10 Surprising Benefits Of Sleep Deprivation For Exhausted Mums – With Tips!

Hey, You There!

You with The Purple Eyebags!

Yes, that’s right… You!….

  • Are you plagued by seemingly endless sleepless nights?
  • Does your small child operate on a relentlessly nocturnal schedule to rival that of Nosferatu?
  • Do you wake up grumpy and inert and totally unprepared to face the work / chores / school runs of the day ahead?

Well fear not, my bleary-eyed friends. Gone are the days of awakening, confused and groggy, only to feel jealous and resentful of your sleep-blessed partners and peers.

Because it turns out the joke’s on them.

In fact, there are many bonuses for perpetually reduced sleep hours. You too can reap these rewards – Just follow these tips to enrich your lives accordingly…

(Read ’em and weep, Mums of good sleepers – In your faces!)

 

**Here are 10 surprising benefits of sleep deprivation for exhausted Mums:-

1.) Raising children can be expensive. Save money by literally never going out in the evenings because you can’t stay awake beyond 9.30pm.

2.) Too tired to be arsed with makeup or doing your hair? Ideal! Improve your skin (eyebags aside) and hair, reducing exposure to unnatural chemicals by failing to apply any products whatsoever, thus allowing both to breathe au naturelle.

3.) Improve your knowledge of contemporary popular culture by spending those wakeful night hours Googling whether that bloke you saw in that thing last night was also the same bloke that was in that other thing you saw the other week.

4.) Having problems shifting that post-baby weight? No problem. Lose weight easily by being too knackered to get up and get snacks from the kitchen. (Admittedly this does sometimes backfire if you’re also too knackered to cook proper food and consequently eat an entire packet of chocolate Hobnobs for lunch, but still…)

5.) Save yourself both time and money by reducing your laundry pile. Seeing as you’re too tired to go out, you can stay in the same joggers or jammy bottoms for several days. (There’s no point getting into ‘proper clothes’ seeing as no-one’s going to see you from your permanent position on the couch watching Cbeebies with your small child today.)

6.) Improve your skills of introspection and philosophy by spending the wee hours awake with your teething / poorly / just plain wide-awake child, pondering whether reincarnation really happens and what you must have done in a past life to have to endure such a protracted phase of sleeplessness in this one.

7.) Help the environment by being too tired to do the dishes, thus saving water and reducing the amount of detergents used in your increasingly cluttered and mouldering kitchen.

8.) Improve your (online) social life no end by thoroughly plundering your twitter and facebook feeds at three o’clock in the morning. (See end of the post for more tips on this.) Enhance your interactions and engagement by posting status updates about having no sleep, so that other online Mum friends can empathise/commiserate/feel relieved it’s not them. (This will probably be the closest you come to socialising for some time, so you might as well make the best of it.)

9.) Enjoy piquing people’s interest, having developed a new and strangely alluring element of mystery during transient interactions with others, with your devil-may-care attitude and eclectic clothing choices.

10.) Fed up with your messy house, lack of personal style, and lacklustre career? Turn that lack of get-up-and-go into a big plus by lowering your expectations. Then congratulate yourself for making it through the whole day whilst staying conscious. You Go, Girl!

 

There you have it.

A veritable wealth of life enhancing features at your fingertips. I’ll bet you don’t even miss sleep now you’ve got these puppies under your hat.

Enjoy!

 

**Disclosure: This post was written following approximately 3 hours sleep. I take absolutely no responsibility for typos, factual errors, weak concepts, or grammatical faux pas.

 

Did this post tickle your fancy? Then you’ll (probably) love my other stuff too. Especially this one.

Seeing as you’re up and online anyway (see point 8) you should pop onto Facebook, give my page a wee like and follow, then join the fabulous Mum Conundrum Facebook Group, so you can moan and commiserate with other Mums whilst I entertain you with hilarious and fascinating things from me and many other corners of the Internet.

Once you’re done there have a peek at Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest too. I’ve got all sorts of weird and wonderful things for you to read and laugh at while you while away the twilight hours.

27(+1) Of The Most Ridiculous Causes of Mum Guilt… And What To Do About Them

 

Defying All Logic

Ugh… Mum Guilt.

We all get it.

I am definitely a hardcore level Mum guilt sufferer. In fact, over the course of my 7 years of Motherhood I have accumulated a veritable library of causes. A bona fide arsenal of triggers to send me into a Mum Guilt spiral.

Sometimes, after a particularly sharp pang, I tell my husband, Pete, about whatever-it-is that’s set me off. By and large I am met with a sort of bemused, logical indifference.

For him, if I am trying my best and doing what I can, the guilt should not exist… And I know he’s usually right. But it doesn’t stop the guilt.

Not one drop.

De nada.

Nil.

Nowt.

 

It’s EVERYWHERE!

Those of you who read my blog on the regs might well remember that I am prone to anxiety with a dollop of OCD thrown in for good measure, so I have often assumed that perhaps my particular brand of crazy might exacerbate matters somewhat.

However, a few school run conversations and a couple of Facebook status updates later I can confirm that, in fact, Motherhood renders us all somewhat crae crae when it comes to the things we feel guilty about.

Earlier this week, I wrote a Facebook status update about Mum Guilt, asking my friends what triggered theirs.

Several hours of procrastination later (NB: for procrastination, read – buggering about on Twitter whilst half watching Netflix) 3pm rolled around and off I went on the school run.

I was shambling home with my chaotic brood and another Mum and her little girl, who is in the same class as my son.

“I was thinking about your post on Facebook this morning, and for me, today, it’s pretty much everything.” she gestured, with a weary smile…

…And really, that’s basically how it is, isn’t it? We can stress out about ANY aspect of our own parenting performance, if we deem our own performance as somehow sub-par, as decided by own (often harsh) personal system of attribution.

 

Renouncing All Common Sense

Here’s the thing: If another Mum were to approach you and regale you with her latest trigger for Mum Guilt, what would you say?

Invariably, when discussing other people’s Mum Guilt we immediately seek to reassure. To rationalise, and to justify the other Mum’s actions and/or choices. Because we get how hard things can be.

We know that we cannot spread ourselves thin enough to successfully be everything to everyone all the time.

We cannot be perfect. We’re all human. Sometimes we shout and lose patience. Sometimes we’re just done for the day and we can’t play tea parties / dinosaurs / fairies at 6pm because we’re bloody knackered.

So, yes darling, you can have my phone / the iPad / the PS4 for an hour because frankly if I don’t get a few minutes peace and quiet I’m going to pop a hernia.

And that’s ok.

But when we’re judging ourselves, all bets are off. Holy Moly we’re in for a rough old ride.

 

The Mum Guilt Loop

Mum Guilt is relentlessly futile. For me, there are two main triggers, being impatient, and shouting. In both cases I feel like I’m in a continual loop of Situation: Reaction: Guilt: Repeat. It’s wearing and stressful, and utterly pointless. For example:-

I lose my patience and shout at my oldest two. I won’t lie… I do this ALOT.

In fact, when we moved house 3 years ago, I became convinced that my neighbours had started think of me as ‘That Shouty Woman Who Lives On Our Street.’

My house is loud. With a toddler, a four year old, and a six year old rampaging up and down our creaky three story semi, noise levels reach defcon 9 on an hourly basis. Also, I have never been super-patient. As a Mum I have found ways to stretch it, but I’m not intrinsically blessed.

My kids are high spirited and intelligent, which is great – a fact of which I am proud. It also means that they can be spectacularly shit at listening and doing what they’re told. Chuck in the element of time pressure into this mix and BOOM! Here comes Shouty Mummy!

 

Shouty Mummy

This particularly explosive cocktail is served most term-time mornings, usually reaching a peak around 8.15am.

The air rings thick with:

WHY HAVEN’T YOU BRUSHED THEM YET?!! YOU WENT UPSTAIRS 2O MINUTES AGO!”

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T YOU FIND YOUR SHOES, I’VE LITERALLY JUST GOT THEM OUT!”

and “GET YOUR BLOODY SHOES ON NOW!!!

usually rounded off with “ARGHH!! WE’RE LATE. AGAIN!!!! IF YOU DON’T GET YOUR COAT ON IN THE NEXT TWO MINUTES I’M TAKING AWAY SCREEN TIME FOR A WEEK!

I’m tired and exasperated as we leave the house, and once #1 and #2 have been dropped off at their respective class entrances the relief is palpable. But by the time I turn the buggy around and reach the end of the road, There it is, in all it’s relentless glory.

“I should have been more patient…”

“Oh God… I hope they’re ok…”

“…What if all this scars them for life?!?…”

“I was *horribly* shouty back there…”

“I’m literally ruining my children’s childhood…”

Aaaand repeat, ad nauseam, until 3pm pick-up when the little cherubs skip merrily into my arms, joyful that their school day has ended, not a care in sight, and hoping for a cheeky mini packet of Haribos on the way home.

 

27(+1) Of The Most Ridiculous Causes of Mum Guilt… Take Your Pick

The more I talked with other Mums about this the more obvious it is to me that the vast majority of Mum Guilt triggers are totally unavoidable scenarios that are just part and parcel of our daily lives.

Lots of us have obscure and totally random reasons for it. The best I’ve heard recently was: “When I look in the fridge and we’ve run out of yoghurts. I feel MAJOR mum guilt… it’s his favourite thing in the world to eat, how could I possibly be too busy with other things not to realise we were running low?! Feels like such a tiny thing but THE GUILT!!!!!” (thanks Hayley, for this particularly bonkers example)

So… Yeah… Yoghurt.

Ridiculous, right?

