A mum of 2 trying to stay sane in an overly airbrushed world.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

ParAnting 101

This week it was my birthday; another year older, wiser and closer to being within the realms of being called 'middle aged'.

The descent into wisdom is enlightening - surely I must be making better life choices. I know I give less and less of a f**k what people think as time goes by, and that is nothing but positive. The amound of irritation I feel from 'life' however maybe not... 

If you're familiar with the concept of the TV show 'Room 101' you'll know its a show where you can banish 3 items of annoyance from existence.

Sadly my lack of celeb-status means I'm unlikely to make it on the guest list, so I thought instead I would write a post on what from the world of parenting really annoys me.
Here goes: 

10. Bath toys. They turn even the most chic of bathrooms into an instant shit tip; i've yet to find a decent vessel to act as storage, and anyone with the knowledge on preventing everything being filled with water and slowly turning black needs to DM me immediately!

9. Sweet/plastic shit machines. We all know the type, lurking in the corners of shops and car parks where you've already spent a fortune. £1 is the minimum required spend to make the magical wheel of random plastic shit generation turn to reveal the useless item going home with you today.    

8. Rides outside supermarkets. I've become a master of the 'oh look its broken' routine - but god forbid I see some stupid parent allowing their child on one in view of mine. Bloody tantrum tantilising hell placed in parents way of getting shit done! 

7. Swimming pools. From the moment you walk in its annoying. Why we pay for the pleasure of an experience which involves removing shoes it took an hour to get on; or worse still trying to put blue shoe covers on before you've even started undressing. Once you locate a family changing room the real 'fun' begins as you try to get 2 children ready without losing them underneath the gap between the changing room and the floor or slip and concuss themselves on the wet concrete floor. 10 mins of splashing in cold water later and its time to get out. Its then time to get you and your children dressed in extreme clammy circumstances. If you've ever tried to re-enter a pair of skinny jeans in a changing room you'll know what I mean! HELL.

6. Nappy bins. An unnecessary gadget in the domestic home - I can understand them in larger places with high foot fall...but if you've ever inhaled too quickly after opening and closing one you'll know why this is here. #backdraft 

5. Kids menus. The kids version of buffet bingo - chips, nuggets, chips, sausage, beans, chips, burger, spag bol, cheeseburger and more chips! It baffles me that there is yet to be somewhere I have visited to just offer smaller portions of the normal menu for kids...

4. Toilets with no change table. Nice family day out, have managed to dress up for the occasion and feel reasonably good about yourself. Cue baby answering a call of nature and needing a nappy change - only to discover you're in a venue with everything but a change table. How many times have you changed a nappy on a floor, toilet siston, toilet seat and strip you of any remaining dignity. My own personal favourite was a teething leaky poo moment mid-christening...nothing better than crouching in heels on a church toilet floor. 

3. Party bags. Not necessary. You've just shelled out on entertaining your nearest, dearest and their offspring. Bags full of plastic shit, crayons and little toys to be choked on really don't add to the experience. I know its controversial but I don't like them OK!? Sorry, not sorry!

2. Mis-use of parent and child spaces. There are a few types of violation in this category, the quickest to spring to mind are: 

  • not having a child. 
  • having a child seat but no child in the car.  
  • use of the spaces when your child is technically a young adult. 

One of my proudest mum moments was confronting a lady (nearing pension age) who parked a soft top 'extreme high end' car in the last parent and child spaces in an M&S car park. I kindly informed her that she had parked in a space for parents with children (plenty of other spaces were available), she responded by telling me she had dropped her kids round the other side of the shopping park - well many arguments sprung to mind but the most obvious was that her children were of an age to be left independently to walk around a busy shopping park?! Why park in a space with loads of space to unload from all doors for any other reason than to protect her 'real' baby - the car. She basically sneered at me and continued in to do her M&S food shop with an audience of spectators around the trolley park as I continued to tell her she was extremely selfish, rude and inconsiderate. 
Getting a child in a car seat out of a tight space is near impossible, i'm sure you've all had similar experiences!

