8 truths about family holidays

The family holiday. Ahh, those blissful weeks of anticipation you spend dreaming about the relaxing days of adventure mixed with lazy evenings reading, eating yummy food and drinking with your loved one.

paella

There’s no doubt it’s a calendar highlight, whether it’s camping in the country or a blow out all expenses trip to the other side of the world.

We’ve just been very lucky to have spent a week in Majorca. The four MotherFudgers embarked on our first trip abroad since 2 became 4.

The smalls are now 4 and 6 and it’s the first time we thought it wouldn’t be like some form of hell going on a plane. Anyone who does it with a buggy and a baby needs some kind of medal. We clearly aren’t that brave.

2 on beach

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of our trip – we had a fabulous time, it was a much-needed break for all of us, but there were some things that occurred to me about holidaying as a family wherever you go and whatever you do. Things that next time I’ll refresh my memory about before our next trip:

  1. The journey is a game of parenting roulette. Also see point 3. You have no control. Whether you’re in a car on the motorway, using the trains, flying, you’re in the lap of the Gods here my friend. That mixed with kids, yeah, good luck. It’s a gamble and you’re going to lose at some point.Find your happy place. This too shall pass. Grin and bear it. And if that fails dish out Haribo like your life depended on it. No judgement.

    airport meltdown
    A three-hour flight delay, lost luggage and our taxi driver buggering off – we all felt the boychild’s pain.

     

  2. Same shit, different location. If you’re the one who always remembers the rubbish needs putting out, or you’re the one who sorts the picnic for the day. You know what – it’ll be you who’s doing that on holiday. Just because you’re away doesn’t mean the miracle fairy will have waved a wand.
  3. The kids will have meltdowns. Accept it. They couldn’t give a shit that this is a precious week and hundreds of pounds of hard-earned cash. They’re kids and they’re going to lose their shit whether you’re in England at home or a restaurant abroad.icecream
    So much ice cream

     

  4. Pick your battles… but maybe don’t pick quite so many on holiday. It’s your holiday too. If the kids are on the iPad AGAIN and it means a bit more of a break for you then go with it. And if they ask for another ice cream, fuck it. Go for an easy ride. It’s not defeat. It’s a sanity saving exercise. 5 a day only matters when you’re on home turf. Fact.* (* = I’m lying.)
  5. Take pictures. My family, Mr MF’s family. Our own little team – it’s always me taking the pictures, so going on holiday isn’t going to change that. If I didn’t document our holidays there would be no memories. This even includes my overly direct requests by strangers to take pictures of all of us as I want at least one pic of the four of us.me
    This is a selfie, because if I didn’t take them, no bugger would!

     

  6. This is your chance for some partner time. If you have a partner then claw back some moments together and if you’re single then enjoy those moments too. You don’t have the million bullshit domestic jobs you have at home. This is your chance for a bit of couple time. Whether that’s when the smalls are at a kids’ club, or just during the evening when you plan a takeaway and time together. Make sure you do something a bit different to the norm. Put your phones away, enjoy being with each other. Reset together. Priceless.sangria
    Sangria and couple time

     

  7. You don’t have to go abroad to have fun. It was our first holiday abroad as a family and it was great. We loved it, but actually I don’t think you have to go thousands of miles away on a plane to have a great trip. I doubt we’ll be able to afford to go abroad next year but wherever we go will another adventure together.
  8. The kids will love the bits you don’t enjoy. It may be a boring train journey to you, or a wait for your luggage at the airport, but for kids there’s wonder in everything. The smalls loved watching the luggage popping out of the shoot at baggage claim and seeing new insects abroad “that were red and had extra bits”. That’s the wonder of kids – they remind you of the gems in the norm and that’s even more apparent when you’re taking time out to relax yourself. Go with it because they’re so right in seeing the magical new world in front of them.on bus
    A bus journey in a different destination is amazing

If you’ve been away then hope you had a blast, and if you’re off on your holibobs enjoy it as you’ll be making memories – whatever they are.

MF

x

Why are thank you cards like pulling teeth?

I blame Hobbycraft. They had an offer on those blank cards you can use to create whatever message you want. Blank for your picture and message. £2.50 for 20 seemed like such a bargain.

“Save me buying those oh so predictable ready made versions” I thought. “Be nice for the children to draw their own pictures” I said. “How special it will be for the teachers and nursery staff to have a personalised picture from the smalls”.

blank card

That was back then. Now I know the truth. Now I know the real pain of THOSE cards. Now I know why they were on offer.

If you have a child you’ve probably been living your own fresh hell of getting the kids engaged in the thank you card process this week.

Next year I’m starting it in March. I swear.

My daughter’s birthday was in June. A month on we still hadn’t crossed off thank you cards from the never-ending list of chores I have to cattle-prod the kids into doing. And while the birthday thank yous sat on the list, the thank yous for the teachers came up to bite me on the arse too.

So there we were at the beginning of the week and after two homemade ones completed for her friends I gave in and made the girlchild write in readymade ones for her friends.

We got through this hurdle. The bigger mountain was yet to climb – the teacher cards. Now when I say teacher cards, this is 4 for the teachers, but my son is finishing both preschool and nursery, so that totals 16. Let’s just repeat that – 16 cards I decided would be a good idea for him to create.

What the fuck was I thinking? Pinterest peer pressure got to me. I hate the me at the beginning of the week. That me sucked. But there I was thinking this would be a nice gesture. And you know, my role as a mum is to teach my children to say thank you.

In reality no one learns the lesson of thanks here, what we all really learn is endurance because that one bloody task has now expanded across the whole week. It’s like a game of parenting chicken about who will break first – me or them. All under the umbrella of the shitfest of tantrums that is the final week of term. It’s not a pretty sight for anyone by the time bedtime comes.

So there we were, felt tip tub at the ready, blank cards out. Game on.

I’m there like a positive football coach willing the children on, showering them in praise “this is fabulous… I love the colours you’re using… Mrs X will love this card… wow is that a ermm dog….” but after approximately 15 minutes and half a card done by each there are cracks in my spirit.

Then the moans start from them.

“Can I finish noooooooooooooooow? I don’t know how to spell her naaaaaaaaaame. I don’t want to do this anymoooooooooooore.”

One card done by the girlchild, lovely picture of some flowers. The message written. The boychild has drawn a fabulous face. We can do this I think.

Then as soon as the creative whirlwind has begun, it stops.

After more ‘soccer mom’ chants of encouragement the second cards are started. The boychild draws what can best be described as modern art, at worst a scribble he tells me is ‘a caterpillar’. Abstract.

The girlchild groans and starts muttering how she wants the iPad.

30 minutes in and they’re clearly done. And so am I. So we savour the task for another day.

By last night we were still 2 cards down and even Mr MF was involved for 30 minutes before it broke him too. At 9pm the girlchild finished her final card. It was a relief like no other. Done for another year… oh hang on there’s Christmas not so far away.

So I’ve decided – next year I’ll be Moonpigging the shit out of this task. Screw you Hobbycraft!

Happy holidays and good luck!

x

Has becoming a mum made me a prude?

I don’t know what’s happened to me. My 20+ self would be laughing at me right now, but my 30+ self is recoiling in shock and a little bit of disgust to be honest.

I’m talking about Love Island and Naked Attraction.

I imagine you’re aware of them, particularly Love Island, as EVERYONE is talking about it.

I don’t get it. Not so much don’t get it but utterly repulsed by it on so many levels. And believe me I’ve tried to watch it, to love it and get hooked on it. But it’s just not happened because instead of hang on every word of the vacuous lip-pumped 20 year olds having sex, I just think it’s obscene.

I’ve become a modern day Mary Whitehouse.