In fact, to illustrate the ridiculousness of Mum Guilt, I’ve put together a list of some of the recurrent themes myself and other Mums have experienced. Here are 27 stellar examples:-

  1. Having an emergency C-section
  2. Not being able to breastfeed
  3. Using the cry it out sleep method out of total desperation
  4. Not making home-made food during weaning (I kid you not)
  5. Not going to enough toddler groups
  6. Having siblings
  7. Not having siblings
  8. Not taking them out enough
  9. Not arranging enough playdates
  10. Shouting too much
  11. Not being patient enough
  12. Not being consistent enough
  13. Blaming yourself if your kids are fussy eaters (also, see next)
  14. Not making healthy enough food (because sometimes cooking all those veg just for them to sit on your kid’s plate going cold before getting hefted unceremoniously into the bin just doesn’t seem worth the hassle)
  15. Going back to work
  16. Not going back to work
  17. Being too tired to play with them in the evenings
  18. Using the telly / iPad / phone as a babysitter (because how the hell else are you going to get the dinner on?)
  19. Getting them to help out
  20. Not letting them help out
  21. Arranging childcare
  22. Getting short-tempered with them at bedtime / in the mornings
  23. Feeling relief once they’ve gone to bed / after you’ve dropped them at school or nursery
  24. Not being psychic
  25. Not being everywhere at once
  26. Doing literally anything by or for yourself
  27. Stressing out about feeling guilty

Let’s take a while to let these all sink in shall we? Because I’m using this as conclusive proof that Mum guilt is insane.

 

You are NOT to be trusted!

Usually in my posts I try to encourage Mums to trust their instincts and go with their gut when it comes to all things Mumming. Today, however, I am saying the precise opposite.

If you start feeling Mum Guilt, I want you to ignore the shit out of it. Listen to your friends or your partner when they tell you not to worry about it. Chill the f*ck out, you’re doing ok!

Channel your inner Pete – Logical indifference is the thing….

…. And when if all that fails, there’s always wine. Tomorrow is another day.

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Cheers Motherlovers!

love, Kate

Special thanks this week to these lovely bloggers, who shared their most mental Mum Guilt moments, made me chuckle, feel relatively normal, and helped illustrate how bonkers it all is. Muchos thanks to:- Erica, Kate, Jenny, Luscha, Catherine, Beth, Victoria, Danielle, Victoria, Abi, Eva, Jo, Georgina, Sarah, Renee, and Melanie.

If you liked this blog, why not check out some of my other shizzle here, you might find this one particularly handy if you’re having one of those days. You’ll also (probably) love The Mum Conundrum facebook group – it’s sure to ease your Mum Guilt. My Facebook page has lots of funny and interesting stuff on it too …A like and a follow is always welcome, you know ;0)

I’m also on twitter quite a bit, so do say hello if that’s your bag.

You can also email me if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like me to write about, or if you’d like to work with me. Feel free to hit me up here.

Oh, and Instagram … lest we forget x

The Most Fabulously Misguided Parenting Preconceptions, Pre-Conception

From the Sublime To The Ridiculous… 

A couple of months back I was in a Mexican street food restaurant with a couple of my friends, slightly euphoric at actually making it ‘Out’ out. The atmosphere was lively, and it was fairly packed.

Sitting on long benches, canteen style, our group was wedged firmly in between two groups of twenty-something hipsters clearly lining their stomachs before a night out on the razz.

I’m crap at keeping focussed in these types of scenarios. Mainly because other conversations are being held so close to my own that my ears tend to get distracted. I find myself zoning out of the conversation at hand and ear-wigging on the chatter of the neighbouring group.

Predictably, I was halfway through a conversation of my own when distraction struck and I overheard one of the next party along, mid-soapbox, prattling on about what they *definitely* wouldn’t do when they had kids. A passionate (and somewhat hilarious) conversation ensued.

At the point where they declared that parents shouldn’t allow their kids to have tantrums in public I snorted loudly into my chimichanga. I had to pretend I was clearing my throat to deflect them realising I was trying not to laugh.

 

We’ve All Done it

Around 6pm last night I was sitting, knackered, on the couch in my jogging bottoms, shouting at my kids to stop shouting (the irony of this statement does not escape me).

Wine in one hand, phone in the other, TV blasting Hey Duggee in the background. Taking stock of my immediate circumstances, my mind wandered to my pre-Mum days.

Pre-baby me was basically one of the misguided hipsters there in that restaurant (minus the love of craft beer and the heavily bearded boyfriend).

I had a ridiculous concept of what I thought parenting would be like, and the sort of parent I’d be.

 

My daftest ideas included:-

Natural birth – 

I was very clear about this – There was no way I would let anything hamper this natural process. I would definitely have an all natural birth. Possibly in a birthing pool. At Home. Surrounded by scented candles. With rose petals scattered around me…

Breastfeeding – 

Everyone should do it, there’s no excuse. “Because it’s the most natural thing in the world”.

Cloth Nappies –

Disposable nappies are such an irresponsible choice, man. It’s so bad for the environment.

I’ll Make Sure I Get Back Into Shape Quickly

It can’t be that hard.

It Won’t Stop Me Going Out –

I’ll still go out with my newborn baby, I’ll simply take her with me. And when my kids are older I’ll “Just get a sitter”.

I won’t shout at my kids – 

I’ll just speak to them calmly, on their level (I’ve seen Supernanny).

My Kids Won’t Be Allowed Screen Time

…And I’ll limit their telly.

I’ll Make All My Own Food

From scratch. And it’ll all be organic.

My Kids Will Only Have Educational Toys

There’s no way I’m buying battery operated plastic tatt.

I’ll Teach Them a Second Language Whilst They Are Young And Can Absorb It Quickly

Because I read about it in a magazine article one time.

I’ll NEVER Say ‘Because I Said So.’

Because if you don’t explain, they’ll never learn, silly.

 

More Of The Most Fabulously Misguided Parenting Preconceptions, Pre-Conception

And it turns out that I’m not the only one. I asked some other parents in the blogosphere what their most ridiculous pre-parent parenting ideas were, and they came up with some blinders:-

Linda from Mother Distracted – I thought I’d be drifting through flower filled meadows wearing Laura Ashley dresses with my bay strapped to my chest. It hasn’t stopped raining since 2007, Caitlin and Leuan hated the baby sling and I’ve discovered parenting can make you rather ‘tense’. 

Pete from Household Money Saving – I thought I would be very laid-back, cool, calm and collected. Plus, my kid’s friends would all love my jokes. I have failed at all 5. Or so I’m told. I think my jokes are a winner.

Jenna from Then There Were Three – Oh god.. no junk food, no TV, never in my bed, no dummies, no bad manners.. says the Mum who’s kid loves McDonald’s, her iPad and now shouts “DIE” at me! 

Hayley from Winging it With Two Boys – I told myself I’d never shout at my kids, now I’m a total dinosaur Mum, and I bellow at my kids… I scare my husband some days!

Victoria from The Growing Mum – I’d make sure all toys were put away every evening so our house looked tidy and not toy-infested. Everything would have its place. Well… They sort of do as most toys now live permanently outside the toy boxes like balls under the sofa, cars on tv stand, spoons on sofa arms etc

Erica from The Little Bargain Hunter I just thought I would know what I was doing… Two and a half years in I’m still none the wiser!

Nita from Mummy Wishes – That my kid will not be the kid that throws tantrums or have a meltdowns in public…   

Gemma from Mummy in the Madhouse –  When I was younger my mum would use certain phrases to myself & my siblings when we got a telling off, I vowed I would NEVER be like my mum. So… It happens I’m EXACTLY like my Mum, sometimes it scares me! 
 
Christy from Welsh Mum – I said I’d never have my baby in the bed with me. It forms bad habits, don’t you know… three sleepless days later and I realized I was an idiot!

 Kelly from Kelly and the Kids – My children were NEVER having games consoles, I wasn’t having socially inept kids with rickets….no way!!! – Obviously we have more consoles than kids!! No rickets though – Yay!!!

Jade from Raw Childhood – Me and my OH always thought we would be the cool parents – Turns out that we dance wrong according to our 4 year old, and it’s actually cool the way he does it when he grabs his crotch.

Emily from A Slummy Mummy  – I thought I’d be a cool mum and I promised myself I’d understand my child when they were a sarcastic tween…… now I have a 12 year old… I’m frumpy, grumpy and can’t stand her backchat!

Alice from Letters To My Daughter – I thought I would probably just get rid of the TV because we rarely watched it anyway and I’d be playing and reading with my daughter instead… But Playdoh gets really dull after about 5 minutes, and sometimes you just want to cook dinner without having to retrieve cars from under the sofa every 5 seconds, you know?! 

Nicola from The Mummy Monster – I really thought I was going to be Mary Poppins but it turns out I am more Cruella Deville! I scream, I shout and have ended up pretty much knackered the whole time.

 

~ So there we have it… Conclusive proof that we were all, in fact, naive idiots when it came to parenting, pre-parenthood ~

 

In the end, we’re all just winging it really aren’t we? It can be hard sometimes – Well done us for managing it all so far. Now, pour yourselves a glass of wine and put your feet up for a bit. No doubt it’s been a long day.

Shout out to the surprisingly wise Mamas (and Daddas) out there!

What stupid ideas did you have? Tell me all about it in the comments below,

Kate xx

P.S. Lastly but not leastly, there were loads more funny comments from these fabulous blogging types below too. I couldn’t squeeze them all in but you can check out their lovely blogs to hear their take on things (thanks guys!):

Nicola from Woman in ProgressKate from Kate on Thin Ice, Veronica from Wave To MummyNina from Gaagaaland, Liberty from Liberty On The Lighter Side, Aleena from Mummy Mama MumLaura from Five Little Doves, Laura from Autumn’s Mummy, Beth from Twindelermo, & Kat from Confessions of a Working Mum

 

If you liked this post, you might like some of my other blogs too, especially this one about all the weird shit that happens to your body after you’ve had a baby (possibly not ideal to read if you’re easily embarrassed though tbh, you have been warned!)

Everything I reference in this blog can be found (eventually – sometimes it takes me a few weeks to add the newest bits in) in my Links To Everything page, filed alphabetically so it’s easy to find.

If you like a good natter, funny stuff, and enjoy a good meme come and join my lovely Facebook group, and I’ve also got a lovely Facebook page full of funny and interesting stuff too – so give it a follow and share the love x. You can hit me up on Insta or Twitter too.

If you want to get in touch with me directly, whether you’ve got a question or you’d like to work with me, feel free to give me a shout, and I’ll get back to you.

