International Women’s Day – a reminder

So today is International Women’s Day. This year we’re being encouraged to #BeBoldForChange.

It’s hard to know how to effect change, when in the UK at least – in theory at least – women are doing pretty well. And it’s hard to be bold when you’re so fucking busy and so fucking tired.

So in all honestly, International Women’s Day nearly passed me by. And I wasn’t going to write anything about it at all, until my biggest small daughter said something to me that rather shook me.

And made me realise I do still need to Be Bold For Change, in my own life – for her sake.

Post-parents evening, the Big Small and I discussed how important it was to be kind, and to be happy. And how those things – at which she is by all accounts doing fairly well (at least at school) – are far more important to her father and I than her reading or writing – which she’s bobbing along with. (We happen to think it’s much easier to learn the latter than the former).

We also talked about how important it is to look for kindness in our friends. At which point the Big Small told me her Best Friend (a child I am already wary of) was very kind, because, and I quote: “She always says sorry after she’s hurt me.”

This warranted further investigation. And for reasons beyond my understanding, it seems my five year old has adopted the phrasing, compliance and rationalisation of a victim.

And I blame myself. Which is basically the problem in a nutshell. I blame myself, AND SO DOES SHE.

It reminded me, on a rather opportune day, how important it is to teach our girls their own worth, their own value. How important it is to teach them to acknowledge their feelings, trust their instincts, expect respect, express their thoughts, raise their voices, speak out, ask questions – of others and themselves – and support each other to do the same.

It reminded me how easy it is to diminish yourself. To apologise first. To deflect compliments. To prioritise being liked. To take the blame. To be quiet and keep the peace. Self deprecate, play it for laughs, take it on the chin, take a joke, take a back seat, wait your turn. Be grateful rather than demanding. Smile when you don’t mean it – when you don’t feel it inside.

All things I’m afraid I do (that many women do) and that my daughter is learning from me. Just as I learnt it from my mum, and she from hers.

It reminded me how women can be the greatest enemy of women. How sad and unnecessary that is. How bullying starts, and how I need to start watching for it. How they – from so very young – create social hierarchies. And how ‘hierarchy’ is just another way of saying ‘inequality’ – which brings us right back round to International Women’s Day, and why we need it. Why I needed it this year.

I needed those reminders. I needed to remember that parenting isn’t just about making packed lunches, and reading practice, and teeth brushing. There has to be intent, and thought, and vision. And I too often lose that in the day-to-day grind. In the minutiae I lose the bigger picture of what I’m trying to achieve – what I want for my daughters as they grow into women.

I want my daughters to be kind, but I also want them to be bold. I want them to campaign for change, not just accept the status quo. I want them to see injustice, and act on it. I want them to follow the rules, but not do so blindly – to push at the boundaries that hem them in. (Even if they’re my boundaries).

I want them to be empathetic, and I want them to be strong. I want them to be confident but not entitled. To be firm but not mean. I want them to compromise, but not cave. To give without giving anything up. To be themselves – without apologies.

To be vivacious and vivid and vital – not vacillating, not vague… and most certainly not victims.

Basically like pretty much every woman from every generation from every corner of the world, I want my children to have more than me – to BE more than me. More sure. More confident. With more choices, more control, more opportunities.

More EVERYTHING.

But for many mothers, in many places, that is not possible. And for me – a woman of significant privilege – it is obviously still fucking hard to achieve.

Because I need to live that vision and lead it at home. And I don’t. Most days I am too tired to fight, or plan, or even think. I just do. And I worry I’m doing it wrong.

I have struggled often in parenthood with remembering who I am. Who I want to be. The mother I want to be. The employee, the wife, the woman; the example I want to set. I haven’t yet found the balance or the answers.

Today I have been inspired to look harder. So my children don’t have to.

And I can start by celebrating women, myself, and my daughters. By showing them women of strength, of boldness, of change – of solidarity. By accepting the compliments. Demanding respect. Being respectful. Admiring my reflection. Sharing my triumphs. Choosing kind. Not saying ‘it’s fine’ when it’s not. Not starting sentences to workmen with ‘I’m sorry’. Showing them my friendships within family time instead of outside it, post-bedtime, where they can’t see how it’s done. By not humouring bigots and bores. Not feigning interest or ignorance to set people at ease, to keep a conversation going, to avoid an awkward silence. Saying no. Saying yes. Taking risks. Being confident. Laughing loudly.

Because I do know this: I don’t want my daughter to think it’s okay for people to consistently hurt her, just because they say sorry afterwards. I know that way danger lies. And I know it’s a danger that still applies more to women than it does to men.

And whether this is a big issue or a storm in a friendship teacup, it is most certainly a reminder. And above all else it reminded me why today is important, and relevant, whether we have girls or boys. Whether we are mothers or not. Because we are women. And we still have ground to gain and assumptions (including our own) to un-ingrain. We must remain vigilant.

So to all of you, all your tiny women in waiting – and the tiny men who you are bringing up to champion them – I wish you a very Happy International Women’s Day.

Sorry it’s a bit late.

I was busy.

Mumonthenetheredge

xxx

#InternationalWomensDay #BeBoldForChange

The @851 Cafe Angels

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I have always been the world’s very worst stay at home mother – especially when I was off on maternity leave. This is basically because I cannot bear to stay at home with my children.

There is literally nothing I dread more than being stuck within my own four walls, in the company of my own offspring. This is why from very early in their lives both of the small people have been dragged around Sheffield attending myriad baby classes, groups, museums, libraries, parks etc and blah.

The fact is that to this day I remain a far better parent in public than I am in private. This is due largely, I believe, to the fact the routine of social niceties and the momentum of perpetual motion have often been the only things holding all my pieces together – especially on the very darkest days of parenthood.

The poonami days. The reflux days. The zombie days. The screaming days. The desperate days. The days when you’ve failed yourself and your small people over and over and over again.

If everyone is getting on each other’s last nerve, if the baby can’t get out of it’s scream-funk, if you can’t get out of your own head – if you can’t get anyone out of the day’s rotten rut – for the Lord’s sake do yourself a favour and just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.

And the place I have always ended up more than any other is the @851 Baby Cafe off Ecclesall Road South.

It’s a proper family business run by three generations of seriously lovely women. And it’s so SIMPLE. It’s so simple I can’t understand why there aren’t more of them in every neighbourhood in every town.

