Monthly Archives: November 2012

My top 5 rants

Car cleaning, Deliveries, Neighbours, Social Networking and Breast vs bottle.

I was recently tagged by 3childrenandit to take part in a meme.  I have been invited to do memes before but have never done so, partly because I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I thought I’d take part but am unlikely to link on as I can’t think of a single blogger who I’d feel comfortable asking.  I’m still fairly new in this blogging journey and don’t want to upset anyone.  Feel free to take part though.  This meme is a list of my top 5 rants and I’m rather disappointed it’s been set at 5………give me a soapbox and I’ll be there all day.  So here they are.

1. People cleaning their windscreen on motorways

Ok. it’s not an earth shattering issue, but it serious winds me up.  134903718_tpWhy wait until you are driving 80 miles an hour before deciding to turn on the squirters and therefore sending 90% of the water into the sky and straight into my windscreen.  At which point I have to use my squirters and wipers to clear my windscreen and ….. well the problem keeps going.  Wash your bleedin windscreen before you leave home, or whilst on a quieter road.

2. Inept delivery people

There is a number on my house.  The number on my house corresponds to the number on the parcel…………….so it makes sense to ring the doorbell of the house with the same number right?  Well apparently not.  Why deliver to me, at home on a Friday, when you can push a card through next doors door, that they won’t remember to bring around until the next day, that I will then have to trek somewhere to pick up the parcel.  Grrrrrr.  Oh, and don’t ring my doorbell and then scarper, because if I’m not home, leaving a massive box at my front door is not really how I like to have my goods looked after, in full view of the footpath and road.

3. Noisy neighbours

I like to think I’m a considerate neighbour.  In the 3 years I’ve lived here I’ve never had a “party” and when we’ve had visitors, we’ve stayed indoors if it’s after 11pm.  I don’t let my children run about in the garden before 10am either, which I think is quite a reasonable thing to do.  Unfortunately the same can’t be said of my neighbours. Noisy-Neighbours One side particularly has made my summer’s a bundle of anxiety because they’ve held parties without telling us.  I am of an anxious disposition and do get insomnia, so this just means I spend my weekends with my shoulders at my ears anticipating every sound coming over the fence.  Back in the day, didn’t people used to pop notes through doors to notify of an impending party?  I know I did when I had my 21st party.  I probably wasn’t loud at all, but I delivered a note to everyone behind my house and all around the cul-de-sac.  I’ve complained (nicely) enough to the teenagers next door and last year the teenagers did notify us and it was a much more enjoyable summer. Fingers crossed they will extend the same courtesy next year.  But notes people!!! Give us notice.

4.  People who don’t get social networks or blogs

Mention to someone that you are on twitter and they pull a face as if there is something wrong with you.  Suggest you were chatting to someone you’ve never met and they’ve filed you under “nutcase” in their memory.  Why is this such a hard concept to understand?  Why are people so judgemental about the way people interact?  I can see the wry smile creeping across a work colleagues face when I told him I had 3 people on Facebook who I’ve never met but who I chatted to for about 5 years on an infertility forum and who fitted under my “friends” category to be on Facebook.  Like they are imaginary or something!!  I don’t go up to you at a bar and ask why you are chatting to the person you’re standing next to. “Don’t talk to them………you don’t know them”.  There are more strangers than friends out there, some us aren’t so interested in chatting to random people in person, but via a screen, it’s easier, it’s safer and (I think) more intimate.  There are people on twitter and who read my blog that probably know more about me that some real life people I’ve known for 5 years.  Stop being so judgemental and stop staring at me like that.  I like it.  What’s your problem?

