Tag Archives: bad mother

Who’s in control here?

4 May
Kids driving car

Mum relegated to the back seat. Again.

Becoming a parent makes you lose control of a lot of things – your finances, your social life, your pelvic floor muscles – but it should be possible to maintain the illusion of being in control. Whilst your time may not be your own, you can still be in charge. Trouble is, I’m not in charge anymore. I’ve lost it. I’m flailing wildly whilst being hit over the head with balloons, pelted with peas and fleeced for poor quality soft toys and cheap plastic goods.

Let me give you an example. Every mother knows that when you have kids you give up the right to pee in private. The other morning, with my 5-year-old being uncooperative with her school shoes and my 3-year-old iPadding, I saw a rare opportunity to grab some solo toilet action. (Normally on the pre-school run pee I find myself wedged into our cupboard-sized downstairs toilet with both children, the light being switched on and off and trying to stop them flushing whilst I’m mid flow.) Ah, the joy of not having to defend why I chose a particular pair of knickers that day or explain why we have ‘winkies’. Sadly, the sound of the flush broke the spell of the iPad:

3yo: [screaming] NOOOOO! Do it again!

Me: What? Do what again?

3yo: Go for a wee again!

Me: But I’ve just been. I don’t need to go again.

3yo: [Eyes now spilling more water than a blocked u-bend] DO IT AGAIN!!!

So what does any self-respecting parent in search of a quiet life do? I go through the whole process of going to the toilet again. Just so he can be there with me. I’ve lost control in my house to such an extent that even my bodily functions are dictated by my children.

Is seeking a quiet life devoid of tantrums effectively handing the reins to Little Dictators or does it actually help parents stay in control? I would argue the latter simply to justify my lack of parenting balls. Taking the path of least resistance certainly helps me get out of the front door – I rarely have time to employ Supernanny-esque techniques and sit out the tantrums, nor do I have the patience – and sometimes that’s just enough to keep control of my (teetering) sanity.

On the other hand, I’m well aware that I’m most likely creating little monsters and the much-maligned rod for my own back. I’ve wiped their noses, wiped their bums and now I move the potty (complete with child) so that it’s closer to the plug for charging the iPad that my son needs to help him focus on doing a poo. (I’m potty training so cut me some slack.) How long before my lack of authority comes back to bite me on the backside, leaving not the imprint of milk teeth but of teenage teeth too late for turning?

To undo all my bad work I need to transform from Maid to Matriarch. It’s a makeover that will require more than a quick visit to the Boots make-up counter – we’re talking a full-blown injection of parenting botox and possibly a large dose of Mother’s Ruin. Wish me luck.

Why blogging can give you the horn

3 Dec

Orange rhino

I need to ask you to allow me to navel gaze. Why I’m asking permission, I’m not sure, after all blogging is a self-indulgent activity. I put my thoughts on the screen and expect you to (a) read them and (b) find them interesting – (b) doesn’t naturally follow (a) but thank you anyway.  Lately, I’ve been wondering  why I bother blogging. I don’t have a massive following and I certainly don’t get nominated for bloggy awards. My posting is, at the best of times, sporadic as I favour the ‘waiting for inspiration’ approach where a post is slowly stewed and then finally emitted as an enormous, post-roast dinner belch. So why do I feel the need to write?

I’ve not been proud of myself recently. I’ve become more than a bit shouty with the kids. Having read this superb article by The Orange Rhino I now consider myself in rehab but it has led to some soul searching as to where my throat-shredding volume (and shameful lack of patience) has come from. Digging around inside my cranky old brain, I eliminated PMT, the kids being on the slippery slope to ASBOs (they’re generally quite sweet) and any other stress-inducing factors I was immediately aware of. What had turned me into a fishwife? What had changed? And then it struck me that the onset of foulness commenced around the same time I left the comfort of my office job and went freelance.

Ah, freelancing! Working when you want, having a midday nap, endless coffee and cake, having no sustained adult conversation. HAVING NO SUSTAINED ADULT CONVERSATION?! I’d struck psycho gold. I have no one to listen to me for the bulk of the day so when the kids come home and they don’t chuffin’ listen to me either then the frustration builds until it pops. Through no fault of their own, they have become vinegar to my bicarbonate of soda. There has been lots of fizzing and quite often a big explosion. Add into that chemical reaction my having embarked on a whole new and uncertain career, spoon in a lump of the sense that I’m not yet quite where I want  to be and it’s a recipe for psychological/emotional/parenting  disaster. This wasn’t a side effect of freelancing that I’d anticipated having a problem with. Unpaid invoices – yes. Lack of crazy watercooler chat – no.

Don’t feel sorry for my children. I’m well on the road to being an Orange Rhino. Does this child look unhappy? Guitar glasses

But what has this got to do with why I want write? I’ve realised that since becoming freelance I’ve done very little blogging – perhaps even less than usual. My voice (small as it may be) has stopped being heard in the virtual as well as the real world. Whilst I can’t rent a mob to come and sit around my laptop and recreate an office environment (eek, but do I want one?), I can keep on communicating via blogging. Really, that’s not as sad and lonely as it sounds. It might put an end to my chats with the goldfish. And talking of animals, writing might just stop me being an almighty cow. If that’s all I get from blogging then that’s good enough for me.

 

 

How to break a child’s heart in one easy ballet step

30 Oct

We’ve just returned from holiday. In the days leading up to the journey home there were the inevitable groans about our imminent return to cold, grey reality. The 4-year-old didn’t want to go back to nursery. The 18-month-old didn’t want to leave our hosts’ endless supply of Swiss Chocobits cereal. I knew that an English supermarket could probably sort the latter, but what to do about the former? Obvious answer: give her something to look forward to when we got home.

