“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

10 jobs I could nail thanks to my 5 years Muma experience

1) Waitress – think Wimpy, not La Gavroche.

2) Uber cab driver, USP: Providing a 3 course meal whilst in transit. Will that be the crusts off marmite on white or the mini chedder’s sir?
3) Hostage negotiator: If I can talk a Toddler in arsehole mode down from throwing a cold cup of coffee over cream carpet…
4) Cleaner: speciality tool, wet wipes. Kitchens, bathrooms, walls, arses. I got this…
5) Community police officer: you really don’t want to be leaving your dog’s shit on the pavement or park in the Toddler / Muma spaces on my watch.
6) Laundrette skive, is that Dot Cotton or me? Blurred lines.
7) Teaching assistant, I haven’t suffered at the hands of an enthusiastic 4 year old armed with a Biff n Chip book for nothing, and don’t even get me started on the ‘Pen Licence.’
8) Risk assessor: Stairs, streams, fire pits, ovens, big dogs, small yappy dogs, busy roads, quiet roads, bees, spicy food… you name it, I’ve risk assessed it.
9) Red Coat: entertainment covered 12 hrs a day, special skill: leading a dance off whilst folding washing, singing just like Adele. No lies.
10) Chef, speciality diets: no beans for one, only carrots for the other, no courgettes peppers or spice on another. No carbs, low carbs, only ‘good’ carbs. Gluten free, meat free, extra meat. Only meat. No sauce meat balls, naked pasta… with ham sprinkled on top of everything.



Have I left any out girls? Let me know…

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

The guilty (professional) Muma

guilty muma

As many of you already know: I am a stay at home Mum. I think that phrase is a bit naff, but it does what it says on the tin (although I am allowed out occasionally…). I used to have a career outside of our home. But now we have 2 little girls, my career is here, in the middle of my family. All day. Everyday.

It’s like any job really: it has its ups- mostly when the bosses are out. No, not at the quarterly finance meetings, but at school and nursery. And it has its downs, like when I miss my weekly washing targets. The hours are slightly longer than I was used to, I seem to be in my office by 6am. But the commute is a staircase and dressing gowns seem to be acceptable office attire. The slight stinger in the tail is that the pay is shit, well, non-existent actually. My bonuses are now paid in kind; lots of snotty cuddles, kisses and the odd punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, those are priceless bonuses right there for the taking. But they aren’t exactly a lunch-hour-Warehouse-dress-spurge are they.

So this Mummying thing is my profession now. A professional Mummy in my mind creates innovative organic meals, has a home which may as well feature in House Beautiful – a place for everything and everything in its place. The children must attend a host of clubs and after school jollies – ferrying around is quite high up on the JD. Weekends can be nothing but activates and socialfests as all of the house work can be done during the week… surely.

But somewhere I seem to have taken a wrong turn. This isn’t how my approach to Professional Mummying is working out despite my very best efforts to be a real life super mum and nail this job.

Muma Guilt has reared its ugly head once again. And not just guilt that I should be doing a better job at home, but guilt that I DO have all day everyday, to get my shit together, while so many Mumas work long hours on top the full time Muma gig – and seem to be doing a better job!

If I were to have an appraisal tomorrow, I would be issued with a disciplinary. I stopped and glanced around at the chaos that seems to have tied itself around me: my car is always a wreck. From chewed sweets to fruitshoots, abandoned items of clothing and half of shoe zone seem to have a magnetic force to our foot wells. Darcie actually decided that the undetectable smell in our car was in fact, Bum. Great.

It shouldn’t be this way. My car should smell like freaking roses, using tips I picked up on pintrest, during research on ‘How to avoid your car smelling like bum’, because that’s the sort of thing I should have time for. But I don’t.

The wash bin is always overflowing (should I introduce naked Tuesdays?!) even though I am at home all the time. Doing washing. And folding. And putting away. We run out of bread and milk, nappies and formula on a weekly basis – but never coinciding with the weekly shop and at crucial shit-explosion moments, or the breakfast rush.

I dish up ready meals, Ready meals!! I’m at home all the time. This shit is my job and I dish up ready meals. We never seem to have enough time (or calm) to fit in reading the school book every night. I should be devising word games and *crazy* maths challenges to get those intellectual juices flowing through my 5 year olds head. Instead we get our interior design heads on with their Sylvanian world, and cut up Kinetic sand.

I am getting better at remembering own clothes days and those super fun random music shows that the school seem to enjoy springing on us. Clearly the parental form of SATs. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the first 5 years of being a professional parent is just your probationary period.

 

Any other stay at home mums feel this guilt?

