Thursday, 24 September 2009

I'm writing this instead of packing...

...because I'm in denial frankly. I'm now off work until Monday when we move.

So I have three days to pack - that should be enough right?

I have promised myself I will not spend two days fannying around thereby ensuring I have to stay up until 3am on Monday morning, getting progressively more hysterical while throwing random crap in boxes.

However, I am a master procrastinator. A putter-offer. I'm a last-minute, deadline-driven, seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. So yeah - if you're awake at 3am Monday morning - think of me.

(Of course it doesn't help that the removal company have forgotten to deliver me any boxes today, so it's not completely my fault if I don't get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and get to it.)

Are you bored yet? I am. I wish I could come up with amusing anecdotes about my moving travails but there really aren't any. So sorry. Although it has just occurred to me that I should probably hide any sex toys before the removal men arrive. That would be the last straw - removal men chortling on Monday morning when I've only had 4 hours sleep.

On a lighter note my husband sent me a picture text of the sign outside a coffee shop which said 'Hobbits drink free.' This is in reference to my observation that the older I get, the more body hair I seem to grow, particularly on hands and feet. He thinks the upside might be the free coffee.

Is this true for everyone? Are you growing hair where you never did before?

And just how far from your groin does a pubic hair have to grow before you're completely weirded out? (I'm thinking more than an inch.)

Although I'd take the extra hair as long as the spots stay away. I seem to have got over my outbreak stage. I still get the odd one or two but they are nothing compared to the multiple, cyst-like, mega-spots I was getting a few months ago. I guess my ovaries are getting ready to throw in the towel.

Although there's just enough endocrinal activity going on to give me a completely inappropriate interest in the masculine form. In other words I am still ogling men in a way I've NEVER done in my life before. And I'm sorry to say I'm ogling completely inappropriate men too. Men who are... let's just say - MUCH TOO YOUNG!

So there you have it. I'm a middle-aged, stressed-out, mildly spotty, hairy individual with an unhealthy obsession for the opposite sex.

And I'm moving. Did I mention that?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Winning The War....

...on stuff that is.

You wouldn't BELIEVE the amount of stuff we have thrown away/recycled/car-booted/charity-shopped.

I've now got a wardrobe where clothes actually hang down as opposed to the wardrobe I had before where the clothes didn't so much hang as hold themselves up via friction with their neighbours.

I have a loft that is still fairly full of boxes, however the boxes are sorted and labelled and only contain things I know I actually want.

The worst bit though? My underwear drawer. Truly shameful. Filled with old, discoloured, ill-fitting knickers, bras, socks and tights. But no more. Bring on the reality-show checker of underwear drawers! My drawers rule! Well, for now.

Anyway, so Monday is D-Day. Or rather M-day - Moving day. And we are moving to a flat which is roughly the same size as our house minus the loft. It does however have a very big garage which we are counting on being big enough to store all the loft/garage stuff that we own.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are somewhat emotional about the whole thing which is tough to deal with. Even though we are not moving far they will lose the ability to walk out of the front door and find two or three people to play with in the immediate vicinity. And Thing 1 particularly, does get attached to things and he doesn't want to leave this house.

I meanwhile, swing between enormous optimism and stomach-churning anxiety over whether we are doing the right thing and choosing the right school.

Too late now though - we've exchanged contracts. So I'd better err on the side of optimism at this point!

So blogging has taken a back seat that's for sure. You should probably count yourself lucky if you're reading this as the only thing more boring than going through every single posession you own is blogging about going through every single posession you own.

And work is... well let's just say A BIT MANIC! I'm failing to see any humour in either situation to be honest so I've decided to keep quiet.

Hopefully, if I make it through the next ten days, normal transmission will resume.

With a sense of humour.

And, please God, broadband.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Here be Madness

So, we've sold our house. Which is 'A Good Thing' given the current climate. But we now have to actually move out of the damn thing which is 'A Bad Thing'. Chiefly because of ALL THE STUFF.

We have alot of stuff and most of it is in boxes, completely unsorted in the loft. We are going to rent a house for a while before buying and I am determined not to pay removal men to move boxes of crap from one house into another house and then another. I will banish the crap first I tell you!

But Lord it's hard. I'm very busy at work and more than a little stressed so coming home to fab evening spent sorting through boxes containing such delights as rock-hard play-dough and a 20-year-old ceramic pig collection (don't ask) doesn't rock my world.

Unfortunately I just have to keep my head down, put one foot in front of the other and get through the next 8 months or so.

Why are you moving I hear you ask? Because of schools I reply. Yes, we are those people. We are moving because of schools.

Fuck - just writing that sentence has depressed me.

But it has to be done. We always knew we might need to and so we're just going to do it. We're not moving to get into some top-notch grammar school or anything. We're just aiming for a good comprehensive which seems to share our values. The alternative is to stay where we are, get allocated a tough, failing school and send Thing 1 there until we can get him into the reasonable local high school.

But I can' t do it. I can't spend a summer worrying about which school he will start at. Whether he'll be ok in the really tough school we'll almost certainly get allocated. Whether he'll cope well with moving schools at some point in the future.

I just can't.

The move to high school is tough enough without adding all that into the mix so we're moving to make sure we get something we're happy with. And then we can get on with the rest of our lives which will be such a HUGE relief I can't tell you.

And actually, moving will be good I think - for all that I'm down about the process. We can enjoy the hunt for our next home knowing that it will be somewhere we're going to stay.

It may also work out well in that we can probably get more for our money where we're going so we don't have to have such a big mortgage. That would go a long way to reducing my stress levels for several reasons chief of which is the insecurity of my husband's job coupled with his long term depression.

