Gender Neutral?! Oh please…

I’ve been hearing this term faaaaaar too much recently: 

                 GENDER NEUTRAL?! 

Oh please… Zzzzzz.
Who comes up with this stuff? 

Why do we have to find a label for everything these days? 

Can’t we just rejoice in the fact that we live in a society that will accept whichever gender orientation our kids hormonal compass will eventually point them in? 

Why does it need to be a ‘thing?’
Neutral indeed…
Here is our little GIRL, wearing her favourite Paddington Bear PJ bottoms, with a non-matching PJ top, topped off with a Spider-Man make up do. 
And yes. She’s in the park. 

(Anything seems to go on this holiday!! #dutchfashion) 

Because that’s her favourite way to be.
She ain’t gender neutral people: she’s a girl. 

And her bestest colour in the whole wide world? 
Blue.

Do we need to beat a drum and perform a little song and dance about it? 
Probably not.

I don’t mind that shops divide their clothing or shoes like they do. 

It doesn’t insult us! It’s really a short walk over to the other side of the aisle… 
Our 3 year old has no concept of ‘His ‘n’ Hers’, because we, her parents, don’t mention it. And before the campaigners rejoice, it’s not because we believe that she is Gender Neutral!!

We can often be found rooting around in the ‘boys gear ‘ for t-shirts with fire engines on, or blue trainers. 

In fact her favourite pants are her ‘boyfronts’ she pinched from her best mate Stephen (-They have a digger on…)  

CLEARLY #manstuff hmmm…

Lila also loves her 50-shades-of-pink- princess- fairy- taffeta dress monstrosity job too . And between 3.30pm-4pm on a Wednesday she can be found skipping about ballerina style in a pink leotard.
No sweat people. 

But please… Gender Neutral kids? 😾
Enough with the labels – ya killin’ me.
Let kids be kids.
Perhaps rather than banding around a new label, we should just go with the flow, and let our kids lead us. Being ‘neutral’ implies a lack of identity, a lack of meaning and indecision. No child deserves to be identifiable by those wishy washy terms.

#callaspadeaspade

Get A Life, Not A University Place.

Maybe it’s just me, but… 
I need to talk about results day. 

On Thursday, hoards of rabbit-in-the-headlights teens will be opening envelopes up and down the country, which they believe will dictate their future. 

To a degree those results will. No pun intended… 

But I want to make a suggestion:


There is more to life than university

I saw a bonkers statistic yesterday: the average student will leave university £57,000 in debt. What the… 57,000 quid! 

It begs the question: why are we pressurising our naive and confused young bloods into taking up university places as a matter of course? 
There is more than one way to skin a cat.
This is going back 15 years, perhaps things are different now that university fees have sky rocketed, perhaps the consideration IS that much greater nowadays…

However.

Every one of my peers went to university. (Apart from the one who went off with the boyfriend who set the station on fire…) The question on everyone’s lips wasn’t, “Are you going to university?” It was “Which university are you going to”. 

I fear that in a lot of schools this is still the case. Adultlets signing up for insurmountable debt to study a course in basket weaving at the bottom of the ocean. 
Because, Clearing. 

Shouldn’t tomorrow’s advice to those on the fence be more WAIT, less, “What can 3 C’s and a smile get me thank you very much?”
If you are unsure: Hit the pause button. Please. Because Miss 18+ you have time on your side. 


18 won’t even buy you a beer across the pond yet

So how about this for a piece of advice:

University isn’t going anywhere, but your #lifegoals will. Aspirations change, and the ability to carve out your own path will develop with a little more life experience under your belt. 

After all, a degree can only take you so far. Spending time on figuring out what makes you tick as a person is surely time well spent. Find out what you like and don’t like about the world. Dabble in the land of the grown ups, try it out for size. Go and live a little. Take a job. Find out just how much a quid gets you in Lidl. Travel. 
Meet people. All the people.

And I don’t just mean take a Gap Yar. 

If you’re not sure: Don’t rush in. 
Getting the grades or not getting the grades is one thing, it’s this next move which is the clincher. 
By the time I left university I had been doing exams every year for 12 years. 

That’s a long time. I was at one of those schools that held annual exam weeks in the summer (along with Shakespeare week, urgh the memory). 

