 ailments.
Yesterday we went to the woods for 90 minutes - 60 minutes of which she spent crying because she'd hurt her knee on a leaf.

Reason Three: I let my toddler do what the feck he wants
Because it's easier. I break all the Rules Of Parenting with him. I don't discipline him that often and sometimes he plays with a hammer. If he wants crisps for breakfast, he gets them - because at 7.30 in the fecking morning with three kids to get to school, I don't want to be force feeding him cornflakes.

Reason Four: My kids don't believe me when I'm nice to them
Maybe because I fake smile so often. Or because I'm really good at saying "That's a lovely story, darling" when really I'm reading Twitter.
Or when I say "You've been really good", they tend to ask "Who are you talking to?".

But you know what - I tried it once, being a really Great Mum, doing everything by the book. It was a couple of months after I'd had my toddler. I did loads of home cooking, played games, did crafts and never raised my voice. I was actually fun to be around. However nobody noticed or even cared and my husband thought I was having a breakdown.

Maybe I'll be nominated in my fifties. Then again, maybe not.

This is an old blog revamped in case you recognise it - but I doubt that. I wrote it back when nobody read my blog except me. And my dog.

Friday 6 April 2012

Seven Days Of Special Love

So. It all started a few weeks ago when I wrote my Rules Of The Special Love post, followed by Spencer's guest blog and then a conversation with a friend. I have realised that some women HAVE SEX. Yes - they are AT IT. These women are married, have children, have jobs, in fact they have probably more on their plates than I do and yet they still have time to trim their lady carpets and shag their partners. This is the conversation with my mate:
Me: "Oh my god, on the blog a couple of people have commented that they still have loads of sex even though they've got, like, a child."
My Friend: "What do you mean? We do it at least three times a week."
She has FIVE CHILDREN. Five of the feckers! And yet she's sexing like I was in 1999.
So these bi-atches have given me food for thought. Got my love juices a-flowing. Because, well, I can bloody do this. I can be one of those women that don't even lie about their sex life because I'm going to be the best of them all! I'm going to get me SOME SEX! Ten years of marriage, three children later and I can still GET ME SOME BOOT-AH!
So this is what I decided to do. For seven days I have been determined to have sex EVERY GODDAMN NIGHT with my husband. I have been wanting to prove that there can be sex after children. That after childbirth, the 'in' door that has become an 'out' door can once again be an 'in' door. That I can have a red hot sex life without trying to get something out of it, like that dress in Monsoon (by the way, in case he's reading). And I kept a little diary, because what's actually the whole point if I can't SHARE:

SATURDAY: We have friends over. I eat three times my body weight in Chinese food. My tummy gets all funny and the bedroom gets a bit smelly. My husband mysteriously doesn't feel like it.
SUNDAY: You've got to have Sunday Morning Special Love. It's like THE LAW. In between the kids running in and out of the room we somehow manage it. It's not the Kama Sutra but it's a quickie.
MONDAY: I've bought book 2 of The Hunger Games trilogy which I'm, like, obsessed with. But my husband thinks he'll try a bit of tantric. Twenty minutes in and I'm ready to suggest he hops on doggy style so I can carry on reading.
TUESDAY: Husband comes home in a bad mood, complaining of a headache. Hey! Wait a minute...
WEDNESDAY: We have a successful takeoff and almost landing. Just as things are, errr, coming to, errr, a head, the toddler shouts "Mummy I need youuuuuu", giving an alternative meaning to the phrase "Yes Mummy's coming!!!!".
THURSDAY: I show my husband the 'come to bed' eyes to which he responds "Why are you being weird?". Mission Impossible 3 comes on the telly which he has only seen 482 times so he watches that and I go to bed.
FRIDAY: We are determined. Even though I have fifteen minutes before I meet my mate, the kids are safely downstairs watching telly so we seize the moment. Now we're very sensitive to the sound of a child on the stairs. But what we're not trained for is the sound of a child creeping up the stairs. Our kids don't do quiet. We're in the middle of a successful missionary when in bursts the 8 yr old. My husband stops, drops and rolls. "Daddy! You've got your bum in the air!" laughs our son. "Yes," says Daddy, "It was itchy so Mummy was scratching it for me."

