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

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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.

Is the school system turning me into a tiger mum?

Three weeks ago the girlchild went up to Year 1 at school. That’s the second year of primary school for anyone confused.

So far so good. We had a good reception year and I felt confident my independent mini me would be fine.

Over the summer everyone seemed to say ‘it’s soooo much harder in Year 1′, ;the step up is tough’, ‘there’s no playing now’ in that slightly fear-inducing way people with children who have been there before you do. So despite thinking it would be fine, there’s been a niggling spectre of concern she was in for a rough ride.

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But it’s been OK. Until last week.

Hello the weekly spelling test. WEEKLY.

She turned 5 in June.

So despite muttering to Mr MotherFudger that perhaps we should move to Sweden and let her climb trees until she’s 7, we cracked on and encouraged her to practise her words. Her 10 words included ‘fright’, ‘turnip’ and ‘brown’. Pretty full on I thought. Did I say she was only 5 in June?!

She really tried – like usual – and always makes us proud, but all week I was completely torn about encouraging her to do it the required three times (as stated by the note with the spelling test book) and just letting her have some much-needed rest time. I’ve tried to feel hugely positive about the process, that if we’re chilled out about a ‘test’ she will be too.

Mr MF and I both felt unchallenged and still remember being frustrated at our primary schools – so perhaps having a challenge to sink your teeth into isn’t so bad. But I just can’t help feeling it’s too much, too young.

Over the week I had various convos with my mum chums who were a mixed bag of love/hate/not really sure about it all.

But we did do the required homework. We sat with her and went through what was required. Each time a bit of me wondered whether my encouragement and enthusiasm was a bit too much of a tiger mum style. When she resisted doing it, I’m not going to lie – I didn’t say ‘oh well, go and play’, but instead my encouragement (and Mr MF’s) pushed her on to finishing it and telling her she needed to do it. Eek. It’s not sat entirely comfortably with me.

It’s also taken up pretty much the only time I have to spend with my daughter. Once in from work, it’s a rush to sort tea, do bath and bed. Squeezing in all the homework has sapped that brief period in between.

Then the night before she had a meltdown while practising. And I didn’t blame her. She’s exhausted.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – SHE’S 5.

Friday came, she did the test and did very well. We’re really proud – mainly because she worked hard all week and tried. But now we’re onto the next set of questions and the next test on Friday. That’s as well as the maths homework she has, the daily reading of her own reading book and us reading to her.

So I’m sat here wondering how right it all is. Surely it’s too much? How gently coercing her to do all this through the week is a good thing? She’s engaged now – but will she be week after week of doing the same thing every evening? I hoped school would inspire and engage, not just force-feed the building blocks of learning…and not turn us into parents who are supporting our daughter by becoming tiger parents about what she’s ‘learning’.

 

The wedding and the age spot

This morning I woke up and noticed I have an age spot. A pale little mole-like spot on my cheek screaming “fuck girl, you’re getting old”.

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Funny how these moments often occur at such perfect – or rather utterly shite – timing.

You see last night I went to a wedding. I was my bestie’s plus one, so I didn’t know the couple, but however close you are to the bride and groom there’s something so emotional about a wedding. Even before I was hitched I always found myself welling up about the commitment two people were making to each other. The future they were about to start, the adventure, the anticipation, the new chapter. Now I’m married myself, weddings always make me think about my wonderful wedding to Mr MotherFudger. The start of us being Team MF.

When you’re a bit of a bystander at a wedding it makes you notice the detail even more so – especially as I was ‘Des’ so wasn’t drinking. The thing that totally stood out was how many hipsters there were. Most of the groom’s mates were beardy coiffured men in their 20s with neck tattoos and skinny trousers.

Mr MF doesn’t look like a hipster. Neither do his friends.

It was a sledgehammer of reality that actually, we’re not the young kids on the block anymore. We are aging, with kids, mortgages, commitments and age spots.

Now normally I’m a dancer, I love shaking my big ole booty but honestly, I really struggled with the music. So much of it was really clubby dancey stuff I hadn’t even heard of. Even thinking that made me want to reach for a full syringe of Botox.

Drunk Bestie was encouraging me to dance and I honestly thought ‘I can’t’. How the fuck do you move to ‘Soulja Boy’?* Well the hipster lads knew – there’s even a chuffing dance routine. Clearly I’ve aged myself out of getting the memos…even the word memos would be lost on them. Fuck.

It made me feel really bloody old. And if I’m honest I couldn’t help but think how shite a lot of modern music is.

