When cliches start to make sense…

Why are we all so scared of getting old?

It’s easy to ward off the flab and the bad health if you just go to the gym and eat healthily – as for wrinkles and sag, I think I’d rather look natural than inflated.

I feel myself getting more and more comfortable in my skin. Life teaches you some tough lessons as you gather responsibilities. All those old cliches begin to make sense.

Be yourself. This drove me insane as a teenager because who the hell was I? Who did I want the world to think I was? Now I know what makes me happy, what’s important to me, what I will stand up for and what makes me uncomfortable. I’ve learned that ignoring these things bothers me for days. Don’t you hate that feeling of ‘God I wish I’d said something’? So now I do. (most of the time)

Beauty is only skin deep. I never even understood this phrase – like how deep is skin? Now I’ve met enough boring beauties and handsome arseholes to get it. People whose beauty conforms to 21st century standards are rarely good company. In my experience they’re pretty low in self-confidence and fairly draining to be around.

Just ignore the bullies. Yeah – cos that was possible in the playground. There was one lunchtime though, age nine, when I was in the firing line, and I leaned through the gate to talk to the lollipop man. He was elderly and hilarious – full of stories. Now I know there is ALWAYS someone to talk to, if you just look around. Bullying is a fact of life – people abuse power absolutely everywhere – so you might as well hone your coping mechanisms. I’ve also figured out that, when someone is upsetting you, think about the worst thing they could do and make your peace with it. Their power over you vanishes. I had a boss whose relentless demands nearly made me ill. When I realised that if she fired me I had genuine options, I stopped letting her get to me. I also developed those options and handed in my notice.

Love yourself. Ooft. Now if I had the answer to this one I’d call myself the Messiah. I think women in particular are very bad at being nice to themselves. I have this one friend who’s like a mirror. She and I beat ourselves up about things and turn to each other for comfort. One day we realised we would never speak to each other in the tone of our internal monologues, so we resolved to change. I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who’s adored me since I was 17 so I’ve always had a foundation of ‘if this wonderful guy loves me that much, I must be OK’. Of course the devil on my shoulder reminds me I didn’t date very much so maybe no one else would have had me. I think, as I work through challenges and counsel friends through hard times, I’m realising how powerful love really is.

It’s all water under the bridge. This once vague concept has become pretty central to it all, really. The bridge is our path through life – sometimes it feels strong and sturdy, other times it sways slightly and, let’s face it, on occasion it feels like it will be washed away by the torrent. It’s all about how you perceive the river. I try very hard to keep my bridge strong and fortify it with the people I love and the things that make me happy. Everything else I consign to the water and let it wash away. It’s not allowed to stick to my bridge. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to scrape away the flotsam and jetsam. I guess it’s like the Forth Road Bridge. I’ll never be finished painting it.

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Best friends

Isn’t it just the cutest when your toddler becomes a proper wee lad with views on the world and a proper best friend?

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I feel like our wee Smoosh has grown up so much in the last few months. The things he comes out with just astonish me. He remembers everything, which frequently catches me out, and he repeats everything. Rod insists it was me who “taught” him the F word – but when he said it to Grammy, after she’d told him to stop playing with the gas hob, he added: “That’s what daddy says”…

Last night in the car on the way home from Glasgow I said: “Hey – no sleeping!” and his answer nearly made me crash.
“I’m not sleeping mummy – I’m just chilling.”

He’s such a sociable wee lad (he and his friend Lewis yell “Hi stinky bum” across the street at each other at the school drop off) but his very best friend has remained constant for a long time now. I’ll call him Spiderman because that’s who he thinks he is.

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The woman in the supermarket asked me if they were twins.

Spiderman’s mummy is also a superhero, she saves me frequently, including when I crashed the car last week. It is so great to have a friend who will happily take your kids or give you hers, who also lives a few streets away and who shares your guilty passion for alcohol on a weeknight. She loans me her daughter too, when I want to play makeup or princesses.

I spend a lot of time discussing how hard being a mum is – but actually, friends like that make it wonderful. I’m lucky to have her and all the other awesome strong mums around me who get it – so I’m going to take a day off from the moaning.

I’ll be back tomorrow no doubt.

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Googlyfruit to the rescue*

I have a poorly peep at home today.

He’s been coughing constantly, feeling very sorry for himself. I’ve been by his side with the laptop, trying to work and look after him at the same time.

Then we got a package delivered…

 

 

Finally he’s eaten something – pureed fruit. Three packets of it!

Thank you Googlyfruit – you’ve won a fan!

*with very many thanks to the team at Googlyfruit for sending us such an amazing goody box of free samples!

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Superexcited for Cineworld’s Superscreen and Paddington 2*

I didn’t think anything in the world could persuade the wee man to part with his football – then we went to Cineworld.

