They F*ck You Up

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

Yep. Philip Larkin hit the nail on the head with ‘This Be The Verse’. We can all probably attribute some of our issues to our parents and the way they did (or in some cases didn’t) raise us. Even if they did their absolute best Even if they were attentive and doting and as mumsy and dadsy as could be. 

And if we know that our parents messed us up then we have to know that we’re messing our kids up. And we can’t stop because we don’t even know we’re doing it.

But it works the other way too.

They fuck you up, those kids you had.

They make you feel helpless, useless and like you’ve lost control.

And that pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling for the last ten days. I don’t mean that I haven’t been coping with the general parenting stuff or that I’m tired or my house is a tip. Well yeah, that too. But it’s more serious and it’s got me feeling like absolute crap. To the point that I couldn’t face writing any blog posts or even watching tv. I just wanted to cry and sleep. Sleep brought sweet relief from having to think. 

You might have read about my baby Zaki and his heart. Open heart surgery and a 3 week stint in intensive care saved his life but he so very nearly died and life was hell for a while. Then it got better and I dared to think that we might be in for an easier ride for a while. Because we deserved it after what we’d been through, didn’t we?

I know it doesn’t really work that way but I thought that after something so awful, that was our fair share of crapness done with and there’d be nothing else major coming up. But yeah, it doesn’t work that way.

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I’m not quite ready to explain just yet but there are things going on with my oldest boy that are breaking my heart. I don’t have proper answers yet but what I do know is that we’re going to be in for a tough time of it. Again. And yes, I am feeling sorry for myself because quite frankly, it’s not bloody fair.

I’ve been a total mess but I’m starting to pull myself together now, for his sake, so I can get him the help he needs. I’ve done an awful lot of crying and wallowing though and I’m guessing there’s more to come.

See, this is how our kids fuck us up. They make us vulnerable because anything that hurts them or impacts on them in a negative way, hurts us a million times more. And I’ll be honest, I find it hard to deal with. Especially when everything is totally out of my control and nothing I do will change the outcome.

I’m sure it’s not healthy to love our kids to the extent that we do. For our whole happiness and wellbeing to depend on their happiness and wellbeing just cannot be healthy. And that’s how they fuck us up.

Get out as early as you can,

And don’t have any kids yourself.

Lately I’ve found myself telling people they really ought to consider not having any kids… ‘I mean, if you can live without them, do. Don’t put yourself through it…’ I said.

Now that my kids are here I love them with every fibre of my being, of course. I couldn’t live without them. But if I could stop my currently childless friends going through the pain that they bring, I would. I don’t buy into the ‘oh you need the tough times to appreciate the good times‘ school of thought either. I can do without the tough times. Honestly. They do nothing for me.

Just give me the good times, please. I promise I’ll appreciate them.

 

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Rusky Business (Project 366 – Day 37)

  

I know it’s not the done thing these days to give your baby a rusk but Zaki had one and he absolutely loved it! He was making all kinds of appreciative chomping noises and actually cried when he’d finished it, haha!

Weaning has been more difficult with Zaki than it was with Omar. To start with he wasn’t keen on solids AT ALL. He would spit everything out and screw his face up. After about 3 weeks he got used to eating and would tolerate it but still wouldn’t put anything in his mouth of his own accord, so baby led weaning was out. 

5 weeks on and the situation is much easier now. He will happily gnaw away on toast, banana, courgettes and of course rusks!

  

Puppy Love (Project 366 – Day 34)

    

Just before Christmas a friend of mine got a new family pet, a Bichon Frisse dog called Arthur. 

As soon as they met, Omar and Arthur became great buddies. It’s the first time Omar has been this close to a dog and it was so cute to see how happy he was to meet Arthur!

        

The photos aren’t great, I was taking them with my phone whilst holding Zaki, but I really wanted to capture how excited Omar was by Arthur the pup. 

That being said, we won’t be getting a dog. Ever. There’s enough mayhem in this house as it is! But at least I’m now prepared for the fact that Omar is probably going to be one of those kids that asks if we can get a dog 50 times a day between the age of 4 and 16. (My brother was also one of those kids.)

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, it seems Bichon Frisse’s are child-friendly. Arthur was just as happy to meet Omar as Omar was to meet him and I was never once worried that he was going to bite or nip him. If he can put up with Omar he can probably put up with anything. 

And Relax… (Project 366 – Day 28)

  
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. 

The Baby Won’t Sleep! (Project 366 – Day 26)

  
Zaki. Does. Not. Sleep. Honestly, he hardly ever sleeps. I’ve never heard of a baby like it. This photo was taken at 10pm and he was showing no signs of going off to the land of nod anytime soon. I finally got him to sleep at 11.30pm but he was awake again at 2am for 2 hours. 

In the daytime he barely naps, in fact he naps less than his 2 year old brother! I’ve tried to make him nap more because I’ve heard that ‘the more they sleep, the more they sleep’, but it didn’t work. I’ve tried to make him last the day with no sleep at all and that didn’t work either. 

He’s never grumpy from being over-tired, never cries because he wants to go to sleep. If I didn’t rock him for an hour and force him to drift off I don’t think he’d ever actually sleep! 

Has anyone else had a baby like this? Was there any reason behind it? I just don’t understand it. Sleep is the best, sleep is my favourite, why won’t he sleep?!

The Beach with a Toddler (Project 366 Day 25)

  
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. 

When it’s Selfish for Mothers to go Back to Work

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?)

Look at this lady having a lovely time at work.

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.