The prelude to this post is that I have recently ruined my life by introducing my nearly 2 year old to a “big girl bed”. In non public forums I am referring to it by a slightly longer, less family-friendly name involving all the swear words.
Last night, Saturday night, I was walking round my newly installed and decorated kitchen, getting ready to make our dinner. Thanks to my (genius) subscription to one of those companies for lazy, uninspired people who still want a nice non ready meal of an evening, it came ready measured with a handy recipe card. Basically I was feeling pretty smug. Nice new (tidy for once) house, husband I fancy, cute kid. Life was good. I told my husband and he said “watch it, you know our luck, it can’t last long”. Pessimist.
The “fittest guy in the office” discussion left me cold when I realised the person they were referring to was a teenage looking boy I had actual maternal feelings towards.
Yes you’re past the 12 week mark and you can tell people you’re expecting – but there’s this awkward period around 14-18 weeks when you have what, to you, is a “mini bump” but if you’re like me, you also have a layer of “storage” everywhere else, thus making the “bump” less obvious. Now, this is annoying for 2 reasons. Firstly, you have probably grown out of all your pre pregnancy clothes (if not, get the hell outta here!) but you are not yet big enough for your uber preggers gear. You’re definitely not yet at the stage of “Im so enormous I don’t give a Buxton what I wear as long as it covers me” and you’re possibly still at the grasping at straws “I can probably still wear these bigger jeans in the back of my wardrobe…I’m pulling…I’m pulling…I’m…doing…up…the…button. I’m in! I’M IN! Er…they’re ripping…aaaaand I’m crying. Again.” stage.
I vowed that the next time I was pregnant I wasn’t going to stuff my face like I did the first time. I guess I lied.
Just over a year ago I was back in my old job, every day my calendar was rammed from 8 til 6:30. I would spend my days running round, fixing issues, managing a large team, juggling politics, it was a full on job…what I’d give for one day back there now – for a goddamn break!
All because I had a toddler (demon) to take round with me. Today she was so bad that I actually looked up whether there was a full moon.
Remember what Valentine’s Day used to be like? Wake up to a breakfast cooked just the way I liked it, a romantic card, thoughtful present and a bit of alone time. This year it’s a Saturday, there were 2 games of rugby on, we’d have headed to the pub to watch them, end the session sozzled, going in search of food and then more booze and dancing.
Yeah, well. Our second Valentine’s Day with the baby involved a trip round a farm in the rain, then off to warm up in a cafe, covered in mud and stinking of pig s*** to bolt down something hot and carby that’s shareable with a toddler. Back to my family’s house where she proceeded to try and play with everything she’s not supposed to, bury her dribble covered face in their cream sofa which cost more than our car, climb the stairs, scream, try to knock over the TV and cause me to have a nervous breakdown and eat a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. Then she cried herself to sleep leaving me and hubs alone at last.
It’s 19:40 and the clock is ticking til I can drag my carcass to bed.
But at least I won’t have a hangover tomorrow.
Yesterday I met up with a friend who is basically Mary Poppins mixed with Supernanny. And she reminded me what a lazy, crap mum I am.
“The jelly looked fun!” She said hopefully, referring to the photo I sent her after the last time we met. I’d felt so guilty that I hadn’t done a single thing on her list of “fun activities to do with kids” that I immediately picked the least messy sounding one and did it the next day.
Except that it was messy. So very messy and…just so messy. I’d selected sugar free jelly in the hope that it would be less sticky but alas it was as sticky as a MOFO and went All. Over. Everything.
Later that evening as I scraped jelly out of the crevasses of the high chair, off the walls and from under the fridge (how the hell?!) I thought “maybe I’ll try the baking idea tomorrow…or actually maybe I’ll do the painting instead…”. I didn’t do either and I’m still finding that damn jelly places. I had to get the mop out. I dislike housework.
Instead, the next day we drew on the fridge in whiteboard markers for, like, ten seconds. And that’s when I realised it, she’s 1 year old – she doesn’t give a sh*t about drawing on the fridge. And she didn’t particularly like the jelly. I put it down in front of her and she touched it tentatively with one finger and then sat back and looked at me like “er Mum are you sure about this? You’re usually pretty up tight about me throwing sh*t all over the place”. I just smiled and said “dig in” but she knew, and I knew. This was going to be no fun really. It’s like when your husband says “no, no honestly it’s fine, we can watch Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” and you know that he’d prefer to be watching something with a lot more killing and a lot less cabaret, so you spend the whole film thinking “I bet he’s hating this” instead of chuckling at the whimsical banter and marvelling at Sandra Bullock’s amazing bone structure.
Yesterday my Mary Poppins friend asked if I’d been to any music classes yet. I said “no but I’ve got a list of them off a new friend I made!” (I’d ticked “make a new friend” off my list that week and it was so big that I hadn’t bothered doing any more tasks after that). Then she asked if I’d been to the library for stories yet. I said “er, no”. “But it’s at the end of your road!”.
“Ok, have you been swimming?”. I hung my head. “No”. I was ashamed.
On the way home I bumped into my fourth local friend and we had a 5 minute chat and arranged a coffee date. That’s when I realised the reason I haven’t been to any activities alone yet. I’m a follower. I’m a total follower. I do things people suggest but I rarely suggest anything myself. This is why I’ve been more concerned with making new friends in my new town – so they can suggest things to do and I can agree to do them. That is how it must be.
