Tag Archives: parenting

Middle Of The Road Mum

I spent two glorious child-free hours sipping over-priced coffee and people watching in the city centre this morning as I waited for inspiration for this blog post to pull up a chair opposite me.

I watched 10 or 15 mums and dads with babies in buggies strolling around the shops and I noticed how we as mums fall (roughly) into three distinct groups. The first group is the shiny mums. The shiny mums have beautiful hair, usually long flowing locks that are glossy and lightly curled. They stay cosy in the winter sun wrapped in fur hooded parkas accessorised with aviator sunglasses. The shiny mums have the most flawless make-up I’ve seen outside Met Quarter MAC, and their nails are on trend nude and slightly pointed. The shiny children baffle me, they rock all white ensembles with non-scuffed patent leather shoes all year round and some how remain pristine for the ENTIRE DAY! How do the shiny people do it? Did I miss an anti-natal class on grooming? How I’d love to be a shiny mum. More chance of winning the euro millions jackpot.
I fall firmly into the second group which is the Middle Of The Road Mums. My kids go to school and nursery in clean, ironed uniforms with freshly washed and plaited hair, thoroughly brushed teeth, armed with packed lunches containing at least one piece of fruit (rarely eaten though) yet I still look like I fell into my wardrobe….in the dark. On weekdays I get up at 5 to ensure we’re all out the door by 8:15 yet with three hours to play with I still only manage a pair of Nikes, leggings, random tee and my parka. Yes my hair is clean, my teeth brushed and I manage a sweep of mascara….but I am not by any means shiny.
My hair is shoulder length and generally tied up, my parka is non-fur trimmed, but stain resistant Helly Hansen (I know, so 1996) and my handbag is a Cath Kidston soldier changing bag complete with a few half eaten baby biscotti and 4 open packets of Huggies baby wipes. I’ve even tried getting up earlier so I have more time to plan and look a bit more ‘together’ but my kids always sabotage my efforts by spilling Weetabix all over themselves or me, then there’s nose bleeds, baby sick and toothpaste stains to contend with. Shiny mums I applaud you, I’m about three years off getting my shit together!
I may not be a shiny mum, but its good to have something to aspire to. Plus it could be worse. The third category of mums are the ones who don’t seem to care enough or who have different priorities. Kids in disgustingly dirty buggies, not wearing a coat when its freezing cold, nappies bulging from not being changed. I don’t use the blog to bitch, everyone is fighting a battle of some description I know, but seeing these innocent little mucky faces being screamed at for getting Greggs sausage roll all over themselves by mums with the latest MK handbags and their lashes/nails done, just breaks my heart.
Kids come first right? Shiny or covered in Weetabix!
GG
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International Women’s Day

Morning!

Happy International Women’s Day, today is dedicated to women and just how bloody amazing we are!

I’m surrounded by strong women in my family and friends. Some are stay at home mums, company execs, some consistently blow me away with their natural talent and flair in floristry, baking and cake decorating, medicine and nutrition, fitness and well being……not to mention my friends in the armed forces. They all deserve the utmost of respect and beneath what they do for a living, all of these women are the most amazing friends and mentors a girl could ask for. They all love to have lazy days in their pjays, dress up in their heels, read, shop, work out, act daft with their kids and unite in their mutual love of wine consumption. Since moving back to the city and facing the challenges that 2014 brought, I’ve never felt more grateful for having them in my life.

Women Rock

We women are just awesome. Life’s multi-taskers! I regularly manage to bath my kids while simultaneously having a pee, restocking the toilet roll, cleaning the dried toothpaste off the sink and soaking up the tidal wave of bathwater with the bath mat! Are you nodding? You do it too right?

On the world stage there has been much talk of pay equality, the press went wild at the Oscars where Patricia Arquette made a resounding speech, supported by cheering and whooping from fellow A-listers Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez. There are varying reports on what percentage women are paid less than men, and it varies by industry too. Whatever the percentage, anything less for the doing the same job as a man, is just plain wrong. I live in hope that the more publicity and high profile backing this issue gets, the more likely a positive outcome will be…..and soon. I’m not going to go on a feminist rant (that’s a blog post in itself) but I will be writing a post about how mothers are treated differently in the world of work. Watch this space.