Stuck In The Mum Zone: Who The Hell Am I These Days Anyway?

The Art of Choosing The Right Gift

I’ve never really considered myself a particularly high maintenance wife or girlfriend. I’m not the sort of woman who expects or desires diamonds on anniversaries or grand gestures at Christmas.

I don’t give a shit whether you spend £5 or £500 on my birthday present. What I get a kick out of most is being given a really thoughtful gift. Something that shows that someone has considered who I am and picked out something they knew I liked or was interested in.

My husband usually nails this type of gift. Whether it’s been tickets to a gig, a specific book, or a box of a particular type of chocolates he has often come up trumps with his gift choices, giving me all the feels and ticking all the boxes.

 

The Tipping Point:

Picture the scene: I have given birth to our 3rd child precisely one month ago. We are happy but exhausted. Sleep addled. Things are a bit foggy, but we are beginning to settle into life as a family of 5.

I am on that bonkers emotional seesaw that all Mums have to ride in those first weeks postpartum. I’m all boobs and squidgy midsection and still a bit sore from the cesarean. I spend most of my waking hours on the sofa nursing and trying to shepherd my eldest two through their daily routines.

Today is my birthday.

Pete has been talking about the awesome present he’s got for me and this, I think, may have been the precise trigger for what was to come…

… You see, he’s really chuffed with his present choice, he thinks he’s nailed it. I’m thinking “Ooh he’s got something really special. He’s got something to show how much he loves me, maybe something exciting, something really personal, really *me*.

With this in mind, on the big day, I opened the box with excited anticipation to find….

…A SLANKET.

I pick it up out of the box, befuddled. “A slanket?” I say in an artificially high pitched voice, failing miserably at my best light-hearted casual tone.

“Yeah, whaddya reckon? I thought, you know, seeing as you spend most of your time on the couch these days… Do you like it?”

“It’s …Umm, not what I was expecting…” I say, trailing off.

 

Slanketmageddon

“Do you like it?” and then, after looking at my face (a bit more defensively) “…You don’t have to say you like it if you don’t…”

I feel guilty for hating it, but I’m equally horrified. Is this what I’ve BECOME?!?

…Just some COUCH POTATO?!? 

“Umm… I just… Why would you think I’d like it?…. HOW did you think this would be a good idea?” I blurt out, and instantly hate myself for sounding so ungrateful and wording it all wrong.

“Well, I was trying to think of what to get you, and seeing as you spend all your time on the sofa watching telly these days I thought you’d like it.”

I’m crushed. Is this what he thinks of me? I’M JUST SOME BORING SOFA BLOB?!? Is this the sum total of how he sees me, of all my likes and interests?!?!

My NAN has one of these!!!…

“You really couldn’t think of *anything* else I like doing except sitting on the couch?…” I then ask, my tone a bit too sharp.

“I even bought it in teal.” He says frostily, “Your favourite.”

Therein began the row which was henceforth ever known as Slanketgate.

 

Stuck In The Mum Zone

A good year on, and with my hormones and bra size restored to their original status, I feel sorry for blowing up at Pete. Although he might admit that in hindsight perhaps the slanket wasn’t the best idea after all, he was fairly blindsided by my enpassioned response. His heart was in the right place. He wasn’t to know what was going through my head.

You see, with receipt of this particular gift choice came the crushing realisation that I had lost all concept of who I was.

Gone is the free spirit of old who loved nothing more than a good festival, hungover Sundays in the pub and the occasional spontaneous excursion to random places. I am no longer able to spend entire weekends playing PS4 and ordering in pizza, or book tickets to see our favourite stand-up comedians off the cuff.

And, as much as we know we shouldn’t give ourselves a hard time and embrace our post-baby bodies, we are all irrevocably changed once our bodies have gone through this process. So, as much as I was willing to accept it, it didn’t change the fact that this physical change had affected my self image profoundly.

And beyond the bewildering sadness at leaving much of what appeared to make me “Me” behind lay the question….

 

…Who The Hell Am I These Days Anyway?

We Mums talk about the things that we no longer are since having kids. I am no longer a size 8. I am no longer prone to getting riproaring drunk and rolling in at 3am  being a social butterfly. I don’t read much anymore.

And yes, that’s all very sad and it’s a shame it had to end (although my liver probably wouldn’t agree), but at this point I am more interested in working out who the hell I have become?

After Babies #1 and #2 were born, no doubt still somewhat in denial, I began many sentences in conversation with work colleagues and newly made friends with “We used to / I used to…(insert interesting pre-baby activity here)” Trying to assert the fact that I was somehow still fun / interesting / down with the kids.

It all seemed somewhat desperate. I felt like a bit of a fake, because it didn’t matter what I used to do. What do I do now? What makes me “Me” now?

After Slanketgate I realised; I had literally no idea.

 

Acceptance

Parenting young children is a weird time. Full of joy and wonder and immensely rewarding at times, granted. I know these years will pass fleetingly and they will be sorely missed when they’re gone. But it’s also hard, tiring, and a time of constant change.

We stumble our way from one milestone to the next, winging it and hopefully wishing that our kids will come out ok at the other end. Life often passes in a fog and it’s easy to see how Mums can lose themselves entirely along the way.

Plus, exhaustion makes a Mama boring AF. I know I’m not exactly brimming with scintillating conversation these days. My conscious mind is mainly filled with thoughts on how many hours sleep I’ve (not) had, random details on how to build a portal in Minecraft, and the soundtrack to Moana.

For me, the turning point in figuring out who the hell I have become began when I accepted that I had changed, and that the change was a one-way thing.

 

Adaptation

Parenthood has defined me in ways I couldn’t foresee and with bonuses I was initially blind to. These have made me stronger, more versatile, more empathic and more resilient than I’d ever thought possible.

Accepting the changes, and understanding their benefits, is what ultimately helped me feel comfortable in my own skin again.

I realised that I was missing hanging out with my friends. Not rushed cups of tea amidst the post-school-run chaos of two sets of noisy children marauding one of our houses, or chatting at toddler groups, but real, unadulterated conversations over a glass or two of wine without demands for cheesestrings, or toddler’s fingers trying to fishhook my mouth.

I also knew that these days I struggle to stay up past 10.30, can’t handle hangovers with small children, and lack of outings over the past few years has kindled my social anxiety. Going ‘out’ out makes me anxious and I would make arrangements to do so and then regret them bitterly until I’m there (if I actually make it) and two drinks down.

 

Perfecting the Pyjama Social

My social life has now evolved. We have friends over for dinner / wine / pizza together, and I arrange to see various friends for ‘slob nights’ at one of our houses. In fact I have become quite the Queen of the pyjama social. I get to see my friends but without the stress, often in jogging bottoms. I often turn up with a bottle of wine and my slippers in hand, and it really works.

And as for getting a handle on who I am, I decided to jack in my job and start my own business. I started writing, realised I loved it, and started this blog (which some of you lot actually seem to like reading – who knew?!!) Rather than hanging on to my old clothes and yearning for going-out dresses I would rarely be likely to go out in, I started to look out for every day clothes in styles that suit my post-baby body.

 

The “Actually Pretty Comfortable Here” Zone

It’s only a recent development, but over the past few months I’ve noticed something pleasantly surprising. I’m getting pretty comfy in my own skin again. I got a new ‘do, which I love. I’ve got exciting new plans for my business, and a new business venture brewing.

Admittedly I’m still not getting enough sleep (baby#3 is a proper shitty sleeper) and I still harbour unrealistic desires to start working out 3 x a week, but I am more comfortable than I’ve been since before I became a Mum.

 

The Moral Of The Story?

So, what am I really getting at here? I guess the point of this post is a heads up to all the other Mums stuck in the Mum Zone right now.

I get it. The Mum Zone sucks. It’s a horrible feeling – losing all sense of what you are beyond Mumsville.

However: The trick to escaping it is to accept it.

Know you’ve changed and really think around those changes. Because if one thing is for sure, beyond the extra inch or two on your waistband or the fact that you have no idea what “Decent Music” is supposed to be these days, there is very real and very valuable personal growth. You are likely wiser, more patient, more insightful and kinder than you ever were pre-kids.

You are also almost definitely less of a dickhead than you used to be too (although perhaps that’s just my personal experience… Perhaps.)

Make the best of what you’ve got. And then take these new and improved skills and use them to your advantage. You might just surprise yourself.

And then one day, just like me, you’ll realise you’re outside the Mum Zone, you know who you are and actually, come to think of it, you kind of like it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Fancy a bit more entertainment? I post lots of funny / interesting / helpful stuff from my blog and the best of the net on my Facebook Page. If you like a good natter, funny stuff, and enjoy a good meme from time to time, come and join my lovely Facebook group too. You can hit me up on Twitter or Insta too.

If you want to get in touch with me directly, whether you’ve got a question or you’d like to work with me, feel free to give me a shout, and I’ll get back to you.

**photo source: amazon.co.uk

The 7 Phases of a Sleepless Night With Your Teething Toddler

F.A.S.A.C.

It’s my first post of the New Year and I, like everyone else, have emerged in 2018 a 60:20:20 mix of chocolate, mince pies and prosecco.

For most of you, basking in the afterglow of two weeks of drinking, eating, and slobbing out watching Christmas movies, is only barely muted by the effects of a fortnight’s hangover. That, and the sense of remorse for scoffing all those Ferrero Rocher, which washes over you when you try and squeeze back into your skinny jeans.

For me, these regrets are just the tip of the iceberg, for I am a survivor of F.A.S.A.C.

F.A.S.A.C. (otherwise known as Fuck All Sleep At Christmas) is a condition that affects a significant proportion of mothers to the under 5’s during the festive season.

It is a particularly cruel condition because, owing to circumstance, the sufferer has conflicting needs:-

On the one hand, they may well already be sufferers of F.A.S. (a similar affliction which can occur at any time, as detailed here), and understand that this means they should probably get an early night and grab a few ZZZs while they can.