The usual front page “Exams are getting harder / easier / pointless” continued to be printed throughout my GCSE’s, AS levels and A levels, dampening spirits on results day and occasionally exam day, if the press were feeling particularly hedonistic.
I see that nothing has changed this year. Gove’s ‘exam shake up’ (Don’t they just LOVE that phrase the most?!) has been splashed about once more. No doubt sending parents and teens into the pits of anxiety even before they have got their results. It doesn’t seem fair. 

Finishing the conveyor belt of education was terrifying. At the age of 22 I had never had a ‘proper’ job, my stint in Starbucks as a thirsty student doesn’t count. 

I’ll always remember my first day in my debut ‘grown up’ job. I was shown my desk, and told to settle in. Lovely, I thought… 
I stared blankly at the screen. I looked under it. I looked around it. Hmmm. The blank monitor was mocking me. I had another look around my desk, panic was beginning to take hold. I knew what I was going to have to ask…
“Excuse me, but how do I turn on the computer?”
My new boss stormed over, flicked the switch on the tower under my desk and loudly said,
“And that’s why I don’t like hiring graduates!”
She was a charmer. But she had a point, I was clueless!

when those results emerge, why not take a breath. Perhaps hit that pause button. 


Time is on your side. All is to play for.


Oh and never, ever underestimate the University of Life.


-It comes without the £57,000 gift tag too. 

“What if I fall?”  -“Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

“What if I fall?”

“Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

The stakes are high.

‘Falling’ would mean that I have failed; Failed to pass my NCTJ diploma in journalism and failed to re-enter the world of work as a journalist. It will mean a huge waste of money, and thousands of pounds down the pan. It will mean letting down the people I love the most. The disappointed eyes of my children upon me is almost more than I could bare. 

But…

‘Flying’ would mean everything
Flying would mean regaining my independence and my individuality. It will mean pride and it will mean confidence. 
(It will also mean that I managed to pass a 100 word per minute shorthand exam, gulp.)
In September I am going back to school for an entire year, to learn how to be a journalist. My passion for writing is going to morph into a career and I am quite literally tingling with anticipation to get started. 
I’ve discovered this compulsion to write since I started my blog, a passion for word splurging. Quite simply, an addiction to divulging the nitty gritty backstage at the Mum-game. 

My blog has led me to write a monthly column for a local magazine for 8 months now, a goal I never thought possible to reach. When I started this blog back in 2015 after the birth of our second daughter, I never dreamt that my sleep deprived, delirious words would open up this new career path. It just used to make me smirk as I documented The Witching Hour and Soft Play Hell…

I always thought I would stay at home forever.
-But that’s not an option now; Not now I know what I want to be when I grow up.

I have been on ‘mat leave ‘for 7 years. 7 years!! I’ve loved being at home with our girls (most of the time, blog might contradict that…) never having to hesitate when there has been a music show at school or a ‘look at their work’ afternoon. Each time the phone has rung because they are sick, or banged their head I have been at the school office within 5 minutes. Without exception. I’m grateful and thankful that I have been there every step. I haven’t missed a beat. 

I am well aware that ‘flying’ will mean I will be giving that all up. I’ll be in the working Muma club. A working Muma who earns money I might add. There is no doubt that my wardrobe our family will benefit massively from an additional wage packet. The satisfaction of buying my husband a Christmas present not with his own money will be a maje milestone!   
But, the guilt fairy peers over my shoulder on a daily basis at the moment:
“You’re leaving them y’know… They’ll be latch key kids drinking cider & smoking slims… What a juggle the holidays will be now, you selfish bitch…” 

But.

I’m ready to give this career thing a go. 
I think. (Self doubt will always linger won’t it?!)

I want to show my children that if you have a dream, you need to go for it. Embrace your ambition, no matter when it comes looking for you. Be brave, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. 
But I am bricking it. Of course I am. I’d be lying if I was to give you the impression of taking this next step in my stride. It has been 11 years since I last stepped foot in a classroom. And then it was when I had nothing else to juggle, it was just text books and alcohol. (Hmm, Perhaps it won’t be all that different after all…!) 
For the first time in years I will be accountable to someone over 3 ft. 
What if my new classmates are all 10 years younger than me? 

What if I don’t understand a word I’m being taught? 

What if I hate it?



And so I come back to this: 


What if I fall? 


