Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

June 30, 2009

In which I don’t get to take a sickie

It has recently dawned on me that as a mother of no fixed income/housewife/shouting mad woman, I am no longer entitled to take a sickie, a duvet day or, come to think of it, any annual leave. This is terrible and surely against the EU Workers Rights Convention thingy.

I have no manager who I can call on a Monday morning and tell in great detail, and a particularly feeble voice, why I cannot possibly make it in today. Even if I was genuinely ill, and not putting it on because I had too many pints at the AC/DC gig the night before, I would still have to get up and get on with my day’s work.

I do not have any annual leave entitlements. There are no holiday request forms for me to fill in (although now I think of it, maybe I’ll create some and start leaving them around the house for someone to authorise). I can forget about team ‘Away Days’ to fancy hotels and I assume I won’t be having a Christmas party. Boooooo. It’s soooo unfair.

I will admit that some days, as with any job, I just cannot be bothered to turn up. There, I’ve said it. But I have no choice. So, I begrudgingly go about my day, slam dinner plates down on the table, shout a lot, try to convince the boys to play sleeping games (this NEVER works) and just hang on desperately for CBeebies o’clock to come around. Iggle Piggle may be the worst creation in the history of children’s TV, but he’s my signal to log out. And at the end of my ‘non-sickie’ day, he’s the best thing in the world!


June 23, 2009

48 hours in Neverland

A recent weekend away for a friend’s wedding provided the perfect excuse to travel sans enfants. Basically, they weren’t invited! This was an extremely insightful decision of the bride and groom as it removed any of the ‘will we, won’t we take them with us’ decision-making and made sure all their friends were in great form, having left all their responsibilities behind.

Of course, most of the week beforehand was spent packing endless amounts of stuff for the children’s mini break to nana and granddads, on top of which I had a last minute dilemma trying to find some suitably weddingy shoes which my usually be-slippered feet would be able to tolerate for several hours of drunken dancing. Nevertheless, the prospect of 48 hours of freedom, FREEDOM, made it all worthwhile and I was filled with childish glee as our plane sped down the runway.

It was fantastic to catch up with old friends and have proper – uninterrupted – conversations. Of course, having merrily left the children at home, it wasn’t long before we started swapping stories and photos of our various broods! How fantastic to see friendships forged as naive twenty year olds over cheap cider, Britpop and kebabs being cemented through our perceived wisdom and shared experiences as parents.

I was thrilled to be able to go to the toilet alone. I only had a very small handbag to carry. I could go up and down steps unhindered. I managed to eat a full meal and enjoy every mouthful and didn’t have anything spilt on me. It was wonderful to just be me.

The childish freedom of that 48 hours in Neverland will, of course, fade far too quickly as I slip back through the nursery window, kick off my party shoes, pick up my slippers and start cooking tea. But I will most certainly be going back sometime soon.

I may be responsible and sensible mummy to my children, but my inner Peter Pan isn’t quite ready to grow up just yet.


June 16, 2009

It's a jungle out there

I have gained many new skills since becoming a mother, but only recently did I realise I have become much braver.

Last week, crèche held a ‘Graduation’ ceremony to mark the completion of the playschool year. As part of the celebration, we were told that ‘Dave’s Jungle’ would be putting on a show. I presumed this would be a puppet show or some out-of-work actors dressed as animals. How wrong I was.

‘Dave’s Jungle’ was quite literally a man called Dave (who looked like he’d just returned from several years surviving in the jungle) and his collection of exotic (I prefer the term scary) animals.

Most of the children were very excited and couldn’t get close enough to the action. Max, however, wasn’t showing any signs of enthusiasm, pulling me in the opposite direction. Resisting the urge to scoop him into my arms and head for the hills, I found my mummy courage, marched purposefully towards a 50ft long python (well, at least that’s how big it looked to me), and started stroking it.

‘Look Max, he’s lovely, come and touch him’, I heard myself saying. With a little encouragement, Max crouched down next to me and tentatively poked his finger at the snake, then his whole hand and soon, there we both were, patting a very large snake. Well, what else would you be doing on a Wednesday afternoon in June?

Unlike Max, I didn’t come home with a diploma, but I did award myself a Mummy Bravery badge to go with the others in my collection for 1) getting a large spider out of a shoe, 2) not running around like a mad woman when a wasp landed on me, 3) picking up a very fat worm and 4) letting out only a mild whimper when a moth flew into my face. Things I could only do because I had to put on a brave face in front of the kids.

Motherhood may not be for everyone. It is most definitely not for wimps.


June 9, 2009

Boys will be girls

My young man is currently getting in touch with his feminine side. He recently asked me to paint his toenails after seeing me paint my own. I hesitated – convention telling me that boys don’t have their toenails painted. Then I realised I was being ridiculous and found my brightest, pinkest nail polish. He was thrilled and we giggled as we both sat wriggling our toes off the end of his bed waiting for them to dry!

He has also taken to tottering around in my heels - which does look hilarious when paired with a Burt & Ernie vest and Lightening McQueen underpants! He now knows where I keep my sparkliest party shoes and can often be heard clip clopping around the bathroom in them (I think he likes the noise they make more than the shoes themselves, but I can’t be certain).

The icing on the cake (quite literally) was when he was allowed to choose a treat from the cake counter at a local bakery recently. I thought he might go for the chocolate muffin but he made a beeline for the gingerbread men. Well, actually, what he made a beeline for was a gingerbread lady sporting a bright pink icing bikini. “Are you sure you want that one?” I asked, pointing out the others in football shorts behind. “Yes”, he replied earnestly, “the one with the pink boobs”. He might only be three and a half, but he certainly knows his own mind.

Of course, daddy isn’t so sure about ‘his boy’ having female moments and, although he probably wouldn’t admit it, is trying to counter balance this by talking about dinosaurs and playing lots of footie in the garden!

I find it all highly amusing and very endearing. I may not have produced a daughter, but, for the time being at least, my son is great girlie company. Hmm, maybe we’ll put face packs on tonight while we watch Fireman Sam……


June 2, 2009

A Mum For All Seasons

Well hurray – summer has arrived, and not a moment too soon. I was really getting more than a little fed up of the e-n-d-l-e-s-s days spent indoors as another late spring day brought lashing rain and howling wind. Cabin fever had well and truly set in and I think we were all seriously in danger of contracting scurvy, rickets or any number of unpleasant diseases.

Thankfully, the sun finally decided to put his hat on and we all came out to play.

So, why is it that having spent months willing for long sunny days, I now find myself bothered by the heat and wish it was a little cooler?

It’s tough being a mum in extreme weather. I battled through the snowy, freezing winter days worrying about the small people being too cold. I wrapped them up to the point where they could barely move and dragged myself out of bed in the wee small hours to tuck in blankets.

Now the sun is shining and I find myself chasing the two of them round the garden trying to apply suncream to their ivory skins and to put their hats back on. We walk or cycle down to the shops for an ice cream and I spend the journey back worrying that I didn’t put any suncream on their toes which are poking out of their Doodles. And, although the barbeques with family and friends are lovely, I seem to spend most of the time sitting in the shade doing jigsaws and trying to get fluids into the boys while everyone else relaxes in the sun and worries about getting fluids into themselves!

I’m not complaining really – or maybe I am, just a little.

Since I lost my footing on the corporate ladder (my preferred terminology for being made redundant!), people often ask me if I miss the world of work. In weather like this, not one bit! I may be a bit hot and a bit cross, but I’d rather inflate a paddling pool than someone else’s ego any day of the week!

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