Parenting Groups: Five Reasons for Quitting

parenting groupsFor a fair while, I’ve been part of a few different parenting groups on Facebook, places where mums and dads can go to ask questions about anything from “does this rash look like chickenpox?” to “which shops have Hatchimals in stock?” and largely it’s been good. I’ve asked plenty of questions myself and try to help others where I can. But, as of yesterday, I’ve removed myself from these groups (all but The Motherload) because it’s just messing with my head. There are questions which get asked over and over and OVER again and they’re things which make me so cross that I can actually FEEL my blood pressure rising. Here’s just 5 of those questions:

1. Vaccinations

This was the one which prompted me to remove myself yesterday and it’s probably the one which makes me the MOST angry. Someone asked “Have any other parents refused vaccinations for their kids and has is caused them problems with school and nursery?”. The comments are full of people who think they know better than the World Health Organisation (despite the fact that they get their info from American websites with URLs like and nothing with any basis in actual science). Just in the last month, I’ve seen people cite the inclusion of mercury and aluminium in vaccines as a reason not to give them as well as one woman who claimed that the flu vaccine contained MSG which is, WAIT FOR IT…WORSE THAN GIVING HER CHILD COCAINE. (FML)Another woman claimed that she knew all about herd immunity and it meant that her child didn’t need vaccinations, thus proving that she actually knew nothing about fucking herd immunity.  I was one step shy of spamming the group of pictures of kids with smallpox, so I decided it was best to step away.

2. Baby Names

I’m aware that what people on random parenting groups name their kids is absolutely NONE of my business, but every time there was a “can I have suggestions of names for my unborn child?” thread, I’d read through with my head in my hands, feeling really sorry for the future generation of children who were going to have names like “Aliviyah” (pronounced Olivia, just in case you were wondering) and feeling like I was living in a real life Idiocracy.

3. Nub Theory

“Oh hi everyone. Can you look at this scan picture of my baby (who is probably too young to have even properly developed reproductive organs yet) and guess what their gender might be based on a totally theoretical and unproven method of working it out?”. Nub theory is a THEORY. Asking strangers to guess the gender of your unborn child is stupid.

4. Keeping Up with The Jonses

Do you know what I found myself Googling the other day? Matching Christmas dresses for me and the girls. Thanks to the people on Facebook parenting groups who go absolutely fucking OVERBOARD every Christmas with their EXPERIENCES and their CHRISTMAS EVE BOXES and their “BOOK-A-DAY” ADVENT CALENDARS and ALLLLLLL the other overblown shit that everyone MUST do and MUST talk about at length so that they can lord it over everyone else, I am seriously considering matching outfits for myself, my eight year old and my two year old for Christmas Day. And I’m pretty sure that makes me a massive twat.

5. Nastiness

I’m aware that what I’ve written above may seem like a bit of nastiness but this is NOTHING compared with some of the vile behaviour I’ve seen from grown people in parenting groups. There’s a LOT of stuff which gets discussed that I don’t agree with but I always try to be respectful and give replies to people based on actual knowledge and not just knee-jerk reactions. Often though (I assume on days when there’s a full moon and everyone’s menstrual cycle is syncronised) things can get NASTY. Simple threads about bottle feeding can lead to struggling Mums being called c*nts and being left wishing they hadn’t asked in the first place and it’s that kind of behaviour that I just don’t want to be a part of.

Are you a member of any of these kid of online groups? Do you find that they enhance your life or do you step away from your phone or PC feeling like your head is going to explode? I’d love to hear from you!

Surviving Winter in the Countryside

winter countrysideThis will be our second winter living in the countryside and I like to think that we’ve learned a few things since last year. Obviously, we’re not exactly living inside the Arctic Circle, but we are far enough away from civilisation to have to think about certain things in advance. Here, I look at our top five things that we need now that we live off the beaten track:

Cardboard and Paper

Last year, I wrote a post about The Art of Lighting a Fire, talking about how it’s far more difficult to light and maintain a fire than I ever realised, so this summer has been spent stockpiling newspapers, egg cartons, old boxes and other things which make excellent tinder. We’re dab-hands at getting the fire going now and our stash will only make it easier!

