Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Super-duper Frazzled!

My computer has given up. Technology has beaten me and I'm going to have to wait another two weeks for a permanent replacement internet connection, since our last connection caused the computer meltdown in the first place. But it will not beat me down entirely! This post is likely to be the only one for two weeks I'm afraid, but I will be back. I have plenty of stories, and more importantly, my experiences and tips to share with you. My catastrophies will hopefully help you avoid the pitfalls I didn't! So please, keep checking, and when I'm back up and running I'll be posting at least twice a week.

In the meantime, I hope you mummies out there, who are highly likely to be maintaining the yummy mummy label far better than me, continue to laugh. After all; a friend of mine told me a story about two toddlers who found the washing-up liquid and poured it all over their mum's lounge carpet. Trying to clean it up with a damp cloth just created more and more and more bubbles. It was a nightmare. But, you know what, it was just bubbles. If we can laugh, we'll be alright!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Six Days...

Six days!

Six days have managed to race by since I last had chance to take the time out to chat to you all. To people without children six days is forever. Six days is longer than a full five-day working week!

Back in the world of my official job as an accountant, in a five-day working week loads of projects can be started and finished. An entire month’s worth of financial transactions can be reviewed, checked, adjusted and reported on. A report providing edited highlights of the previous report can almost certainly be done as well. Hundreds of emails can be read and answered, phone calls, team meetings, client meetings etc etc. And then….then…. you also have a day off. A day just for you. A ‘nothing’ day. Where you can choose exactly how many chores to do, or not, what to watch on telly when, and the most important of all… when to get out of bed!

In six days with children you - or rather I - would be lucky to get the ironing done. The children will be fed and watered at regular intervals, dressed, entertained, read stories to and tucked into bed a few times. You will do all the usual washing up, clothes washing, cleaning, chores that the folk without children do, but of course at an increased volume. Compared to my previous single life I have at least four times the amount of washing up (you‘d be amazed how many drinks a three year old gets through on a hot summers day), at least four times the clothes washing (my 10 month old can get through two outfits a day easily - especially if pasta is on the menu), and a ridiculous amount of cleaning (the spilt food and drink, the mud covered hands, the sick, the paint all over the sofa….), you get the point.

So you’ve been woken up at 6am, you’ve not stopped all day, if you’re lucky you have them in bed by 7pm, perhaps 7.30pm, and then you start the tidy up, the washing up, the clothes in the washing machine, the make a cup of tea, the finally sit down at 8pm…if you’re lucky. That’s a fourteen hour day that. Let me just say that again to savour it. Fourteen hours.

So when ‘working’ people tell me that they think it’s ‘lovely’ that I’m taking a career break to raise my children, and how ‘wonderful’ it must be to sit around at the park on a summers day chatting to my other ‘mum’ friends, and that they ‘bet I’m not missing work at all’. I often say, to their horror, ‘well yes I am missing it actually. I would love to be able to start work at 9am, eat when I want, go to the toilet - alone - when I want, catch up with colleagues when I want, have adult conversations about something other than Iggle Piggle, our pretend mountain rescue team and which pants to wear.’

Alright. So I don’t say that. But I often think it. And I hope that doesn’t make me a bad mum. I think it just makes me human. To crave adult conversation. To crave my own personal space. To crave the environment where achievements are logged and recognised (often with actual pay!).
I don’t feel like the organised work person I used to be. I feel like a haphazard, unorganised, definitely not-yummy mummy, who doesn’t return phone calls for weeks, forgets what day it is, and definitely doesn’t have time to wash my hair every morning - never mind straighten it.

And yet I also feel like a super mummy. A ‘kisses it better when it hurts’ mummy. A ‘made you your favourite tomato pasta’ mummy. A ‘managed to vacuum the lounge’ mummy. A ‘kept them all safe’ mummy.

And that’s all good. Very good.

So there’s just one bit to work on then isn’t there…. This notion of a ‘yummy’ mummy. It’s a work-in-progress.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Yummy Mummy? Really?

I now know that I am officially a "Mummy".