The way of the world: according to my ToddlerMonster

  1. The louder you scream the more you shall achieve.
  2. The word Me should be included at the beginning and end of each sentence reinforcing ones importance.
  3. Eat with your hands: it’s quicker and you can lick them later for a little dinner reminder.
  4. Only Paw Patrol should be on the television. Anything else is simply an oversight by management.
  5. Pasta & grated cheese IS the ultimate dinner. Don’t be cute and mix it up: you cannot improve on perfection. I will only feed it to the dog. And smear it up the wall.
  6. Washing hair is an unnessesery torture occurring right in the middle of the most fun part of the day. Scream & then scream some more: Chase is surely on the case.
  7. The Park is the single most important destination goal of each day. Do not rest until you have been on the Weeeeeeeeengs.
  8. Closely followed by soft play: Nothing beats seeing management spat out by the foam rollers.
  9. Run, don’t ride. Why would you want to sit in a buggy when you could be running everywhere so much faster. Efficiency is key.
  10. Teeth are the most successful persuasion tool we have. especially on siblings.

Thank me later- I’m off to update the memo board on the back of my bedroom door – with management’s eyeliner.
DomesticatedMomster

DomesticatedMomster

My Mother’s Day Marriage Break

headstand

Now, I don’t want to mislead you here. Let me define what I mean by Marriage break:

A whole week, well actually 8 days (yes that extra day makes all the difference in my holiday credits) is the amount of time The Hubs will be off duty for. Relinquishing Husband and parenting responsibilities. Lucky sod. He will in fact be skiing. I just about managed to type the word without displacing the keys. SKIING. His preparation for going on the trip was to cover his work commitments, and pack a bag. Can you even imagine the preparation involved if it was Muma who was up and leaving for a week. Co-ordinating the school runs, bed time routines, dinners, after school clubs, homework… you know the drill.

It just so happens that The Trip falls over Mother’s Day.

But this doesn’t bother me, not even a little bit. I’m sure the Guillian Sea Shell chocs are stashed in an accessible place for Darcie and Lila to TaDaaaaa them, at 6am on Sunday. Nice. I know there are several Mother’s Day cards floating around the house ‘Hapee Mudrs Dae’ blazon across them all. Good old phonics. I can barely read English anymore, I’m much better at deciphering PhonicTalk these days. So I won’t have the longed for Mother’s Day lie in, I’ll be up with the lark cooking up a feast of Nutella toast. But I’ll be feeling seriously lucky that I have my 2 gorgeous handfuls, happy and healthy by my side for the day. I might even get to watch 10 mins of a Saturday Kitchen episode if I play my cards right. (last count was 10 episodes on the Planner…ever hopeful.)

So there we have it, my marriage break; 8 whole days going it solo. I’ve got this. I’m actually looking forward to a little ‘time off’. A little bit of time to miss him. I think that’s a good thing, it’s been 8 years since I spent any time without him. He has been like an extension of me for so long that I’m keen to see if I CAN do it alone. I’m praying the girls are on my side with this and don’t spend the week pining for Daddy. I hate the whingeing, we all know toddlers and MiniMadams have A+’s when it comes to that. And mine can winge with the best of them. As long as I can keep that at bay without getting through too many boxes of Twister ice lollies…

Surely I can do this standing on my head?!

Let’s see…

Stay-At-Home-Muma or Working Muma? My choice…

As sensitive a subject as Breast verses Bottle; I’m half wincing even beginning this blogpost. The time old argument, or rather ‘discussion point’ of Working Muma V’s Stay at Home Muma seems to rage on. Article after article is written on the subject, all contradicting the last, all claiming to be the latest research and written either by Earth Mother herself wrapped in her tie dye gently rocking back and forth on a rush matt with a toddler feeding from her, or City slicker Muma: louboutins- check!

These two extremes don’t really cater for The Lidl Muma – and by that, I mean me! What’s right for the Muma that’s been educated reasonably well?

I was fortunate enough to go to a very academic school, we were all aboard the conveyor belt of GCSE’S, AS levels, A levels, and then on to University as a standard. Utter scandal ensued should you have deviated from this, the very thought of ‘vocational course’ was placed next to shelf stacker as an option. From university I went on to work in recruitment mostly: I’m basically very gobby which helps in a sales environment!

I remember the day I finished work and begun my journey in to MatLeave like it was yesterday: An over indulgent lunch with my colleagues, well friends actually; I spent 50 hours a week with these people! Anyway I bid them all adios with armfuls of Pink goodies, vowing to return in a years time…

However, I just couldn’t tear myself away from my Darcie shaped bundle. I even went to a keeping in touch day, shame it was a financial planning meeting that had me wishing I could bolt out of the door. My brain felt like mush, did I get the train through to Paris because I’m clearly not speaking the same language anymore. That evening I broke the news to The Hubster that I just couldn’t go back to work and asked if we could financially survive.

If I’m totally honest I haven’t looked back since I waddled out of the office door ready to embrace Mumahood. Don’t get me wrong, there have been been moments where I have thought how lovely it would be to have a lunch break, especially when I have been on an involuntary starvation day due to a colicy baby, or a loo break sometimes, ALONE. And yes I have yearned to have a quick browse around the shops on late-night Thursdays after work on more than one occasion. But, and here’s the big but, my bottom line and my raison d’etre: I don’t want to miss out!

