Simple or Perfect, it’s all just Love

Simple or Perfect, it’s all just Love

My 2-and-a-half year old managed to teach me something recently that I want to share with you, as it really stunned me how he managed to have a better perspective on life than I have. How it’s easy to lose sight of what’s actually going on in front of your eyes.

We were walking past a row of houses on our way to school to pick up the big kids. Toddler is very into flowers at the moment and we spend lots of time looking for them, blowing dandelions is one of his favourite things to do. I was carrying him in my arms as he was tired, and he looked across at the house we were about to pass and pointed, “Mummy look!!! Flowers… LOTS of flowers…!” I looked over and saw the house he was pointing to had a beautiful front garden full of ornate plant pots, filled with brightly coloured plants and flowers, all with perfectly neat soil. There seemed to be every variety of flower you could imagine all perfectly planted. Lot of wonderful ornaments and statues, it was one of those amazing garden’s you only dream of having.  I told him the flowers were lovely and we admired them as we walked past…  his smile was so big looking at them all.

As we approached the neighbouring house he was still keenly looking to spot more flowers. He suddenly shrieked and shouted “WOW WOW MUMMY Look MORE FLOWERS! Pretty!!!” even happier sounding than before. I looked across expecting to see another garden full of perfect flowers but instead the grass next door was patchy, a simple lawn with wild daisy’s scattered all over it. There was nothing else. It consisted of nothing but natural grass with simple wild flowers. I looked at his face and how happy and amazed he was by that garden. He wasn’t comparing it to the first at all, just admiring the daisy’s for exactly what they were. It was just another garden with flowers to him. He was completely right. The second garden was pretty. Yes it was simple, it was natural. The toddler didn’t care about comparing the two, just that a flower is a flower and that’s that. The second one was no less of a garden full of flowers, and he saw it for what it was. Beautiful, and simple and absolutely no less than the first garden.

It made me think that even if I usually feel like the mother equivalent of a patchy lawn with wild daisy’s growing in it, that it is OK to be just that, and I should stop comparing myself to the garden next door. Simple doesn’t mean any less beautiful, or any less at all. If the flowers symbolise the love we have for our children, it doesn’t matter whether you have your flowers perfectly planted, preened and arranged, or you would liken yourself to a patchy section of wild daisy’s that grow randomly through the soil, the children don’t see anything apart from what’s there: love. And that’s what matters.

Photos: the beautiful Winter Wonder toddlers. Freya, Maddi, Rhea and Danny.

Best of Worst

 

Eating Out with Young Kids

Eating Out with Young Kids

Now, you might be the sort of person who loves to dine out with your small humans. The words “shall we go out to eat” literally fill me with dread. I do not enjoy going out to eat with the kids. Unless it’s going to the drive thru. Which I’m sure doesn’t count as out to eat. Here’s why:

  1. My kids are fucking loud. They want to talk to me in detail about their itchy bum holes, their hatred for the world and ask questions that I cannot answer, very loudly, always in the presence of normal people. People who are looking at me like “ARE ALL THESE KIDS YOURS????”
  2. My kids eat like rabid wolves. So this isn’t ENTIRELY true but I feel like they do. Big boy always ends up with more food around his mouth than in it. Diva daughter dips her hair into some sauce. Toddler… well you can imagine.
  3. Toddlers don’t give any fucks about manners or decorum. They just do weird things like scream, shout, bang, throw food, shout MINE SPOON 234 times, and act like total dickheads. It’s like they know they need to be semi-normal and decide to test you when eating out. Come on mum, bet you can’t keep your cool whilst I throw a bowl of peas at you one by one can you? Silly bitch.
  4. My kids are fussy as fuck. They rarely eat a proper meal out, unless it’s chicken fucknuggets and chips. Even then the big boy child can’t stand chips. So just a plate of meat then. OK great!
  5. Kids always need to poo when you are in the middle of your main course. Sometimes, they all need to poo in quick succession, so I spend a good 45 mins in the toilet, like a weird pervert type person, just lingering around. I feel like I need a big sign on my head that says MY KID IS DOING ANOTHER SHIT! so everyone is aware I’m not just lurking in the bogs.
  6. One kid always knocks a drink over. Usually into a parent’s dinner. Or over their siblings food. They’ll never eat it now!
  7. Paying the bill feels wrong – like we are paying a LOT of money to be tortured by trying to get my feral children to ACT NORMAL whilst eating in front of other people for a couple of hours.
  8. You never enjoy your food. Well I don’t anyway. Imagine eating a slice of pizza whilst being hit over the head with a block of wood, whilst being spat at by someone with bad breath at the same time as smelling someones fart. The pizza isn’t so tasty now huh?
  9. I always end up resorting to phone babysitter for help! Toddler gets bored easily and after he’s had all the fun throwing shit around, screaming, and we’ve sang songs and played hand-games, I reluctantly get YouTube up on my phone and let him watch Peppa the Poxy Pig just for 10 mins peace and quiet. I can feel the eyes of the other diners boring into me as I eat “YOU CAVED IN! need a phone to entertain your child do you???”   Well yes I clearly do, fuckers!