How is having sex in a room of other people OK? If they were doing it under coats in the street they’d be arrested. It’s just not OK?

I can’t help thinking if that was my son or my daughter how gutted I’d be. How ashamed. That’s going to stay with them forever. When they’re 40 and want to be respected all anyone will think is ‘you had sex on national television’. Grim.

And don’t get me started on the people they choose to go on there – all cardboard cut outs of what we seem to have put into the box named ‘attractive’. That being toned, slim, overly made up, a bit of cosmetic surgery and a bottle full of tan.

It’s so shallow it’s not even funny. These aren’t the ideals I look to and I certainly don’t want my children to aim to look and live like these people do. All for a fast buck and their 5 minutes.

Let me know move onto Naked Attraction. Equally as vulgar and crude, but in a way weirdly more innocent – six naked people expose themselves bit by bit, literally, while a person wanting to get laid a date examines first their legs/bum/genitals and then torso and boobs before finally revealing their face.

No honestly I’m not lying, this shit is real.

naked attraction

I’m kinda horrified but also weirdly a bit hooked on this one to see if it works on some animalistic dating premise. It does and doesn’t.

Both programmes make me pleased not to be entering adulthood right now. A place where your worth is judged so strongly on looks and how far you’re prepared to go seuxally, this under the eyes of social media where nothing is yesterday’s chip wrappers but forever imprinted in the memory of computer servers to be raked up again by strangers and future employers. Mistakes don’t get forgotten, they become present to be used against you at will.

I fear for my children and how they’ll respond to this when they’re older, how pressured they’ll feel to become a part of this norm and route to what is deemed successful. How horrible.

They won’t be able to bask in the glory of risk taking, having fun and making mistakes without people pulling it back out of the ashes to haunt them. I lived my life to the full in my 20s and don’t regret any of my choices, but I wouldn’t want to relive them in my 30s, 40s or 50s when I’ve moved on and put them behind me as part of life’s rich tapestry.

These ‘contestants’ may feel like they have it all with the newly signed make up deals, movie premieres and being invited to chat about their sexploits on This Morning, but the reality is they’ll have to face all of that when they do have children. And it will feel just as grim, probably even more so.

Or maybe I have just become a prude?

 

Have we reached the holy grail of parenting?

Mr MotherFudger took a big pause this weekend, moved closer to me and uttered the words I never thought we’d speak:

“I think we’ve reached it… I think we’ve reached the golden period of parenting. You know – the time we never thought we’d reach.”

Puzzled I looked at him while he smiled, a sort of halo forming around his head, a clink of light coming down from on high in an angle gleaming down on us while angels harmonised.

“We’ve hit the holy grail when the KIDS DON’T NEED US 100% OF THE TIME. The time when we can actually do stuff around them.”

I nodded sagely.

He was right.

cam kids train

It is happening. A time when the parenting leash has been loosened and we’re getting IT back a bit. IT being our own time, IT being a bit of space where we can breathe a little more. IT being a time when the children don’t need us shadowing them like over-bearing helicopter parents when we’re out.

We have just popped our cherry on a pub trip where we sat in the beer garden and the children played and made friends with the other kiddies like something from a Enid Blyton novel. It was magical. We sat, we drank, we chatted. The children ran over every so often for some crisps and a drink only to return to the fun that was the child collective. We did the acceptable smiles and nods to the other parents, but mainly we actually got to talk and catch up.

Although it’s unlikely any non-parents are reading this – just in case – you may be thinking this is just odd, of course this is how a trip would be.

Well not so.

Young children are basically on a suicide mission for their entire existence. Mix that together with a desire to push over another child/hit another child over the head/run into the face of danger and what you have there is essentially a trip out that revolves entirely around saving your child’s life/stopping your child hit or push over another child/apologise to another parent because your child has done the latter.

