Seven Stages of Making a Mum Friend: guest post

Kate Rowe is one helluva wonderful woman. We met when she was doing teacher training at our school (she’s a darned good teacher BTW) and we have been friends since. It’s hard to explain the seventy different ways this woman is ace, but one shining example is that the night before Alex’s ear op she popped over with her young baby on her hip and a freshly baked cake. This cake was double fudge chocolate, professionally iced, bloody delicious and had an ‘A’ on top. I was extremely touched. Alex was extremely happy! Kate’s a darned good baker, too.

So here she is, in the early throws of motherhood, making me laugh as always and being good at another thing: writing hilariously about making mum friends.

The Seven Stages of Making a Mum Friend

  1. Join a baby group.

Honestly they do help. It gets you out of the house, forces you to brush your hair and allows you to breathe air shared with other humans who are bigger than a cat. There are some awesome ones out there too and many of them are offered for free by your local Children’s Centre.

  1. Seek out the mum who has the same outlook as you.

For me it was the other mum who was rolling her eyes and fumbling the baby sign language to ‘Say Hello to the Sun’. Our eyes met across the play mat with a mutual appreciation to the ridiculousness of where our lives had led us.

  1. Sit next to new mum at next class, but play it cool.

Babies provide a brilliant opportunity for conversation. Everyone loves talking about their baby. Slowly introduce personal detail about your life, I have found that mothers-in-law can be a great topic!

  1. Ask new mum for a casual after class lunch.

Practise how you will ask all week, trying out different variations on your long-suffering husband. Throughout the class have nervous butterflies, waiting for the ideal opportunity to ask, in a super causal voice, ‘So how about lunch next week after the class?’

  1. Carefully select lunch spot.

Pick somewhere close by, with enough other people to make an cheerful atmosphere that can cover any awkward gaps in conversation.

  1. ‘Mum, I think she wants to be my friend!’

Ring your mum to celebrate the fact that there were no pauses, that you talked for three hours and that you both didn’t realise the time. Bonus: you can both celebrate that you didn’t get tickets despite going over the parking meter by an hour, even more in common!

  1. The Facebook add.

Find them on Facebook and add with a baby question as an excuse. Now it’s Facebook official, you’ve done it. You have made a new mum friend! Pretty much guaranteed your babies will get married and you’ll probably end up being family now.

 

kate pic
Kate (left) playing it cool with her new mum friend.

How to Parent (according to Google images)

Pregnancy 


Well, this looks easy enough. Pregnant women just need to cup their bump and smile a lot. I mean, I guess I didn’t exactly nail this in my pregnancy: I just bemoaned my enormous bump and sweated a lot. I also forgot to stand in front of windows and look at my feet. Shit. I wonder whether I was really pregnant at all?

Childbirth



Well this definitely looks a bit harder but super excited to see men have the option to wear a suit on delivery suite. It kind of seems like women have to birth on their backs whilst men pet them on the head.  

Google also helpfully suggests ‘Graphic’ as a search option and my birth was defo graphic so I probably did it right. Despite the fact I was on all fours, mooing like a cow and screaming at my husband to stop bloody touching me. 

Also, isn’t that a scene from Alien top right? That sets some fairly unhelpful expectations. 

Breastfeeding 


This looks easy peasy: you just put on a white top and laugh. Nice one! 

I wore a grimace and a giant pair of maternity pants whilst I breastfed but then I was crap at breastfeeding so perhaps that was my problem all along. 

Being new parents 


Wowza Google- having a newborn is a real hoot! Maybe they’re all laughing about their decisions to buy white furniture and wear white clothes and, in fact, be predominantly white. How fascinating! I’m off to tug on a white shirt and smile at my husband. And maybe try for a third so this time I can spend the early days giggling rather than weeping and throwing breast pumps at the TV like I did previously. Whoops!
Thanks Google images for showing me the errors of my ways and teaching the next generation of mothers how to excel at the early days of parenting. Where would be without you?!

Parenting Snakes and Ladders

Welcome to this exciting game. Choose a colour that doesn’t show the stains and let’s play!

Get everyone up, fed, shoed and out the door in time for the school run. 

Move forward three spaces and move quickly not unless you’ll miss the bell. 

Realise no one has had their teeth brushed. 

Shrug and remember they’ll grow another set. Shame on you for thinking that! Fall back two spaces!

Realise you’ve done three hours of the day with toddler breakfast wept on to your shoulder. 

