We Need To Talk 🛸

We Need To Talk 🛸

Having a decent holiday is a good respite from a full-time job. But what happens when your full-time job is an all-demanding 24/7 set up. But this job doesn’t demand time on your phone or emails, just your forever undivided attention.

If your toddler is anything like mine then they nap for all of half an hour in any given day. So what? You might think. But a rookie stay at home parent will tell you that naps are like gold dust. Oh No Hun, they are gold dust. They might be fair and few, but you grab hold of that napping opportunity with both hands as soon as you see those eyes dancing around the room.

Toddler naps are your friend. Your best friend in fact. They can help you get through the rest of the day without turning to stronger substances. You won’t have to worry what the neighbours will think with this one. But beware- naps are like Tinkerbell- catch them while you can!

Your toddler’s nap schedule is a more NHS friendly way of saying “my bloody time for ME “. They are your only natural break. Technically so is your toddler’s bedtime- but whoever says that they consider their sleep time a ‘break’ from work needs psychological help, fast.

There comes a time when suddenly your child’s naps are simply not enough anymore. Picture this: Your eyes are red, your hair looks like it’s caught some sort of infection- unbeknownst to science- and you have made a shrine of nappies because you have changed your kid’s nappy five consecutive times. FIVE! Your partner walks in and you are crawling out of your well like Samara from ‘The Ring’ and fill his shoes and laptop cables with water.

When this happens, you need a DAY OFF- yes, just like you would in a 9 to 5. So go stand on the rooftop and scream this from the bottom of your lungs- or alternatively ask your partner to look after their child for a day/weekend.

The trouble is so many of us feel guilty about needing the time off. After all, it’s your child you’re needing a break from. Doing the full time childcare is a job- a job that some get paid for but you don’t. It’s not natural to be glued to your child for weeks/months on end. Mentally, yes. But when your toddler is hanging off the end of your skirt in a bid for twinkle twinkle for the 57th time, it can get a bit much.

I love my toddler more than anything in the entire world, like most normal, competent parents. But we are humans. All this time I have felt guilty but also shackled with anxiety about needing my own space. But I’m learning that if I’m tired, cranky and on the brink of insanity that my daughter isn’t going to get the best out of me. I want her to see the fun mum who runs around with her, not a Taylor Swift impersonator from ‘Blank Space’.

Time to have a day off!

Meanie Mummy

Meanie Mummy

You’re mean, nasty and a fur coat short of Cruella Devil. But you’re not out to steal anyone’s puppies. You’re a Mum who’s running out of patience.

We all go through numerous, countless times in our lives where we lose our temper. It could be a small snap remark; your colleague is doing your head in and it’s only 9.03 am. You haven’t had your morning coffee and you’re tripping HARD. It could also be a long term build up of bitter, bitter frustration that amounts to a spectacular outburst to the person at the recieving end. Usually someone close to you. I’m pretty sure everyone can relate to that. But when you’re a mum, all of that gets forgotten. Suddenly everyone is a spectator of your sport while you are prowling up and down in your enclosure. The ‘Angry Mum Museum’ is indeed open for all to see.

Before I get a torrent of crappy comments, I’d like to distinguish between letting off some steam verbally (appropriately, of course) and full on child abuse- hitting your child etc. This seems like a HUGE bridge to gap but people can be very quick to stick labels on things where they needn’t be. There have been numerous times at baby groups, shopping malls etc where I’ve seen Mothers losing their tempers with their children and you can actually cut the silence with a pair of scissors as people all around take a ‘moral’ high ground. I recently heard a Mum in an Asda car park screaming her head off at one of her children in the car. I judged immediately- how inappropriate, how could she?! But then I thought about bringing a Ford Galaxy full of kids to the supermarket on my own and I wanted to sit in the corner and cry. You’d sooner catch me hiding in the store cafe. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was on the ‘Heads’ side of things was an angry mum unnecessary losing her **** with her kids, and the ‘Tails’ of the situation was a poor woman with no control over at least six children in a car.

I have spent 25 years getting to know myself, and I know more than anything else that I have a fast fuse. I’m hot-headed- in a ‘British’ way and suffer with chronic impatience. Managing a class and dealing with kids in school was a whole different kettle of fish- you’d put your professional face on and keep your opinions to yourself. When it’s your own toddler who you’re with for the better part of 24/7 it’s tricky. Simply because I’m being myself the whole time.

I feel a huge sense of guilt when I feel like I’m losing my patience. It is almost definitely never my daughter’s fault, but she sure knows how to push my buttons. What no literature, only family members can tell you is that it would be weird and unnatural not to feel frustrated with your child at times. That’s because people are so quick to parent shame as soon as that smile turns upside down that it’s almost become a taboo.