I don’t want to be the one to miss the first step, or first word – which would have been nice to be Muma just once: Dada got that, twice. It’s the more mundane everyday stuff that makes you the constant: toddler tripped up and it was me that comforted her, toddler cuts another tooth and needs more cuddles, toddler whacks victim for custard cream at playgroup, – Hell, Toddler has morphed into ToddlerMonster and chucks ‘treasure’ down the loo! I want to be the observer, the comforter, the disciplinarian, and not miss a beat.

However, in my quest to Nurture have I thrown away a great education and a career to boot? Is it realistically possible for me to return to work and still not miss a single thing? Well, of course not because it’s physically impossible to be in two places at once. It doesn’t seem fair that nature has given women a heart wrenching choice to make: follow your career, aspirations and dreams that you may have worked long and hard to build, before children. Or park it. Can a happy medium be reached or do you just end up not achieving either terribly well?

The responsibility I feel as a Stay At Home Muma to show my girls that women are invaluable to the work place is huge, I’m not leading by example here at all. I feel I must try to convince them that Muma is more than just a cleaner / cook / driver / occasional fair weather gardener. I don’t want them assuming that just because Muma doesn’t work I don’t have a brain and can’t answer their billions of critical questions – I can work Wikipedia just as well as the next Muma thanks. So with this in mind I’m now an upstanding member of the Nursery PTA and a wannabe Blogger, the fact that Darcie has begun referring to me as Muma On The Edge is frankly frightening.

This is a topic really close to my heart; I do strongly believe that every Muma strives to do the very best they can for their babies, its nature’s way. There is no perfect way to bring up our babies, just your way. And my god I hope I don’t fuck this up…

Sod the Gym Membership… Get a Soft Play Pass.

I’m not really a ‘gym’ person. I realised this when I once paid £500 for an introductory half hour session, a long time ago. Enthusiastically, pre-children I signed up to the gym right below our office one January along with all of the other girls from work. A sort of group new years resolution. ‘We could spin during lunch’ we hailed, ‘we could swim after work’ we cried. Some even went as far as to chip in with ‘we could do Body Pump BEFORE work’. At the time I didn’t like to pipe up with the fact that I thought we had all gone RAVING MAD! We already worked long hours in a thankless sales office, frankly the thought of doing anything other than eating my meal deal during lunch time blew my mind. Let alone the prospect of waking extra early to ‘pump bodies’ (whatever that meant!) And when work finished, that was it I was outta there and into the bar next door to moan probably about being fat and unfit amongst other things.
So having signed up and set up the monthly payments I skipped along to my induction. Never to return to the gym again!!! But they tie you in, you cannot, to quote Friends ‘QUIT THE GYM’ they don’t let you. In my case the Gods took pity and the place burnt down! No joke..

I digress. So, Soft Play AKA Muma-Gym.

I have never quite experienced physical exertion like I did during one particular visit to a well known Soft Play centre. Lila was 6 months old and Darcie had just turned 3. My greatest error was to have innocently assumed that going it alone with the two of them and no little chums to play with Darcie was a good idea. I spent the next 2 hours crawling, jumping, climbing up, climbing down, lifting Darcie over, dragging her under the brightly coloured ‘FUN’ jungle.  All the while dressed like a marsupial, wearing Lila! EXHUSTED, why don’t they sell wine in the café?! Gap in the market there.
8 months on and the girls are a little older, obviously. But this has meant they are stronger, faster and braver. If I thought climbing through tunnels, up sheer drops, down loopy slides (which test your pelvic floor, I might add) was tiring enough, it has nothing on trying to keep eyes on two children literally running, amongst other children running, amongst throngs of Mumas sipping MASSIVE mugs of caffeine, amongst the enthusiastic young YOUNG staff who frankly could do with having their own parents there to keep an eye on them.
In between the cries for refreshment – just how much juice can a 4 year old get through in one session?! Jugs upon jugs of the stuff, and the cries for yet another snack to keep those energy levels at an all time high, you have the cries all Mumas fear most: those cries that have been inflicted by your own child.
Cue sympathetic voice, and fake smiles, to poor little Johnny who Darcie pushed down the loopy slide because actually he had been sat there for about 10 minutes telling his gathering crowd of nippers that he was king of the slide. NOT.FOR.LONG. While I don’t condone pushing, fighting, snatching bla bla etc I do have to reserve my ‘serves you right Johnny’ face, and adopt the more appropriate ‘sorry my child hurt your child’ face. What I’m really thinking is, “Put your oversized caffeine fix down and teach Johnny the way of the world: starting with basic slide etiquette!”

If you can survive a soft play session without a) breaking a sweat and b) not thinking “Where the fuck are my fucking kids” you’ve done well, very well.
I come out of the ‘fun’ warehouse with ringing ears, teary over tired children, a bad back, DISGUSTING socks and an overwhelming need to wash mine and the kids hands in bleach.
But, We’ll be back next week…