None of this was helped by a large percentage of our current home chat revolving around our shit heap of a car and what we’re going to do after spending £1000 in the last few months and it still not working properly. Growing up rocks, it really does.

As I love my friend, I did dance, and eventually found the groove I thought I’d left back in 2003. Then, as if the DJ knew, he put on “On a Ragga Tip”, SL2, 1992.** WHAT A TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON. It was our time. It was immense. And from there on in we were all over that dance floor and mixing with the hipsters. Who needs Soulja Boy?!

I may be getting old, we may have handed over the yoff baton to those younger kids. My 20s couldn’t have been more of a blast, it was truly the hedonistic decade I hope my children enjoy, but actually, that time has passed. As I sit in my lounge, with my babes asleep in bed, my shitheap of a Zafira in the driveway, a secure job and a happy marriage to a lovely man I’m more than happy to embrace my 30s, and middle age.

Plus – we have YouTube, so there can always be lounge discos every night of the week:

*When I searched for the video I typed in Soldier Boy – nuff said.

**No need to look that one up!

When opposites just don’t attract

“It’s so easy to find something we both want to watch” said no couple ever.

Why is it so hard to find a middle ground with your partner?

Again Mr MotherFudger and I said “Let’s sit and watch something together tonight”, which followed with the inevitable 30 minutes of scrolling through Netflix/SKY while I was secretly thinking I just wanted to catch up on Bake Off and Eastenders.

As Mr MF did his usual TV Tourette’s routine of shouting out things like “Dinosaurs” “Blue Planet” “River Monsters” I slipped into my safe space again of wondering what it must be like to be in a relationship/live with someone who wants to watch the same thing. Why’s it so fucking hard?

Currently we’re watching this…

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…not familiar with this beauty of a specimen. Jeremy Wade. He presents River Monsters. A dull as arse programme where he travels the world claiming to find the world’s deadliest fish. He is so overly dramatic. In one episode he nearly wept with ‘fear’ just when standing in a few inches of water because the fish in water could’ve caught him and dragged them in. Really Jeremy, really?

Every episode is peppered with phrases like “bone crunching”, “deadly” and climatic music as he pulls in his macho catch while we sit gasping about whether he will catch the ‘monster’. Jeeeeeeeeeeez. Fuck off Jeremy. I’m not sucked in by your bullshit.

Sadly Mr MF is, and he seemed to win the telly choice tonight.

Mr MotherFudger and I are truly opposite and I’m cool with that. Yin and Yang. Billy and Honey (Eastenders – natch). Salt and Pepper. (Not Salt N Pepper as in Push Push It Reeeeal Good.) And it works. Most of the time. Until we reach the TV discussion.

I hear of those urban myth couples who go through 7-series box sets together or can’t wait to download certain films. Not us.

 

Today I took my children on a protest

Today I took both my children to a protest in our local park about a decision to rip out the equipment. Old and damaged I hear you ask? The land being heartlessly sold off to make a few pounds for the council? Nope and nope.

The play equipment is too noisy for a handful of residents who live nearby.

Not noise from loud teenagers or attracting late night drunken shouting, but the noise of toddlers and young children on swings, going down slides and stepping on large rocks. I know. Pretty messed up right. You have to be a certain level of evil to hate children playing. Especially when you MOVED NEXT TO A PUBLIC PARK.

It’s an utter joke.

If you don’t know the details, I won’t bore you with the discussions, online rants, council meeting debates or absolute dismay that has surrounded the issue. Sadly the handful of residents ended up getting most of the town councillors to agree to remove the equipment, which was put in two years ago at a cost of £75K. To move it it’s another £60k.

It’s digusting. It at times made me lose faith in humanity. Seriously how can the laughter and gorgeous sounds of children playing make people feel such hate?

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My son running to the park in excitement a few weeks ago

Parks are absolute essentials for families. There is pretty much nothing better than a park trip. For any doubters who aren’t familiar with just how bloody brilliant a park is:

  • They are a sanity break when you’re close to losing your shit at home because the kids are going feral inside those familiar four walls again. “I know kids – let’s go down to the park.” YES.
  • They’re free. A trip to the zoo is currently about £80 and that’s just for entry. Picnic + park = day sorted.
  • It’s a perfect playdate. House a shit tip again? No one really wants to have every single toy chucked across the lounge floor? Park it is then. Meet up sorted. I’ve even been known to take a flask while we all go in snowgear.
  • It’s absolutely vital exercise. See Change4Life PR person – I’m ticking that box. Today on the protest my children ran around and enjoyed the equipment FOR THREE HOURS.
  • Fresh air. Parent or child, there ain’t nothing better than a good old dose of it. Whether it’s warm or wintery it’s always the best tonic…ermm well the best tonic is actually with gin once they’re in bed, but you know what I mean.
  • They’re an outside classroom. Trees, nature, physical and social development all happen here. Learning how to share, learning how to behave, seeing nature, understanding boundaries – it’s all happening right here on your modest park trip.
  • And to add to that – meeting friends is important for everyone. A whole day without talking to another adult can result in me quivering in a corner by the time Mr MotherFudger walks through the door. I’ve had some of my best parenting chats with strangers on a park trip and in fact one of my fabulous mum friends (and one of the kids’ friends) was met just by an impromptu chat here.
  • They’re ace for the local economy. Been to the park – let’s pop into town. Money spent. Economy keeps turning. Win Win.

I could go on.

So yeah, to say I’m a fan is an understatement. So far this summer holiday I’ve visited the park on no less than 9 occasions. And I work. And we’ve been away.

I felt super strongly that the children should know the reason we were going to the park today.

My daughter was on the verge of tears. She said the councillors were ‘meanies’. She said how much she loved the park. She said she didn’t want them to take the equipment away. She didn’t understand. I said neither did I. She got how fucking furious everyone in my community feels about it and she joined the fight.

Because a park isn’t just a park – it’s a family hub, it’s a meeting place, it’s a break, it’s a space for the next generation, it’s a whole lot of perfect when you’re a parent and for anyone that doesn’t get that they just haven’t been to one and watched the children and heard their ‘noise’ to realise just how important they are.

And as for my faith in humanity – it’s been partially restored just by the strength of feeling a bunch of angry mums, dads, grandparents, residents, and people who love a community and wanted to show just how much something means for the benefit of all.

Things that only happen when you’re camping with kids

We’ve just been camping. With kids. I had visions of an Enid Blyton via Swallows and Amazons kinda trip. You see the campsite was BY A RIVER. Like proper beautiful river with rowing boats and teenage boys jumping on rope swings and swans gliding by.

The reality was all of that plus two parents pretty much screaming “don’t go near the river”, “come back here”, “don’t bother those people again”, “will you stop fighting” for three days.

Parenting is so yin and yang at times.

Mr MotherFudger almost began twitching when I said “I’ve booked a campsite that looks absolutely beautiful and IS NEXT TO A RIVER.”

A three-year-old who is basically Dash from The Incredibles and a daughter who is pretty fearless is great in so many situations. We often tell ourselves “when they’re older these traits will serve them well.” I hope so – but in the here and the now it’s hard work.

It was a really ace trip, and the river was bloody lovely. We went on a woodland walk, saw badger poo (children’s highlight), found the quaintest church I think I’ve ever seen, abandoned phones and iPads and enjoyed being our little team of four. When I say enjoyed please refer to the screaming comment above. Because there are some things I imagine some parents will understand about camping with kids:

  • The time you want them to be absolutely great and not wander off/find a new friend/explore the river is when you’re setting up a tent or when you’re packing away. Remember they smell fear and your weakness. There are buttons and panels in your car you never knew existed, but your children will discover when you decide ‘play driving us home’ seems like a great idea to contain them. We have now seen under a panel of wires in our car we have never seen before and one of those wires has been pulled out.
  • One of your children will want to make friends with your camping neighbours. What starts as a “ahh that’s nice, he’s playing with a little mate he’s found” becomes a “please child do not go over there again – having to retrieve you AGAIN is becoming embarrassing” and the neighbour’s “honestly it’s absolutely fine” does run dry.
  • Apparently your five-year-old daughter has the ability to swoon at teenage boys who throw themselves into rivers as she tells you she finds them “exciting”. Cue Mr MF having more heart palpitations and me seeing a future of “she’s dating another bad boy. Gah”. Can’t wait for those easier teenage years to come.

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  • Campfires are magic. Nothing is more fun than toasting marshmallows with your kids. Memories are made.

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  • Woodland walks are also pretty damn special. What’s not to like about venturing down little glades en famille and checking out animal poo together. Glorious. Seriously.
  • Give up on any attempt of a bedtime. Screw your routine, all it will do will cause you pain.

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  • *SEXIST CLAXTON ALERT* Men will moan about how much you’ve packed and how crazy it is, but once you’ve bitten your tongue because you’re the one that’s packed half the fucking house, you will need all those things during the camp trip. “You’ve packed two coats – two, why on earth do each of our children need two coats.” Insert smugness here after one coat gets wet. 1 nil MotherFudger.
  • Portaloos and camp toilets suck arse. You are more grateful for the modern sanitary system and your home flushing toilet than you ever knew possible.