But it seems we’re there. We’ve moved up the phase hierarchy and felt even a tiny bit of smug looking back at our former selves. The possibilities of weekends seem endless. There was a fizzle of excitement in the air.

And while the air was still zinging, the boychild shouted from the garden that he wanted to wee outside AGAIN, the girlchild burst into tears about some injury she’d caused herself, before a fight between the duo ensued and we realised normality has resumed once more.

 

The 7 steps to getting a passport picture for your child

So this summer we’ve venturing abroad. As feeble as it is, it’s not a step we’ve ever braved before, because, well so many reasons I don’t envy any family: buggy on plane, child overheating, trying to get a baby to nap while wanting to sit on a beach, litres of suncream, panicking they haven’t got enough suncream on, insane stuff, just all the stuff you need for a younger child plus a flight with a baby. No thanks.

However, we finally felt we could handle it. Mr MotherFudger wasn’t so sure, but we’re going. Hoobloodyray.

So we cracked on with the kids’ passports, which obviously includes photos.

Now the smalls have a weird thing about photos – the girlchild basically hates having her picture taking. And currently we’re in a phase where the boychild copies her – so he hates it too.

I take a lot of pictures like this:

cam kids

So the whole passport taking process was an interesting one:

  1. “Kids you need your pictures taken for the passport”
    Imagine if you told your children you were banning Christmas or cancelling their birthday? Basically the same reaction. They groaned and moaned and said “noooooo” about a thousand times. The girlchild refused. I told her there wouldn’t be a holiday then as they wouldn’t let her on the plane. They came round in the end as I told them it wasn’t an option, they were having them done.
  2. “I can’t take them though – we have to get them done in a booth”
    Repeat response to 1.
  3. “I need to brush your hair and make sure you both look semi-respectable”
    More dramatic wailing. The boychild WAS OK before we left the house – as usual – by the time we arrived at the photo booth he already had dirt on his trousers, but at least his face wasn’t his usual look of ‘I’ve dipped my head in mud, glue and general muck’.
  4.  “Kids you’re going to have to kneel, hold your bottom up so we get at exactly the correct height…”
    Whoever changed the design from a twistable stool to the one big orange stool has never met a child or a person under 5ft. That big orange stool may look fabulous in their Shoreditch apartment but it’s shite at performing the function it was put there to do. Try encouraging a just four-year-old boy to stay at exactly the same height while on his kneels…followed by….
  5. “DO NOT SMILE. No, don’t move your head….keep looking forward. DON’T SMILE. Don’t look down. Keep your face exactly as it is.”
    What fun we had. How much I enjoyed the other shoppers in the supermarket watching me scream at the children like circus animals.
  6. “Well done children – we have the photos. Let’s go choose a treat as you were so good.”
    Phew. Big sigh of relief. Just to get the photos and form signed by my friend. So pleased the photos are all fine. Actually the boychild looked quite good. The girlchild looked, erm, somewhat strained, but hooray. Winning.
  7. Have photos refused at Post Office because there’s a tiny clink of light on their cheeks.
    Swear in front of PO woman. Curse entire photo system. Silently weep.

    I’m pleased to report I then went somewhere where THEY took the picture.

My matchy matchy life with Anastasia Steele

I’ve just watched the second Fifty Shades film and it struck me just how similar my life is to Anastasia Steele. It’s like we’re besties.

For those of you who know me, I don’t hide my sheer love of the Fifty Shades trilogy – hell I celebrate it. I couldn’t give a toss how low-brow, low-rent it all is – it’s fun and the books were ace and the films not bad either. (Jamie Dornan = purr.)

But as I perved, sos, watched the film, I thoughts crumbs – our lives are basically parallel:

OUR WARDROBES/FIGURE

ANA – Size 6. Lots of very tight fitting dresses.

ME – Add a 1 in front of that 6 so basically the same and our clothes are so matchy matchy with the faded leggings I still wear five years after giving birth. People must think we’re twins.

