Look at what a lucky girl I am this year! I have all of these cards and gifts to open in the morning. And to make it even more exciting I haven’t a clue what a single one of those presents is!
My husband isn’t usually great at getting organised for things like birthdays but this year he’s made a real effort and there are even cards in that pile from each of the kids. I really don’t mind what the presents are or how many there are and I’m sure there’s nothing flashy, but I’m just so appreciative that a huge effort has been made.
When I was younger my mum always used to love receiving cards with lovely verses inside and if she was ever choosing a card for someone she would take an age picking one that conveyed the message she wanted to give. I didn’t understand, I barely read the cards and was all about the presents. But now I really get it. I can’t wait to read those cards in the morning.
My big boy has gone off to sleep at his nannie’s, so I took the opportunity to get a manicure (the pincer nails had to go) with just the baby in tow (luckily he slept for most of the time) and then once he was in bed for the night I got cosy in my bed with Russell’s book.
The inspiration for both the manicure and the reading of a non-children’s book came from my absolute favourite blogger, Cash Carraway (The Comeback Mum) who posted her fancy nails and book of choice on Instagram and made me all envious. If you haven’t already, please check out her blog. It’s everything I want from a blog – honest, funny, sad, beautifully written and with some great beauty recommendations chucked in to boot.
Anyway, I’m so pleased with my nails and my brain feels more alive from just having spent a little bit of time reading something for me. I love my kids with all my heart but I’m so glad of some relaxation time when I manage to get it.
I persuaded my mum to let me take her photo for Project 366. But she didn’t like any of the pictures I took so I downloaded an app called Perfect365 and airbrushed her! With one tap the app gave her a full face of make up (she was wearing none) and whitened her teeth! Who knew this was possible?! What a time to be alive!
Anyway, this is my good old (airbrushed) mum and she’s golden. She’s the main reason I can’t move away from this little town I live in. She helps a lot with childcare and my boys would miss her so much if we moved away. As would I.
Plus, on the day I took this photo she paid me two compliments. 1 – she told me she’d read some of my blog and enjoyed it and some parts made her laugh. 2 – she said my hair never looks greasy. I was overjoyed to receive both counts of such praise! (Although deep down I know she’s biased about the blog and my hair looks like an oil slick half the time.)
Like all mums with their kids, mine does my head in sometimes but I know I’m so lucky to have her so close by. She’s a genuinely kind person and she’s put up with a lot of crap from me over the years. She’s one in a million.
I didn’t appreciate what she had done for me or what she felt for me until I became a mother myself and when that feeling hit me I instantly felt racked with guilt for all the worry I’ve put her through and all the times I’d been a total cow.
If you’re stalking me again, sorry mum. Sorry for all the terrible behaviour. And thank you. Thank you for never disowning me and doing me loads of favours all the time and basically keeping my life ticking over.
Some of my friends have been less fortunate than me on the mum front and it’s so sad that some women are blessed with children they don’t value. The damage a crappy parent can do is immeasurable. But on the flip side, those friends are amazing mums themselves, determined that their kids will have much lovelier childhoods than they did.
Here’s to my mum and all the other mums who do their best.
I blame Instagram for this whole sorry ordeal. I see amazing photos on there every day of families having lovely times in various lovely places with their lovely children. All so happy. All so calm. Ha ha ha, how they all laugh and frolick! Such fun!
Cut to me bundling the kids into the car, wellies packed, picnic sorted, we’re going to the beach, we’re going to have a nice time. Such fun!
Although it was January, the weather was very mild and the tide was out. Perfect. Omar could burn off some energy running on the sand, eat his picnic and then get home exhausted enough to want an early night.
I managed to get him and the pram onto the sand then let go of his hand and let him run. Here’s what went down.
Basically, he gravitated towards a huge pool of water under the pier and more or less had a swim whilst simultaneously whinging because it was freezing and manky. I then had to wade in and drag him out because despite the whinging he refused to get up.
Obviously feeling he wasn’t in quite enough of a mess he then rolled around in the sand to ensure his soaking clothes were also caked in the stuff. Again, he refused to get up so I had to wrestle him and the pram to the car.
We got home and I was the only exhausted one. Instagram lies.
Being a stay at home mum was never part of my plan. I spent a lot of time, energy and money becoming a qualified solicitor. I had grand plans. I’d be a city girl, a high flyer wearing designer threads as I slayed my opponents in court before marching out in my Jimmy Choos. (Look, I am a socialist but I like nice stuff too, ok?)
Anyway, the plan started to go a bit wrong when I moved from a city to my small home town and cut my legal teeth at a high street firm here. What followed was marriage and a baby. And then another.
And now I’m a stay at home mum. Not a Jimmy Choo in sight. (What’s the point? They’d only get covered in crayon and milk spit up.)
Going back to work (as in paid work – we all know raising kids is still actual work) is something I think about a lot. I suppose I’ve never really gotten comfortable with being defined as only a mother. Yes, that’s my most important job, raising humans is a big deal and a lot of responsibility. Not just to them but to the world (I don’t want to rear psychopaths then let them loose to wreak havoc on civilisation one day, obviously). But to let it be my only job doesn’t sit well with me. I suppose I feel the need to have something just for myself, if that makes any kind of sense.
Please don’t mistake this for me having no respect for stay at home mums (and dads for that matter) and their decision to stay at home out of choice. I get how important it is for some people and judge them in no way. Some stay at home mum’s thrive but I’m not one of them; I’m crap at baking and I don’t have a crafty bone in my body.
So I’ve explored going back to work. I’ve looked into the childcare options. I’ve worked out pick up and drop off times. And here’s the thing; no one would benefit from it except for me.
If I worked locally I would have to drop the kids off at childcare at 8am and collect them at 6pm (maybe 5.30pm at a push). So that’s ten hours a day they would be in someone else’s charge. That’s the vast majority of their waking hours. After childcare it would be home, dinner, bed, bath – I’d barely see them. And that’s if I actually finished work when I was supposed to. Most lawyers take work home with them to finish as well, it’s the nature of the job. Yes, I’d have weekends, but that’s about it.
The cost of 50 hours per week for childcare for two children would be around £460 per week. Despite popular opinion the average high street lawyer doesn’t make a huge amount of money, which means it would actually cost me financially to go back to work. If I worked part time, it would still cost me.
The other option is if I worked out of town. The nearest two cities are just over an hour’s commute away. Totally doable. My salary would be a fair bit higher but I’d spend even less time with the kids. I’d may as well get a live in nanny. Which just makes me think, why did I have them in the first place if I’m going to let other people raise them? And as well as the live in nanny I’d doubtless need a cleaner, otherwise I’d be spending those precious weekends cleaning and ironing and what not.
So to go back to work it seems I would have to either make my family generally poorer or outsource most other parts of my life (and possibly still make us poorer). And as the only person who would benefit from me working is me, I really can’t justify it. It would just be selfish.
I chose to have my children, a decision I’ve never for a second regretted, so if that means I’m a stay at home mum for a while then so be it. The Jimmy Choos will just have to wait.
Strange old day today consisting of a funeral and a kid’s party. Pain and sorrow from weary souls, followed by absolute delight and excitement from fresh, innocent tots.
Here’s a photo from the latter portion of the day:
It pains me to think that a day will come when he will know pain and sorrow. I mean he thinks he knows it now (for example when I confiscate his football because he’s launched it at his brother for the sixth time that morning) but I hope any real heartache is years and years and years away, if it ever has to come at all.