Dear Other Mum at Music Group Today

Dear other Mum at music group today. As you didn’t give me a chance to tell you this to your face, and as I hope I will never see you again to let you know, I’d like to give you a blow by blow account of exactly how you made me feel today. So, why I was busy explaining to my eldest child how 9.15am is too early for cake, and as he had refused breakfast he definitely couldn’t have a cake, my youngest son slipped away. I don’t know, because I didn’t see, but I was told that your daughter bumped into my son as he made his way to the singing circle, and they both fell over. For some reason, and I don’t have a clue why, I won’t try to think of reasons, my son bit your daughter. I understand that this would’ve angered and upset you, I would’ve felt the same. But even in the heat of the moment, I don’t think I would’ve handled the situation in the same hurtful, narrow minded way that you did.

Firstly, you confronted me loudly, and in front of all the other mums. At this point, I didn’t even know the incident had occurred, so I was totally caught off guard. In a wonderfully dramatic fashion (have you previously worked on the stage?) you made a big reveal of the offending wound, still in front of the large audience around us, who were now silently observing, and looked at the other mums looking at us, as if to make sure they were well and truly aware of what a monster my son was. I’m sure in your eyes he was up there with psychopathic serial killers. The fact that you were obviously wanting to make the other parents aware of the dreadful torture my son had inflicted on your daughter, made me immediately doubt that you hadn’t an ounce of compassion, or shred of humanity in you. I cannot like or trust people like you.

Do you not think that I was just as mortified as you that my son had done that? Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered to you if I was, because you had the upper hand. I obviously had no right to feel as badly about it as you did, because your daughter was the poor victim baring the throbbing wound inflicted by my son. I was just obviously the terrible parent who deserved to be outed to all the other parents for being the worst parent ever spewed into civilisation, and into the music group which is clearly only for perfect robot children such as your own.

Do you not think that if I could’ve prevented the incident I would have? I didn’t groom my son into arriving at the group today to search out someone smaller and weaker than himself and inflict as much damage on them as possible. I’m sorry that I didn’t notice him slip away, I’m sorry that I wasn’t there to witness that the incident was about to escalate into something so traumatic and intervene earlier. I’m sorry that I only have one pair of eyes and one pair of hands, and couldn’t be doing two things at once. I’m sorry you felt you had to look at me like I was shit on your shoe while pointing at the offending would shouting ‘look! Look!’ I could see. Everyone saw. Did you think that being a terrible parent also automatically made me blind too?

You at least had the decency to look a little taken aback when, during my profuse apology, unwanted tears spilled down my face. You see, for reasons I won’t share now, I’d had a crappy evening last night, and a really crappy week. I’ve suffered from serious bouts of postnatal anxiety over the last 18 months, and your treatment of me immediately caused me to fly into panic mode, and not only made me cry when I really didn’t flipping want to, but has also caused me anxiety and panic symptoms for the rest of the day. It was the first time I’d been to that group in over a year, because the last time I went I was in the throws of the worst peak of my postnatal anxiety, and only just able to function well enough to look after my children. I hadn’t been to the group since then because it held negative memories for me. I certainly won’t be going back now because I never want to see you again, and because I never want to feel the way I did today, ever again. Being in that room will forever make me relive it. Of course, you don’t know these things about me, and I don’t expect you to, but if you’d handled the situation differently, perhaps we could’ve bonded over it. Perhaps I could’ve shared some of this with you with the solidarity I expected from motherhood and other mums.

Do you think I couldn’t see you sat with your friends, clearly telling them the story of the disgraceful mum with the out of control rabid terrier for a child? As they opened their mouths in abject horror, and their hands flew to their mouths like they had been told something so awful they might be sick. Do you think I didn’t wish the ground would open up and swallow me whole as they then gawped at me across the room in open disgust. You are no worse than a playground bully, and I pray your children don’t grow up to be like you, and replicate this behaviour.

Did you not stop to think just for a second how you might be making me feel? In my opinion, your behaviour was worse than biting. So you may have thought you had the upper hand, and were the better parent, but I’d rather my son was a biter than an obnoxious, self righteous, melodramatic fuckwit.

Thank you to the only other mum in the room who smiled kindly and told me I wasn’t alone. That touch of compassion has stayed with me all day, the only light in a dark situation.

