My Unexpected Mummy Skills

Since becoming a mum I have developed some very unexpected skills.  If I’m honest I didn’t know what to expect at all.  Perhaps to love them more than anything, which I do.  Perhaps to have my priorities in life change, which they have.  Other than that I was at a bit of a loss as to what was going to happen.

I’ve now been a Mum for three and a half years and in that time I have realised that being a mother comes with some very strange skills only a parent can understand.  I’m not sure how many of these things are just Mummy skills and how many are Parenting skills.

  1. The ability to smell the girls’ dirty nappies at 10 paces: Pinky is toilet trained now so this no longer fully applies to her.  I can smell if one of them has filled their nappy, oddly I can’t smell all dirty nappies, just Pinky and Perkys.  I can also very accurately tell you which one has farted even if I didn’t hear them do it.  They have distinctive smells… I have no other explanation for this.
  2. The ability to distinguish between a general ‘bang’ and a bump on the head without visual aid: There is a difference, I don’t know what it is but I can always tell the unmistakable thud of a childs’ head over the thud of something else falling down.
  3. The ability to open a packet of crisps ‘silently’ and then eat them all to myself: It’s ok you can marvel at this one… Heres my secret… It has taken a little practice but I open a lower kitchen cupboard door, very gently get my hands ready on the packet of crisps, poised to open.  Then as I slam the door shut with one leg I open the crisps in one swift movement.  Then to avoid detection I hide the packet in a top cupboard and slowly devour them whilst the girls have their backs turned.  I shit you not I actually do this… What has my life become.
  4. I am a master negotiator with a speciality in bribery: To any parent against the idea of bribery you are probably reading the wrong blog.  Come back for advice when your little one isn’t a baby anymore and you have discovered that you have become the type of parent you said you never would.  I can bend the girls to my will using such professional negotiation skills I’m expecting the Specialist Police unit to be in touch soon.  Perhaps MI5.
  5. The ability to creep around the house as silently as a Ninja: This is generally only necessary during the evening and nap time.  Pinky often leaves her lamp on and falls asleep.  Both girls are light sleepers and it is nearly impossible not to wake them up if you enter their rooms.  Perky can sometimes wake up by you simply being outside of her room.  Not a problem for Ninja Mummy!
  6. The ability to distinguish between the cat crying and Perky:  This one may seem like an odd one but I know Hubby can’t do it and there was a time I really struggled.  There is evidence that suggests cats make the high pitched noise of a baby to get our attention and it definitely works.  Our cat is so good at it he sounds exactly like Perky.  To the untrained ear of course.
  7. The ability to catch vomit in my hand with a split seconds notice: Come on mums we’ve all done it.  And if you haven’t I guarantee your time will come! Even if you don’t mean to catch it, you will.  It’s an inexplicable reflex of motherhood.

These are some of my main skills.  Do you have any others you would add to the list?

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What I want my Daughters to know

As days pass by and I see my daughters develop into their own independent little ladies, I often wonder what sort of women they will become. This isn’t something I particularly worry about. Perhaps I should. I don’t mind what jobs they have, I don’t mind if they go to university or not. Their happiness is the most important thing. Along the way I hope they learn, or I can teach these few things….

Be strong minded but not hard hearted. It is important to know what you want and to have the courage to go and get it for yourself. Accompany this with a warm heart and an ability to empathise with others and you will go far and be loved.

Have an opinion. Base this opinion on facts not hear say. Not everything you read or hear will be true. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be prepared to debate. Be prepared to have your opinion changed. Remain open minded. You won’t always be right, be gracious in defeat and always admit when you were wrong.

If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. If asked for an opinion then yes, voice it. Sometimes, however, a question wasn’t asked, a debate wasn’t started. In this instance, if it is too hard to find something nice to say then just don’t say anything.

Ambition is important. What the ambition is isn’t overly relevant. Having ambition itself is what matters as it gives you drive and focus. You can do anything you set your minds to it. Hard work goes a long way.

Be organised. This can be hard to do at times. It is important to stay organised in both thoughts and process. Sometimes things happen in life that knock your confidence, don’t let these things get in the way.