It’s just a cafe, with a toy corner, a buggy park, and a whole bunch of high chairs. Now here’s the really genius bits:

  • It’s got wipe clean floors and seats.
  • It’s got parking right outside (two hours only, be warned).
  • The radiators are off the floor away from little hands.
  • They serve kiddie food – simple sarnies, beans on toast, veggie sticks and half-portion baked potatoes.
  • They’ll warm your milk or baby food for you without complaint (I’m looking at you Costa Coffee – get a freaking grip!)
  • They even CLEAN THE TOYS AND THE BABY CHANGE so you don’t have to worry about your little darling contracting impetigo or tetanus from the ingrained grime and crud you find on your average public change table/toy box (radical, isn’t it?)
  • They also serve decent coffee, cake and grown-up sustenance.

None of that is really it, though. The true secret of the @851 Baby Cafe is Joyce, Lisa and Sophie themselves.

  • You will always get a warm welcome. I don’t know how they remember everyone’s name and their baby’s name (not an art I’ve mastered), but they do. And they actually mean it.
  • Although it’s a great meet-up place you can walk in solo and be perfectly comfortable.
  • It is also the only public place I ever felt at ease wapping out a boob. (And if the bf-ing is taking a while they’ll look after you with table service).
  • They will serve your tea or coffee without wobbling it dangerously on a saucer directly over your precious baby’s head (still talkin’ about you, Costa).
  • They will hold your baby for you while you go for a wee.
  • They will source nappies and wipes for you from other kind patrons when you are too disorganised to have remembered your own.
  • They will kindly, firmly (and far more effectively than you) call your ratbag/feral preschooler to order when they can see you are too exhausted to keep fighting them and are just trying to eat your damn dinner (thank you Joyce!)
  • They will re-warm your food for you once it goes cold because you’re attempting to feed the children.
  • They won’t judge you on tantrums (yours or your progeny’s) and will even come over to commiserate and distract.
  • They won’t throw their own tantrum if you bring along the only two foods your eejit-fusspot child will consent to consume (as long as you’re buying something – they do have costs to cover), and yes I’m STILL talking about a chain cafe rhyming with BOSTA.
  • They don’t give a blue goat’s gaboozy if you turn up unwashed, covered in spit-up/toothpaste/porridge, and wearing your cardy on backwards (my look of choice).
  • They will always provide a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, and basic adult human contact.

My only argument with these ladies is that occasionally they have the temerity to go on holiday. The absolute cheek of it.

They also don’t open on weekends, which is a bummer as Dadonthenetheredge and I would really, really like to go somewhere simple and kid friendly at 8.30am (having already been up for 3 hours) to eat bacon sandwiches and look at our phones while completely ignoring both each other and our beloved children. Otherwise known as the holy grail of weekends.

[The reason they don’t open on a Sat or Sun, btw, is that they do kids’ parties. Traditional party games led by ex-nursery teacher Joyce, plus traditional party food and the odd Princess appearance courtesy of Sophie. Completely effortless for you and fab for younger birthdays].

In all seriousness, the @851 Baby Cafe has been an oasis of calm for me in the storm of parenthood. (As long as I remember not to go at lunchtime on a Friday when it’s insanely busy). I have met and made great friends there, eaten my own bodyweight in cake, cried, snivelled, and laughed my pelvic floor into spasm. I think the Big Small Person even took her first steps there.

As we all know, angels rarely wear wings or halos. And sometimes they wear aprons and a smile, and they’re holding a very strong cup of coffee.

Mumonthenetheredge

 

Want to find out more about what’s on for parents and small in Sheffield? Check out Little Sheffield here.

Want more fab reviews of places to go from another Sheffield Mum Blogger? Go visit the brilliant Trips with a Tot here.

Valentine’s Day

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The last Valentine’s day I remember pre-children was spent working, on my own, staying overnight at a hotel in Bristol. This involved an evening meal as the only solo diner in a room full of couples, food poisoning, the realisation at God-awful-o’clock that someone else had already had a personal explosion in my hotel room toilet WHICH HAD NOT BEEN CLEANED, and a 5am start.

Post-children, it’s basically all gone down hill from there.

Dadonthenetheredge and I have now been together for something like 17 years. I am fast approaching a time of life when I will have been with him longer than I was ever without him.

I’m not saying the romance is dead, but it’s definitely in some sort of medically-induced coma. Either that or it’s gone for a really, really long nap.

(Both of which, by the way, are totally unfair, as napping is now basically all I desire in life – and if there are strong horse tranquilisers involved, I FUCKING WANT SOME).

The fact is that love after children does not look quite the same as it did before.

Love now is much less about dressing up, dining out, gazing into each other’s eyes, exchanging gifts, and dancing the night away before getting in some inventive shagging.

It’s more about dressing gowns, take-aways, gazing at the telly, giving each other an early night, and possibly (if Dadonthenetheredge is extremely lucky) getting each other off as quickly as possible before sleeping the night away – or as much of it is left when you have small, restless, early-rising children.

Because sometimes love isn’t an expensive gift – it’s a crappy handmade card from a playgroup.

Sometimes love isn’t sleeping in each other’s arms – it’s sleeping at opposite sides of the bed and NOT BEING TOUCHED FOR A FEW HOURS.

Sometimes love isn’t bringing home expensive Belgian chocolates – it’s bringing home emergency Cadbury’s buttons after a shitty day stuck inside with the kids.

Sometimes love isn’t candlelight and handholding – it’s sitting at two ends of the sofa bathed in the soft light of your separate iphones.

Sometimes love isn’t sex – it’s an exhausted cuddle (often with interlopers).

Sometimes love isn’t a compliment on your outfit – it’s a compliment on your parenting.

Sometimes love isn’t Shakespeare’s sonnet 18 – it’s Julia Donaldson’s ‘Stick Man’. (Again).

Sometimes love isn’t a love letter – it’s a text to say the baby is nearly asleep so you can start the tea.

Sometimes love isn’t holding in a fart – it’s facilitating a private poo so it can be enjoyed without mini spectators.

Sometimes love isn’t a sparkly piece of jewellery – it’s a sparkly bathroom, CLEANED WITHOUT NAGGING.

Sometimes love isn’t a bunch of flowers to be arranged – it’s a bunch of socks to be sorted.

Sometimes love is just doing the washing-up together, even if you’ve cooked, even if it’s not your turn.

Sometimes love is a nap.

Sometimes love is packing the kids off to Grandma’s so you can both spend an evening looking through pictures of them.

Sometimes love is admitting that perhaps the other person IS more tired than you are.

And sometimes, all of that is OKAY.

Love, like everything else in life, changes. Perhaps one day it will go back to being violins and poetry, instead of recorders and nursery rhymes. But perhaps it won’t.

When we looked at the swollen squishy face of the Big Small after her arrival, Dadonthenetherege and I realised simultaneously that we no longer loved each other above all else; and that we also loved each other more than ever.

We realised we hadn’t really known love at all, until that very moment. And that love was very different to what we’d thought it was. (Very likely, Dadonthenetherege and I were the victims of the traitorous hormones that accompany children into the world –  presumably to prevent their parents from immediate infanticide).