5.  Breast vs Bottle debating

Oh goodness. I’m not even sure I want to get into this. It’s such a big debate.  Nobody wins, nobody loses, and that goes for the children too.  I’m a big breastfeeding advocate. I have supported friends, offered advice that I’ve known of, I have encouraged and applauded…..but I didn’t breastfeed.  baby-bottle-220Breast is ABSOLUTELY the best thing to give baby but there are a lot of different reasons why women don’t breastfeed and like lots of things to do with parenting, everyone does things differently.  I tried, I failed, I was in pain, I had an infection from the C-section, nobody helped me in the hospital (in fact quite the opposite), I was emotional and completely at sea.  I used formula, but did get to see a great breastfeeding counsellor who sorted out a pump for me and I did give (meagre amounts) of breast milk for 4 weeks amongst my formula. For my son, I tried again, but didn’t give myself a hard time. Another C-Section to recover from, a mum and baby that weren’t very good at it, no support.  Formula is not made from poison.  It contains lots of good stuff and is very very adequate for baby’s development.  It’s not perfect, breast milk is, but it’s not awful either.  Why other parents think it’s their job to dictate how people feed their children (when they are feeding them, we aren’t talking no food here) is beyond me.  By all means, push for more acceptance of breastfeeding in public (I’m right behind you) and try to get more funding for more support in hospitals, that’s a great idea, but don’t start telling me that putting formula on prescription and bullying new mums is the right thing to do. It isn’t. Breast is best but Formula is food.  That’s all I’m saying. So everyone stop argueing about it. Play nicely.

Well, wouldn’t you know……..I seem to have got in my ranting groove there.  Sorry if I’ve offended anyone, clearly all subjects close to my heart.  That’s what makes us all so interesting though.  What gets my goat, doesn’t get yours.  What are your big rants then?  Fancy blogging about it?

Temper Temper

I think I’ve got a terrible temper. I have had a terrible morning.  It was all going so swimmingly as well.  Hubby headed off last night to stay overnight for a job today, so I was ultra-organised doing some of the packed lunch, filling up drink bottles, preparing nursery bags, leaving everything by the front door.

 This morning I was calm and collected. I didn’t rush anyone, get annoyed.  The children were well behaved, ate in a timely fashion and didn’t fight me at any point whilst I dressed them. Even The Monster who hates wearing his big coat, didn’t have a fuss.  We were just heading out the door and I suddenly thought I’d check for my work pass card.  Not in my bag.

 I often give my pass card to The Monster at the end of the day, but find it at some point about an hour later and tuck it into my bag. It contains my pass to get in and out of the floors at my work and has the key that opens my pedestal under my desk where my laptop is.  I WENT MENTAL!

 I stormed about the house, repeatedly saying “where is it? Where can it be? Who’s hidden it? Where have you put it?” like a demented creature.  I made wild statements about what it meant “Great, so I won’t be able to work today, brilliant” “I’m never going to let you play with my pass card AGAIN” “I try to be nice and let you have it, but I guess I’ll have to be a bad mummy in future”.  Thankfully THANKFULLY I never accused either child directly (which I have done in the past for things that weren’t their fault) and I also didn’t shout directly at them.  However, I was shouting at one stage and I know it affects them, because they get quiet and don’t attempt to say anything for fear of having their head bitten off.

 Eventually I gave up on looking for the card and got everyone out the door to load into the car.  The tiniest error and I was growling at them.  Both of them have been much worse at dilly dallying, or not doing as I say, but they were very good and I still found fault.  Getting annoyed at TM for not putting his arm through the strap (FFS!) and dropping his toy dog on the footpath.  I’m such a bad mother!  I then got annoyed at Pickle for going to get in the front seat (“What are you doing?? Get in the back”).  So she got in the back at which point I realised her booster seat was in the front. I’m such a bad mother!

 So we got in the car and headed off to nursery. By this stage I had seen the error of my ways and began the BIG APOLOGY.  My mum was a ranter and I was always frightened of her, but she NEVER apologised.  She would accuse us of things and then find it again and NEVER apologise.  I really hated her for that.  I can’t watch movies anymore that have a storyline where someone gets the blame for something they didn’t do (that’s a lot of movies) because that feeling of things being unfair runs too deep.  I once got accused of stealing money from her (I was never that sort of child), she found it an hour later and never apologised.