Trust your own instincts. We are all individuals and because of this we will each take different paths in life. We will all enjoy and dislike different things. As they say ‘it takes all sorts to make the world go round’. Only you will know what is right for you. Trust you know the answer.

Stand up for what you believe in. Trust me no one else will.

Stand up for others. Not everyone is strong, and sometimes even strong people have their strength taken away from them. Don’t stand and watch people be bullied or have their confidence sucked from them. Stand up for what you know is right and give others a voice when they have lost theirs. Someday you may need them to return the favour.

Value yourself. There will be a lot of people that come and go throughout life, sadly many of them will try to take advantage of you. If you let them they will keep doing it. Know your worth and value it! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

Be decisive and be determined. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them.

Learn from other people’s mistakes and not just your own. This is hard to do but pay attention. There is no need to replicate someone else’s mistake.

Believe in karma. Trust me… What goes around come around.

Love freely. Those who love the most are loved the most.

Most importantly…

Be happy! Do what brings you joy. Be with people that make you happy, surround yourself with the good in the world. Happiness comes from within.

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Cuddle Fairy
Dear Bear and Beany
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Diary of An Imperfect Mum

Disappointing Weekends

Truth be told I look forward to the weekend from about 10am Monday morning. I long for the adult company and conversation of Hubby, I relish the idea of being able to split the parenting duties, not being the only one saying ‘no’. It is very common for me to post something on my Instagram with some sort of Friday or weekend reference, ‘Happy FriYAY’, ‘Have a great weekend’, ‘Can’t wait for Friday wine o’clock’. Etc etc….. I like these posts by other people but when I do it all I manage to do is to piss myself off. It doesn’t matter what we have planned for those glorious two days of double parenting the weekend will always be a disappointment.

As a stay at home mum I am naturally on hand 24/7 for all the needs of the girls. Other than 15 hours a week that Pinky is at preschool I am the go to girl! We are never apart. So I understand that it becomes very normal to ask me for something when they need it, from food to cuddles. I truly get it. HOWEVER, it would be nice if they could learn that their father is equally capable of providing for them. When they are physically sat on his lap having cuddles, or playing a game with him it would be nice if they didn’t leave his company to hunt me down and ask me for a snack, or to take Pinky to the toilet. Call me melodramatic but they really do hunt me down, in my own home and pull me out of whatever corner I am hiding in trying to get 5 minutes peace whilst I can. Ok,y it’s their home too but I swear they have infiltrated every single part of it. Even my makeup bag has their hair bands in it!

Believe me Hubby does try. He genuinely tries to get the girls to understand that he is more than capable of getting their preferred snack out of a cupboard for them. He tries to inform Pinky that he too knows where the toilet is in the house and could be equally as capable as Mummy in the art of arse wiping! But no, only mummy could possibly do it right!

In some ways I know I should be flattered, happy even, and definitely enjoying these days whilst they still very much need me. And I am under no illusion, I know full well I will long for these days back when they are gone. Living through them is a different story though.

Things have changed in our household recently. Hubby is working longer hours and is traveling more than he has ever done before. One week the girls saw him Monday morning then not again until Friday evening. They missed him loads and wouldn’t leave him alone. I think they would have cuddled him for hours if it wasn’t nearly bedtime. It was really cute, they are actually showing huge signs of being ‘Daddy’s girls’ where for years they have been ‘Mummy’s girls’. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, I thought to myself that as much as I miss Hubby when he is away if it means the girls get to enjoy the time they spend with their Daddy more and maybe appreciate his presence I may get a chance to deal with one less toddler request over the weekend.

Alas no!

It doesn’t matter how much they miss him only Mummy could possibly complete their request properly. Only Mummy deserves to be screamed and shouted at, tantrumed at, because only Mummy could possibly understand the reason and all consuming need for a catastrophic meltdown over a fleck of dust on Dolly.

So with another weekend over, another Monday morning looming, have I been on call all weekend?

Oh yes!

Will I still sit and long for next weekend most of the week?

Oh yes!

I will always remain hopeful that next weekend will somehow be different because without hope there is only despair. And that is not a healthy place to parent from on a regular basis.