But on the other hand it’s bloody Christmas, and they’re going to bloody well enjoy it even if they’ve got a teething toddler waking them up at all hours. Because otherwise it’s a bit of a thankless task slogging their guts out for weeks getting everything organised just to sleep through the best bits, thanks very much.

So here I am in January. F.A.S.A.C. survivor, and mere shadow of my former self. Still feeling a bit delicate after all the booze, rather squidgier and hoping that my clothes have just shrunk in the wash a bit, and tireder than a tired thing should be.

 

The 7 Phases of a Sleepless Night With Your Teething Toddler

Some time around 3.30am on 27th December, I was lying half dead sitting on the sofa in our darkened lounge, with only the soft glow of the Christmas tree lights and the dubious delights of Nick Jnr on the telly to light the room.

As my grizzling 15 month old clambered around over my exhausted and ever-so-slightly hungover carcass it occurred to me that, much as I experienced with her two older siblings, there are several distinct phases through these long and arduous sleep deprived nights with a teething toddler.

The process and inner dialogue of these phases runs as follows…

 

Phase 1: Blind Determination

7.45pm

Right, this is it. Tonight’s the night she sleeps through. We’ve got this. She’s had a decent dinner and a big bottle of milk.

She’s been bathed, changed and read to. We’ve given her Calpol, Dentinox, and Nelson’s teething granules, her dummy, and loads of cuddles. She’s got just the right amount of clothes on, the room temperature is ideal, the nightlight is on.

I’ve popped her in her cot and walked out of the room… It’s Quiet. She’s settling… Baby monitor on? Check!

All quiet on the western front. THIS IS IT GUYS. SHE’S SLEEPING!

THIS WILL BE THE NIGHT!!!!

Crack open that bottle of wine open and stick Netflix on, we’re onto a winner!

 

Phase 2 – Optimism

9.55pm

Shit. Is that the baby monitor? Oh bollocks she’s woken up… “Pause Netflix a sec.” I’ll just quickly settle her.

Easy does it – don’t open the door too wide and let the light in. Where’s her dummy? A-ha, gotcha. Quick smidge of Dentinox on the dummy, pop it in her mouth, lie her down gently, brief stroke of the hair, tiptoe backwards towards the door….

…Aaaand I’m out of the room. *Quick pause outside her door*:- Silence. *Tiptoe back downstairs avoiding the creaky step*. Hey, check me out with my stealth manouevres – I am literally Indiana Jones right now.

Back in the lounge *quick look at the monitor*…? She’s sleeping. Yesssss!!!

I’m a frigging pro!

 

Phase 3 – The Practical Approach

11.10pm

-Shit, she’s up again. Ok, fine. That’s fine. We’ve still got this. Let’s just eliminate her reasons for waking. *Nappy change*. Is it time for more Calpol, hmm? *Jiggle the nightlight back a bit in case the angle was making it a bit too bright*. Dentinox on the dummy should do it… Or not.

Bollocks.

Ok I’ll just cuddle her for a bit until she settles….

…20 minutes later *repeat Indiana Jones routine, only this time retreating into own bedroom*.

*Slide, silently ninja-like into bed. Turn off light in slow motion in case tiniest sound wakes her again. Lie tensely in bed for approximately 20 more minutes in anticipation of further disruption before eventually drifting off to sleep*

 

Phase 4 – Say Goodbye to Your Sleep-Training Ethics

1.45am

Oh dear God the screaming horror!

*Spring out of bed on autopilot and fumble through the dark to her bedroom*

Oh Christ she’s actually standing up in the cot. She’s properly awake. And really fucking loud! Quick, scoop her up (please please don’t wake your brother and sister – I SO can’t do double / triple re-settling at this time…)

Maybe if I just find her dummy and lay her back down she’ll…. No of course not, who am I kidding, she’s wailing before her head reaches the cot mattress. Fuck.

Fuck it, I’m getting her a bottle.

*Carry baby downstairs and one-handedly make up a bottle with now placated baby on hip. Return back to her bedroom*

Now if I juuuust lie you down calmly and quickly stick the teat of the bottle in front of your face…. Ace. She’s taken the bait. *repeat Indiana Jones and tense non-sleeping routine before drifting off again*.

 

Phase 5 – Abject Desperation

2.40am

No, no NOOOOOOO!!! Why won’t you just let me sleeeeeep???!!!

*fumble dejectedly into her bedroom once again*

She’s standing up again. Oh Bollocks. That’s it, I give up. I’m taking her into the spare room bed with me.

*Pick up baby, climb into unpleasantly cold spare bed and try unsuccessfully to coerce resistant toddler into lying down calmly in the bed beside me*

*Endure approximately 20 minutes of toddler clambering over my weary form. Get kicked in throat. Toddler tries various new manouevres including headbutting my kidneys and sitting on my actual face*

*Toddler ramps up the mischief, culminating in the inexplicable pulling of my hair and poking me in the eye until I can feign sleep no longer*

Ok. Fine. You win. *fumbles around for phone*. Bloody hell where’s the Cbeebies app again? Ah, Ok. “There you go you little monkey. Knock yourself out. Mummy is just going to close her eyes for a few minutes”….

 

Phase 6 – Capitulation and Defeat

3.20am

*Toddler wakes herself up faceplanting my boobs. Wails in my face and throws discarded smartphone at my head*

JESUS FUCKING BASTARDS WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL IS HAPPENING?!?!!!! Oh Christ she’s awake. AGAIN!!! I just. Can’t. Even.

Right, that’s it, she’ll have to go back into her cot. Can you die from sleep deprivation? I mean, surely eventually your body just gives up, right? How close am I to that? I definitely feel a bit woozy right now, is that a sign?…

“Ok little bear, it’s sleepy time”...

Bloody hell she’s still wailing. Dummy? Nope, no chance. I am too tired for this shit.

Why don’t you want to sleep like a normal person?!? Surely you’re knackered too? *Sigh*

*Scoop up toddler and trundle grumpily downstairs, muttering under my breath about sleep deprivation being a form of torture, whilst simultaneously feeling guilty and cuddling the now quiet and snuggly toddler closer*.

Where’s the bloody remote contr… Oh, there it is. Come on then Peppa, you bastard, do your worst.

*Retrieve blanket from behind the sofa*.

*Lie down, positioning rapt toddler in the crook of my arm so that she can lie down whilst retaining the ability to watch the world’s most annoying cartoon*.

*Fiddle with volume so that it’s at it’s lowest possible volume for toddler to still hear it whilst reducing my urge to tear my own ears off in protest. Rest eyes for a bit.* God I truly do despise that voice. They should do an episode where someone roundhouse kicks Peppa in the face for being an obnoxious twat…

4.15am *Actual sleep… For both of us* (Surely a true Christmas miracle at this juncture…)

 

Phase 7 – Disbelief and Incomprehension aka: The Morning

5.55am

“MUMMY CAN I HAVE MY WEETABIX? I’M HUNGRY!!!”

“HE HIT ME!”

“WHERE’S MY SPIDERMAN GUN?”

“CAN I HAVE SOME JUICE?… MUMMY?!”

“WAKE UP MUMMY, IT’S MORNING TIME!!!”

“CAN WE WATCH THE TELLY MUMMY?”

“…MUMMY?!?”

Jesus H Christ why is everyone shouting?!? Oh God no, not already, surely? *Crane neck to see wall clock*. Shit, it is as well.

*Rub eyes in a vague attempt to focus bleary eyes*

*Lift up corner of blanket and signal for my older kids to slide in next to us*.

*Lie limply underneath mass of wriggly children for as long as possible, hoping that the husband comes downstairs soon and can organise the Weetabix / juice / TV demands before the clamouring becomes too much*

~ ~ ~Thus Concludes the 7 Phases of a Sleepless Night With Your Teething Toddler ~ ~ ~

 

Did you like this post? Why not check out some of my other blog posts. (Especially this one, because it’s a review of the best free online resources for helping your kid get to sleep.

You’ll also (probably) love The Mum Conundrum facebook group. I try and post funny / interesting / useful stuff every day. You can also show me love on The Mum Conundrum Facebook Page if you fancy it, it’s always much appreciated.

I’m also on twitter (a lot) and Instagram (a bit) too…

You can also email me if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like me to write about or review, or if you’d like to work with me. Feel free to hit me up here.

Pass The Handwash: Kids are a bit disgusting (yep… yours too!)

No-one ever tells you this, but small children are contagious AF.

Russia and the US could have saved a fortune during the Cold War if they’d ditched the germ warfare research and just smuggled a few pre-schoolers into enemy HQ.

Nothing spreads a nasty virus faster than a 3 year old with a dribbly nose and questionable hand-washing skills.

Between November and February, your children will become harbingers of pestilence.

If you’re a Mum to kids of a certain age you will know that, like me, no amount of antibacterial wipes and spray can save you.

They are mobile, breathing petrie dishes of bacteria and viruses, and you are their unwillingly obliging test subject.

I’ve got three kids who are 6, 4 and 14 months. It’s mid December, and over the past 6 weeks I have been 100% well for a grand total of 6 days.  SIX.  FRIGGING.  DAYS.

That’s not to say I’ve been at death’s door. I’m ok. I’ve just had cold, followed by stomach upset, followed by sore throat, followed by cold. For the most part (stomach upset notwithstanding) I’ve just carried on as normal, such is Mum life.

I do, however, feel knackered, run down, and generally under the weather. I’ve been Mumming long enough now to know that the chances are I’ll probably feel like this on and off until the end of February.

It’s a right shitter.

So much so, in fact, that I was compelled to write a post naming and shaming the very worst offenders when it comes to the gross shit that my kids have had wrong with them over the past few years.

 

Here’s a rundown of my top (or should I say bottom) 4 contagious children’s horrors:-

1.) The Snots

To add insult to injury, it’s not the mere nature of the illnesses that makes things so unpleasant, it’s the means by which they are carried by our little incubators of eurghh. And snot is a prime example.

My 14 month old has a cold right now. I picked her up out of her cot after her nap yesterday, to discover that she had managed to smear snot all over her face from ear to ear, crusting her hair into it. Thus inadvertently fashioning herself a set of crunchy, green tinged mutton chops.