On the very odd occasion myself and the husband dine out alone, we spend half the meal (OK more like 80%) talking ABOUT the kids, looking at pictures of them on our phones, and generally wishing they were there. So I’m clearly a glutton for punishment who is not happy with either set up! (Although eating out is a lot cheaper just the two of us! and I come home with less food in my hair. WIN!)

Anyone else? Or just me? I’d love to hear your funny eating out with kids stories…..

The best things in life are free!

The best things in life are free!

I am the first one to moan about the downsides to being a mum. It’s bloody hard work and it can downright stink sometimes. However, I also realise that sometimes, when things are good, my kids are very easily pleased.  The simple, easy, and free of cost things really do make them happy – and help keep me somewhat sane.

At the grand ages of (almost) 2, 6 and 7 years old, they still enjoy the simple things in life….

  1. Bubbles, chasing, blowing you know the drill
  2. Walking in the woods, collecting sticks/leaves etc
  3. Painting and drawing
  4. Watching a film together under a big blanket
  5. Chasing each other around the park
  6. Singing, dancing and acting silly
  7. Having a ‘sleepover’ together (sleeping on the floor!)
  8. Feeding ducks
  9. Playing ball games
  10. Reading books
  11. Hide a small item in the house and all hunt for it…
  12. Being ‘animals’ – get on all fours and do your best roar/growl/meow!

Playing in leaves.jpg

I feel like kids these days are so bothered about their gadgets and an iPad serves more interest than anything else, but actually, they do love all the above and more. I need to remember that when they are older, it will be a lot harder to entertain them with the simple things, and I will long for the days when they were this age. Time goes so fast, in the blink of an eye your baby develops into a child. I need to stop and slow down every day to watch them and embrace their innocence and everything that makes them brilliant.

Fresh air is the best medicine for feeling low, having a bad day, or just the usual crap that comes with being a mum. Getting outside, letting them run around a burn off some energy and take in the beautiful colours of this lovely season… it really does help.*

*Just mind the dog poo. Oh and brace yourself for the toddler face planting the floor over and over.

**When you return home, a nice hot cuppa tea is always in order. Or wine. Up to you 🙂

”chasingnature”/

Monday morning school run fun! (NOT)

Monday morning school run fun! (NOT)

 

Step-by-step guide on how to be a mum with school aged kids on a Monday morning. You’re welcome!

  1. Wake up before dawn with Monday hitting you in the face like a frying panmondays
  2. Wonder why the toddler hates you so much
  3. Feed him lots of food – whatever keeps him happy and quiet
  4. Sip a coffee with one eye closed and wonder how this became your life
  5. Make the most of the partial silence as toddler watches Teletubbies because soon the big 2 will wake and all hell will break loose
  6. Older kids wake up and are pissed off that it’s not the weekend still. You and me both kiddo!
  7. They don’t want any of the 10 breakfast options that you have for them
  8. Can they have crisps for breakfast?
  9. Regret not doing packed lunches the night before – WHEN WILL YOU LEARN?!
  10. Break up 2 fights, clear up cheerios and milk off the table again because toddler has no self control and wants to wear the bowl as a hat
  11. Rescue toddler from standing on top of the table dancing in milk
  12. Shout at Remind bigger kids to get dressed 45 times
  13. Convince eldest that he does need to wear clean underwear every day
  14. Stop toddler putting random bits of uniform in the bin
  15. Listen to diva daughter moaning about having her hair styled for school
  16. Resist hitting her with the hair brush
  17. Get yourself washed dressed and ready in 2 minutes flat because HOW FUCKING DARE YOU DO ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF!
  18. Toddler empties 3 cupboards and starts eating something off the floor which you hope is something from breakfast today
  19. Oversee tooth brushing by saying ‘BRUSH’ over and over again
  20. Help find shoes because your kids have ‘selective kid blindness’
  21. Sort out an itchy sock
  22. Stop toddler climbing in the fish tank
  23. Referee argument over who got ready first or who gets to walk out of the door first… (yes really, kids argue over this shit!)
  24. Toddler decides to do a huge dump just as you are walking out of the door
  25. Leave the house looking like you’ve been burgled
  26. Wonder why school starts so bloody early

If you have these crazy morning experiences like me *please say someone else does!* I’d love for you to LIKE this post and SHARE with other mums who might empathise!

