Switching off and Logging out. 

The era of technology has taken over.

And I’m fighting back. 

Before I start this post, it needs an explanation, a disclaimer perhaps.  

The TV is on in our house pretty much all day, and it’s rare that I don’t have a phone or ipad in my hand.  Even at the dinner table. I know far, far too much about the residents of Adventure Bay (canine or otherwise), and can identify each of My Little Ponies by their cutie marks alone. 

I basically suck at being with my children without technology. 

But, the increasing anger of my 3.5 year old is concerning me. And my observations show that she gets the most angry when she, or I, are plugged in. 

So we are going off grid. A bit. Just a tiny bit. In fact not off grid at all really.  Just switching stuff off for a bit. 

We’ve always done ‘stuff’ as well as watch TV, but it’s usually been on in the background.  This week it hasn’t.  

In the middle of the day my phone is put in another room and the TV is turned off and I engage Mummy mode.  Full mummy mode. I mean obviously, I’m always a Mummy, but I’m usually a wife, teacher, friend, person in my own right at the same time. 

It’s about being in the moment. Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to give it my full attention.  Be that playing a game with the big one, singing songs with the little one or having a conversation with my husband.  I’m going to be in that moment, and only in that moment.  

It’s early days, the moments are short.  But they are increasing. 

And, do you know what?  It’s bloody hard work! But do you know what else?  I’m enjoying it. More importantly, so are my children.  Tensions with my eldest are lessening.  I’m shouting less. So is she. 

“Mummy, it’s been a lovely day.  Thank you” 

So, the experiment continues.  Can we get our TV viewing down to once or twice a week? Probably not. I need it.  Paw Patrol allows me to wash up and Ben and Holly provide a chance to make dinner. But can we stop watching TV when we could be doing other things together? I hope so. 


My shameful secret…

I’m a mummy teacher.  A teacher mummy. 

It’s reaching the end of six heavenly weeks with my girl.  Six weeks of fun, games, adventures, new words, new sentences, new skills, love and a whole lot of laughter. 

And I can’t wait to get back in the classroom.  

Here’s why…

In the classroom I am seen as the expert

Although the odd teenager may question whether I really do know about Victorian Melodrama, the students, on the whole, accept that I am the one with the Drama degree and I am therefore the one to be listened to. Not at home! My toddler questions everything I do. “No mummy, this way, no, mummy, naughty mummy”

At school I can wee without an audience. 
None of my students shout “mummy, where you going? I come big girl toilet with you! I sit on floor! Tissue mummy?” I am so looking forward to those private wees!

At work people do as I ask them. 
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not without the occasional argument. Nor do I want to live a life where everyone bows down to my every command, but, in my work life at least, it’s lovely to not hear “nope” to my every request.

At work I can dress without worrying about boob access. 
I can wear dresses with high necklines. I can wear jewellery without worrying about it being “borrowed”. Yes, I can even wear high heels! (I may kick them off when I’m teaching stage combat, but that’s another matter!) I can feel good about how I look.

At school I can eat lunch without sharing and without someone sitting on my lap. 

Granted, I may not actually get a lunch break with the rehearsals and clubs, but, in my many years of teaching, not once has a student climbed onto my lap and taken my lunch from my hand while it was en route to my mouth.

At school, every day, I get to return home to cuddles and love and time with my perfect, cheeky, loving and wonderful toddler!

Breastfeed on, and stop pressing share.

NF, JC and the like do not need or deserve our time of day. Their opinions on breastfeeding are neither educated nor relevant to my life. What they are however, are dangerous and inflamitory.

Every time a public figure, (even those as ridiculous as NF) comments on breastfeeding, a vulnerable new mum is led to believe that it is OK to question and judge her parenting choices. It is not.

Yes, the London restaurant in question here made a big error, but so have we. By constantly discussing and quoting the celebrities and politicians we are giving these people and places more publicity, when we should instead be praising the many many wonderful places that support Mums, (however they feed their children.). I support a woman’s right to protest. I support a woman’s right to choose how to feed their baby. I do not support the use of discussing feeding for political agenda or publicity.

Breastfeeding is hard work, it is difficult and and exhausting. It is also best for baby and recommended by the World Health Organisation to two years and beyond. It is a a wonderful experience for mother and baby and it has innumerable health benefits. But, at its simplest, it is feeding a baby. For some reason, there are people in the public eye, (and out of the public eye) who feel the need to comment on this. Ignore them. They have nothing else to talk about, and, worse still, they are using their comments on this simple act as a way to get attention, publicity and potentially, your vote.