The girlchild’s first school sports day

I’ve never been much of a sportswoman. I was one of those kids who had other skills in life and quite frankly running around a field wasn’t my idea of fun.

I think the issue was that I wasn’t really competitive and quite frankly a bit lazy. I didn’t have the drive to care about winning and had sucked up every single ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ message and was happy to go with that. I’d do it, but was also more than happy for my peers to thrash me. My preferred sport, even from a young age, was dreaming about my favourite boy, who bought me one of those awesome pencil cases that has the bits of elastic to hold individual pens and pencils on a family holiday to Mallorca. It had a shiny cover of his holiday destination. Amazing. #neverforget #firstkiss

Yeah, so that was then. A person can change.

Apparently there is a monster within that was released at the girlchild’s sports day.

Having started running it’s switched on a light in me. I’ve become a Born Again Runner and I appreciate how fucking boring that is to anyone who couldn’t give a shit about running or exercise. I like to think they haven’t seen the light yet. They probably like to think I’m a total boring fuckwit. I might hold up neon placards in the street to inform them. To those who have, they’re more than welcome to discuss mile times, trainers, injuries and whether stretching really is worthwhile or not.

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But it seems the runner in me has grown another dirty little side of me – the competitive sporty mum.

Yes, I became that mum at sports day.

I am not proud, well that’s a lie, I’m immensely proud of my daughter who did so bloody well and tried her hardest at every single little race. Her efforts were utterly amazing and I loved seeing her so eager to want to do well. But I’m not proud of my behaviour.

Something took over and I could not stop yelling and shouting words of encouragement. Some parents didn’t even cheer, or shout their child’s name. (WTAF? Support the little lambs for Christ’s sake).

When they reached the relay race I nearly lost my voice. I was so eager. My mummy friends the other side of the friend said they heard me.

And when it got to the Mums’ race I was fired up and ready. I knew I wouldn’t win. I couldn’t give a shit. I just wanted to go for it. I also tried to encourage loads of other mums too as my adrenaline was pumping by this point. My mum used to walk the race with her friend while chatting, as the other sporty mums went hell for leather to win. Who knew I’d be in the latter camp.

I was so so proud of my little girlchild and how hard she tried. Her team didn’t win overall (they did come second in the relay though. #justsaying). But it didn’t matter one iota, and she couldn’t fail to know how much I was cheering her on. And you know what – the girlchild was super proud of me and has told loads of people “Mummy did a race too.” How cute is that.

8 things you’re guaranteed at a blogging conference

If you don’t blog, or are unlikely to ever blog in your life, I won’t lie to you – this probably ain’t the read for you. If you are a little curious then continue my friend…

Having been to a blogging conference today (Britmums Live 16), my lazyarse slackness in blogging on MotherFudger made me think I really do need to pull my finger out of my proverbial and write summat.

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So as I’ve been at a conference this is what’s in my head right now – all the things guaranteed at a blogging conference:

  1. Cake. Jeeeeez how much cake and biscuits and more cake is there? Probably now have type II diabetes from today’s sugar overload.
  2. Jargon. It’s hard to escape it from any particular world, and blogging ain’t no different. Word of the day ‘collab’ as in collaboration…as in collaborating with your blogging brothers and sisters my friends. You ain’t anyone if you ain’t doing a collab. I clearly ain’t anyone then.
  3. Ability to go feral for freebies. They are aplenty, of which I absolutely love. Love in a way that I turn into my eight-year-old self who cannot stop collecting them and hunting them out. I am the queen of the loiter awaiting that ‘would you like a goodie bag?’ to which I will ALWAYS reply ‘yes, yes I would thank you’. Another free pen with the name of the venue on it. YES PLEASE, because quite frankly I don’t have enough at home.
  4. See a fellow blogger you recognise. Always a bit weird. Someone you follow on social media, or whose blog you’ve read. Sometimes they don’t look anything like themselves. Sometimes it’s totally obvious. Do you say hi or walk on by?
  5. Enter competitions. Erm more free stuff, like better free stuff like a camera or suffun. Of course I’m going to enter. Crawl into a tent and pretend I’m in an enormous Instagram frame while having my picture taken so I can share it on social in the hope of winning a BBQ, despite already owning a BBQ. OF COURSE I WILL.
    me in tent
  6. Everyone else is doing way more than you. Vlogging, Snapchatting, pinning, kicking the arse outta this thing and generally socially showing off their blogging wares while I’ve been, well being a mum – and also carrying out the day job – which kinda takes over. But hey, you’re doing something because you’re there.
  7. Some sessions are inspiring, some really aren’t. Suck up the good, spit out the bad. Not everything is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you will take away a lot of blogging gems that float your boat.
  8. Meeting others. Please refer to point 4 too, but meeting others who are blogging is ace because who doesn’t want to talk to new people and connect with another of us mere mortals.

