It’s a long standing joke in our house that I am a ‘terrible’ mother. To be honest I think the main problem is that Pie attends an outstanding school. This would be fine, apart from the fact I am not an outstanding parent. In fact if Ofsted rated me I would probably be inadequate in many areas. I am a rubbish cook – despite my best efforts. We don’t do crafts at home and I cannot teach Pie to ride his bike as he only ever pedals backwards. My driving skills are fair but my in car singing could be considered harmful… I do apparently make good sandwiches and give great cuddles (thanks Pie).
The other problem is I fail to get involved in the middle-class motherhood game. I don’t do yoga, therefore I never turn up to the school in my yoga pants or with a fabulous post gym glow. Usually poor Pie is lucky to see me at all at the school gate. If by some miracle I am there at 3 I am either in my scruffy jeans, with no make up and the ‘thrown through a hedge backwards look’. Or I am in my uniform, looking slightly harassed because I meant to get off early to pick him up with plenty of time. But I am in fact late and running from the car feeling slightly harassed and rather hot.
Of course the other Mum’s all ask there little darlings how they got on at school. Pie always races out and announces that his pants are wet and can he watch Avengers when he gets home. This compounds the belief of the other parents that I am in fact a terrible mother in two ways. Firstly I am unable to potty train my 5 year old and secondly I allow him to watch TV. I just grin and unfold the plastic bag from my pocket for him to sit on in the car (it’s on hire purchase don’t judge my need for seat protection). I challenge anyone to toilet train this child – in fact I would pay you!
Worst of all are school projects, you know the ones where that damn bear come home for the weekend and you have to keep a journal. I can hardly write that The Bear watched me tackle washing pile mountain, wrestle Pudding into clothes and fail to cook a meal without cremating some part of it. I am pretty sure that the other entries in the book are utter bull. The person who gets The Bear after us must be like ‘winner, anything I write is gonna be better than that…’
So no I don’t do yoga, I don’t have a gym membership and no my child has not mastered the toilet yet. I can’t attend the PTA, charity fun run or help out at the bake sale. I barely manage to keep up with the reading record, let alone complete the ‘optional’ (it’s not optional AT ALL) homework. I can’t stand the obligatory costume days, Easter bonnets or other such parenting requirements. I have tried to be as pulled together and perfect as the other parents at the school gate but the reality is I can’t manage it. I am just another frazzled looking mama who loves her kids but is never gonna win parent of the year. And you know what I can live with that. Motherhood is not a competition. It’s an ongoing battle, that you occasionally win but inevitably more often than not lose!
So as many of you will know Pudding HQ is on the move! After several weeks of umming and ahhing, walking round houses and panicking that we would eventually be homeless it now looks like we are sorted. I have to say though it’s not an easy thing to organise a house move. Hardly surprising that they say this is one of the most stressful things you can do.
It really is a mine field of conflicting and biased advice out there so I have cobbled together a quick guide. I am by no means a property guru, mortgage advisor or solicitors. But here are a few things that I think made the process easier:
Busy Mum’s Guide To Buying a New House
Mortgages & Agreements in Principle – A lot of places won’t let you start viewing properties until you can prove that you are financially viable. Which I can kind of understand. Viewings are time-consuming, not to mention having to keep the damn place tidy so people can look round. You want to know that people coming through the door are serious prospects. Most of the high street banks will now give you an Agreement in Principle. This is great if your finances are straightforward, but if you have a few debts etc I would recommend speaking to someone on the telephone. We found we could actually have quite a lot more mortgage when we spoke to a human! Finally be wary of estate agents and their recommended mortgage advisor, they get a big chunk of throwback commission for introducing new clients….