So back to us amazing women……I want to highlight a trend on Twitter #womencrushwednesday and encourage more women to support each other by posting a pic or brief description of a woman you admire and tagging it #wcw. It started out as just a daft celebrity thing, but hey, why not spread the love and bring it to the masses!

Women, keep doing what you’re doing because you rock!

I would like to dedicate today’s blog to Judith Arnett and Rebecca Gould, in loving memory

GG

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Terrible Twos..Threes…Fours..

Earlier this week my youngest daughter celebrated her second birthday at a fancy dress party with her sister and some friends at the camp soft play area. One of the main topics of conversation (along with potty training, fussy eaters and reluctance to eat anything that’s not coated in chocolate) was the impending ‘Terrible Twos’. I told my friends that I wasn’t expecting to see so much of a change in my daughter as she is mainly well-behaved and pleasant (you can see where this is going already can’t you?) and as I had already endured this phase with my eldest daughter, I was prepared for an easy ride.

Butter Wouldn't Melt

You Smell The Flower Mummy

Since Monday my daughter has been in the naughty corner a total of 5 times, that’s an average of once a day for each time she has thrown a strop, a crayon or her juice cup across the room. (You may remember she has a flair for throwing after the pig incident) Suddenly she is incredibly possessive of her things and will shout her little lungs out if I dare to interfere. I took her to coffee morning yesterday so she could play with the other little ones (while I ate two..that’s two pieces of cheesecake!) Once she’d wrapped her little mitts around the handles of the baby pram there was no going back, if another child even looked at the pram she raised her voice so show it was her toy and she was not sharing! However just seconds later she was sat on the floor sharing pots and pans and playing at the kitchen nicely. I think my toddler has prematurely turned into a teenager! Talk about mood swings!

I’ve started reading up on the current techniques for dealing with such behaviour. Super Nanny suggests I continue with the naughty corner and that consistency is the key. Bounty suggests I give my toddler a choice so that she has a feeling of control ‘Would you like to play with the pram or come and play with the kitchen’ and Baby Centre says we should hug it out! Hmmmm got to say I agree with Super Nanny and will continue to enforce time out for unacceptable behaviour……I’m also block booking hair-dressing appointments as I’m going grey at an alarming rate!

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Aww You Guys

Leah & Marc

Leah & Marc

Okay look I’m sorry…..I’ve gotten into this really bad habit of writing half a blog post and then being distracted by cute cats pictures on either Facebook or Twitter and then ultimately not finishing the blog post and before you know it three weeks have gone by without so much as a sentence! You’re all probably happy for the break…aren’t you? Well tough because I’m back and I have good news, no moaning Minnie from me, it’s all super cheery positives for this post so if you’re in a crappy mood you have two options, you can try to lighten-up and read on or bog off. Decisions decisions?! (ps, I just wandered back on to Facebook for a minute there as well haha) I think it’s really important to celebrate life’s little (and big) achievements and more importantly to spread good news and make others smile, so if you’re ready and your seat is in the upright position…let’s go congratulating! First up on our happy roller-coaster today; huge congrats to my lovely friend Leah and her new husband Marc, they tied the knot on Monday at the stunning Thornton Hall, Wirral after dating for FOREVER! I want to wish them all the love and luck in the world for their future together. I’ve known Leah since I was 11 and just seeing her looking so effortlessly elegant in her gown made me well up! Much love to you both, lovely people. More congratulations to my fabulous friends Andy and Claire who are celebrating their engagement in Dundee this weekend, I’m absolutely gutted the girls and I can’t be there to celebrate but we shall indeed lift a glass of Ribena to you on Saturday night! Andy and Claire have the most amazing little dog called Percy (the Pomeranian) who I’m going to dog-nap when they go on holi……oh did I say that out loud?

