Friday, 23 March 2018

Fookin Fantasy Figures

This year will be the eight year the infamous Easter Bunny and Father Christmas have visited the Beardsley household.  I use the word 'visit' loosely as a visit would ordinarily entail at the very least a quick hello and most definitely isn't, sneaking about whilst everyone is sleeping. Last year the tooth fairy came into our lives too. Three teeth down only 37 more night swaps to go, whoopee.

The tooth fairy did a sterling job first time round but only a short way in and she's already faltering. Thing is, against popular belief, she doesn't actually just work a night shift, effortlessly flying between redundant teeth. It turns out that she's actually busy ALL day long and when it comes to evening collection time is pretty knackered and due to this doesn't always remember/have time/can be arsed to collect every single tooth (apparently).

With all these amazing, magical fantasy figures nothing can happen unless children are fast asleep. Those are the rules. So when your child isn't fast asleep due to been overly excited about the pending visit but you are most certainly ready for bed it can be slightly annoying.

This happened to me recently whilst in tooth fairy mode. At 10pm I crept in the eldest's room to make the swap but kicked a stray toy which woke him. "I was just checking you were asleep darling" Back to my bedroom £1 in hand. Now I know that it's gonna be at least 10-15 minutes before I can try again but I'm soooo tired!!! The hubby promises that he'll do it before he wakes in the morning. 3am I wake and decide to do the swap. Half asleep I make the switch then take a loo stop before crawling back to bed. I drop a full toilet roll down the loo. Spend a little time fishing it out before realising the youngest is behind me asking if it's time to get up. Driving to work the next morning I realise no one even mentioned the sodding tooth.

Also my short term memory is shit so I always forget what responses I've given to the thousands of questions about these mysterious joy givers. However the kids do not and I get quizzed to an inch of my life about my conflicting accounts of where the Easter Bunny lives (does anyone know btw?), if the tooth fairy works alone and how Santa gets in the house.

To make matters worse there isn't even a universal code of conduct as to what the rules are. Resulting in even more questioning and queries as to why Johnny from school gets Christmas presents from both Santa and his Mummy & Daddy. FFS!!

Call me selfish but also it would actually be nice to get some thanks for all the time, effort and money put into being Chief Christmas present provider, Remover of dead teeth and Bearer of Easter treats.

As children get older you can no longer get away with them just accepting your explanation. Last Christmas my eldest clearly assumed that money was no object and Santa could bring whatever he desired. I wanted to quickly squish this assumption but couldn't decide on the spot which was the best course of action so instead just made a mess
Me "Mummy and Daddy have to send Santa money you know"
Eldest "How do you do that?"
Me *Shit Shit Shit "Errrm" *Shit Shit Shit "Daddy does it so you'll have to ask him"

I don't mind keeping the Father Christmas tradition alive. He's our December behaviour weapon, only turns out on Christmas Eve and sticks to the same routine. Top bloke. However the 20 times middle of the night fairy and pointless nothing to do with anything glory stealing Bunny can most certainly do one.
The main man

Friday, 22 September 2017

Why you NEED that girlie holiday

Smiles of freedom & cocktails

The week leading up to our girlie holiday was a WhatsApp frenzy. Blink and you were 30 messages back and completely lost as conversations erratically jumped back and forth reflecting our pre holiday hysteria. Photos of potential outfits, gifs of sun bathing dogs, weather predictions and general statements of excitement were on a constant loop. The last topic before our departure was especially special. The plastic liquid bag.... Photos of ones full. Photos of ones empty. Screen shots of government websites. Suggestions of what to leave in and what to take out. I think by this point it was fair to say we'd exhausted the pre holiday chit chat. 

On Thursday 7th September, after eleven months of preparation and build up only a nights sleep separated me from three days and nights of child free, self indulgence girlie time in the sun. Unnervingly the excitable butterflies which had been present for the last 7 days (at least) had flown away and in their place was an unwelcome mixture of nerves and uncertainty churning over and over. Images of relaxing in the sun and drinking cocktails were now replaced by thoughts of forgotten passports, crashing planes and a snoring room mate. This combined with the rush of getting work, kids, the house and my lady garden in order left me feeling a little apprehensive and wondering is all this effort really worth it...

Below, in case you're undecided are 10 reasons (14 really) why it most definitely is.

1/ You get to be the one with no kids
Those child free people you enviously gaze, or secretly glare at, you have now become. Lets be honest this alone is enough and pretty much is the enabler for everything else that follows.

1a/ the airport
With children, here and the plane are definitely the most stressful, anti child environments I've ever found myself in. Alone, they are a breeze as apposed to 'I'd rather gauge my eyeballs out with a plastic fork' painful. Duty free can be browsed without constant fear of the precarious alcohol displays been destroyed and ridiculously overpriced sweets spotted.

1b/....on the plane
Your personal space is left totally intact. You can order a hot drink. The only thing on your knee is a magazine. You get to smile sympathetically at people with kids then smugly get back to reading your book (yes I know, a book!!!)

1c/ the beach
Even though on family holidays my hubbie does most of the sandcastle digging / inflatable sea bobbing activities I never relax. Apologies to all those with children who saw me indulging in not one but two body massages. I know it probably felt like I was taking the piss.

1d/.... at the restaurant
There's no need to chose your meal based on if the kids don't like theirs could they eat yours or can you eat the dish with one hand and if need be shovel it down in 30 seconds? You're free to have whatever you want and without Bob the Builder DVD playing in the background.

2/ You get your handbag back
Once the baby wipes, spare clothes, snacks, satches of capol, toys, books, water bottles and more snacks have been emptied out you realise that you don't actually have anything of your own in there. TBH I reckon I could easily get by with a bum bag.

3/ You get to feel physically free
As I usually have someone or thing hanging off me I never realised how light I actually am. With your empty handbag you'll be gliding along like Mr Soft. 

4/ You get to do whatever YOU want
An opportunity to be purely selfish. Eat what you want, drink what you want, go where you want, stay where you want, do what you want, get up when you want. You get the idea.

5/ You get to not share
Whatever you desire, it's all yours. No need for secret scoffing before anyone gets back, turns around or wakes up. The chocolate, the chips, the sweets, the crisps, the dessert, yours, yours, yours.

6/ You get to have hours and hours of uninterrupted girlie chat
A fantastic opportunity to be fully engaged with your besties without interruption. You have time for each other. Time to listen and time to talk properly rather than snatched, inattentive moments in between supervising soft play antics. Most of it was frivolous, fun silliness that left us crying with laughter and feeling 18 again but it was great to also be there for each other in mind rather than just body.

7/ You get to get ready
Without compromise or interruption I got to straighten my hair, apply lipgloss and actually check myself out in the mirror before heading out, with a tiny bag and wearing a white top. (Apart from the first night when fuelled with a body full of afternoon San Miguel I didn't even shower)

8/ You get to drink Shakira style (whenever, wherever)
My favourite drinking moment was leaving our sunbeds around 3.30pm when the sun had been taken over by clouds in search of a recommended beach bar for a couple of drinks. 4 & 1/2 hours, 30 G&T's, 1 Malfoy lookalike discovery, 3 million tears of laughter and 12 alcohol stained red cheeks later we headed back to our sunbeds to find the sunbed man gone as were all our left belongings. After this we glammed up, hit the town and partied till 4.30am. How, I have know idea. #proud

9/ You get to have a child free hangover
Nothing more to say on this one!

10/ You get to miss them
Three nights was the perfect amount of time for me. Enough to do all the above, re charge my mum batteries and give myself a shake off. When home time came around I was ready (as was my liver) to get back to my little darlings, and of course start planning the next girlie trip!
Girlie hols rock!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Changing Bodies