Decent Coats

Our house is surrounded by farmland and is basically open to the elements from all angles which means that even when doing simple things we’re at the mercy of the wind. This has taught us that having a decent coat is an absolute must and also that kid’s coats are often more style than function. Opting for a proper outdoor brand like Regatta or Barbour means they get nice looking coats which actually keep out the cold and wet!

Candles and Torches

Seriously, since we’ve lived here I’ve expereinced more power cuts that at any other time in my adult life. Just last week, I posted a photo on Instagram of us all plunged into darkness, relying on my candle collection to give us a little bit of light. Since then, I’ve decided to invest in some good, rechargable lanterns so that we don’t have to scrabble around in the dark next time it happens!

Long-Life Milk

Here’s the scenario: it’s 10pm on your main work day and you’re still not finished writing, you’re desperate for a cup of coffee to keep you going but you remember that the last of the milk got used up earlier and the nearest shop is a 15 minute drive away. BUT IT’S OKAY! You have cartons of long-life milk stashed away at the back of the cupboard! Again, I’m aware that we aren’t living off the grid or anything and that, worst comes to worst the nearest supermarket is open 24 hours, but having long-life milk to hand can really be a life-saver…or at the very least a deadline-saver!

A Good Shovel

When you live in the sticks, the council doesn’t come and clear the roads. If you’re lucky, a very benevolent farmer will come along and scatter salt with his tractor, but having a good shovel can make all the difference between being stranded at home or being able to actually leave the house. Your neighbours will also love you forever if you help them too, especially if they’re elderly.

No Time to Read?

Time to ReadAs soon as I was old enough to read, I became something of a bookworm. The Hobbit was the first “proper” book I read when I was about 6 and it was an ongoing love affair from then. When I was in my early teens, I’d wake up on Saturday morning, go into town to buy a new book and then spend the rest of the weekend reading it, usually finished by Sunday afternoon. My mother was so concerned by my lack of interest in being a street-raker that she actually consulted a doctor about my behaviour (although I think most  parents would be delighted by a child who chose to stay at home and read, but hey, sometimes you just can’t win).

The last time I read a book was a couple of years ago now. Carrie, by Stephen King if I remember rightly (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t already read it. In fact, read ANYTHING by Stephen King.). But since then, I’ve not picked up a book. I have plenty of access to books and I also have a Kindle, so that’s not the problem.

I keep claiming that I “don’t have time to read”, but that’s not really true, either. I have plenty of time for Facebook and Netflix and Candy Crush and all of the other things which hog my attention. I might CLAIM to be time poor but that only seems to apply when it suits me. I think the problem is inside my brain…what I once loved about reading is the thing which is making it hard for me now. Bear with me while I elaborate.

One of the appeals of reading a book was that feeling of slipping inside the story, losing myself in the words and in my own imagination and being taken away from reality into a finely-woven tale which could completely consume me. These days, I seem to have an absolute inability to disconnect myself enough to lose myself in anything. Even when we’re watching a film or TV show, I’m picking up my phone to browse Facebook or Reddit or occasionally Twitter (I say ‘occasionally’ because, is it just me, or is that place just tumbleweed central these days? No-one seems to chat on there like they used to).

People have noticed how attached to social media I am and it’s become a bit of a running joke, but it’s also starting to worry me. It seems like my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has become all-encompassing. It’s definitely a lifestyle thing; when I was young and single, I literally NEVER turned down a night out or a chance to socialise. I could be settling down in my pyjamas, get a phone call and be in the pub in half an hour flat because I couldn’t bear the thought that people were having fun without me, and I think Facebook has become a substitute for that – I can still be sitting in my pyjamas, not NEEDING to go out and still be connected to everything that’s going on in my friends lives.

I’ve seen other people take a social media detox and I genuinely wonder how they do it. Going on Facebook, either by app or desktop, has become almost like a reflex, something I do as a matter course and I really feel like I need to take a break. The main fear is that, because so much of my work is social-based or reliant on a social media scoring, stepping away means losing money but I think I need to give it a go and see before I let it consume me. From next week, I’ll be removing the app from my phone and only accessing Facebook via my laptop, and I’ll only be using my laptop during “work” hours.