 Anyway, so I started to apologise.  When we got to nursery I got annoyed at another mum who followed me in and stole my space as I was backing into it. Thankfully THANKFULLY I didn’t make eye contact or wave my arms about, so I may have got away with her not noticing.  Nursery then annoyed me but announcing that the Christmas show started at 3pm.  Pickle doesn’t finish school until 3.05pm.  It would be 3.30pm until we arrive. Nursery manager suggests taking her out of school.  How ridiculous.  I have asked at school but I’m not pushing it.

 Dropped Pickle off at school and headed into work, only to be on the receiving end of a white van man who decided I hadn’t got onto the roundabout quickly enough.  I’m usually very judgemental of the way people use roundabouts, but I was anticipating a bus and then when he started beeping I got confused and was looking around to find out what the issue was. It turned out to be me.  I was so angry I ranted and ranted and ranted inside my car.  Then when I got to Richmond hill I slowed down to 15 miles an hour just to give him a taste of his own medicine.  I was fuming.  I did end up speeding up.

 So I’m now at work.  Feeling very annoyed at myself.  Feeling terrible for my children to have to experience a ranting mother – the one thing I desperately didn’t want to pass down from my mother, but I feel so powerless to prevent it.  The only small saving grace is that I am aware of what I am doing and have the balls to apologise…….even to a not quite 2 year old.  I’m not sure that is enough though.  How can I stop myself from getting so angry.  Counting to 10 is the LAST thing on my mind when I’m in the midst of a rant.  Do I need anger management classes?  This is not how I had envisaged myself in motherhood.

 I do it much less than I used to, but that is small comfort on a day like today.  Any advice would be gratefully received.

School mums

Huddled over, whispering, smiling, turning to wave as familiar faces pass, reminding each other of people they know….

“Wonder what she’s doing”, “Did you hear that they didn’t get the house”?  “Well, what was she thinking, it’s miles out of the catchment area”.

School mums.  A rare breed of creature, especially adapted for the harsh school ground environment, prone to working in packs, skilled at the eye roll, experienced in dressing for every occasion.

I am a school mum, kind of.  My frantic drop on Wednesday and Thursdays allows me to be one for about 15 minutes.  Fridays I can be more leisurely but I’m not yet that rare breed, because I barely know anybody there.  My husband is more the school mum than me as he always does Monday and Tuesdays and often the other two days if he’s about.  He’s used to being ignored, he’s been a partime stay at home dad for 5 years and often finds himself on the outside of these circles.

Although this is all changing slightly, for him and me.  We ARE getting to know some of the people in the playground.  Our constant attendance has caught their attention.  My daughter has made friends and those friends have badgered their mum to talk to me because I presume they want to go over each others houses.  I’ve taken some opportunities to engage in the odd sentence or two “ahhh that’s Ethan is it.  I hear a lot about Ethan”.  Of course I’m usually met with an awkward stony silence, but I don’t think it’s intentional.

I blogged about my lack of friends here and nothing has really changed.  What I have become more aware of is that I’m not really that bothered about being ignored.  I think it’s age or experience or both, but I don’t blame the other mums for ignoring me.  They are currently unaware of my awesomeness (!), my strong sense of loyalty and my kind(ish) nature.  If they knew, they’d all be pouncing on me and inviting me to coffee morning left right and centre.  I am a grownup and I know how these things work.  Cliques are natural creations (mostly) and it’s hard to get into them.  My cautiousness helps me out a bit here, it allows me to sit back, assess and make judgements, good and bad, on whether I think I want to commit.

So like a lioness, I shall circle these mums, assess and review and I will smile, I will engage and I will bide my time.  I have time.  Who knows, one of them might end up being my best friend.