Take two steps forward to the washing machine then three steps back to laundry basket to sniff-test another top to put on. 

Take toddler to a gymnastics class. 

Shimmy  forward two spaces. 

Piss yourself on the gymnastics trampoline. 

Serves you right, you smug twat. Slink back two spaces. 

Lunch is chocolate cake, Quavers and Paw Patrol. 

Go back two spaces and have a word with yourself. 

School pick up success! Someone spoke to you in the play ground and you respected boundaries and social norms! 

Skip forward four spaces hand in hand with your new friend. Let go of her hand or move back another space, needy!

Remember you’ve booked the kid a haircut and kid behaves immaculately throughout. 

Move forward two spaces: one for booking it, another for raising such a well behaved child. 

Haircut has exposed tan lines. You are negligent and now your child will get skin cancer/be really moley like you. 

Move back in time two months and apply suncream. 


It’s supper time- one nibbles elegantly on home-grown strawberries, the other refuses to eat anything other than Kinder Eggs. 

Make a move like parenting: one step forward, one step back.

 

Move forward a space for every thing you do that results in survival between 4pm and bedtime. 

Bedtime!

You win at Parenting Snakes and Ladders! 

Your prize is a spritzer and two episodes of 24 before bed. 

Great game! See you at 5am for another round!

Likes and Links: a blogging fantasy vs reality 

My favourite part of other people’s blogs is when they do Likes and Links which is where they take classy shots of products they’ve bought and loved. 

Here’s mine. 

I found it harder than I thought. 

Books: Fantasy 

I am loving this Pulitzer Prize winner and like to make notes about in my moleskin journal whilst I think profound thoughts. 

Reading by the sea

Books: Reality 
Reading a good book about why the Dutch are so damn good. I keep trying to remember the facts in it so I can astound dinner guests. Keep falling asleep after rereading the same page a dozen times. 

Reading in a sea of Lego

Beauty: Fantasy

I never pick my toenails and always remember to put on hand cream. 

Polish by Tom Ford. Rose from my garden

Beauty: Reality
My optician told me about this colour.  It cost £2.99 from Rimmel.  It never chips. Just goes to show the great heights that can come from shallow conversations. 

Polish endorsed by Rita Ora. Carnations from a pal two weeks ago.

Nightwear: Fantasy

My loungewear is always white cashmere. My nightwear is always silk. I never dribble on my ironed cotton pillowcase. 

I sleep like this

Nightwear: Reality 
Until this discovery, my fave PJ top was a Whitney Houston World Tour ’92 tshirt. Now? This Asda jumpsuit has solved all my cold midriff problems. It’s a pisser to go for a piss in though. 

I’d sleep with this


Want this Amazonian as your ambassador? Hoping for a collab with this catch? Get in touch! 

A Parents’ Guide to Your Home

Having children boasts a far-reaching number of benefits-stretch marks, Raa Raa and Wotsits in car seats- but it will also help you see your home in a new light. Areas you used to take for granted and nooks you’ve never noticed before will have new light shed on them.

The Stairs

Sitting on the step of stairs, watching my life roll by
You used to bound up them for a cheeky afternoon romp. You used to balance your work shoes on the bottom step. Not now. Now you have learnt to have a poo in under a minute all that spare sitting time is now spent on the stairs whilst you SuperNanny your child’s bedtime. Or sit and read the internet whilst you keep an ear out for your convulsive fevered child. Or sit and have a little cry because you’ve just finished reading Danny the Champion of the World and you remember your dad reading it to you and it’s made you feel sad. Or you just sit and gather strength before going in to Stage Two of an evening: meal prep and lesson planning.

Bedside Table

It used to just host well-intentioned books you’ll never read and an alarm clock set to 7.30. Now it’s got Calpol, a half drunk beaker of milk, breast pump, teething gel, Olbas oil and a half-eaten Organix bar. I do still have an alarm clock set to 7.30 though and this is how I know I’m an optimist.

New mothers everywhere: try this test. The next time you’re feeding the baby at 3am, compare your bedside table to your partners’. If, like mine, they have nothing but a radio alarm clock and an untouched copy of a Booker Prize winner then you have my full permission to slip teething gel in their pyjama bottoms.

Bathroom floor

You probably haven’t given this a second’s thought since you picked out laminate in the heady days of new home owning. Here’s hoping you chose something that wipes clean and is easy on the knees because you’ll be spending some time down there. Perching next to the bath whilst you admire the sinewy body of your bubble-covered five year old. Crouching whilst you whoop and encourage a poo from your potty training young ‘un. Mopping vomit when you’ve not been able to move fast enough to get them to a bowl. Get comfy-you’re going to see a lot of that floor.

