Mum Quiz! – Are you Actually Married To A Giant Overgrown Man-Child?

Hey there busy Mum!

Do you wonder how the house can be awash with strewn laundry and postal detritus mere minutes after you’ve finished clearing up, even though your children are napping / on a playdate / entirely engrossed in playing Roblox?

Have you ever pondered how the empty juice carton finds it’s way back into the fridge despite the fact that none of your kids can reach yet?

Have you ever bribed your kids with leftover Halloween or Christmas chocolate, just to discover that it has mysteriously disappeared form the top shelf of the cupboard?

Does it sometimes feel like you are in fact looking after one more child than you thought you’d birthed?

…. If you’ve answered YES to any of these questions, it’s just possible that your other half may in fact be a giant overgrown man-child.

 

Take this quiz to find out if you really are married to a giant overgrown man-child!

 

1.) You and your OH are turning in for the night. As he takes off his socks, your partner:

a) Chucks them into the laundry basket on the way back from the bathroom without so much as a second thought.

b) Puts them in a scrunched up pile with the rest of this clothes, because ‘they’ve got another day left in them’ and he can re-wear them like he will his jeans tomorrow.

c) Forgets to take them off until he’s on the bed, at which point he flings them with carefree abandon into opposite corners of the room, before wrapping himself up three quarters of the duvet, farting, and snoring gently into his pillow within seconds.

d) Pops them into the laundry basket, but notices that the basket is pretty full, so he picks it up and takes it downstairs to pop a wash on overnight, knowing it will save you time in the morning.

 

2.) You have prepared a delicious meal for all the family. Once he has finished this lovingly prepared meal, does you partner:

a.) Automatically pick up his plate, scrape his leftovers into the bin, and load it into the dishwasher?

b.) Pick up his plate, but inexplicably just put it down next to the sink, where it will sit until you clear it along with the rest of the table?

c.) Mumble something about the football having already started and wander off into the lounge whilst you’re distracted by trying to unstrap your wriggling toddler from her newly pasta-encrusted highchair whilst your 5 year old demands more yoghurt?

d.) Suggest that you sit down, seeing as you’ve been on your feet cooking and dealing with the kids non-stop for the past few hours, whilst he clears the table, loads the dishwasher, and wipes down the kitchen worktops?

 

3.) The post has arrived, and with it, an Amazon package that your partner has been expecting for several days. Does he:

a.) Take it to the kitchen table, grabbing a pair of scissors to remove the packaging, which he then chucks into the bin before trying out his new toy gadget with a rapturous look in his eyes.

b.) Wander around the entire ground floor of the house, ripping off layers and scraps of packaging and leaving them strewn across various surfaces before eventually uncovering his online purchase, which he then leaves on a shelf in the hallway before wandering off to find some spare batteries / a screwdriver / take an impromptu 20 minute poop.

c.) Unwrap said package in the manner of b, but once opened he discovers that he actually ordered the wrong thing. He says he needs to return it, which actually means that he will expect you to do it for him after forgetting all about it for three weeks and then sending you a text from work weeks later telling you it has to be sent back today to make the returns deadline.

d.) Hands it to you… After all, it wasn’t for him anyway, it was a thoughtful surprise gift he bought for you on the spur of the moment. You love it! (obvs)

 

4.) It’s early evening, and your teething baby has just been changed and is crawling around in the living room with your partner. You are in the kitchen making up his night-time bottle. Whilst you are away, there is a MAJOR poonami incident. What happens next?

a.) You come back from the kitchen and the aroma hits you first. Then you notice your other half scouting around for the changing stuff. You pass it to him and he deals with it with only a bit of a grumble. You help out by nipping off to grab bubba a new babygrow. Job done.

b.) You come back from the kitchen and the aroma hits you first. Then you notice your other half has put on his headphones and is (suspiciously) unwavering in his concentration, watching a youtube video on how to build your own shed. You point out the smell, and the seeping brown marks appearing on the back of your baby’s babygrow, at which point he feigns ignorance before halfheartedly offering to change him (usually once he sees that you have already started  to do it yourself).

c.) You pass your OH on your way back into the living room, scuttling off on his way upstairs ‘to look for that thing he lost the other week’, leaving the pungent surprise for you to deal with.

d.) You pass your OH on your way back into the living room, holding the dirty nappy in one hand and poopy babygrow in the other. He’s just off to the kitchen to dispose of the nappy and handwash the babygrow before the stain sets in.

 

5.) Your kids come down with a horrible bug and have had the full works:- Snot, Sore throat and head, aches and shivers, and a high temperature. The next afternoon you start getting the same symptoms and feel like death warmed up. When your husband comes through the door after work, he:

a.) Sees that everyone is poorly, suggests ordering in pizza for dinner and offers to put the kids to bed early.

b.) Upon hearing that you have succumbed to the kids lurgy, he rubs his throat a bit and tells you he thinks he might be coming down with it too. (Standby for updates at 15 minute intervals on the progress of his deterioration. Concluding that his symptoms are, of course, inherently more severe.)

c.) Surveys the snotty horror within the family home, turns heel and pops of to the pub for ‘a quick pint’.

d.) Takes one look at your pale, clammy face and tells you to go and lie down whilst he knocks up some soup for everyone and fetches a cold flannel for your brow.