But my Darling, what if you fly

Formula haters- you did not pick a good day to mess…

I’m in a seriously sweary mood today, it’s 3 weeks since my last silent coffee. Ordinarily sweary wouldn’t  be a problem. You’d never have known that I’ve shouted expletives into the fridge with the frequency of a bad case of Tourette’s today.
Usually you’d be none the wiser….
But I saw a blog post judging women who formula feed their babies, even suggesting that women that choose to formula feed are somewhat uneducated: and I’ve been giving all the fucking fucks for this. My swear jar (like I have one of those! Pah!) would be overflowing. I’d have saved for the Christmas splurge in an hour. 

What gives anyone the right to judge mothers who formula feed! It’s been a while since I let my mind wander back to our #breastisbest journey. Basically one clear thought ran through my mind: 

Get back in your bastarding box, pretty please

I’ll admit this is a sore subject for me (literally- if you’ve ever tried breastfeeding you might relate!). 
I take maje offence to anyone slating Apamil and the like. Without this my baby wouldn’t have survived! With a projectile case of reflux I was told to express milk and add this magic powder to aid the ample Pukage which had covered every surface of our home over those first few months of manic Babydom. 

My anxious awol confusion of a brain simply couldn’t handle the timing of expressing, feeding, winding, sleeping, expressing, freezing, powder mixing, winding mind-fuck of a routine. 

-How do you think I came up with the name ‘Muma on the Edge’ in the first place?! 

Formula was mine and my baby’s life line. Once we had made the decision to switch to formula the relief was mahoosive. Finally someone else could feed / wind / clear up the puke. I could share the hum drum newborn survival routine with my husband (or anyone else who was offering!). My anxiety levels began to reset and I actually gave myself moments to enjoy this mum thang. 

Guess what: my baby was less sick AND began to thrive. Well well- formula being responsible for a baby THRIVING. Did you hear that haters? 
And I assure you I am not uneducated, I even have a degree AND a private education, fancy! I engaged brain and made a conscious decision to saunter down to Tescos and buy up a crate of Aptamil Nectar.

No one raised any eyebrows as I bought the illicit products either. Bottles, a steamy cleaner, even DUMMIES… Oh yeh, to fuck with it, I went the whole sodding hog. 
Here’s a confession for you: the 2nd time around I chose to bottle feed after just 3 weeks. Because I wanted to. 

I’ll skate over the fact that my left boobage refused to refill. It looked a little like the surgeon had forgotten to pop the silicon in my sad looking pyramid tea bag to my left. Selfishly I wanted my body back, I wanted to wear clothes that didn’t unhook and flap open. After 9 months of growing a baby I needed to be in charge of me again. 

It wasn’t that I was frightened of breast feeding in public, no one had ever made me feel uneasy. I simply chose. And I’m not a bad person btw. I can be quite nice- if I like you…  

My girls are now 6 and 3, they walk, talk, run,hop, skip, answer back, learn, wash, cartwheel, swim, eat, and, touch wood, have never been in hospital. So far I’m not seeing any adverse effects from our formula decision. All present and correct thanks very much. 

So Judgey McJudgeface, before throwing your magic wand of Formula hate around why not locate a ladder, clamber down from that trogan horse and rejoin the rest of us on cloud normal. Please. 
#fedisbest bitches. 

Yup, looking fairly healthy here- blackberries in the potty might pose some questions however…

Hello Black Wednesday. 

Some might think that stating the obvious is a pointless task. I however believe that if you are stupid enough to trudge your kids, and one of their friends through the pouring rain and into your local zoo’s soft play on a day where Noah is on the edge of his seat, then you deserve to be ridiculed. 

What I am about to tell you IS obvious. I mean, we all know the rules don’t we: summer holidays + rain = stay the fuck away from soft play. I’ve been in the job 6 and a half years and still I make rookie errors… And I am sharing today’s with you. 

Welcome to my nightmare: Soft play on speed.

I’m writing this on the floor next to the highly over populated gated ‘baby zone’. 

On. The. Floor.

I scanned the deafening inferno for a base upon arrival: all eyes were instantly diverted away from my glance. Why are kids taking up highly sought after square footage in the parent zone? There’s a whole hyper-colour plaza just waiting to be explored. Look lively and shift it… s’il vous plait. 

God bless the holidays. 