Quite clearly, though, since that moment of oxytocin-fuelled revelation, we’ve not always got it right.

Because while all of this stuff is okay, SOMETIMES, sometimes, it isn’t.

Sometimes, Dadonthenetheredge and I get so caught up in loving the children – and in living the draining, debilitating, deforming work/life/guilt/repeat reality of parenthood – that we forget to love each other.

Certainly we’ve found this happily-ever-after shit a great deal harder than the fairy tales, rom coms and Valentine’s cards would have us believe.

Because an awful lot happens after the ‘The End’, after the ever-after, in this ‘middle bit’ of life. And it happens without the adventure and wonder and momentum and PLOT that began our love story. That begins everyone’s love story.

There is a relatively fine line between giving up on the false ‘valentines’ trappings of love and giving up on each other.

Between being comfortable and being complacent.

Between growing together and growing apart.

Between being tired, and getting tired of each other.

Between keeping the peace, and keeping resentments bottled up.

Between focussing so much on your part you forget to appreciate you partner’s.

Between love being blind, and forgetting to see each other any more.

Between pouring all of yourself into the kids, work, friends and family, and leaving nothing but the dregs for your other half.

Between finding your way through this parenting lark, and losing each other in the process.

Between holding it together and holding back.

Between getting on, and getting through – getting by.

And all parents of my acquaintance – if they’re honest – have walked this line at some point in their relationship.

Some people will fall off. Some will fall apart. And some will fall back in love, all at once or bit by bit.

We are led to believe that love is the easiest and simplest thing in the world; that it will trump all else. We are being lied to. It’s hard. It’s about remembering, and trying, and working, and forgiving, and forgetting, and renewing and getting up each day and doing it all again and again and again.

Life, and love, and living, is a FUCKING SLOG.

So this year, I would like to say to Dadonthenetheredge, that after 17 years, I’d still rather spend 14 February with you than over a pre-soiled Bristol loo. (See? Maybe the romance isn’t dead after all!)

This Valentine’s Day, I promise that I’ll keep slogging away at it if you will.  (I can’t make any promises about the fucking. It’s not your damn birthday).

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone doing the middle bit of life. The hard bit. Keep walking the line.

Mumonthenetheredge

xx

Are my children Trump supporters?

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Here is my evidence so far:

1. Placing restrictions on my reproductive rights
There’s very little as restricting on both one’s ability and will to partake in reproductive activities as expelling a whole human being from the reproductive bits in question, the following emotional and hormonal upheaval – and the consequent chronic exhaustion.

I’m pretty sure my Small People also have an inner sensor for the rare occasions such activities are contemplated, as they invariably choose those moments to cry inconsolably – or worse – visit.

2. Placing restrictions on my movements
I am not allowed, for instance, to move out of the line of sight of the smallest Small Person, who views any transgressions (such as weeing or making the tea) as highly suspicious, and an indication she needs to step up her surveillance levels to ‘limpet’.

3. Dislike of strangers
Neither child responds well to new people, especially if they look or dress a bit differently. They particularly disapprove of beards.

Red suits, sleigh travel and jolly laughter are also frowned (and screamed) upon – although this can occasionally be overcome by present-based bribery.

4. Conservatism and resistance to change
My kids like things to stay the same. Back like it was in the good old days – ie. yesterday. Woe betide anyone who interrupts their precious routine/regime. Miss one of the day’s expected milestones – like snack, milk or story – and you should expect…..

5. Meltdowns over perceived slights and wrongs
Today the Small Small was incandescent over the apparent injustice of my cutting up her fish fingers instead of leaving them whole – and hot enough to give her tongue second degree burns. If she could have taken to Twitter to vent her rage, she would have. She settled for throwing the offending fish fingers across the room and lying face down in the hall crying for 30 minutes.

6. They like building walls
They tell me they build the best walls. No one can build walls like they can. They know all about wall-building, and no, they don’t want any advice or assistance. (Their walls, are, by the way, shit).

Although to be fair to them, once they’ve built their walls they usually destroy them immediately afterwards.

7. They are certain they have all the best words
I am still trying to explain to the Big Small that no one is trying to hurt her ‘by a-liberate’. It’s either by accident or DELIBERATELY. This is a losing battle.

She may also be paranoid – also a Trumpism?

8. Gagging freedom of speech
Or at least screaming over it and/or conveniently refusing to hear it.

9. Approbation of and expertise in torture
I have now suffered five years of sound torture, psychological warfare and complex mind games. The worst thing, however, is their practice of unrelenting sleep deprivation.

On an average day I literally cannot remember my own name or speak in full sentences until I have imbibed at least four cups of strong coffee. I wear my clothes inside out to work. (They’ve stopped telling me out of either sympathy, embarrassment or fatigue – so now I find out halfway through the day when my bleary eyes can actually focus on the mirror in the toilets). I honest-to-God tried to feed the cat Cheerios instead of cat food this morning. Earlier this week I left my purse in the damn freezer.

Please send help.

10. Inconsistency
They back track, change their minds with alarming alacrity, and deny ever having held any other viewpoint despite all of the compelling evidence to the contrary.

“I wanted the pink cup! No the blue one! I said pink! Not that pink one! WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME??? Bluuuuuueeee!”

11. Poor spelling
The Big Small is new to literacy, and not a fan. On the occasions she is persuaded to read and write, her phonetic spelling is definitely Trump-worthy. She recently put a label on a stuffed cat that read ‘ckety’ (kitty).

12. Repeating catchphrases
Less ‘America First’ and more:
“It’s not fair!”
“She started it!”
“I don’t like my Mummy!”
“Eeew- Diss-gust-in!”
“Nooooooooo!”
“More Peppa Piiiiiiiig!”

13. Pointing
Usually accompanied by “Dat one. Want dat one, Mama.”

14. They don’t believe in climate change
To be honest, they don’t really get the whole weather thing. If it’s raining out the front of they’ll go check round the back. This is consistently disappointing.

15. They peddle ‘alternative facts’ with aplomb
“I didn’t push her Mummy! I just moved her off the sofa with my bottom.”

16. They zealously protect their own interests
Which often leads to:

17. Indifference to domestic violence
Which they practice on each other at regular intervals. (Before attempting 15).

18. They like to grab me by the pussy
Well, ok, not the pussy, I admit. But the arm, leg, boob, hair and neck are all fair game, certainly. And then they just start kissing me. They don’t even wait. They can do anything.

I’m pretty just an object to them.

19. They believe if they behave in an extreme enough manner for long enough, they will either inure me to their misdemeanors or wear me down so I’m too tired to continue to protest them.
Sadly this belief is not without foundation. See no 9.