 

Results Time – How Did He Do?

Mostly A’s

Phew. Turns out your mating choices aren’t exactly misguided after all. You appear to have coupled-up with an actual fully fledged adult. He may not be perfect, but he’ll do. And you probably quite like him most of the time really, so it’s all good.

Mostly B’s

Hmmm. Are you sure you haven’t just accidentally married a student?

Mostly C’s

Oh dear. You’ve partnered up with a real life overgrown man-baby. Don’t feel embarrassed, sometimes you don’t see the signs until it’s too late. Probs best to have a large glass of wine now and look for the silver lining – at least he’s potty trained.

Probably.

Mostly D’s

Who is this wonderous unicorn-like being? No doubt he also gives impromptu foot rubs, cooks delicious low-carb meals, has a six pack, and his farts smell of Aramis. I’m not sure if you are delusional or you’ve won the husband lottery. Either way I’m a bit jealous, tbh…

A Mixture of A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s

Realistically I think most of us have other halves who are a bit of all of the above, don’t we? (although some of us are blessed with a few more D scores and a few less C’s). And it’s not so bad really. I mean, sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised…

…I still wish he’d just put his sodding socks in the laundry though.

 

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Did this post tickle you? Then have a gander at some of my other blog posts too. (Especially this one, because if you’re sick to death of doing all the Mum stuff around the house for f*ck all thanks it might just cheer you up a bit.)

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I’m also on twitter (a lot) and Instagram (a bit) too… Ooh and I’m newly loving the whole Pinterest thing, so do pop along and give me a follow there, I’ve got all sorts of intriguing pins for you to take a peek at.

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.

Happy reading Motherlovers!

 

Kate xx

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Clocking Hell!… The perils and pitfalls of managing the clock change (with cheats)

British Summer Time

It’s that time of year again. British Summer Time has commenced. The clocks went forward, and a collective groan rang out across the Nation.

In my pre-Mum days, back when the only time I didn’t pee alone was during trips to pub toilets with my buddies after a particularly poor decision to do another round of jagerbombs, knowing the clocks were going forward was just a minor irritation.

I’ll bet you were the same.

The sum total of our worries was that we would have one less hour of lie-in in which to nurse our hangovers that week. (Ah… lie-ins. Remember those delightful weekly treats? How carelessly we frittered them away, not understanding their impending extinction…)

Little did we know, back then, the true arse-ache impact of the clocks changing for our future Mum selves.

 

For Clock’s Sake!

For Mothers with children of a certain age, feelings towards the clock changing will vary wildly, depending on the particular brand of bedtime awkwardness of their kids.

Some Mums will be ecstatic at the prospect of being able to bump their early-riser’s wake-up forward to a more respectable hour (possibly). Whereas for others it poses a whole new problem – getting your argumentative little shits spirited little monkeys to go to bed an entire hour early without a protracted argument.

I realised this year that since becoming a Mum I have always looked at the clocks going forward with a sort of idiotic amnesiac confidence. Every year, rather than thinking about the fact that we are all just losing an hour of our already compromised sleep time, I’m convinced I will be able to re-set my early risers to stay in bed for an extra hour in the mornings.

Every year I seem to forget that whilst it means that whilst the sprogs might be fooled into staying in bed longer for a morning or two, it usually doesn’t compensate for the fact that we seem to lose more than an hour at the other end, with each of my kids adamant that it can’t be bedtime because it’s not dark enough yet.

Even my littlest got in on the action this year:-

Yes. I know she is cute. Good job too, because she is also the ultimate micro-ninja sleep thief.

Lately she has started to sleep through the night more frequently. The upshot of which was (joy of joys) she began to wake earlier and earlier. I was averaging about 5.15am, and I was knackered to the point of blind desperation.

So when the clocks went forward I was pinning my hopes on re-setting things a bit, and possibly even seeing 6.30am in my own bed for a change. And it happened! It really did. (Allbeit only for the first night… Last night she had me going in and out of her room like the hokey cokey, although this can possibly be attributed more to the fact that she had the shits, rather than reverting back to hourly wakings again. If not, pray for me.)

Nonetheless, we did at least have one night of success for all three children.

 

Clocking great clock-change cheats

I tried to outwit the clock change (and also my older kids) this year, and certainly I think that our tactics helped a bit. Probably wont do much in the long run, but let’s not dwell…

Anywhoo… For what it’s worth, here are my clock change cheats, most of which can be applied to both the clocks going forward and back:-

 

1.) Put them to bed closer to their post clock-change bedtime (but not a whole hour)

We kept our kids up about half an hour the night before the clocks went forward, so it didn’t feel out of sync enough for them to start getting into a paddy in the morning when they’re wide awake but not allowed to get up yet…  This one works a treat in tandem with 2.