So, Other Mum, I don’t think it’s me who is in the wrong here. And if being a good parent is based on bestowing endless love on your children, guiding them gently but firmly when they do wrong, and teaching them that bullying is wrong, I have the upper hand. If being a good parent is teaching my children to treat others with courtesy, respect, and kindness, I have the upper hand. Mainly, I will teach my children to recognise people like you, and use them as the ultimate anti role model, people whom I would likely be ashamed of if they grew up to be like you. I’m sure you trotted off home, full of stories about how today you came across the finest example of a bad mother. But what you don’t is you have ruined my day, and made me feel like crap.

Shame on you, Other Mum.

Moving to The Suburbs
When we first found out that we were expecting Deep Thinker, of course, we did what any panicked, self respecting people did: Moved from a lovely bohemian area close to the city centre, where the people were normal, to a ridiculously overpriced pile of bricks in the suburbs, where the people are so far up their own arses, they surely must all be walking around with perforated rectums. All in the name of giving Deep Thinker a good school to go to. At the time I was delighted. We literally could just about afford the house by the most fragile, threadbare skin of our teeth, but we got there, and I was proud of our new postcode. I would’ve sold my body to a pregnant woman fetishist if I’d had to, that’s how determined I was to scrape the money together. Luckily it didn’t come to that, the mortgage company actually agreed to give us a little more, but meeting pregnant woman fetishists would’ve been really interesting. In fact, it could’ve been a whole new blog… If I have another baby, I’ll see what my husband thinks and maybe get on to that one!
However, as with most panic buys, and hormone induced decisions, we have since learnt that we don’t fit in up in the ‘burbs, (or Nappy Valley, as my friend referred to our new address as.) The old people in our area, are absolutely the worst offerings in elderly people, society has to offer. They are a bunch of rude, entitled mean bastards, and I will one day write a post on ‘things the elderly people of ********** have said and done to me which have caused me to burst into instant tears (and induce fear of leaving the house that is becoming a real problem.)’ They have no time for babies, children, or any associated noise or paraphernalia that comes with them. Of course, that means any time my children have been making any kind of noise in a shop/coffee shop, I have been severely reprimanded, and my double buggy is an endless source of huffing and puffing for them, as it clearly takes up too much space in what they seem to wish was totally child free territory, just for them and their dogs (who shit flippin everywhere I’d like to add.) I once got so upset after an incident involving one of them, that I wanted to send a petition to the government asking for a cull of all people in our area over the age of 65. But I’m not really a genocidal maniac, so moving somewhere else should really suffice I suppose.
The other mummies in the park are also slightly terrifying. There is a huddle of them in our local park, who have really bought into the stereotype of the Yummy Mummy. It took me a while to realise that they all had identikit features, such as highlighted, immaculate hair. They tend to favour Barbour and North Face (not sure if that’s all affluent mummies, or just my local ones?) and most seem to have dodged the baby weight curse, and sport aviators. I’ve also witnessed the school run in the BMW beast car type thing that seems to be the car of choice. Often, if a mum is walking up to the park gates, I will know she is headed to their group, by the way she is dressed. I have tried to make polite conversation, but always been rebuffed. They knew I was different. They knew I shouldn’t really be a resident in our area. It was the head to toe Primark clothing, and scraped back (sadly unhighlighted) hair scraped back in a messy bun that did it. They saw me and thought ‘this is a local park, for true local people. There’s no room for you and your stretch marks here.’ I will add however, that I have met some great people in that park, and had proper belly laughs, but most of them weren’t indigenous to the area.
Now to the schools, which is of course, the reason we are here… Yes, they get the best Ofsted reports, yada yada, but I don’t think my children will fit in there. The secondary school is right next to the park that we frequent far too often, and if I happen to be there at school kicking out time, the kids all come into the park. They come in, with their blazers and middle class accents, get out their phones and ipads, and start instagramming pictures of themselves making dicks of themselves on the toddler swings. I know that type of behaviour isn’t exclusive to posh kids, but again, it’s their presentation which gives the game away. Even without the blazers you’d know which school they came from. I’m already panicking that either Deep Thinker and Mini Assassin will be social outcasts, for not being posh enough, or horror of horrors, they might turn out like them. I’m not sure which is worse. And surely, if children go to a slightly poor performing school, they are going to be intelligent, they should still do well? (Although they were both bottle fed, so doesn’t that mean they will turn out thick as shit?!) Just making myself chuckle there, in relation to my last post! http://thismumslife.com/?p=13
So, moving to the suburbs is not all it’s cracked up to be! I miss my old stomping ground, and go back there at every opportunity. The charity shops sell normally priced things there (I found a coat I liked in our new local charity shop, and it was £100-I kid you not!) The people are kind, and the children speak with the local dialect! The bars and restaurants are normally priced and uber cool, not like our new generically decorated overpriced local stuff! Maybe I’m overthinking the school situation, but as a constant anxious worrier, I can’t stop thinking about it. And I can’t stop hearing the city centre calling me back to where I belong…..
Thanks for reading!
xoxo

The Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mum

I feel like I could fill a book (and then some,) with the things I wish I knew before becoming a mum. I’m normally a person who doesn’t like surprises, and I like to be in control. I’m not entirely sure what I would’ve done differently in these situations, I just wish I knew they were coming. Here is a list of the top five things, from an infinite amount of things I didn’t know, and wish I had. Here are the things that stick with me the most.

  • I wish I knew that my body was never going to look the same again.

Don’t believe what anybody tells you about the weight you gain during pregnancy. It is the stuff of magic, and welds to your body, to the point where you start to think only surgical removal will get rid of it. Don’t believe that if you eat right and exercise, you will look exactly the same as you did before you were pregnant. Even by doing these things, the weight will still grow out of nothing, like a fungus, spreading to parts of your body you never even knew could get fat. The baby weight gods responsible for this witchcraft, laugh in the face of anyone who thinks their body will look normal post baby (although they evidently make exceptions for people like Blake Lively and Victoria Beckham, I must find out what these celebrities sacrificed to the Gods to be spared the baby weight curse.)

I wish I knew that my belly button was about to resemble a cats arsehole embedded in a giant’s scrotum, and the little bit of bum dimpling I already had, would take over my entire legs, right down to my knees (no shorts for me then, and only skirts below the knee…) and that even back fat was going to join in the party, swinging along to the rhythm of my walking. I should’ve been kinder to my pre baby body, because it looked like Cara Delevingne’s compared to the one I have now. I should’ve walked around naked and got people to admire it, because I will NEVER be able to do that now. In hindsight, a ‘goodbye body’ party would’ve been excellent. I could’ve flaunted it, and given it the send off it deserved, maybe then I wouldn’t need to hold the candlelit vigil for it in my head, every time I look in a mirror when I’m shopping. I’m sorry for your poor treatment, old body.

  • I wish I knew that my husband would never look at me the same again.

 

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I noticed the immediate shift in his attitude towards me. He wrapped me up in cotton wool, seemed ridiculously excited compared to me (I was excited, just also scared, hormonal, and a million other emotions which totally got in the way of any excitement I felt) and took strict notice for the first time ever, of everything I was eating and drinking. I hated it. I immediately wanted our relationship to be the same as it was before: best friends, drinking buddies, random weekend craziness enthusiasts. But it all stopped. My husband even stopped enjoying the things I had to stop doing because of the growing lump, but he could still do if he wanted, because he didn’t enjoy doing them without me. It was starting to dawn on both of us that even when the baby was born, we still wouldn’t be able to just pick up where we left off, because practically all the stuff we did together wasn’t child friendly, and we couldn’t just leave the baby to go off and do it. I know, this should’ve been obvious before I was pregnant, but the reality just didn’t hit until I was.

The biggest shift was after the baby was born. I knew straight away that although my husband loved me billions, he saw me differently. Having watched in panic as I sceamed, pushing out two babies (one relatively small, one enormous, for the record!) and the indignity in watching seemingly everyone from the consultant to the hospital porter lubricate a finger and whack it inside me. (Ok, the porter didn’t really do this, but I lost count of how many different fingers had a go in there,) he just couldn’t look at me in the same way. I wish I could erase these images from my husband’s memory, because although we are still the best of friends, I will never be that person waiting for him to get home from work, in my underwear, who will make him drop everything to rush me upstairs (although it’s not just the way he sees me which prevents this, but also the need I feel to hide my baby ravaged body away in oversized clothes.) I wish I could have one of those spontaneous pre-baby moments with him just once more…

  • I wish I knew that some of my oldest friends would totally desert me.