Being a Grownup

Like all of you, I dreamt of the day I could be a grown up.  I hated being told what to do, how to do it, what to eat, when to go to bed or not be able to make any decisions for myself.  When I was a grown up I would do things differently:

  • I would laugh more
  • I would chill out more
  • I would be kinder
  • I would join in with my children’s games
  • I wouldn’t get angry
  • I would only do fun things
  • I wouldn’t argue with my husband
  • I would work if I wanted to work and not blame my children for my (perceived) dull life

So, I’m here now and I can tell you that some of these are ever-present, guiding me to choose one thing over another, but some of them I fail dismally at and the reason pure and simple is that being a grownup is bloody hard.

photo courtesy of handbag. com

It’s hard not get angry when you’ve been on your feet for 6 hours cleaning and tidying for other people and you’ve asked someone 6 times to pick a piece of Lego up.  It’s hard not arguing with your husband when you are so tired and so exhausted from going through the motions that you’ve forgotten what brought you together in the first place.  AND it’s hard knowing whether working or not working is the right thing for everyone, because some days you manage and some days are just such hard work that you get in and want to cry.

I have blogged about my work-nursery-school journey here but suffice to say Thursday’s journey took it out of me.  I spent all day in a training session, reflecting on my ability to control others and have difficult conversations. It was absolutely exhausting (oddly enough) and very very emotional, especially when I realised that the difficult conversation I had chosen to practice with is probably one I really should have with a guy who is a bit of a bully.  I arrived at the training session late, because I start work late and then I had to leave the session early, because I leave early to pick up my children.  So I felt a bit shit about that.  Then I had my usual anxiety about making it in time and when we all fell into the house and I began to sort dinner etc out and Pickle kept asking me to look at something and The Monster (who doesn’t speak) started having a babbling rant because he couldn’t do something and I felt so tired I could have slept standing up, I then had to pop into the loo to have a little cry, because I’m not entirely sure any of this works.

My happiness has to count for something, right?  I’m not happy.  I don’t know if I’m just not happy at this small point in my life, or whether I’m not going to be happy whilst I do things this way.  I do know that that “Mystical” grown up decision-making that I so craved as a child is shit. I need someone to tell me what is right and wrong, because I’m just too tired to see sense at the moment.

The terrible thing is I will probably continue on for a bit with the way things are and that’s because I just don’t know how to tackle it and actually it’s part of a much bigger issue.  We need to make a decision on whether we stay in London or move out. I need to make a decision about whether I look for another job in a more stimulating industry because the one I am in is sleep inducing and I wouldn’t want to bore you with the detail.  We need to make a decision about what we imagine our life will look like and the bottom line is that I DON’T WANT TO MAKE ANY DECISIONS.

So if it’s alright with you, I will take my tired bones off to a little hideaway, pull the duvet up over my head and pretend I’m not a grownup anymore.  Because being a grownup is rubbish.

Old Age Mummys

I had children in my late 30’s because of my career….

Actually that’s bollocks.

I had children in my late 30’s because I thought I had all the time in the world…..

Actually that’s bollocks too.

I had children in my late 30’s because I just wasn’t ready in my 20’s…..

Nope…………..well, you get the picture.

ACTUALLY “I” wasn’t the only person responsible for having my children in my late 30’s.  My husband was also responsible.  There was TWO of us.  It wasn’t solely my decision.  So why the hell does every report in the newspaper and on television start with:

“Women leave it too late to have children”.

It winds me up so much I could scream, to be honest.  Like we are all floating around making these decisions (whether we are doing it unconsciously or consciously) and blokes are walking behind us like idiots, merely pawns in our game of fertility roulette.  Which is ridiculous.  Not only are we not solely responsible but it suggests the men in our life aren’t having any say, when they are (most of the time).

I’m not saying that some women don’t make these decisions based on their career and I’ll mention my views on that further down, but I think for a lot of women it’s got a lot to do with marrying later in life due to various reasons and the need to be in a better financial position before embarking on the very big deal of bringing of a human being into the world.  I just wish someone would acknowledge the complexity of why we are having children later rather than simplifying it or targeting women.

I don’t think my story is unique.  I have had 3 long-term relationships.  2 of which were with complete idiots and the third with my now husband.  I was 18 when I met my first boyfriend. Fell in love for the first time and believed this was it! Engaged at 19 and then 2 years later realised he had no intention of marrying me but was “bagsying” me so I didn’t run off with someone else. The relationship was quite horrific really, he was an alcoholic and violent and I didn’t know any better. It’s only when I started fancying someone else that I had the guts to call it quits.  Which I did thankfully.  I was 21.