Born into a body. No say or input as to what that will look like. You get what you're given or not as in my case. As a young girl I had an athletic physique with broad swimming shoulders, a wash board stomach and non existent waist with hips to match. Aside from my mid length perm and clothes you would have been forgiven in thinking that I was a boy.
Comprehensive school was the start of having my body and appearance scrutinised and poked fun at. My earliest memory was been asked (several times) on the school bus why my legs were so hairy. Other observations made; my freckles looked ugly, my lips were like rubber dinghies, my chest resembled an ironing board and my cotton string legs coupled with large feet apparently made them golf clubs. As my friends bodies developed, frustratingly mine didn't and much to my dismay despite my best 'I must I must improve my bust' efforts the all important boob department remained well and truly boobless. My lack of boobage didn't go unnoticed and sniggered whispers of 'To Nits' regularly greeted me from passing boys. At first I was confused and hurt at this unfamiliar and unkind judgement. But, as most kids do I got use to it, got over it and cracked on. Although not an enjoyable experience not an entirely regrettable one for preparation of adult life.
Aged 18 I started university and still yearned for a fuller figure. I remember browsing weight gain products at the supermarket wondering if that would be the answer to achieving some lady lumps. After my first year, with the help of an increased consumption of unhealthy food and alcohol I was beyond excited to find I'd reach the holy grail, a size 10! Around this time I gained confidence in my body for the very first time. To my surprise the once mocked rubber dingy lips and slim physique were now complimented. I truly felt like the ugly duckling had left the building (most days).
In my late twenties I realised that I needed to pay more attention to what was going in my mouth. My body's natural metabolism had slowed down and so had my appetite for exercise. Wallowing in domestic bliss a night snuggled up with a takeaway and wine was considerably more attractive than heading out to the gym. Aged 30 and 34 I spent two 9 month periods growing my boys. On both occasions my stomach swelled to a ridiculous size and 34DD bras were purchased. With both kiddies it took me around two and half years to get my body to a place that I felt comfortable. The first few years of motherhood is such a hectic rollercoaster that I salute anyone who is able to find the constant time, energy and motivation to resist the sugar rushes, alcohol urges and takeaway options which don't help in keeping a trim tum (but can help in keeping a sane mind).

So here I am now. Aged 38 with a nearly 3 year old and a nearly 7 year old. My figure is currently the fuller one I desired 20 yrs ago and at last...with boobs (in your face To Nits). As my youngest increases with age and ease I'm excited about investing some time back into me. I'd really like to start exercising regularly and who knows I might even have time to moisturise and/or paint my toe nails too (whoop).

The point of this blog was to show that our bodies constantly change, as do our feelings about them. Our body image is just that an image, a snapshot of our current moment in time. What's important is that we recognise that it is just this and it can and will change. For the young who feel like they don't fit, you will. For the unhappy who feel they'll never get there, you can. For the gym bunnies who feel proud, well done. For the old who feel aged, you're beautiful. For the mums who feel like their lost, you'll find yourself.

Friday, 14 July 2017

A life to live not just to blog about

My two little loves
When I started my blog I wanted to rekindle my passion for writing. I wanted to have an interest, a hobby. Something that was for me. Something that I enjoyed doing. I decided that as a working mum of two lively boys I would write a weekly post about the happenings and musings of my life as a manic mum. The first year I managed 33 posts, far from one a week but still not a bad effort. Seven months into 2017 and I have managed a measly 8 posts. Five of which were in January and February. March saw it dwindle to one a month with May being completely by-passed. There are a couple of reasons for this;

1/ I realised quality not quantity was important to me. I wanted to stay true to writing about what was of interest to me and not what I thought would be popular. I (as all bloggers do) love to see people reading and sharing my posts but I've come to be at ease with the fact that's not why I write.

2/ I use more mini posts on facebook which take a lot less time to do and seem to be easier for people to read rather than clicking through into an essay of a blog post. Plus I love the instantaneous connection and interaction. Sharing the moment in the moment.

3/ My priorities changed. Reading comments on blogger forums from hobby bloggers (like me) or professional bloggers they all resounded of blogging taking over their lives. When I was aiming to write regularly, as a working gal it meant my blogging needed to be done on an evening, whilst the youngest napped on a Friday and any other snatched moments in between. Basically any free time I had. Along with many other bloggers this resulted in everything else taking a back seat. Tidy the house or blog. Do the washing or blog. Catch up on some work or blog. Cook tea or blog. Have a conversation with the hubbie or blog.

To blog or not to blog?
For a while I chose blogging. From around March I chose life. As much as I love writing I know that for the moment I want and need to concentrate on achieving in my job (after all that is what allows me to have a life to blog about!), have the house in order (makes me feel calm) which means using the evenings and that Friday afternoon nap time to whizz through some jobs or extra work rather than hitting the key board.

