Sunday, 3 March 2013

mummyguilt: Bring on the sun!!!

mummyguilt: Bring on the sun!!!: Looking out the window at the dull grey sky, feeling the cold gnawing at my bones, praying that it doesn't snow for what seems the cadgi...

Bring on the sun!!!

Looking out the window at the dull grey sky, feeling the cold gnawing at my bones, praying that it doesn't snow for what seems the cadgillionth time this year, I make an executive family decision - WE ARE GOING ON HOLIDAY!!!!!!!
No ifs. not buts, I need a break away, I need some sun, i need to feel the waves lapping at my feet and feel an ice cold glass of something alcoholic running down my parched throat!! And no sitting on the edge of the bath with a glass of luke warm pinot will not cut it thank you very much!!!!!

So , out comes the lap top and I begin trawling through my dream escapes..... the Maldives, an African safari, a cultural journey across Europe, oh the possibilities!!  ...... 'mum, mummy, mum, mummmy' its like the Titanic hitting an Ice burg!!! Hmmmmm, slight modification needed to the search engine .... must have family entertainment.  And this is where the real fun begins......Hubby and i have a bit of a con flab as you do about our options - well, me talking at him whilst he nods in between watching the rugby six nations (maybe not the best time to have an in depth conversation I know, but at least I have more of a chance getting my own way as he is not really paying attention!!! You have to pick your moments for the best results!!!

Therefore we have two real options for our (ahmm my!!) summer jaunt, A or B????? decisions decisions decisions !!!

A) is an all inclusive resort in the sun with five swimming pools, slides, food 24 hours a day, towel service, evening entertainment, alcohol on tap in a four star restaurant for the grand sum of £5000 - sounds glorious (if not a bit expensive!!) right! but on the down side, we will be in the same room for 2 weeks. All four of us in a box for 14 nights!!!!!! 14 nights of a dull glow from a lamp as No1 son is a little concerned about the dark (not scared, just concerned he tells me!!) . 14 nights of the diva talking in her sleep and because we will be so close trying to get into bed with us. 14 nights of sir snoresalot with nowhere to escape to!!!!AAARRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Also these types of holiday can become a little regimented.... up at the crack of dawn (my kids don't sleep late remember!!) breakfast, pool, lunch, pool, dinner, evening entertainment , bed and repeat... so much so you feel you are on a conveyor belt and cant get off!!! And the food at these all inclusive hotels is usually buffet style with a side serving of chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

B) is to hire a villa for a fortnight. Complete freedom from routine in the sun!!enough room for all of us to have a room each where we can get away from each other if necessary, a private pool all to ourselves - heck we could all go skinny dipping if the mood takes us!!We can eat what we want, when we want (only disadvantage would be muggins here having to prepare it!!)  The villa would be in Spain close to family so there would be the added distraction of children close in age whom my two know (no awkward shyness that means you have to be on 'play' duty for the first three days!!  i would have other people who I know to talk to (again none of that awkward trying to make friends with people round the pool) if hubby begins to bore me.  There would be no tipping to guarantee your favourite table close to the bar and food, and no fighting over sun loungers!!!

The only down side is 24hours in a car with 'are we nearly there yet?' - a song my dad taught them a few years ago - which goes something like this...'are we nearly there yet?, are we nearly there yet? I need a poo, I need a wee, are we nearly there yet? I'm hungry' then repeat, often and loudly, to any particular tune you fancy at the time!! Lovely.

I remember as a child driving down to Spain on numerous occasions, reading in the back of the car, eating a picnic in a garage forecourt, weeing over a hole in the ground (got to love the french service stations!!) It was an adventure! No d.v.d player, no Nintendo, no ipad, no ipod. Just a family all together in a car, perfect!!  Obviously I'm glamorising because if you speak to my dad, it was all arguing in the back (you are on my side, don't touch my things, stop pulling faces) arguing in the front ('No, this is the best way around Paris' We are heading towards Toulouse not Bergerac!!) numerous toilet stops and of course the infamous song 'are we nearly....' you get the drift He He!!!!!!