Do not give them your time. Let’s stop sharing. Stop commenting and stop liking.

Just feed. And if someone doesn’t like it, well that’s too bad. You have a legal right to do so.

End of.

Please don’t eat your wand…

You find yourself saying some odd things as a parent. For me, with a nearly ten month old who likes to put anything and everything in her mouth, (and bite!) the most common phrase of all is “…. is not for eating L”

Mummy’s face is not for eating.
This includes, but is not limited to, her chin, her nose, her cheek, her eyebrows and her forehead.

Books are not for eating.
Mummy and Daddy met when they both worked in the same bookshop – are you doing this to wind us up?!

Wands are not for eating.
They are for magic. Also not for eating are your wings, your bunny ears and your Christmas hat. Anyone would think you didn’t want Mummy to dress you up!

Remote controls are not for eating.
And should you decide to sneak up and do so when Mummy’s back is turned, you should not get upset if Mr Tumble or Makka Pakka disappear from the screen.

Mobile phones are not for eating.
They are for talking on. (Or playing games, Facebooking or blogging) There is no ‘eat me’ app installed on mummy’s phone. Please put it back.

Feet are not for eating.
Not Mummy’s feet, or Daddy’s feet. Not Grannie’s feet or Grampy’s feet. Not your Auntie’s feet or the feet of your friend who has just arrived in his pushchair. Eating feet is also not the traditional and socially accepted way of introducing yourself to the other babies Mummy opposite us at Baby Sensory. (incidently, nor is stealing and eating their mobile phone.) Even your own feet, although yours by rights, are not really for eating.

Wires and cables are not for eating.
That’s just silly and dangerous, and it makes me look bad!

That other babies hand is not for eating.
The other mums are starting to talk about you my darling.

Bathtime octopus is not for eating.
I know you love him, I know he protects you from the rubber duck who you find so inexplicably terrifying, but please don’t eat him.

Darling girl. I promise you this, when things are allowed to be eaten it will be clear. That stuff Daddy and I put in your bowl or on your plate when you sit in your highchair- that’s for eating. (not throwing on the floor!)

Myth busting, (or why I told the Facebook world about my PND)

The Diary of an Insecure Mother

I shared.  I opened up to the Facebook world. I admitted to my post natal depression.

It was terrifying- and it was done somewhat impulsively, but I am pleased I did.

I realised that as long as I, and others like me, continue to keep quiet about things like this, then change will not come.

I was scared of judgement, scared of what people will think about me.

Yes, I have PND, let me explain to you what that means, and what it does not mean.

I do not regret being a mother. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mum, and now I am I feel complete. My life, pre motherhood, was missing a piece, and now it is not.  I have regrets about labour, I have regrets about how I parented in the early days, but not for one second have I ever regretted…

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Oh crap! I’m a Mummy bore.

There are some things which you can read and hear about forever and always be interested in. There are other things which you tire of quickly.

Amongst these things, in fact, top of the list, you will find the topic of Other people’s children.

We all know the drill, friends have babies, suddenly poo becomes and acceptable topic of conversation, even at the dinner table. Anything and everything that can be related back to the tiny new being, will be. Discussions about stitches and labor are common place and boobs feature heavily.

This does not change as baby grows. Facebook is still treated to daily pictures and updates, just in case we miss the new outfit, or new skill.

This drives me mad.

And then…

I looked at myself today, while out for lunch with friends, (one couple the parents of a gorgeous newborn, the other couple, having just moved in together are not at this stage), I caught a glimpse of myself and the realisation hit.

I am that mummy bore.

I am that woman for whom everything is about my child. I am the annoying parent who offers unsolicited advice to new parents.

You see, the thing is, the thing noone tells you until you have a baby of your own, the thing is my baby is different. My baby is perfect, she is so clever and so beautiful that I can’t understand anyone not wanting to hear about her 24/7. 

Then I see those faces, the polite nods and discreet change of subject, and I remember, she is the centre of my world, not theirs.
So here is my plea, I know I have become that breed of crazy that only parenthood makes, I am sorry. Please forgive me, please like my pictures and continue to nod politely, please understand, that to me, my daughter is the only one that matters. And in turn, I’ll do my best to remember, that your children, (current or future) well, they are the centre of your world too. And should you choose not to have children, I will respect that too, I will show interest in whatever it is that is important to you.

We know we do it, we can’t help it. The love and pride is overwhelming and has to come out somewhere.