Thank you xx

 

You Baby Me Mummy
Having a child at Primary School – expectations vs reality!

Having a child at Primary School – expectations vs reality!

When your little angel starts school there’s SO many emotions running wild on your part. You worry that they will need help, no-one will help them, they won’t have friends, they will be lonely, they will piss their pants, or worse, shit themselves. You think they might wonder where you are and why have you left them with all these strangers. You want them to be happy, liked and to enjoy it. On that first day you feel your heart has been stamped on when you walk away from the gate and leave your most precious thing in the world with total strangers. In most cases they love school, they come bounding from the gate at home time and all your worries are gone! You now have a child at the school! Welcome to the club!

school

Expectations of having a child at school:

1. Mornings spent eating breakfast together, chatting about their day ahead, everyone is ready and out the door clutching their book bags and lunch boxes… leisurely walks to school admiring the clouds and trees.

2. Your child brings home beautiful artwork / maths sheets for you to look over and display proudly on the fridge, your child is a genius!

3. You engage with lovely chat with other parents at the school about your children’s new schooling, perhaps having a coffee with a few of them after drop off. Like minded people all brought together by their children’s education.

4. Your child speaks fondly of their day, regaling you with tales of what Johnny did at break time that was so funny or a hilarious joke the teacher made during Phonics. Along with their new understanding of times tables.

5. Homework. You sit with your child whilst they complete their homework, perhaps giving guidance and advice whilst occasionally stirring the delicious home-made dinner that’s cooking on the stove.

6. Friends. Your child will make so many new friends, after school play dates are a-plenty. Heartwarming.

7. Uniform. They look so cute in their smart uniform. Always so polished and grown up.

Reality of having a child at school:

1. Mornings are spent telling everyone to “HURRY UP OR WE WILL BE LATE!” or “PUT YOUR SOCKS ON FOR THE 10TH TIME!” Children do not want to eat breakfast / get dressed or leave the house for school. Getting small people dressed every day within a time limit is one of the most underestimated tasks of motherhood. I’m crazy shouty mummy in the mornings. Otherwise we would all be late. Every day. They forget shit. Book bags? What book bag? “THE ONE YOU TAKE TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY DIPSHIT DARLING!”

2. Your child brings home approximately 57 pieces of paper per week. Some of them are indeed lovely artwork that I treasure and put on the fridge. Most of it is random scribbles, notes from other kids, someone else’s work, and screwed up bits of crap. The kid then cries when they find said screwed up paper in the bin! “Mummy I brought that home for you!!” they say with a look like you’ve just shat in their cornflakes. I’ve been guilted into keeping lots of crap.

3. You enter into School Mum hell. It’s a bloody minefield. Don’t get me wrong, you can and will make friends with a few nice normal mums. I have made some lovely friends at the school. However, you will find more drama with the mums than with the kids. Mums in cliques, mums falling out, mums who look at you like your from another planet. The odd dad and nan of course. Smile and say good morning, and get in and out as quick as you can. Unless of course, you have a toddler that wants to run laps of the field on the way in and out every day. Then smile and scream internally. Someone should definitely invent a drop off toddler crèche place at the school gate, so those blessed with under 5’s can leave them at the gate each morning with trusted carers and not have to round the child up like a sheep twice a day.

4. Your child has no idea what they did all day. At all. “How was your day today?” you ask them wanting to hear all about it. “Good” they answer…. hmmm “What did you do today?” you ask. “Nothing” NOTHING????? NOTHING? YOU SPENT 6 HOURS AT SCHOOL GETTING AN EDUCATION AND YOU DID NOTHING! “Can’t remember” is another common answer. They can never remember what they did. Sometimes they will shock you by saying “Oh today, guess what…” and proceed to tell you a story about how someone was sick on the carpet and had to go home. Lovely.

5. Homework. Oh lord. Your child may be enthusiastic about homework, but eventually, they don’t want to do it. Boring. They want to do it tomorrow, they don’t understand it. As they progress through school, sometimes even YOU don’t understand it. Google is your friend here. Also helping children with homework sounds easy enough. The screaming toddler swinging from the light shade makes it harder. Do not be defeated.

6. Friends. Your child will of course make friends. However, they will also make enemies! Arch enemies. Girls are terrible for this. This one isn’t speaking to them anymore, they aren’t friends with another one. Jenny is now their best friend. “But I thought Jenny was mean to you yesterday?” you will ask. Don’t be silly mother! Friendships at school are cut throat and fickle. Just roll with it and hope they aren’t being violent to any of these people. Unless someone hits them first, of course.