20. Wild hair
The Small Small, at least, still has some baby fuzz left. First thing in the morning it looks remarkably like a Trump quiff.

21. Pouting
Let’s just say that if my children were to walk into a wall, their bottom lips would hit it first.

22. They think Trump/s is/are pretty clever and amusing

23. Tiny hands

I rest my case.

I think it’s clear that my children are natural born Trump supporters and I am harbouring closet fascists right here in Sheffield.

Either that, or the President of the United States acts like a huge, orange child, and we’re all completely fucked.

Anyway, I plan to swap out ‘The Gruffalo’ for ‘The Communist Revolution’ this evening, just in case.

Remember, we must resist the children, however cute they may be when sleeping. They can take our freedom, but they will never take our… Never mind. They pretty much take everything.

Mumonthenetheredge

 

Carrying you, carried me

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Your downy head rests in my palm,
Tiny hands curled on my chest
And pressed to me impresses
How it’s here we’re most at rest.

Holding you close, keeping you safe –
Where we know you belong
A body kiss, tucked in tight
We’ve learned each other’s song.

Chest to chest and heart to heart
A beating symbiosis
Skin to skin and breath to breath –
Love’s underived osmosis.

For as I marvel at your makeup,
Inhale your sweet head smell
Trace your ear and count your toes,
The oxytocin swells.

The rush is heavy, heady,
Constricting in my throat –
And wrapping you still wraps us both
In devotion, need and hope.

We’re tied together you and I,
The material immaterial –
Because that perfect closeness
Bonds strong, sure, pure, ethereal.

“You’ll spoil that baby, put her down”,
They said, I heard, I hear.
But I know deep down it’s me that’s spoilt,
That much to me is clear.

It’s hard to find the words – explain –
For they can’t know like us,
The calm, the peace, the rightness,
That can soothe all woes and fuss.

The jig, the sway, the miles we’ve walked
All strapped up together.
The colds, the teeth, the reflux
That carrying’s helped us weather.

Dark thoughts and doubts don’t reach me –
I’m whole again, less torn
When you are with me bound and sound,
Less worn-out when you’re worn.

For wearing you it centres me –
An anchor in my storm,
And with you, I am better
Less flawed, restored; reborn.

I’ve worn you like I’d wear a cape
You are my super power –
And with you I have blossomed,
A mum come into flower.

And now you’re big you don’t require
The comfort of our sling
But it helped us connect, reflect,
And it helped us both to win.

I miss you early, on these last ‘ups’,
Storing up your imprint,
But I’m so glad I carried you
And listened to that instinct.

Carrying you, carried me,
Through dark hours night and day
And holding you it held me, too
In a place I want to stay –
To a me lost on the way.  

 

‘Go Away’ snow

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I’d love to be one of those happy clappy super-fun snow parents, but I’m not. It’s cold, it’s wet, it takes far more preparation than my small brain can reasonably be expected to organise, and it makes my life unnecessarily complicated.

I HATE the snow.

And I hate it more than usual on this particular occasion because it has exposed me as being more than usually stupid.

I didn’t take the predictions of snow very seriously yesterday. I looked at the weather forecast, you see, and saw it said 1 percent chance of snow. Ah hah! I thought smugly. Other people may be forecasting doom, but not so the trusty MET!

Unfortunately I seem to have confused the symbols for ‘percent’ and ‘degrees’. Yep. The actual forecast was for 1 degree temperatures in Sheffield, with a 90 percent chance of snow.

Idiot.

One of the things I hate even more than snow is NUMBERS. I’m a words girl. And lists or rows of numbers (as on a forecast) simply make me panic. Numbers jump about and do frightening things. Like add up, for instance. (Just not for me). I have genuinely once asked my husband why a pub we were in had an under 21s menu. (It was under 12s).

The numbers aside, I have to say that do I NOT find snow fun. I find snow stressful. I am the world’s worst driver – and that’s without extra steering and vehicular control challenges.

Because I cannot operate a car and look where I’m going at the same time, I drive an automatic – and because I frequently scrape and bump into inanimate objects and don’t know which way to turn the wheel in reverse, I drive an ancient rubbishy automatic that Dadonthenetheredge isn’t too distraught about me slowly trashing over a number of years until it’s worth nothing but scrap.

It is not a good car in the snow.

Dadonthenetheredge did get me some snow socks for it, but we both agree that I am more likely to end up running myself over in an East 17 tribute than I am to successfully apply them.

(Don’t worry Sheffielders, I’m wasn’t on the roads this morning. Other days I can’t vouch for, mind).

I also naturally WALK on snow in a terrified little old-lady shuffle, the one style of walk GUARANTEED to make you fall over and break a hip. Fact. I have tried to stride forth as normal, but as I have neither grace nor balance under normal traction conditions, for some reason I can’t make myself do it. My body literally won’t respond to my commands – which is a bloody weird sensation.

Fortunately a year or so ago I discovered those spikes on elastic bands, which have literally CHANGED MY LIFE. If anyone ever asked me about the greatest human invention, I would not dwell even momentarily on the wheel, iron, electricity, DNA sequencing, computronics, etc, I would cite rubber bands with spikes as the true pinnacle of scientific genius.

Even the magic grips, though, cannot help me with transporting the small people around in snowy conditions.

I live on the top of a big hill, above the snow line. The main roads might be totally clear, but getting up and down my hill is a bloody nightmare. Which means you look like a total twat when trying to explain to sea-level school/work why you can’t get in.

The Big Small is now big enough to go on foot, but the Small Small is still an issue. It’s too far for her to walk to school, too snowy for the buggy, too slippy for the sling, and not snowy enough for the sledge (which if it was snowy enough would go down the hill too bloody fast anyway).

How the Dickens are other people doing this??? Seriously, any top tips on moving small people in winter weather would be gratefully received!

Today I offered Big Small the option of staying home with me and the Small Small or going to school with a very kind neighbour. She didn’t pick me, which is damning indictment of my parenting, but evidence of a commendable sense of self-preservation, as we’d have all fallen out by lunchtime stuck at home together.

Let’s all hope the snow f*cks off until next year.

Although – given that it’s only January – I imagine the probability of that is less than 50 degrees….  

Mumonthenetheredge

 

New Year – true you

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I have always hated New Year’s Resolutions, because I have always failed spectacularly at them.

The trouble, I think, is that too often our resolutions are to change ourselves. A diet. An exercise regime. A new hobby. A new outlook. A new philosophy.

And change is hard.

It is even harder when the foundations upon which you are trying to build that change, are crumbling.

About this time last year, though, I started to think. Not about changing myself – but about trying to strengthen my foundations. Trying to find myself again.

No, no! Not that way. I didn’t feel the need to go on a pilgrimage to Nepal or to explore the wilderness’ of Borneo, to seek refuge with Tibetan monks or Swedish yoginis. Travel has never been my thing. (I get homesick after a week in Devon).

I felt the need to write.

I have always best processed my thoughts and expressed my emotions in text. Words are always where I have found solace, succour, sanctuary. It started with novels as a small child. Each book had a self-illustrated cover and back-blurb about it being one of my ‘best ever books’. Inevitably this escalated into astonishingly bad angsty poetry in my teens, and then became the focus of my studies and even my work.

Not writing had become – quite honestly – physically painful.

I didn’t lose myself because I stopped writing. I stopped writing because I got lost.

Parenthood was part of it. Miscarriage was part of it. Infertility was part of it. The physical trauma of ongoing procedures. The obsession of it, the tunnel vision. The all-encompassment. Sleep deprivation. The impact of all that on my relationship, my job, my friendships – the stabilising factors of my life. All the things I’d carefully constructed around me to allow me to cope, all of the things that had tumbled down around my ears one by one. And I couldn’t write any of it down because I got lost in the middle of it all. And by the time I realised how lost I was – by the time I could look up – I couldn’t find my way back. To the life I knew, to the ME I knew.

So last January I didn’t make any resolutions to change. I simply make a decision to try and be me – and do the things that make me feel like the best version of me. That would help me to think clearly again, explore hurts, expound on the ridiculous, and express – something. Anything. Everything. Whatever was blocking me from me.

And that’s where Mumonthenetheredge was born.

I worried – and still worry – that some people might think I’m trying to be the next Unmumsy Mum, Peter and Jane or Hurrah for Gin – or any one of the marvellous parent bloggers I personally follow and love, and who have blogging awards or book deals or millions of followers. I honestly don’t think I’m any of them. The point is – and has always been – to be me, to find me – not someone else. I don’t need to be the biggest, brightest or best fish in the pond. I just needed to to swim again. I just needed to write it all down.  

What’s more, if I was suddenly struck with notoriety and ostentatious success I would be both alarmed and terrified, and either run away or sabotage it, as that’s basically what I do whenever I’ve sniffed any kind of personal triumph or success, because yes, for unknown reasons I am apparently that fucked up. (I really wish I could blame this on some set of interesting personal trauma, but I can’t. I’m just a drama queen knobhead with astonishingly low self esteem, OCD, and a fulfilment phobia.)

Anyway, instead of just talking about it, or thinking about it, or persuading myself out of it, or second guessing it, or worrying what other people might think of it, I actually did it. I started a blog.

My first posts got about 14 likes. But gradually, people started responding. Not in vast droves, but in dribs and drabs. And whether placing value in the validation of strangers is sad or desperate or not, each one FELT like a connection. And suddenly I wasn’t lost. Suddenly I found something.

And I think – I think it was me.

Not all of it has been great. I’ve struggled with not feeling good enough. The posts that bombed. The friends I told about it who haven’t liked it, or haven’t found anything to connect with (I quote, and it still hurts). The people who have taken the piss when I’ve been vulnerable, or taken me seriously when I’ve been taking the piss. (Shout out to the guy who thought I seriously wanted to garotte farmers over the October clock change).

But actually, all of that, all of that I’ve needed, in a way. Because actually it’s good for me. I need to question myself. I need to check when I’m being an eejit. I need people to tell me to lighten up, or to knuckle down. I need to grow a thicker skin. To stop letting doubt freeze me. To stop being afraid.  

In many ways I’ve gotten off lightly – I’m sure if I carry on blogging the negative bits will get worse. But so far, so far the good bits have very much outweighed the bad.

Because it turns out the thing I needed most of all, was simply to know that I wasn’t lost alone.

Oh I’ve got people I can call on, but the truth is I don’t, not when I most need to. And even when I do I can’t really articulate what I want to say, or why I want to say it. It’s like I need to write it down to think it through. To process it. To understand my own narrative.

And like any story, it has two halves – teller and listener. And it is the act of listening that really brings life to any story – that really completes any narrative.

Writing wasn’t enough – I needed to be heard, too.

So I’d like to say thank you, to everyone who’s listened. Anyone who’s read something I’ve written, and liked it, or commented. I really, really appreciate it – more than you can know.

I would like to say a very special thank you to the people who’ve got in touch in private – especially after my Rainbow Woodlice post. I’ve talked to some wonderful women, also struggling, also lost, also trying to get back to themselves. One new stranger-pal in particular talked about needing to write things down to get them out – something I totally, totally get. So I told her how ridiculously easy it is to make a start – so easy even I could do it – and her first blog appeared on Selfish Mother the very next day. It’s a hell of a read. And for me that’s been a rainbow woodlouse in and of itself.

In fact, it’s been one of many.

Mumonthenetheredge has helped me connect with all sorts of people, in all sorts of ways. It’s helped me reconnect, for instance, with some old friends – people I’d lost a bit when I lost me.

Then there’s the wonderful group of mummy mates I talk to about writing, including a writer who works on a grander scale than I, and who is infinitely better than she thinks she is. There’s the brilliant Kate over at Little Sheffield (a fantastic resource for Sheff parents – go check it out) and the other pals who support the blog willy nilly, good or bad, and boost my Facebook ratings whether they’ve read the bloody thing or not, because they know the algorithms kill me if it doesn’t get out and about fast enough.

It’s also helped me find some other creative Sheffield types, of which  there are quite a few. There’s the poetry guys – check out Lyrical Events and Verse Matters, and then there’s the fabulous Sophie over at Imogen’s Imagination (seriously stylish retro hats and hair stuff) and lovely Lydia at Studio Binky (cute designs, cards and prints) and all the other Sheffield Etsy folk. These are all people who also need to create to be themselves, and I’ve found a foot-hole in a community I never knew existed, and I never knew I needed.

So if you are thinking about making a resolution this year, I’d implore you to make it about you. Not someone you want to be, one day. You. Now. And whatever makes you the most you. The best of you. The real, authentic, bone-deep you.

Whatever makes you feel the most like yourself, do more of it. And do it for you. Not your kids, your employer, your partner. Just you. If you can’t remember you, find the people that do and spend time with them to remind you. Avoid those that drain you, or bring out the worst in you. Spend time doing the things that are special to you. It might be something creative. It might be learning, or sport, or fashion, or music, or walking – or just laughing – or ANYTHING. Find it, and do it.

Don’t reinvent a new you for the new year – recognise and reinvigorate instead. Regenerate YOU.

Go get ’em tigers. Or woodlice. Or fish – big or little. It really, really doesn’t matter. Don’t compare yourself. Don’t compete. You don’t need to be the best. Just listen to yourself. Just stop for a moment, and think about you for a change. Nobody else.

Because come February you really can’t fail at being you – the true you. You are uniquely qualified. And you can rock the shit out of it.

And maybe you can join me in stepping away from the (Nether) edge, wherever or whatever yours may be.

Cheers all. Happy new year.

Mumonthenetheredge

 

When children stop crying

I have always been very good at hiding, probably because I’ve always been quite small (lumpy, but small), and good at fitting into tight spaces. When I was a kid I would fold up and shut myself away from everything when I got overwhelmed.

As an adult I hide behind a smile. In humour. In familiar, re-read books. In the comfort of my routines, my distractions. Away from the things and the thoughts that are too big and too scary for me to hold on to. Things my mind shies away from. Things that still make me want to curl up in a ball and forget.

Because If I look away, if I pretend they’re not there, they aren’t as real. And they can’t hurt me.

But looking away isn’t always a good choice. Sometimes we have to look. We have to make ourselves. Because if we don’t have the courage to see, to feel, to let it – whatever IT is – thunder through our bodies, buckle our knees and break our hearts, something even worse will happen. Something we can’t choose to avoid. Something that doesn’t have words. Something that will break everything.

So this is a post about coming out of hiding. About looking. And this week I stopped hiding from – and started looking at – Aleppo.

Oh God. I’m not in the mood. Yes, yes it’s bloody terrible, and horrific, but it’s Christmas, and I’m tired and busy and broken, and I want to be happy, and for my kids to know magic, and I can’t cope with much more, and I can’t do anything to help anyway because I’m too small and too far away, and how can I solve the world’s problems when I can’t even solve my own?

That’s pretty much where I’ve been. Avoidance. Abdication. Distraction. Distance. (All personal specialities). And it’s so easy to not look when you can fill your newsfeed with mum blogs and celebrity gossip, and turn off the 10 o’clock news because it’s bedtime, anyway.

Until the Big Small Person asked me a question, as small people are wont to do, that floored me.

I’m not always careful enough about my phone, you see. When I crack under the inane monotony of Mr Tumble, or the sodding Twirlywoos, or – God help me – the millionth episode of Peppa Pig, I get my phone out. And on this occasion Big Small Person eyes looked away from the big screen to the small one, and saw a picture. A picture I was scrolling past. A picture of a boy from Aleppo. You’ve probably seen it too – or many like it.

So I explained, in child friendly terms, that there were a lot of old, old fights in another part of the world far, far away, where different groups of people disagreed so much about so many things they thought it was worth a war. And the ordinary people living there got caught in the middle of their argument. Ordinary people like the boy in the picture.

“Is he hurt mummy?” She asked.

“Yes”, I said. “But he’s getting help now.” And I braced for more awkward questions.

I wasn’t expecting this one.

“But,” asked the Big Small, with small person logic, “if he’s hurt, why isn’t he crying?”

I found I couldn’t answer.

I was once accused of being an attachment parent. It made me laugh – not because I in any way disapprove, but because if I’d actually given my parenting that much thought I’d be considerably a better at it than I flagrantly am.

I have no particular parenting style or philosophy, but what I have always had is an aversion to screaming.

In common with proper attachment parents, I have always picked up my babies when they cried. I never really put them down, to be honest. I have spent nearly two years with the Small Small Person napping ON me for nearly two hours a day because she cries when I try to place her in her cot. (Feel free to judge me for my weakness – I do).

Meanwhile the Big Small is the world’s most sensitive child. We still sing her to sleep every night. She howls when someone so much as brushes past her, and at every minor injury or slight slight (hence, I suppose, her particular question about this particular boy). Although this is occasionally irritating, I’ve found the problem is best and swiftest solved with sympathy and cuddles. Because I don’t want her to have to toughen up, or suck it up. I don’t want her to learn to hold it in, or to hide away from the things she finds painful.

But most of all, though, I don’t want to have to hear her cry.

Whenever there is a cry – of any sort – from anyone, I rush to be there, to soothe. And I do so simply because I CANNOT BEAR THE NOISE.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, even before kids my sensitive ears (over compensating, I believe, for my myopic eyes) couldn’t stand their incessant caterwauling. But afterwards, Lord, afterwards it grinds on my soul like flaking, fungalled nails on an old slate blackboard. That grate. That weight. That excruciation.

As a parent I think this either happens to you or it doesn’t, but that noise is pure torture to me. It has pulled me up and out of the most exhausted newborn-phase coma, dragging me like a puppet on invisible, intractable strings straight through the heart and – if breastfeeding – through the nipples. It physically HURTS.

Even now they are older, my very worst parenting moments are still when both the smalls are screaming at once, and I am alone, and too powerless or too useless to help everyone who needs me, and I can’t give anymore, and I’m not enough, and I can’t handle the noise, and I feel like I’m going to shatter under the sheer, unrelenting awfulness of it. Sometimes I even cry, too. Sometimes I even scream.

I basically spend my time plotting and planning how I can minimise the day’s crying, and I count my good days in terms of hours of non-wailing harmony.

It never occurred to me that there was something worse than crying. Not until my daughter asked me that question, and the answer hit me like a sledge hammer.

That boy in the picture isn’t crying, BUT HE SHOULD BE.

He isn’t crying because he is in shock.

He isn’t crying because there is no one left to comfort him.

Because crying doesn’t work.

Because there is no help, no relief, no one to tell him it’s all going to be okay.

Because he knows that it’s not going to be okay.

Because it doesn’t matter whether he cries or not.

Because the sudden nightmare of his life doesn’t go away when he opens his eyes, or when tears fall from them.

Children are SUPPOSED to cry. It’s how they communicate before they can talk, or even think. It’s their voice. And we are supposed to help them. We are supposed to be there. We are supposed not just to look, but to respond. We are supposed to make it better. It is supposed to hurt us, and make us act. It is the most basic biology.

Tonight I know my Small Small Person will wake me up, because she is ill. And when that cry pierces the air and my slumber, as I stumble exhausted to reach her in her nice safe cot in our nice safe house in our nice safe city, I will be extra glad to go.

If you too are up in the wee small hours with a wee small person, console yourself with the thought they are still seeking comfort. That they believe you will make it better for them. That they still trust you, someone, anyone, to dry their eyes.

Because when I looked, when I really looked at Aleppo and at that boy, I saw my own children. And that silence, that terrifying silence, slayed me – far more than the noise of tears ever could.

I wish I could see him sob, hear him shriek and hold his flailing limbs through his meltdown. I wish I could tell him I’m there. That I’ll fix it for him. Shush in his ear. Rock with him. I wish he was making as much sound as his lungs could muster. I wish he was letting it all out, and being cleansed by it.