I don't know what my little experiment has proved. It's shown that you can occasionally have decent sex after children but it requires focus, intentionality and planning. There are 300 things that impact me being in the mood for sex and lack of spontaneity is number 56. I'm hoping that by at least trying I've got a bit of my sex life back from the Maternity Ward. So go try it yourself. If it doesn't make you sexy, at least it'll make you laugh.

A Person Who May Have Had Sex After Children

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Five Things I Am Going To Teach My Daughter

There is no way I am going to pussyfoot around when she's pregnant. I will tell her all the stories that I've heard plus what happened to me. Especially with her birth - no pain relief, I moo'd like a cow and poo'd like, well, a cow. None of this "It's natural just go with it" crap. And I will also tell her that you DO NOT FORGET - in fact I know that when I've got trapped wind it's nothing like the pain of those contractions. Oh and her younger brother's head got stuck in such a way that for about ten minutes I was a human with a human head hanging out of my punani with my husband looking on and wondering how he was ever going to have sex with me again.

With this ability, women will want to be her friend. Plus men will want to get in her pants when she's had one too many. And hell, when I'm crippled with old age she can rig up my IV with her great tasting G&T.

Any girl with a husband and/or children knows that it is very important to be able to tell white lies. I'm talkin' the kind of lies that get you out of trouble - and if this includes a WHOPPER then so be it. It is essential, especially if she shares a bank account with her husband or she becomes a Stay At Home Mum, to always be able to explain where the new frock came from and why her hair is suddenly coloured & cut. Various visits to Cafe Rouge, Starbucks and Costa also need to be explained away in such a manner that her partner can't tell she is fibbing. There must also be a white lie ready for when she doesn't fancy the special love but needs an excuse.

Ya know, once she gets older this is going to be almost a daily routine for her. And I need somebody to sort me out when I'm in the old folks home or if I lapse into a coma. This routine may also include nipple hair.

This is one of the most important life skills. I'm hoping that she sleeps with many people before she gets married but unfortunately some of those people will be the result of her great G&T (see above). So she needs to know how to fake a big one. Or a little one. And even multiples. Because let's face it, men can't tell the difference. And if Meg Ryan can do it, then the offspring of an EXPERT (me) certainly can.

What important skills are you wanting to pass onto your children?

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Vote For Me!

Somehow I've been nominated for a BritMums Brilliance In Blogging Award. I can't believe it because I'm a lazy fecker when it comes to my blog. But I'm hoping somewhere out there Quality might overrule Quantity - at least I'm telling myself this.
Now I don't really like asking for anything. I've had a couple of days of panic about asking you guys to vote for me. This is the conversation with my husband:
Me: "I don't want to ask anyone."
My Husband: "Oh grow up. You've got to be in it to win it."
Me: "But it's hassle for people."
My Husband: "Well, you snooze you lose." well as exposing him as a WANKER, I'm asking you to vote for me in the LAUGH category. I'm Number Ten: Ministry Of Mum, if you can be arsed.
I'm also hoping it will get the exposure I need to get me a job as a crime show corpse - hell, you never know where an agent might be looking. I've also heard that Gwynnie Paltrow is shortlisted, the FECKER. And I rarely ask you to do anything, but let's face it...I'm sometimes funny and this could get me on a crime show as a corpse and that's all I want. Well, I also want to see a real unicorn, visit Japan, eat Walkers Crisps without getting fat and spank Kevin Spacey.
I'm not much for contests and I don't plan to be in the future, but your support so far has been brilliant and I even blogged today. And after this I'm not doing any contests for a LONG FECKING TIME. The self promotion makes me feel like a cat, saying "Hello" by sticking my bum in your face. Meh! But if you can.
I'm also really hoping that it gives me a new excuse to do NOTHING all day. Like I used to say "But I've just had a baby". I can now say "But I'm shortlisted for an award" and that's why I've not cleaned or cooked dinner or bought goddamn milk.
So here's the link and I'll also post a badge as soon as I've got my head round the technology. I'm Number Ten in the LAUGH category - Ministry Of Mum:

BiB: Brilliance in Bloggin

Co-Sleeping For Cash

My eldest son is always trying to have a sleepover in our room. In fact recently he's been offering money in return for me letting him come in. Tonight it was £50 which was his best offer yet so I've totally accepted it. My husband had a bit of a moan until I explained to him that our son has about £2000 in the bank so it's a good way to get our hands on his money. It's possibly legal too. And, you know, I need a potential source of income since I'm surviving on child benefit and husband hand outs and DAMN IT this diva needs a new summer wardrobe. A little loss of sleep is no price to pay for a few new frocks. I totally see it as a perfect supply/demand situation where everyone's a winner. He gets the sleepover and I get his cash.
Unfortunately none of this applies to the toddler. Poor third child has about £3.50 in his bank account, the grandparents being less generous as they realised that the constant supply of grandchildren could, infact, bleed them dry. And I think they got bored by the third christening which is not surprising because I totally did. Anyway, the toddler has a very high demand when it comes to sleeping in our room. He comes in every goddamn night and I get nothing in return except a kick in the head and two inches of the bed. On most nights I wake up mid sleep cycle, gripping the edge of the bed like it's the final handhold above an Everest crevice. On one hand, there are few pleasures that rank as high as snuggling up with a warm bodied little one but on the other hand a person, about a third of your size and weight, successfully completes a hostile takeover of the bed. But it's always handy if your husband has that special love twinkle in his eye. You know what though, I wouldn't mind at all if the toddler offered me the same deal as his older brother.
This won't work on my daughter - she cares not for cuddles.Which at the moment I'm thankful for as she has chickenpox. I don't fancy getting smeared with calomine lotion nor do I want to lie in a bed full of poxy scabs. However this has not deterred her from nicking money from my wallet which she's doing on a weekly basis. Last week it was a quid, this week it was a fiver. So I'm thinking that any monies I earn from my son's sleepovers are just going to end up in her pocket. Although the other night she did offer me £10 to leave her room. I'm seeing another potential source of income here.
In fact, to hell with it. I'm just going to make a Mummy Pay Scale where everyone pays me to do shit for them. Pack a lunch £2, brush hair £7 (she's a screamer), co sleep with parents £50 and up. It shouldn't take too long to get that summer wardrobe. Best Idea Ever!

Monday 12 March 2012


I had a relationship, for just over a year, with this woman who was a nurse. She was almost 6ft, obviously taller in heels, blonde and Australian. Stunning, incredibly sexy, and very relaxed about it. We went on a first date and got on well. Sushi and Japanese beer. All good. No dips in the conversation. A little bit of flirting. We said goodbye, kissed, and I put her in a taxi home. I had some work stuff to read so I decided to get the bus home.

At the bus stop I received a text. It went something like: "I have a full day off on Friday. Do you fancy meeting for lunch?" I responded with a yes and suggested somewhere. She responded quickly. The text is carved in my memory like the faces on Mount Rushmore. It read "Great. You'd better not have a large lunch as I want you to eat my pussy for desserts."

Shocked. Yes. I was convinced the whole world could read my face and I'm sure someone in Text Messaging HQ could read this too. This was 2000 and I'd only just got into the world of mobile phones, putting it off for ages and ages, but it was necessary for work, and I just couldn't get excited by them. That soon changed.

The bus arrived. I considered my response which went something like "Wow. Are you always so forward? I'll go for the salad then" I pressed send. And then thought "FUCK! I PROBABLY COME ACROSS AS SOME SEXUAL DEVIANT!"

On the bus journey home I didn't read the work documents I had in my bag. I received sext after sext telling me in great detail exactly what she had planned for Friday. I think she even included some timings, which was good of her.

During the beginning of our relationship she'd send me sex texts, sometimes 20 - 30 a day. I guess it must've been quiet on the wards where she worked. But I did wonder at the time was this a normal thing? The behaviour of a normal person? Was she a little... mentallissimo? It's not exactly the sort of conversation you have with people down the pub so finding out if this is a common thing is hard.

Sex was great. Hot and always pretty intense. But work increased in my life, and her shift patterns soon took a toll on her. Things quietened down a bit. Became less hot. This happens doesn't it? Soon the sexts stopped, and we'd meet to do other things. Cinema, which one or both of us would fall asleep in. Drinks. Where we'd go out and get a bit too drunk. And soon our 5 a day, so to speak, went down to 2 a week, then 2 a fortnight... and, well. You can guess the rest.
I'm no marriage counsellor, oh my days no, but one thing I know. Relationships can suffer through lack of the sexy time. If one partner is up for it and the other is tired, a bit drunk, or prefers watching Danish crime thrillers, or all three, then it's like you're both speaking a different sexual language. A bit like a Brit abroad trying to order some sausage from a delicatessen in Spain. I'm not sure how to get what I want but a lot of pointing and repeating certain words in a loud voice may help. Or if your other half does initiate something and you don't fancy some jiggy jiggy hokey pokey then it's a bit like trying to fight off an overly friendly octopus.