When adults have a snotty nose, we blow our noses, or at the very least sniff it up until we can find a receptacle in which to deposit it. But for the under 5’s it’s a whole different ball game.

They let that shit flow like lava from an active volcano.

They let it roll down their lips. They blow bubbles with it. They faceplant into your cleavage and wipe it all over your clothes.

When your kid has a cold, you can expect approximately 80% of your soft furnishings to be covered in snot by the end of day 3. Thus ensuring that the whole household catches this bacterial delight.

 

Still… If you thought that your kid’s snotfest was bad, hold onto your hat, because it gets a whole lot worse from here…

2.) Sick Bugs

There are two things which make stomach upsets in young children one of the worst types of bug to deal with.

Firstly:- Containment. Again, as with snot and the issue of nose-blowing, small children have no concept of preemptive containment when they’re about to blow chunks.

Seemingly bereft of any hint of forewarning, a nauseous child will suddenly, and often quite spontaneously, expectorate their stomach contents, regardless of their location.

There will be no time to grab a bowl, let alone run to the loo. Anything within a 3 metre radius will be pebble-dashed with regurgitated pasta bake and cheese strings. Nothing will escape it’s trajectory.

Clean-up will be grim.

Secondly:- Being ill whilst they’re ill. When it comes to sick bugs, the chances are that everyone will come down with it fairly rapidly. Nothing can describe the sheer misery of clearing up your 5 year old’s 3am vomit in a feverish cold sweat whilst heaving and trying not to breathe in.

Handy tip: When your child says they feel queasy before bedtime, don’t take any risks. It is never a good idea to put them to bed in their usual top bunk and hope for the best… Trust me.

 

3.) Head lice

“A case of head lice has been reported in your child’s year. Therefore please check your child’s hair…”

F*cking great. That’s the 14th outbreak this term.

What is it with these little bastards? How to they get there?!?

I just don’t get how I’ve spent years of my life with not even a passing thought for nits, and then suddenly when my child starts school they spread like the plague each Summer, only to evaporate again somewhere during year 3.

For me it’s not the head lice themselves that make me hate them so much, or the treatment. It’s the thought of having them. As soon as I see the school text my scalp starts itching.

My eldest is in year 2, and we have had head lice precisely once so far in her three years at school. However, due to the placebo itch I get from thinking about the fact that we might have them, I have treated the whole family a good 5 or 6 times.

…Still makes me feel itchy thinking about it.

 

4.) Threadworms

Dear sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph! What, in the name of all that is right and good in the world is going on here?!? 

When your young child comes to you and tells you that their bottom “is all itchy”, brace yourself.

Gird your loins.

Take a deep breath and inspect the area with the caution it deserves.

The first time my eldest came to me with such an affliction I was unprepared for what I was about to find. For there, wiggling and winding their way out of my poor child’s tiny bum hole, were two ACTUAL LIVE WORMS!

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Upon discovery of these LIVING CREATURES INHABITING YOUR CHILD you must undertake a deep clean of mammoth proportions, because these things crawl out of your kid’s pooper and lay eggs which can be airborne.

It’s kind of like the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, but smaller.

I have learnt lots of things about threadworms (other than the fact that the mere thought of them brings on an uncontrollable, full body spasm of repulsion).

First and foremost I know that they are super contagious. I also know that the whole family needs to be treated twice within 2 weeks – to kill the existing threadworms, and also the ones which will hatch when the eggs they’ve laid mature (it really is like a sub plot from Alien isn’t it?!?)

Mums; Here is the sagest advice I will ever impart. When your eldest kid starts nursery, buy a couple of bottles of Ovex for the whole family, so that if and when your kid gets these little f*ckers you can wipe them out with immediate effect.

Wash everyone’s hands ALL THE TIME.

Also, change the bedding, wet dust all the surfaces, hoover, and then blast your heating for a few hours because the eggs die in dry heat. Also get your kids to eat as much carrot, apple and pumpkin seeds as you can get into them, because threadworms hate these things.

You can thank me later.

 

Sooo, that’s my rant over for the week, and I’m going to sign off and make a batch of mince pies with the kids now (yes, me…. doing actual baking!)

May your Christmasses be merry and snot-free.

Happy holidays Motherlovers,

Kate xx

 

…Psst! If you liked this post, you might like some of my other blogs too, especially this one about how not to be shit at helping your kids do school. I also review the best of the net on different topics from time to time which is super handy if you can’t be arsed to spend hours Googling stuff trying to find the info you need.Everything I reference in any of my blogs can be found in my Links To Everything page, filed alphabetically so it’s easy to find.If you like a good natter, funny stuff, and enjoy a good meme come and join my lovely facebook group. You can hit me up on Insta or Twitter too.If you want to get in touch with me directly, whether you’ve got a question or you’d like to work with me, feel free to give me a shout, and I’ll get back to you.

 

 

Confessions of a Shitty Christmas Shopper

Ah… Christmas, you gorgeous festive beast! Here you are again.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Season of yuletide joy and goodwill to all men and all that.

I love Christmas. I love the decorating, and the mince pies. I love putting up the Christmas tree, and the hygge. The food, the parties, and enough booze flowing to pickle a horse.

Who doesn’t love Christmas in all it’s twinkly glory?

Only… There’s one teensy tiny problem…

 

I’m a shitty Christmas shopper

It’s not that I don’t have an idea of what to get, or that I don’t get it sorted out in the end. It’s just that I’m consistently shit at organising it all until the last minute.

The process usually starts in November when I resolve that this will be the year when I get it all done early. I start making lists, dreaming up lovely fluffy Pinterest-worthy plans, and pre-emptively patting myself on the back for having my shit together.

And then I do f*ck all about it.

I don’t mean for this to happen. I sort everyone else out by giving out ideas (as requested by my family) usually with links to the items in question to avoid cock-ups, which is super-helpful for the recipients but stupidly time consuming.

Then, once the heat is off and I’m not getting nagged by my Mum, I procrastinate like a bastard, and end up leaving my own purchases until the last minute.

Ultimately this leads to a blind panic and last minute impulse buying, culminating in a 6 hour wrapping session on Christmas eve, when I’d far rather be knocking back fizz and scoffing Quality Streets in front of the Christmas telly.

I’ve always been a horrible shopper. I’ve never loved it. There have been times when felt that perhaps I’m missing the gene other women have for giving a shit about shoes.

I don’t even like clothes shopping. I usually wait until I need loads of things and try and blitz town, buying anything I think might work in as few shops as possible, try everything on at home and usually have to go back into town to return about 80% of it because it actually looks a bit shit on.

 

Confession Time…

Bearing these factors in mind, I will admit that I have committed many cardinal sins of Christmas shopping. These include (but are not limited to):-

~ Being a horrible Secret Santa. I mean, really; I say I’m all in, but then the night before I’m supposed to bring my gift in I remember that I’ve forgotten, and end up rifling through drawers and cupboards in my house looking for anything that might possibly pass as a Secret Santa gift.

Past horrors include an ancient bottle of Body Shop Banana shampoo and matching soaps, and a gift box of vinaigrettes.

~ Forgetting the obligatory gift for my kids’ teachers. (To remedy, see above).

~ Losing all sense of how many gifts I’ve bought for each child, realising on Christmas Eve that one has a few more than the other. Then changing the recipient of the most ambiguous items to level things out (yes I know, rubbish eh?!? Thankfully my two eldest have some shared interests so I was able to camouflage my mistake a bit.)

~ Writing out my Christmas cards and then forgetting to post them… I’m currently trying to remember what I wrote in them last year to decide whether it’s appropriate to just send them out this year instead.

~ Forgetting an entire person’s present. Yes. I’ve actually done this before. Mortifying. Thankfully  it was an adult, so I was able to give booze as a gift. It still looked a bit shit but at least I didn’t come up empty handed.

~ Buying entirely through my Amazon account, due to sheer lateness and the need for swift delivery. Last year there were so many boxes stacked up that I considered telling my daughter that Amazon Prime was in fact the name of Santa’s grotto.

~ Buying the ingredients for Christmassy type baking and then doing f*ck all with it. I would not be lying if I told you that I have jars of mincemeat, still untouched, that I’ve bought for the past 4 years consecutively.

Ultimately I’m sure you’d agree – I’m brimming with good festive intentions. I’m just chronically rubbish about implementing them. With a bit of luck you’re a lot less shit at this than me… Just don’t judge (or tell Santa, because I’m fairly sure this all pretty much decimates my chances of ‘nice’ list status for all time.)

Given the tone of this particular post I’m probably not in a position to write a review blog of the best of the net on this topic later in the week. (And also because: Amazon. My work here is done.) However, you can always check out my other blogs here, and you can catch my next blog next week, so keep your eyes peeled.

May all your festive frolics go without a hitch. Enjoy all the food and all the booze,

Merry Christmas Motherlovers

Kate xx

Fancy a bit more entertainment? If you like a good natter, funny stuff, and enjoy a good meme from time to time, come and join my lovely facebook group. You can hit me up on Insta or Twitter too.

If you want to get in touch with me directly, whether you’ve got a question or you’d like to work with me, feel free to give me a shout, and I’ll get back to you.

 

(photo credit: Lipstick Alley)

 

How to be WonderWoman: Tips, Hacks, Apps & Tricks for Knackered, Busy Mums

 

Those of you who read my blog on the regs will know that I am a Mum of very little sleep. So much so, in fact, that I even wrote a while back about how I’ve survived so far on sweet FA in the sleep department.

Sleep Thieves

A couple of months on from that post and things are still fairly skinny on the restful hours front. This week alone I have been woken for various reasons including:

By my 13 month old:-

Appearance of a first molar…This child is destined to have more teeth than a shark if they continue to appear at such a rate.

4 x Losing her dummy in the cot

15 x just for the fecking sake of it: Because it would appear that my 13 month old is actually some sort of nocturnal creature. A Honeybadger perhaps…

By 4 & 6 year olds:-

2 x Bad dreams: Standard.

1 x needing a wee: And obviously I need to be woken in order for this to occur…

1 x thinking there might be something scary outside their bedroom: At 3.30 in the morning, how do they not understand that by waking me I AM THE DANGER?!?