And so it was that for several days before our return I buoyed my daughter up with the prospect of her Monday ballet class. As expected, this resulted in the tongue-rolling, dress-lifting, wriggling excitement that normally only a Disney princess can elicit. Pat on the back to Mummy. I was on to a winner.

Back at home on Monday morning disaster struck. A faulty gas supply left us without heat and hot water and the prospect of a day stuck in the house waiting for help to arrive. As the plumber (yes, the same plumber as in that post) got steadily more grumpy and the hours ticked by the likelihood of getting to ballet started to dissipate like the waft of gas from a dodgy gas pipe. Like any good parent, I deliberately didn’t mention the impending trauma to my daughter lest by some miracle all should come good.

An hour before the class and things weren’t looking promising. Tears, tantrums and utter devastation loomed. I called Mr Crumbs & Pegs in the hope he’d be able to pop home from work for an hour thus releasing us from the purgatory of infernal waiting. Success! We were back on track.

Half an hour before the class and I got one very excited little girl into her ballet outfit. All was progressing as normal – the usual explanation of why she must wear her skirt pulled as high as Simon Cowell’s trousers rather than skimming the bottom of her buttocks like a gangsta, the foot stamping as locks of hair escaped from her hair band, and of course the frenzied tumbling into the car when we discovered we were running late. No surprises then when we pulled away from the house with one/some/all of us fraught and in tears. That aside – we were on the way to ballet!

Under stress I seem to have the knack of turning my daughter into a blubbering and uncooperative wreck. (Four years in and I am yet to learn that shouting does not make children go faster. Some red underlining is clearly required in the Bad Mother’s Notebook of Things I Must Do Better. ) Dragging two children into an empty leisure centre reception area I stopped in my tracks. Where were the pushy mammas in their boots and skinny jeans?  Where were the siblings who were usually sprawled across the corridor playing Top Trumps and tripping up the attendees of the Blind Badminton class? Hell no! It was half term. No ballet class.

The receptionist looked at me with pity (or was it disgust?) as I made the walk of shame back out the leisure centre doors, crying ballerina and confused toddler in tow. Guilty doesn’t do full justice to how I felt as I explained to my daughter that her mother – who was obviously always right – had got something terribly wrong. In the car I proffered a trip to a café by way of an apology but was told that her “tummy hurt too much from crying to eat cake”. Make it worse why don’t you.

A day later I am still apologising. A day later, when reminded of the incident, my daughter still looks at me like her heart has been broken by an idiot. A complete idiot. Welcome to parenthood.

The crack police

10 Apr

Call it what you will – intergluteal cleft, vertical gluteal crease, bicycle park, builder’s bum – we’ve all got one: a bum crack (or butt or ass crack, if you will). There isn’t a pleasant name for it. As a meeting point for the buttocks, it doesn’t have a specific purpose other than perhaps as a quasi pair of velvet curtains to drape the least pleasant exit point in our body. Such is the personal nature of the bum crack, we tend to keep them covered up. Even the skimpiest of thongs gives a nod to the sanctity of the bum crack.

Of course bum cracks do occasionally make a bid for freedom and unless the offending crack is hairy and sweaty this generally raises a giggle rather than disgust. I assumed this was a universal reaction. On a recent trip to the US, however, I was amazed to discover the existence of what I can only call the Crack Police. Upon arriving at one of the Disney parks, poor Mr C&P was taken aside by a security guard:

“Excuse me sir, but I … errr … thought I should … errr … let you know that you are showing your … errr …crack. You might want to … you know … just in case … you know.”

He was obviously embarrassed but clearly not embarrassed enough to stop him pulling someone aside and having a serious word. Is showing your bum crack down there in the Disney Rulebook alongside not taking Mickey’s name in vain and not mentioning Donald’s speech impediment? And “just in case” of what? The mind boggles.

An amusing one-off? Well, no. It seems there is something in the American psyche that finds bum cracks enormously troublesome. A few days after the above incident, Mr C&P was carrying our daughter on his shoulders when we heard quickening footsteps behind us. I turned to see an elderly lady signalling to us and I expected her to be clutching a dropped hat or toy. But, no, she was an undercover officer from the Crack Police:

“Your little girl is showing her bum crack. I wanted to tell you just in case people … you know …”

Just in case of what??! In case 1 cm of her crack ends up in a photo on a dodgy hard drive? Hell’s bells – some perspective please! Just as Mr C&P was made to feel like a wannabe flasher, I somehow felt a bad mother. My daughter should be wearing industrial trousers pulled up under her armpits and fastened with a padlock. I’d not packed these – I’d only packed skimpy summer stuff for the baking heat. Bad BAD mother.

Florida is one of the most conservative states in the US. Topless sunbathing is illegal so maybe showing an inch of crack is perceived to be the start of a slippery slope to whipping your boobs out in the local 7-Eleven. If anyone can shed any light on this ‘interesting cultural difference’ that would be cracking.

William's stories

Lots of stories!

blue milk

thinking + motherhood = feminist

Sara Bran

Notes on Gravity

bee & barlie's books

English Children's Books: Writing for other Expat families

Slummy single mummy

FAMILY /// LIFESTYLE /// TRAVEL

ccstomberg

Random musings

My growing obsession blog

Struggles and successes in a suburban garden

angelbaby

a pro breastfeeding and gentle parenting blog

Style in my City

Fashion, food, lifestyle and culture in St Albans

simonsometimessays

...and sometimes he sings it instead

Love All Blogs

the first blog showcasing site and non-profit making, altruistic network that welcomes all bloggers

Dorkymum | Stories from Tasmania

Stories from our family home in Tasmania

Mayfair Mum

Adventures raising a Little Chap and more

Northern Mummy with Southern Children

Tales from a northerner stuck in the south

%d bloggers like this: