Anger · Parenting · Personal

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!

Anger · Family · Parenting · Rant

Road Rage.

I posted a while ago about recently acquiring a car and in the grand scheme of things, it’s massively improved our lives. We’ve been able to do SO much more stuff without factoring in public transport and we’ve been able to go places and see things. It’s made our world bigger.

The one, very slight, downside to this is that since I last had a car, everyone else on the road seems to have turned into a MASSIVE TWAT.

Continue reading “Road Rage.”

Anger · Rant

The Last Word.

Last year, not long after I started this blog, I wrote THIS post about how I collect straws. The basic premise of being a straw collector is that a person who collects straws goes about their day and if something negative happens, they store it up. Then the next minor thing happens and they store that up. They collect up all these ‘straws’ of anger, until they get to the final one and then they snap. I’ve been trying my hardest to not do this, and although I still have a bit of a temper if I’m pushed, I am a lot more chilled out in a lot of ways.

There is, however, a character flaw that I have which is something else that I should really work on, and that is the fact that I feel like I must have the last word. If I argue with someone or have a disagreement, I always feel like I’ve been totally wronged unless I get them to change their opinion. I’ve had disagreements with people in the past which still weigh heavily on my mind because I didn’t get an apology or a retraction from them, even though I know they were totally wrong. I’ll admit, I have a huge chip on my shoulder when it comes to people judging me wrongly. I know who and what I am, and I think I’m a very honest person when it comes to myself, but when people get it wrong, it winds me up terribly.

I have internal conversations which people where I say all of the clever things that I wanted to say during an argument, all of which prove them wrong, make me look wonderfully intelligent and urbane, whilst employing great amounts of grace and wit. Of course, arguments generally just degrade to a point where no one employs much wit, and all that’s being slung is something which rhymes with wit, so I never get to really employ all of these skills that I’ve honed so well inside my own head.

But it’s not very healthy, is it? Sometimes, when I’m walking the dog or washing up or going about some other brainless task, I go over petty rows in my head and I get so wound up that I end up with an ache in my gut and a mood like a bear who’s been disturbed, mid-hybernation. I suppose it’s a bit of longer-term straw collecting, but I just can’t seem to let it go.

I suppose I need to know that I’m not alone in this. Does anyone else do this, or am I the only one with an over-developed jaw muscle from all of the teeth grinding that I do? It can’t just be me, can it? Does this make me a terrible person, this need for people to know that I was right and they were wrong? Gosh, when I put it like that, it does sound that way, doesn’t it?

Anger · Life · Parenting · Personal

Yoda was wrong.

I have been sitting here for the last hour, trying to write a post about Sausage and how she came into the world. And I think I have realised, that after two and quarter years, I’m still not ready to do it.

The words are flowing out of me readily, but somehow, it feels as if no words can ever do justice to how awful a situation it was. It’s taken a really long time for Husband and I to feel even vaguely normal, but writing about it has made me realise that I am still so angry. I’m angry with the Doctors who were supposed to be there, and weren’t. I’m angry with the crappy bureaucratic system which dictates the way our medical system works. But mostly I’m still angry with myself for ever walking out of that hospital and leaving Sausage there.

After a couple of days, I was allowed to go home, but Sausage still needed to be cared for in the NICU unit. The doctors told me that home was the best place for me, so I left. Grudgingly.

I can tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that nothing can prepare you for the pain of going home and leaving your newborn baby in the hospital. Antenatal classes prepare you for a lot of things, but they never tell you that there is a possibility that you may go home empty-handed, even if it is just for a while.

Sausage was in the NICU for 8 days and made an incredible recovery. To this day, I am in total awe of her strength, her resilience, her sheer force of will. She inspires me in so many ways. It’s because of her that I am now studying for a degree, hoping that I can educate myself enough that I may pass on the knowledge I have to others, so that they never have to feel the way we did when it all went wrong. I’m studying for a BSc in Psychology, and I aim to use that, and my own experiences, to help other families who’ve been traumatised by a bad birth, and hope beyond everything that I can turn around the trauma we felt and make something positive out of it.

And so I would like, here and now, to call Yoda out on his assertion that anger leads to the Dark Side. Because, if you take that anger and build on it, don’t smother it and expect it to die on its own, it can turn to into something positive, something that brings help and hope to others. For Sausage’s sake, that it what I plan to do with mine.

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Anger · Life · Opinion · Rant

Collecting Straws

My husband is one of those people who knows everything.

Not in a douchey “I’m a know-it-all” kind of way, he’s just got one of those amazing brains which stores an unfathomable amount of stuff. Couple that with an overactive thirst for knowledge and he knows a lot. He’s the kind of guy you want on your team at a pub quiz.

So, the other day, he was doing some reading about various different philosophies relating to anger and he came across the phrase “collecting straws”.

Basically, a person who collects straws goes about their day and if something negative happens, they store it up. Then the next minor thing happens and they store that up. They collect up all these ‘straws’ of anger, until they get to the final one and then they snap (the straw that broke the camels back, if you will). The thing which finally makes them snap is generally something quite minor, but they break under the strain of the weight of all the straws they collected throughout the day. Some people may spend their whole lives collecting straws.

Now, he told me about this and it started ringing some Big Ben sized bells.

I am a straw collector.

And I kid myself that I’m actually a super patient person, that I just lose my rag when something really pushes me, but it’s not true. I’ve lost count of the amount of days I had where I’m absolutely seething by the evening, and can reel off a long list of so-called disasters which have made my day so shitty.

My anger is like one of those huge cardboard cut-outs of a thermometer that they have at fundraising events. You know, the ones where the more money they raise, the more of the thermometer they colour in, until finally the top of the thermometer ‘explodes’ when they reach their target?

That’s me.


Where do I go from here, now I know that I’m a straw collector?

Some self-motivated anger management.

I’ve had people suggest to me that I should count down from ten when I get cross. And you know what? That just makes me want to punch that person. Punch them in the face.

I’ve never actually punched a person in the face.

So how do I go about stopping myself from storing up all the silly little ‘straws’.

I have to say, when I think about it, straw collecting is a family trait. My mum is an avid reader of my blog (Hi Mum) and I think she’ll agree with me when I say that it comes straight from the top. My Nan is the Queen of the Straw Collectors. We really have been taught by the best. My Nan doesn’t just collect straws on a daily basis, she’s been collecting them FOR LIFE! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Nan a lot, she’s great and has been like a second Mum to me.

But I wish I’d got to her earlier.

I wish I could go back about 40 years and say to her “You know what, Nan? This straw collecting bullshit just isn’t worth it.” I wonder if she’d have been happier in life if she could have just let some of the small stuff go? I wonder if she’d have felt more fulfilled, more content with the way her life turned out?

But it’s too late for my Nan. She’s got a lifetime of straws, all stored up. So, I’ll tell myself, instead. I’ll tell myself, every time I realise that I’m doing it again…CUT IT LOOSE.

A far more profound person than I once wrote

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

That just about sums it up, doesn’t it?

And because I now know all of this, I’m very glad to have a husband who reads so much.