OUR VEHICLE COLLECTION

ANA – The cars. All the cars. It’s basically a fleet of shiny vehicles.

ME – We have a fleet of vehicles too – it’s insane…

fleet-of-vehicles

A HELICOPTER

ANA – Able to ride in a helicopter at any time.

ME – Yup, us too! Erm kinda.

helicopter

THE UNDERWEAR

ANA – Beautiful, lacey, small, pretty.

ME – You know how hers are beautiful, ermm and lacey and small and pretty….you know in the supermarket you get those packs of 5 for £5. Yeah, think those but older than my daughter. But give Ana a few years and we’ll be Team Supermarket Undies together!

supermarket-underwear

WHEN SHE SOLD HER CAR

ANA – Her old skool Beetle made $24000.

ME – My first car cost me approximately £2400 after I decided to replace pretty much everything under the bonnet because I loved it so much. See – basically the same numbers.

THE RED ROOM

ANA – Full of heaps of old things she’s not quite sure what they’re there for and has to keep asking Mr Grey.

ME – Well our red room is our study, which is also full of a load of old crap, mostly old electronics Mr MF refuses to bin, that I often pick up and ask why we have it and what it’s for, before he smiles and says it’s all totally essential.

THE LIFT SCENE

ANA – Snigger. Winky face.

ME – NEVER HAPPENED. EVER. Mentioned to Mr MotherFudger. He laughed and said that was ‘highly inappropriate’.

 

So I think you’ll agree, our lives basically mirror each other’s. Uncanny.

Why kittens are just like having a newborn

 

Perhaps it was my ovaries clacking for a third child, or because I grew up with lot of animals, or maybe I wanted my children to experience how amazing it is to have a pet, but for years I’ve wanted a cat.

And like many things I’ve wanted, it’s only a matter of time before Mr MotherFudger is so fed up with my incessant going on that he gives up and agrees. So, at the end of November, we welcomed our twins – two beautiful fluffy little fur babies – into our lives…

kittens6

…they are the CUTEST. THINGS. EVER.

We are all absolutely obsessed with them.

Now here’s the thing – Mr MF wasn’t a cat lover. In fact, he was a bit anti cats. But the strangest thing has happened. Mr MotherFudger is absolutely obsessed. Like properly can’t stop talking about them, sending me texts about them, sharing memes about cats, and cooing over them just like they were a newborn.

In fact, we’re all cooing over them as if they were precious little babies. Well, the girlchild, Mr MF and I are. The boychild is basically terrorising them or asking them to play rock, paper, scissors. The other day he was walking one on its back legs. He’s on a journey with the kittens shall we say. Luckily they’re insanely chilled out.

kittens3

But they’ve become our new babies. My ovaries have calmed down, because we’re all playing out our love through the kittens. So I’ve realised – they are like having a newborn in so many ways – only a shitload cheaper…

  • Despite mocking others when they talk to their babies/pets in silly voices Mr MF and I can’t stop talking to them in those exact stupid baby voices. I put on this crazy annoying voice. It’s impossible to stop doing it.
  • All the things we said we wouldn’t do have gone out of the window. “We won’t have them in our bed”. By the end of the first week we’re encouraging them into our bed to co-sleep. Although for three nights in the first week Mr MF slept on the sofa with them “because they looked so so sad every time I got up to come upstairs.”
  • We’re obsessed about what they’re eating, when they’re eating, how much they’re eating and what they weigh. I nearly shed a tear when the vet said they’d gained a great amount of weight. Proud mummy.
  • We keep carrying them around with us, as if they will have neglect issues in later life if we don’t.
  • Just like a baby – before you have one your husband doesn’t give a shit about babies, now they’re here, he’s absolutely obsessed. It takes me right back to the time I had the girlchild. He’d call me and check she was fine and that she had slept and ate and played. He’s doing the same with the kittens. He texts me to check they’re OK and happy. He even asked me the other day to get my parents to go to the house (while I was at work) “just in case the kittens need cuddles”.
  • They have more toys than they can or want to play with, but we just can’t resist buying more, because, you know, a kitten cannot have too many pretend cat nip mice!
  • Even when they’re a bit naughty, they’re still so damn cute and you can’t be cross. They’ve ruined the large floor lamp in the lounge – and we just laughed – because THEY’RE KITTENS. Awww.
  • The immediate protection you feel is akin to a lioness. If anyone hurt them I would go wild!
  • There’s so much love. Who knew such small things can generate such wonderful feelings of love in a house…just like a newborn.
  • You start thinking about the next one you may get/have because why not – they’re just so lovely.

We’re definitely smitten kittens!

 

Don’t put me in a box

I’d be somewhat of a broken record to say how weird this year has been, or how nuts Brexit was and now Trump. It seems to have become the mantra of the moment.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m saddened by it all and have felt the whole rainbow of emotions from anger, worry, fear and a big slab of luckiness that hopefully (and selfishly) we, Team MF, probably won’t be affected that much. Then that’s quickly followed by guilt.

I heard the KKK will carry out a victory march in honour of Donald Trump and it made me feel sick.

However, this isn’t a post where I rant about how wrong the world is, or how much I hate Trump or how leaving Europe makes me want to put on a hair shirt. It’s all made me really angry.

Anger is a really good emotion at times – it makes us stand up, protect ourselves, put up a fight and shout back about our families, communities and the wider world. It makes us talk, argue, debate, blog, read, take an interest, start a conversation. It’s a good force. At times.

But recently I’m aware how so much of that anger has been aimed at putting people, everyone basically, into some kind of box. Basically one of either two boxes:

Box 1 – Guardian reading, left-wing, remain voting, Trump hating, Daily Mail hating, Hillary voting (if in the US), feminist, left wing person who is good and moral and lovely. Selfless. GOOD.

Box 2 – Right wing, Cameron loving, Trump supporting, Daily Mail reading, fascist, racist, immigration hating, nasty horrible wicked person. Selfish. EVIL.

I’m left wing. I’m also a feminist. I read the Guardian and voted remain. I’m not a racist and there are things about the Mail I don’t like. So I’m a clear runner for box 1 I guess.

But box 1ers read this and let me watch your heads spin: I also read the Daily Mail from time to time. I read it because the crappy celeb gossip is better. I read it because I read all newspapers. I also don’t think people who vote Conservative are evil. I used to, but I’ve listened over the years to their arguments why, and over the last few days I’ve been fascinated as to why you’d vote for Trump. And The Guardian’s middle class privileged viewpoint has started to piss me off.

I’m so fucked off with people just ranting about their own viewpoint being correct they’ve stopped listening to others. I cannot believe how many people said after Brexit “Well I just don’t understand who voted to leave because no one on my Facebook was saying that.” Of course not – you’re hardly likely to be friends with people who have contray views to your own.

And actually, in recent years, I think most right wing, Brexit voting peeps don’t voice their views. Let’s remember all those shy Tories eh. They shut the fuck up and then voted with their feet against the loud Labour supporters. Maybe we should’ve listened to why?

I think this was compounded yesterday at a conference I went to. Every single female speaker was a card carrying member of box 1 ready to go on and on about their political positions as if they spoke from everyone’s view point. They didn’t. I looked at the room and wondered how many voted to leave Europe. I viewed the room and wondered how many people would never admit it. I looked at the room and thought I bet loads of those women voted Conservative in the last election. Or how they secretly loved the Daily Mail. (because actually it’s the only newspaper still gaining readership).

And I looked at those female speakers, and most of the people in the room, and I thought how bloody middle class and privileged and white we all were. How easy it is for us to harp on from our positions of champagne socialism, yet never really be in a life threatening position of poverty or suffering or challenge. Not really, not like some people will be in their life.

