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.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Random Foot in Mouth Moments

This week started briliantly on Sunday when I got to meet up with some British Mummy Bloggers at the Rainforest Cafe. Thank you Susanna ( and Amy for organising this. I know everyone's said it much better than me already but it really was a fantastic couple of hours. It's why I love the Internet - you can make connections you'd never be able to make otherwise. And being surrounded by all these wonderful blogging men and women made me determined to get writing more frequently.

Unfortunately I'm so busy at work right now I can barely think straight. Here I am, it's Wednesday already and I really can't think of a single remotely interesting thought that I've had in the last few days. That is unless detailed technical insights into Oracle rock your world? No? Can't tempt you? You surprise me.

So instead I'm posting more randomness.

So I get out of the tube this morning and there are some charity collectors at the entrance to the station collecting for a charity to help the blind. One of the collectors obviously was blind or partially sighted as he held a white stick. This guy called out a greeting to another guy who had just arrived. Second guy responded with "Hi! Nice to see you!" That's funny right? If I'd said it I would be mortified obviously.

My favourite ever TV blooper was Dicky Davies, sports presenter (anyone remember him?) on live TV saying "And now let's go to the Cop Succer."

Thing2 once had a wormery as he's something of a bug fanatic. One day he found a huge centipede and decided to put it in the wormery too. He's something of a pedant about words and I overheard him explaining to Thing1 that he couldn't call it a wormery any longer as it now contained a centipede as well. He thought for a few moments then announced he was going to call it a buggery! Luckily I managed to persuade him to to remove the centipede!

Favourite saying of the week is by Thing2: "My life just gets better and better."

He's right too - it does - lucky bugger.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Random Thoughts

I've been too tired to blog for the last couple of weeks. Just too much going on. Thing2 was eight years old yesterday and we had lots of family over on Saturday for a party. This entailed much shopping and cooking and also much thinking about shopping and cooking. It's the thinking and planning that eats into all my spare time. Working full-time is fine as long as there is nothing else going on, like having a life. It's particularly frustrating me at the moment as I seem to have found my misplaced mojo and am fired up about lots of things I want to do but I have very little time in which to actually get started.

Anyway, I've thought about blogging alot but I guess that doesn't really count does it? Anyway I thought I'd post a list of the things I'd like to blog about with a view to perhaps fleshing some of them out at a later date.

1) British Mummy Bloggers vs American Mommy bloggers:

I read alot of American blogs. But I wonder about the differences. Americans - more likely to publish very detailed accounts of their children, husband, selves. This may be unfair as there are literally thousands of American bloggers out there who probably don't but I'm deliberately thinking in generalizations. Brits more likely to maintain anonymity of their children, particularly with regard to photographs. Is this a cultural thing? A reflection of the maturity of the mommy blogging thing in the US?

2) Blogging and Anonymity

Two areas: my anonymity and my children's anonymity. As far as my chidren are concerned, I'm unlikely to post much detail about them on this blog. At first I thought this was to do with their age but I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I would not have posted alot of detail about them even when they were babies and I'm not sure why this is? Cultural? Invasion of privacy?

As far as my anonymity goes I'm really struggling to sort out my feelings. On the one hand, anonymity is nice in that you can say things you might not otherwise say. Then again, because the possibility exists that someone else might read it, you have to think about what it is you are trying to say rather than just indulging in an emotion dump-fest at the end of shitty day.

On the other hand, it's quite cathartic to indulge in an emotion dump-fest at the end of a shitty day but the idea that you might meet a real, live person who had actually read the dump-fest is terrifying. I think I need several blogs to cover all the hats I want to wear but the chances of me updating more than a couple are nil. I'm treading a middle path at the moment i.e. quite alot of self-censorship going on.

3) Maternal guilt and competitiveness

I think there's too much guilt associated with mothering. Is it a generational thing? A class thing? When did we all get so judgemental? Isn't good-enough parenting good enough? Are parents using their children's achievements to try and bolster their own self-esteem?