Later that evening whilst I was putting on a puppet show with a zebra and a lion (the zebra explaining to the lion why he shouldn’t be eaten) amid peels of laughter from the baby, I decided 2 things. 1 If neither of us enjoys messy play, then there’s no need to force ourselves into it just because other mums are doing it. We’re more into physical play. We run after each other, play hide and seek, catch, fetch and go out walking. We splash in the bath until 50% of the water is on the floor. This is fine, in fact it’s my favourite part of the day. We like water. Water isn’t sticky.
We dance in front of the mirror to my “running” (LOL!!) playlist, she loves nothing more than admiring her little reflection bopping away, complete with range of hilarious facial expressions. We have the same taste in music, she crawls over to the iPod dock and flicks past the rubbish ones herself. We play “feed the scary monster” at the baby gate every day (rice cakes, me crawling up the stairs to the gate, her laughing hysterically and feeding me pieces of soggy rice cake).
The second thing I decided was that I’m the same type of mum as I am type of person and I think my daughter likes our little bubble the way it is. Let me explain. I don’t have birthday parties and I hate being the hostess. That’s why I don’t suggest things and why I married the world’s most popular, and sociable man and the funnest person I know – so he can deal with that stuff for both of us.
I have 4 friends-with-kids here after 3 and a half months. If I make a new friend every month then I’ll go to plenty of things (but only if they suggest it, there’s no use pretending). In between dates we’ll be happy with our own mirror dancing, monster feeding, chasing each other round the dining table brand of fun.
And a final thing. Because we are like two little peas in our own pod, when deciding if my daughter would like to do something in future, I’m just going to think “would I like to do it?”. An example from today is that a lady asked if my daughter would like to stroke her small, reasonably cute dog. “He’s very good with kids, he never bites” she said. So I lead my daughter over, she looks at me like “mum? What the hell?” And just stares from me to the dog and back in disgust. Then in one quick motion the thing jumps up, puts its paws on her shoulders and LICKS HER ON THE MOUTH. My daughter and I both stumble back in utter revulsion, me saying “eeeeeewwwwww def con 3! pass the baby wipes” at the same time the dog owner says “aaaawwwwww he’s giving you a kiss!”.
I looked at my daughter for the final verdict. She started crying. Agreed. I thought lets go home and hand sanitiser your face.
A friend of mine posted a link to an article by ex topless model Alex Simwise on the topic of No More Page 3. (http://simwisesucks.tumblr.com) and I was so incensed that had to respond. I Facebook ranted. I never Facebook rant.
I’m so sick of people being afraid to speak out against the every day inequality that we see as clear as day every single day. Let’s not be afraid to speak out, change the TV channel, leave the conversation even roll our eyes when there’s a 6 foot high semi naked woman on the bus shelter next to us advertising a strip joint or when all the female dancers on X factor are in pants whilst the men are fully clothed or a sex scene where a woman is fully displayed and the man is completely hidden…
And for the very very last time no, I’m not jealous. I am the opposite of jealous. I am very happy with my figure, I love, respect and value my body. I’m in great shape, I look after myself but do I want to show it to you in a newspaper? Hell no. Because I respect myself. I respect my husband and my family, but mostly because I am MORE than just my body! I am a person of value. I have breasts and thoughts, ideas, opinions and when I’m in a meeting with ten males I do NOT want them wondering or worse, knowing, what my breasts look like naked! I want them listening to me and valuing my damn opinions. I have depth and feeling, and the irritating thing that Alex’s article proves is SO DOES SHE. Alex, you’re articulate, you’re smart and sassy, you’re educated and opinionated – you can help change the opinion that women are there to be looked at and if they’re no good to look at then they’re no good. Women who hate page 3 and objectification culture in general are NOT “intimidated” or “Germaine Greer reading feminists” they’re not “living a grey and boring life” they’re FIGHTING every single day to be valued and respected for who they are not how they look. Join us Alex, we don’t hate women, completely the opposite.
And for reference here is my Facebook rant.
Her assumption that women who dislike page 3 are “threatened by pictures of pretty girls” is completely missing the point. What women are fighting so hard for (especially at work) is NOT to be seen as “a pretty girl” or “an ugly girl” or anything to do with their looks at all! Some women choose the difficult route (not the getting their boobs out) to make money. She even said it herself- she went to uni but page 3 paid the bills. It takes hard work to become successful and STILL you have to sit there and listen to men discussing one interview candidate’s “melons” compared to “the minger we’re definitely not hiring”. It’s the propagation of women as “nice things to look at” which means on MTV there’s female dancers in knickers while men are fully dressed. It’s why adverts at bus stop on the way to the office show strippers and gentleman’s clubs…then you have to go to work, FULLY DRESSED, and try to be taken seriously. But if you speak out against this ingrained “lad culture” then you’re a “Germane Greer reading feminist who hates other women”? Rubbish. If we ALL just said “F-it, this is too hard” started using our sexuality to get ahead the world would be a horrendous place. If I offer to take my bra off in return for a client agreeing to pay my fees, then the next woman who does business with that guy is going to be expected to do the same and so on. Women considering this career route I beg you, use your brilliant brain, keep your clothes on, do some hard work. It IS possible to do whilst being attractive. I know hundreds of attractive successful women – check my linked in, not a bare boob in sight – and note that not all feminists are ugly and they CERTAINLY don’t hate women. Oh, and sometimes not offering the world your precious, private, naked body on a plate makes you even more attractive. Adding a bit of mystery, makes the moment those boobs are finally released something to look forward to, not something you could pop to your local Co-op and see for 30p.