 

…So… Yeah.

I’m pretty knackered right now.

 

Fake it Til You Make it

I have recently re-entered that kind of nether land where I feel not entirely conscious most of the ‘waking’ day.

It’s times like these that I need cheats.

I need easy ways to get through the day / week / seemingly endless stint of sleeplessness to make sure that I at least look like I’ve sort of got my shit together. I need to make sure of the following:

1.) My kids are fed, at least a small proportion of which needs to have some nutritional value.

2.) My house does not descend into some kind of swamp comprising of yoghurt smears, dropped toast,  undigested ricecakes, and lego.

3.) I don’t smell, and have hair that at least passes for clean from a distance.

4.) My kids are relatively clean, and are wearing clothes without crusted on bits of Weetabix on them.

5.) I don’t forget anything pivotal, thus avoiding utilities being cut off / children starving / missing important meetings, deadlines and events.

 

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

When I started thinking about writing this post, I realised just how many small things I do throughout the day / week which ensure various crises are avoided whilst my brain is in rest mode. But even so, there are times when I feel like I’m just about hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

I’ve asked around in my Facebook group, Googled, rifled through Pinterest, and pumped my fellow (and no doubt infinitely more organised) Mum Bloggers for info. Combined with all the bits and bobs that already save me from chaos, I’ve put all this info together to create what I reckon is the ultimate cheat sheet for sleep deprived Mums.

 

Here’s my mega-list:- Tips, hacks, apps & tricks for knackered, busy Mums….

The REMEMBERINGS:

First and foremost, when you’re knackered, your memory is shot, and your brain has the consistency and cerebral function of a blancmange. You need to be able to remember stuff to stay on top of it, and to remember it you need to commit the info to something other than your decrepit memory banks. Here are my top resources:-

Blackboard: 

Old school I know, but having a blackboard has done me a world of favours. I just painted a section of the wall by kitchen with blackboard paint, and when we’re running out of stuff I write it on the list.

It saves me from affecting a thousand yard stare for endless minutes when I’m doing my weekly shop trying to remember what we actually need.

Google Calendar: 

Essential for remembering all things related to kids school stuff. We seem to receive an endless stream of requests to bring in random items, dress them in random outfits and attend random events.

There is f*ck all chance I’d ever remember more than a fraction of all this without my Google calendar pinging me reminders to my phone.

YOU NEED THIS.

Wall Planner: 

This was a handy tip from the blogosphere. Stick up a wall planner with a column for each member of the family. Add in all events & activities for each family member so you can see where you need to be and avoid double-booking. Brilliant for larger families.

Trello:

Trello, oh how I love thee! If you’re not familiar, Trello is an awesome app for organising to do lists. I’ve got mine set up grouped by the type of task, and then colour coded according to what sort of time scale I’ve got need to finish things in. Really handy, and looks pretty too.

 

Time Management:

Now you’ve got the means to actually remember the shit you’ve got to do, you need to find the time to do it all in. I find that I’ve got certain habits in terms of how I plan my days to help me make the most of the (not enough) time I’ve got to get my shit done.

Plan and Prep EVERYTHING!!! 

Overwhelmingly, pretty much all the Mums who I asked about this came back with this one piece of advice. I think that it’s the one thing that saves me from a descent into madness every weekday morning.

If you’re on a tight schedule, you need to plan ahead with military precision, the need for which increases exponentially with additional children / multiple drop-offs / disorganised husband etc.

These days, if the next day is a school day, I get everyone’s clothes out and ready the night before.

I also prep school bags and packed lunches, get any money out and into envelopes for any school trips / comic relief / children in need / other random charities as demanded on an ongoing basis from school ad nauseam. That way I’m not caught out by any last minute panics (unless sprung on me by the kids on our way out of the door, which is always a delight).

Bunch Similar Tasks Together:

Another tip I picked up from more organised blogging Mums.

For example, have one day a week where you run all your errands in one go: Go to the post office. Pick up that prescription. Return that top you thought looked good in the changing room, but in the cold light of day makes you look like you’ve got back fat.

Do it all in one fell swoop. You’ll spend less time overall reducing the to-ing and fro-ing, and you’ll feel really chuffed that you can cross a bit wadge of stuff off your to-do list in one go – Mmmm… satisfying.

 

Feeding Frenzies

Cooking can be another thing that sucks up your time (and perhaps, if your children are fussy gits, your will to live) so anything that makes it easier and shaves off time spent doing it / organising the stuff you need for it.

Meal Plans: 

Lots of lovely Mums hit me up with this tip… I really want to get into meal planning. Obviously you need to lay the ground work first, but according to anyone to does them, once you’ve done it life gets loads easier… This is definitely on my to-do list now (Hello, Trello!)

mysupermarket.com: 

If you’re still doing your supermarket shopping in an actual shop whilst toting around a small child / children you are classifiably insane. Crack on with the online shopping vibe. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

Regardless of who you shop with, you’re better off doing it through this website. This is because mysupermarket is basically your grocery shopping mentor. You can compare prices on items, look at special offers and collect additional nectar points on your shop.

You can also load previous orders and just amend them to suit your current list, which saves LOADS of time. Once you’ve done your shop you can send it to the supermarket and where you confirm your shop and delivery slot and pay.

Simples.

Pre-Chopped Frozen Veg:

Best. Tip. Ever! Courtesy of Emma at Not My First Rodeo.

Why have I never done this before?!?!

Chop up all the veg you use on the regs; onions, carrots, peppers etc, and then you can just grab a portion whenever you need them and it takes seconds. Genius!

Batch Cooking:

Is there anything more satisfying than being knackered and not really wanting to cook, then realising you’ve got a whole meal ready to go in the freezer just in need of a defrost and whirl in the microwave? I’m a hearty advocate for batch cooking.

It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking, just make double portions of curries, casseroles and whatever else freezes well, and freeze the uneaten half.

Future you will love you for it.

The Slow Cooker Revelation:

Owning a cooker is a bit like being a Freemason. No-one really knows about them, unless you have one, in which case you have THE KNOWLEDGE. I wrote a post a while back about easy recipes with a big wadge of slow cooker ones, but the basic premise is that you can chuck the ingredients in and then just bimble off to do other stuff for a few hours whilst the slow cooker works it’s magic.

 

Chore Cheats and Household Hacks:

Laundry:

If there is a hell, there is sure to be a massive f*ck off pile of laundry in it that never gets smaller, no matter how much washing you do. I hate laundry… But I do find these tips help;

1.) Save endless sorting by having separate baskets for light and dark colours

2.) If, like me, your brain becomes more sieve-like the less sleep you get, you’ll probably forget to get the wet washing out to dry sometimes, and when you get around to it it smells like a wet dog, so you have it put it on again, no doubt to forget all over again a couple of hours later.

End this cycle of doom by using Lenor Unstoppables. These little grains of joy are a bloody lifesaver! Even if you leave your wash in there for 24 hours you can still hang it out and it still dries smelling lovely. WIN!

3.) Organised folding: When I fold dry laundry I put it into separate piles according to which bedroom they’re destined for. Saves rifling through it when you get around to putting it away.

 

Cleaning:

1.) Clean as you go – Have sets of cleaning stuff in different rooms ready to use, so that you can give the sink a quick wipe or shove a bit of bleach down the loo as soon as it starts looking grotty. It only takes seconds but it keep the place loads cleaner.

You can go a step further and clean the shower screen when you’re showering or give the bedroom a quick dust when you get dressed in the mornings for extra pzazz.

(…Frankly pzazz is not a word I tend to attribute to my own lacklustre attempts at housekeeping, but I don’t know if you’re a secret domestic goddess at heart. Horses for courses and all that.)

2.) Several Mums recommended setting up a cleaning schedule, doing small chunks every day, which make loads more sense than letting it all build up.

I think I definitely have more tolerance for short bursts of housework rather than gearing up to do a few hours at once, so that’s got to be a winner in my book.

3.) I usually have a basket which I carry with me, into which I chuck everything that doesn’t belong in the room I’m in, and redistribute things to their correct place when I get there. Anything left over I can go through at the end of the cleaning session.

4.) If household chaos has reached fever pitch, you can try this brilliant method from Mums Make Lists I’ve tried it, and it works!

5.) If your kids are old enough, try this amazing technique from Wild Mama, Wild Tribe. The Sunday Box is a brilliant idea which teaches your kids to clear up their own things. I love that it’s a quick fix clear-up but also trains your kids to do for themselves. Recommend!

 

And last but not least, your good self…:

I’ve read loads of blogs and articles about doing all the house stuff in time / hassle-saving ways, but for me part of the struggle is also about not looking like Stig Of The Dump, at least for some of the time. It’s easy to let it slide when you’re knackered and you DGAF.

However, I do try to employ these tips to sort of resemble my old self from time to time…

Microshowers:

Even if you don’t have time for a proper shower, just hopping in for a 2 minute blitz freshens you up no end.

Dry Shampoos and body sprays:

For those mornings when you’re so knackered you are prepared to sacrifice precisely zero minutes of sleep for any reason whatsoever, spray for the day baby!

A bit of dry shampoo for grubby hair and a swish of body spray before getting dressed will at least spritz you up temporarily, and you will feel less self-conscious about going showerless.

Epilators:- Not actually medieval torture devices:

I know it seems like a horrific idea, but I swear by epilators. Like waxing, the more you do it the less it hurts, and IMHO it’s worth sticking it out. I love that I can use one to do my legs, and it takes about half an hour, but then I don’t have to shave them for 3 or 4 weeks, which is aMAZing!

If I left them that long whilst shaving I’d be able to donate to Locks of Love every time I got around to it.

Multi-task your way to fitness:

Another fab tip I was given was to invest in a jogging buggy, and jog on errands rather than having to take time out especially for exercise. I LOVE this idea… Might take a bit of time to get off my arse and organise it though tbh…

 

And that’s my lot – at least what my dozy brain can muster at the present moment. Feel free to hit me up in the comments if you’ve got a corker you think I should edit in here (I’m always up for tweaks).