The boys are just reaching cinema age – you know, where they’ll sit longer than 45 seconds and not require 17 snacks. So when Cineworld got in touch and offered me tickets to see Paddington 2 on the Superscreen, I felt brave enough to accept.

Rod was skeptical. He packed a bag with 17 snacks and insisted we book aisle seats – but even he was pleasantly surprised.

“Wow!” was the wee man’s first comment – and that was just when he saw the Christmas tree outside the cinema.

Next was the excitement of the huge escalator, the popcorn cabinet and the huge blue “Superscreen” letters, which he took pride in sounding out for his wee brother (complete with jolly phonics actions – proud).

It was only KD’s second cinema visit – and the first visit had involved 3D glasses – so technically it was his first proper experience of a huge movie. Viewing it on the Superscreen (which means a wall-to-wall, ceiling-high screen) must have blown his little mind. I don’t think he’s ever sat so still. He was transfixed. For a kid who loves a movie on an iPad this was heaven indeed – and the sound was coming from all around him (apparently it’s multidimensional sound powered by 27 amplifiers).

The wee man, who’d given up his ball at the popcorn cabinet, appeared to have forgotten all about it. Even Rod relaxed.

The movie itself was absolutely charming. The boys clearly loved the bear and his clumsy mischief, I enjoyed the nostalgic image of a villagey London and the brilliant acting from Hugh Grant and Hugh Bonneville. The sequence where the pop-up book came to life, with Paddington running through it, was a gorgeous and clever mix of old and new technology. I could see the boys loved that bit too – with such an enormous screen, they must have felt like they were in that book right along with Paddington.

Of course I won’t spoil the ending – but I highly recommend the movie. Anything that can keep my two crazies that enthralled has to be a winner. As for the Cineworld Superscreen experience, it really is incredible. I’d recommend you sit right at the back to get the full impact – but I doubt you’ll need an aisle seat.

It was one happy family who left Cineworld that Sunday – and with a bag still full of snacks.

Book Paddington 2 here and check out what else is showing in Superscreen, including Star Wars and Justice League: https://www.cineworld.co.uk/superscreen#/

“Mummy, can we go back?!”

 

*With very many thanks to Cineworld for paying for our tickets, along with a small fee for writing this review

 

 

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Once upon a morning…

Putting icing sugar in my coffee was, in fact, the icing on the turdcake of my morning.

Picture yourself in bed, squashed.

You have a wriggling three year old on one side and a spreadeagled six year old on the other.

One rolls out and you gratefully unfold your limbs – then leap to attention as he starts emptying your jewellery box. For once, you’ve all slept beyond 5am – but it’s Wednesday and everyone needs to be out the door in 45 minutes.

There’s the usual nonsense of breakfast rejected, iPads demanded and juice spilled – punctuated by “No, I’m not getting dressed,” every five minutes.

You cobble together the lunchboxes, scrape your curls into a ponytail, split up fights in your underwear and then herd them into the bathroom to brush their teeth. The three year old is still in his pyjamas because, “NO, I’M NOT GETTING DRESSED,” is still on repeat.

“Fine, you can go to nursery like that,” you say. He stops, considers and then grins widely. What fun.

The six year old wants to cram 16 toy cars into his school bag and you spill them on the driveway as you shove everything into the car, including your older son. The three year old is wailing on the doorstep. It’s cold outside when you’re only wearing pyjamas. You throw all his clothes in a Tesco bag, go back for shoes, give a martyred smile to a passing mother with well-behaved, clothed children and strap the squirming toddler down. I mean in.

You arrive at nursery. He’s been very quiet and now whispers “Mummy, can I get dressed now?”

“Yes of course darling,” you cry brightly, wrestling with seatbelts and pyjama tops and jumpers. Your six year old, who’s jumped into the front seat to ‘drive’, decides to throw open the door just as a van drives past, resulting in screeching of breaks, honking of horns and a minor heart attack.

You leave the small one half naked on the pavement to rescue the big one, apologise to the driver, resist the urge to lose your shit and finally, finally, deposit the now-clothed but suddenly inconsolable child with the nursery teacher. “Mummy don’t goooooooooo,” he wails, as you remove the teacher’s mobile from the older one’s hands and usher him back to the car.

He wets himself.

I mean f**k. The last time he did that he was three.

You rush home, change his trousers, grab a tenner to buy milk after drop off cos you’re going to need some serious coffee and push him through the door as the bell goes.

You bump into a dad in the corner shop.

“Did you know we had to pay for the school trip today?” he asks you.

You burst out laughing because of course you didn’t and he kindly offers to drop the £1.60 into reception for you. Then he texts you to say actually, they don’t accept cash, you must pay online, but there’s a £2 minimum spend, so actually you have to add credit to your account and f**k how do you even do that and what’s the three digit code for your credit card anyway and do you give consent and then – at last – it’s all done and you can have a coffee.

