Saturday 23 May 2009

Discussion of the day

Should you or should you not write blog posts while excessively tired or very inebriated or both?


(That's as much as I can manage as am both). Hic. snore.

Friday 22 May 2009

The mummy rollercoaster

Oh. My. God.

There isn't really enough wine in the world to help me recover from the last hour.

You see it all started like this. Boy across the road had the friend from school to play but didn't invite my son. This was a problem. I knew it would be. But he wasn't invited and that was that. As we can see into their garden, staying at home this afternoon wasn't an option. We had to go out. First we had to live through the sheer heartbreak of a child who wanted to play with his friend on the last day of school, but couldn't. Compounded by the taunts of the friend going to play with the neighbour who at school had said: 'I'm going to play at Xs house and you aren't' as is the way of children. So that was nice.

I knew it would be like that so I went into supermummy mode. I had pre-planned and prepared. I had the car packed with bikes, scooters, football, board games, picnic blanket and bucketloads of crisps/sweets/cocktail sausages/miscellaneous picnic snacks. I donned my 'Yay, we're going to have the best afternoon ever' voice and tried to gee up the troups as we headed for a nature reserve well away from the friends.

It was hard, hard work. Eventually once we were safely consuming our 15th fizzy sherbert sweetie, the sobbing stopped and we all managed to have a genuinely fun afternoon exploring the woods, riding bikes, playing football, making dens etc. All was well. I even managed to convince them that what we were doing was infinitely more fun than playing on a boring old Wii (which is what had been advertised as the activity over the road).

I patted myself on the back for being a good mummy and salvaging a good afternoon from the jaws of nightmareville.

We came home. The friends across the road were still there. So my son stood at the fence yelling across the way asking if he could come and play. I kept saying that he couldn't as it was after 6pm, and besides, it smacked of desperation and norman no mates-ness and I didn't want the poor child to be begging for a play, particularly as he still hadn't really been invited.

So I ushered them indoor and served them dinner, which only moments before they'd been nagging for. My son took one look at it and tried to throw it onto the floor. I caught it. Asked him if he was sure he didn't want it. He had a name calling session and was adamant that he didn't want it (I am toning this all down a LOT). So I said I'd eat it if he didn't want it as there wasn't any left for me. He took off outside again in a strop, slamming doors en route.

I gave him five minutes then recalled him. He came in like a small thunder cloud, and as if the last five minutes had magically been erased from his mind, demanded his dinner in a tone that didn't exactly make me want to rush into the kitchen and rustle something up. So I said that I'd eaten it. Which I had. At which point he grabbed the bowl out of my hands, flung the remains on the floor, hit me, called me stupid and slammed the door.

Now I know he's had an emotionally wrought day. And I know he was probably tired. I know that the correct thing to do was to sit with him, be understanding about the fact that he wants to be outside and more importantly with his friends. I should have been calm and rational.

But this type of behaviour happens a lot and I'd had enough of it. I'd also used up every ounce of my energy in trying to get through the afternoon without more emotional meltdowns. So I instructed him that he had just lost out on bathing and bed time story priviledges, that he may wash his face, hands and clean teeth and could go to bed.

Let's just say that didn't go down well. At. All. The end of my tether was reached and surpassed by a good mile or so. I won't go into the details but it wasn't my finest moment of parenting. I had as much of a tantrum as he did. And he ended up going to bed (eventually) sobbing and asking for his father who certainly wouldn't have taken a more favourable view of his behaviour. I now have an almighty headache and feel utterly deflated.

All of my good mummy hard work of the afternoon was wiped out in an hour in the face of fairly vile behaviour from a child who was never going to be in a great frame of mind today. Now I feel guilty and rubbish.

It's the mummy rollercoaster.

If only I'd read the sign before boarding: Step right up. Tickets cost you most of your life savings. Brace yourself for a white knuckle ride with unexpected twists, turns, highs and lows. May cause whiplash. And nausea. May make you scream hysterically or laugh uncontrollably. Once you're on it, there's no getting off it. Good luck.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Blah (A poem for those feeling... well exactly like that)

This poem is for anyone feeling blah, but in particular all self-employed mums (or dads) who have the occasional crisis of confidence and want to jack it all in. I'm certain I won't be Poet Laureate anytime soon but here it is nonetheless:


There are times when one feels blah.
It could be caused by an ill-fitting bra.
Or not ticking your to do list
Letting things get missed
Or simple feeling decidedly un-hoorah.