I started seeing my 2nd boyfriend. We moved in almost immediately, had lots in common or so I thought.  We eventually moved to the UK together but he had always been a bad egg.  This was my emotional abuse relationship. The guy was horrendous. Treated me like absolute dirt one day and then cooking me a surprise meal with candles the next. I felt trapped as I didn’t know many people in London and was barely pulling the minimum wage.  He really didn’t love me anymore and we hung on for another year, moving to a flat and trying to make it work.   I supported him through drama school and the deal was that he would do the same for me the following year.  2 weeks into my course he didn’t come home one night and 3 days later we talked it out and agreed to leave each other.  Of course, true to my form I felt stronger because my weekends were filled with the drama school and I’d met lots of new people including my future husband (although I only made a move 2 months later). I was 25.

My relationship with my future husband worked very differently. He didn’t play games. He had not had a difficult childhood. He was normal.  He didn’t like it if I tried to get highly strung over small things. He taught me to be polite and considerate. He changed me and made me realise that relationships were about trust.  He also taught me to enjoy my own company. He didn’t see me as often as I would like because he had his own friends and his own space that he enjoyed.  He grew to fall in love with me and slowly we spent more time together.  I would have rushed this all much quicker. I was aware of my ticking clock.  We had “words” one day about where we were going.  I think it did the trick.  We moved in together when I was 29.  He asked me to marry him when I was 30.  I was married at 31.

My husband wanted us to enjoy some time being married and as we were buying a house as well, we took a year out from thinking about children. On our 1st anniversary I broached the subject and he got a bit panicked.  I now realise (as does he) that for some men, they are never ready to have children, so waiting for that moment could take forever.  We had a difficult chat and then agreed to start trying.  I was 32.

For 2 years we tried without getting too hung up.  I occasionally used an ovulation kit but nothing was happening so we saw our doctor and got referred.  We then embarked on IUI with the NHS.  We had 5 go’s involving scans every two days, a trip to another hospital for my husband to “provide” sperm and then his dash back with it to the hospital I was at for it to be inseminated.  Then we had trigger injections at midnight at the same hospital.  I was 34.

We accepted the inevitable and had the choice of going on a 2 year waiting list with the NHS or paying privately for IVF. We had some savings and my in-laws offered some help and we opted to go privately rather than wait.  We were very lucky. I got pregnant. I was 35.

Picture courtesy of bbc

I eventually had my daughter 2 weeks before I was 36.  My son came naturally but despite our attempts to have them close together by trying when my daughter was 6 months old, he arrived 3 years later.  I was about to turn 39.

You can see how these things snowball.  Not many people set out to have children later in life. They find themselves in less than ideal relationships without the emotional strength to leave, they find themselves not wishing to push partners away by rushing decisions. I felt I’d pushed my earlier two relationships too early and they had quickly fallen out of love with me.  I didn’t want that to happen again.  Things went this way, because that’s life, but two of us were in the driving seat (technically probably my husband was more to an extent, then) and this is what happened.  Children in my late 30’s.

AND as for women who have children later in life because of a career.  If we could climb the corporate ladder by popping out children left right and centre, then we would.  Sadly that is not the case.  At my work there are 2 women who are at Senior Management level. One has chosen not to have children at all. The other has chosen to have one child, whom she spent 3 months maternity leave with and is now back working at 8am-8pm day whilst she has her child looked after by her husband and childcare.  I’m sure it’s not what she would have liked, but she has to be around for those important meetings which inevitably happen around 6pm.  This is a good video to watch about some of the barriers women face.

So please, journalists, stop putting the blame of late motherhood on mothers. Look deeper, find the cause and deal with that.  If we can’t, then face the inevitability of an increase in IVF, the need to make it more accessible.

This is a bigger issue than the women of this world putting motherhood on hold for purely selfish reason and I’m, quite frankly, fed up with the accusations.