With icing sugar.

FML.

 

 

 

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33 times when you know you’re a mum

You know you’re a mum when:

1 The supermarket checkout looks like this:

2 You come home from visiting your best friend, your partner asks how she is and you have no idea. You’ve spent the afternoon breaking up fights, cleaning up spills and interrupting every sentence with “NO! Don’t do that!”

3 Your washing line looks like this: 

4 You start referring to 7am as ‘a long lie’

5 Your reflexes become superhuman – you can catch a small child as they run onto the road using only the sound of their footsteps.

6 You think this is totally normal: 

7 Nakedness is no longer odd, sexy or even slightly unusual.

8 Every time you open a kitchen cupboard, a packet of Hula Hoops falls out.

9 Every time a packet of Hula Hoops falls out a cupboard you catch it with your superhuman reflexes.

10 You have a playlist called “Chillout” and you play it top volume to drown out the screaming.

11 Your own parents start putting up signs: 

12 Your car, once your pride and joy, smells like McDonalds, has at least three jackets in the boot and has snacks stored in every pocket.

13 You no longer buy heels. Or anything white.

14 You spend a lot of time sitting in your car, eating snacks, because someone is finally asleep in the back.

15 You don’t even look in H&M adults any more, you go straight to the kids’ section and spend more than you ever spent on yourself.

16 You’ve started visiting Poundland because they have cheap stickers and no one cares if your kids run riot.

17 You used to go to parks for a run – or, centuries ago, to have a sneaky fag or snog. Now you’re there every day, bargaining with a toddler who’s stripped half naked and lain down on a bench.

18 Even though you’re finally realising you’re an adult and should have a Drinks Cabinet – the booze never hangs around long enough for you to create one.

19 You’ve become very tidy, simply because your children eat mess.

20 You used to eat out frequently, now you’re lucky to eat a McDonalds with a decent view.

21 You are obsessed with keys.

22 Any dreams you had of a flower-filled garden have been crushed.

23 You’ve stopped buying newspapers (no time to read them), watching the news channel (drowned out by wails for Peppa Pig) or even listening to it on the radio after your child started paying attention and asking awkward questions you’re so not ready to deal with.

24 Even though you never used to particularly go out for cake, it’s now your Friday saviour (or Tuesday or every damn day): 

25 You’ve mastered that quiet scary voice your mum always used to make you shit yourself.

26 You get overexcited when you finally get a night out and inevitably get too drunk and slightly disgrace yourself.

27 You are no longer woken by an alarm clock. You’re woken by a headlock.

28 You don’t even put up a fight any more when a small child wants to do your makeup.

29 You always carry wipes – even to business meetings. Hell, especially to business meetings. Is that banana or shit on your sleeve?

30 You bribe your children for the smallest thing – even five minutes of no fighting is totally worth two brand new bumper sticker books.

31 Interiors decisions are no longer based on aesthetics, they’re based on durability, wipeability and whether they can be glued back together.

32 You pick your battles wisely: 

33 You do occasionally get overwhelmed with love:

If you liked this post you should check out

20 Life Hacks for Stressed Out Mums

8 Stress- busters for Busy Mums

How to tidy – in 13 steps

 

 

 

 

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Monkey business

Usually it’s the Wee Man behaving like a chimpanzee in confined public places… but looks like all the bad press I’ve been giving him has resulted in a cabinet reshuffle. KD is now King of the Apes.

From 5.30 this morning he has been stamping around, making demands and throwing his weight about. I lost him three separate times in the playground for god’s sake.

My optimist trumped my pragmatist when one of the mums suggested coffee and cake at the local cafe – I should never have let him loose in the wild.

He helped himself to smoothies from the fridge, locked another child in the play area and sat on every seat at the table, pronouncing each one dissatisfactory.

When the waitress brought the cakes out for the display I had to dive Klinsman-style to stop his sticky little fingers digging straight in, then physically restrain him from swapping a chunk with his wee pal Willow for an Oreo. By throwing it at her.

The final straw was Innocent – yep, I sat down on the carton, spraying pink liquid all over my white trousers.

As the other mums tried valiantly to suppress their guffaws and supply tissues I pronounced I was leaving. KD, of course, took that as a cue to toddle happily into the play area and start making cups of tea at the play kitchen. I turned to say goodbye to my pals and he shot past me, out the door, into the street and off down the hill.

Me and my pink arse lumbered after him, holding him squirming and throwing a tenner at the poor waitress as he yelled “MY CAKE! MY NOT FINISHED!”.

I am now sitting in the parking lot for B&M stores, taking deep breaths while he snores in his car seat. A nap at 10.40. I don’t even care. We’re going to a special event at the zoo tonight from 6-9pm so he’d never last without it. They have a splendid chimp enclosure….

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