It’s dawning on me that the possibilities for a bout of contagious pukage are ample in this mosh pit. Swarms of under 8’s are literally salivating over the soft mats. Schools out and the germs have found a new breeding ground. Hopping between miss screechy to master whingey in a nano-second. 

Everything is sodding soaked. Rain in biblical proportions is hissing down, the zoo’s day trippers have found refuge in the soft play: of course they have. Why didn’t that occur to me before we left? And I realise this may be obvious (as is the nature of this entire post)… but my socks are wet. And come to think of it, I’m sitting on a wet floor so I probably have a wet backside too: August is such a giver. 

A thought was inching its way into my conscious, I tried to block it out, I really did… 

Nits.

There are heads everywhere. Too many of them. All full of hair, all possibly harbouring nit farms. I do air on the side of total paranoia when it comes to the creepy hair breeders. But they attack me first and it makes me edgy. For some reason Nits adore the straw-like consistency of my barnet. I’m tempted to put a hair net over my kids – and myself. I realise this may attract some attention: 

‘The crazy lady typing on the floor looks like my dinner lady’. But the minors are close. Up close and way too personal on the head to head proximity meter for my anxiety level to regulate. 
It must be well documented that rain causes FuckWitSyndrome. It’s an unfortunate condition which appears to be effecting every child without exception. Sweaty Duracell bunnies are literally running around in circles. Some with their eyes shut. All with their mouths open. Demands and accusations are vying for space on the air waves.

(Hurrah! I found a seat- just saying. I had to perform a stealth Bolt-style move to secure this desk space. Backpack, water bottles, snack pack and iPad in my clutches. The seat is miiiiiine. All I need now is for my left bum cheek to rejoin the land of the living…
)

I knew it was coming. I could tell as she approached my chair; blue eyes wide, angelic face slightly tilted for optimum Cute:

“Can I have a red shushy?”
“No”
“Can I have a blue shushy?”
“No”
“Pleeeease can I have a shushy”
“No”
“But mum I NEED a shushy”
“The machine’s broken”
“But THEY have a shushy” (points to privileged Timmy & Jimmy)
Ok, I think, let’s try and level with ToddlerMonster:
“Darling, Mummy and Daddy are on a real economy drive for the next few weeks. We had a lovely holiday last week didn’t we?” (I don’t wait for the confirmation) “Last week was tax bill time, and we are going to Holland to that cheap version of Centre Parcs before nursery starts again aren’t we. We are only here because we have annual passes- so it’s basically free. I’ve made a snack pack fit for 3 giants, AND you had lunch before we left. Have a bourbon and go play”

3 year old stares blankly, “Can I have chips?” 
*Bangs head against metal table several times*

By this point I’ve become immune to the decibel level, I lift my eyes from typing away this post and it dawns on me that the cafe area has become a sort of awkward PTA party. It’s so jam packed, demographics are falling over each other. 

It’s Jeremy Kyle meets Joules. 



Breton strips are interspersed with a skin tight jogger: Who IS Ivy Park?! I’m not entirely sure where I fit into this social tapestry… I’m wearing Dan’s golf jumper that I shrunk in the wash, complimented by 2-days-over hair. I think that makes me ‘Jumble-Mom’. 
I’ve put in 3 hours. I chose this over a career. I love that what’s left of my brain enjoys reminding me of this fact at the most opportune of moments. 
Finally the man with the broom appears: its chucking out time. 

Until September…

My happy mum-face when we finally walked in! My husband’s a lucky man…

Why we all need to be tuning into Ross Kemp’s final series of Extreme World this Sunday

There are very few things on the box that Dan and I will agree on watching together. We are stuck in a black hole of ‘must see’ golfing re-runs when the PGA tour is having a rest day, or playing catch up with Eastenders- justifying Dot Cotton’s presence in our living room every few minutes. 

Sofa Time is precious, and TV is our high five for getting both of the kids off to the land of Nod. 

It is therefore a rare thing to discover a series which appeals to the both of us, equally. No negotiating needed. It is rarer still for a series to prompt us to actually engage in conversation past 9pm. Jack Bower used to take the gold for that. And mostly because I needed the plot translated into novice-24 lingo. 

And then we discovered ‘Extreme World’.

A program so shockingly gritty, so real and so goddamn ‘ard that we were hooked. Ross Kemp is what I’d politely describe as a ‘straight talker’… He makes Grant Mitchell look like Milhouse, y’know- Bart’s mate. 