But I digress, whats it to be ?? Option A or B, luxury or freedom? A day of purgatory or 14 disturbed nights?
What a choice to have to make. My head is pounding just thinking about it, I need to lie down in a darkened room or maybe a mini break in the Cotswold's to discuss the finer points with hubby, now what was that website on country estate breaks???????

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Is it wine o'clock???

I have always enjoyed a drink or two - I'm sure there are plenty of people out there with one or two or three stories about my overindulgence in my youth (ok and the present if I'm completely honest!!!) - but I have never thought of myself as having a problem....... Until now!!!

Last week, after a particularly hard day with the diva, dog, house, and No1 son, I poured myself a glass of crisp, cold Pinot which I stood slurping whilst cooking the kids tea.  With each sip, I felt myself slowly transforming from bad tempered shrew to better mummy - even enquiring after No1 sons day!!!!!!! Then hubby walked in and spoilt it by announcing " drinking already? You know it's only five pm on a Tuesday!!!"  Hmmmmm this is a problem? A tea time tipple?? Not as if its a one off, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this !

There was a survey recently -in essentials magazine - about how mums relax and 2/3rds admit to pouring a glass after a stressful day, 1 in 6 said they drink most days of the week - ok, ok, once upon a time I could count myself in that group but I've cut down honest!!!!!   But it got me thinking about appropriate drinking behaviour - Why is it so many people tut tut at the thought of a mummy with a martini!!!
Who says that looking after children all day is any less stressful than a high powered executive job? Colleagues have drinks after work so why can't us mums??? Although can I add I'm not advocating Pimms on a play date!!

What we need to remember is everything in moderation!!! One, two miss a few is my new moto!! A couple of glasses , a couple of times a week with a few days off in between!!
Sometimes after answering to others- mainly the kids! - all day, it's nice to do something for ME, and if its reading a chapter of my book or having a glass of wine whilst cooking then I couldn't care less what time it is!!!!

But is this regular drinking really bad for me? I don't want to lose what sometimes feels like the only pleasurable part in my hectic day! So it's encouraging that its been found that those who drink in moderation had sharper thought processes than those who drank nothing at all - god help us as I'm woolly at the best of times!!!!!

Sometimes it's a cup of tea that's needed - crying needs tea, shock needs tea, first thing in the morning needs tea!!! Maybe a relaxing cup of horlicks - definitely needed on freezing cold nights!!!! Maybe even a latte with friends - goes down nicely with a slice of carrot cake and a bit of a gossip!!!
But knowing the option of a glass of crisp white is mine to take makes it even more enjoyable, and what's that saying " somewhere in the world the sun is over the yard arm!!!!"

Post script : this was written under the influence of a glass of Sauvignon blanc!!

Friday, 15 February 2013

C'mon baby drive my car!!!!!

Here I am, sat in Morrisons drinking a skinny latte, mulling over the fact that my life is on hold as I wait patiently (ahem) for my car to be fixed by the garage opposite.
It has been recalled by the manufacturer for some reason or another and is therefore eating into my precious child free morning!!!!!

Now I think that cars are the most fabulous invention since wine (just don't enjoy them both together!!!!) I honestly think I would fall apart without my 'mummywagon'.
Let me describe her to you........ She is fire engine red with more than a hint of dirt and mud splashes, there are the odd dents and scrapes from trolleys, low lying branches and a brick wall - completely not my fault it just jumped out at me!!!!!. The boot looks like it has been coated in a layer of white cashmere, but on closer inspection you can see that it is merely dog hair. There are shopping bags, wellies, buckets and spades, footballs, rugby balls, dolly clothes and a pair of pants (clean i might add) in the boot, not forgetting the half chewed dog bone.  The overall smell inside the car is a mixture of rotting food, frustrated child and stressed mother!.  The chairs are covered with crumbs, mud and even a little bit of dried in sick (its hard to get right between the chairs!!) or maybe its blood? who knows.  The glove compartments are full of an eclectic mix of music - ranging from show tunes (mine)to pop boy bands(hubby's shh!!) to nursery rhymes and story telling c.ds. There are leads to plug in d.v.d players, chargers for phones and ipads. There are wet wipes, plasters, a half drunk bottle of water, headache tablets and indigestion tablets! There are packets of crisps, raisins, biscuits and an apple!!! There is an audible groan when we enter and exit the car as if she is pleading with us to leave her in silence for a few mins!!!  But it is literally my second home and I can't imagine being with out it!!