Of course Wednesday’s wine o’clock helps, or is it Tuesday’s? Or Thursday’s? Meh! They all help….

Cuddle Fairy

 

Dear Bear and Beany

Our ‘Date Nights’

Over the past few years what I consider to be ‘date nights’ have been fairly few and far between. I understand that this is somewhat inevitable once you have kids but it does grate on me. Then the other week I realised that that wasn’t a fair outlook on the time Hubby and I spend together. We actually spend quite a lot of quality time together and although we may not get to go out for dinner once a month as we would like to that doesn’t mean we don’t have ‘date nights’. So since September is our special month I though it was a good time to reevaluate what I consider to be some of our dates both out of the house, having utilised a babysitting token with the ‘in laws’, and stay at home dates. Plus I’ve thrown in some ideas that we haven’t done yet but we have discussed in the past.

Baby-sitter dates:  

  • .Dinner at a restaurant with cocktails pre or post romantic meal. Candles are a bonus. I’m currently a huge fan of Japanese cuisine.
  • G.o karting. Not the most romantic of dates but loads of fun. Plus a bit of ‘healthy’ competition.
  • Pub quiz. I struggle with this as a date but I love a pub quiz and since kids we just don’t get to do them. We went to one a couple of weeks ago and it was really good fun.
  • A night in a hotel, maybe even a really swanky one! My fav! I love a good hotel, I’ve stayed in quite a few over the last few years so now I think I’m a connoisseur (I am not!)
  • A night time haunted tour. I like the idea of this but in reality I don’t think I would sleep for a week afterwards.
  • A museum or art gallery trip. I’m not sure Hubby would go for this one. Maybe the Imperial War Museum, or Churchills War Rooms could persuade him.
  • We’re going to the zoo zoo zoo. I fecking love the zoo!!!!
  • Boating on the river. Very wind in the willows. Probably not in reality.
  • Day at a Theme Park or one of their special fright nights over hallowe’en.
  • A picnic. Very romantic! Just beware when you set up the picnic blanket and don’t almost put it on top of the dog shit left by an irresponsible owner. I nearly did this the other week…. It would likely ruin the mood.
  • Visit a local farmers/craft market.
  • Spa day. Maybe even enjoy a couples massage in the interest of spending time together. I like this idea in theory but I’m 99% certain I’d be bored after an hour.
  • Cinema trip. The end of December through January is ‘Oscar Season’ which is when a vast majority of the best films are released in the cinema. This is an added bonus as I would rather be in a cinema in the winter months than the summer ones.

Staying-in Dates:

  • A takeaway with a bottle of nice wine. I’m a wine snob and not hugely proud of it…. So it has to be nice wine!
  • Turn the TV off and play a game. We enjoy scrabble or a few card games. Recently we’ve even managed to calm some of the competitiveness.
  • Light some candles, put some cushions on the floor and talk, maybe plan the next holiday. Again wine and a takeaway helps.
  • Make a home cooked meal together. Add dessert. Add wine. Again… Good wine only please. On these evenings I go out and buy an expensive cut of beef, Hubby cooks it whilst I sort the trimmings.
  • Movie night. We don’t get to go the cinema these days. Fortunately this isn’t really a problem anymore as most films get released fairly quickly from cinema. We have Apple TV so I use my iTunes to rent a movie at home. Plus a bag of microwave butterkist popcorn 😋😋😋😋😋.

I’m sure there are other ideas I have missed.

I’m open to further suggestions……?

 

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This Mum's Life

Time to ‘Wife’ a bit more

This month Hubby and I will have been married for five years. It’s not that long in the general scheme of planning to be together for the rest of our lives, but I can’t believe it’s already been five years. This year our anniversary lands on a Saturday. Bonus! This of course means we are going out. Out out parent style! Dinner and cocktails before heading home to relieve the baby sitters (brother and sister in law) and collapsing in a tired, makeup smeared heap. I can not wait! I may even buy a new dress for the occasion.

As Hubby has written we have done a lot in five years, and two of those huge things take up so much of our time and mental capacity. I wouldn’t change Pinky and Perky for the world but I have decided that since September is our month, I am going to concentrate on husband and wife stuff. I parent daily but I’m not sure I can honestly say I ‘wife’ daily.

