This Is When It Sucks to Be a Parent

This is when it sucks to be a parent. In no particular order and in no particular timeline. Feel free to add your own.

When your child is once again the target of a nasty, persistent group of children who punch them to the ground for fun, and then grin at you whilst the teachers turn a blind eye,  That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When your child has done as much work as possible on a project, or a competition and worked so hard towards the end goal, and they get overlooked or a rubbish mark compared to the kids whose parent has clearly done it for them, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When your kid tells you they feel let down by adults who are meant to care, about their safety, or their health or their well-being in general, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you want to go out to a really cool party, or day trip, and not have to plan stuff months in advance ensuring there is a babysitter available who definitely can make that date in x months time, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the children expect you to have an answer for an infinite amount of possible questions on everything as far removed as the offside rule or why someone at school called them a name and you could swallow an encyclopedia and still never have all the answers, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the weather is shite and the last thing you want to do at 8.30am is walk in it of your own free will whilst two small people bitch you as if it’s your fault its pissing down, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you are literally dying of ill health (or so it feels), you can no longer be certain that you haven’t coughed up a lung or are being sick, but the small one or worse ones, are ill too, so you have to forego a duvet day to look after them (and do umpteen piles of washing if it’s a D&V Bug), That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When once upon a time you could survive on a diet of vodka, 20 B&H, and a pot noddle and thus was a size 8, when now you have to have at least 8 cups of strong coffee to get the wherewithal to brush your hair of a morning, and cannot refuse cake, or a leftover chip, thus are a size, ahem, cough, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you have to make small talk with other parent’s  who the only thing you have in common with is you had sex around the same time hence why you’re in a playground, although thank god for the small group of “normal” parent’s who aren’t annoying and are as disillusioned as you, That is when it (sometimes) sucks to be a parent.

When instead of being in a kick ass nightclub, or having a lazy pub session of a Friday night, you are instead stuck listening to Let It Go, One Direction and other chart shit at a school disco, wishing it was socially acceptable to sneak in gin, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

Parent’s evening, good or bad, ditto school reports and sports day, These are when it sucks to be a parent.

Losing the beloved bear- the child’s or the class one (actually, the class one is just bollocks, no one really takes a mini break for the school bear’s diary, surely?), That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the idea of Tom Hardy reading the bedtime story on cBeebies is meant to make up for a day of forced watching of the saccharine irritations of (fucking) Night Garden and (arsing) Charlie and Lola, That is when it sucks to be a (Mum) Parent.

Horrid Henry. The shite, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

And finally, it sucks to be a parent when you know that after the bumps, the homeworks, the disappointments, the questions, the shite TV and music they love, the ill health, the laughs and the good and the bad, before you know it, just like Mini is now, they are wanting to grow up and for you to not hold their hand or hug them in public, and soon after that they are young adults and don’t need you at all bar the odd tenner or a lift home.

That is when it sucks the most.

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The Real Crazy Summer Parenting Tip I Live By (Which Everyone Else Won’t Tell You)

OK, so I have something a little different for you today. I am writing this post for Britmums and Anchor (just a little disclosure for you there) but it’s not an advert so don’t all give me the stink eye please.

It’s scarily near to the dreaded 6 weeks holiday (in fact some of you may already have the holidays with you), and, as much as I love my two to bits, my God, they drive me crackers.

I have never been one of those parents who have to get the hankies out when they march back into school, more I’m reaching for them as the vast stretch of six weeks of moaning, eating me out of house and home, more moaning, fighting, more moaning, and bankruptcy looms.

Unless they have something to do for 23 out of 24 hours a day for the entire holiday, they will just bitch at me, or, worse, each other. They are so close in age but very different, and despite it being summer, in which case I will open the back door and send them out to play with water pistols, footballs, and chalks, the weather will always pee down for a good chunk.

So, what can you do when you’ve heard all the shouts of “MUUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!” you can physically take before you reach for the gin and have the authorities on your back whilst you rock in a corner?

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2014: the only time in a six week holiday when my two have been near any peace…..

In my house, I do one very simple thing that you too can join me in.

Do you have a shed?

If you don’t have a shed, you have a loo.

Make sure the kids aren’t actually about to harm each other, tell them that Mummy has a chore to do in the garden (for the shed bound) or needs the loo, and walk out to your chosen spot.

Once there, shut the door.

Make sure no child is in the vicinity- or neighbours- for the loo this can be hard as my two have a cute habit of banging constantly on the door in dire need of it the second I need to use it.

Then, if indoors turn on the taps to dull what you will do next:

Take a breath, and shout a swear word, as loud as you dare.

Take another breath.

Now, that feels better doesn’t it?