I don’t know where his mother is, if she still is, but if he is mine then I am her, too. And she is me – just somewhere, somewhen else. Not so very far away, after all. Her anguish at his quiet, her impotence, her rage, her desperation; they are all mine. They are all yours too.

And unlike me – unlike you – she cannot hide from it.

Tomorrow I am going to be festive, and Christmassy, and try and make magic for my kids. But tonight, tonight I am going to cry. I am going to cry because there are children in Aleppo who have forgotten how, and why.

And I didn’t even notice until my five-year-old pointed it out.

And it is quite the most awful thing I have never heard, and could ever imagine.

 

Oxfam –  donate.oxfam.org.uk/emergency/syria

Doctors Without Borders – donate.doctorswithoutborders.org

White Helmets – peoplesmillion.whitehelmets.org/donate/peoples-million

Save the Children – secure.savethechildren.org

The Red Cross – redcross.org.uk

 

Bah Mumbug – confessions of a Scrooge Mother

merry-christmas

Christmas is overrated. There. I said it so you don’t have too. Yes, yes, it’s all sooooo magical, and it’s all about the children, and look at their little faces, yadda yadda blah etc.

But actually children make Christmas an awful lot of hard work, and when you own them there is an awful lot of pressure on Christmas to be super-mega-brilliant.

Well I crumble under pressure. And my kids act like feral animals under the influence of even small amounts of chocolate, over-excitement, shiny new things and flashing neon lights.

So I’m going to get my Bah Mumbug list of anti-xmas confessions off my chest.

 

  1. Real trees are stupid

Let’s start with the needle dropping thing, and the fact the branches are usually too limp to hang even a normal bauble, let alone the ceramic paint-a-pot hand/footprinted ones you are now obliged to get for each baby.

But what really annoys me about real Christmas trees is that they are all short and squat. Yes. I am going to BODY SHAME CHRISTMAS trees. And my reasons are both aesthetic and practical.

First off, they don’t fit in my long thin living room. Secondly, I already have enough short and squat in my life. I live short and squat everyday, and I do not need an overdressed foliage echo of my own existence sat in the corner as a reminder.

My fake tree is tall and rather elegant. Or at least it was, until I had to decorate it with children. Now it has lost any claims to taste it may once have had – again, very much like my good self.

Instead of co-ordinated and artfully arranged glass decorations I now have haphazardly applied tinsel in a range of interesting rainbow hughes, flashing multi-coloured lights, and sh*t Christmas drawings/crafts where my children have made no effort to use a realistic palette, have clearly failed to follow basic instructions, and haven’t even coloured within the lines.

The first year of having children old enough to ‘help’, I’ll be honest, I struggled with this. Now I’ve given up.

Another personal metaphor…

 

  1. My kids are sh*t at art, and if possible, even SH*TTER at Christmas art

There is A LOT of craft at Christmas. Most of it seems to have found it’s way onto my bloody tree (see above).

I always had visions of myself as a crafty mum, painting, cutting and sticking with my children. Turns out my children are terrible at art.

Obviously ALL children are a bit sh*t at art, having only just learned how to effectively operate fine motor control etc, but mine are particularly bad. I see others drawing recognisable people with facial features actually in their heads, and the traditional number (and placement) of limbs. In contrast, mine very much follow the school of Picasso. They may be abstract, impressionist proteges, but frankly I doubt it.

This used to give me a tic in the corner of my right eye, and I used to helicopter over them – leaping into to ‘help’ with pictures and projects and pretty much taking over.

Now I make myself a strong cup of tea, benignly tell them they’re doing a great job, and do my own version of whatever we’re making so I’ve got one thing that actually turns out nicely.

At Christmas time I am forced to endure more than their normal levels of creativity. Which are prolific. And horrific. And then aided and abetted by friends and family buying them craft-based presents.

Roll on bloody January.

 

  1. Elf on the Shelf is also stupid

I understand that it’s all about keeping the magic alive, etc, but frankly I’m more likely to attempt to resurrect Paul Daniels than I am to Elf on a Shelf.

Let’s start off with how incredibly creepy the ‘real’ Elf on the Shelf is. Does this not take anyone else back to doll-based horrors of the 80s and 90s? Why would you do this to your children??? A manically grinning doll, sent by Santa to spy on them, creeping around the house at night doing stuff. Brrrrrrrrr. ALL KINDS OF WRONG, ALL AT ONCE.

Then there’s the fact I already have two little devils running around spilling, moving, unravelling and ruining my sh*t. I do not need to personally aid and abet this.

Finally, there’s the effort. And I’ll be honest, this is by far and away my biggest barrier. I simply do not have the time, imagination or energy to get this done every day. And actually, that makes me feel rather disappointed in myself – certainly in the parent I always hoped I’d be.

And if I don’t understand or can’t do something, I will therefore deem it ‘stupid’, and continue to judge it in some sort of public online forum, because that is the modern way.

 

  1. Nativity plays are rubbish

Look, I know I’m supposed to go all gushy and gooey over the nativity play, but I can’t be alone in thinking they’re usually pretty awful affairs, right?

I mean, the production values are ropey, the costumes are shoddy, the acting is – at best – wooden, no one’s ever learned their sodding lines and they’re either projecting too much or not enough.

I’m also not sure anyone really understands their motivation for the role of ‘third star’…

In all seriousness, at most nativities you mostly get to watch the teachers doing an over-animated version of all the singing and actions and some poor, overwhelmed kid having a meltdown. Usually mine.  

The Small Small Person is as yet too small for this stuff, but I think it’s safe to say that RADA are probably not going to call for the Big Small Person any time soon. Luckily the most emotion she conveyed this year was at the side of the stage, where her squirming boredom took me right back to my own experiences of assemblies and concerts, the parquet flooring grinding into my sitting bones, and the agony of waiting literally rolling my head on my shoulders. Horrid.

Just for enduring this she got the biggest hug at the end and I told her she’d been absolutely brilliant.

You see I am not completely cold-hearted! I cried at the first few school drop-offs, for instance, and I would even go as far as describing a tot’s ballet production the Big Small took part in as womb-clenchingly cute.

But I’m afraid the nativity just doesn’t float my boat. It feels as if there’s too much obligation to get everyone on stage en masse, and too little actual joy.

Also I’m too short and squat (see no 1), so I can never see a bloody thing over other parents’ heads anyway.

 

  1. I hate wrapping

I am officially the world’s worst wrapper. I can’t get the folds right, and every end of every present of every single shape looks like it’s got a pair of socks stuffed down it. My own hair or cat fur is always caught underneath the tape, and I never have any labels so I write on them in felt tip, which usually smudges.

You’re welcome, gift receivers!

Last year, as a particular highlight, I was tearing sellotape with my teeth and actually sellotaped off the top layer of skin from my bottom lip. It hurt like b*ggery.

