When you’re tired and haven’t done a food shop since three weeks ago and you suddenly realise that procreation is worth it because when you have kids you’ll always have oven-chips in the freezer. Winning.
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.
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!
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.
I found it harder than I thought.
I am loving this Pulitzer Prize winner and like to make notes about in my moleskin journal whilst I think profound thoughts.
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.
I never pick my toenails and always remember to put on hand cream.
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.
My loungewear is always white cashmere. My nightwear is always silk. I never dribble on my ironed cotton pillowcase.
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.
Want this Amazonian as your ambassador? Hoping for a collab with this catch? Get in touch!
I write a regular blog post for Meet Other Mums and was asked to pop up some posters advertising the site. It made me think of all the places I visited with a newborn and which of them made me feel the most alone. It wasn’t the cheeriest train of thought but however outgoing, lively, popular, busy or vibrant you are, as a new parent there will be times when you feel side-swiped with loneliness. So I chuffed around Norwich with my posters and flamingo pins and I revisited all those places that made me feel the most overwhelmed and alone. Here’s the list and be sure to smile at any new parent you see at these places.
The Doctors’ Waiting Room
Going to the docs’ is bad at the best of times. No one likes the hushed tones, the oppressive heat, the panic when you didn’t hear if it was your name being called (‘Could bzzzz come to room bzzz for doctor bzzzz please?’). It’s stressful enough to navigate the fierce receptionists and disease-riddled copies of Saga Life magazine. When you add a screaming newborn and a bitching dose of mastitis then you are guaranteed to never have felt more alone. You wish your mum was there.
The Library Play Group
You feel duty-bound to take your child to the Read and Rhyme session at the library. A stash of library books signals you’re doing ok, right? Your kid will def have a head start if it can sing Frere Jacques, right? So you spend the morning prepping for the trip. You’ve remembered the buggy, the rain cover, the expressed milk, and the baby. You forget the library card and that makes you late. You have to squeeze on the edge of the circle and you slump down, just on the outskirts of the group, in a tiz of sweat and nappy bags. Everyone seems to know each other. You’re too self-conscious to sing so you mime the words. You cry in the car on the way home.
Now, a kid-free trip up the ‘big Tescos’ can feel akin to a mooch in Milan. With a kid, not so much. Some dickhead would’ve taken the last Parent and Child spot so you’ll have to schlep your child across the car park and the baby’s squawking in it’s car seat which is the heaviest thing you’ll ever carry and it’s banging against your hip and you’re already feeling like a failure because you’ve forgotten to bring any bags. Some old person will always tut and helpfully mutter ‘someone’s tired’ and you’ll shout ‘NO SHIT’ really loudly in your head. You might even torture yourself by morosely shunting the trolley through the clothes aisle hoping to find something that would fit, hide the puffiness and make you feel good. You realise you’ll have more luck with the latter in the bakery aisle. You’ll have a really lovely chat with the person on the checkout: they’re usually women, they’ve almost always had children and they always just seem to get it. As you walk back to the car from the trolley park, you think how that’ll be the last conversation you have today until your partner gets back from work.
You feel like a teenager when you realise social media makes you feel inferior. You should be above all that, should’ve out-grown it. But when you see all the vloggers, bloggers and buggers meeting up, winning awards and wearing cool slogan tshirts, you feel a key stage three sense of envy . You want to pose against a wall and drink cocktails and have a fringe. Social media manages to make you feel like everyone’s in the cool gang and you’re not invited. You buy a new red lipstick and practise your selfies with a sense of self-loathing.
You’ve arranged to meet someone you met at a baby group in the early days. You’ve stayed in touch sporadically since you first met in a musty village hall. Maybe she’s gone back to work and you haven’t. You feel like she’s got a million interesting things to talk about. You desperately think of things to ask her while you pick food off the floor and try to stop the baby from banging its Lamaze toy against the table. You look at your watch and think about making your excuses but only 40 minutes has passed. Will she think you’re being rude? You just want to go home and put your joggers on. You smile and ask her about her commute.
Feeling blue? Pop me a message and we can meet for a walk or a cuppa. We don’t even have to chat- we can just eat our feelings and have a little cry.