What makes this gripping TV stand out from the rest is the bravery of this team to travel to some of the most dangerous places on earth. Treading a fine line between life and death, Kemp never fails to break into the heart of whatever abomination he is exposing. 

Exclusive…

Jamie Welham, Extreme World Producer, international hard hitting journalist and owner of a passport with some seriously impressive visas, agreed to share his thoughts with me on this hotly anticipated final series:

“It’s been a real privilege working on such an ambitious and wide reaching series. The team continuously manage to get access to people and places others can’t, to shine a light on some of the world’s most urgent and underreported issues. 

My personal highlight was travelling to the Sahara desert to document the brutal migrant journey across Libya – a situation that desperately needed to be brought to wider attention and with a humanity that has been lacking. 

At a time when the world seems to be becoming more inward looking and scared of people from different cultures, I think foreign reportage like Extreme World has never been more important and necessary.

It’s a real shame it’s come to an end.”

I would love to know just how Welham manages to contact and, what’s more, pursusade the underbelly of the world to divulge dangerous, often gruesome and usually incriminating truths. It is undoubtedly this access that leaves me utterly captivated.

True hard-man stripes were awarded having been held at gun point in Papua New Guinea in 2014 by proper thug-life guerrillas. Instead of wetting himself and running away like the majority of the population might have done, the cameras continued to roll. 
His distinctive husk came out with:

“Are you gonna kill me? No one’s gonna f*****g kill me!”

We believed  him. 

Thankfully so did the mob carrying the AK47’s. 

We fought back the tears as we watched ‘Libya’s Migrant Hell’, a one off aired late last year and Welham’s Extreme World highlight. We had read and watched various updates on the migrant crisis, fed to us by the mainstream media; only death rates and percentages seem to sell papers. What the team from Extreme World did, and always do, was trace this global problem back to the source. Exposing humanity in it’s most desperate, and dangerous of states. It was completely captivating and led me to write this.

Just when you think Kemp has interviewed his last sickening criminal, the viewers are slapped around the face with a trump card. The human traffiker who admitted killing 400, or maybe 500 girls (he couldn’t remember) having taken and sold over 7000 girls, some as young as 12 is without doubt the worst, most shocking revelation the Extreme World team have ever uncovered. Kemp and his translator were left speechless, understandably shaken by this monster’s disclouse. 

It is this depth of reporting, and this insight into the murkiest of worlds that raises awareness by getting these issues into our front rooms. 

It’s easy to forget as we rush about on the school run and supermarket sweep the hell out of Asda, that we do live in an extreme world. There is nothing else on the telly box which gets to the heart of the matter, nothing else picks off the scabs of society quite like the team at ‘Extreme World’ do. 

So they’ll be no fighting over the remote in our house this Sunday evening; We’ll be on Sky 1 at 9pm a hot choc and custard cream in hand as Kemp takes on Texas and the much feared Ku Klux Klan in the hugely anticipated 6th and final series of Extreme World. Set Poldark to record: there’s a new hero in town. 

Extreme World airs Sunday 9pm Sky 1

With special thanks to Jamie Welham: You can follow Jamie’s adventures on twitter @jamiewelham 

We’ve all been DUP’ed: The £1 Billion Farce.

It’s all a bit embarrassing really isn’t it? 

£1 billion 

There’s nothing like a bit of transparent corruption among friends is there. 

My husband once surprised me with a mini break, how lovely you might think. And lovely it was. However I couldn’t help but wonder where this stash of cash was when the washing machine had broken down the previous month. It had been a credit card job at the time – my husband had kept Schstum that he had been squirrelling much needed wonga under the mattress…

Do you see where I’m headed with this.

£1 billion

Our primary schools have been appealing against murderous cuts to its funding, screams of ‘We are at crisis point’ have been widely reported from head teachers, and thankfully splashed all over the press in recent months.  May did nothing.  Serving back pleas of austerity, and lack of coffers. Mock suprise over her face. 

We have all been told, just like a parent telling a pleading child who desparently wants the latest Hachimal, 

“We are broke, we have no money. Go fish!”

Ok we all said. We can’t have what we don’t got.

Well blow me down, as I switch on the news yesterday and there is our Wheat field runner of an PM – who I voted for, signing over £1 BILLION. 

