15 articles Tag mum

Are you a smart or casual mum?

queen_mum_12When you become a mum, it seems that there are two ways to go in terms of your clothing. You can choose to embrace motherhood completely and become the most practically dressed person on the planet or you can make a positive decision to retain your own sense of style and if that means putting a lot of effort into your clothes, you carry on doing so regardless of how little time you have to do it.

A lot depends on who you hang out with, of course. If you’re surrounded by well-dressed people who obviously spend a lot of time, thought and money on their clothes, it tends to rub off on you, even if you’re a bit of a jeans and T-shirt fan. On the other hand, if the people you’ve got to know through various toddler groups all dress down when they’re out with the kids, you might feel too smart in the clothes you’d usually choose to wear.

Thankfully in today’s society, there are no particular dress codes, except perhaps in some work places, so you should really wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable. But regardless of whether you’re a smart or casual dresser, there are certain essential wardrobe items no mum of young children should be without.

The first priority item is a good jacket. Think of how many hours you spend at the park, often when it’s colder than you’d like it to be, and the kids somehow don’t seem to feel the need to get back inside where it’s warm. In the winter you can’t beat a down-filled puffer jacket for keeping you cosy and cheerful while they want one more push on the swing, or one more go on the slide. Come spring though, and that puffer jacket can feel far too hot, yet without it, there’s a risk of getting chilly when the clouds cover the sun. That’s when you need to move to a spring jacket – and utility coats are a really practical option here. Check out this jacket from Superdry that is an eminently practical colour – an army green that goes with almost any colour. It’s also got an array of handy pockets; perfect for packing in a few snacks for the kids and tissues for their runny noses! It’s casual, so suitable for everyday wear, yet it’s equally suitable for an occasion when you wear something smarter underneath.

The next wardrobe essential for a mum about town is a good pair of jeans; practical enough to cope with your kids’ sticky fingers being swiped across them, but you can still choose a tailored pair that most flatters your body shape.

Add some colour with a number of different tops – long and short-sleeved t-shirts for those days when it’s going to be warm, and lightweight jumpers that can be worn on their own or added as an extra layer of warmth when you need them. If you want to dress your look up a little, choose a cotton shirt or blouse in lieu of the t-shirt, and you instantly look smarter. Similarly, you can switch the utility jacket for a neutral trench coat for a more sophisticated look.

Some mums you see will always wear the same kind of thing, like they have a mum uniform; while others will be wearing something different every time you see them. The best option is to wear the clothes that you feel most at ease in. If you like what you’re wearing you’ll feel far more ready to deal with whatever the day throws at you.

Being Mum – The Self-Worth Special

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my ‘worth’ as a person lately and how that ties in with me being a mother. It’s been an eventful year, this 12 past the 2000, kicking off with me losing my job in April and Sausage starting school in September, two things which have contributed massively to my introspection. When I was working, I was a ‘working mum’ – I did a job and kept home and life ran to a schedule, Tuesday to Thursday at least. Then I lost my job and I became a ‘stay-at-home mum’, using my days to spend time with Sausage and do things together. But now she’s at school, am I still a stay-at-home mum, considering that between the hours of 8.55am and 3.20pm, I have no one to mother?

On a totally base level, since losing my job my contribution towards family life has been much less. Sure, I’ve been available for more housekeeping, but I’m not actually adding to the family coffers and I’m acutely aware that every time I spend money it’s usually been earned by someone else. I do have a small amount of income but that tends to get swallowed up as soon as it comes in on car insurance and my phone bill. I was able to do so much more before and it made me feel good.

My self-worth is obviously closely related to what I perceive as my use  to other people. I’m always offering to do things for people which are of no benefit to me, just to be the one who’s helped someone out, like I rack up ‘person points’ every time I offer help. I need to be needed. But I think I was like that before I ever became a parent.

As a mother, though, I know for a fact that I tend to put myself last in a lot of situations. Like mealtimes, for instance. If I’m cooking, Sausage gets her dinner first, then Husband and I tend to sit down rank last, after fetching drinks, condiments and all of the other mealtime accoutrements, with my meal being lukewarm more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, Husband often offers to do things, but I tend to insist he sits and eats while his food is hot and do the running around myself. So, does this mean that I put my worth at less than that of my family? Well, yes, I think I do. They deserve a nice meal, a hot meal, and if my is ruined well then so be it. It’s only me. 