Appointing Agents to Sell Your Place – You must have all seen the recent influx of online estate agents offering to sell your house at a fixed fee. I would definitely recommend getting a quote from one of these agents and possibly a local one so you can compare the prices. Be warned that most agents will tie you in to a few weeks where they will be the sole agent. Don’t forget that all prices quoted are liable to VAT. Make sure you know the exact costs from the outset and the tie-in length. The other thing to consider is that home buying is changing. High street estate agents are quickly being replaced by online sites such as Rightmove & Zoopla. If you are spending all your time looking for properties on these sites what do you think everyone else is doing?? Make sure which ever agent you use is posting your property on these sites.
A Picture Tells A Thousand Words – You know the kind of houses that draw you in. Wide spaces, lots of light beautiful pictures where you cut and paste your family in your mind’s eye. So you want your pictures to be taken like that for the home your selling. Make sure that your agent is showing off your property with amazing pictures. But likewise when you are searching for a house remember that some agents will enhance pictures or use professional photographers and some won’t. An internet picture does not necessarily tell you everything. If you like the area and the floor plan, go see the house
Sealed Bids…. – A lot of estate agents are employing this tactic at the moment. Asking you to provide your best and final offer. This can cause you to over-pay on the value of the house as it creates a feeding frenzy mentality. Not so bad if this happens on the house you are selling but pretty awful if it happens on the house you are buying. Remember that if you offer way over the asking price that your lender will complete a valuation survey. If the valuation is much less than what you have offered you will need to find the difference or attempt to negotiate with the seller.
Go With Your Gut – House buying is a huge deal, so don’t end up buying a house you don’t really like. If there are things you don’t like, or are niggling away at you then stop and think for a minute. Somethings like hideous decor are fixable. Being 2 buses away from the nearest primary school, that has an inadequate Ofsted rating you are going to have to live with. Make sure you know what is important to you, make a list of things that can be compromised and things that are fundamentals. Moving is expensive you don’t wanna have to do it again in a few years!
Instruct a Solicitor – buying and selling houses requires you to have a conveyancer, unless you are an amazing legal brain yourself. There are quite a few online companies for this now, but just be sure to read their reviews and take into consideration having to print, sign, scan and upload all your documents. Personally I quite like the online services because they give you a tracker and you can see exactly whats got to be done next and how far down the process you are. Also when you get quotes for your conveyancer remember that they usually include your stamp duty so don’t fall off of your chair at the costs until you have checked. A lot of them also do a no completion-no fee deal, bit of protection should your purchase/sale fall through.
The Survey – If you are having a mortgage you will definitely need a survey. Cash buyers can have a survey at their own discretion. The mortgage lenders are usually happy to accept a basic valuation survey. If you want a more in-depth survey this will come at a cost. We went with the basic – because last time we had the home buyer it was very ambiguous for example ‘the electrics appear to be in good working order but we recommend that you have them fully checked by a certified electrician before committing to buy the property’. It was the same with the plumbing, heating, roof etc….
So there you have it – my Busy Mum’s Guide to House Buying. This has taken you up to the stage I am currently at. I will get another post written once we have completed. They reckon 6 weeks, but I am not holding my breath…..
Have you got any useful information about buying houses?
It’s a disappointment bigger than a Brachiosaurus that my boy Pie has not the slightest Iguanodon in dinosaurs. It’s not for lack of Triceratops on my part. Right from an egg I have been talking to him about these amazing creatures, but I may have been speaking in Velociraptor for all the good its done me. He doesn’t even Tyrannosaurus to look interested its like talking to a Diplodocus most days!
He would rather talk about Star Wars or Harry Potter! It really gets my Spinosaurus up when I show him a dinosaur and he calls it a dragon. Why can’t we talk about Pachycephalosaurus or Zigongosaurus? They aren’t difficult names for my own Sauropod to get his tongue round! Yet he behaves like a creature from the early Triassic period and calls them all dine-saw…(Damn you George Pig) I know it’s not the be Allosaurus or end all but I always thought having kids would enable me to justify my own geeky love of dinosaurs!
I can still remember that first trip to the Natural History Museum with my own family. The sheer excitement as we walked through the door and came face to face with a colossal skeleton! It was an awe-inspiring moment, even now it still makes me Gallimimus. It cemented a life long passion and a desire to study Paleontology. (Alas this is waiting for my retirement, not many dinosaurs in Birmingham!)