£1 billion?

At first I thought the news anchor had said £1million in exchange for the support of the 10 DUP members of parliament.

My initial thought was, ‘Christ, lucky them! Money for nothing!’

But wait, what’s that you say? ‘One BILLION pounds’?! 

Dr Evil’s voice was immediately present- bellowing this figure around my head. Maybe there is a likeness between Austin Powers and Teressa that I hadn’t noticed before, although I can’t imagine her uttering ‘Shagtastic baby’. Or maybe this dark horse does, just for her Northern Irish BFF’s.

How happy did the 4 of them look! While May kept her demure face all poker, they practically skipped out of that signing press call. I didn’t even realise you could buy votes, or ‘support’. Now I’m no expert, but it sounds a teeny bit to me like CORRUPTION. 

Which brings me to my next point, a few weeks ago most of us had never even heard of the DUP. I’d voted conservative, albeit a vote I am beginning to sorely regret, not for a party which I had to google. Yet here they are running back to Northern Ireland, laden down with our cash. That’s 30% more funding per head than the rest of the United Kingdom – GMTV says so.

Cash we were told we didn’t have. 

So where’s it come from Tess? 

I’d love to know. I’m pretty sure Jeremy Hunt would like to know too. As one of the most hated MP’s ever thanks to his dictatorship over the NHS and junior Doctors, I’m pretty sure he would have loved access to this golden honey pot having towed the austerity line. 

Mrs May, you appear anything but your cheesy tag line ‘Strong and Stable’. I knew I had heard it somewhere before, but I couldn’t quite remember where. A few days ago I was grabbing my reusable bags for the lidl shop (Becasue, austerity), you’ll never guess what I saw… 

Tory slogan inspiration. I have a feeling Attenborough would argue elephants are more loyal, honest creatures however. 

At least you kept your job though eh Tess. I hear the welfare state isn’t all it used to be… 

Sports Day’s a comin’… 

Sports-Yey. Or Nay. Depending on your point of view. 

Tomorrow is my daughter’s Sports Day. We are coming to the end of year 1 and although we have been travelling back and forth from ‘big school’ for almost 2 years now, I still don’t count myself as a veteran parent when it comes to The Events.

I’ll cut right to the chase here, sport’s day is making me feel a little bit sick. Perhaps because it brings back horrendous memories of never coming 1st, 2nd … or 8th. For a die hard competitive bugger like me, this is all kinds of torture. 

My body just never backed up my Desire to mow down the opporsition.

And now it’s my daughter’s turn. 


I remember last year being gobsmacked as parents – who for the rest of the year had quietly collected their child, perhaps dressed in paisley or a navy stripe, never daring to say boo to a goose, had morphed into some kind of crazed Barmy Army. The screaming cheers and fist pumping that was going on as their beloved treasure struggled to stay on course to collect the right coloured bean bag did lead me to raise an eyebrow. Huh?! What.Is.Happening?!

I had no idea that we would need to be donning our ‘game faces’ at the school gate. Even the kids who were mid-run were looking over as murderous cries of encouragement with a few choice coaching tips essential to a 4 year olds performance continued to erupt from the sidelines during the 25m hopping finals. The slightly awkward thing was that the majority of the kids don’t have fog-horn parents, and that majority had to run along to the burning screams of the same name again and again. I couldn’t keep a straight face. My husband and I sat there wondering if we had been transported back to the 1966 World Cup final. 

This is serious stuff. Do not be fooled. The results of these races really matter. Honest…

For the next couple of weeks your FaceBrag feeds will be jammed packed with the likes of little Johnny’s skipping triumph, and Freddie’s 4 times sack race champion certificates. You might even have the benefit of video footage if the Mumatron has husseled her way to the front, for best cheers n views. Super! Something to look forward to folks. 

I’ve heard some schools quite literally make an entire day of it, with underhand picnic wars and a stealth ‘best dressed’ race. Can you even imagine! I think this must be the pay-for schools. I must count our blessings that no such wardrobe codes exists at my daughter’s school. In this weather, in our seaside town, anything goes! And in this weather God only knows what we shall all manage to bare wearing as this blazing only-fit-for-nakedness weather sucks the life blood from us.