There are times when confidence takes a hit
And you feel like you just want to quit
You wonder why you bother
Why not simply be a mother
And give this work lark up for a bit.

Today is one of those days
When I'd like work to simply go away
But as an self employed bod
There's no-one else to do the job
So there's only one thing left to say:

You are good at what you do
Somehow you'll make it through.
So have a glass of wine
Tomorrow you'll feel fine
And sod everything that's gone to poo.

Monday 18 May 2009

Winning friends and influencing people

I should not be writing on this blog. I should be working. I have so much work to do I could keel over and die quietly in a corner, but I have a pressing issue I need to get off my mind, which hopefully will leave more room for me to concentrate on work stuff.

So I've posted previously about son 1 and his issues with friends and school and life in general. It's getting worse. He goes to a teeny tiny school and has only 7 children in his class. Two of whom are girls and therefore in the eyes of a five year old boy, don't qualify as human beings much less playmates. This leaves 4 potential people for him to play with. Of these 4, he seems to only want to be friends with one. He plays with the others but they're not his 'friends'. The challenge is that his 'friend' wants to be friends with someone in year 1 more than he wants to be friends with my son.

This is causing my son unhappiness in the extreme. You can't force children to be friends. You can encourage them to play nicely and treat people well but more than that, there's not much you can do. I've tried encouraging him to be friends with the others in his class but there just doesn't seem to be the same chemistry for him.

What's more, he is a nightmare going into school in the mornings, frequently running out of the building, clawing and scratching at me. Once in school, he is fine. He reserves this behaviour for me. But I also know that he cries almost every night because he doesn't want to go to school because of the friends issue.

He's recently started asking to go to a different school. I am now trying to make playdates with old friends who now go to different schools in a bid to make him happy. But it's not solving the day to day issue.

The straw that broke the camel's back happened this weekend, when his 'friend' was invited to the coolest boy in the school's birthday party (he's in year 6) and my son wasn't. He was devastated to say the least. How do you explain to a child why he wasn't invited? It would have been fine if I could say: Well he only invited kids in his year group. But he obviously hadn't. He'd invited my son's best friend and not him. I'm not surprised. Despite the year 6 boy being very friendly to my son, he probably sees him screaming and wailing in the playground every morning and thinks he's probably a bit too babyish to manage a big boys party.

Sigh. It was heartbreaking. I've been close to tears all weekend as a result. All parents want their child to be liked. To be popular. To have friends. But what do you do when it doesn't work out that way?

I have considered moving him to another school, but the next closest is so full (30 kids in reception class already with no limit on the numbers) and the others are oversubscribed and a fairly long drive away. I like him going to the local school we can walk to, but if it means another 6 odd years of this, I might lose my mind. And my poor child will certainly lose his.

Tomorrow I'm going to do something that I'm dreading but that I'm doing (officially) to give my son some moral support. (Unofficially, I am trying to buy him street cred by showing the other kids in his school that he's got a 'cool mum' - at least I'm really hoping that's what they'll think - ergo, he too is cool and worthy of being friends with).

The theme of the week is Around the World, so I've agreed to go and give a presentation to the school on my Around the World sailing adventure. This is going to tax my geography skills somewhat, but I've shown my little presentation to my son and he thinks the kids will love it and he seems to be bursting with pride and excitement. I'll take my sailing gear too so they can try it on and there's a short motivational video for them to watch which should have them all nagging for sailing lessons.

It's a pathetic attempt on my part to try to help him win friends and influence people, but I don't know what else to do. I'm going to attempt to speak to his teacher, but I've already had to speak to her sooooo many times about his not going into school issue that I fear she might just silently roll her eyes and curse whoever has landed her with this problem child.

Wish me luck. And feel free to share your ideas on how to tackle this issue.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

I've been tagged by Mosey Jones, (also known as Morag) author of the Mumpreneur Diaries. I'm very honoured to be tagged by someone who's actually written a book. I mean we all want to write a book. Right? But to actually do it. To sit down and concentrate and not notice a spot of bolognaise sauce on the sofa that needs to be vanished, well that takes staying power.