Ok, I know when you don’t have children, anyone who has them can sometimes start to look a bit boring, and seeing them may not be that exciting anymore. But when it’s one of your oldest and best friends?? I told my closest friends really early on that I was pregnant. For one thing, I really wanted their support to smash down the hormonal wall that was fogging my thoughts, and also because we were on a night out that had been planned for ages, and they would’ve immediately suspected something was wrong if I didn’t partake in the usual 10 bottles of prosecco/cocktail jug carnage which was usually central to our nights out. When I told them, instead of looking happy for me, they looked horrified, like I’d betrayed them. Yes, they weren’t at a stage in their lives where having children was an option, but they acted like I was a 14 year old telling them in the school toilets that I was accidentally pregnant, not like I was a married woman perfectly capable of making an informed decision on their own. One of them proceeded to launch into a series of stories she had heard recently about babies with birth defects, and still birth rates. I wanted to punch her (sod it, all of them) in the face, for their lack of normal reactions. I should’ve known then that the friendship reaper was creeping around, and that our friendship would slowly die out.

From the moment I told them, they cut me out. Of everything. I had to see the pictures plastered all over various social media, to know that they had all been together and hadn’t bothered to invite me. We bumped into some of them when I was about 6 months pregnant, and my husband, angry at their treatment of me, confronted them. ‘She’s pregnant, not broken or housebound,’ he told them. They seemed affronted and annoyed at the confrontation, and continued pushing me out.

The final death knell to any shred of friendship we may have had left, came when the baby was born. In my head I had always pictured that when my friends had children, I would rush around to their house in excitement, armed with gifts, nappies, and offers of taking the baby out in the pushchair for a walk so they could get some rest (and yes, I thought these things before I had children myself.) But although they sent cards and gifts, they never came to see the baby, not even when I let them know we were ‘ready for visitors.’ Their physical presence to reassure me while I felt I was drowning in emotion, and feeling plunged in way over my head, would’ve been far more appreciated than any gift. I reluctantly invited them to my baby’s christening, hoping that if they saw him, they might realise what they were missing out on. But it was the first and last time they saw him, and none of them have seen my second baby. Some of them didn’t even bother to reply to my message telling them the baby had arrived safely.

So, I wish I’d known my friends were going to be total dicks about me having a family. A part of me hopes that when they have children of their own, they will feel total remorse at what they’ve done, but given the evidence, this looks seriously unlikely. A part of me often feels white hot fury that for some reason, my children aren’t ‘good enough’ for their time and attention. But most of the time it just fucking hurts. BUT, I made amazing friends at antenatal class, and some awesome friends who don’t have kids, in the area we now live. I just wish I’d had time to prepare for the pain, the hurt, and maybe to realise that clearly, they never were my friends in the first place.

  • I wish I knew that I would have to considerably lower the standard of what makes me happy.

Before children, some of the things which made me happy included driving home on a Friday night, with music banging, ready for an evening which may involve impromptu drinks, more drinks, dancing, and a fry up in bed the next day. Or, when me and my husband decided to go backpacking, and I was deliriously happy on the way to the Eurostar to get to our first destination. It took me months to get used to the fact that not only, for the foreseeable future, I would get NO time to myself, but that a holiday was never going to be a holiday. I wasn’t going to get to do the travelling I thought I could with a child in tow. Impromptu nights out could now end no later than 11 because it just wasn’t worth the feeling rough as a skunks bum the next day.

Now, I don’t know whether to fight it, or just accept that happiness is now… finding an awesome series on Netflix, and seeing that there are 6 whole seasons of it for binge watching pleasure. Even better, is my husband going out for the evening, so I can watch the teen stuff that is on Netflix, that I’m way too old for, (Gossip Girl, and Pretty Little Liars, I’m all flipping over this!) without his judgement. To top this off, I can even do it while unashamedly drinking a whole bottle of wine, by myself, eating bags of sweet and salty popcorn. All whilst wearing a onesie. As my husband would look down on these things, sometimes nothing makes me happier than when he goes out and I can do them in peace. Yea, my happiness now revolves around tv series… Need to work on that! As we weren’t sure when our first baby would come along, I now wish I’d known that our last holiday on our own was our last. I wish we could’ve squeezed in one more. Or, I should’ve prepared myself for losing these things in my life by staying in for a year, subjecting myself to bouts of sleep deprivation torture, investing in one of those dolls which mimic a real baby, and feeding it, fighting it down for a nap, existing, then repeating it, feeding it, fighting it down for a nap, existing, then repeating it…

Post script: feeling the need to have a poo when BOTH the children are asleep makes me happy. Getting to do it in peace makes me want to high five myself and victory dance.

