9 Reasons Why I’m a Terrible Mother

When it was just toddler and me, I happen to think I was a perfect mummy.  I did the parent/baby class, changed her nappy the recommended 10/12 time per day and was on top of everything 24hrs a day.

Along came baby and my inner perfectionist who lived for ‘cooled boiled water’ diminished into a puff of poo smelling smoke and a terrible mother reluctantly appeared….

Now, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s ok not to be perfect and this thing called common sense reared its beautiful head and I’m now at peace with fact I’m not an NHS acclaimed / health visitor approved Mummy!

Nappies – Call me controversial but I do not change my baby’s nappy the recommended 10/12 times per day. I find it makes their sensitive bums sore and copious amounts of sudocreme are needed. They’re bloody expensive and I want to see a nice yellow poop to get my monies worth before slap dashingly swapping it for another perfectly clean nappy. Plus it’s more environmentally friendly.

Attend a Baby Class – I’m all for exposing babies to environments to stimulate their senses, get used to being around ‘other babies’ and developing social skills.  However, my 4 month old baby really doesn’t want to be reminded each week of how he wasn’t breastfed for more than 4 weeks, or that his clothes don’t get ironed (see point below). In fact I think to continue to attend these sessions would give him a complex, and he would soon realise he has an imperfect mummy, so we politely decline.

Ironing – I don’t iron any clothes smaller thanDSC_0071 a pair of granny knickers – no I don’t iron my underwear either, but I also don’t iron my little boys clothes who is 4 months old – report me now.  I find a good fold and press suffices on a t shirt small enough to blow my nose on.

Bibs – Now this is a really awful admission but my perfect friesmallnd gave me 7 bibs all with the days of week embroidered beautifully on the front. I have been known to use a Wednesday on a Saturday and even a Tuesday on a Thursday – could I get any worse?

I pad – Shoot me now because yes I let my 3 yr old have her own ipad.  Most people assume she’s gaming or playing Candy Crush.  Sometimes she does, but mainly she’s playing Snap, learning how to match animal noises with the right animals or learning her ABC’s.  This generation of techy toddlers need to know how to use a phone, Ipad and PC because it’s a form of education just as an abacus was in my childhood. She doesn’t need glasses because of over exposure to the screen and has not yet developed any signs of becoming a recluse.

Breakfast in the Car- With a baby to get ready and a toddler who likes to dress herself, do her own hair, put on her own shoes and check all the lights are off before we set off for nursery I admit that she’s munched on a piece of toast and drank from a ‘sippy’ cup in the car.

Swear – I’m not a ‘swearer’ but I have been known to shout the odd expletive in front of my toddler when I’ve burned my finger, banged my little toe for the 100th time on the baby bouncer or shouted at the dog when he’s barking in the window just after I’ve got baby to sleep.  Once or twice my toddler has repeated said word and being the imperfect mum I am I had a little giggle inside but then never responded to it.  I find so many people make a big deal about it that toddler remembers said word and will continue to say it for comedic effect.  As yet, I’ve had no negative reports from nursey but admit this needs to stop the older she gets!

Lie About Stuff – So when my toddler asks me to take her to Unicorn Land or that her one wish is to ride a unicorn, I’m not yet ready to tell her they don’t exist.  I will search the internet until I find a horse prepared to wear a pink horn for a day, or use those words all imperfect mums have used ‘maybe’ or ‘we’ll see’, but I’m not ready to explain the non-existence of unicorns just yet. (I couldn’t believe this either, why can’t they just be real, are they extinct or did they never exist?)

I even told her that when she went for her pre-school injections they were injecting her with pink unicorn juice, which she accepted with no doubt.  It seemed to work and I’m quite sure she won’t hold it against me in years to come but who knows?

The 10th RSVP – There was one weekend when she had 3, yes 3 parties.  I honestly don’t mind spending £30 on 3 different sets of Shopkins for 3 different children, but on the only weeDSC_0072kend Daddy was off work I had to decline one.  She chose the two she wanted to go to, but oh my word the guilt!

Oh no wait, that ‘mummy guilt’ was left in the womb when my second child was born. I spent too long feeling guilty for practically everything that this time round things are different.  I need to prioritise time with each of my babies and if it means wearing the wrong bib, not attending the 10th party of the week, eating breakfast in the car or telling a few white lies then call me a terrible mother, because yes that’s what I am!

 

 

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3 Ways We Argue… in a ‘Kid Friendly’ Way!

We try not to argue in front of toddler and baby, but sometimes Mr Balderdash is excruciatingly annoying, and my tongue gets so sore from biting down on it all the time that I absolutely just have to vent!