Claire & Andy

Claire & Andy

Next up a different kind of celebration, but news to celebrate none the less. My wonderful little sister just completed her first year exams at uni and is now free for three months of non-stop partying, well done spud I’m very proud of you! And keeping it in the family my lovely older sister has just secured a place in the Great North Run and I’m ecstatic that we’ll all be there to support her with a huge banner (and most likely indulge in the pre-race carb-loading and post-race drinks).

My final congratulations (you’ll be pleased to hear) goes to my two beautiful daughters because they have done an amazing job of keeping me occupied (toddler assaulting pensioners and 7 year-old practising recorder all hours) and keeping my mind off missing Geordie, well done girlies, Mum loves you both very much…….One final note, how cool am I to have such good-looking friends?

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Keep On Doing Something

Okay so I’m back on the fit wagon, for how long this time, who knows? Here are the bare bones of the situation…

I am living on an RAF base 15 miles from the nearest town, I can’t drive and my designated driver (Geordie) is away for the next three months. I spend my days engrossed in the latest episode of Mr. Bloom’s Nursery, while my 19 month old toddler swan dives off various soft play equipment. I drink too much coffee and eat a bit too much cake. (I actually text my friend Rachel on Thursday morning in crazed capitals no less, at 7:30am demanding she go with me to the coffee shop for Victoria sponge, so you see I have a problem). I also have a little pooch who, as a border terrier cross-breed requires a good couple of miles walk at least once a day, so sitting on my ever-expanding arse sampling the new coffee shop carrot cake isn’t really benefiting anyone!

I promised myself that I would ‘smash ‘Insanity‘ this time around. With Geordie out-of-the-way and not admonishing me like my high school P.E teacher for not training everyday (and how he loves to do that which ends with me resenting him for being fit as a butchers dog….do people still say that?) I thought I stood a better chance of getting into a strict routine and ultimately start to look and feel better about myself. But alas it would seem that after a 6 day cycle I can’t stand the sight nor gloating sound of Shaun T, and I am still convinced he is trying to kill me. Insanity isn’t for me, and if you’re reading this Geord, I’m not sorry because I gave it a good go…..twice x

So almost four weeks into my so-called training routine I have completely sacked off Insanity, eaten a fair bit of cake, chocolate hobnobs, custard creams and went a bit mad and had chips, curry and Irn Bru for dinner tonight. I didn’t just fall off the wagon, I obliterated it! As with any downfall there must be a turning point, the phoenix rising from the ashes…or crumbs in my case! And I have my wonderful friends, who also eat cake, to thank for my epiphany!

Defiant Toto will get blown away for good one day

Defiant Toto will get blown away for good one day!

I have discovered that despite the fact that I live behind the wire and currently have to rely on my friends and family to escape the gold-fish bowl, there is a way to get your heart rate up and burn a few calories………..no not perving at all those cute guys in uniform…but the windy, unforgiving perimeter road! Rachel (from the earlier cake story) and me decided the weather was nice enough for a power stroll with our little ones and earlier this week we set off around the airfield assuming it was somewhere around 2-3 miles in distance…only to be completely battered by what felt like hurricane strength winds, while jets flew over head adding to the buffering, making essential gossiping impossible. We eventually made it, bedraggled into air traffic control to ask (read as beg) if there was a quicker route back to the residential side of camp. Sadly the answer from the smug looking airman was no and so we re-wrapped the children up in their buggies and headed back down the perimeter road, at times clinging on for dear life as the weather closed in. Finally reaching the safety of a built up area an hour later we calculated that we’d power walked (been pushed) 6 miles and vowed to continue our healthy start by not opening the biscuit tin the moment we stepped in the front door…..I lasted two hours and that was only because there was jelly in the fridge, which hardly touched the sides as I cleaned the pot. Even though it felt a bit hard going at times, it was fun. We talked about all manner of random things, the kids mainly slept and my dog didn’t poop anywhere near the runway so that’s a bonus!

Since our first escapade at the beginning of the week I’ve clocked up 18 miles of heart racing power walking and jogging and I’m really pleased that on nights like tonight, when I’ve eaten dinner and gotten a bit bored with the ironing, my first instinct is to stick on my Nike’s, wrap the little one up and head out with Toto for an hour’s fresh air….even if we don’t end up back in Kansas!