My Nan does something similar, bowing and scraping even when there’s no need for her to do so, and I don’t know if it’s always been this way but with her, her martyrdom seems to be something that’s done so that she has a reason to moan. Her and my Grandad have a highly toxic relationship and it’s hard to know what came first; the bitterness or the hatred. Does she hate him and it’s made her bitter or has her bitterness morphed into a ball of hatred? Who knows, but either way, she’ll act like a timid servant (or did before she got too blind and disabled to do it all) and then loudly slag my Grandad off for not moving out of his chair.

I certainly don’t feel bitterness or hatred about my self-imposed lower worth, but then to be fair, I’m 28, not 78 so what’s to say I won’t be a walking hate-factory in 50 years time? Fortunately, the difference is that I have Husband who is NOTHING like my Grandad and I feel appreciated by him and Sausage on a daily basis, and I also have a modicum of reflection in my soul, which means I can see that way my life could go if I allow it. I’m not saying I’ll serve my dinner first or stop being ketchup-wallah, but I will try to consider myself a bit more at times when I feel like I don’t deserve any consideration.

Am I making even the slightest bit of sense? TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN!

Guest Post: I’m a parenting expert…

Yesterday, I put out a call for help. My blogging mojo is having a week off and I asked my blogging chums if they’d like to step in and write some posts for me and gawd bless ’em, I had lots of offers, which made me love our little community even more. Today, I’ve got a post from the lovely Fi who blogs at Childcare is Fun, who I must confess is one of my secret blogging crushes, I totally want to be her and have her hair and have her be my best friend, all at the same time 🙂 So, here it is: 

Parenting. The minefield of mothers and fathers doing their best in a conflicting world of advice. Hands on parenting, comfort parenting, practical parenting, attachment parenting, oh the hokeycokey parenting. It’s a headache before you’ve even popped out your first baby isn’t it?

Having the opportunity to guest write here on the lovely Jayne’s blog, I decided to open up, take off my professional cap, and talk frankly.

“You must have it so easy” someone once said to me, “you know everything and anything parenting, it must be a breeze!”

No. It’s really not…

I’ve 21 years experience working in childcare, I have a degree in Childhood and Youth studies, a diploma in Childhood studies, I’m a qualified Nursery nurse, I’ve a gazzillion training certificates from baby signing to special needs practicals, and I’ve a few awards for my work with children, but I’m also just a mum.

I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I often feel like hiding under the duvet when my two under 3 are wrestling on the bedroom floor over a postman pat van. I cry when things seem too much, I hurt when they tell me I’m ‘horrid for turning off Cbeebies so we can go do something creative’ and I sigh when I have to do mundane household chores daily.

I eat too much cake, drink wine, gossip, moan, sometimes lose my patience and wear baggies and no make-up on days when nobody is coming over and we are having a home day.

Daily I advise parents who ask for my advice through the FREE email service via my website (www.childcareisfun.co.uk) based on all those years of experience, and qualifications, and I love putting my professional head on to help them. I love writing my ‘Top Tips’ and guest appearing as a ‘parenting expert’ on BBC radio and local stations, I’ve even done the odd TV appearance which is so exciting and something I’d like to pursue one day, but above everything, I’m a stay-at-homemum. A mum to a 2 and 3 years old born 364 days apart who rock my world and wipe bogies on my jeans.

I clean up sick, wipes snotty noses, scrub spaghetti sauce off the walls, do the washing, shopping and cleaning. So when you hear the word ‘parenting expert’ and you roll your eyes and think “Oh, another know-it-all” remember I’m actually just a parent like you. I’m still learning all these years later.

I’m a parenting expert. I’m a housewife. I’m a domestic engineer. I’m a mother. I’m me.

Thank you so much to Fi, I love Childcare is Fun and think you should all go and subscribe to her email service immediately! Oh and show some comment love, yeah?!

The Age My Mother Was Then.

I’ve had this post brewing in my head for a while now but I had to get my Mum’s permission to splash her private life around my little corner of the internet.