I heard some stats after Trump was elected. Apparently in the 8 years of Bush and the 8 years of Obama those in America in low income jobs (not sure what that is exactly) had seen their salary reduce by about half. A HALF in 16 years. And the speaker was saying basically that’s probably why so many people voted for Trump. Why the fuck wouldn’t you? If you thought some crazy businessman was going to give you a damn sight more hope than the career politicians ever had, you’d be tempted.

And Brexit – when people jump on the easy ‘racism’ bandwagon about it all being about immigration and right wing people who hated migrants wanting to leave. I don’t think that’s the case. Not for everyone. We know it was across party lines. We know it was a raw nerve for the northern working classes.

It’s not always simple. And it’s not always easy to just put someone in a box about their views.

I feel the card carrying members of box 1 – myself included in this – are often so bloody naive and should listen up to what people are saying. What everyone is saying, not just slamming them down or branding them evil. And actually by not listening to all the debate, not hearing the voices who don’t want to talk for fear of being shouted down by those in box 1 – well they’ve won haven’t.

Quite literally. More fool us.

 

The school run coat

I think I’ve found a niche in the market. I probably should apply to Dragon’s Den. There’s millions to be made.

What doing? Making the perfect school run coat.

You’d think the fashion designers would’ve cracked it. Apparently not.

Of the thousands of coats on the market, when you combine with the school run they’re basically useless. And when I say thousands, I can guarantee I have scrolled through more internet shopping pages than Hilary Clinton has sent emails. I practically have RSI from clicking ‘add to basket’ and then changing my mind.

The problems – there are several…

  1. Coats without a hood – useless. Have you tried the school run in the rain while carrying your children’s rucksacks, your bag, grasping the hands of your kids AND holding an umbrella? No, doesn’t work. A hood isn’t optional. Many things leave your world once you’ve had a child – sleep, your social life, your disposable income, add an umbrella to that list. They’re pointless to you now.
  2. Coats that aren’t warm enough. So it has a hood. You think you’re onto a winner. You’re wrong. That rain mac seemed such a good idea in the heatwave of September, but wait till January and you’re going to be regretting that choice while stomping to school in the snow and freezing your tits off in the line of parenting.
  3. A coat that makes you look like you hate fashion. I’m no Kate Moss, but hell, I like to dip my podgy toe into the trending clothing pool on occasion. Want to mix a fashionable coat with the school run? That ain’t gonna happen sister. Because quite frankly the coat that does offer all-weather protection and includes a hood is going to make you look like you’ve never set foot in a clothing shop and buy most of your outfits from shops that cater for hardened ramblers.
  4. A fail on the keeping dry front. So I’ve found a few that have hoods, look toasty warm and make me look like I’ve flicked through Vogue once or twice in my life. So I do what every consumer in 2016 does – scrolls down to the reviews. “Q1 – will this be rainproof?” Answer: “No – you’ll get wet in a shower”. That’s fucking helpful then. I’ll plan this one for my trip to the Bahamas. Yet another coat fail. Sigh.

So what does this leave me with? A limited range of coats that include ‘maroon’ in the colour options and make me look like I did at the beginning of my Slimming World journey. For fucks sake. How can it be that hard?

In the very limited chance anyone who designs coats will ever read this I’m going to say some phrases that may help you be onto a winner for the THOUSANDS of mummies out there who take their kids to school in the rain and want to look semi-OK in the process:

  • RAIN PROOF
  • FLIRTING WITH FASHION
  • NOT OVER A MILLION POUNDS
  • HAS A HOOD
  • DOESN’T MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A KNOB

Tick those boxes and I think you’ll have yourself a little gold mine.

Until then I’ll be the one that is either shaking in my rain mac, has dripping wet hair or looks decidedly dull in my all-weather-terrain coat that should be worn by someone over 60 who goes rambling.

Night night

x

I don’t want my son to grow up

Several weeks ago we received the letter informing us we need to apply for the boychild’s school place.