We live not quite in the a#%e end of nowhere but pretty close and without my car my life would be extremely difficult. School and nursery are in opposite directions. Dance, rugby, football and swimming all mean driving down unmade roads, the closest town is chelmsford (a 15/20 min drive away!!) and snob that I am i can't stand the thought of public transport!!

To be more specific its buses!!! To coin a phrase from the diva 'Yucky stinky yuck!!'
Taxis are fine,but I always feel the need to make general chit chat with the driver! absolute inane crap that keeps my mouth moving and the drivers head nodding!  Trains are acceptable as long as its not rush hour - I couldn't bear to work in London and think that those who fight to get to work every morning with other peoples smelly armpits in their faces, other peoples choice of music blaring out, other peoples mobile phone conversations in their ear, sniffing, coughing etc.... you all deserve a medal!!!
But buses are the worst!!
They come with their own unique smell, usually a driver who can barely look in your general direction as they take your money and then pulls away before you have actually sat down, throwing you unceremoniously into the lap of a peculiar looking stranger!!
They stop every two seconds. People wipe all sorts on the seats, windows, holding on bars. There are at least two old crones discussing the whys and wherefores of 'her' at number 15. There is always a lanky, dirty looking lout listening to some heavy rock on an ipod which he feels the need to share with everyone else on the bus. And there has to be one person who sits staring at you for the whole of the journey (usually the one whose lap you fell into!!) making you wonder if you have a bogey hanging out of your nose or if its a really bad hair day!!
Need I go on??? give me my charabang any day!!
Not that I know how it works mind! I have no clue as to the magic that goes on under the hood, it gets me from A to B and that's all that matters!

There are many fine women in the world who can change tyres, top up the oil, know what a spark plug looks like and where a carburetor goes. Me on the other hand has a hubby who can do all that and if he can't I have an AA card that can find a man that can - within a three hour time window anyway!!  Hubby did offer to show me how to MOT a car once but I declined on the basis that it was cold and I just wasn't interested!! You have to be honest hey!!

So when I had a blow out -technical term for screaming mother and children, rubber splaying onto the road, cars honking horns and general smell of burning - on the A130 the other month I opened the boot and sobbed like a baby at the sight of no spare tyre and a phone with only one bar of battery left!! Fortunately a very kind man lent me tissues and his phone, then an even nicer man in a big yellow van thingy came to our rescue!  Children thought it was one big adventure - after all they had enough food and entertainment in the back of the car to keep them going for a week. I on the other hand vowed to do something about my general girly tarty attitude to vehiculus mobilius!!!!

Therefore I have picked up a booklet of courses offered at evening college and I'm sure there is a general motor understanding course in there, alas I have left it in the car!! Now if I could just find time to clean out the boot, i would be able to find the booklet and book the course! You will be calling me Henry Ford in no time!!!! beep beep

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Isnt it ironic......... Don't ya think??

'Man makes plans - God laughs' I'm often reminded of this old Yiddish proverb (don't ask me how I know this, I read a lot of random things!!) when inevitably my best laid plans come undone at the seams and lay unravelled at my feet!!
Its almost as if someone is trying to remind me that no matter how organised you think you are there are actually higher powers at work and they are gonna screw with your patience no matter what!!!!!!

Sometimes its just a little reminder, like a food shop done in record time, everything on the list bought and just as you are carrying it all into the house to unpack the handle on your bag breaks as do the eggs!!! so another little trip is needed!! Or that one evening in a million where you have arranged a romantic night out, the baby sitter is booked and hubby is on his way home when one of your darlings throws up in your lap!!  You rage inside but inevitably you deal with it!
I believe it was Alanis Morisette who said 'isn't it ironic....(like rain on your wedding day! keep up people!)