Keep on trucking Motherlovers,

Kate xx

 

Did you like this post? Why not check out some of my other blog posts. You’ll also (probably) love The Mum Conundrum facebook group. I try and post funny / interesting / useful stuff every day. You can also show me love on The Mum Conundrum Facebook Page if you fancy it, it’s always much appreciated.

I’m also on twitter (a lot) and Instagram (a bit) too…

You can also email me if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like me to write about or review, or if you’d like to work with me. Feel free to hit me up here.

Not forgetting a big fat thank you to the lovely Mums (and Dads) in Blogland who I haven’t already mentioned, who gave me loads of ideas for this post. Check ’em out, they’re a lovely bunch:-

Sal at Hello Little Lovely, Jenna at Then There Were Three, Kirsty at Winnettes, Sinead Latham, Louise at Pink Pear Bear, Jemma at Have Kids Will Travel, Victoria at The Growing Mum, Lynette at New Mummy Blog, Emma Reed, Naomi at The Organised Life Project, the lovely Liberty on The Lighter Side, Sophie at Mama Mei, Sally at Mother and 3 Sons, Nicole at Tales from Mamaville, Katie at Mum of 2.5, Claire at Bumps, Babies, Tots and Teens, Pip Milburn, Nicola at Mummy Wales, Benny at DaddyPoppins, and Kate from Kate on Thin Ice. Thanks a million guys x.

The Grapes of Wrath, and Other Tales of Woe…

….Or in other words, all the weird shit that happens to your body once you’ve had a baby… Which no-one ever tells you about….

 

Labouring Under Misapprehensions

It’s no secret that when you get pregnant there are some pretty significant changes that take place in your body. Apart from the obvious small human growing within, there are many commonly known side effects of getting knocked up.

I’m fine with this. Most of it is true, at least in part. Most of us experience at least some of these at some point during our pregnancy.

The problem I have with it is how romanticised it all gets in the telling:- Breasts of a Grecian Goddess?! Well hello there puppies!… Hair that shines like the sun?! Don’t mind if I do!

Even the obvious negatives often get sweetened in the telling:- “Morning sickness? Lots of ginger, and peppermint tea will make it all ok. You should eat little and often. Here, have another hobnob.” … “Puffy ankles? Poor you, pop your feet up on the couch for a bit.”

Before I got pregnant it sounded like it was going to be 9 months of being pampered, told to take it easy, and allowed to eat all the cake. Whilst looking like some sort of sexy, fabulous, Earth Mother and being congratulated purely on my ability to procreate.

Sounds like a frigging dream! I want to be pregnant forever if this is what happens.

 

Shhhh….

But what no-one really tells you about is all the grotty, embarrassing, sometimes pretty painful stuff that will inevitably occur somewhere along the way. Plus, no-one tells you about all the changes that you get stuck with – the bits that DON’T CHANGE BACK once you’ve popped.

Unless confiding in forums and Mum’s groups, lots of us have had to put up with all manner of shitty symptoms in relative silence. Mortified about our rank bits, and not wanting anyone to know.

Well… I’m calling bullshit.

I mean, its pretty much false advertising isn’t it? If we keep on telling Mums-to-be how fluffy and wonderful everything’s going to be it’s inevitably going to come as quite a shock when things turn out the way they tend to. Shouldn’t we be upfront about the grot and horror?

Perhaps if we lost the self conscious secretiveness and started being upfront about things, we’d realise that it’s all pretty normal (even if it feels very not normal to us at the time) and accept that bodies do weird, sometimes gross, things to adapt.

 

The Truth About What Happens To Your Body When You’ve Had A Baby – As Told, Truthfully, By Mums

Those of you who are already members of The Mum Conundrum facebook group will possibly remember that, a month or so ago, I mentioned that I was in bed recovering from what I vaguely termed ‘an operation’, the result of which led me to recuperate in bed for a couple of weeks, off my chops on some fairly hefty prescription painkillers.

In the midst of my aforementioned post-op delirium I realised that between having three babies and my most recent medical intervention, I had altogether left my dignity at the door.

Christ, It wasn’t even at the door. It might have been at the door after having my babies… Now it had pegged it several miles down the road, and was in a pub downing pints and challenging Dave the Barman to a pool contest, winner buys the next round.

It was at this point that I resolved to write this post – resolutely and with zero shame and blushes.

You see; my medical woes were entirely rooted in the changes that happened to my body through my pregnancies. And in all honesty, if it hadn’t been for my own personal awkwardness and embarrassment about my baby related side-effects I could have saved myself a world of pain.

With this in mind I spoke with friends, some fellow Mum Bloggers, and asked around in several Mum Groups. I wanted to find out what other people’s experiences were. The response was HUGE. I had literally hundreds of replies and PMs from Mums regaling me with their experiences.

None of it was pretty, but all of it was truthful. And lots of women had lots of stories to tell.

 

So without further ado, here’s the truth about post-baby bodies, in all their imperfect glory.

 

The Grapes of Wrath

Piles. Rrhoids. Bum Knuckles. Sounds funny, but dear God I have never known any pain like it. These little bastards first made an appearance during my second pregnancy. The pressure of the baby’s head on my lower bowel blew out the veins at the top end like a weakness in a bicycle tyre.

They chilled out a bit once my son was born, but I’d still get flare-ups, I sort of pretended it wasn’t happening (except when it most definitely was happening and I was howling in pain.) But once I got preggo again with my youngest daughter things really got ugly.

At one point I waddled up to the Doctor’s, heavily pregnant and with two small children in tow, and tearfully begged them to do something to help soothe the pain.

The Doc examined my bumhole, gasped audibly, and called the hospital, only to be told that they couldn’t treat them whilst I was still pregnant. I couldn’t even get a prescription to help soothe the pain, because: Pregnancy.

Moreover, once I’d had her, they stayed. FOR GOOD. When at their worst I’d be unable to walk and on the brink of tears for weeks at a time.

Reluctantly I accepted that I had to do something about it, which is what led me down the route of the op. A circular-stapled hemorrhoidectomy procedure, to be precise. Laughably touted as a new ‘pain-free’ surgical treatment for bad hemorrhoids.

If I ever meet the person who named it thus, I will cheerfully kick them in the arsehole for a couple of hours and see how they fucking like it.

The worst part about this story is that, if I’d got over the whole embarrassment thing I could have had treatment sooner, when they were less spectacular in size and number, and avoided this hardcore op completely. Dozens of the Mums that I asked had been plagued by Farmer Giles through pregnancy and beyond.

Don’t be shy about your bum, ladies. Look after your pooper proudly, because this is what happens if you neglect it.

 

Other Tales Of Woe:

And it turns out that sore bums are just the tip of the post-baby iceberg. Don’t take my word for it, Here are some of the other weird things that have happened to other Mums:-

“My boobs are f*cked. They’re big anyway but I need serious help after breastfeeding two – all the ‘meat’ has vacated the top of them. Getting a bra that makes me look un-geriatric is IMPOSSIBLE as try as I might there’s always that hideous top to side gap and horrid fold jive going on. I’m a wreck.”  ~ Donna from The Sleep Thief’s Mummy

“My hair changed completely after I had my first baby. I started out like Farah Fawcett, all shiny and full-bodied, and ended up more like Ken Dodd”  ~ Lucy

“My feet grew too. Half a size when I had my daughter and half a size when I had my son! I also have never needed fillings in my teeth except once after having my daughter and once after having my son.”  ~ Star from Kids On Tour

“My first daughter ripped me a tail downstairs… I need to get it fixed really…”  ~ Jade

“I got shorter by 2.5cm. Only found out as I changed surgery and they took my measurements again. I couldn’t believe it until I compared it with the ones taken at my booking appointment.”  ~ Victoria from The Growing Mum

“Anal Fissure – That was nice”  ~ Laura

“I developed severe PMS after I finished breastfeeding which has been horrendous. My hormones just never seemed to balance out and I would have migraines, feel depressed, have period symptoms for two weeks before I bled, bloat, feel anxious and angry etc.”  ~ Emma from Emma Reed

“I swear my ribs never went back to their original place! My babies were so big they’ve stretched my rib cage.”  ~ Alana from babyholiday.co.uk

“Sneezing in public now scares me.”  ~ Stevie

“A permanent reminder that I had a baby is my ‘chef’s apron’ overhang after my C-section, reminding me that I cooked up my little biscuit in my tummy for 9 months. Shame she never turned though and had to be born through my tummy.”  ~ Victoria from Fabulous Mummy

“I still get little bits of dried milk bits come out of my breasts when I have a warm bath – stopped breast feeding like four years ago. Really weird”  ~ Ann from Rainbows are Too Beautiful

My thyroid broke! I was super skinny after giving birth, then I got fat & tired AFTER pregnancy. Typical!”  ~ Sarah from Mumzilla

 

…So there you have it: Bigger feet, thinner hair, sore bums, leaky boobs, weak bladders, buggered thyroids, tattered undercarriages, and all sorts in between. There were a load more examples I could have used, but this blog post would have turned into an encyclopedia of knackered Mum bits.

My advice? Be out and proud! Don’t be embarrassed about it. Other Mums get it, we all understand.

If you think about it, it would be kind of weird if your body underwent such a radical process and didn’t change as a result. You’d have to be like the Terminator from Terminator 2… Bodies do weird stuff. It’s normal. You’re normal. But if it hurts, or really bothers you, go and get it seen to.

Believe me when I tell you that Doctors see weirder, grosser shit than yours all the time!

Look after yourselves Motherlovers,

Big love, Kate x

 

If you liked this post, you might like some of my other blogs too, especially this one about getting back into shape after having a baby. I write a fair bit of Mum Life stuff, and I also review the best of the net on different topics from time to time, which is super handy and a massive time saver if you can’t be arsed to spend hours Googling stuff trying to find the info you need.

Everything I reference in this blog can be found in my Links To Everything page, filed alphabetically so it’s easy to find.

If you like a good natter, funny stuff, and enjoy a good meme come and join my lovely facebook group. Or you can have a browse of my Facebook page… Extra props to you if you choose to like and follow it ;0)

You can hit me up on Insta or Twitter too.

