Sunday, 25 May 2014

Week 140- three stone babies, Botoxed celebrities and crotchless trousers...

Disaster has struck.

I’ve worn my maternity jeans so much that the crotch has gone through.  

To be honest, I had completely unrealistic expectations of how quickly I’d get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes after having Thomas.

I was so convinced that I’d be trotting out in a pair of size 12 jeans within weeks of having him that I ruthlessly bagged up all my maternity clothes bar one pair of trousers and sent them up north to a pregnant friend virtually before I’d unpacked my hospital bag.

I’d spent the best part of the last four months buying unrealistically titchy, trendy clothes off e-Bay, having visions of meeting friends for coffee looking all straightened hair and sleek in them.

The reality, of course, is that I had a baby less than a month ago and my body is unrecognisable.

I’ve got boobs that fluctuate from being Lolo Ferrari-size to resembling empty rubber gloves, depending on where we are in the feeding cycle, a stomach that I can squeeze into a donut and stretchmarks that no amount of Bio oil is ever going to fix.

I tried on a pair of my old jeans and managed, with a lot of brute strength, to pull them halfway up my thighs before giving up and having to seek assistance to get them off again.

The thing is, when pregnant, everyone was like, ‘wow, you’re just bump aren’t you?’, ‘you don’t look like you’ve put on any weight other than the baby.’ Etc etc.

Now, I’d put on the best part of three and a half stone through pregnancy, and I’m no mathematician, but I think if that was all baby, then this would be a child worthy of the Guinness Book of Records.

So, the maternity jeans had become a wardrobe staple post-birth, until I bent down too enthusiastically to pick up Daddy Pig from under the sofa and heard the rip.

I was loath to buy any new clothes that were bigger than my pre-baby size, but couldn’t go around in a pair of basically crotchless trousers.

So a depressing mercy trip to town was called for.

I spent ten minutes in a changing room with a double buggy whilst repeatedly asking the shop assistant to bring me larger and larger sizes of 90% elastic jeggings until I managed to pour myself into a pair three sizes bigger than I ‘normally’ wear.

I was feeling more than a bit mardy about it, when it suddenly dawned on me.

I want my daughter to grow up believing she can do anything.

That she’s a strong, beautiful woman.

Not to be influenced by photoshopped models in glossy magazines, or aspire to look like miserable celebrities who are three quarters Botox.

Yet here am I, weeks after giving birth to her brother, whinging on about how my body’s changed. Well of course it has! Whose wouldn’t after growing two human beings?

I just need to keep that in mind and remember that if I’m looking a bit battle-scarred at the moment, then so be it.

The jeans can wait.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Week 139- mum guilt, Beth from Corrie and cuddling on the sofa...

One of the many things no-one warns you about before you become a mother is the guilt that comes with it.

It’s difficult to explain and even more difficult to quantify, but it happens virtually overnight.

Pre-children, I would feel guilty about stuff now and then, but it could normally be pinpointed down to a heavy night in the pub.

I’d have that hungover, jumpy feeling when someone didn’t respond to a text within five seconds of me sending it. Thinking it must be because I told an inappropriate gag or attempted a misplaced heart-to-heart the night before.

But THAT was a walk in the park compared to mum guilt, because, one phone call and a couple of paracetamol later and I’d be back to normalish again.

Mum guilt lasts a lifetime.

It’s that feeling that you’re never quite doing enough. Of anything.

You need to replicate yourself about ten times to be successful at everything: being a good parent, making a go of a career, having a social life that extends beyond ‘liking’ an old school friend’s holiday snap of them riding an elephant in India on Facebook, having a decent relationship where you talk about ‘proper’ things instead of whether Beth should have gone to Latvia for that boob job on Corrie.

I had just about learnt to live with the guilt. The buzzy-headed feeling that whilst I was doing one thing, I was thinking about the hundred other things that I should also be doing.

But then a second child comes along. And, massively unfairly, the guilt doubles.

I’d spent that last 32 months telling my daughter that she was the most important person in my life. That I loved her more than anyone on the planet.

And now I’ve brought a brand new person into our house and our lives and asked her to budge over. That she is no longer the centre of our world, that she needs to share that pedestal with another person.

Half the time I can’t even give her a cuddle as I’m breastfeeding the hungriest baby in East Sussex.

Then when we do play together, that often means leaving Thomas to lie in his Moses basket or be strapped to me in a sling. Whereas when Nancy was the same age, it would be all singing nursery rhymes, baby massage and hours just staring at her in wonder.  

But very occasionally there’s a shining light.

Like when I’m sitting on the sofa with both children, no-one’s crying or needing the loo, and we’re all, in that moment, content.
Now, I realise the published book and four-bedroom house might have to wait a few years, but if I can clock up a few more moments like that, then I can, just for a second, beat the guilts and feel like we’re getting somewhere. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Week 138- pukes, poos and losing patience...

I can't work out how you get anything done with two children. 

Now, I don't think I've been setting myself unrealistic goals. 

It's mainly stuff like: brush your teeth, eat more than a mouthful of cornflakes, hang out the washing. 

That kind of thing.

But it's a miracle if I've got everyone including myself dressed by 11am. 

Well that's not strictly true. 