1. People who choose the tables next to my family. I'm aware my children are most peoples idea of nightmare dinner guests - if I could i'd rather not sit with them. With this in mind, I will always ask for a table furthest away from other diners so not to disturb and ruin other peoples experience. Within minutes I can guarantee some idiot is asking to be put on the table right next to us in a sea of other available tables. WTF?!!! It actually makes my blood boil. Its utter madness, space invasion and highly irritating. I have to retrain myself from moving tables or actually putting my head through it.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Full Time. Part Time. All The Time.

In my experience the partner who doesn't go to work, the one who does the lions share of the childcare can be subjected to such classic cases of 'foot in mouth' disease:

"But I have to go to actual work."

"You get to have a lie in everyday."

"If I could play with the kids all day instead of work - I would." 

"Choosing and buying my families gifts is your job now." My personal favourite and the one which caused all surrounding oxygen to turn 50 shades of blue!

I'm sure you've all got your own versions of the above but such insight and wisdom from the other half can be frustrating, annoying and only ever about 20% truthful - after all most women will return to work in some form, meaning they will be work-ing, mum-ing, domestic godess-ing and partner-ing all in one. 

That's a hell of a lot of th-ings to be! 

Its not easy returning to work; back to the routine, back to caring about something more than nap times, feeds and tantrum negotiation. I returned 3 weeks ago, changing from full time to part time. I still work the equivalent of 4 days a week and it sometimes feels as though I am trying to 'have it all' but why shouldn't I have my own identity, career and earnings. 

That's the logical answer for going back - money, prospects and the future plans that see beyond school starts and when the kids can make ME a cup of tea! In reality it totally misses out the stresses of sorting childcare, being OK with your baby going to someone else for the majority of their day and then paying them most of the money you have just earnt.    

Doing this second time round...technically I'm now a pro (yeah right!), I tried to learn from the past. This time I ensured I did my ten (optional) KIT (keeping in touch) days and eased myself back into the commute, getting up at a set time and having to dress and exit the house with two children by 7:30am. I surprised myself...I enjoyed it! It was a nice break out of mum life, with a bit of adult conversation thrown in. I'll admit though, as my 'official' return date loomed and full time mum life came to an end - I did feel a certain sense of dread. 

Had I disregarded possibly the most important factor for me in returning to work? The effect on my mental health? 
Going back after baby one I was getting up an hour earlier than necessary, waking my baby through my own tears and spending my early morning playing with him or cuddling him so to turn down the churning feelings of guilt and heartbreak. 

Was this going to happen again? Would it be worse this time?   

Mentally I have been 'fine' for some months now, i'd even go as far to say I have been 'good'. The last thing I wanted was to set off on another loop of the depression roller-coaster! Ironically this transition was not what actually caused my recent and unnecessary loop de loop in to mental health mayhem. It was my own idiocy in forgetting to request my repeat prescription - then forgetting to pick it up...eventually ending up a week off my anti-depressants. 

WELL I WON'T BE FORGETTING THAT AGAIN! That week off the pills I spent in awe of how well I am doing on them and that I am no where near ready to even discuss coming off them yet. How I felt that week was like having bad PMT mixed with extreme irritability. I had to forcibly shut myself off to certain situations, triggers and people - another quick stab of memory into how life felt before I was diagnosed. It led me to a revelation...going back to work after baby two is SO MUCH better. I can only credit this to being diagnosed and treated for my depression. It's actually made work AMAZING!

Yes that's right, I described work as amazing! I literally feel like a different person at work - be that because I am a parent of two and its changed my approach or if its because I have re-found a little bit of the person that was shadowed by depression. 

Mental Health Awareness week has been and gone; my point is that every week is mental health week. Anyone out there in doubt if they are 'depressed' or sceptical that a little tablet can change anything please believe this; its blindingly obvious to me now that I have not been myself in any of the 3 years since I began pushing babies out of my vagina. If you don't feel right or you're aware of changes in your behaviour...GO AND SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR! You deserve to feel 'normal' again.
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