I need to re-learn how to read. How to watch a TV show without picking up my phone every two seconds. How to interact with my kids and Husband without there being a screen between me and them.

And the stupid thing is, the thought of it fucking terrifies me.

Keeping Kids Germ Free During Cold and Flu Season

cold and fluYesterday, I was talking to a friend about Burrito Baby, explaining how my tactile almost-three-year-old doesn’t LOOK with her eyes, she looks with her hands. When BB says “Mummy, can I look at that please?” she doesn’t mean can she cast an eye over it, she means “can I touch it?” – I’m fairly certain that’s normal for a kid of her age but it does make me chuckle that she’s such a feeler and it also made this video by The Global Hygiene Council about cold and flu prevention ring absolutely true:

I’m ENTIRELY unsurprised to hear that kids are 25% more likely to catch colds and flu, which is exactly why both of mine will be having their flu jab this year. Many people seem to underestimate just how poorly flu can actually make you and often liken it to a simple cold but proper flu can be absolutely debilitating, especially for someone with asthma like Sausage, the young, old or people with a compromised immune system.

We had ‘proper’ flu in 2008 on Sausage’s first Christmas and honestly, it’s one of the occasions during my adult life when I can say that I felt more ill than almost any other time. Sausage’s temperature skyrocketed and she actually ended up in hospital on Christmas Day night because we were so worried about her. I was the next to come down with it, followed by Husband and between us we were basically bedridden for a week – not easy to deal with when you have a five month old baby and two sick adults.

Sausage has pretty good habits when it comes to cold and flu prevention, like flushing her tissues once they’ve been used and keeping her hands clean, but it’s not so easy with BB. She hasn’t had a dummy for ages but she still has a bit of an oral fixation, which means that we have to constantly remind her to get her hands out of her mouth and I’ve lost count of the amount of times that she’s sweetly caressed my face…with a SOAKING wet hand!

We find it really handy to keep disinfectant wipes around for keeping surfaces clean. They are so easy to use and don’t require a sponge or cloth to be kept on hand at all times, and they’re perfect for using on hard plastic toys which, quite frankly, are little germ farms if one of the kids has a cold.

How do you ensure that the spread of germs is kept to a minimum? Are you hot on hand-washing and a disinfecting diva? I’d love to hear any little tips and tricks that you use at this time of year to keep germs at bay, so do leave me a comment below.

The Night I Learned to Make a Big Mac at McDonald’s

My Personalised McDonald's apron!Last night, I had a pretty unusual experience. I was asked along to a local branch of McDonald’s to get a behind-the-scenes look at how a busy store operates and to learn how to make my very own Big Mac – not something you get to do everyday, so of course I agreed! I won’t lie, I went there with a few preconceptions of how I’d find the whole thing but I’m delighted to say that I was pleasantly surprised from beginning to end.

McDonald’s is obviously famous for its fast food but what I was surprised to find out is that everything is actually made to order – long gone are the days of burgers sitting in a heater, ready to be shoved in a bag. As soon as your order is put in, either by giving it to someone at the counter or drive-thru window, or by using McDonald’s swanky new technology which allows you to use a touch-screen to make your order and have it brought to you by a server, it’s put through to someone in the kitchen who builds it all for you from scratch.

Self-Service screens at McDonald's

If I’m honest, the whole experience was quite overwhelming; a veritable information overload if you will! Here’s a quick overview of some of the things I learned:

  • McDonald’s are not only moving towards sending ZERO waste to landfill, but they also recycle their cooking oil for use in their fleet of delivery lorries, which also operate a “never empty” policy to minimise the carbon footprint of their logistics.
  • MCDonald’s offer degrees! Employees who wish to progress are able to apply to take a degree in business management, although education is actually implemented at ALL levels throughout an employees career with them (and one guy we met last night had been working there for 36 years!)
  • Ingredients are delivered three times a week to busy stores and their quick-cook grills which can actually detect which type of patty they’re cooking, can cook a burger in just 40 seconds!
  • The bun for a Big Mac comes in three parts, each of which has a name – the top is the “crown”, the middle is the “club” and the bottom is the “heel”! They also have a special toaster for toasting the buns which took about ten seconds!
  • It’s possible to choose carrot sticks or salad as a side to an adult sized meal – I always thought that was for kids only!

In terms of what I actually observed whilst looking around the restaurant and kitchens, the thing which was most impressive was just how spotlessly clean everything is. Employees are require to stop working every thirty minutes without fail to wash their hands at an amazing sink which you operate with your knee and the whole time we were there, if something wasn’t in use, it was being cleaned.

Obviously, making a Big Mac was VERY exciting for myself and the two other bloggers who attended and the young man who took us through the process was really knowledgeable and patient (good job really, he took a matter of SECONDS to make a burger while we took waaaay longer!). Although I was sad to not come away with the recipe for McDonald’s famous burger sauce, I was pretty tickled to see that it comes in a special gun which dispenses five perfectly even dots of sauce. The whole process was actually pretty intricate (did you know that the gherkins in their burgers are even specifically placed for optimum flavour distribution?!) and I feel like the whole experience gave me a new appreciation of how hard those guys work and how much effort is actually put into the making of the food.

Me and my Big Mac!

Although we’re fans of McDonald’s in the Mum’s the Word house, Husband and I have always viewed it as a guilty pleasure which was only to be enjoyed on rare occasions but after learning about the origins of the produce that McDonald’s uses, as well as seeing how fresh it all is, I definitely won’t be feeling bad about eating it or giving it to the girls in the future.

Another focus of the evening was the new technology which is being installed throughout the stores. As I mentioned above, McDonald’s now have self-ordering screens, which allow you to browse the whole menu and even customise your food before ordering. You’re then given a choice of ‘zones’ in which to sit before a server brings you your meal. Burrito Baby and I actually used this service before and I cannot even begin to tell you how much easier it makes things when you don’t have to carry a fully-laden tray to your table whilst wrangling a toddler. It also makes things easier for disabled customers and the screen even shrinks so that wheelchair users can still reach it all.

I was a little concerned that this level of automation meant that McDonalds had cut down their workforce but I was really happy to hear that this store in particular had actually employed MORE people to cover the kitchens and table service. There was also FAR less congestion on the shop floor – instead of queuing for ages and waiting for food, people were ordering and taking a seat which meant that there were minimal queues, despite the restaurant being full of diners, and that it was actually MUCH quieter.

The store we visited also had a family seating area which had iPads installed for kids and their parents to use and literally every single one was in use while we were there, so they’re obviously popular. Much of this new technology has been installed in response to feedback from customers about what they’d like to see in stores and is all part of the plan for the McDonald’s of the future, and I have to say, it’s so nice to see such a big chain listening to its customers and actually acting on what they learn.

Between the recycling, the reduction of carbon footprint, the quality of the food, the new tech and the beautifully redesigned restaurants, I feel like my preconceptions of what McDonald’s really is were absolutely smashed. This is clearly a company who cares about both its employees AND its customers, as well as the environment and the local community, which is a breath of fresh air. McDonald’s have really impressed me and I hope that they share their achievements with the general public so that they can have their minds changed to.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…I make a MEAN Big Mac!

(as a weird side-note – I had my hair done yesterday morning and kept thinking “Oh no, I’m going to stink of chip fat by this evening!”. The kitchens at McDonald’s have this special type of air conditioning which not only kept the whole place really cool, but means that you don’t come out of there stinking either. In fact all of us remarked that the prevailing smell throughout the whole place was of fresh bread.)

Thanks to McDonalds for a fun evening.

(Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own and reflect my sincere thoughts and feelings of the experience)

Everyone Jump For Pudsey! #JumpForPudsey

Pudsey bbc children in needWhen I was a kid, Pudsey and Children in Need was one of the highlights of the year – we’d get to do fun things like non-uniform days and bake sales at school to raise money for Children in Need and we’d all huddle round the telly for the night when it was shown on BBC One. Children in Need is now in it’s THIRTY SIXTH year (I know, it’s older than me!) having raised over £600 million since 1980 and this year they want us all to get a bit more active to help with the fundraising. Whether it’s leaps, launches, bounds or hops; the goal is for the UK to spring its way to one million jumps, turning jumps in to pounds. Boots is calling on people to get jumping with friends or family, at work or at home next week and in particular on Jump Day on the 26th of October.