After a relentless first year of forcing dinosaur clothes, books and toys on him, Mr Pud has now banned me from trying to brainwash him into my Cretaceous period. I am not even allowed to show him Jurassic Park until he is older, not even the bit before it gets scary. But how can my Anklyosaurus-biter be such an old Stegosaurus? Maybe I will get lucky in Pudding and she will develop into a Gigantosaurus nerd like her Mother, after all who else is going to run round the Natural History Museum with me?
We all know that dogs and children can have an amazing bond. Certainly Hollywood loves to depict beautiful relationships between dogs and kids. But we all need to remember that no matter how ‘domesticated’ a dog is they can still react to situations. This is why it is so important to teach children to respect dogs. No dog should be placed in a position where it feels like it needs to protect itself. Equally so no family wants to run the risk of raising children around a snappy unpredictable dog. So what can you do to ensure everyone gets along?
Top Tips for Protecting Dogs and Children
Don’t leave dogs and young children unattended
No matter how much you trust your dog they shouldn’t be left with small children. Small children are unpredictable and they love to grab. How would you feel if you had a small person hanging off of your tail? Exactly it’s going to hurt and you are going to react. A dog is no different. Don’t put them in this position.
Give dogs space to eat in peace.
I know like they leave you alone when you have a biscuit in hand! But dogs can be protective over food. Teach your children to leave them to eat their tea in peace. Its great if they can help out with feeding, but when that bowl goes down it’s time to step back.
Discourage small children from feeding dogs by hand
This is tough when you are weaning. Let’s face it dogs are a fantastic clean up crew. What you don’t want is for them to always associate the kids with food. Feeding dogs from the table is a pretty bad habit anyway. Don’t let them beg and try to ensure they are not stealing food from small hands.
Keep them out of rough play.
My big boy Pie loves a bit of wrestling. He gets very over-excited and jumps all over me and the furniture. Great fun for all. The dogs get very excited and start jumping about too. They are playfully snappy and will often claw at us. If things get too loud or frantic they can get quite protective. A dog doesn’t know the difference between play and a real threat. Try not to put them in a position where they think someone needs their protection.
Remember it is their home too
It’s very easy to allow the kids to rule the roost. But you invited this dog into your home and now it’s his home too. Make sure they have somewhere quiet to go. Especially if you have other children around. They need a safe secure space where they can get away from it all. Don’t allow the kids to chase them or aggravate them. Encouraging games of fetch or playing with the dog supervised is great for building trust between kids and dogs. Read the signs though, when the dogs had enough give them some space.
Dogs can bring so much to a family. They can be great companions for all of you. If you can encourage children to be respectful of dogs it will make for a fantastic family dynamic. Long summer walks and winter snuggles with a dog can be amongst the best experiences for children. Just a few sensible steps will hopefully mean a long and happy relationship between you and your pet.
I was laughing with my husband tonight whilst discussing the daily parenting fails. It’s a regular occurrence. We buoy each other up after another less than perfect parenting day. For example today my eldest has gone to bed with a black eye (bouncy castle related injury) and a grazed elbow (he engaged legs before brain…) But both he and Pud’s went to bed smiling. For me as a parent that’s what counts.
The media is packed with unrealistic view of parenting. You know the ones. Beautiful pristine nurseries (always in bloody white, go figure!) Fantastic photos of families enjoying days out (no sign of whinging or ice cream covered clothes, shoes, ears…) Mum’s and Dads dressed in designer gear, no bags under their eyes or worry lines. Not so the worlds portrayed by parent bloggers who can, in the search of humour, paint parenting in a light so unfavourable that it’s a surprise people pro-create at all. These honest and witty accounts provide a more realistic view of the highs and lows of parenthood. Although nothing can prepare you for the truth of raising a small human into a reasonable balanced adult. But how do you know if you are doing a good job?