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The Importance of Being Kind

When was the last time you were kind to someone? You know, did something nice or complimented somebody because you knew it would make them smile? I think kindness is a quality to be treasured, especially in times when it’s far too easy to criticise, judge and even bully just by clicking a mouse. I teach my children to be kind, to play nicely with other kids (which they do for an hour or so) and share their things willingly. It’s when I see them having fun like this, so innocently that I worry the most about them becoming teenagers and forgetting to be kind to one another, so wrapped up in the daily pressures of school and Facebook!

Random acts of kindness make the headlines now which is a lovely way to end the national news bulletin after a week of bombings, funerals, murders and the fatal Texas explosion just this morning. It’s a huge annoyance that social networking sites like Facebook are becoming constant streams of like-this-image-if-you-care updates, especially the ‘My Dad said he’ll buy me a car if I get a million likes’ Oh bog off and finish your coursework will you? My Twitter feed regularly features celebrity RT requests for the most ridiculous of causes……hence only really following one celebrity (does that make me a stalker?).

I really think it’s about time we all started being a bit nicer to each other. We’re always telling our kids to do it, so instead of  a bitchy comment or turning a blind eye how about offering a helping hand, a kind word or a compliment once in a while? I’ll tell you what….I’ll get the ball rolling….

I don’t know what you’ve done with your hair…but you are looking fabulous!

Okay…..your turn.

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The Small Hands of Destruction

I have lost my temper more times than I care to remember this weekend and it’s all thanks to the little people in my life.

When my eldest was born I fully accepted the fact that it would be totally impractical to have nice-things in our home as at some stage of her development the nice-things would be ruined, broken or at the very least snotted on. For seven and a half years I have gone without designer cushions on my DFS easily cleaned sofa, I’ve longed for a rug that doesn’t have a jigsaw of stains all over it and sometimes I can’t contain my bitter disappointment at losing my favourite floor standing lamp thanks to an over excited game of pull the dog by his tail. I know, I had a favourite floor lamp…..maybe I need help?

drawing-on-walls

This weekend my youngest monster, who has now firmly taken over the reins as master of destruction, has poured beakers of juice on the sofa, mashed her lunch into the dining table, pee’d on my duvet and laughed hysterically as she drew a multitude of murals on the walls around our home. She watched me wash the sofa cushions after the last soaking episode, I scrubbed the hall walls clean of pencil marks just last week and I’ve given up on the dining table!  Don’t get me wrong, I know most families go through this stage and it’s not like I didn’t expect it, I’m just growing weary of child-friendly furnishings and spending my mornings ensuring all the crayons are safely locked away.

design heaven

My dream house would be predominantly white, purely because I can’t have anything white for at least another 5 years. We’ve not had a coffee table since 2006 after eldest daughter decided to head-butt the corner of our solid oak rectangular table resulting in a small but lasting scar on her forehead. Whenever I see a coffee table I’d like to purchase I look at her Harry Potter style scar and put my Visa card back into my purse. Maybe I could buy a round coffee table?

It’s not like I’m counting down the days (1826) until my kids are responsible enough to not jump from one sofa to the other or use the curtain tie-backs as snakes/pony reins/skipping ropes but I am really looking forward to decorating just one room for me. I’d love to line an entire wall with bookcases, buy fragile decorative items and fill the room with rectangular tables, white cushions and diamond chandelier floor lamps….. maybe one day.

 

 

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We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat

I’m scared of the dark, there I’ve said it. I am a grown woman, mother of two whom I reassure and comfort from silly fears yet if I need to use the loo in the night I have to turn on all four lights en route to the bathroom. Last night we were driving home over 30 miles of moor land with only the car headlights and cats eyes in the road to guide our way. Having driven the same journey earlier in the day I knew we were surrounded by miles and miles of barren farm land with nothing but the odd house and herd of bewildered sheep for company. For the majority of the journey I was fraught with anxiety and consumed by thoughts of disaster and chaos. When the rain wasn’t pelting the car the fog was so dense that Geordie was reduced to driving at just 50 mph (insert sarcasm here) on the twisting narrow roads and obviously this did nothing to help my nerves, he was also getting very agitated at me telling him to ‘BLOODY SLOW DOWN’. All I was concerned about was not getting stranded out in the wilderness in the pitch black and had to busy myself with eating Cheerio’s and malted milk biscuits from our daughter’s backpack. I know my fear is silly, I’ve been ridiculed my whole life about it, Geordie says I’m scared of my own shadow, well who wouldn’t be..it’s dark!