The guys at Children in Need said “Helping to reach the one million jumps will be thousands of gymnasts from up and down the country who will be taking part in Jump for Pudsey challenges being staged in British Gymnastics registered clubs and leisure centres.  British Gymnastics has also created five easy jumps challenges for adults and children to do wherever they are, which can be found on and in the Jump Journal – available free from most Boots UK stores.

British artistic gymnast and five-time Olympic medal winner Max Whitlock is lending his support to the campaign to get as many people jumping as possible. Max says: “I think the Jump for Pudsey campaign is a brilliant idea! It’s great to have a campaign that not only raises money for such an incredible charity but also helps people keep fit whilst having fun. Even just a small amount of exercise like jumping can make a significant difference in helping people become healthier and happier. I’m sure lots of people will enjoy taking part and I know lots of gymnasts will be joining in and challenging each other to raise as much money as possible.” Many of Max’s fellow top Olympic gymnasts will also be showing their support for Jump for Pudsey by encouraging the public to get involved.”

Once you’ve done your jumps you can head over to the Boots totaliser to log all of your efforts with them and help get the total to one million! Jumping for Pudsey is such a simple and fun way to get involved, stay active, and most importantly raise money for disadvantaged kids in the UK and we’ve been getting our jump on in aid of this excellent cause, as well as roping in a whole bunch of Sausage and BB’s friends from school – take a look at some of our jumps below:


pudsey1 pudsey2 pudsey3

If you need a bit of inspiration into how to get a bit of bounce in your step, British Gymnastics have put together a fabulous guide to encourage you to jump, which you can see here…

Jump for Pudsey

People are being encouraged to share their leaps with #JumpForPudsey  and make a donation of £3 by texting JUMP to 70313, or via You can also find out more at

We’d love to see your jumps too, so don’t forget to share all of your tweets, instagrams and Facebook posts with us so that we can follow along.

Bladder Weakness – Seeing The Funny Side!

bladder weaknessBladder weakness. Let’s face it. it’s not the most glamorous subject, but given that its something which affects up to 14 million people here in the UK, it’s still something that we should be talking about in order to break the taboos surrounding it. I’m not ashamed to say that after two pregnancies which resulted in c-sections, I still have issues with bladder weakness when I’ve got a cough, which means that I spend most of winter worrying about peeing my pants.

In the spirit of dealing with bladder weakness head on, I took to Facebook to ask my friends if they had any hilarious stories they could share with us, and they came up with some real gems! Read on for a giggle (just make sure you’re wearing your incontinence pants first!)

“I was shopping one day and had a sneezing fit – with every sneeze i peed at least half a millilitre,  and it was the one day i hadn’t put a pad on as i had run out. I must have sneezed at least 7 times! I also had grey joggers on so it was VERY obvious! Lets just say I abandoned my shopping…!”

“When you’re being sick isn’t fun”

“When we were at collage, me and a friend went to a zumba class. It was pretty hard core and we just didn’t have a clue so ended up fairly amused. As the class went on and it got ramped up we got more and more lost and ended up with uncontrollable giggles we were laughing so much that she wet herself right in the middle of a fully mirrored dance studio with 30-ish other woman all pretty close so she grabbed her water bottle and in a pretty quick thinking manoeuvre she squeezed the contents of the bottle all down her front then started screaming and shouted about how rubbish the new water bottle was and that it looked like she’d wet herself.” (side note – I actually think this one is GENIUS!!)

I think my own favourite stress incontinence story is from when I was heavily pregnant with Sausage. Husband and I had gone for a walk in the woods with Chuck, who was on a long lead. Husband was distracted for a moment and Chuck managed to wind the rope round his legs and somehow drag him backwards into a ditch like a human AT-AT. I laughed SO much that I started to leak and being about two miles away from the car or any toilets made for a VERY uncomfortable walk back for me!