I’ve realised this week when we managed to have the most patronising, high pitched, quiet, no swearing argument that we’ve got into a bit of a habit of trying so hard not to shout that we’ve developed ‘kid friendly’ tactics so as not to raise our voices in the house. It got me thinking is it just us or do other parents do similar things? Here are 3 tactics used this week:

Indirect Insult

What I say – “Daddy is being a silly Daddy today isn’t he? He’s not being a very good boy is he?”

What I actually mean – “Daddy, you are being an annoying tw$t and I want to punch you in the face

 

Using Pet Names in a Patronising Way

What I say – “Yes, Darling I know that is the direction the satnav is telling me go, but it just doesn’t feel like this is the right way, ok Sweetheart?”

What I actually mean – “Will you just shut the fu$% up? I know that bit$% on the machine is saying go left but I know it’s a right turn ok?”

 

The Blatant Lie

What I say – “Yes, I’m absolutely fine”

What I actually mean – “Are you an actual moron? I told you not to delete Bake Off as it was the only thing I’ve been looking forward to watching all week, but as long as you’ve got bloody X Files recorded then that’s just fine, forget it!” *heads for the wine*

It did get me thinking what does everyone else do?  I have friends who think nothing of having a ‘spat’ in front of the kids as they believe it teaches them how to reason, mediate and that it’s ok to disagree as long as you’re seen to ‘make up’.

Others just seem to never feel the need to argue, and the thought of raising their voices in front of the little ones is just not an option.

I like to think we’ve struck a ‘happy medium’ between the two.  I don’t think our kids should think we are perfect and that nothing annoys us and think that the world is always just hunky dorey.  They should see how to handle situations where we disagree, or just annoy each other for no specific reason, and that as long as we make up in front of them and daddy says “sorry” (!) then it’s ok so have ‘off’ days.

Do you have any techniques for this situation? Do you argue in front of the kids? What do you think is right or wrong?

 

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My Do’s & Don’ts of Maternity Leave

 

The Naïve Dream: This is my 2nd time on maternity leave. The 1st time I naively planned too much to do.  I was to write that novel. I was going to start my own business, I was going to join the gym and finally get back into those size 10 jeans that have been in my cupboard since I was 17, and I was going to ‘find myself’!  It’s hilarious when you think about it! *cringes*

The Reality Check: I returned to work after 10 months. Three years later here I am again and I still have a wish list, it’s just more realistic! We all know we don’t ever actually get ‘me’ time anymore and it’s even more rare with a newborn AND a toddler to look after, but I’m learning to time manage.

Time Management: Time is precious.  My toddler goes to nursery 3 days a week. I know my toddler is getting the stimulation and education she needs at nursery, which I can’t give her at the moment with a newborn. These 3 ‘golden days’ are rigorously routined to make sure I make the most out of my time.

Of course, apart from the feeding, the bathing, the tummy time and everything else that comes with a newborn, it is possible to find some ‘me’ time.

I DON’T:

  • Turn the TV on – If the TV goes on then before I know it I’m a Loose Woman sat eating a bowl of Coco Pops and there’s a couch with my name on it.  5pm would arrive and I would have entered 3 competitions to win a car, voted on which anti- wrinkle cream do I think is the best value for money and watched a group of jobless adulterers with no teeth fight about who slept with the dog…
  • Do a Big Clean – I would spend whole days sorting out clothes, cleaning cupboards nobody goes in and tidying random drawers that nobody cares about.  The truth is that the house will always be untidy with 2 children, so now I just tidy as I go and try not leave everything for one day.
  • Go Shopping – I do all my food shopping online, I get milk delivered and anything else I need I pick up either on the way to or from nursery so it’s done before 9am. The thought of walking aimlessly and hopelessly around Sainbury’s  trying to remember what I need because I’ve left my shopping list on the kitchen table at home makes me want to cry!

I DO….

  • Read and write – I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to have a multi- million pound book deal in place before I have to go back to work (or ever) but I can take enjoyment from reading and blogging.
  • Take pictures – I love photography but don’t often get time to use my camera. Editing takes sooo long and also filing them, saving them and backing them all up.  I’m currently organising over 3,000 images I have of the family into photo books *collapses*
  • Get to a toddler group – To be honest I’m not a great fan.  I do like the odd get together with other like- minded mums and dads but with a newborn I sometimes find it more trouble than it’s worth. I occasionally attend one with my newborn and toddler on non-nursery day but I’m not sure yet if I attend out of guilt or whether any of us actually gain from it.  When time is precious you’ve got to be picky.  I don’t want to talk about piles and nipple cream.  I want my company to be worthwhile and first and foremost a benefit to my kids.