A definition of irony from the dictionary states that 'irony often conveys incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal expected result'.  Put simply irony usually signals a difference between the appearance of things and the reality - like Britain's biggest dog being called 'tiny'.

I see irony as a big leader in the 'Chaos' theory - that's usually applied to mathematics and many natural systems such as freak weather conditions (think Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic park and that drop of water! I remember the most random things honestly!!) but I honestly feel that it has a lot more to do with the general day to day running of life!!!!!
For example, hubby doesn't put the lid back on the milk properly before laying it down in the fridge, it spills, you need to clean it up, making you a fraction later for the school run.  So as you rush out of the door shouting at the kids to hurry as you go, you will definitely get stuck behind a tractor or a group of senior citizens crossing the road with the even older lollipop man! which means there will be no parking spaces outside school so you need to park further away. You rush to get said child into school, rush back to car to get second child to nursery, realise that No1 son has left lunch in car so you run it back into school. On return to car (still in a rush) you have a parking ticket!! You get home eventually to find fridge door wide open as whilst cleaning up and in the rush to get out you forgot to shut it!!! CHAOS

Therefore the fact that I make lists, I have a diary, family organiser, calender and yet things still come and bite me on the bum is ironic? OR CHAOS JUST BEING A BITCH?????
The fact that I always told my mum I was going to marry a man rich enough to have servants and yet I spend my entire day cooking and cleaning for my family, ironic or stupidity??  Th fact that recently we drove all the way to Norfolk to look for snow as we were fed up waiting for it in Essex and then that afternoon our home was covered in a blanket of the white stuff?!!!?? Irony??

Chaos, irony, stupidity, call it what you like , it all adds to the wonderful way my life is being played out. It adds to the grey hairs, the stress levels, and the amount of times I have to go to the fridge for a glass of wine that was bought on the second shopping trip (eggs breaking, please try to keep up!!) to numb the pain of the day only to discover its non alcoholic!!

Isn't it ironic, don't ya think ..... come on join in with me........ its like raiiiinnnnnn on your wedding day, its the free adviseeeeeee that you just didn't take..............

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Home alone - the rise of the part time partnership!!

Its seven p.m, I'm frazzled from school runs, tidying, cleaning, ironing, sorting both bath and bed time, dealing with homework and tantrums when the phone rings ......
All I really want to do is dive under the duvet and forget the day but instead I plaster on a fake smile, answer the phone and proceed to tell hubby a censored version of the day!!! No point moaning too much as he's hundreds of miles away working as is probably just as tired (I use the term loosely!!!) Is this modern parenting I ask myself?

Part time marriages are on the rise and many of us have no choice but to accept the fact! I have many friends who's hubbies work away from one or two nights a week to months at a time.  The economy is in such a state that sometimes its just too hard to say no to the jobs that take our nearest and dearest away from us!!

But lets look at the positives, we get the whole bed to ourselves, no snoring warthog next to us - bliss!!! we are in control of the remote (well thats the norm in our house any way!) And yes we can eat fish finger sandwiches for dinner instead of catering for a man who likes a 'proper' cooked dinner (like he's Jamie Oliver in the kitchen!!!!)

There are times when I get fed up of coping on my own, when I'm too tired to put the bins out or walk the dog (usually done with two whingey children in tow!) when I fancy a take away or when the kids are crying for their daddy and asking why he cant come home. 
There are times when I phone him at my wits end with the kids and are met with the sounds of a 'pub' in the back ground or he is just too busy to really talk!!
There are times when I would like to go out or organise something with my friends but it doesnt fit with his work diary!!!!
So yes, 'no (wo)mans land' can be difficult to cope with, feeling like a single parent but not being one!!  Im lucky its not a weekly occurance in this house, but I've noticed that the wash bag is out alot more often lately!!!.