I am rank. I don’t shower every day. The best thing anyone’s every taught me is how to wash with just one Wet Wipe. I never change my bed sheets. I squeeze my spots. I’ve had the same mascara since year 9. I am rank.
These truths have ever been thus. Even before children. And now I’ve two little scuzzbags to add to the mix things have deteriorated further.
So, to celebrate just over 33 years of being rank, I have ranked the top three rank parts of my home. Enjoy
Bronze Award…the top of the buggy
This useful fold in the buggy hood houses a full range of rankness: old nappies, half-chewed snacks, wet wipes saturated in spilt yoghurt. Any number of foul things get tucked in to this fold until I pass a bin. Felt some full on shame on the school run when it started to rain and I had to unpeel this hood with a wafty crackle. Lowest moment was def finding a cheesy bottle of milk festering in there for a bout of the summer. Gag.
Silver Award…Car Seat
I always marvelled at how much my food-refusing toddler would eat in the car. I’d sling handful of snacks at him and he’d beg for more. When the warmth of summer cooked up a foul stench from my Citroen I snapped on a bio hazard suit and revved up the Dyson and unearthed layers of snacks like sediment rock. Wotsits, oat bars, Pom Bears, Smarties, apple slices*, Chipstix and cake were carefully wedged in to the buckle gap and slipped between car seats and squiged in to the door. It was foul.
*not really- just put that in there so you’d think he got healthy snacks from time to time.
Gold Award…bottom of bags
I reckon I have lost WELL over £15 worth of loose change because I haven’t been able to bring myself to dip my hand in to the foulness that is the bottom of a well-used day out bag. I have never been one of those nappy bag users so always relied on slinging snacks and nappies in to a cotton shopper. Sometimes I forget to unpack the last one and just dig out another for the next outing. What happens is that the crumbs and crud left in the previous one start to rot and congeal. What’s left at the bottom is the Eau de Parfum-the essential oils- of parenting: sand, old satsuma, piss-soaked nappy, crumbled fruit bar, and a car caked in cake. Mmmm mmm. Early on, I was scraping formula power off a £2 coin when I had an epiphany: I would pay £2.50 not to be doing this. Since then, I’ve not looked back l and now just let those loose coins jingle until my five year old wants a Ninjago magazine and then I tell him he can have any cash he finds in the bottom of the bag. I may be rank, but I’m clearly a genius.
So there you have it- my full rankness laid bare. Leave in the comments the rankest thing you’ve ever done or how much you’d pay someone to defumigate your car or if you’ve ever licked someone’s blister for a dare and so on.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m not one for mushy shite. Our wedding vows consisted of phrases like ‘foreseeable future’, ‘extremely fond’ and ‘pension planning’. We don’t need to fuss each other too much.
But recently I have began to have a new and fresh appreciation of all the crap this mighty man has to put up with.
A ride on a Ferris Wheel in Stratford Upon Avon. Eating afternoon tea in the caravan in our garden. A ride in the back of a pickup truck. A complicated game of cafes in a tiddly Wendy house. You name it, he indulges it.
Being sat on
Our boys’ reason for being is to clamber on top of Andrew and sit on his head. They like to perch on him like deranged parrots. Then clamber down and sucker punch him in the stomach. William even cracked one AO’s ribs when he slam dunked in to him at top speed. Fecking lunatics.
All the questions
This man is the most patient answerer of dumb questions. He will never get cross or just show them the answer on YouTube. He will actually answer it properly. With patience. And a million synonyms.
All the love
We love him with a force that must be cloyingly oppressive. This is a man who went to boarding school. He’s a classic case of stiff upper lip and on with the job. And we pester him with affection and adoration and our constant need for his love in return.
Today also mined a new level of awesomeness in the man whose only weakness is a severe nut allergy.
This man was so tired from three consecutive nights of no sleep that he accidentally ate a bowlful of my healthy high-protein nut-riddled muesli.
I left him thick-tongued, puffy eyed and on the verge of vomiting whilst I sloped off to work. I then phoned him every ten minutes whilst he was trying to do the drop off in between bouts of puking. This man did the school run in the midst of semi-anaphylactic shock. Whilst simultaneously reassuring his wife that he was ‘fine’. Then went in to work and did two plea hearings, a cracked trial and a sentence.