2.) Gro-clock porky-pies

Once they’re old enough to be inducted into the cult of Gro Clock, this one works like a charm.

Clocks going forward? Leave the gro-clock on it’s old time til the next day. Congratulations, you’ve bought back that lost hour in bed! Clocks going back? Change them the night before, before your kids go to bed, so they think they’re up half an hour late but actually they’re in bed half an hour early (mwah-ha-haaaa!)

3.) Blackout blinds

How does anyone manage to survive Summer without blackout blinds? If you have small children you need these. End of. They come into their own when the clocks go forward, fooling your little early birds into thinking it’s still twilight and reducing the risk of 5am horror.

4.) Threats and bribery

Again, better with the 3-8yrs age range, owing to the fact that babies and young toddlers can’t be bribed because they own you. Threatened removal of iPad time, coupled with the promise of going the park in the morning if they stay in bed til Mr Sun went down a treat in our household.

Yes, I am a horrible mother. But, you know, it’s not like I’m beating them with sticks or anything.

5.) Earplugs

Self explanatory, really. You can’t ignore a crying baby or toddler, obvs. But you can ignore the hell out of your older kids playing Transformers and Shopkins families outside your door at 5.45am. FACT.

6.) Wine

Ok so not a cheat exactly, but if all else fails…

I can’t guarantee any of this will actually work of course, but it’s worth a try eh?! (especially the wine). Aaaannd of course the plus side of British Summer Time is that you no longer have to get up at sh*t o’clock in the pitch black. At least now you can drink your tea and scroll through your phone whilst trying to blank out the Paw Patrol theme tune without feeling like it’s the dead of night.

Happy Springtime, Motherlovers,

Kate xx

**Disclaimer: Yes, I have shamelessly punned all my headings. Yes, it is a fairly lacklustre and unimaginative substitution of the word ‘clock’ for obviously rude words. Blame my puerile and childish sense of humour. I clearly can’t help myself.**

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Did you like this blog post? Give some of my other shizzle a whirl too, you might find this one particularly amusing if you’re in the midst of child induced sleep deprivation.

You’ll also (probably) love The Mum Conundrum facebook group – I post lots of funny and random things from the interweb, and you can chat to other Mums / scroll through the comments / admire my memes whilst your sleep thief is keeping you up. My Facebook page has lots of funny and interesting stuff on it too …A like and a follow is always much appreciated, you know ;0)

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

Oh, and Instagram for a more visual documentation of my chaotic life, and Pinterest – for tips and hacks and things to make yours less chaotic.

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.

Take Your pick, or stalk me on all of them –  the more the merrier x

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Overtired, Overworked and Overwhelmed ~ What do you do when it all gets too much?

Overtired, Overworked and Overwhelmed

The last couple of weeks have felt quite tough. I’m overwhelmed with the volume of work I need to get done. I have very limited childcare. My house is a dump. I have about 5 projects under way but incomplete. It seems like I have a headache all the time.

I feel like I am on the go non stop from 6am until the kids are asleep. I am trying to juggle everything and get it all done and maintain my work levels and keep everyone else happy…

…And yet it feels like however much I manage to do there is always a loose end unattended.

 

All The Things…

My son is complaining that I’ve forgotten to write a ‘Wow! moment’ for him to take into school. My husband is annoyed because I didn’t get around to mending the hole I’d offered to mend in his jumper, and he wanted to wear it.

A text from the school reminds me I’ve forgotten to return the permission slip for my daughter’s school trip next week. She’s upset with me because I didn’t get around to arranging that play-date she’s been asking me to arrange all week.

And beyond the minutiae of these minor chores lies a greater guilt.

I’m distracted. I’m not focusing on my kids when I should be because I’m desperately trying to finish off that bit of work before I start cooking dinner. I’m too tired to Netflix and chill with Pete, opting instead go to bed at 9pm.

I’m ratty and impatient. I shout when I should be calmly explaining.

I’m trying so hard, but it’s just not enough.

Everyone is getting me in half measures and feeling short-changed and resentful.

 

Will everybody just SHUT UP for a minute!

It’s Wednesday evening. My childcare arrangements had to change at the last minute, and I had to change my plans and work on a day I had arranged to see someone. Said person was decidedly frosty because I was letting her down.

I feel guilty and frustrated.

The house is a mess. There are literally 6 loads of clean washing yet to put away and I STILL have an overflowing laundry basket.

Our older two kids are overtired after school and bickering loudly, demanding that I mediate, whilst our toddler wails every time I put her down and attempt to start making dinner. Pete comes home from work hangry and fed up that dinner will be late.

Leaving the squalling children in the kitchen I go into the lounge, holding my head in my hands, on the verge of tears, to speak with Pete.

“I just want the noise to stop. I want to be somewhere quiet for a minute.” I say, lip wobbling.

He takes one look at his slightly demented looking wife and tells me to go upstairs for a bit while he sorts dinner.

 

The Tipping Point

Ordinarily the relief I’d feel whilst Pete handles the chaos would be palpable. But today it’s not.

Arriving in our calm, quiet, loft bedroom, I flop down horizontally across our bed. Staring, glassy eyed, at the trapezium of orange sunset cast on the bedroom wall through the velux window.

I try to take in the peace and comfort of the bedroom, and appreciate the sudden departure from the noise and stress downstairs. My brain feels full to the brim and yet I am strangely blank.

Pondering the causes of this cerebral white noise apathy I check in with myself.

Am I depressed?

Not really.

I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, and a bit defeated.

I’m just… done.

Behind the blankness I can still feel a tight knot of guilt and anxiety in my gut, of feeling not-good-enough, and the worry of having too much to do. It’s strangely muted but I can feel it beneath, and it wont go away.

 

Once More unto the breach, dear friends…

Once I’d had a bit of time to myself to register how I was feeling and gather my thoughts on how to process it all, I felt a bit better equipped to go downstairs for dinner.

At this point in my anecdote I’d like to paint a tableau akin to the scene in Snow White when she wakes up in the dwarves’ cottage. Some sort of scene where I float about, singing sweetly, tending to my family, with woodland animals scurrying about tidying away the toys whilst bluebirds fold my laundry.

But no.

I came downstairs to abject bedlam. The kids noise levels had gone nuclear and the kitchen looked like it had borne the brunt of the explosion. Pete, already knackered from a long day’s work, was just about keeping his temper whilst tersely doling out our standard responses to the kids refusals of dinner.

After dinner Pete put a bit of music on for the kids and went and sat down on the couch. Scowling, I start to clear the mess. There’s cooking detritus everywhere and my head is pounding. I’m annoyed that yet again he hasn’t emptied the bin when I asked, and that he cooks like a tasmanian devil.

(I was also cross with myself because I should at least have been a bit grateful that he stepped in when he saw me on the brink, but I was having trouble calibrating this at the time.)

I’m in my own head, clearing away condiments, when I realise Pete has come back to the table.

“Look!” he says gesturing to the kids.

I stop what I’m doing and look.

All three of them were dancing. All of them! Together! It was a scene of (rare) pure unadulterated joy. They were all laughing and smiling at each other…. It was really a truly lovely sight to behold.

I laughed in spite of myself and realised that all this time, caught up in the milieu of my day to day stress, I’d forgotten the point of it all…

 

The Overwhelm

You may not be my particular brand of crazy, but I’ll bet you a tenner you’ve felt this sort of overwhelm before – That point where the too-muchness of it all renders you inert, spent and helpless.

Lying on that bed I knew that in the interest of self-care something had to give. I know myself well enough to understand that if I keep putting myself under this pressure, and don’t manage my shit a bit more sensibly, I’ll start to become depressed, anxious and possibly trigger a burst of OCD.

 

…So… You’re totally overwhelmed ~ what do you do when it all gets too much?

You’re a Mum, so a lot of the normal rules don’t apply. You can’t just down tools and stop Mumming. You can’t stop. Full stop.

That said, there are still ways to help things ease a bit. Even when you don’t want to carry on but you have to.

Different folks for different strokes and all that, but here are some of the key things that I need to do for myself when battling the overwhelm:-

 

Give yourself a break

I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche because it’s true. We are often our own harshest critics. As the stress of the last few weeks had been building I felt more and more crap about not being able to be all things to all people.

How ridiculous is that?

If you’re doing your best, that’s good enough. You can’t do any better, so why beat yourself up about it?

 

Don’t take on other people’s shit

Most of the time the people that matter to you in your life know you well enough to know that you try to treat them well and be there when they need you. Occasionally though, you might have a situation arise when someone isn’t on board when your shizzle unravels, and they take it personally when you can’t meet their needs at that time.

It’s hard not to feel like shit when this happens. But you need to bear in mind that often when people react badly to you in this situation, it’s usually because they’re feeling shit about their own stuff.

Hell, maybe they’re dealing with their own overwhelm and were hoping you could lighten the load. Maybe they had so much on their own plate they didn’t consider how much you might have on yours.

The point I’m trying to make is that when other people are pissed off with you, that’s their shit, not yours.

Stand by your decisions and don’t absorb their feelings (unless on reflection they were shit decisions, in which case go see your friend, apologise, and bring wine). Given time these things usually blow over, and you can always discuss and put things right at a later date.

 

Review your own expectations and timescales

This is a big one for me. I start off with a manageable list of things to do, and then random stuff comes up and before I know it you’ve got more to do than I can fit into the day.

It’s like life comes along and throws you a shitty stick, and you catch it because it’s a reflex reaction, but then you realise you’ve got shit on your hand, and you didn’t want the stick in the first place.

If your to-do list starts multiplying like pouring water on a Gremlin’s back, you need to review it all. Work out what needs prioritising, break it down into manageable chunks and get it done a bit at a time. Let anyone know who might be affected by the changes.

You’ll be surprised how much it lightens the load just knowing you’ve got more time for everything.

 

Tell someone how you feel

When I get stressed out I get fairly introspective about it. You might not feel like it achieves anything, but actually, talking about it helps in a number of ways:

  • Saying it out loud often helps you organise your thoughts
  • Talking to another person means you can bounce ideas off each other and can help you work out ways to tackle things
  • It helps you decompress
  • Another perspective can offer reassurance that you’re doing ok even when you don’t feel like you are.

So, talk it over with someone who’ll listen. It’s good for you, and it’ll make things feel better.

 

Take a minute to see things as they are – don’t lose sight of the good stuff

When we’re all caught up with the obligations and the pressures of motherhood we sometimes lose sight of what it’s all about. Everything seems heavy and stressful.

Sometimes what we really need is a moment when we can survey what we’ve got and see that it IS worthwhile, even when it’s just felt like a constant slog for what seems like forever.

My advice? Find your dancing-in-the-kitchen moment. It might not be obvious, or there all the time, but if you try to see it you’ll get there eventually.

Even concentrating on trying to see it might be enough to distract you from questioning your life choices and fantasising about running away to Mauritius in the dead of night.

 

… So… That’s my take on things.

Obviously I’m not an expert, but I am well seasoned in experiencing The Overwhelm. If nothing else this post can serve as a reassurance to all you stressed out Mamas up there that you’re not alone, and that what you’re feeling is both normal and manageable.

Look after yourselves Motherlovers,

Kate xx

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Did this post tickle your fancy? Then you’ll (probably) love my other stuff too. Especially this one, which is all about being stuck in the ‘Mum Zone’.

While you’re in the mood, 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 TwitterInstagram and Pinterest too. I’ve got all sorts of weird and wonderful (and some quite handy) things for you to read and laugh at when you’re hiding in the bathroom pretending to poop for a bit of peace and quiet.

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Children’s Parties – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I am definitely prone to throwing a particular vibe of kid’s party.

The venue might change, but ultimately every kids birthday party I’ve ever thrown has been a fairly fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants venture. I am always in awe of Mums whose kid’s parties are pulled off with any degree of finesse or organisation.

My kids have been invited to all sorts of parties over the years. And, at least whilst they’re still relatively little, that means that muggins here has also had to forfeit many a lazy weekend afternoon eating crisps on the sofa in order to chaperone.

I am not a fan…

Here is my take on the 6 types of party your child will encounter, ranked and scored from the perspective of the attending parent:-

 

Children’s Parties – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

 

1.) The Mahoosive Mega-Party

Usually held in some kind of sports hall or leisure centre, these are usually held in enormous cavernous spaces the size of Kent, with a volume of attendees to rival to it’s population. Upon arriving with your child, he takes off at speed, throwing his shoes off whilst charging hell-for-leather towards the ball bit.

You quietly wonder how the parents have managed to afford to pull off such an event without having to remortgage or sell a kidney.

Half a mile away, at the other end of the room, you spot the rest of the parents milling around in front of a heavily laden trestle table piled high with party food. This is where you will spend the next two hours having conversations in various degrees of awkwardness and trying not to absentmindedly scoff all the hula hoops before the kids sit down to eat.

Pros:

Your child will be thoroughly engrossed in playing on the numerous facilities for the duration, thus limiting demands for snacks / whining / requests for watching Youtube on your phone.

Cons: 

The sheer scale of these parties may make your child less easy to spot, which means there is an increased likelihood of them causing a minor misdemeanour on the play matts, or getting trampled on the bouncy castle without you noticing.

Mum rating: 7/10

Watch out for:

Forgetting to check your child’s shoes, and accidentally taking them home wearing one of someone else’s trainers.

 

2.) Themed Party

These are usually somewhat smaller parties, held in homes or hired rooms at local church halls. Children are asked to come along in fancy dress. Depending on the Pinterest level of the Mum the theme will continue through party bags / napkins / cake / treats / party games.

Your kid will likely become fully immersed in the superhero / disney princess / pirates & mermaids experience and spend the next 6 weeks telling you about the fifteen different types of party theme they’re going to have for their birthday party in 8 months time.

Pros:

For at least the first half hour the kids will be sufficiently distracted by the dressing-up aspect of the event to remember to get upset at losing musical statues or Simon Says.

Cons:

You have to sort out their costume, which you will no doubt have forgotten about until the night before, and spend a slightly fraught morning rifling through your dressing up box trying to put together something that vaguely resembles an outfit that fits the theme of the day.

Mum rating: 6/10

Watch out for:

Boisterous, over excited and over-sugared boys competitively demonstrating their Hulk skills on each other when you’re not looking.

 

3.) The Traditional Kids Party At Home:

When I was a kid all the parties we had or went to were at the homes of the birthday Boy or Girl in question. Everyone dressed up in their party dress, played a few games and had a birthday tea culminating in cake, the ceremonial dishing out of party bags (cake, balloon, one or two knick-knacks) and then a swift exit.

These days, I get the distinct impression that this option is somehow seen as low-key, and there’s a sort of pressure to make the whole thing bigger, shinier, and somehow more grand. Christ knows why this is the case.

If anything it’s more of a mammoth task to entertain a hoard of running, jumping, screaming children in your own house for 2 hours without resorting to your shoutiest Mumasaurus Rex roar in order to tame them into submission.

Plus it requires order and control to manage a series of party games without being reduced to a gibbering wreck. In fact, because of these factors I’m going to divide the at-home party into two subsections as follows:-

Type A: Military Precision

Pros:

You are astonished to find that all the children (including your own) are immaculately behaved, as they are being skilfully cajoled and directed from one party game to the next.

Cons: 

You’re also likely to leave feeling slightly inferior / dumbfounded at the Mum-skill levels / embarrassed that the Mum hosting the party came to your chaotic shitshow of a party a couple of months back and will remember how rubbish you were by comparison.

Mum rating: 5/10

Watch out for:

Trying to compensate for your own social awkwardness and accidentally oversharing or making inappropriate jokes to Mums you barely know. This may result in them thinking that you are neglectful / alcoholic / a bit weird.

Type B: Raucous Chaos

Pros:

The kids are allowed to run riot and the house is awash with fizzy drinks and trodden-on crisps. You feel right at home. Plus, raucous chaos Mum offers wine.

Cons: 

Noise levels reach defcon 5. You will likely leave with a headache, and possibly a hangover.

Mum rating: 9/10

Watch out for:

Getting a bit tipsy and forgetting you’ve brought the car, which means you will now have to walk home with a totally overstimulated kid coming down off a sugar high.

 

4.) The Party That’s Also a Specific Activity / Treat:

Pretty impressive. These types of party are definitely orchestrated by a Mum who has got serious game (and possibly a platinum credit card) when it comes to party-sorting skills. These can take a wide range of forms, from Lazer Quest to Fairy Beauty Parties, and from Pony Parties to Exotic Animal Parties.

Pros:

Your children will be utterly awestruck at the fact that their friend is actually having something so snazzy and exciting as their birthday party, and will talk about it for weeks both prior and after the event. Plus, chances are this might actually be a drop-off situation, leaving you unexpectedly euphoric child-free for the afternoon.

Cons:

There is also a possibility (especially if the party is taking place at a farm or public leisure space) which means that you not only have to go, but also hang around for hours whilst your child does whatever the thing is that the party is themed around, and you wont even be able to sit at the side of the room nibbling tiny triangles of ham sandwich.

Mum rating: 10/10 or 4/10

(Depending on whether you drop them off or not.)

Watch out for: 

“But Mummy, WHY can’t I have a princess mermaid pamper party? Pleeeeease!!!…”

And Repeat, ad infinitum, until you’re ready to tear your own ears off in protest.

 

5.) The Soft Play Party

A low maintenance catch-all party solution. Just unleash the kids for 90 minutes, call them back for a birthday tea, blow out the candles and dole out the party bags. Job done.

Pros: 

The kids entertain themselves – it’s basically like a rainy day outing but with a load of their mates. With a bit of luck they sell coffee there and you know one or two of the other Mums from school pick up so you can sit and natter until it’s time to scoop them up and take them home.

Cons:

Soft Play venues are like giant petrie dishes for colds and tummy bugs. By accepting this invite you have basically enrolled your child in a game of paediatric bacterial infection bingo.

There will be consequences.

Mum rating: 6.5/10

Watch out for: 

That enormous kid guarding the top of the curly slide slyly pushing other kids down head first when he thinks his Dad’s not looking.

 

6.) The Party For Really Little Kids (0-3’s)

When I first became a Mum, and knew a lot of other new Mums, there were a fair few parties held for very small children.

Now, I may be a horrible mother, but in each case I wondered… Why the hell they would want to hold these parties for their little floor-blob of a child, who had zero concept of what was going on, and would probably spend the majority of the time climbing in and out of a box that one of their presents came in and ignoring everyone?!?

Nowadays I still think these parties were pointless, but the benefit of hindsight casts a fairly rosy glow over their attributes (See: Pros).

Pros:

These are basically parties for the parents under the guise of being kids parties aren’t they? Newly Mummed women organise them to pat themselves on the back for keeping their tiny human alive for a whole year or so.

They throw a party. Everyone can come because they can bring their own sprogs and childcare isn’t an issue. And they can offer wine (for which everyone is grateful) and hang out and chat whilst assorted tiny children roll around in discarded wrapping paper. And there’s still cake! An all round win.