When professionals talk about ‘good enough parenting’ they mean you have met a child’s basic needs. Physically and emotionally they are cared for and safe. They aren’t insisting you take them to the zoo, chase them round soft play or shower them with presents. Children need to be loved and for you to be emotionally available to them. They need to be fed and watered (bit like a plant really) they need to be excercised, stimulated and put to bed. A child needs to be kept safe, clean and warm.
Clearly everyone has good and bad parenting days. Those times when everything comes together and great memories are made. Your confidence soars. Give yourself a mini fist bump, you have this parenting shizzle down. Next morning though, the clock has reset. What amazing parenting can you pull out of the bag today? Nope you got nothing have you? Because you can’t be A1 parent 24/7. There are too many variables that cannot be controlled. You’re tired, the kids are tired, the weathers bad and the mother of bad parenting days; you just don’t feel like parenting today! What you really want is to sit on the sofa and watch total shit on TV. No interruptions, no questions, just you and that remote. Don’t worry it doesn’t mean you are a crap parent, it just shows that sometimes we all want to get off the world for a while.
We get so carried away with making everything perfect all the time. Trying to reach that elusive parenting dream, thrust upon us by advertising. We forget that it’s not the big gestures. It’s that cuddle, that story, that time spent together. Think back to your childhood memories. Was the first thing you thought about a material thing or was it time you spent with your parents?
Of course the days out are fun. As are those times when you provide children with new experiences. But what children want more than anything else is to feel loved and safe. To know that they can come to you, that you will be there for them. Not too busy to listen or too stressed to care. You know your parenting is good enough when that little person kisses you goodnight, snuggles down into his bed and whispers I love you, you are my best friend.
For those of you who read our blog on a regular basis you will know we are currently enjoying a holiday in The Lakes! But after our holiday faux pas at Bluestone, what have we done to ensure The Lakes won’t be a wash out?
Top Tips for A Happy Holiday:
Book good accommodation! I originally booked this trip 5 days after Pudding was born and in a total hormone stupor. When we checked it last week it became apparent that I had in fact booked one room with the idea that Mr Pud and I would sleep on a sofa bed! (Honestly a sofa bed? What WAS I THINKING??) We changed our mind last-minute and booked a great cottage instead. Room to move, two bedrooms and the essential kitchen with washing machine (we are weaning here people…)
Keep packing stress to a minimum. You don’t need the kitchen sink or 18 outfits (washing machine remember?) Pack what you need, be ruthless! Remember when it comes to repacking you will have to track every item down and squeeze it back into the car. With the added addition of buckets, spades, inflatable crocodiles and the worlds most uncomfortable shoes that you brought on a whim! (Throw them away? NEVER)
Self catering? My preferred option, I know it’s a bit of a kick in the crotch to cook every night but least you know it’s going to be eaten (mostly). If you are going self catering, just get Tescos to deliver! Seriously, saves you the pain of packing it into the car or worse still driving round and round to find a supermarket after 6 hours of travelling.
Plan the route before you go! Nothing worse than not knowing where you are going and then losing mobile signal as soon as you are off the motorway. Download the route planner so it’s available. But don’t be militant about a leaving time or how many stops you will make. Go with the flow! Sometimes rushing kids out the house is just going to make matters worse. Relax have a coffee. (sorry no wine yet you need your wits about you!) If the traffic is shite then stop for a while. Sitting in a tail-back stressing and needing a wee is no good for any of you.
Unpack the cases when you get the other end (not straight away have a brew first) This will make for a more relaxed feel. Who likes living out of a suitcase? Put stuff away, make it feel like home.
Don’t try to cram thousands of things into one day. It’s a holiday remember? Keep the pace relaxed! What does it matter if you don’t get out the house before 10? Kids feed off your stress, just let it go. Try and plan an activity for each day – get the kids to help choose if they are old enough. Remember toddlers don’t like walking too far and teenagers don’t like having no phone signal for more than an hour (15 mins).