At least now I can blame the sheer wretchedness of my wrapping skills on the children wanting to ‘help’. Children never actually want to help, btw. The reality is it’s usually just me, at midnight on Christmas Eve, getting backache, soul ache, and lip ache on the living room floor.

Sounds like it ought to be way more fun than it actually is. ;(

 

  1. I hate unwrapping

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE presents! I even love the middle-aged mum presents that I’d have hated 15 years ago. Like handheld vacuum cleaners or slow cookers. Wooooooo! This year I’m hoping for new pjs and a hot water bottle. Fingers crossed!

No no, I mean the unwrapping on behalf of Small People. Parents will know immediately where I’m going with this.

At some point in the past, master criminals must have made a point of stalking toy aisles with nefarious intent, slipping toys out of their packaging and selling them on for HUGE profit. Big toy companies must have gone bust, the economy must have faltered, life in the UK must have been on the brink of collapse.

Because there is simply no other explanation for the excessive security now deemed necessary for bits of plastic retailing at £9.99.

All toys are now strapped down with so many plastic tags, wires and zip-ties they look like kidnap victims, or willing participants in some pretty heavy-duty bondage. (I imagine). Cars, dolls, pianos, action figures – all get the same treatment. And then they are then wrapped in more stink-wrap plastic and sellotape for good measure.

It takes 20 minutes with two pairs of scissors (industrial and nail) and a fresh-bladed stanly knife to free anything. All the while your children have gone savage under enforced delayed gratification, given tantalising glimpses of toys they can’t play with – and snippets of words they can’t say.

Once child and toy ARE united, you then have to dig in the garage for the screwdriver set, only to find out the toy takes 5 billion batteries in a size you don’t have anyway.

I’ve googled the Toy Heist Crash, but as I can’t find anything on it I can only assume toy packaging designers hate all parents.

B**tards.

 

  1. I’m coming to hate Santa

Yup. I went there. #sorrynotsorry.

Santa has made me into a big, fat liar.

I’m afraid I was #soblessed in the Big Small Person with a person in turn blessed with unusual incredulity and skepticism. (This is particularly galling as I myself am horrifically credulous, and even downright gullible).

When she was only 3, I was answering detailed questions about how Santa came into the house, why the fireguard hadn’t moved, and how he could use the catflap without a special collar like the cat?

IT’S MAGIC, OKAY DARLING?

Ffs.

This year, at 5, she’s looked me right in the eye and told me she knows he isn’t real (damn you Big School!) and that it’s the parents leaving the presents, and that it’s okay, she won’t tell anyone else, and she’ll know when she’s a grown-up anyway.

“Tell me the truth, Mummy.”

I can’t help but feel she’s too young for this conversation, but that left me directly lying to her face.

This made me much more uncomfortable than I expected it would, given my fondness for hyperbole, stint in PR, and tendency to edit my own life-narrative in order to appear less of a kn*bhead to myself.

It’s already become a tangled web of lies as she continues to present me evidence of his non-existence, and tries to trip me and her father up in our mistruths. It’s exhausting. And possibly morally reprehensible. But mostly exhausting. 

Santa in general is fraught with issues. There’s the fact he gives a slightly different service to every family, looks different at each grotto and in each film, and then – like the Elf and AXE MURDERERS – sneaks into houses in the dead of night. Should we really be overriding our children’s natural instincts (and our own instructions) not to talk to strange men, sit on their knees, let them wander around their bedrooms at night, or accept presents from them? I don’t know.

For this year I’ve gone with the ‘don’t believe, don’t receive’ defence, but the kid isn’t actually that bribable. (Also unlike me).

Santa, I think your days might be numbered, love. 

 

  1. Turkey is just slightly uglier, less tasty, chicken

You know it. I know it. From the betrayed look on their ball-sack faces, even turkey’s know it.

If you want to eat a Dr Who monster’s pale, dry, crumbly flesh, that’s quite your own affair. I’d prefer to stick with a nice juicy, greasy chicken.

Only I’m not going to, because it’s not traditional.

So I’ll be eating turkey, but all the time I’m doing so I’ll know it’s just crap chicken. And so will you.

 

  1. Christmas jumpers are stupid

Here’s the thing: I LOVE Christmas jumpers! The brighter, brasher and more garish the better. I know this is wrong, but I am fatally attracted to them. And I therefore don’t own any.

This is because I know that once I start down this route, it will spiral out of my control and it won’t stop at Christmas.

I fear, you see, that I am on the brink of descending into a full blown case of what I’m calling ‘Timmy Mallet syndrome’. I blame the children. Basically, if I see clothing adorned with cute, cuddly animals, or even in their favourite shade of pink, I want to buy it.

Children are NOT a good enough excuse for dressing like a children’s TV presenter. Hell, even BEING a children’s TV presenter isn’t a good enough excuse for dressing as a children’s TV presenter.

I must resist. For the sake of my horrified pre-child self, I. Must. Resist.

And so should you.

 

Despite my Scrooge tendencies, I will admit there is also much to LOVE about Christmas! The excuse to eat interesting cheeses, MULLED WINE, opaque tights, sparkles becoming acceptable day wear, MULLED WINE, time off work, lindt chocolate season, and of course, just looking at their little faces when they open their presents.

After all, it’s all about the children, really, isn’t it?

Happy Christmas. 

Mumonthenetheredge

The 12 days of Christmas (parent edit)

img_4862-jpg-12-days

On the first day of christmas my children gave to me:
A stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the second day of Christmas my children gave to me:
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the third day of Christmas my children gave to me:
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the fourth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the fifth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the sixth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the seventh day of Christmas my children gave to me:
Advent calendar meltdowns,
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the eighth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
Festive Peppa-Pig loops,
Advent calendar meltdowns,
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the ninth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
9 stir-crazed injuries,
Festive Peppa-Pig loops,
Advent calendar meltdowns,
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the tenth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
10 sprout-based tantrums,
9 stir-crazed injuries,
Festive Peppa-Pig loops,
Advent calendar meltdowns,
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my children gave to me:
11 (billion) “What’s in this one?”‘s
10 sprout-based tantrums,
9 stir-crazed injuries,
Festive Peppa-Pig loops,
Advent calendar meltdowns,
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,
And a stinking f**ker of a cold.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my children gave to me:
Ingratitude and whining,
11 “What’s in this one?”‘s
10 sprout-based tantrums,
9 stir-crazed injuries,
Festive Peppa-Pig loops,
Advent calendar meltdowns,
6 seconds peace,
5 LATE SANTA CLAUS REQUESTS
A tinsel tug of war,
3 broken baubles,
Rubbish Rudolph handprints,

AND A STINKING F**KER OF A COLD.

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