  • I wish I knew my life was going to be full of buzzwords.

I was so happy to go on maternity leave, not only because I was the size of a whale, and doing my job was practically impossible (I also hated my job about as much as I hate people who drive in the middle lane, and that’s a LOT,) but mainly because in my job I was forced to use bullshit corporate buzzwords the whole time, and I couldn’t wait to leave that behind. But as soon as the baby was born, what happened? My life was filled with even more buzzword bullshit than before. Apparently parenting has the most buzzwords attached to it, and if you aren’t applying them to every aspect of your parenting, you are a failure, and judgment will be rained down upon you by other parents. And what a judgy bunch other parents can be (more on this in further posts!) It’s like having a child brings everyone’s insecurities to the surface, and heightens them beyond what people are capable of handling, and the only way they can deal with it and make themselves feel better is to judge others.

Anyway, phrases such as ‘attachment parenting,’ ‘baby led feeding,’ ‘positive discipline,’ ‘baby led weaning,’ were thrown in my face from the minute the baby was born. What? I couldn’t just love and nurture my baby in a way that felt natural and right to me? No, I was expected to do it by the parameters of these ‘terms.’ It’s not to say that loads of research hasn’t been done around these terms, but research changes its mind more often than it rains during British summertime, so what you ‘should’ be doing with your parenting can just as quickly change to what you ‘shouldn’t.’ If you choose to shun pushchairs and carry your baby everywhere, and let it sleep in your bed, fine. But to me, I couldn’t wait to get rid of my bump, and the thought of carrying the baby again but on the outside, made me whimper, and my destroyed back and hips from 9 months of heavyweight carrying also screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I just don’t need to hear about how it will help me bond, me and my little guys have bonded just fine, thank you.

Thanks for reading!!

xoxo

screaming baby
Motherhood: The Aftershocks that Just Keep Coming…

For anyone who hasn’t had a baby, having one can be likened to losing your virginity: Often, the anticipation is a lot more exciting than the real event, it will change your relationship with the person it was with, for ever, you will find that everyone has an opinion on the right and the wrong time to do it, it will be flipping messy, and it may be with the wrong person. Importantly, once it’s done, there’s no going back, and finally, like cashing in the V card, nothing (not even the frankest dissection of the event with your best friends who have ‘been there’) will prepare you for it. Anyone can throw in their advice (and they will) on what it will be like, and how you will cope with it, but only when you do it yourself, will you understand. BUT, where the two events differ, is while the feelings from that first venture into the unknown fade, the aftershocks from the life changing eruption of having a baby, continue, hitting you smack in the face with how it will change everything you thought you knew about yourself, and your life…

Maybe you will be in the shower, about to faint because you haven’t eaten for three days, that a shred of realisation takes hold about what your life has become. A tiny human has been glued to your arms, their relentless sucking putting your Dyson (which won’t be seeing the light of day for a while) to shame. Not being able to prize the constantly sucking (and if not sucking, still needing to be attached to your arms because it’s the only place they will sleep) person away from yourself, and only having one pair of arms, means that unless you want to eat your food like you are apple bobbing, eating fell to the bottom of your list of priorities.

It could be when the lady at the bank asks for your name and address, and it takes you a full 5 minutes for you to remember, before forgetting why you were even in the bank in the first place, that the seed of realisation really takes hold, and you panic a little about the enormity of what you’ve taken on. Dear God, prizing the information from a part of your brain which used to function normally, and procure this information without you having to even think about it, is too much for you, because you will probably be more worried about whether death by tiredness or the sound of your baby’s screams, are a thing.

In the dark, early days of having my first baby, these things happened to me. They came along with a catalogue of other shocks which constantly made me evaluate the decision I had made, and reflect on my old life in a way I never had before. This blog was born from the hours I spent each day, traipsing the streets of my city with my new born, who would only sleep in his pushchair (and I was fed up of reading the books which alleged that if you followed their instructions to the letter, your baby would sleep whenever you wanted it to, for how long you wanted it to, at the times of the day deemed ‘correct’ by the authors of this fiction.) It was bullshit, didn’t work, and only increased the sense of failure I already felt at feeling confident I could be a capable mum, then seeing this illusion shattered into a million pieces (authors of these crappy books, you know who you are) Along with the walking, my thoughts and musings on motherhood, and the massive adjustments to my new reality came along. I wanted to share them with others, so here they are! Welcome to my journey!

Thanks for reading

Xoxo.