As I write this I'm not quite sure why I am. I know that the pressure of producing a weekly blog wasn't put on me by anyone but me. I'm 100% confident that those reading this won't have even noticed the decline in my typing. What I'm trying to say in a not so eloquent way is it's ok and healthy to recognise that we can't always have it all. Sometimes something has to give and that's fine. I did have a mini stress and internal paddy that I didn't have the time I wanted to write. Until I realised that the reason I didn't have the time is because I have a life to live not just to blog about.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Ditching the Dummy

Beautiful dummy less boy
Half way through the year of hope I can tick 4 of 7 off the list thanks to ditching the dummy two weeks ago. As all kids and parents are unique my experience with my child is pretty useless to anyone else. However, if like me you find accounts of dealing with milestones useful in deciding on your own course of action. Or simply take comfort in knowing that you're not alone in the crazy world of toddlers this is for you.

Aside from the benefit of their teeth not growing wonky and actually being able to understand what they are saying. The most exciting prospect of ditching the dummy is having one less thing to remember, lose, drop or, hurrah buy! Gone is the mind boggling frustration of having a thousand clean dummies in the morning then being able to find zero at bedtime. Gone are the moments of sheer horror when you realise the dummy box is still on the kitchen table. Gone is using your mouth as a dodgy steriliser when that one dummy lands on the floor, gets licked by a dog or is taken by another child. I remember mouth washing the only one we had, at the beach. If eating sand is not the greatest statement of unconditional love I don't know what is.
Both my children had a dummy. So I've had to go through all the above twice. However, both enjoyed and got comfort from them so it was worth it for their happiness. Not to mention my sanity. As they grew older the dummy was reserved for sleepy time. Unless they were ill, particularly whiney or I was hungover then the dummy could be negotiated for a little daytime action. Both my kids were more than happy sucking on their plastic gob stoppers so I decided that once teething was finished the dummies days were numbered.
My eldest was 2 years and 3 months when he started biting through them so I had no choice but to get rid immediately. I was bracing myself for at least a week of sleepless nights whilst he cried and screamed searching for his dummies. He asked once and that was that, painless and easy. My youngest was definitely way more attached to his 'dodi' so I knew I needed more of a plan than first time round to prepare him (and me). He was 2 years and 8 months when the fairy visited two weeks ago. Here's how it went;

For a good few weeks before d day we talked about the 'dodi' fairy visiting. At first he resisted but eventually I got him to decide on a suitable exchange. A cake and car was his dodi demand. At every opportunity I would get him to tell people what the fairy was bringing. In my mind it was then a done deal. We'd told everyone about it so I couldn't chicken out and he was involved in the decision so couldn't complain.
On Friday 26th May we left his box of dummies ready for the fairy to collect in the night. Before bed I went to his room to recover the last remaining one from his bed covers. This particular night it was unusually still in his mouth and well and truly clamped shut. 6.30am, dummy in place and a sly smile he appeared in our bedroom. I quickly took it off him and mumbled something about the fairy not being able to get it out of his mouth. He didn't complain (which surprised me) and was excited to go and see what the fairy had left. We headed to the lounge where the dummy box sat empty next to his requested gifts. Thankfully the cake and car hit the spot. Phew.

For three days and nights he persistantly asked / negotiated / whinged when he was tired and going to bed but not once did he cry or get upset. By Monday there were no mention of them. Thursday was a real test, the visit of a child who still had a dummy. I anticipated some secret sucking and possibly stealing but he wasn't the least bit interested and on a chance encounter with her stash I held my breath while he simply counted how many she'd got. I must admit I was a little shocked by the lack of reaction. Although maybe he's too much like me to show he really cared and instead went with, does this face look bothered option.

So two weeks on...
The idea of taking it away was a lot worse than the reality. Bedtime has become a little harder as he adapts to failing asleep without it but that will sort itself out. Almost instantly he seemed so much more grown up and I get the feeling he feels more like a big boy too. Dummy....what dummy?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Mum Bashing

Happy Friday :)

"You know she doesn't drink and actually enjoys getting the playdoh out" "Ughh, perfect mum weirdo"
As a facebook user and follower of numerous mummy blogs I have recently become a little irked. I may be justified, over sensitive or simply turning into a grumpy old woman with a failing sense of humour. You be the judge and let me know. I'd love to hear what you think.

It's great that we are more open and honest about how life with kids isn't all a bed of roses and that it's ok to feel unsure, pissed off and fed up. Mummy blogs truly help many many mums and dads to see they aren't alone and how they are feeling is totally normal, which is fantastic. I have laughed out loud, nodded along in appreciation, picked up tips and felt better knowing that I have numerous unknown companions in the world experiencing the many challenges of parenting along with me.

A battle that most parents experience at one time or another, bedtime (shudder)
Undoubtedly a very popular, if not the winning formula is the portrayal of a mum on the edge, sporting a well stocked drinks cabinet with a baby/toddler who lives to make their life a misery. Which I totally get because reading about a child sensibly eating their dinner or going to bed nicely is not remotely as interesting or funny as a toddler re designing the kitchen with spag bol.

toddlers behaving badly

This middle finger up to old school expectations coupled with an honest, unapologetic and unwavering voice is refreshing and needed. However, recently I've noticed a certain amount of 'Perfect Mum' bashing accompanying this. That same hand of friendship doesn't seem to extend to the mum who doesn't suffer depression, the mum who's baby sleeps through the night, the mum who looks a million dollars at the school gate, the mum who enjoys doing crafts. No, instead these mums, with a sneer are labelled as the 'Perfect Mum'.

Perfect example :(
The 'Perfect Mum' is ridiculed, viewed as a show off, seen to be gloating. Which is totally bizarre. We should be celebrating and applauding the highs with the same warmth and enthusiasm that we give compassion and sympathy to the mums struggling with the lows.

So I urge my fellow bloggers to cut a little slack to the mums who appear have their shit fully together and who's family life mirrors an episode of the Walton's. Every mum deserves support and kindness, whether she is seemingly 'perfect' or not... I am the mum

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Ultimate Mothers Day Guide For Dads

Happy Friday :)

Love to all you Mummies :)

Below is a simple guide for all Dads who want to show that they know what their woman wants and is very much loved and appreciated. Or at the very least can read and follow instructions.

Mother's Day is once a year and even if she says don't make a fuss, believe me make a fuss. However, women with small children are easily pleased. Think undisturbed visits to the toilet, making it out if the house without any chewed food or body fluids on our clothes. You get the picture.

Here are 5 simple steps (in my opinion) to ensuring the Mother of your off spring has a tremendous day and at the same time bag yourself several brownie points for any treats you might like ;)

1/ Pre Mother's Day Treat
If your little one is still waking during the night get prepared and take control. On Saturday treat your Mrs to a full nights sleep or at least spare her having to get out of bed (as she will be awake anyhow). If you want to really up your game allow her to comment on your middle of the night parenting techniques, whilst smiling and say; "Yes dear I'll try that next time"

Daddy Cool

2/ Be Chief Kiddie Carer 
So after step 1 you may feel a little tired but do not disclose this. Remember, your other half lives this the other 364 days a year so suck it up and when those darlings spring out of bed leave her tucked in. So now you have the next 12 hours (or more!) to be in control. You sort out the arguments, you change the nappies, you entertain. Warning: even though you've been enthusiastically making balls of playdoh for the last three hours the minute your attention wanders they'll be over to mum in a heart beat saying you're not playing. Keep focused and off facebook.
Toot toot construction team with Dad supervising
3/ Let Her Brain Rest
Give her a break from the continuous working mummy brain of planning, sorting, arranging, deciding, choosing. It's down to you what you'll be doing, eating, playing and don't ask her. Just do it and watch the amazement (and confusion) unfold.

4/ Let Her Body Rest
With all the above going on she won't be doing much anyhow but how about suprising her with her favourite magazine, cuppa tea and chocolate bar. Then casually let her know you're just taking the kids out to the park/duck pond (sit in the car if you must) for an hour while she can relax. Again, watch the amazement unfold. Whatever you do DO NOT come home early, in fact tell her you'll be an hour and throw in an extra 30 minutes...Bliss.

Bath & Baileys anyone?
5/ Feed her
Going out to eat with small children isn't always the best option. So as long as you sort the food (and kids) staying home could be much more relaxing and fun. Get the kids to help prepare it so if it isn't great she can't really complain and don't forget dessert!!!! Even if she's on a diet it's treat day and it's her choice whether she wants it or not. Might want to cancel that table at the local 'screaming kids, queuing for an hour' Carvery...

This is breakfast, definitely not what you should be serving up for dinner.

Ps. DO NOT forgot a card and simple gift (bunch of flowers, box of chocolates, bottle of prosecco) or as unfairly as it may seem all the above will become nil and void.

Pps. Apologies for the above but we are complicated creatures.