My silly fears don’t stop there either. I watched Jaws with my brother when I was fairly young and since then I have been frightened of swimming in open water. When I go abroad or even on that one day a year that the weather is warm enough in the UK to warrant a dip in either the sea or lake, I can barely manage to get thigh deep before the panic sets in and off I run like a great white is nipping at my heels. I can’t even stomach one of those fish pedicure treatments, yuck. The thought of having fish swim around my feet and legs makes me very uneasy. My Mum tells me that when I was born in a suburb of Sydney, Australia she took me down to the beach at less than 10 weeks old and unceremoniously chucked me in the sea. I’m not sure how long babies have the under-water breath holding reflex but it’s no wonder I’m not a keen swimmer, Jaws has nothing on my Mum!

As a Mum myself I appreciate the importance of not imposing my fears on my children and our two regularly go swimming in the safety of the local pool without fear of me launching them into the deep end without so much as an armband.

NaBloPoMo

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The Saturday Strop

I love being a mum, I love seeing my children playing together, laughing and ultimately fighting and pulling each others hair. My girls are still relatively young and we’ve not yet reached the demanding teenage years, although my eldest is doing her best to keep up with the big girls already! She is now forming opinions about what she does and doesn’t want to wear, and how such and such at school has just got the new Lelli Kelly’s to wear with her school Summer uniform and can we buy some? I wrote a blog not long ago about how the kids of today are so much more fashion conscious than I ever was aged 6, you can read it here

Not long after my eldest daughter was born we were photographed for the local newspaper for a shopping feature. That year I went a bit mad when I found out I was having a girl and literally blew the top off my credit and store cards. The Next sale has an awful lot to answer for as their Summer sale happens just weeks before my girls birthdays every year and I considered it a crime to not kit them out for another 12 months. I suppose you have to admit you have a problem when it makes the local news eh? You wont be surprised to learn that it was this attitude that ultimately got me into a lot of trouble financially, but that blog will take some serious thought before I make it public.

One thing I absolutely abhor about shopping with children is that the kids department is always on the top floor of most high street stores. In Liverpool city centre alone I can name and shame the following: Clarks, H&M, Boots, Primark, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Debenhams. Even my love of Next’s children’s wear has taken a beating as their kids section is in the basement, yet another lift ride to endure before being able to flash the cash. On behalf of all parents out there struggling to get through a Saturday shopping trip without having a complete meltdown, thank you for adding the saga of store lifts to our worn patience. Anyone else noticed that you end up doing at least two full circuits of all floors before reaching your destination as perfectly able-bodied, child-free people insist on clogging up the lifts despite there being copious amounts of stairs and escalators at their convenience! Arghh, it’s making me angry just writing about it. We all know that kids fashion is never going to be conveniently situated on the ground floor as it doesn’t entice enough impulse buyers, but thank the lord for the likes of Mothercare who are understandably market leaders in child friendly stores. To be fair though the Liverpool city centre store is split over two floors with no lift, but the staff are extremely helpful and I’ve witnessed them carrying many a buggy up the short flight of stairs.

Fortunately the team at the Liverpool One complex has begun to make small efforts toward enhancing family shopping. I have seen staff now casually watching the public lifts and ensuring they are available for people with prams and wheelchairs, rather than those who can easily use the near by escalators and stairs. I understand that this can be a particularly difficult thing to judge, as not everyone has a visible disability, but so far so good.

So to all the parents who can identify with this frustration, if we pool what little patience we have left maybe one of two of us could enjoy a stroll around the shops at the weekend. Failing that accept every babysitting opportunity from anyone daft enough to offer and shop like there’s no tomorrow.

Happy Shopping!

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