I don’t think our marriage needs ‘spicing up’, we have a really good relationship, we really really work. We talk about everything, no subject is off limits. As cliché as it sounds we laugh daily. No one can make me laugh like Hubby. If one of us needs a quiet sulky evening we have it, if we need a cuddle the other simply knows. I want this to last. Forever.

Since becoming parents our stuff has taken a backseat. Of course it has, it has to. We don’t go out as often as we did because two more humans need feeding and clothing. Speaking of which our wardrobes could really do with updating. We had originally said that we would try and have a date night once a month after Pinky was born and I was comfortable leaving her for a couple of hours. This hasn’t happened, life got in the way. That’s not to say we don’t ever have date nights because we do. However, what has generally happened in the past is we don’t go out for a few months at a time, so when we do, we go out out. All out out. We organise a sleepover at the grandparents for the girls and we go up to London for the night. ‘The Big Smoke’ isn’t far on a train (just ridiculously expensive) but we don’t go up as often as we would like as we love the city. To make the most of it we will head up in the day and do a spot of retail therapy. Solely my therapy I suspect but bless Hubby he tags along with minimal complaint, mostly just unsubtly asking if there is anywhere to get a drink in the department store in which find ourselves. Then it’s dinner and a hotel stay before heading back home on the Sunday morning. This is expensive. I love this date and would do it more regularly if we could but until our lottery numbers come in it will have to be a very occasional treat. Having said that just because we are parents doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little luxury ourselves every now and again. Many people enjoy a little spa weekend and there are many good offers out there to take advantage of. I love a good back massage but to be honest a spa weekend really isn’t our style. We would be bored by lunch.

So this month I’m going to concentrate on marriage stuff. I am going to think about Date night ideas, ways of lowering my own expectations and accepting there are other ways of having a date that doesn’t necessarily involve leaving the house or needing to organise baby sitters. It doesn’t need to involve an over priced, white table cloth adorned restaurant that serves lobster (not actually something we have ever ordered but it’s nice to know we could). I want to concentrate on the smaller things and appreciate them.

I am also in the market for a suitable anniversary present, wood for the fifth year. All ideas on a postcard please.