On one of my more hormonal days I read a blog from a ‘Mom’ in America. She was honest enough to say that she was not naturally maternal and was never a ‘kid’ person until she had her own. She said that she had to work on her patience after the kids almost had her in tears at bedtime. This was probably the first honest blog piece I’d seen about dealing with ‘anger’.

We are all people with different personalities and undesirable traits. When we have children we don’t magically transform into Mother Theresa. The journey to patience is a long, dusty road for most of us and some of us will never get there. But at least we tried.

Tears and Fears

Tears and Fears

So I had a million and one things I wanted to talk about this week but I’ve decided to divert from all of that to talk about facing my fears. Before I start, I want to thank everyone who takes any time out to read this blog. I really didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading this at all so I am grateful for anything. Even if you’re a robot offshore.

This week has been filled with different challenges and I have tried to do everything I can to tackle the usual ones but also the ones that have crept up on me. Firstly, on Friday night my daughter got sick. With hindsight I now think it might have been from the MMR but nevertheless it caught us unawares. Arielle was up all night with a high fever and crying. It was only at 5 am that the vomiting started but luckily ended there and then. She then lay in mine and her dad’s arms limp and lethargic. Even In The Night Garden couldn’t work its usual magic. The whole sorry thing seemed to get better after traipsing all the way to the hospital in 28°. Upon arrival her appetite came back – as if by magic and things started to get back better slowly. Arielle is fine and will never remember this episode but for me it’s a first. As silly as it sounds, for months I had avoiding taking Arielle to groups etc because it was flu season, then it was chicken pox season and blah blah season. I was so worried about her catching a tummy bug because all these Guardian articles had suddenly appeared on my news feed about DEHYDRATION and I out 2 + 2 together and got 10 and suddenly everything resulted in death. Now we have been through it and have come out with a whole new level of sleep deficit but we’ve survived it.

Sort of leading on from that, I decided to stop making excuses for not going to baby groups. I buckled up, got us ready for 9.30 am sharp and took us to a local group. I seemed to have developed social anxiety around meeting other mums. This probably wasn’t helped by the time that I went to the baby feeding cafe and the group leader kept calling me ‘sweetheart’ but no one else. To be clear, she wasn’t coming on to me- just thought I was a teenager. Anyhow, I got over my baby group fear and we are both better off for it. This time no one thought I was 12, and Arielle got to have a proper run around. Smiles all round.

This week I have both been pushed and pushed myself to the limits anxiety wise. I have faced up to my fears and realised that Arielle would bounce back after being ill and that no one thought I was ‘too young’ to attend a baby group. I have also applied for some jobs and haven’t been told to F off yet. All is good.

Vexxinations

Vexxinations

As with any normal parent, I will do anything to stop harm from coming to my daughter.

In 1980 childhood killer smallpox was ‘out-vaccinated’ and apparently more recently Polio too is on its way out. It’s very easy today to forget about the old childhood diseases that you usually associated with the 19th century- because of vaccination. It was only when I read a BuzzFeed article about iron lungs that I thought, holy crap. That happened.

I am as pro-vaccine as you can get. If there is a way to stop my child from catching a big nasty then I’m down for it 110%. If could vaccinate my children’s way against depression, destitution and awkward Sunday dinners then I would in a heartbeat. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t cry a River Thames every time the needle is near. It gets no easier.

What no one tells you is that when you take your baby to their scheduled vaccines you will have to rule out the next 48hrs. Any plans? Hahaha. Really? Cancel them. You shall not go to the ball, Cinderella. I first learnt this after the meningitis B component of the 8 week jab left my baby screaming for hours, and then some. Thirty six hours and half a bottle of Calpol later we had survived. My little bundle was fine and though I’d taken a knock, so was I. But it was still bloody difficult, and it was every time. I managed to work out that there were different ‘phases’ to the post-vaccine period:

Phase One: Everything is Hunky Dory

You are lulled into a false sense of security as your baby is fine and you don’t know what everyone is banging on about. Clearly they’re deluded.

Phase Two: Panic and Freak Out

There is actually no reason to panic. However, Your baby’s leg lights up like a teletubby’s tummy, and bright red too. Your baby is in pain. Your little heart is broken but they will be fine eventually.

Phase Three: Wednesday Night Fever

Your baby breaks out in a fever though John Travolta is nowhere to be seen. This phase tends to last for a while but not forever.

Phase Four: Off Key

Your baby is tired and not themselves. You are also tired and a mess. You want to hibernate in a wine reserve. The fever has gone.

Today I shudder when I think about what will unfold in the next few days with the MMR and Meningitis B Jab being imminent. I will cry a thousand rivers again but at least I know my daughter will forever be protected.