The point I’m making is that we’re ALL human and no-one is perfect. People pee themselves and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, just make sure that you’re prepared for next time!

Waiting for Operations (or: Tonsillitis Sucks)

tonsillitis Pretty sure this is mandatory, post-tonsillectomy…

Waiting for your kid to be operated on is the weirdest thing. Sausage has had tonsillitis about 30 times and needs a tonsillectomy; we battled with our GP for years just to get a referral to a consultant to see if they thought she needed the op. Then, when we moved last year we also changed GP and he referred her pretty much immediately. She saw her consultant on the very first day of the summer holidays and last week, she received her appointment for her pre-op assessment and the actual operation.

Naturally, she’s shitting herself. She’s a lot like me in that the thing which is scaring her most is the element of The Unknown. She’s no idea what the operation entails, she doesn’t know how she’s going to feel afterwards, she’s scared of seeing the inside of the operating theatre and feeling freaked out by it all. Most of all, obviously, she’s scared of being in pain.

And it’s hard. It’s really hard. Because we’ve always been a fairly libertarian household, which means there’s no way we’re going to operate a “you’re doing this because we said so” policy, except Sausage really seems to be erring on the side of not wanting the operation at all. And, although she’s a logical kid, it doesn’t matter how many times we tell her that it will all be okay, that we’ll both be with her the whole time and Husband will be sleeping at the hospital with her, that it will be one or two weeks of discomfort rather than potentially another TEN years of getting tonsillitis at least 5 times a year. All she can think about is the fear.

Husband and I are WELL aware of what the operation entails (I had my tonsils out myself when I was 6) and that the risks are really very minimal indeed, especially when weighed up against the risk of continued infection and, because we’re adults, we’re capable of being pragmatic about the whole thing. However, it still feels really bizarre, willing your child to want to have an operation. Leading them to the scalpel and telling them that everything will be okay. The other thing is, her operation is scheduled on the last day of November, a little over three weeks before Christmas and the worry that she won’t be well enough in time to enjoy her Christmas is very real.

If you look at the bigger picture, it feels silly, in a way. They’re tonsils. The op takes as little as 30 minutes from start to finish, less time than it took for me to have two wisdom teeth removed. I’ve got a friend whose two-year-old has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and has needed open heart surgery. THAT is something to fret over. But, when it’s your own child, it could be an ingrown toenail removal and I’d still be agonising over it.

Husband and I are fairly convinced that it’s the right thing to do in the long-run. A relative of ours didn’t have them removed until she was pre-teen and she really suffered with recovery, and everyone we’ve spoken to has said that the younger they have it done, the less time it takes to recover, so at eight years old, Sausage is pretty much prime age. But OUR conviction doesn’t seem to make the situation any simpler.

Have any of your nippers had their tonsils removed? Were they glad they had it done, once it was all over and done with? Would you still make the decision to have it done, given the chance to rethink it? We’d love to hear from you, so please do leave me a comment below.

Gifts To Make Your Kids Think You’re Super Cool

kids gifts coolOkay, so let me just say that I’m perfectly happy with my role as ‘boring mum’ and I definitely don’t buy my kids gifts to make them like me, but every now and then it IS nice to buy them something to show that I’m not quite dead from the neck up! I’ve been thinking about what we could buy the girls which would show them that we do still have some street cred left (which has probably just been decimated by my own use of the phrase ‘street cred’) and here’s what I came up with:

Concert Tickets

When I was a kid, I didn’t get to go to a concert until I was 13, where I saw Alanis Morissette and The Who, which was pretty cool at the time (although not many of my friends really knew who The Who were!). We’ve been thinking about taking Sausage to her first gig soon and were hoping to take her with us when we see The Cure next month but sadly she was too young, so we’re still on the lookout for the perfect first gig for Sausage.


I won’t lie; I watch my younger cousins using Heelys and I imagine all sorts of injuries befalling me if I attempted to use them, which is probably exaclty why the kids all think they’re so cool. Anyone can buy their kids a pair of trainers but super-cool parents buy their kids trainers with WHEELS in them!