I know this because my 3 year old daughter reminds me at least 100 times a day. "Mummy, can I have a snack?", "Mummy, can I have a drink?", "Mummy, will you play with me?", "Mummy, I don't want to wear my trousers today", "Mummy, I need a wee wee......", "Muuummmmmyyyyyyy".

I also, now know, that the idealised version of motherhood I had in my head before my husband and I had ‘the’ discussion, and opted to start our family, was clearly blurred by hazy childhood memories of happily playing in paddling pools in my mums' back garden all summer long. I don’t remember noticing my mum getting frazzled by the constant demands for attention, food, drink, cuddles, etc. Neither do I remember her ever really telling me off. Of course she has recently told me the frazzled stories, but only after we had already had our first daughter. Bit late mum?.

We have 2 girls; 3 years, and 10 months. I love them to bits. But I am annoyed at the media portrayal of what is now termed “Yummy Mummies”. Who are these “Yummy Mummies” anyway? In the hopes of trying to discover for myself how it is, or maybe it isn’t, possible to be a mummy, and also to be yummy, I have started this blog to share my thoughts and perhaps shed some light on the matter.

I, as you have probably already worked out, am quite often slightly frazzled. No, scrap that. I’m very frazzled, almost all of the time. This, in the quiet hour after the girls have gone to sleep, is usually my “collapse in front of the telly with hubby” time. But in the interests of gaining some me time (for us both - he’s in the gym), I am treating myself to some cathartic ramblings.

I thought I’d share a story about today’s minor breakdown. It started simply enough. My husband asked if it was OK for him to go and cut the lawn. Nothing wrong there. He asked me - he’s incredibly polite and thoughtful, and it was a dry day - a rare treat this summer so obviously the timing was appropriate. I think the only real problem was that I hadn’t expected it. I’d got the rest of the day planned out roughly in my head, and my hubby disappearing to cut our lawn hadn’t featured. (He would now point out that he had warned me he’d try and do it this weekend on Friday night - so sorry hun - I’m clearly a frazzled mummy with no brain cells left!)

I thought about it, had a minor freak out (I knew the job would take all afternoon - it’s a huge lawn and he’d left it a while), and told him to go and do it, of course.

So, all’s well so far. The youngest is having an afternoon nap. Only the eldest to contend with. Fine.

I tried to make a cup of tea. Not once. Not twice. But four times. Over the course of an hour. I never got that cup of tea. The eldest wanted to play. Then she wanted a drink. Then she had an ‘accident’ and we had to find new trousers. Then she wanted to play some more. Then we went outside to ‘help’ daddy cut the lawn by picking up the grass cuttings in our little wheelbarrow and watered the plants with out little watering can. That was my genius half hour that. I was, still am, proud of that. She loved it, but got so engrossed playing; making cups of tea with her tea set and the watering can; that she had another ‘accident‘. She is supposedly potty trained, but has crazy days like this sometimes.

Our youngest woke up. Now this, I think, is where it started to go a bit downhill. They don’t particularly play well together. Our youngest wants to eat everything (including her older sister) as she’s teething. The eldest wants to play with her dressing up table and jewellery, but won’t let her sister near it. If the youngest just toddles over for a look, her sister shouts and screams and runs across the room to find another corner to play in.

So literally 15 minutes after the youngest woke up; I have her screaming for attention, and for the use of at least one toy. The eldest taking all toys off the youngest, because as soon as she’s got it sister wants it. Me trying to get the eldest to help me tidy up. And the eldest screaming because I asked her to stop kicking me.

Cue Naughty Step. More screaming. A tantrum (in my head). Another more hysterical tantrum (The eldest this time). The youngest picking up the tune. An apology. And a very upset mummy shouting for daddy "any chance you can be finished about now?".

I might not have made it clear but I held it together (outwardly) right up to the apology. Then, once it was all done and back to normal (The youngest's usual crying whilst changing her nappy I could cope with normally), I broke down in tears.

I have never cried so often as since I had children. So here I ask, and it’ll be the first of many times I ask this I suspect, how can you be ‘yummy’ when you’re too busy giving out so much of yourself that you end up in tears?

And then, more tears, as I walked back into our playroom after drying my eyes to find that the eldest had tidied up. “There you are mummy” she said. “It’s all tidy now” and she came and gave my a big unsolicited cuddle.

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