Sunday, 22 May 2016

Week 243- I dream of sleeping, spending and having an incredible, no-pressure night out...

There are some weeks when being a parent can be frustrating.

Really fucking frustrating.

You love your children, that’s a given, so let’s just bank that one and know that it’s not up for debate.

But sometimes, and I’m not sure if it’s OK to say this out loud but I’m going to anyway.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I dream of not having any children.

Of lying in at the weekend.

Properly lying in, not 8am.

Seriously, when did pretending to be asleep until 8am become a luxury?

Lying there trying to drown out the warrior cries of ‘MUMMMMMMMIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!’ from the other room as they are shushed and assured that mummy will be up very soon, she’s just ‘having a rest.’

A rest? A REST?? How can that EVER be restful?

Restful is being in a sound-proof room with black-out blinds. Restful is relaxing on a sun lounger with a massive glass on gin and tonic. Restful is sleeping more than six consecutive hours over the last 5 years.

I dream of no-pressure going out.

Of just nipping out for a drink after work. Of sitting in a pub beer garden in the early evening May sun just because I can.

Instead of organising a babysitter months in advance, putting so much pressure on an evening to be good that it’s almost guaranteed to either be total shit or end in an argument.

The alternative is relying on incredible friends to bail you out and look after your kids and, although you’re delighted to be out, there is the little voice in the back of your mind that keeps whispering, ‘I bet they’re still up. I bet they’re kicking off. I bet your friend will never offer to babysit ever ever again after tonight.’

I dream of having more disposable income in a month than the cost of a mediocre bottle of wine from Lidl. 

I guess that is the pay off for moving so far away from family that we virtually live in the English Channel, but once you’ve paid out for childcare, you might as well right-off ever buying anything that isn’t from E-bay or Peacocks. 

I sometimes look at myself in my ‘smart’ clothes. The items I’ve had since pre-children that I pour myself into and slip a disc trying to do up, the reverse body dysmorphia telling me that, of course you can still fit into them, you look fabulous. You’re definitely back to your fighting weight. It’s just the scales that need the battery replaced.

Or the late-night E-bay purchase that is going to solve a multitude of wardrobe malfunctions, but instead is nothing like the description, stinks of fags and I don’t have the time or inclination to wash then resell.

Wowzers . This isn’t exactly a Sunday night jolliathon.

So, lets get a bit of perspective here. 

Some weeks are cracking, they fill you up with love and you laugh more than you weep into your large vin rouge. 

Some weeks are exhausting. 

And the latter makes everything else slightly harder work.

But maybe if parents could work towards being a little less tireder, a little less skint, and have the occasional absolutely extraordinary no-pressure, no-hang-over night out, we’d all be laughing.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Week 242- VOTE FOR ME (play it cool, play it cool...)

Ok, so I’ve been writing this frigging blog for forever.

(Well since I became a mum, which, some days TOTALLY feels like forever.)

And since then I have been nominated for blog awards four times.


I’ve got down to the shortlist of one and even got to go to the swanky dinner with free booze, but I had only just found out I was pregnant again so mainlined squash all night.

So I have actually won an award ZERO times.



Now, I don’t want to get all poor me about it*, as the people who did win were brill, but, now I’ve been nominated for the BiB awards again in the Writer category, and the deadline for votes is this Wednesday 18 May and I have done approximately nothing about promoting it.

So, if you read my blog and like it, relate to it, find it mildly amusing, then please could you vote for me- the link is here and my blog is in section 7.


*Totally getting poor me about it.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Week 241- shouting, drinking and wiping randomer's bums...

My two-year-old son has started calling me Anna.

Not mummy.


And calling would be too gentle a description.

It’s more of a bellow, and almost always from a different room.

It’s kind of a bit like getting bollocked by your own children.


I’ll race through, thinking there has been some kind of major disaster.

And he’ll be sitting there on the sofa, having found his bottle (which, really he should have grown out of by now, but I don’t have the energy, will-power or determination to tackle that one, but that’s another story.)

So, he’s sitting there waving his empty bottle in the air like a drunk at last orders, chanting, ‘milk. Milk. Milk.’

Or I’ll put him to bed and he’ll leave it just enough time to find Corrie on catch-up and pour a large glass of vin rouge, I’ll sometimes have had the cruel luxury of the first sip and the opening credits, when there it is again.


He shares a bedroom with his big sister so I run like lightening* to see what’s up before he wakes her.

And it’s normally a request for a refill of milk, a dropped toy that is almost definitely within his reach that he wants me to pick up, or a slightly rumpled duvet cover that I have to straighten.

Now, I don’t want to get a total monk-on about ‘Annagate’ but basically there are only two people in the entire world who are qualified to call me mummy, and one of them can’t be bothered.

That’s annoying.

Also, we already share different surnames, if he decides to drop the mummy altogether, who’s to say he will even be identified as my own child to strangers and the authorities?

I knew a girl when I was about 15 who called her mum, ‘mum’, and her dad by his first name. I thought he was just an over-familiar family friend who was ALWAYS hanging around for the first two years of our friendship.**

So, for the love of all things fair, please can my son called me mummy.

Because that is brilliant payback for all the less glamorous parts of parenting.

Otherwise I might as well be wiping any old randomer’s bum.

*Faster than a shuffle, slower than a stroll.

** Reason 127 why I didn’t go into investigative journalism.

I've been shortlisted in the Writer category for my blog in the Brilliance in Blogging awards 2016. It's now ALL ABOUT THE VOTES! Please vote for me in the Writer category- (section 7) DEADLINE 18 MAY. MASSIVE THANKS AND FINGERS CROSSED!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Week 240- singing, shushing and driving with the windows open...

We have no car stereo.

Well, that's not strictly true, we do but it hasn't worked for the best part of a year.

It wasn't like it was the best car stereo before it died.

The radio cut out every two minutes, which made listening to anything that involved speaking virtually impossible, and the tape player chewed up tapes like the Cookie Monster so long car journeys were spent untangling them with a pencil.

But none the less, there was some form of entertainment.

The car came back from the garage last year and the stereo had packed in. 

It was three weeks before either of us noticed by which point we were too embarrassed to go back and say thanks for fixing whatever it was that was initially wrong but you've also bust this in the meantime.

Oh the pitfalls of The Great British Embarrassment.

Since then we have now driven an estimated 7000 miles in relative silence.

Or had to talk.

Or, worse, sing.

Our two year old son has taken to shushing us before we've even finished the first line of 'Baa Baa Black Sheep.'

And our four year old daughter feigns sleep to avoid having to interact with any of us at all.

So. In a nutshell, car journeys are long, boring and involve at least three major arguments thanks to the lack of stereo.

Until we found a new game.

Every time we opened the front two electric windows, all four of us scream at the top of our lungs like Brodie in Point Break.

This is a relatively short-lived game, but the children wait with huge anticipation for us to open them.

'AGAIN, AGAIN, JUST ONE MORE TIME!' are the cries from the back seat.

So we open the windows one more time and everyone goes mental like Madonna has just taken to the stage.

Long car journeys, nailed, Ben and I thought.

We just feed the kids Mini Cheddars and occasionally open the windows 'for a treat.'

Until we were driving back from visiting some friends for the weekend.

It had been a relatively heavy weekend and the vats of red wine and uncharacteristically late nights were taking their toll as we sat in silence and made our way to the motorway.

Ben opened his window to have a better view of the motorway traffic we were joining, and suddenly, two children started screaming at the top of their high pitched voices.

It was the shock more than anything else, like when you brush past a car and set the alarm off by mistake.

The rule of the game had been, you can only scream when the window is open and stop when it's shut.

But they had taken it literally.

They screamed every fricking time we opened a window.

Even a fraction.

So the choice was, sit in a roasting hot airless car as we all slowly cook in our own hangovers.

Or get a refreshing breeze, which is accompanying by blood curdling screams.

Long car journeys have just got massively longer.

So I'm hanging out for a scratch card win in the next few months to buy a new stereo.

Because the alternative of screaming our way around a sweaty driving holiday in France over the summer holidays makes me want to shoot myself in my own face.

I've been shortlisted in the Writer category for my blog in the Brilliance in Blogging awards 2016. It's now ALL ABOUT THE VOTES! Please vote for me in the Writer category- (section 7) DEADLINE 18 MAY. MASSIVE THANKS AND FINGERS CROSSED!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Week 239- jogging, eating Twirls and getting lapped by an 80-year-old...

I’ve started running.

I’m a runner.

That sounds loads better than ‘I’m a mild jogger who keeps getting lapped in the park by a guy who must be kicking on 80.’

My ‘thinspiration’ was by daughter asking for the millionth time if I had a baby in my tummy.

I did.

I told her.

Two years ago.

‘Then why’s it still so big?’

I love that girl but sometimes she’s one question away from a headlock.

So, I thought, maybe now, NOW, as the scales of time tip slightly closer to 40 that 35 (poetic way of saying 38 this year) I should consider getting fit for the first time in my life.

So I considered it.

And considered it.

And after polishing off the rest of the kids’ Easter eggs, Googled ‘getting fit.’

Don’t do that unless you want to scroll through 37 million options.

And then I remember an App my mate had told me about. I couldn’t remember the name, but it was something about being bothered to get off the sofa to get out the house.

So I Googled that instead.

And found it. An NHS podcast called ‘Couch to 5k’.

Now, I have never been fit EVER. I don’t mean that in a ‘I’ve never won a race before’ or ‘I find it difficult to smash my PB at swimming.’

I mean I joined a gym to sit in their sauna.

I used to go to a spinning class cos I liked the music and would free wheel for 30 minutes.

In fact I’d prefer the indignity of wrapping myself in cling film and sitting in 40 degrees to lose weight than putting on a tracksuit.

But I thought I’d give it a go.

My running outfit was questionable at best. A pair of trainers I bought from TK Maxx about twenty years ago, the leggings I wore whilst pregnant with Thomas and a T-shirt I wear in bed. But at least I have a sports bra I was given for free when me, my mum and sister did the Moonwalk 10 years ago in London.

Sporting a pair of self-consciously massive headphones I headed out the house, and pressed play.

Now, the first thing I liked was that it was a woman narrating it.

The second thing was she was northern.

And the third was she told me how brilliant it was I was doing this before I’d even started.

Win, win and winaroo.

Week one- I ran for a minute intermittently three times a week.

Ignore the fact I was only running for a minute at a time- and read the bit that said I did it THREE times.

That’s right. The woman who spends the whole of a yoga class waiting for the guided meditation at the end to have a quick nap, has dragged her sorry ass out of the house THREE times in a week.

I couldn’t understand how my brain had over-ridden the urge to crack open the Merlot the moment the children had gone to bed and see if Michelle snogs her childhood love in Corrie.  

How, after nearly four decades of lethargy was I suddenly running?

(RUNNING! Paaaaah! I wish you could see me; yesterday a woman carrying three heavy Sainsbury’s bags overtook me. But my legs are DEFINETELY moving faster than when I walk.)

I think of myself as an independent, motivated woman.

But it turns out, what I actually need is someone telling me EXACTLY what to do.

When to run. When to stop. How brilliant I am for doing both.

I haven’t seen any major changes.

This may be partially due to increasing the number of Twirls I’ve been eating to reflect the number of runs I’ve been on.

But never mind. According to the women, I should, by week nine, be running 5k effortlessly three times a week.

So look out world. In two months time I’m going to be a machine.

And to my daughter…

In your face, little one.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Week 238- bribing, brushing your teeth and being the boss...

 Thomas has started to string a sentence together.

By a sentence I mean  ‘no thank you’

Which he uses with growing frequency.

‘Shall we get you in the bath?’

‘No thank you.’

‘Do you want to brush your teeth now?’

‘No thank you.’

‘Time for bed?’

‘No thank you.’

‘Can you eat one thing on your plate, just one thing? I genuinely don’t care if it’s a single baked bean, but seriously, you NEED TO EAT SOMETHING.’

‘No thank you.’

So that’s a bit annoying.

Only made worse by his other phrase.

Which is ‘go away.’


How is it that someone so titchy is totally the boss of me?

I know the job of a parent is to guide and support and protect and blah blah blah…

But actually I just want him to like me and think I’m the coolest person in the entire world.


So. I can either be patient. Wait for him to learn some more words, preferably slightly more positive ones.

But in the words of the little guy himself.

No thank you.

I will, instead resort to the age-old tactic of bribery.

I will mainline him with Bear Yoyos and Pom-Bears until he starts saying ‘yes please!’