Cons:

Sadly these happen less with subsequent children (let’s face it, it wouldn’t be such a doddle with a demanding 5 year old in tow, saying she was bored and moaning that the sandwiches were too bready) so there is a fairly narrow window for this particular party type.

Mum rating: 10/10

Watch Out For:

Getting a bit sozzled and forgetting that your baby / toddler will nonetheless be up with the lark at 5.15am. Welcome to the world of parenting with a hangover! And may God have mercy on your soul.

 

Party on, Motherlovers,

Kate xx

~~~

How did I do?… Did you like this post? You might like some of my other blogs too then, this one might be right up your street.

While you’re at it, if you like 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. You can hit me up on Twitter too.

Oh, and if you want something a bit more visual you could visit my Instagram, or come see me on Pinterest for loads of hints, tips and hacks on all things Mum Life.

8 Things Mums Can Stop Giving A Sh*t About Right Now (and be FREE!!!)

**Warning: Particularly sweary post, written by one tired and very busy Mum with PMT and a bit of a cob on. Read on at your own risk…

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

A couple  of years ago, a friend of mine posted a blog post she’d found on Facebook. I clicked on it because it’s title “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” appealed to me and I thought it might make me laugh.

It was a great post, not just because it gave me all the LOLs, but also because there was a genuine message there which I have tried to carry with me ever since.

The thing is that, for me at least, with Motherhood came this unsolicited flock of f*cks to give. I had no idea where they came from, but suddenly I was at the mercy of them, perpetually flapping around my head and hovering over me, ready to shit guilt and stress on my head at a moment’s notice.

It’s crap. And I mean, really.

Total pointless crap ends up keeping me up at night when I’m stressed out. It’s tiring and frustrating and it makes me crabby and shouty at the drop of a hat.

I might have a lot to do, but when it comes to the f*cks I give, I’ve got no-one to blame but myself. Well, I’m telling you ladies – enough is enough!

As Mums, we owe it to ourselves to give it a rest.

 

Battling The Overwhelm

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been chasing my tail. My kids have been ill, my house is a mess, and I’m so far behind on my work I’m earning a pittance. Throw in a couple of random factors like arranging my 5 year old’s birthday party and World bastard Book Day, and BOOM! Totally overwhelmed.

I’ve realised that this overwhelm is rooted in the fact that, with my ever growing to-do list came the obligatory pile of pointless f*cks given about things that really don’t make a blind bit of difference in the greater scheme of things.

It’s a cyclical thing. When it gets like this, and I find myself in the throes of a self-induced micro-crisis, eventually I get a grip and re-order my priorities.

… So, without further ado. Here is my own personal list of things I’ve stopped giving a shit about. Yours might be different, but if nothing else this post can serve as inspiration to put together your own. Let’s crack on, shall we?…

 

8 Things Mums Can Stop Giving A Sh*t About Right Now

 

1.) Kids Dress-Up Days

Obviously some f*ckwit somewhere thought it’d be nice and “just a bit of fun” to have World Book Day in early f*cking March. Not only does this render Mums everywhere panic-stricken at the prospect of creating some sort of outfit at a moment’s notice, but also drastically limits what sort of outfit can be warn for fear of inducing hypothermia on the school run.

And yes, I did get the sodding letter, but I was too busy trying to get my tantruming 5 year old home from school without a riot to read it properly, and by the time I actually got everyone home it had been unceremoniously dumped in the bottom of the buggy shelf, to remain untouched until I come across it’s crumpled form at some point in the distant future.

So no. No time for giving a shit about that. And here’s how you can do the same:- Put together a dressing up box of random clothes and outfits for your kids, along with any existing costumes you might have accumulated. When WBD or Comic Relief or anything else of that ilk rolls around, dig around and put together something that vaguely fits with a book your kid has read.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, this post from Mummy’s Gin Fund should do the trick.

It doesn’t have to be amazing. It will do. And if your kids start moaning about it just suggest they sort something else out themselves, and then distract them with snacks.

 

2.) Ironing

Pfft. What is this, the 1950’s? I genuinely don’t think I’ve ironed a single item of my own clothing for years. These days Pete will usually do his own, which leaves the kid’s stuff… Which basically means their school uniform. I worry sporadically that my kids look scruffy when they go in to school. They’re often a bit crumpled, to say the least.

Well… Sod it, actually. Because regardless of how well turned out my kids are when I drop them off, they will always emerge from the school gates at 3pm looking like incarnations of Stig Of The Dump, so the whole exercise is utterly fruitless anyway. So, zero f*cks. None. De nada.

 

3.) Bitchy Mums On The School Run:

Nope.  Because f*ck them, f*ck that, and f*ck right off, frankly.

 

4.) Having a Messy House

I do hate my house being a mess. I find it hard to get anything done when there’s crap littering every surface, so I try and keep a handle on it.

However, there are times (like today) when it starts feeling like a location shoot for an episode of Hoarders. I especially hate it when it gets like this but I’ve got too many urgent things to do to spend much time clearing it up.

Well f*ck it… I refuse to give a shit about it until I can do something about it.

What’s the worst that could happen? Someone breaks into my house in the dead of night and judges me for my slovenly ways before making off with the flatscreen? Screw you, snooty burglar. I hope your freeview box explodes. No f*cks given here whatsoever.

 

5.) Home Decor

Nope. This aint Pinterest, lady. If you’re a Mum who can maintain a stylish element of home decor around your house with tiny, jammy-fingered humans marauding about the place, I salute you. I have no idea how you find the time, patience, or f*cks to give.

 

6.) Screen Time Guilt

Yes I know it’s not great for them.

Yes I do think they are less well behaved after they’ve been plugged into the matrix.

No I do not think it’s acceptable to use the iPad as a babysitter…

But someone’s got to get the dinner on, and if that’s the only way I can get 30 minutes to get it done, so be it. F*cks be gone!!

 

7.) Being Fat / Out of Shape / Unfit

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t moan about this from time to time and get all stressed about not feeling happy with the shape I’m in. But, well, worrying about it will not make me slimmer, will it?!? In fact, I’m more likely to crack open the wine on a Tuesday night if I’ve been beating myself up about stuff like this.

Ultimately I’ve got two choices. Either do something about it, or just forget about it until I’m ready. I could stress about it, or I could just give myself a break until I’m a bit less exhausted and then get exercising.

Sorry, no magic solution there, just boring old common sense. Not really worth giving a shit about in the meantime though, eh?

 

8.) Throwing Shit Kids Parties:

I’ve just run this particular gauntlet, so this is fresh in my mind (I’ve already hatched an idea for next week’s post on the topic, so watch this space and all that…) I am inherently shit at organising this sort of thing. It doesn’t matter what I choose to do I always have a last minute disaster in some form or other and end up winging it entirely.

Sometimes, comparing my kids do’s to some of the other polished and well organised parties (run by unflappably calm mothers who manage not only to look nice but also seem to actually enjoy these events) I can’t help feeling an occasional twinge of concern that my kids parties are a bit shit.

Note to self: If the kids had fun and no-one died, it was a success. No shit necessary to give.

 

Et voila!

Doesn’t that feel better already?

Thus concludes my list of things. I may have to revisit this in a month or so when things go tits up again, but in the meantime I am almost zen-like in my unruffledness.

What should you put on your Don’t-Give-A-Shit List?

 

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

 

 

It’s All About The ‘Me’ Time… An Exclusive Special Offer on a Fabulous Relaxing Spanish Retreat

Calling All Frazzled Mums!

Imagine, if you will, a place of peace, calm and sunshine.

Imagine hearing nothing but the soft chirrup of crickets and calls of birds as you lie, relaxing in a hammock in the Spanish sun, next to an azure pool.

Imagine wakening gently each morning, without being startled into consciousness by a loud shout from the bathroom demanding you wipe a pooey bum.

Imagine days without a single request for biscuits or Cheesestrings, or demands to referee sibling squabbles, and peaceful uninterrupted nights brimming with sleep.

 

 

Imagine meals packed full of delicious food, eaten at your leisure, without a single complaint or demand for chips or Weetabix.

Imagine an entire break all about YOU, with dreamy yoga and rejuvinating pilates sessions to relax and vitalise you, massage sessions and lazy afternoons in the sun.
 

 

Imagine a 5 or 7 day break in May, designed for YOU, specifically to make YOU feel fabulous…

Wouldn’t that be AMAZING?!?

Well, thanks to the beautiful souls at Pomegranate Retreats, The Mum Conundrum can bring you and a friend one step toward a few days in paradise.

 

Pomegranate Retreats are running a limited offer, exclusive to The Mum Conundrum Facebook Group members!…

If you and a friend book together before 31st March, you can get up to *£175 off your joint booking!

You won’t find a better deal anywhere else.

So call in the childcare, shrug off that Mum guilt and book you and your bestie a mini-break. Christ knows you deserve it!

All you need to do is this:

1.) Make sure that both you and your friend are have both joined The Mum Conundrum Facebook Group.

2.) Pop over to the Pomegranate Retreats Facebook Page for all the details, and get in touch with Jenny or Fran (The lovely ladies at the helm) to book.

3.) Make sure to mention The Mum Conundrum to get your stonking discount.

4.) Book yourself a little slice of heaven – and enjoy!

(You can always show your appreciation by popping over to The Mum Conundrum Facebook Page and giving me a like and a follow too. I’m all about the love, people).

You can contact me, or check out my social media channels here too.

Places are limited, and are going fast, so book quickly to avoid disappointment. You’ve earned this, Mama! x

 

 

**Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post. It’s just an awesome deal I’ve managed to wangle for my facebook group lovelies.**

I hope you like it xx

 

 

*discount varies according to length of stay. The £175 discount featured is for the 7 day stay. For a 5 day booking the discount is £125.

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
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