Relax some of those rules about food. It’s ok if little Timmy wants to have an ice cream morning and afternoon, it’s a holiday! Stopping for cake and a drink is a novelty, so enjoy it. Also because holidays are busy little people get hungry or should I say hangry! Feed them. Often.
Occasional late nights on holiday are exciting. A week of late nights is just perpetuating a natural disaster. Try and keep the sleep habits as close to home as possible. Parents and kids with no sleep is a recipe for meltdown. If you are out and about and little ones usually have a nap, maybe plan a short trip in the car at that point or encourage them to snuggle in the buggy. Tired angry children make holidays miserable, read the signs and take action. Quickly.
Don’t panic if you forgot to pack something! Remember this is England, not Outer Mongolia. Most things are available locally and if not get on Amazon Prime and order it for the next day! Nothing is out of reach and you know what if you forget it, it probably wasn’t that important!
Make time for each other. Once those rascals are in bed grab a bottle of something (anything) crack open some maltesers and a pack of cards. Reconnect with each other, phones off, laptops away and no TV. Talk and laugh about the day and the inevitable disasters. Reminisce or think about places you would like to come back too just the two of you. It’s your holiday too, enjoy each other!
I read so many blogging articles about how hard it is being a Mum, what an uphill struggle it can be raising small children. It would seem that the main responsibility falls on the Mother, from clothing the baby, to counselling teenagers us Mum’s seem to do it all. But do we? My other half gets pretty irritated about what he calls the ‘martyrdom of Motherhood’. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that he doesn’t appreciate all the things Mothers do, but he feels that most Dad’s don’t get the credit they deserve. Are all of us Mum’s just so wrapped up in our own day-to-day struggles of weaning, potty training and mini meltdowns that we don’t always appreciate what Dad’s are doing?
With Fathers Day around the corner, it seems a good time to stand back and look at the Modern Dad’s role, where doe he fit into a society that seems overly Mummy-centric? We seem to have recently taken to putting motherhood on a pedestal, but women have been Mothers for years. Maybe it is the sudden surge on social media of Mum’s sharing their stories that has highlighted the often thankless tasks that Mum’s do. Yet society is changing, I hear more and more of Dad’s staying home to care for children and what about all those Dad’s who have split from partners and have the children at weekends. Surely they are going through the same things, yet we hear so little from them. Is it that Dad’s are quietly getting on with raising their children away from the spotlight, or could it be that Dad’s have a totally different style of parenting meaning that the things that we as women struggle to deal with they simply don’t have to contend with.
This got me thinking about what Pudding & Pie get up to with their Dad when I am on shift. I have had people ask how Mr Pud copes when I go to work for 13 hours – what a question, of course he copes they are his children. Like a Al Ferguson from The Dad Network said, it’s called ‘Parenting not Babysitting’! I don’t know whether it’s because he is calmer, or because being with Daddy is a novelty but the kids automatically seem to behave better. They seem to understand that certain behaviours jut will not be tolerated so they don’t even try it. General tasks do seem easier just by the fact that Dad is a man, things like negotiating a trip out for example. The male brain doesn’t seem to sweat the small stuff, if I take the kids out, I like to be prepared for every eventuality. Not so Dad, he packs essentials, milk, nappies and his wallet. He doesn’t plan the route, or where they will eat for lunch, he flies by the seat of his pants, working on the mood of the kids and his own. It doesn’t stress him if he is out and he needs something he hasn’t got, he goes and buys what he needs. Even simple things like there is no lift, well that’s no issue, ‘I’am Man I will carry the pram up 3 flights of stairs’! I think the male brain is just wired totally different – they don’t get that ‘Mum Guilt’, they are not striving for that unobtainable perfect parenting that drives us as women round the twist.