I’ve learned that there’s no more waiting for a ‘quiet time’ or for a ‘clear’ week in the calendar because something will always crop up to fill in that time.  I have to make time for small achievable goals because before I know it I’ll be back at my office desk wishing I was back on maternity leave!

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Being a Mum Has Made Me Thick!

My recent lack of drive, enthusiasm and passion for writing has sent me into a slight depression. It was literally the only thing I was good at before I became a Mum!  It was bad enough after my first born, but having just given birth for a second and final time…*ponders for a split second about having a third* NO! …the thinking part of my brain seems to have become detached from the rest of my body.  Just some examples of things that are now accepted as the norm in my life include:

  • Starting every sentence with erm, yeah, so, er, um…
  • Calling my daughter my son’s name, my husband my daughter’s name and my son the dog’s name…
  • Just accepting that sometimes I put the marmite on my toast before the butter
  • Being really good (and impressively quick) at getting everyone out of the house to nursery, going shopping, getting home and doing the ironing etc.
  • The reality to the above bullet point is that breakfast is served in the car (usually toast with marmite/butter) I ALWAYS lose my shopping list before ever getting to the supermarket, and I’d love to say I get the ironing done, but the truth is I’ve often forgot to even put a wash on.
  • I plan each day thinking I’ll get at least an hour to myself, and in those few and far between ‘hours’ I spend the time making a list of the things I should’ve done today but will have to now wait until tomorrow!
  • And repeat for the next 7 days.
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8 Ways Our Toddler Says ‘I Love You’

I may only be 2 yrs old but I can tell my Mummy and Daddy exactly what I need (want). My actions speak much louder than my words!

When I put on the wrong shoes, or when Mummy gives me the wrong biscuit I scream and shout. It’s the only way I know how to tell my Mummy ‘I Love You’!!

When you helped me with my colouring book, teaching me to keep in between the lines. I kept scribbling all over the page so hard that the paper ripped and I drew all over the table!

That was so much fun and I tried to say sorry by drawing a heart on your arm but you took the pens off me.

When you lovingly cooked me a hot delicious, nutritious meal and I said “urghh don’t like it” so that Daddy will play the aeroplane game with me. I push the food off the fork and it goes all over the floor!  You say “no dessert for you unless you eat your dinner!”  It’s so funny that game, and you let me play that one nearly every night!2015-05-23 20.16.34

I leave you my favourite stickers on the doors and walls so that when you are on your own they will remind you of me!

 
I tore a page from my favourite book to keep under my bed. It reminds me of when you do that funny wolf noise in the story and he comes to eat the children and we scream and shout together.

I look at that page every night and the safest place I can keep it is be under my bed.

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And sometimes when I’m tired and I shout out things like ‘Put Dora on TV! ’ or ‘I want sweeties! ’, what I’m really saying is ‘I love you’.

I love to empty your purse of all those receipts and rip them up! That’s me letting you know that there’s no need to return those clothes you bought because you look beautiful in all of them!

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You get annoyed when I play with your lipstick but that’s because I want to be like you Mummy and look like you Mummy.

 

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Finally, when you are rushing to get me to nursery and you need to get to work and I take so long to do ANYTHING!

I take my time eating my porridge and spill a bit on my top so you have to change my clothes.

I put my shoes on the wrong feet and ask you to help me.

You get annoyed when you do my hair and I pull it all out. I sometimes throw a tantrum and hide under the table.

But the truth is, once I’m at nursery I won’t get to see you for the rest of the day.

In fact I do all this at bedtime too because I want to spend every minute I can with you.
 
I love you.

Can you pass me that biscuit please and pop Peppa Pig on TV before bed?  X

 

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A Strategy for Maternity Leave

A Strategy for Maternity Leave
A Strategy for Maternity Leave

So, my maternity leave started four whole weeks before my due date. It was the first time I would have had a year off working since I left college in 1998. A whole year away from office banter, clocking in, emails about how my pension was diminishing the older I got, colleagues bitching about ‘her’ in finance, and meetings with toffee nosed graduates in suits, I was ecstatic!

I strategically planned the next 12 months with precision.

I was going to change my life so that I didn’t have to go back to work, and my plan looked a bit like this…

table 1
Table 1: Project task for achieving ‘Not Going Back to Work’. (See appended spreadsheet for Preliminary Indicative Costs)

Task 1 – Write a Book

Projected Outcome – Write a best selling book and make approximately £500k in sales to achieve not going back to work.