Under things

Anywhere a child could hide a house phone or lose a Lego piece or slip a bank card in to. You’ll know all the regular hidey holes.

Where the frig has he hidden my phone this time?
The clock

Pre-kids, your most unhealthy relationship was probably with food or a nobby ex. Now it’ll be with time. The joy it brings when you realise you’ve had three straight hours of sleep. The despair when you realise it’s two more hours until bedtime. The exact tick that marks the last possible second you can leave before being last through the school gates. The clock will be your  mistress, master and best frenemy.

Waiting on gin o’clock like…
Other places of sudden and profound interest include: coffee jar and granule levels, snack drawer for 5am sugar hits, front door where you’ll linger for up to 30m a day, microwave where you’ll hover watching milk spin for up to a year of your life and the underside of the kitchen table where you’ll be scrabbling around sweeping up rejected meals.

Thanks to Ideal Home magazine and Kirsty Allsop for sponsoring this post. If you’re reading this and are interested in an interiors collab, please get in touch at myhomeismycastle@inspointeriors.com 

Six Stages of Taking Kids Swimming

1) Uber Excitement

They’ll have been nagging and begging all week. You’re reluctant because it’s a monster faff and you’re pretty sure your cozzie is see through on the arse. 

You will say: ‘Maybe next weekend…’

2) Transition

You put them straight from PJs to swimmers because doing so reduces the time spent in those hellish pube pits that are changing rooms. You also have to remember 19 towels, snacks, shower gel, four armbands and a dino watering can. You’re sweating in your threadbare one piece. 

You will say: ‘Just get in the bloody car!’

3) Actual swimming

If you’re lucky, like me, you’ll have one over-confident two year old and one over-anxious five year old. That way, you can be reigning one back by the ankle whilst the other is clambering on your head and you’re drowning in elbows and armbands. 

You will say: ‘Two more minutes…’

4) The changing

Showers. Wrestle off swim nappies and trunks. Towels. Snack. Shiver. Peel on trousers. Unpeel someone else’s plaster from your heel. Stop children from peering under the cubicles. Negotiate second round of snacks. All while you try and get a sports bra on while you’re still damp. 

You will say: ‘Do NOT eat off the floor’ #verrucajuice


5) Meltdown

Everyone’s tired. It’s all too much. You may think you’ve got time to stop on the way home for a quick food shop. Think again. The younger has puked pool water in to his dino watering can and fallen asleep evoking the ‘secondary drowning’ fear. The older has a blood sugar drop resulting in a shit fit. 

You will say: ‘Grab a towel- he’s gonna blow!’

6) Done in

It’s not even lunch time and you’re all exhausted. Once you’ve put the wash on you have the perfect excuse to set up a home cinema for the kids whilst you doze to Paddington but still feel like you’ve done something wholesome. 

You will say: ‘We should take them again next weekend’

What My Kids Eat in a Day: a guide to being as good as me.

Super excited to share this post with you today because it’s now been exactly five years since our family embarked on our sugar-, gluten-, and dairy-free diet.

People always ask me ‘how do your children always look so healthy and full of energy?’  

So to help you achieve wholesomeness in your family unit, here’s an inspirational guide. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t get it right every meal: I am exceptional and you’re probably just average so don’t beat yourself up.

Breakfast:

I try to give my children a diet rich in nuts because they are a great source of calcium and omega 12 so my kids have Nutella straight off the spoon each morning.

Lunch:

As a family, we really enjoy fresh air and being with people less fortunate than ourselves so today we had chips at a bus stop.

 

Snack:

I sometimes feel guilty about all the healthy food my children have so I treat them to a naughty snack. Today William had fruit salad while we watched a French art house film. My kids just love the subtitles- not that they need them! #bilingualandblessed

 

I’m not sure what we are having tonight but I always have freshly frozen meals prepped and ready to pop in the Aga whenever I’m too busy recycling to cook something from scatch in the evening.

 

Hydration

As we all know, hydration is vital for young children so I make sure my DSs drink at least three Fruit Shoots a day. We hit a family #healthgoal on a nature walk through the town centre today when Alex started sucking on a pissed on Lucazade bottle he found in a hedge: he’s so driven to reach his ten a day. Love him!

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Please share on social media and encourage others to become part of this exciting #piousparenting campaign. Enjoy guys!