Its pretty frowned upon to swear at our little cherubs, of course, but my goodness you get close to it sometimes. It’s normal to feel like you cannot understand how that little bundle of joy has turned into a screaming, hitting, food stealing, pen on the walls drawing nightmare.

However, even the maddest of situations can be dealt with simply by having a minute to breathe.

Swearing loudly optional, of course.

 

 

Parent’s Need Love Too: Look After Yourself This Winter

I am writing this post as this week made me realise how rubbish I am at looking after my own health.

As a parent, you often put your own needs second to the kids, the house, the shopping and everything else. Christmas makes it worse as you’re busy getting all the presents in.

In our house, we also have Littlest’s health to keep an eye on as winter is when he is at his most vulnerable and often needs steroids to make him feel a little more human.

As usual, as soon as the end of the summer came along and the weather became more changeable, I started to get an annoying cough. I get these most times of the year when its chilly, and I just put up with it, save for the odd bottle of cough syrup.

Last year, it took months for my cough to go, and this year has been just as long, but more worryingly, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I also had no other flu or viral symptoms.

In the end, after Mums at the new school commented how long I’d had my cough and how ill I sounded, looking concerned, I made a GP appointment.

My problem is I have never had a good relationship with a GP, I usually feel fobbed off, or worse, feel like they feel I’m a time waster (this was down to one GP who, everytime I would go to see him, he would dismiss me with the argument I over worry things down to having had-not continued to have- depression when Littlest was born). So I avoid going where possible.

I am really pleased though that the new surgery are friendly and treat me with respect. They listen, and they don’t expect you to fit into an allotted time for treatment.

It also turns out that I didn’t have a simple cough. I have actual asthma.

I’ve probably had it for quite a while in fact, and I need to take inhalers.
To be fair, it seemed pretty obvious when the GP told me, as the clues were there and I should have picked them up- after all I’ve looked after Littlest’s own lung issues for years!

It does make me peeved a little as I’,m probably the healthiest I’ve been for ages. I have been walking everywhere, I’ve been eating less and I’ve dropped from a size 18 to a size 12/14.  I’ve not been following a faddy diet, I have still been eating chocolate and other things that diets tell you to cut out, just eating less and being sensible.

Its good that I now know as it was getting bloody scary walking and feeling like I was close to collapse.

With that in mind, parent’s, carers, make sure you look after your own health this winter, its not being selfish, its being sensible, as if you get really ill you wont be able to look after anyone!

Putting yourself first is fine!

Is It Just Me: Who Finds the Idea to Force Feed Breast Feeding with a £200 Bribe a Farce?

Before I get the Breast/Bottle debate bullies going off on one in my comments, I have to stand up and remind you I did both. I breast fed one child, and formula fed the other. So I am well placed to approach this latest Government scam from both angles. So there. 

Its them there Tories again with their bullying tactics against us normal parent’s and our rights to a choice again causing a storm of protest and angst on social media platforms. 

Currently, a trial of 130 women in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire is attempting to coerce new Mum’s to breastfeed rather than bottle feed with the promise of £200 of John Lewis, Tesco and Poundland vouchers for taking part.

My thoughts?

It’s a bribe. Pure and simple. No matter what your viewpoint on breast is best or formula feeding being right for your child, waving a metaphorical fishing line with £200 on it is tantamount to a bribe.

I also feel the scheme- even though it’s only a test at the moment- is done with perhaps good intentions, as there is a massive divide depending on socio-economic factors whether a Mum decides to bottle or breast feed a child. However, with most Government schemes it falls at the first hurdle as it lacks proper thought and insight.

Firstly, take my situation.

I loved breastfeeding Mini. I loved the simplicity of being out, and having her wail for food, only to have to get my baps out and feed her in ten seconds flat (I had no worries sitting in public breastfeeding). I didn’t have to go through all that bottle nonsense, all that sterilising, or checking it was warm enough, or going into a cafe and asking them to heat it for me. No, it was ready and waiting on call, 24/7.

Yes, I was woken up all the time, and couldn’t share the load with Elder (he naturally supported my decision as he got no disturbed nights at all the swine). Yes, when her teeth came through, my poor nips started to resemble cheese graters. But I liked it, lost tones of weight, could stuff pizzas without a care in the world and bonded with my daughter from the off.

On the flip side, I tried to express my milk for Littlest in SCBU, but got nothing, zip, nada bar a tiny droplet before the milk factory closed for business due to unforseen early baby issues. 

I had no choice but to go to the dark side(!) and bottle feed him. I personally was under so much stress and worry at that time, I felt the utter pressure put on me by some of the staff in SCBU was completely out of order, I was made to feel awful by one old school Nurse as I was “letting him down” not trying harder. I tried so hard my boobs ached for days and were bruised. I even tried to get a 6 months off of Breast Mini to suck again to see if she could bring it on. 

I cannot imagine what I’d have felt like with this as well. No vouchers for me and my other SCBU buddies due to our babies being early- something we couldn’t control, is hardly fair or justified. It will also mean that there is an even bigger divide between the on time Mummies and the SCBU Mummies. It wont help the sense of failure by any means that we are treated like these supposed “lazy” Mums who choose the bottle from the off.

And what of these “lazy” bottle Mums? 

What about their freedom to say, “you know what, I just gave my body for 9 months, I don’t fancy that thanks”. Do they not have the right to say that? 

What of these supposedly poorer families who they are mostly targeting with this? There are plenty of Mum’s who may want to breastfeed but due to their family income rate may be unable to as they go straight back to work within weeks of giving birth. Why should they miss out?

Once again, the majority of those in the long term who will benefit from this scheme, should it become a nationwide thing, will be the middle to upper class Mum’s who have the time and help needed to breastfeed.

The idea that a women who previously didn’t want to breastfeed doing so for financial gain leaves a poor taste of selfishness in my mouth. I can see it causing angst and depression for those who can’t breastfeed, and worry for those who try hard and hate it.

This is your baby, its your choice, and no amount of government bribe should force feed you to Breast Feed. 

Notes About Being a Prem Baby Parent

As many of you long term friends and readers know, Littlest was a 28 week premature baby. 

He is now 5, and he has health stuff down to being premature, like his lung problems, and his allergies, but I am never going to let it define him, or allow him to use his status as early as a reason to get a way with naughtiness.

Being early is not a badge you wear as a parent either, it’s something which happened, and which you’ve dealt with.

The thing is, I know a few great Mum’s whose babies where prems too. We don’t dwell on it, we ask each other questions if there is something we feel they may have experienced, a new health quirk or a possible medication, that they may have knowledge of. 

All kids are hard work, they have their own individual quirks and foibles. Mini was bang on time, by section, or I think they’d have needed to smoke her out she was quite comfy in there, but I don’t say “Oh, Mini can be a gobby cow and a bossy mare as she was on time“. That would be ridiculous.

I feel it is the same with Littlest. He’s not a bit naughty sometimes because he was early. He’s just 5. That’s what 5 year old boys are like. Little terrors.

Why have I chosen to write this?

Two reasons.

Firstly, I have been very kindly invited to Westminster and asked to talk about my experience as a Mum to a prem child. I have wracked my brain trying to think what to say, as I don’t want to sound like I’m moaning, or being a bit “woe is me”. 
I was lucky- I brought my child home, whereas plenty don’t. I have a little boy who yes, has ongoing health problems, but it’s part of life, you can’t be given a receipt and take the child back can you? It’s not like buying a faulty laptop and taking it back to PC World- “oh sorry, hospital, this one’s a bit wonky, he’s got crap lungs, and will keep me up night after night coughing (and with fear for at least the first 4 5 years), can I have a different one please?”

I will be in a room with someone I admire so much, who lost her child. Not even a year ago. What right do I have to stand up and say having a prem baby sucks when my prem baby is 5 and here and OK?

The other reason is simple. I simply hate those who do use the prem baby tag as an excuse to be badly behaved. That do use it for “woe is me” purposes.

I tried to explain on a blogging group earlier why a thread was removed to be met with abuse and patronising comments from a blogging member. Someone who I don’t know, I’ve never to my knowledge met them. I suggested that if they didn’t like it, they could leave. 

They did. Cool beans I thought, we can do without that in a group which is friendly.

Except they messaged me to be nasty, again. So I blocked them. I can’t be doing with angst from others. I have enough of me own thanks.

So they messaged someone else and used the “I have a prem baby” thing, even sending a photo. 

Hate it. Really hate it. 

I couldn’t do it personally. I know the other prem Mums I know would frown on it too.

If we let it define us, then what will happen to our prem child as they grow? They will face enough trials in life without having that tag front and centre all the time.

Yes, being a prem parent is hard. But isn’t being a parent hard sometimes, full stop?

It’s what makes the fun bits so much better, after all.

Need Advice on Routines? Live Stream Show with Dora and Jacqueline Harding

When I had Mini, way back in 2007, I went about parenting in a bohemian style. When she was sleepy, I let her nod off. When she wanted to be fed, she got it. 

However, pretty soon, I was knackered, with a fractious baby who would wake up all night and sleep all day. She was dozy, hard to manage (trust me, we started to think she had extra sensitive smell as without fail the moment I picked up a fork, a sandwich or even a cup of coffee, she would immediately want feeding) and had me tearing my hair out. 

Then we moved from Kent to Berkshire when she was 6 months old and started to wean her. That was hard too as she was so out of sync with the rest of the world, she just didn’t take to it.

My far wiser sister in law stepped in and decreed what this baby needed was a routine and fast. She had sworn by it with her two children as babies, and it had not failed her. Stick to a time to go in the bath, a time for a feed, a time for bed, and it’ll happen.

The first night was horror filled. Mini cried for two hours straight. I’m not talking whimpering sobs, I’m talking blood curdling, screams so fierce I felt sure of two things: I was a crap Mummy and the Police must be on their way soon.

Happily, it got easier.

I’m sure I’m not the only one though who finds routines a nightmare and wonders if they are necessary.

That’s where this live show comes in, with expert advice from Jacqueline Harding.

Covering newborns to child led activities, and the milestones in between, you can leave a question for Jacqueline in advice of the show here, which takes place on Monday from 12pm (and you can watch it below).

With the holidays coming up, you may want to know whether you should structure the 6 week break, or simply follow the lead of the children. Is there a set time for teaching kids the subjects which will get them ahead of the pack at school, or is it simply better to leave studying in the classroom?


All those topics are available to be covered, so don’t be shy, ask a question!

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Is It Just Me: Who Thinks Its One Rule for the Cams And One Rule For Everyone Else?

You may remember my post questioning why Anthony Worrall-Thompson was allowed to get away with 6 incidents of shoplifting from his local supermarket before anyone called the Police.


At the time, I pondered why being in a privileged position as a celebrity chef equalled getting away with a crime that Joe Bloggs would have been arrested over straight away.


Well, once again, a position of privilege means yet another famous face gets away with something a normal person like you or I would have been in all sorts of trouble over. Its not just any famous face either- its David Cameron and his wife Samantha.



It seems that Dave and his missus, along with another couple and his bodyguard went for lunch at a pub in Buckinghamshire. The Cameron’s brought their three kids along with them, and I should imagine, a very nice afternoon was had by all, considering the events which led the story to be reported on TV this morning.


(At this point, I like to imagine them glugging back bottles of wine on expenses, after all, this is the Tory Prime Minister we’re talking about).


Off they went home, Dave getting in a car with his Bodyguard, and Sam Cam getting in a separate car with two of the children.


Notice the “two of the children” there. They both managed to forget one child, 8 year old Nancy, leaving her at the pub.


Neither noticed that the child was missing until fifteen minutes later on returning home, and both suggest the other was at fault as both thought the eldest of their kids was with the other in the other car.


Firstly, how the hell do you all manage to leave the pub at the same time, knowing you’re off in different cars, and no one manages to communicate which kid is going with which parent?


Secondly, this isn’t just a kid from normal parents, this is the PM’s daughter, so why the hell was she not being closely guarded as a possible kidnap target? 


Thirdly, why on earth did no one at the pub ring the Police? This is an 8 year old girl, left at a pub, by both parents. 


This is yet again a case of the haves and have nots. I’m sure as hell that if Elder and I had gone to the pub with mates, got a bit squiffy and then left say Mini behind in the bar, only realising when we got home of our epic parenting fail, we’d have had the police and social services on our backs straight away, and with good reason.


Imagine, if you will, that the Cameron’s were just any David and Samantha from, lets say, an estate, no PM, no Tory Party, no notoriety and money. Imagine they were in a pub on a Sunday and left their kid behind. The whole thing would look, as it does, appalling. Mum leaves pub after drinking in the daytime with the Dad. Neither talk out who is taking what child and when. Which, I’m sure to an OTT Social Worker (after the Baby P scandal) would suggest relationship issues as well as a possible drink problem. Dad also leaves pub afterwards (did they have a row? Why do they not travel together? Had Sam been drinking and then, drive?) leaving one child behind. Neither realises until quarter of an hour after leaving the child behind. 


Reading it as just a normal couple, it makes frightening reading, and anyone else would have to explain what led to this kind of cock up. The fact they were drinking in the daytime only makes it worse.


What makes this even harder to swallow is the Tories new idea to offer- and the irony of this couldn’t be bigger- parenting vouchers for new parents or those it feels aren’t doing their jobs correctly.


Perhaps the Cameron’s could be the first to make use of these courses?


Yet again, no one will investigate- I expect the Bodyguard will take the wrap. But the fact is, whoever you are, PM or not, you are ultimately responsible for your kids. 


Next time you go out on the drink, Dave, I suggest doing a head count.


That’s just the basics of parenting. Add it to your course if you like.