Anyway, my task at hand is that I've got to answer these 20 questions, but I also have to replace one question. And add one question. And then tag some bloggy people. This is hard because time is short these days. And answering these questions takes some thought. But I will endeavour.

1. What are your current obsessions?
Sailing. Refusing to accept that just because I'm a mum I can't do something utterly ridiculous. See for more details on this life altering obsession.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Jeans. I have several pairs:

- Oasis - dark blue in good nick. For when I need to look smart (snort)

- Hobbs - used to be my looking smart jeans, now ripped in the crotch area from overuse and have been used for gardening but still in second smart place.

- Random old faded light blue jeans that are too tight, too short and has a zip that goes down all the time

- Very tight jeans that make my legs look very skinny but cause a muffin top and are impossible to sit down in.

3. What was your favourite childhood meal?
Macaroni cheese. Still love it, although now I wash it down with gaviscon.

4. Last thing you bought?
A piece of red carboard. Intrigued as to why? I'm not telling.

5. What are you listening to?
Take That - The Circus. Have Hold Up a Light on repeat cycle. Love it, love it, love it.

6. Wine or chocolate?

Wine. Duh.

7. Favourite holiday spots?
Selous Game Reserve Tanzania. Yes, I do sound like a bougois (sp?) snob. We went there on honeymoon, before the days of kids clubs...sniff.

8. Reading right now?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

9. Four words to describe yourself.
Away with the fairies OR alternatively: Very, very, very busy

10. Guilty pleasure?
Listening to music and imagining my life as a music video

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
The blokes on my last sailing training week. Can't decide which story was funniest - the gorilla choosing between the cabbage vs poo to have for lunch, or the elderly gentleman's testicle popping out of his boxers. You had to be there, honest.

12. Favourite spring thing to do?
Wear flip flops for the first time after months in confinement

13. Planning to travel to next?
Sailing 5,300 nautical miles to Rio de Janeiro (jealous yet?)

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Illicit bag of peanut M&Ms. Didn't realise I wanted them till I ripped the bag open and scoffed the lot in under a minute.

15. When did you last get tipsy?
Last night. And I fear tonight might be a repeat performance

16. Favourite ever film?
The Sound of Music. Singing nuns and clothes made from curtains. What's not to love?

17. Care to share some wisdom?
This is the life we've been given, so open your mind and start living.

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
Compare the; Compare the - it is driving me sodding insane and if I ever come across the marketing person for this company I will personally introduce a meerkat to their nether regions and see if they'd like to compare before and after snaps.

19. One thing you'd really like to do this year
I'm doing it! Crossing an ocean

20. What or who makes you irrationally rage and totally not proud of yourself at the same time?
People who drop the Ts in words, like saying be-er instead of better. I was almost moved to point out to some teenagers recently that the word Better had two Ts in it and neither are silent. But instead shuffled by mumbling about the youth of today and then thinking that maybe their parents never mentioned the fact that the word actually had Ts after all.

I'm not going to tag any bloggy people. I'm rubbish that way. But feel free to have a go if you fancy it.


No matter the size of your laundry pile.
No matter the microwave that's died a sudden death.
No matter the teetering pile of unwashed dishes.
No matter the uneaten dinner. Again.
No matter the lack of milk for breakfast.
No matter the car that needs to be MOT'd.
No matter the VAT bill that needs paying.
No matter the to do list that is running off the page and into next year.
No matter the constant stream of childcare issues.
No matter the tantrums, strops and sulks.
No matter the nagging, whining and clinging.
No matter the jeans that won't do up.
No matter the highlights that are in dire need of redoing.
No matter the neighbours with their new extension overlooking us.
No matter the thatched roof that is costing us £13k to replace.
No matter the garden that masquerades as a jungle.
No matter the husband who is away again.

No matter how vile my day might have been, with an iPod plugged into my ears, a few tunes will transport me away from it all. The most mundane of tasks are tapped out methodically while my mind, heart and spirits can drift to far away places.

Music changes the colour and emotion of life. It gives imagination the freedom to run to undiscovered places or revisit favourite memories. It washes the banality of chores away. It eases the tension flickering across shoulder blades. It gives goose bumps. It makes me smile.

Or perhaps it's just me?

*Written to the background strains of Newton Faulkner's 'Dream Catch Me' with lyrics that go:
There’s a place I go
When I’m alone
Do anything I want
Be anyone I wanna be

How apt.