Then theres another problem, its easy to paint a picture of a 'leaping into each others arms' type of reunion on hubbies return, however in reality my blood starts to boil being presented by a bag of laundry, full of clothes covered with blobs of restaurant food that he hasn't had too cook!!!!! My hackles rise when the kids routines are interfered with or he does something that means I have to step in!!!!  It's chaos.  But I have to remind myself that this is the normal side of life and he's probably trying his best!!

Its sooooo important to have a good network of friends and family around you especially during the 'trying' times - like running out of milk when the kids are already in their P.J.s ready for bed or when one has a an after school club, the other has a birthday party, the dog has a vets appointment and the car needs an MOT!!! aaarrrrggghhhhhhhhhhh!!! How full time single parents do it I just cant imagine, they deserve a medal!
 Maybe on his next trip away I can persuade hubby to take his laudry to his mothers, after all its important to make these part time partnerships a family affair!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Dear God...........are you there??

Picture the scene..... a tired, bedraggled woman kneels at the side of her bed. Her hair is streaked with grey, there are bags under her eyes, her pyjamas are frayed at the edges (like her nerves) and covered in stains.  In a hushed voice, careful not to wake her semi sleeping children she says her prayers......
'Dear God, its me Katie (for those of you who remember the reference!!) I know you are extremely busy solving all the worlds problems, curing the sick, feeding the hungry, performing minor miracles for the desperate, but I was wondering if you had a spare five minutes to help me out!!!

I don't want to sound ungrateful as i know I am in a fairly privileged position. I have two healthy children (one of each so again thank you) a happy marriage (everyone had a few disagreements so I will swallow that) and a very nice roof over my head (although a bit of help with the cleaning once in a while wouldn't hurt!!!)

Its just that there are a few things, minor things, that need work......... lets start with the children .... would it be too much trouble to ask for a mute button to be installed on the back of their necks or maybe a pause button?  So that I could just get five minutes peace!!!! I love listening to my children don't get me wrong and I'm grateful for their very existence but just a bit of silence to think straight when they are both shouting at me, at each other, demanding my attention, or when I'd like to go to the toilet without an audience or running commentary. 
I really don't think this is too much to ask!!!!!!!!

Then there's the hubby - again very grateful he's still around considering his beautiful, intelligent, sexy wife has turned into a moaning, dribbling, wart hog who can barely muster a smile in his general direction let alone come hither eyes!!
I'm just wondering, would it be possible to give him some general children/household skills? So that he actually puts a plate in the dishwasher instead of on the side, so that he actually changes the toilet roll once its finished, so that he actually tells me when the milk has run out in the fridge!!!!  So that I feel that I have a bit of support instead of another toddler on my hands!!!!!!!!
I do love him very very much and I'm sure he doesn't mean it but between him and the kids I feel that I am being run over systematically by a steam roller and then battered by a caber!! Hence the physical appearance.

Failing all of the above could you just make the younger two sleep longer and the hubby listen a bit more? that would make me a happy relaxed mummy who can cope with the day to day demands of life instead of rocking sobbing in the corner!"!!!

As for the house, I know you don't perform DIY miracles on a regular basis but just this once could you make the bathrooms and oven self cleaning and maybe a few guardian angels following behind me picking up the toys and clothes and shoes and bags and coats and plates and mess!!

I know you don't do bargaining but I promise if you could help me with any of the issues I have mentioned I will give more to charity, I will light a trillion gazillion candles every week at mass and I promise to make my first born enter the priesthood ( I think you will have more of a chance with him, the diva in a habit I cant picture!!)  Come on give me a sign, no one likes to see a woman beg!!

So your most gracious godliness, I humbly ask these minor adjustments in my life to make me a nicer human being, a saner, kinder, more loving mummy!!
Amen.

P.s and if you have any spare time, help me loose a few pounds (ok, make it stone!), tighten up the skin, get rid of the wrinkles, perkier boobs, shiny hair............

And as we move away from the poor bedraggled woman we realise that she is not actually in prayer anymore but actually asleep, too tired to even drag herself  into the crisp clean sheets that look nearly an hour to put on the bed as she was interrupted a dozen times by one or both of her cherubic, now sleeping angels!!!