I’m just going to mention the parents race. Does anyone actually look forward to this?! Apart from there being an air conditioned Pimms tent strategically placed at the finish line, (which there isn’t by the way) I can’t imagine why anyone would want to take part in this stenuous humiliation.

I cannot tell you how much I was actually bricking this last year. For the entire Sport’s ‘Hour’ I sat wondering when the horrendous moment was going to dawn on us, and the parents were going to be invited to the start line. As someone who makes a point of never exercising (until now that is -but more of that another time), this race hanging over me was all kinds of hell. 

Thankfully the moment never arrived. Health & Safety. Apparently during the previous years race there was a broken ankle situation during this ‘bit of fun’. Can you even imagine. Well this parent was my new hero, they took one for the parenting team. Ensuring that no one else need ever fear making a total tit of themselves in front of their offspring again. 

Instead the pre-schoolers were all tanoyed over to the start. 

Health & Safety hasn’t got to them yet… 

MumBoss. Mumpreneur. Are you offended yet?

Mumpreneur. 

MumBoss. 

Do these terms offend you?

Because they don’t offend me. Quite the opposite in fact; they make me feel empowered.

I read a post entitled “We are not Sodding Mumpreneurs” by a great blogger ‘More Than Toast’ back in february, it’s taken me this long to final hit publish on a post I furiously scribbled down at the time.

The post in question was shared and hailed as gospel by another blogger that I really admire, and who I would describe as a ‘MumBoss’.

I couldn’t have disagreed more with their strong views on the subject. It really got me thinking about labels, and why, as Mothers the term ‘Mumpreueur’ or ‘Mum Boss’ should be a proud label to wear. I just couldn’t get my head around why these terms were being deemed as pitchforks to the feminist.

We should be proud that these labels are becoming so mainstream and this is why…

You see, if being a Mother is the most important job of all, and widely accepted as the hardest and most thankless of roles; Surely turning your dreams into a reality and earning cold hard cash alongside this seismic position of ‘Mum’ is something to shout about?

“I keep tiny humans alive, AND earn money , all on my terms because I’m running the show”

(Ok, so I don’t get to say that phrase just yet. I am working on it though…!)

It was also said that to assume us Mums run our business’ from their kitchen table is offensive. Really? That’s an offensive assumption?

I am not meaning to steam into Alice for writing this, I am just surprised that so many ‘Mum Bosses’ felt this way.

A business that can be run successfully from a kitchen table is anything but derogatory.

Many a brainwave has been hatched in far meeker circumstances. Facebook is the birth-child of a Fresher in their Uni digs for goodness sake – he didn’t even own a kitchen table! And what about that old saying ‘We came up with the idea on the back of a fag packet…’

So why do these affluent bloggers think  it is insulting to assume that a Mum might have begun a start up and run a business from the kitchen table?  I doubt you would rent office space just to brain storm some business ideas…

Surely if you can run a business from your kitchen table AND be there for your family you are, from where I’m sitting, 100% winning the game of life right now. 

I saw an interview with the powerhouse that is Harriett Harman recently. Harriett was saying how, not surprisingly, tough it was to work in Westminster when she had very young children. To keep up with her male counterparts she had to compromise on seeing her children and family life. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that to succeed in that environment something had to give- and it’s usually always the home front.  She hopes to make up for her absence by being there more for her Grandchildren now.

She couldn’t have it all, let’s be honest – I don’t know anyone that does.

If the mould doesn’t fit, then break it.

-That’s exactly what these inspirational Mumpreneurs are doing. 

It’s frustrating that there is still a long way to go until the playing fields are more evenly balanced in the workplace. Like it or not biology doesn’t give us much choice in the matter. We are the ones who have the ‘privilege’ of carrying our babies. We are the ones who grafted for years on a career  only to see it all come to a grinding halt when the egg timer gives way to “PREGNANT”.

Some women would say we had the raw end of the deal…

But it all comes back to this: Why on earth should we be trying to hide our ‘Mum’ label’? Is the struggle for equality becoming so sterile, we have to drop any reference to our lives behind the front door in order to be taken seriously? Surely not…

I’ve said before that I want to wear my label front and centre, because that is who defines me. I am a mother first, and I am proud of that. I am also proud that I am beginning to get a career off the ground on my terms. And  guess what – it’s from my kitchen table.