7. Uniform will be the bane of your life. You have to wash and iron it and have it ready for them to wear EVERY SINGLE WEEK DAY. They walk into class all neat and tidy in the mornings and come home looking like they’ve been dragged through a hedge, backwards. Their jumpers will have paint / yogurt / snot down in. Boys have their trousers put on backwards, you know after P.E. Hair looks a mess. Collars sticking up. They lose uniform. “Go and look on your peg again dear” you will say with gritted teeth for the 100th time this week. JUST KEEP YOUR BLOODY CLOTHES ON!!!

8. I have to add this one, even though there’s no expectation no 8. School may bring some nasties to your house that you never even dreamed of. Some kids may have already experienced this stuff in nursery etc. But school is a lovely breeding ground for:
– Nits. Head lice. Lovely creepy crawlies running around in your child’s hair. Gag.
– Worms. Little tiny white thread worms that make your kids bum itch in the night. Boil wash everything, clean everything in sight, cry into a cup of tea and wonder why on Earth no-one warned you about this sort of stuff when your baby was newborn.
– Chickenpox. Stay indoors for all eternity and go insane.
– Hand foot and mouth. Goody.
– Stomach bugs. There’s nothing that raises fear in a parent than to hear of a nasty bug going round the school.

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best
Mother knows best… doesn’t she?

Mother knows best… doesn’t she?

When you have a baby, usually it’s because you are in love with someone and want to produce little mini humans to share your life, hopes, dreams and family with. Sometimes you find yourself pregnant by surprise, and you aren’t sure you want a baby, but you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and have a baby. Some people try for years to get their bundle of love in their arms, experiencing heartache, loss and many tears. Some fall pregnant easily. Some people adopt. Some have a baby via surrogate. Whatever your situation, however you found yourself here – you now have a new role that you’ve never had any training in (even if you think you have!), being a ‘mum’ means all of a sudden you are the whole world to a tiny person, who needs you, every inch of you. Being a mum isn’t a job you can quit from, you can’t call in sick, and lunch breaks are few and far between.


Babies are hard work, we all know this. They need feeding, comfort, love, changing, cleaning and constant care. When you have a baby you think this stage lasts forever, it feels like sleepless nights and nappies never end. Oh the crying! You are trapped in a cycle that means you put someone else’s needs before your own. You’re exhausted. It’s gotta get easier right? WRONG!
Then your baby grows, becomes a toddler (see here for my views on them at the moment:My Toddler is an asshole!) and the hard work continues, just in a different way. The toddler grows again, into a child, and all of a sudden, there’s a LOT of questions. The child questions you about the big wide world, how did we get here, why does this and that happen, and you start to realise you might not actually have all the answers. You in turn question yourself. Why don’t I know the answer to this? Should I? Where’s the mum manual? I don’t know all the answers! Help! Am I cut out for this?

 

There’s so much pressure to do things one way or the other. Are you a gentle parent? A routine based parent? Strict?  Rewards/naughty step? Attached, comfort, love, no punishments? Breastfeeding/bottle feeding? Weaning early/BLW? Is your child allowed screen time? Are you an outdoorsy mum? A craft mum? Football mum? How are you going to shape this child into being a decent, loving, happy, rounded, emotionally stable human being…. when you’re not even sure that’s what YOU are at the moment?

 

Well the point of this post (I’m getting there slowly!) is that yes you are the mum and you do know best for your own child. Trust your instincts. Of course ask for advice if you need it (we all need it!), but you are the BEST person to care for your child because no-one else loves your child like you do. No-one else has their interests at the forefront of their priorities like you do.  You are absolutely the best mum for your child/ren. You know best. Doubting yourself is part and parcel with being a mum. That mummy guilt that niggles at the back of your mind with every decision you make is only there because you care. Do your research, ask people but ultimately YOU know what to do. Even if you think you don’t!

 

Also, with this in mind, and on the flip side. You are allowed to not have all the answers. You are the mum but you are not the information central of the world. You may have to sneakily Google stuff, we all do (thank you Google!) How did my mum survive without Google? But it’s OK for you to not know everything. I’ve found my Big Boy doing stuff in first year Junior school that I didn’t do til Secondary. I can’t remember some of this stuff! But that’s okay. *

 

So this is sort of a shoutout to mums (and dads of course, but I’m a mum!) everywhere. You are amazing, you are exactly what your child needs and you are the best parent for your children. If you have the awful guilt or the constant worry about things then it just means you care and you want the best for them. Don’t beat yourself up for the little things, no parent is perfect. Even the ones that seem to be. Just be yourself, try to do your best every day. Some days you’ll shout, cry or want to run away. That’s okay, everyone feels this way at some time. Some more than others, but everyone is different, no two children or families are the same.