NB: The featured image of me with a jar of dummies was a competition that I didn’t win. However, I have now Instagrammed the fuck out of that image in the hope of winning a camera. GUTTED.

26 things that will happen when you visit a museum with children

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We’ve been to the museum again. Well a different one. Not THE museum as if there’s just one in the whole wide world.

Although let’s be honest, they’re always full of similar shit, separated into dead stuffed animals, old paintings and stuff no one cares about but you look at as if someone is going to judge you for ignoring, old bits of animals – like fossils and bones, stuff about knights, and old stuff about the war. Plus the gift shop. Always the gift shop.

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You growl like that tiger my son.

Every single time we go I can almost predict the experience:

  1. Mr MotherFudger and I feel a sense of inner smugness that we’re taking the children somewhere educational. They’re going to learn stuff just through osmosis. Being around all those lovely old things means history, the lessons learnt by our ancestors will automatically be passed on. My job as a parent is practically done.
  2. The immediate location the children want to visit is the gift shop.
  3. Offering the opportunity of using the toilet will be refused.
  4. Your children will literally run past everything they see trying to find…ermm, not really sure.
  5. You will start reading the oh so informative plaques, then give up within seconds because quite honestly this is pointless.
  6. …pointless because you will spend approximately 93% of your visit running after your children as they sprint around the exhibitions. Think Benny Hill sketch.
  7. Adults (who clearly never had children) will look at you with the sounds of tutting going off in their heads.
  8. You’re all thinking how the stuffed animals are clearly the best bit. Natch.
  9. After 10 minutes the visit to the gift shop will have been asked for around 102 times.
  10. Some other grotty child will be hogging the best ‘interactive’ children’s thing to do. Your inner lioness won’t be able to stop slightly hating that child if they don’t let your kids have a go.
  11. Out of politeness you’ll then hardly let your own children have a go because there are others in the queue.
  12. You will feel pissed off about missing out of reading the plaques and properly looking at one of the exhibitions.
  13. Your children will find old stairs more interesting than anything else they’ve seen. WOW OLD STAIRS.
  14. You’ll have a thought that ‘one day, when we’re on our own we’ll come back here and have a proper look’, knowing deep down you never will.
  15. You will sneakily think ‘fuck it’, abandon the troops, and take 5 minutes to look at something. Like. Properly. Look. At. It.
  16. One child will fixate on something and not want to leave, while the other bleats on about how boring that particular bit is.
  17. Your child will need the loo at the worst moment, when you’re a trek up/down 101 stairs and halfway across a castle.
  18. You’ll have an irrational OCD moment wondering whether the ‘dress up clothes’ have ever been cleaned and just hope all that dirt will build your kids’ immunity.
  19. …but at least you’ll get a cute picture of them as a mini queen/knight/Victorian tramp – oh no, you won’t as that one click was when they were running off again/refused to have their picture taken/was too dark and is basically crap.
  20. You will actually look forward to the event finishing and wondering when you can get to the cafe and spend more than your mortgage on a coffee and cakes.
  21. You will curse taking the buggy round as quite frankly, Norman castles were not forward thinking to consider a three-wheeler all-terrain off-roading pushchair. Self fucking Normans.
  22. You will weep tears of joy that you have the buggy when your children take off yet another layer of clothing, and you’re left holding the exceptionally large rucksack you brought with you that includes spare clothes, drinks, snacks, nappies, wipes, plasters, blah blah blah.
  23. You will weep tears of fear when your child picks up something so precious and old, then nearly chucks it down that even the ‘trying to embrace toddlers’ staff weep too. NB: I can only apologise to Time and Tide Museum for the enormous large horn incident. He was just curious. Really.
  24. You will spend more time in the gift shop than the rest of the visit.
  25. You say ‘just one thing, hurry up and choose’ about 55 times while in the gift shop.
  26. You will have a post-museum conversation agreeing how great your museum pass is and how you will obviously be renewing it next year.

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Featured image: the babes sitting on thrones as the king and queen!