We live in a world that is allowing us all to be a little more creative, and work a little more remotely, there is a movement towards a more flexible way of working. The hugely inspirational Anna Whitehouse and her Flex Appeal movement are an inspiration and spreading positive vibes that us Mumas shouldn’t be put on the scrapheap just because we procreated.

If you can manage to be a Mumprenuer and do it for yourself, setting up your own business on YOUR terms, from scratch – all while your kids scream blue murder and utter 50,000 unreasonable demands all before 6am, then you lady, are a MUM Boss.

We are kicking legs from under the chairs of our often comfortable, complacent male counterparts. We are shaking things up through sheer drive, determination and the desire to have it all, on our terms.

So here’s to the kitchen table start up.

Here’s to those inspiring Mothers who are cooking up these innovative businesses and changing the face of society.

Here’s to the Mum Boss in us all.

My Dirty Little Confession…

There’s a new fad in town. It’s dirty, its fresh… it’s alfresco. 

I’m a slap dash kinda girl at heart, fads fly in and out of my life. (Although that’s not strictly true of the ‘Let’s have a baby’ fad, I’m still well and truely in the midst of that fleeting idea).
Hair extensions were an interesting fad – expensive, and created a nest effect at the nape of my neck somewhere between my scalp and those tiny bonds. It wasn’t a pleasant craze to live with, however the flicking of ones locks over ones shoulder was most satisfactory al la Cher off of Clueless… for a time. 

Anyway, I have a new fad I want to tell you about, a progression I suppose you could call it. A definite move towards middle age perhaps? The garden. My garden. Or ‘Outside Room’ as those exterior designers like to refer to it. 
This is entirely new territory for me. The only time I used to visit the garden centre was at the end of the school holidays when we’d run out of money and I’d pass it up as a fun day out to play in the wooden houses that we wouldn’t be buying. Or to look at the bunnies in their teeny cages. At Christmas time we like to just go and wander the decoration aisles taking in the tat n sparkle. Oh we have all the fun in our household. 

I’m not really sure why my attention has moved in the direction of our ‘outside room’. I have been obsessive about covering our ugly fence since we moved in 5 years ago, I haphazardly planted a few clematis, (spelling that carefully) and thought they would just grow evenly and beautifully just like they did in proper grown ups gardens, who are well seasoned at adulting.
It turns out that there is a little more to it. 

 

If someone had suggested I kept my perennials moist a few months ago, I may have thought of them as a bit pervey. I did raise some eyebrows at the garden centre when I asked Barbara of Shrubs to point me in the direction of her hardy Perineum.

I thought my growing addiction to all things green was just me. But this spring I have seen more Facebook updates concerning blossom than newborns. More lavender pots than ice cream faced tots and more ‘look at me on my new rattan BBQ set’ than new Prams. 

I’m entering a new era, and it seems my friends are coming along for the ride as well. 
Just last week one of my coolest, least ‘homey’ friends (No offence S!!) came right out and uttered a sentence which I had never expected to leave her lips, 

“Can we just talk about our Clematis Montana?” 

Once I’d managed to get past the shock of this lingering question, we sat for the next half an hour swapping not only tips for teasing tentacles along a wire, but we cooed over each other’s floral photos – that just so happened to be on our phones. 

Clematis Montana you woody, hardy, white flowering delight – you are the subject of our new Prosecco n skinny popcorn chatter.
 
We confided in each other that we like to nose over the fence of other people’s gardens and squealed in delight when we discovered we share the same ‘favourite climbing rose’ -which is freaking unbelievable I’ll have you know, outside a front door on the way to school.  Pink big blooms, climbing all around the doorway: Rose Di Caprio 😉

So it seems playground gossip (of which there is always a constant steam of, I might add!) and boys, well husbands now more than boys I suppose, are a thing of the past. 
I’m not sure this is going to work out to be a cheaper fad than my past infatuations. The garden still has plenty of space to add too! I do wish the names of plants were slightly easier though.  I did Latin at school, and even that isn’t helping me to understand these ostentatiously long names. It’s highly pretentious, Garden Snobbery. I’m still very much of the ‘tall pink thing’ vocab. It’s a whole new world out there, and I have whole lot to learn!

There is an upside to this green fingered lark – the last 24 hours has seen a deluge of rain. Moan I did not: 
“RAIN” I exclaimed, “That will save me having to get the hose out!”
Who am I, and where did I hide my cool?!