4) Spoilt Children

How do you make children appreciate how lucky they are? I'm at a loss with this one. I think I'm lucky in that I've got enough money to provide my children with a comfortable life. However, we're not wealthy enough to spend money without a second thought and my children do sometimes hear the the phrase "...because we can't afford it." But even so, they are fairly careless with money and posessions because they can afford to be. How to impart the value of money and appreciate the things it can't buy?

5) Do I drink too much?

6) Is there any nicer smell than that of an eight year old boy with no front teeth?

7) Is anyone else obsessed with the way their children smell or is that just me?

8) Should I go to bed now? Very probably.

Signing off.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Half Term.

Woo hoo! It's Wednesday and I haven't yelled at anyone yet! No meltdowns, door slamming, angry-face pulling, drowning of sorrows - nothing! Not even low-impact nagging.

Granted - it's cost me a small fucking fortune in trips to Legoland, 3D movies and the like, and enough sweets got consumed today to fill a full-sized water-butt but still - don't knock it. Nobody went to bed hating me. Fan-fucking-tastic!

I'm back to work on Friday so if I can just get through tomorrow without any major mishaps I may splash out on a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate! Plus the liberal use of exclamation marks will continue!!! So there!!

Seriously though, I've had a great relaxing week. I hope the rest of you have too.

And if not? Don't worry. Been there, done that. Nothing lasts for ever, especially not the bad times.

Friday, 22 May 2009

What If I Look Back and Think 'Bollocks'?

Not a great title for a post I know but it does get to the heart of how I'm feeling at the moment.

My life goes by in a predictable blur.

I'm working 4.5 days a week. I leave early in the morning so I don't really see Thing 1 and Thing 2 at all in the morning. Luckily I can leave work and be home by about 5.30. My mother-in-law looks after the children 3 days a week and my husband and I do one afternoon school pick-up each.

I'm lucky - I'm healthy, my children are healthy, I have a roof over my head, food on the table, good friends and family.

But I'm still pissed off most of the time.

I earn a good salary but not as much as I could do because I'm not prepared to put in the hours that a higher-status job would require. And frankly? My career bores me to tears. And yet on the other hand I'm jealous of other women I know with higher status jobs than me and feel inadequate because I'm not achieving.

I am a mostly good mother I think and yet I spend ridiculous amounts of time thinking I'm a dreadful parent. Working full-time is hard and I know I don't put as much time and effort into helping my children with school work etc as other mothers do.

More feelings of inadequacy.

I share my house with my mother-in-law three days a week which DRIVES ME FUCKING NUTS. But she's great grandparent and my children benefit from their close relationship with her. I, on the other hand, do not benefit from her proximity and experience times when I can barely act civilly.

I'm just worried that I will look back at this time, when the children have left home and think 'Why did I live my life like that? What was the point?'

And yet I know I have to work. My husband's job is well paid but insecure. He suffers from depression and has had long periods off sick in the past. Athough he seems much better I worry that depression may strike again and I will be the only breadwinner. Neither of us are going to inherit shedloads of money so I need a pension. We're generally hopeless with money so I need to work to get pay off and keep us out of debt. The credit-crunch has reminded us all that having up-to-date skills and a manageable job is not to be sniffed at.

And yet I wake up every day and think 'Oh Lord, here we go again. Back on the treadmill.'

I try and plan alot of things so that when I'm not at work we (I) have things to look forward to. But am I kidding myself? Will I look back and think I did everything badly? Wonder what it was all for?

I'm constantly amazed at people who make radical changes to their lives and seem to thrive on the uncertainty, the adrenalin. 'That's not me' I think.

I'm scared I guess. Risk averse. It's all fine at the moment so I just keep going. But will I look back and think 'Bollocks'?

I'm worried I will.

Intellectually I know that all it would take is a health scare, a money scare to make me long for this life as it is now. I know I'm beyond lucky, I know. I know all this. If I survive long enough to see my children grow up happy and healthy I will be a lucky, lucky woman. But how do I feel it on a daily basis.