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Second Child Syndrome

In a life, that now feels decades ago, when it was just me with a second baby bump and Pinky (and Hubby of course) friends and strangers all told me about ‘Second Child Syndrome’. At the time I simply vaguely listened, with a small, slightly vacant smile on my face. I didn’t really understand, first time parenting can be very stressful. Scrap that! All parenting is stressful but first time has its own extra charm. Everything is new, no stage has happened to you as parent before and although many stages are easy to embrace some are down right startling. Just because you know the terrible twos exist doesn’t make them any less of a surprise when they arrive. The first ever baby poo you get warned about…. There are no words to really prepare you for that, only experience can ease the shock. Add pregnancy hormones into the mix and everything is seems more overwhelming when talking to friends happily in the two child zone. So the idea that second time around could be easier was appealing but seemed incredibly unlikely.
Then the second labour came. It was easier. I mean realistically it hurt more, it was a longer process (both inductions but one longer than the other) but it wasn’t a shock. The memory of the pain was somewhere buried in my brain. The lack of sleep during labour was less of a shock as I already had had nearly two years parenting experience which comes with its own built-it sleep deprivation department. Quite simply I coped. Then Perky arrived. The sudden flow of love of no less overwhelming but again I expected it. Feeding was easier, also helped by the fact that Perky didn’t have tongue tie unlike Pinky (another story I will leave for another time). In essence although everything has been challenging second time round because I have been through it before the shock aspect is missing. I think it is the surprise element that the first child can utilise is what makes parenting so different first time.
Part of the less shocking parenting means that my approach is more relaxed. Obviously I am as rigid about the whole putting ‘inappropriate unidentifiable objects in the mouth’ thing, and still strict on the whole manners stuff. But second time around I’m more relaxed about most things. This, I think, is much of the cause of the ‘Second Child Syndrome’.
Perky definitely gets away with things Pinky never would have. Part of this is that she has an older sister she wants to keep up with. Perky idolises Pinky and she learns directly from her. In her daily attempt to keep up with her sister her physical stamina is greater, at only 18 months she has practically cut out her daily nap. If she sleeps for an hour it’s been a brilliant day (please insert virtual hug of sympathy here). Her spoken language is slightly slower, she doesn’t tell you what noise a cow makes on demand like Pinky could at this age. Her spoken language comes out in other ways and actual words are fewer. For example yesterday she passed wind, guffed, trumped, farted, botty popped, whatever you call it, she looked at me, pointed at her bum and very clearly said ‘pardon me.’ As clear as this was she still can’t tell me consistently what noise a dog makes no matter how much we practice and some days ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ are words that leave a lot to be desired. However because Perky has a three year old sister there is constant talking in our house, from the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed and because of this her understanding of language is unbelievable. Perkys’ non verbal communication is also very good. With Pinky I had the time to decipher her moans, groans and grunts. If she pointed in a vague direction I could work out what she wanted after some trail and error. I do not have all this spare time to decipher these things anymore as I also have a three year old that has needs that require meeting, usually at the same effing time as her sisters. This has meant that Perky very quickly learnt an effective method to grunt and point which communicated her need to me the first time of asking. Her nodding and shaking of her head is always accurate and reliable and her finger point would hit the bullseye on a target every time.
Hubby passed comment the other day about how loud Perky is in comparison to her sister. This is a true comment, she is louder than Pinky has ever been, even now she is older. I firmly believe this is due to her ‘Second Child Syndrome’. If she wants to be heard over her sister who can talk and convey her requests then she needs to shout louder!
It may not be diagnosable but Second Child Syndrome is a real thing. Mostly I think it’s a good thing. It’s a sign that as a parent you are learning from previous experience and possible mistakes, it’s a sign you are evolving and adapting. If along the way you can also learn to cut yourself some slack and lose a little of the ‘Mummy Guilt’ then you really are winning.
I’m still working on that last bit…..

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Hot Pink Wellingtons

Introducing Pocket Money

We have reached the ‘I would like that’ stage whilst watching the TV or looking at a magazine. Almost all the toys Pinky sees she believes she would like. Now experience has shown me two things Yes she will like and play with pretty much any toy put in front of her.

This novelty wears off within approximately two minutes and said toy becomes abandoned in the middle of the room for and old faithful. It may or may not be played with again in a weeks time.
With point 2. in mind I am understandably reluctant to buy her everything that glitters, sparkles, sings and rolls in her direction. I still remember the excitement of looking through the toy section of the Argos catalogue hoping, praying, keeping all fingers crossed that Santa would bring me whatever it was I desired the most. Probably a princess castle or a Disney doll. Santa didn’t often disappoint, but my parents did regularly. They often said ‘No, you can’t have that.’ and as I remember it of course I was disappointed, sometimes even down right upset, but I did understand. Things cost money and we really didn’t have that much to splash on any toy I demanded. I’m not looking for the world tiniest violin here because I never saw the lack of money as an issue. What my parents did do was instil a really strong sense of the value of money. How much things cost, how you earn money, the importance of saving some. I’m not sure when this all started with me but I suspect fairly young as it just feels like I’ve always known this stuff.
A couple of days ago I went to the local supermarket to pick up a couple of essentials. We ended up in the kiddy crafts aisle (not sure how else to describe it) and Pinky asked if she could have some stickers. I said no but that she could have some paint stuff instead. This of course ended up being more expensive but we have stickers at home already and I just end up picking them up off the floor after they fall off her clothes. I also figured that the painting stuff would last more than a day and it was something we could probably do together. It did get me thinking though, maybe it is time for pocket money. Pinky can count a bit, she understands that the coins are different even if she hasn’t quite grasped why and she really enjoys helping me with chores at the moment. I discussed this with her and Hubby and that was it decided.
We don’t expect her to do too much. It’s little things such as tidying up her toys at the end of the day. She helps me load and unload the dishwasher and sometimes will help with the laundry. As she gets older I will get her doing these things independently but for now it’s a ‘sowing the seed’ exercise.
After a couple of days she had £1.50 in her little purse ready to spend. She kept mentioning it in conversation as if it were no big deal but she was obviously thrilled by the idea of going to the shop soon. Since we weren’t actually planning on going anywhere near a shop and she clearly wasn’t going to wait to spend her hard earned cash Hubby took her out on her own to the shop. Apparently she had ideas of buying crayons but she didn’t have enough yet (bless her!!!!) so they went to sweetie aisle. Part of the deal of the money is that she can buy whatever she wants if she had enough and we won’t say no to her, unless it’s dangerous of course. So when she realised she could buy sweets I think the whole foundation of her existence changed. This was a whole new world.
Pinky very proudly came home with a pack of fruit pastels for herself and a bag of chocolate buttons for her little sister. It was apparently completely her idea to buy Perky something, Hubby made no hint towards it. Bless her again!!! It was one of those moments as a parent where I really felt like I was winning.
Each day Pinky asks how she can help and then duly collects her coins. The concept of saving up and actual value will take time, it may even cause some tantrums along the way, but it will be worth it. At three and a half Pinky may be too young to start this, when Perky hits this age I may decide to wait a little longer. However Pinky is fairly intelligent (not a genius but she isn’t stupid) and willing to learn. She may not be buying herself the type of toys she will ask Santa for as at her current rate of earning it may take her a decade to save enough for a new scooter, but she will be able to buy herself the stickers I always say no to, or the pack of sweets I refuse her. It will be her money that she must earn and she can do what she wants with it. I hope that value and sense of achievement goes with her into adulthood.