 

Trust yourself, give yourself the credit you deserve, and try to keep a positive attitude. Motherhood will be the hardest thing you ever have to do. But it also will be the best thing.

 

Please share this post with a mum who you think needs to hear those magic words:

 YOU ARE A FANTASTIC MUM!!!!

Disclaimer – I need to remember all of the above myself, as I am the worst for thinking I suck at this job. But today I’m giving myself a pat on the back. I am a mum and I am the best mum to my three demons darlings.

*Please note I have no idea on the trials that come with having teenage or older children – my biggest is 7 and this is hard enough! Here’s a nod to the mums of teenagers, you did it this long! Keep going! xx
Friday Nights, mum style!

Friday Nights, mum style!

It’s the weekend! Friday night… oh this used to be my favourite night of the week. Before children, of course.  When I used to go out and socialise and spend the weekend throwing as much alcohol down my neck as I could and laying in bed. Not at the same time…Obvs.

Now it’s the night I realise I have no school to bring light relief for TWO WHOLE DAYS…. and two whole days of trying to entertain them and remain sane.  But it’s also the end of half term so right now we’re in the middle of a whole lotta entertaining them.

As I type right now, I sit in bed with The Toddler whilst he drinks his milk (in a bottle… no f*cks given!) and watch The Gruffalo. I do this every night now. It’s his new favourite thing to do. He screams “WATCH SNAKE!” at me around 30 times a day.  He doesn’t speak too well so he actually says “WAH NAKE!” but I know what he means.

It’s quite nice actually. Coz The Gruffalo goes on for hours (or like, 25 minutes) so it gives me some time to snooze/gaze at my phone or generally be in darkness and quietness. Sometimes the big kids join me, sometimes they don’t. But everyone’s quiet whilst we watch the bloody mouse walking through the woods again.

Anyway, I hope your Friday night is as cool as mine. Here’s some interesting things I’ll be doing:

1. Clearing up food off the floor, muttering swear words to myself about why I’m the only f*cker who clears up around here.

2. Finding socks stuffed down the side of the sofa/behind the curtains/under the rug/anywhere The Big Boy thinks I won’t see them. He has a sock aversion. Takes them off and hides them.

3. Wondering how it’s already the end of the half term week and all that washing I was going to catch up on hasn’t yet been done. Poop.

4. Refereeing an argument between the Big Two kids over some inane subject like who smiled at who in a funny way or who was the last one to feed the fish.

5. Putting everyone to bed more than once and threatening something I probably won’t follow through with, like no iPad for 2 years…..

I’ll also have a nice hot cuppa and hopefully watch some educational TV like TOWIE or Eastenders. Rock n Roll!

Have a lovely evening anyone who reads this. Remember when the kids are older we’ll all be doing vodka shots in the eyeball again.

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality! 

How should Family Film Night go down?

1. Children agree on a wonderful film to watch together “This film looks great, let’s watch this one!”  “Yay!”

2. Parents and children prepare comfy area of blankets and pillows to rest upon whist watching said film

3. Wholesome snacks and drinks are provided to lovingly share and consume during film “Mum, this fruit medley is delicious, please may I have some more?”

4. Family relaxes upon comfy area, gazing at television, enjoying each other’s company and a good film. Happy and contented sighs all round.

5. Toddler falls asleep in loving arms of siblings/parents.

How DOES a Family Film Night go down?

1. Children argue over what film to watch “you picked last time!” “I hate that film its babyish!!!!” “I hate you!”

2. Children argue over where to sit during film “I want to sit next to dad, he loves me more!” “You always sit there!” “He’s touching my foot!” etc…

3. Kids want to eat every chocolate/biscuit/sugary snack in the house. Noisily. Whilst rustling the packet for an hour before opening the wrapper. Toddler runs around screaming.

4. Toddler thrashes about, kicks mum in the face, gets up and down to play a thousand times. Children bicker during the film over who ate who’s KitKat and who isn’t sharing their pillow and who likes this film the most. Mum huffs and wonders who thought Family Film Night would be a good idea. Isn’t it past their bedtime????  Children pick this time to ask mum and dad important questions like “what happens when we die?” and “why are you so old?”

5. No-one watches the film. Everyone is in a bad mood. Film lasts 4 hours. Or it seems that way. Mum wishes she had put the little angels to bed at their normal time and watched Sex and the City on her own!

Is is just my kiddos that do this? I’d love to know if normal families can sit and watch a film together in peace! 🙂