Spa Days

Probably more one for the girls, unless you’ve got a boy who loves a bit of pampering, but not much will earn you Mum points by taking your daughters/nieces/cousins to a spa for a day of luxury. I know this is something that Sausage would absolutely love, and there are lots of great deals around so you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Experience Days

There are So many companies who do experience days now, ranging from falconry to Segway rally to recording a CD to so many other things. There’s an experience day out there to suit almost anyone and the photos and memories from a fab new experience will last SO much longer than smellies!

A Subscription

When I was younger, I had a subscription to The Beano and it was the highlight of my week, getting a new comic. These days, subscriptions aren’t limited to magazines or comics; there are SO many monthly box subscriptions from beauty to food to crafts – you can even subscribe to receive STICKERS on a weekly basis, which is something my girls would absolutely love! There’s something so nice about the delayed gratification of a weekly or monthly gift which lasts all year long.

Your Baby is an Amorphous Lump (and Other Reasons to Stop Getting Offended)

genderless-babyIf there’s one thing which really boils my piss it’s the whole ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’ thing. I’m sure there’s some sort of societal explanation for why it’s so ingrained in our minds, but it’s something which seems more prevalent than ever – I spend a fair amount of time browsing Facebook groups and the amount of times I see people asking if anyone is selling a “baby walker for a girl” or whether it’s acceptable to put a girl in a red pushchair or a boy in a purple pushchair just drives me mental.

We were in Waitrose yesterday buying glue for my cousin who was doing an art project for college and my girls noticed that there were glues which were ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’. I was pretty proud when Sausage scoffed at the idea of gendered glue, and I’ll tell you what I told them: Unless you need a penis or a vagina in order to operate something, it’s NOT exclusively for one gender. If you want blue glue, having a foof DOESN’T preclude you from buying said glue.

All of this brings me to something else I saw today in another Facebook group (STOP JUDGING ME). A lady mentioned that her and her Husband were talking about what their baby son would look like in a dress, so they bought him one in the Tesco sale for a bit of a giggle and then posted the pictures for us to see. I had to giggle at the comments below – people seemed genuinely surprised that this lovely little boy looked…LIKE A GIRL. Yep. Dressing a baby in a dress made him look like a girl. Shock. I think the woman and her Husband are pretty awesome and it made a point so succinctly.

Let me let you in on a little secret: your baby is an amorphous lump. Generally speaking, unless you know what it is, it doesn’t often look like a boy OR a girl. This is why it is absolutely ridiculous when people are offended by people mis-gendering their child. Yes, I get that dressing them in blue or pink is a handy way to indicate what they are but A) why does it matter how people interpret your baby’s gender and B) WHY DO YOU CARE IF THEY GET IT WRONG?!

Sausage was our first baby and as such was bought a whole ton of girly stuff by both us and well meaning relatives. I remember finding it infuriating that I’d have her dressed head to toe in pink but old people would still refer to her as “he” and I’d be thinking “BUT SHE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL!”. But did she? Did she REALLY? Defining features are absolutely unapparent on MOST babies and I guarantee if we’d have dressed her head to toe in boys clothes, people could just have easily identified her as a boy.

With BB, we were far less strident about plastering her in pink. BB is a really different creature to her big sister and has always been super physical, and the sad fact is that a lot of baby clothes from the girls sections just aren’t geared towards girls who run around and dig in the mud, whereas boys clothes are a lot more forgiving. Equally, last summer when we wanted to get her some shorts for running around in, the only ones we could find which weren’t pretty, lace-edged impractical things were a pair of grey jersey shorts from the boys range in H&M. She’s been called a he a fair few times and I don’t even correct people now because it simply doesn’t matter.

All I’m saying is, while you may look at your little darling and think they’re the most handsome/prettiest creature ever born, a random onlooker very likely just sees BABY. Not Baby Boy or Baby Girl. JUST BABY. Don’t be offended when they get it wrong, it’s a waste of your energy and if you think about it, it’s really not all that offensive anyway. Use your energy more wisely…like, spending it looking for clothes which are green, purple, yellow, red or white…all colours which I suspect are yet to have been pigeonholed!