Living with a depressed partner is a whole other post that I don't have the energy for right now.

I have to say that I'm lucky in that my husband usually suffers fairly mildly and has worked pretty constantly for the last eight years. However, he has had long periods of time on sick leave in the past and I'm always worried that the next down episode he experiences will The One. The One where he just stops getting up, ever, and sleeps for days at a time. The One where his boss eventually fires him.

And moving has triggered a set of behaviours that have sounded alarm bells both our brains.

It spoils the good life we have now, this background worry. We've had some shit times in the past, chiefly when our first child was a baby and I felt like a single parent because his depression made him physically present - and therefore in need of food and clean clothes, but emotionally insular and absent. This caused me to feel a huge amount of resentment and we both withdrew from each other. The following years were equally tough with another baby and the death of both my parents.

But the recent past has been so much better. We're happier now than we've been for a long time. We've re-connected and become a team again and it feels so much better. Which is why the spectre of that black dog returning is so scary.

I think I will just keep my head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other. That's what I do. It's worked up till now.

But any good karma you could throw my way? That would be very welcome.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Wading In

I'm still here - honest. I'm just very busy, and knackered. I found myself doling out oven chips the other day while simultaneously trying to implement some key changes at work. I think this is what they call 'Having It All'. Funnily enough, all I feel I'm having is the shit kicked out of me most of the time.

But it did make me want to write this post and add my ten-pence worth on the cyber mummy wars. Because not enough has been said about cyber mummy wars already obviously.

Now let's get one thing straight - I'm not actually complaining about my life ok? Well only about life's general busy-ness and the not-enough-hours-in-the-dayness of life but that's not unique to mums is it? Pretty much most adults with responsibilities feel like that some of the time no? And I'm guessing they're allowed to moan about it a bit if they want to right?

I feel I have to say this because apparently there are Stay-At-Home-Mums who might read this and think 'Well it serves you right, you're stretched too thin, you're kids will suffer'. And then there will be Working-At-Home-Mums who think 'You think you've got it bad, at least you get to work in an office where no-one needs their nappy changed and latte is easily available'. And no doubt there are some Angry-Of-Tunbridge-Wells types who think that all yobs would disappear if only I would stay at home and bring my kids up properly. And there are bound to be a few Single-With-No-Kids-And-Tired-of-Covering-For-You-When-Your-Kids-Are-Sick types - actually they can just fuck off because in my experience it's not the parents in the office who take most of the sick days. I'm just a Tired-Of-Covering-For-You-Because-You're-A-Bit-Hungover-And-Can't-Be-Arsed-To-Come-In type of person I think.

But anyway, I digress. What's my point? My point is I've been all of those people, the SAHM, the WAHM, the WOHM and lots of other things too. But at no point did I feel under pressure to be a certain way. I didn't feel I had to conform to any stereotype while wearing one of those hats. And yet, alot of the mum wars seem to me to be about this point. That some other group of people - let's call them 'they', want 'you' to be a certain way and you're angry about 'them' trying to make 'you' into one of 'them'.

And this supposed 'pressure' then becomes an excuse to disrespect other people and their choices, sometimes in extremely inflammatory terms.

Now I find myself in a really odd position where I'm disagreeing with the people who are most like me when it comes to this topic. I'm all for 'good-enough' parenting. I don't strive for perfection and I accept that other people will parent differently from me. This seems to be common-sense to me. But alot of what I read from women who seem to hold the same point of view really concerns me. There seems to be this idea that there is a conspiracy out there against 'real' mothers and that everyone is pressured into being a 'perfect' mother. A perfect mother only feeds her child home-made organic food, has a perfect home, a great sex-life, no baby-weight and goes to the gym 3 times a week. The perfect mother doesn't sit in front of daytime trash tv eating her twelfth round of toast having been up feeding a new-born four times last night.

But you know what? I don't buy it. There is no perfect mother conspiracy intended to make 'real mums' feel inadequate. I think the people peddling the perfect mother conspiracy are often those same women who use it to strengthen their own 'real mum' credentials. When my children were babies, the only mothers I knew were 'real mums'. We were all working it out as we went along. Nobody ever made me feel inadequate because I was shattered, and still in pyjamas at 4pm some days. My heaven-sent neighbour who rescued me from my smoke-filled house the day I put food on the grill then promptly forgot about it in a fog of sleeplessness regaled me with her own stories of domestic disasters caused by sleepless nights.

In fact, in my experience all mothers have been at pains to point out that there's no wrong or right way to be and to go with what works for you. I never sit in judgement on other parents when I'm out and about as you can never know what's brought them to the point they're at. It's only some very new mothers who will occasionally lapse into 'Sanctimommy' mode and they soon get that knocked out of them. (Trust me - if you're reading this and think you will never bribe your child with sweets/never let them eat junk food/never use a naughty step/never drag them bodily out of a supermarket/never tell them to just BE QUIET FOR FUCKS SAKE? You're almost certainly wrong. )

Does anyone really feel the pressure to be a perfect mother? Because I don't. I feel under pressure to be other things but not that.

Where is all this 'pressure' supposed to be coming from? Not the media surely? We're not stupid enough to fall for that are we? I don't look like Madonna because a) she has shedloads of money, b) she has a cook, c) she has a housekeeper, d) she has a nanny or two and e) she has a personal trainer. Not because I'm inadequate. And do you know what? I bet if I was sat in a coffee shop and got chatting to Madonna about babies she'd offer up some choice parenting moments of her own. Because mothering and our acceptance of how hard it can be unites us much more than it divides us. But you don't always hear that.