What gets you through the day?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Time, Hormones and the Bastard Spots

I will be 43 next month. I'm quite happy with this. Life's good now - better than it has been. The last 10 years have contained the best and worst of times. Right now I feel good about where I'm at. Apart from my daily struggle with general parenting failure of course! Still, even that could be worse. I'm getting better and consequently beating myself up less. (Parenting angst - that's a whole post on its own)

However, the one thing about ageing that's really getting me down is the physical aspect - specifically hormones. Right now my body seems to be on a last-ditch effort to get any remaining eggs fertilised before I shrivel up all prune-like and enter the ranks of people who don't need to have sex anymore, evolutionarily-speaking.

So my libido is in overdrive. Which I would probably quite enjoy apart from the non-stop spots appearing all over my face rendering me about as attractive as - well, a spotty middle-aged person. On top of which my boobs, which have always been fairly hard to miss are now enormous. Not as enormous as they were 3 days after giving birth obviously but pretty large just the same. And I've always hated my large boobs.

Still, rampant sex-drive and large boobs I could probably just about cope with and frankly my husband thinks Christmas has arrived early. But the spots, THE SPOTS ARE SO DRIVING ME NUTS! I have two or three ALL THE TIME. Somebody, anybody, please give me some ideas. I've spent a fortune on skincare which is helping a bit but I'm at the end of my tether.

Having spent years off the pill on the grounds that I didn't want to take hormones on a regular basis, I'm now seriously considering discussing the pill or an IUD with my doctor. Would either of those help? The contraceptive aspect is also attractive as I'm well past the point where an accidental pregnancy would be ok. I know fertility declines with age and at 43 I should find it hard to get pregnant, but the way my body is behaving I think a pregnancy is easily possible. Plus my mum had me when she was 42 and my sister had her last child at 42 so as a family we've got form.

Has anyone got any ideas on what to try or experiences to share? Am I shallow caring so much about the spots? How long does this last? HELP!

Monday, 4 May 2009

The Veil

I have long despised the Islamic veil. Often I'm challenged on why it should bother me so much, especially here in a free country, why should it bother me if women choose to wear it?
Well today I read a paragraph which summed up why I loathe it so much:

"I look out of my study at the common and see a wife fully burkaed on a sunny day. She sits still. Her children and husband run around, laughing, playing cricket. She sits still, dead, buried, a ghost. She is complicit in her own degradation, as are countless others. Their acquiescence in a free democracy is a crime against their sisters who have no such choices in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere."

From The Independent Monday 4th May by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

She is complicit in her own degradation. That's why I hate it. Why I will never be able to explain to my sons why some women are so brainwashed that they think it's ok to cover up, to hide themselves in case it inflames men. That women exist that collude in this ridiculous nonsense.

It makes me angry and I hate it and I won't apologise for the way I feel.

It's your right to wear it and my right to despise you for it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lists and the Making Thereof

I awoke this morning and lay in bed for a few moments, putting off getting out of bed. I heard birds singing outside and felt suddenly happy and grateful to be alive in the here and now. It's not often I appreciate the now. I try to, but most of my waking inner monologue consists of lists: the making of and the ticking off of, things that need to be done in the future or have been done and are therefore in the past.

I know I'm not alone in this. Everyone with a family to look after knows that life only works because of the lists. What to eat, when to shop, what to buy, what to book, what toys/bedroom/clothes to sort out, what to research on the internet, what's next at work, where to go at the weekend, what birthday presents to buy, wrap, who's going to what party, after-school activity, sleepover, what child is owed a play-date, who to catch up with after school, work, etc etc etc.

While I think generally that the differences between men and women are mostly exaggerated I believe we are very different when it comes to lists. I know my husband does not have a running list manager always at work in his brain like I do. Granted, he's not very organised in many respects but I know many friends husbands who are more organized don't do the lists either.

Frankly I get fed up with being the list manager. I know the world wouldn't end if I gave up and let lots of the little things slide. But it would hurt the kids a bit and it would hurt me a bit. Forgetting a birthday party, forgetting to have decent food in the fridge for dinner. I guess what I'm really fed up of is not doing the lists but seemingly having to do the major share. My husband will do anything I ask him. He'll drop-off, pick- up, buy food etc. But I have to tell him. Which misses the point. It's not the actual shopping and cooking that annoys me - it's having to think about what to buy and what to cook that gets me down. What I want is not to have to tell him. What I want is for some things to be his responsibility.

I don't really see a way out though so I shall continue I guess. I do draw the line at some things though. I don't send cards or buy presents for his family or friends on birthdays etc. I figure that's definitely his responsibility. (They pretty much never get presents.)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Misuse of Firepower

Sometimes one of my children does something and I really let them have it. I know when I'm doing it but sometimes I can't seem to help myself. I'm better at avoiding triggers than I used to be but I still misuse my verbal firepower and boy do I hate myself after.

The thing is I'm tired of the endless trivial, pointless crap. Today I let rip after I sent my son to have a shower with instructions to wash his hair. He grudgingly went and showered then came back and submitted gracelessly to having his hair dried. After I dried it I asked him what shampoo he'd used and do you know what he said? He hadn't used shampoo. Just conditioner.

I mean what is that about? How hard is it to wack some shampoo on your hair then rinse it off? Why are we even having to have an argument about this? I'm trying to teach you to be clean so people don't start calling you smelly behind your back. Is that so wrong?

So I let rip, partly because of the hair and partly because of his reaction to being told off about the hair. Tears. He's ten. I think that's why I really lost it, because of the tears. Can you not take a telling-off on the chin without a big emotional outburst? It's just a telling off - not a smack, a time-out, a loss of pocket money or computer time. 'Just bloody grow up!' I want to scream.

I mostly work hard to be calm, reasonable, fun. But sometimes I get so annoyed because a simple request cannot be met without half an hour's worth of bullshit to go with it and after a long day I really cannot understand why it has to be this way. My children are loved, happy, safe, well-fed and have access to things most children in this world can only dream of. And yet often they act like whining, selfish brats who have to be cajoled into doing the slightest thing. Something is going wrong somewhere. My only consolation is that I know my children are more reasonable, thoughtful, helpful and polite than alot of their peers. God knows how the rest of the mothers put up with it.

So I need to rein in the verbal missiles. But what can I do? It's the constant drip, drip, drip of cajoling, negotiating, reminding, insisting that gets to you.

If, in ten years time he takes me to task for over-reacting the time he didn't wash his hair I'll try and explain to him that it wasn't just the hair. But I'll still be thinking 'Well why didn't you wash your hair you nutcase?'

Monday, 26 January 2009

Dietary Advice.

Did you put on a few pounds over Christmas?

Word of advice: don't take dietary advice from fat people. Whatever advice they're giving you is rubbish obviously as - hello - they are still fat!

Fat people also think they're experts on losing weight. This will generally annoy the hell out of ordinary people who have put on a few pounds and are sensibly cutting back a bit in order to stop those few pounds becoming a permanent fixture. The Fat People will tell you you're doing it wrong.

Even worse are the Deliberately Undermining Fat People. If you have some of these in your life - well, you have my commiserations. They don't want to be the only fat person around so if they can grind you down long enough they reason, you might eat all the chocolate biscuits they so helpfully brought over and stashed in your cupboard.

My advice is to try and ignore these people especially if they are related to you 'in-law'. No good will come from you yelling "Shut the fuck up you fat bitch!" while your significant other tries to manhandle you out of the room. Trust me I know.

So my advice? Have veg/salad and protein with every meal and drink alot of water. Eat what you want, stop when you're full.

Or just take a look at the slim people you know and do what they do.

You're welcome.

P.S. You may have gathered that I have 'in-law' issues.

Big White Dress.

So here's the thing.