And if this is then followed by a communication breakdown, then problems manifest themselves in other ways. 'I'm not SURE WHY you put the wine glasses there, when we HAVE A PERFECTLY GOOD FUCKING DRAINING BOARD!' 'Why DO YOU NEVER DEAL WITH THE RECYCLING. Ohhh fuck it, I'll just do it myself. As always, as I've done for the past 2 FUCKING YEARS.'

Depending on whether you find your partner attractive or not is always a good sign as to whether or not you can resolve the sexytime dissonance. Sometimes we find our partners physically attractive, but there are other things, if you're not getting it, that make them less attractive. Their inability to find a space in a car park, preferring to dither and drive around for about 10 minutes rather than just get stuck in. 'LOOK - THERE'S ONE OVER THERE. God, you always do this. Spend ages fannying about rather than getting stuck in when you need to.'

Issues of self-esteem play a part. I've never thought of myself as a physically attractive specimen and sometimes this has stopped me from initiating the sexytime, purely because I think to myself, 'Ohh I feel fat/hairy/smelly/depressed/achey/have a cold.' If the other person in the relationship feels the same way then? Someone's gotta take the bull by the horns.

Perhaps sending a sexty texty may help? At 3 in the afternoon when you're sitting with the kids watching Baby Jake? 'I'm thinking about you on me right now' might be one to start the ball rolling. Remind someone you want them and that might help? Dunno. I'm sure there are people who are more qualified to recommend suggestions.

Reassurance is good. You might be slobbing around in your PJ's at 11.00am on a Sunday morning, but the need to feel wanted still remains. How sexy do you feel when someone suggests getting dressed together. Or showering together. Or just taking you by the hand, kissing you, kissing your neck, and saying 'Shall we... go upstairs?' Or do the children prevent this from ever happening to you ever again?

I only ever sent her a sexy text once. I wasn't quite sure how to write such a thing and didn't totally feel comfortable but I'd had a shandy or two down the pub and so I decided to go for it. I wrote something like 'I'm thinking about fucking you, like I did last night'. I pressed send and waited for her response. It seemed to take a while. I was about to check my outbox when my phone bleeped at me. I looked in eagerness. The text is also etched on my memory. It was simply '?????????'. From my boss called Brian. I may have shit myself.

How do you keep the magic alive in your relationship? And I'm not talking rabbits from hats or a bunch of flowers from a bottle. Although if that's your thang then who am I to comment? All and any comments most welcome.

Spencer blogs at:

Sunday 4 March 2012

When Kids Discover Swearing

When I was a kid, I was at the park with my Dad and he was trying to get me to go home. I didn't want to. As he started to yell at me, I told him to "Fuck Off". Well he certainly dragged me home after that. But the funny thing is that I was about 7 years old and I didn't actually know what it meant. But I knew not to use it again because my Dad threatened to wash my mouth out with soap and, well, I didn't want a slab of Imperial Leather in my chops.
Recently I've had to deal with a bit of swearing from my 8 year old. Which of course means that the 6 year old has been getting in on the act too. They are just starting to get their heads round it and have been testing the waters with such gems as "Blooming heck" (I'm Northern, okay?!) and "Bloody damn it!". I've not been too concerned because, believe it or not, I don't actually swear in front of my kids. Oh don't get me wrong, I am an expert at swearing under my breath and I am super professional at swearing through gritted teeth, but not that they can hear above the TV. This is what has happened recently:

1. My daughter comes home after being out with my husband and says "Mummy, what does ducking slow down mean?"
2. My son is monkeying around not cleaning his teeth and when I start shouting he replies "You're just a fucking Mummy". (Which, by the way, is like my favourite story EVER).
3. The Toddler runs around giving everyone the middle finger because his older siblings have told him that it's "funny".
4. My son is moody after school because he's been calling it "squaring" and his mates have been taking the piss out of him.
5. I'm doing rhyming homework with my daughter and she says "Tit" and "Shit" for rhyming with "Bit".

But, you know what, I'm finding it kind of funny. It's a Rite Of Passage. Hell, I'm even going to write it up in their Red Books and if the Health Visitor says anything, well, she can fuck right off.