My Mummy CV

Recently I’ve been feeling a little lost and confused about my daily life. I have no desire to go back to work at all, which is not like me, I have always had a strong work ethic. After Pinky was born my priorities changed and now two children down the line I actually quite like being a stay at home mum and because I don’t get the nursery drop off tears from the girls anymore I get a little less mum guilt, which is always a plus! Despite this I just feel a little bit worthless. I know this is silly but I thought it would be good to remind myself of just exactly what I do as a SAHM, so I thought I would write my ‘Mummy CV’.

Name: Mummy Winnette

Personal Profile: As a mother I am expert at functioning on a higher conscious level even after a torturous amount of sleep deprivation. I am a very patient person, I remain calm in stressful situations and yet when the appropriate occasion arises I can go so bat shit crazy that even the least judgemental person would give me a side glance. A talent which is enhanced by the sleep deprivation. This is an incredibly useful skill to ensure the health and safety of an overly curious toddler. I have eyes in the back of my head and a sixth sense for misbehaviour. My hearing is freakishly good. So much so that sometimes I pretend I haven’t heard something, even when I did, just so people don’t think I’m strange. My main hobby is baking and I love to teach this to my little girls. I know all the words to the opening song of Sophia the First, Doc Mcstuffins and Sheriff Callie as well as few CBeebies programmes. Plus the words to approximately 80% of the Disney songs from their animated films. This was the result of intensive self directed study from a very young age. I greatly enjoy watching pretty much anything on Netflix when time allows.

Education: Genuinely irrelevant at this point.

Training: No previous training in Motherhood. A total novice.

Additional skills:
Laundry Guru specialising in the removal of tomato sauce stains
Gourmet Cook (don’t try and tell me otherwise)
Nutritionist
White lie inventor
Language interpreter with a keen interest in toddler talk
Sibling Wars referee
Events coordinator
Health and safety executive
Cleaner
Snotty sleeve collector
Waitress
Nurse
Toy locator
Expert Negotiator
Miss Manners enforcer
Kindness and Sharing monitor
Teacher
Guidance councillor
Expert in Anger Management
Provider of emotional support
Cuddle giver
Bum wiper
Bathroom sharer and conversationalist
Librarian

References:

Pinky Winnette
Daughter 1
Aged 3 1/2

Perky Winnette
Daughter 2
Aged 1 1/2

I think this is a fairly accurate CV. It’s hard to explain to anyone without children exactly what being a parent is and this only gives a tongue in cheek insight. I love it and wouldn’t change it but sometimes it’s ok to need reminding of that.

If anyone thinks of any skills I have missed please let me know…