When my mother was 35, after a lifetime of gynecological problems, she was given a full hysterectomy. Uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, the lot. My sister was around five and I was about 13 and as far as I was concerned, my Mum had kids and she didn’t need her reproductive bits anymore so it was best to get them gone. She had endometriosis and her insides were so badly fused together that she had to have tissue removed from her bowel and spine and was told that this could mean, in a worst case scenario, she could also lose a portion of her bowel and have a colostomy bag, so when she came out of surgery and they’d managed to save her bowel, all we could feel was relief.

In the years since, I’ve heard my Mum talk about her grief at losing her ability to reproduce at such a young age, but it’s barely registered. Until yesterday, when I was sat on the bus on the way home from work. I’ve been having some gynae problems of my own, pain that the Doctors cannot explain and wouldn’t investigate (I was told a couple of years ago that they wouldn’t do a laparoscopy because I was too fat. My GP has since sent a strongly worded letter about how ridiculous this is).

I was sitting on the bus, going through the worst thoughts that were whizzing around my head, and it suddenly occurred to me how awful it must have been for my Mum. I’m almost 28, not quite the same age, but somewhere in the ballpark and the thought of having the decision to have more kids taken out of my hands in the next 7 years is devastating. Genuinely scary.

I rang my Mum last night, just to let her know that I finally get it. I know it’s a bit late for sympathy, but she said to me that if she could have she’d have carried on having kids until there was about six of us to look after. That’s what my Mum does, she looks after people, she’s even taking her Nursing degree at the moment. I wish I’d known at the time and could have been more sympathetic to her grief. I guess sometimes it takes a bit of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes to really get it.

Use Your Illusion – Parts I and II

No, this isn’t a post about Guns ‘n’ Roses, although I do bloody love that band. November Rain is still one of my favourite songs, and I wish I could go back to the 80’s and 90’s to visit Slash’s L.A. house which was more or less turned into a giant, walk-in vivarium. But I digress…

I was checking my Facebook this morning when I came across a status update from my best friend, which read as follows:

After I stopped rolling around my living room floor, guffawing from the depths of my toes, I stopped to think. Isn’t it funny to think how we come across to others? Now, knowing my darling bestie, there could well be an element of sarcasm in there, but assuming she’s being serious, she’s got a properly demented view of my life!

On paper, I might seem ‘together’. I have two jobs, a three-year-old, various writing commitments, yadda yadda….no more than anyone else has to contend with really, but I suppose it’s more ‘obvious’  because I choose to broadcast it all via my blog and various social media profiles. But what those profiles don’t tell you is that I have a pile of washing up to my waist, I have a lawn full of dog poo that I need to go and pick up, Sausage gets bored with asking me to get her dressed on non-nursery days and often takes herself off to her room to search for something to wear that isn’t pyjamas, and I regularly leave my washing up until we have nothing left to eat or drink with.

So you see, while I talk about the good bits, the boring day-today bits or areas where I’m shamefully slack often go unmentioned. And don’t forget, Husband works from home too, which means he takes care of the shopping, dog walking, collecting Sausage from nursery and much else besides!

I should also add here, that I have ONE child. Bestie has THREE. And that’s not just any three kids, she has three boys under three, two of whom are twins! How the woman isn’t entirely grey is beyond me! (Here’s where I enter a disclaimer and say that I adore the boys and want to eat them because they’re so gorgeous, I just can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have three boys so close in age).

But it’s all about how we project ourselves, isn’t it? I’ve written a few posts in the past about honesty through social media (here and here) and despite that fact that we put more of ourselves out there than ever before through blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, StumbleUpon (delete as appropriate), we still only let on what we want people to know. I mean, I get it, no one cares about the mundane parts like that fact that I often spend all day in pyjamas if I have nowhere to go, or that I eat too many crisps, but at the same time, it’s impossible to get a full view of a persons day-to-day tooings and froings, despite how much we all talk about ourselves.

It made me think that we might be holding ourselves up against this perceived yardstick of how successful other people are, when in fact the standards that we’re imagining are actually impossible to reach. So I’ll go first, I’ll be honest. If I can get away with it, I’m really fucking lazy. When I have a day off, I like nothing better than sitting on the couch with Sausage, or catching up with my favourite TV programmes and more often than not, housework is the farthest thing from my mind. I don’t know if I feel better or worse for getting that dirty little secret out there, but I hope it might make people feel better when they take a totally skewed look at my life and come away feeling bad about themselves.

(Dedicated to Jamillah, who is officially SuperWoman, despite what she may think)