Actual Outcome – I decided on a title and the ending…I got ‘writer’s block’ around 4 months into my leave and my brain just stopped thinking. I started to write lists. I wrote lists about lists! I even added things to the list things I’d already done so I could just tick them off.

I did however manage to keep a baby diary for the full term of my pregnancy and I also half completed three ‘Baby’s First Year’ books I received as presents. Task completed.

Task 2 – Start a Business

Projected Outcome – Start Business (work from home) to achieve not going back to work. To elegantly swoon downstairs of a morning for a 9am start, buying and selling, making profit and securing investors into my niche market.

Actual Outcome – Bottles, nappies, playtime, food shopping, cleaning, tidying, walking the dog. I’D CALL THAT WORKING FROM HOME! Task completed.

Task 3 –Learn a New Language

Projected Outcome – Again…elegantly swoon into a French Patisserie in Paris and have a conversation with the locals imbedding myself in local culture and hosting wine tasting evenings from my chateau in Brittany. (Using profits from the book to fund Task 3)

Actual Outcome –  I know what mam, bindy, hiya, abble, yish, all gog, wowo, elloo, fshhh, botbot, barf, all mean without a translator or baby language dictionary. Expert in baby language. Task completed.

Task 4 – De- Clutter (have a ‘big sort’)

Projected Outcome – De-clutter and live by ‘clean house, clean mind’.

Actual Outcome – Got rid of a lot of my stuff and replaced it with bigger baby stuff. Now need extension or move house to store more ‘stuff’. Task completed.

Summary

See? I did achieve everything I set out to achieve, just not in the way I thought I would!

I also managed to keep up my work life routine:

Attended Meetings –  Ante-natal, baby group, health visitor

Met Deadlines –  Feeding, bathtime, bedtime, teatime, naptime, daddy time, me time

Strategically Planned –  Prepared and packed correct items for days out, walks, visiting friends and family.

Finance Management – Budget?  What’s that?

Extra Hours – 24hours with no extra pay or holiday entitlement

Conclusion- My real job? Being a Mum.

My really important job
My really important job

What things did you plan to do on Maternity Leave?

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9 Toys Our Toddlers Really Want To Get Their Hands On

Ever wondered why our toddlers love to play with EVERYTHING that there not supposed too?

My daughter, Florence is almost 2 years old and yes she’s the type to want to play with the box that the toy arrived in. Out of a line up of toys and boring grey metal stuff she would prefer the boring grey metal stuff.

photo 1
Spot the boring stuff.

Toddler: OOOh a pen! Stick it my pocket, hide it down the couch, stick it in a plug socket, hear my mum scream “OUCH!” Tastes nice too.
Mummy: I can never find a pen
Toddler: OOOh fluff on a stick! Suck them and squeeze them and stick them down my nappy! Pull them and swallow them these make me so happy!
Mummy: I can never find a cotton bud
Toddler: OOOh goggles! Mummy and Grandma wear these on their eyes, it makes them laugh when I put them on but not when I stretch the sides!
Mummy: I can never find my glasses
Toddler: OOOh a phone “HIYA, HIYA, HIYA, OOOH, HIYA, HIYA, HIYA, HIYA, OOOH, HIYA, HIYA, HIYA” Sometimes it makes a big loud noise and flashes and Mummy ignores it. Daddy hides it down the couch then Mummy can’t always find it.
Mummy: Where IS the phone?

photo 2

Toddler: Ooh a face to put my fingers in! Holes, and prongs and switches and wires, there’s loads in every room! They make music, and sounds and warm fuzzy fires and glass bulbs full of perfume!
Mummy: I should clean more around the plug sockets.

photo 1 (3)
Toddler: More grey metal stuff! Mine is blunt and small and pink and doesn’t make any loud sounds. The shiny one goes crash, bang, clock, clink when I throw it to the ground!
Mummy: Why do I not have a dish washer?

photo 3
I’ve blurred out the dust

Toddler: Ooh a cap! Take it off, put it back on, hide it under the chair. Taking it off, Dad grabs it off me, life is SO UNFAIR!
Mummy: I really should clean more behind the radiators.

photo 1 (2)
Crocs..what can I say I’m a terrible mother

Toddler: I like pink shoes, brown shoes, green shoes, yellow shoes, and ones where I can wear socks. I hate blue shoes, plastic shoes, holey shoes, and waterproof shoes – these aren’t even proper CROCS!
Mummy: Who’s ARE these shoes?

photo 2 (2)

Toddler: I like the big white one with all the flashing lights and the noises and the turning and the swishing and swashing and the spinning and the smells and the bubbles and the foam and the…yawn zzzzzzz
Mummy: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
What household appliances is your baby drawn to?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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