I'm reading someone else's blog, someone I really like. Someone who writes well and makes me laugh. She just got engaged and is very obviously deliriously happy which I love.

She's also very stylish and consequently is blogging about some aspects of the wedding e.g. dress choice.

And this made me wonder about the whole wedding thing and why I don't get it.

I should probably say up front that when I got married I wore trousers. It was a very important day for me because I got married but the wedding itself? Couldn't give a monkey's.

What I want to know is: am I the only female who has never, ever, not once, not even for one nanosecond, daydreamed about a fairy tale wedding? Or any wedding for that matter?

It has never been something I thought or cared about, not even as a young child. And yet I fantasised constantly as a child and I still do, about myriad things, but mostly sex if I'm honest.

I wonder whether I didn't fantasise about being taken up the aisle because I was too busy fantasising about being taken in a much more interesting fashion by a gorgeous man in a suit!

This is something else I wonder about. I certaintly masturbated from about the age of 5 because I discovered it felt good. It was not associated with sex at that point and I was certainly not sexualised early because of abuse or anything similar. But the fantasies about sex came not that long after and have continued happily ever since! I was brought up as the child of committed Catholics who did their best to stop me enjoying anything that looked remotely like masturbation but I distinctly remember understanding completely that this was all uptight bullshit and I was going to do it as much I wanted.

So when I read about real women who discover masturbation in their late teens or even later, I am truly gobsmacked. Can you really not have been aware of sex until then? Am I in the minority in this too? Did thoughts of fire and brimstone, possible blindness etc, etc sound remotely plausible to you, even as I child?

I just don't get it.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Cut the cute.

Do you know what I've really had enough of? Having to be bloody cute all the time.

Admittedly I work in the magazine industry where the raison d'etre of most women's mags is to inform their readers how to be fulfilled at work and at home, how to be a great mother/wife/ friend blah blah blah. All helpfully illustrated with case studies of 'real women' - real women my arse.

On top of all this is the unspoken rule that you'd better do all that and make sure you look cute at the same time.

Same old shit ladies. It's not enough to have a brain and to use it, to save lives, to nurse people back to health, to uphold justice, to bear and raise children, to produce a TV show, to run a bank, to design software, to teach, to run a home, to build a house etc etc etc - you get my drift.

What's annoying is I quite like cute. I like clothes and jewellery and nice hair-cuts and good skin. I like good design and nice things around me. I don't deny a good outfit can make me feel good. I'm just not sure any of that really matters. Look around any playground at school pick-up time though and you'll see it sure as shit matters.

And this, this stuff that matters, even though women protest that it doesn't, is what really drives me batshit.

I've started this blog for myself. A place I can go to analyse and reflect on what's important to me. Writing these things down helps me clarify things and I need the reflection right now. My children are growing so fast that I'm starting to really feel the time approaching when they will leave to make their own mark on the world.

And before they go I'd like my kids to understand what it is that I (and their father) consider important. They need to see me spending time on things in proportion to their importance - something I'm not sure happens at the moment.

If you asked my kids what was important to mum they'd probably say 'A tidy house!' This I know is:

a) true and
b) really pathetic.

In my defense I find it hard to relax when surrounded by crap so it's not tidiness I value for it's own sake or the impression it makes on others - it just really, really gets to me to be surrounded by stuff, stuff, stuff.

But it's not just a bit pathetic, its downright disgusting that my children see me get annoyed about an untidy house or excited about a piece of jewellery while letting images of dead Gazans or starving Sudanese go by without a comment. This is not the message I want to give them. This is not how I want them to judge other people in the playground.

So seriously people - remember this shit doesn't matter. While I will always enjoy nice clothes and those lovely shiny earrings I promise to try and not make you feel bad because your life is badly accessorized and your scatter cushions suck.

I've joined the blogosphere to reflect, to explore thoughts, air views, rant (there will almost certainly be quite alot of ranting - you've been warned!) and discuss life in general. So this is my place to think aloud as it were.

If you're interested in thinking with me, I'd love to have you along for the ride.