If you want to get in touch with me directly, whether you’ve got a question or you’d like to work with me, feel free to give me a shout, and I’ll get back to you.

 

7 Golden Rules For Mums of School Aged Kids: How Not To Be Shit At Helping Your Kids ‘Do’ School

7 Golden Rules For Mums of School Aged Kids

When my eldest started school I was entirely unprepared for the part that I would now have to play in the whole shebang. I mean, sure, I knew I’d have to kit them out, sort the odd packed lunch, and help them with the occasional school project from time to time.

…But you know, they start Reception aged 4 – how hard can it be…..?

Little did I know.

There is so much stuff  you have to know/do/be when your kid starts school.

SO. MUCH. STUFF.

If you don’t get the hang of it quickly, you can end up feeling like you’re just a bit shit at helping your kids ‘do’ school. However, once you do get the hang of it, it’s not so bad.

Here’s my take on how not to be shit at helping your kids ‘do’ school, without losing the plot (sort of).

 

THE RULES

Now I’ve got 2 of the sprogs in the school system, I’ve had a couple of years to get used to how things work. I’ve now endured the settling-in stage twice, and doing it a second time has jogged my memory, and made me remember the rocky road to understanding THE RULES.

No-one talks about THE RULES.

They are not written. There is no newsletter, email or parent text telling you about them, but they are there, and you must figure them out (possibly without asking anyone) and conform.

*Because not following THE RULES will inevitably lead to dangerous levels of Mum Guilt, and fear that you have somehow condemned your child to a lifetime of social outcastery. This, in turn, enables you to consider the possibility that the entire school staff now know that you do not, in fact, have your shit together, and will judge you harshly for it.

(*Ok, so that last bit might just be me, but I’m pretty sure everyone’s felt it a bit, even if they’re not quite my level of crazypants. Read on…)

 

How Not To Be Shit At Helping Your Kids ‘Do’ School

So, having reflected on this particular minefield, I have come up with what I think are the 7 golden rules for Mums of school aged kids.

There may be more. In all honesty I’m still a bit shit at this, and have yet to grasp all aspects of managing the STUFF. Feel free to hit me up in the comments if I’ve missed something crucial. Here’s what I’ve got so far..

 

1.) School Drop-Off

This might seem like a simple and straightforward transaction, but there are significant variables which could seriously hinder it’s smooth running. The most likely confounding variables are as follows:

a) Your child loses a shoe 5 minutes before you leave, despite having had the pair ready 10 minutes previously. Frantic searching and upturning of sofa cushions ensues. It’s likely that you may get a bit shouty. Eventually your child ‘finds’ the shoe in her bed. Congratulations! You are now 10 minutes late.

b) Your child, who is ratty and overtired having smuggled lego into his bed and stayed up playing for a full hour before being discovered, decides to have a full-blown meltdown 30 seconds after leaving the house and refuses to walk.

Ultimately you must carry said child in an awkward makeshift fireman’s lift and stagger to school. You try to ignore the horrified glances of other parents, who are secretly relieved it’s not their kid screaming like a banshee, until you arrive, red-faced and sweaty, and plonk him at his classroom door.

You then try your hardest to regain your composure whilst explaining to his teacher that he’s ‘a bit reluctant to come in this morning’, using your knees to block his exit whilst he squirms about trying to squeeze past you in a bid for freedom.

c) You are knackered, having been up and down like a yo-yo all night dealing with a teething baby. Everything appears to be going well until you zone out loading the dishwasher and somehow manage to lose 10 minutes scraping plates and wiping worktops. You are now 10 minutes late. Again.

To avoid such debacles, you must plan your morning routine with military precision. Get clothes out and packed lunches made the night before. Get your children fed, washed and dressed with a good 20 minutes to spare. Also allow at least double the time for the school run itself, just in case.

 

2.) The Homework Diary

Yes, that’s right. Your 4 year old now has a frigging homework diary!

Fanbloodytastic.

This basically means that you are now obliged to do ‘homework’ with your child, regardless of the fact that when they get home from school all they want is to scoff Cheesestrings and watch Cartoon Network.

After all, they are 4.

Still, you need to at least do something with them from time to time. You can use these resources if you get stuck. Try bribing them with chocolate and screen-time. Then pour yourself a glass of wine as a reward for not being shit.

 

3.) School Trips

“What’s the big deal with school trips?” I hear you ask. Well it’s not a massive deal, but getting it wrong can be a deal-breaker. It’s not the trip itself – its the consent forms.

If you’ve got school aged children you will know that when you collect them you are often gifted a crumpled handful of seemingly random pieces of paper. Be warned: Not all pieces of paper are created equal.

You must, upon collection, sort through this fistful of papers and ascertain if any of these are actually printed letters. Look for any with a dotted line bisecting them, FOR THESE ARE THE CONSENT FORMS OF DESTINY.

These slippery little fuckers can de-materialise in an instant, never to be seen again. If you find one, guard it with your life.

When you get home, fill out the form, rifle through your bag to scrape together the right change (you’ll always need to cough up for these things you know), put it in an envelope and leave it under your keys / in your coat pocket / sellotape it to the front door. Do ANYTHING it takes to remember to drop it back, completed, the next day.

Forgetting to do so may result in the form getting lost or forgotten, and your child will be ‘that kid’ who has to stay in school doing maths puzzles whilst all their mates go off on a jolly for the day. They will hate you forever for ruining their life.

 

4.) Parent’s Evenings

Yep. Even when they’re 4.

Here’s your chance to wait around for 45 minutes on a tiny chair admiring scrapbooks of your child’s work to date. Eventually you’ll be ushered into their classroom for a 3 minute chat during which you try to think of grown-up questions to ask whilst the teacher tells you everything seems to be going well so far.

Pretty much a waste of everyone’s time, but you can at least be reassured that your child is not entirely miserable, and has not, as yet, been branded a psychopath.

 

5.) Mufty / Dressing Up days

What seems like a fairly innocuous idea may actually be the bane of your life. It falls under my umbrella term ‘homework for parents’ which applies to all projects which ultimately rely on the child’s parents to organise on the child’s behalf.

There are a lot of these. At first they may seem fun, but over time you will come to resent them.

These may come in many forms: Plain old mufty/home clothes day are a breeze, obvs. However, as soon as you here the words ‘World Book Day’ or ‘Red Nose Day’ you must be on red alert.

These are the days which strike fear into the hearts of scatty mothers worldwide.

You must read the brief, my friend, and pop a reminder in your phone.

Stay prepared by going charity shopping and putting together a fancy dress box. That way, you’ll always be able to cobble something together that vaguely relates to the theme du jour.

If your child only wants to wear their Darth Vader / Elsa costume on World Book Day, you can always lie and say they’ve got a book of the film. No-one really cares. It’s either that or go as one of the 126 Harry Potters who inevitably show up on the day.

If you forget, you will essentially be committing the cardinal sin of sending your child into school in their uniform, resulting in the same outcome as failure to comply with rule 3.

 

6.) School Fairs

Oh dear god the school fairs.

I won’t lie, I hate the sodding school fair. Our school tends to hold them after school, no doubt so that your kids can cajole and coerce you into going ‘just for a bit’ at pick-up time.

Prepare for an hour of unbridled chaos during which you will shuffle through crowded corridors until you spill into a heaving hall rammed full of cluttered stalls selling various forms of tat at inflated prices ‘for a good cause’.

You’ll be obliged to do the raffle, and possibly the bottle tombola. You will bitterly regret your donation of a pretty decent bottle of merlot when you ‘win’ a bottle of Listerine, or a 2l bottle of diet Pepsi Max.

My advice: Don’t bother to conform on this one. Be sneaky. Offer to take your kids to their favourite park / the cinema / a play-date with their non-school friends. Arrive promptly at pick-up, and depart swiftly. Bring snacks.

You will save yourself a world of pain, and the kids will think you’re amazing for planning their fave thing unprompted. Mum win.

 

7.) End of term/Christmas/Summer/End of Year shows

Actually I have to say, I love going to their shows whilst they’re so little. It is totes cute to see them doing all the singing with the actions and shizzle.

Most schools do their shows in the school hall. Mostly these are large rectangular rooms, suitable for games and having school dinners in. What they are not best suited for is cramming hundreds of parents into rows of seats set up width-ways, and then staging a show up one end, rendering the rear half of the audience view-less.

Competition is fierce. As the show progresses order is lost. Everyone wants to see their child singing twinkle twinkle. People start to hover off their seats, or start creeping into the central aisle so that they can record it on their iphones.

Unless you are right at the front you will likely spend 45 minutes staring at the back of someone’s Dad’s head pondering whether you could sneak out early seeing as you can see sweet FA. Therefore the golden rule here is simple: Get in there early. I mean, like, 30 minutes minimum, and guard your seat like a rottweiler guarding a piece of steak.

If you cock up, turn up late, and find yourself crammed in at the back unable to see beyond the lady balancing on one leg trying to shove her phone high enough in the air to capture the magic, make a U-Turn and pop to Costa. The battle is lost, and your kid will never know the difference anyway.

 

So there you have it. It may not be a complete guide, but it’ll certainly help you avoid the worst faux pas. Beyond that, just fake it til you make it baby! You’ll get there in the end.

Mainly though, just do your thing, and don’t worry about whether anyone else is doing it any better. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that we’re all just winging it really.

Happy school-runs Motherlovers!

Big Love, Kate xx

 

If you liked this blog, why not check out some of my other shizzle here. You’ll also (probably) love The Mum Conundrum facebook group. It’s full of lovely down-to-earth Mums who are up for a chat, a laugh, advice, or even just a bit of a moan. And I try and post funny / interesting / useful stuff every day. Come and join in the convo. A bit of love on my Facebook page always goes down a treat too, whilst you’re in the mood *wink wink*.

I’m on Instagram and Pinterest these days too…

You can also email me if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like me to write about or review, or if you’d like to work with me. Feel free to hit me up here.

Oh, and twitter… lest we forget x

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