I was expecting its arrival and obviously was highly aware that next September he will start school.

Although I have until January to apply, I know which school is our first choice as it’s the same one the girlchild goes to (which I’m very happy with). Applying for his place is merely a 10-minute job I could do, cross off the list and crack on with the rest of thousand of daily chores I have to do.

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Yet there’s something stopping me filling in the form. Every time I go to do it, I just can’t. but maybe think it’s because I just don’t want to.

There are many moments in my week when I think how fabulous it will be when he’s at school with his sister:

  • No more separate drop offs. Currently a working day can mean dropping off the girlchild to breakfast club at 7.45am, travelling miles out of my way to take the boychild to meet his grandparents before I have to head onto work. Just one drop would be a big ole sigh of relief for us all.
  • More me time. Hell yes – those free week days when I don’t do paid work will mean I can kick arse at domestic duties – batch cook, clean the house, have a nap (shh don’t tell Mr MF) and possibly even write that book I desperately want to.
  • I can plan really fun stuff to do with the kids when they’re home. Crafts at the moment – pah. When the hell can I plan this stuff with the feral smalls under my feet? The other day we did Skittle rainbows and I basically felt like I’d won at mummying. Imagine when they’re at school – I can set up craft activities for when they’re back. Ooo the dream.

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  • I can go for coffee and not fear the ticking timebomb of when the boychild will get bored or do a Usain Bolt around a cafe while I desperately try to entertain him.
  • Maybe I can even learn a new skill, take a course, do more running. So many exciting opportunities.

But the thing is it feels like there’s so very many downsides:

  • No more toddler groups or day time playdates. I love them. Toddler groups = piss weak coffee, gossip and an entertained child – what’s not to love?
  • The final nail in the coffin for those early years. I’m not a mum with a baby or toddler. I can’t cling on to having a little tot running around. When you’ve been in that for years leaving it feels kinda odd.
  • We’ll never be in the cute phase again. Never in the same way anyway. The boychild currently calls Raphael from the Ninja Turtles ‘Fluffy Owl’. How adorable is that. We aren’t correcting him. By next September he won’t make those cute little errors that make me want to giggle. Sigh. He’ll be at school with bigger boys who’ll probably have him swearing by Christmas.
  • Currently he’s in that age where he doesn’t really care what people think of him. He bounces around and shouts and has so much fun. By school he’ll be more self aware, more concerned and more worried what people are thinking of him.
  • I won’t be in the baby crowd. Mums who smile in acknowledgement to those other mums with prams. I’m not part of that scene anymore. I’ll become one of those mums who refers to things like feeding and sleep patterns and anyone with a baby will just want me to shut up as I won’t be going through it with them at that time.
  • No more buggy. Jees that thing is a life saver. It’s the mum donkey we all love. I’ve had approximately 7 through my parenting life so far. It’s the ultimate accessory. How will I carry everything?
  • He won’t need me as much. *weeps* He’ll be more independent. He’ll have new friends and my role in getting him to school age will be done. A mum friend said to me once that raising children is basically a constant pushing them away from you and getting them prepared for the adult world. True and completely heartbreaking.
  • And mainly – he won’t be with me for most of the week. It’s like I’ll have to hand him over to the school system and they’ll have more influence than me. I just don’t know how I’ll cope.

Mr MotherFudger keeps saying every phase is wonderful and the kids move on and do such exciting new stuff that we have to appreciate. He’s right. But I’m not quite ready to let this huge big one of my son being by my side for most of the week pass just yet.

So for now, I’m going to linger just a little bit longer and wait a few more weeks while I stick my head in the sand before I have to admit defeat, fill in the form and continue to move forward for next September. And during that time I’m going to really savour the days I do get to have my little boy with me.

Or maybe I’ll just have to have another baby so I can do it all again?!*

*Absolutely no way, not at all, I’m totally done.