I can get everyone dressed, it's just if someone pukes, or worse, down said outfit, then we're back to square one.

In the words of Paula Abdul, it's 'two steps forward and two steps back'.

This isn't helped by having a baby who feeds for HOURS on end. It's a bit like being under house arrest, being pinned to the sofa by a two-week-old baby.

But it's when the two-year-old starts to understandably lose patience after a while that the whole thing goes to pot. 

I'm firing instructions at her from the settee without really being able to do anything about it, as she slowly wrecks the flat. 
'Please don't pour milk on the carpet.' 
'The CDs won't fit in the DVD player.'
'Don't try and put Thomas's trousers on, they're too small.' Etc etc.

When the baby eventually goes to sleep I try and make chores into a game for her, but I'm not fooling anyone. Hoovering the front room is never going to be a laugh, even if you pretend the vacuum's a monster. 

But the other day we managed to all get out of the house together. 

Literally out of the house, mind. 

I'd just slammed the front door, before we had to do a 180 and go back in. 

There was the now-familiar sound of an almighty explosion from Thomas's nappy. 

An all-up-the-back job. 

So, that's everyone out of the pram and back into the flat. A change of clothes, and we're ready to go again. 

But, predictably, my daughter then needs the loo, which involves me sitting on a small step opposite her potty offering words of encouragement.

Half an hour, three bowel movements, two outfit changes and a major meltdown later, and we're ready to go out again. So at the crack of eleven thirty, I have managed to get outside with two children. 

If I can shave a few minutes off my personal best each day, I might be able to get into town in time for work when my maternity leave comes to an end next January.

* My blog has been shortlisted for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award in the LAUGH category. The shortlist is 16 blogs and it is now down to the public vote to get it down to the six finalists.  
The link is:  the LAUGH category is question 13, and my blog is ‘You can take her home now...’ if you fancy voting for it. DEADLINE- 16 MAY. 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Week 137- skinny jeans, Chinese burns and Asda baked beans...

Week one as a family of four. Done.

I’d like to say I took it in my stride, but, in reality, I don’t think I would have survived the last seven days without the support of female friends. Or more specifically, other mums.

They just know what to do.

I’d forgotten what a car crash your body is, post-labour.  

Even without stitches, the thought of having to go to the loo in the first couple of days is enough to make you want a permanent colostomy bag.

Your stomach is like a human stress ball. What had been a taut, baby-filled orb the size of a yoga ball for months is suddenly empty. Like a half-deflated water balloon.

Nancy takes great pleasure in kneading her hands into my tummy and telling me how wobbly it is. 

Lovely stuff.

And when you think you can’t burst into any more unprompted tears, your milk comes in. Your boobs triple in size and you feel like someone is giving them a Primary-School-style Chinese burn.

We’ve already gone through one Savoy cabbage.

Now that’s something they didn’t teach me in Double Science at school.

That cabbage breaks down the enzymes and reduces the milk production, and so helps prevent mastitis.

You shove two leaves straight from the fridge down your bra.

It’s basically like vegetable porn.

The super-grim part is that it works best when they’re wilted so you end up smelling a bit like a kitchen composter.

I’d obviously been in total denial about how immobile you can be after birth and how small your world becomes.

I’d visions of us all going out in the first couple of days to the park.

Of slipping effortlessly into my old skinny jeans with my newborn baby strapped to my front.

In reality, a mooch to the shop round the corner in my pyjama bottoms felt like a trip up Kilimanjaro.

And, although I’d had great plans to cook lots of homemade stuff to put in the freezer, this hadn’t happened.

So when friends started popping by with meals for us, it felt like a food version of DIY SOS.

We live miles from our families.

Our choice, of course, but it's at times like this that I question what we thought we were doing. 

How much easier life would be if you could just get your mum to pop round to put a wash on or give you 20 minutes to have a bath without a two-year-old sticking foam letters to your legs?

And then brilliant women come to your rescue with homemade lasagne. 

Leaving you free to cuddle a tiny, mewing newborn as he snuffles like a small pig and opens his eyes for the first time.

So, for fear of sounding like a total fromage - here’s to the brilliant women who touch our lives.

Without whom we’d live on Asda beans for breakfast, lunch and tea.

* My blog has been shortlisted for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award in the LAUGH category. The shortlist is 16 blogs and it is now down to the public vote to get it down to the six finalists.  

The link is:,  the LAUGH category is question 13, and my blog is ‘You can take her home now...’ if you fancy voting for it. 

Friday, 2 May 2014

Shameless request for a vote...

OK. So my blog has been shortlisted for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award in the LAUGH category. The shortlist is 16 blogs and it is now down to the public vote to get it down to the six finalists.

Now, I don’t want to be all, ‘could you vote for me as it would make my year blah blah blah.'
(Not necessary relevant, I know, but worth a mention nonetheless...)

This year will mainly be taken up with working out how on God’s earth you get more than three hours sleep with two children who refuse to sleep at the same time
So to be a finalist in the awards would be not only be a brilliant boost, but a well needed reminder that I make sense to people who are more than three years old.

So... the link is:, the LAUGH category is question 13, and my blog is ‘You can take her home now...’

Huge thanks in advance.
I’m not going to hold my breath and work on the Oscar-style-speech yet, but you never know...