Ok so he can cope with the kids you all cry – but what about the other household stuff? Well we laugh about Pink and Blue jobs in this house. In all honesty there is no job that is only pink or blue. We are a modern couple with modern values, we are not living out some 1950’s sitcom. I am more than capable of mowing the lawn, unblocking the loo, painting the house and organising the household bills. Equally so my other half is a great cook, can work the washing machine and has a hoovering obsession. What?! Yes he is exceptionally domesticated, maybe he is a rarity but I would imagine that in a society that marries later and later that most men will spend a proportion of their time living on their own before moving in with a girlfriend. How do we as women think they all survived before we came along? My other half spent 9 years living on his own before we met, of course he can an iron his own work uniform! When I head out to work I am safe in the knowledge that not only will the kids be fine but that the house will be cleaned, the washing will be done and there will be a hot meal and a glass of wine waiting for me on my return. What more can a girl ask for?
On top of being a great Dad and Husband, my other half also holds down a very responsible job. The stress of this job and the ridiculous shift patterns can really take its toll on family life. Not to mention the ever-growing concern that Mr Hunt and his band of cronies will be after our unsociable hours pay before long. A house of two nurses, is not exactly a cash rich environment so while I may end up juggling the childcare to fit round our shifts, my other half is juggling our finances around to cover the cost of raising a small family. I can feel him in bed at night worrying next to me about whether he will need to work any extra shifts and if so will there be time to do this? He misses his kids when he goes to work, his days are 14 hours long by the time he has commuted, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the shifts that run over or the on-calls he has to work. There already seems to be a lot going on in a Dad’s world doesn’t there? Of course he does moan about all these things, I mean after all he is only human! But I can see why he gets on his high-horse about the perceived idolisation of Mothers.
He is doing the same job as me, without the support network of other Dads or the majority of society it would seem. I think as Mum’s we forget that most of us are pretty lucky to have other Mum friends, someone to bounce ideas off or just to meet up with for an hour on those days when the kids are driving you nuts. But I don’t think men have it so easy – its pretty hard to make Dad friends unless your school friends have kids. Most baby classes are filled with Mum’s and I think most men would feel uncomfortable approaching a woman they had never met before and suggesting a play date! When I go out with the kids, people usually stop and talk to me, especially if one of the little darlings is being a little less well-behaved than is socially acceptable. I don’t think a Dad would get quite the same level of support from strangers.
Personally I do think that Dad’s get a bit of a rough deal, they are definitely seen as the second class parent, a bit of an after thought. In a society that is trying to promote parental leave and equality we need to take sometime to celebrate Dad’s. Parenting is a partnership, he may not be there to change every nappy, dry every tear or wash paint off the dog. But whether you live together or apart raising your kids is a joint effort and both parties need recognition for their role. I am not saying all Dad’s are amazing, but remember not all Mum’s are amazing either! Maybe if as a collective we all spent a little less time looking at whats Dad’s don’t do and a bit more time focusing on what they do do we could appreciate them more. As women we do have the propensity to take over and try to do it all, Super Mum, Loving Wife, Best Friend, but you know what? We really don’t have to. If we could just accept that things don’t always have to be done a certain way and let Dad’s step up to the parenting plate then maybe we wouldn’t need society to blow our Mothering trumpets and we could celebrate parenting equality.
I know it’s been a few weeks, Mum has been far to busy enjoying herself to take the time to write out my inner monologue. I have been telling her about all my concerns and general life questions but she has been turning the other cheek…
You probably heard it was Mother Dearests’ birthday last week – oh woohoo I hear you cry and I share your underwhelming enthusiasm or I would if it hadn’t been for the fact that I got to sample something amazing this week, I believe my grandmother called it chocolate… Read on Pudding fans I shall tell you more!
Mum managed to drag her Birthday over a few days, according to Dad she always does this. I was disgusted to learn that on her Birthday she gets a lie in and then breakfast in bed, (let’s gloss over the fact that I get breakfast in her bed every morning) she also got cards and flowers. I notice nobody sent me a present just for being cute, it appears I am forgotten…
Then at the weekend we went over to the grandparents house in Shrewsbury. I love it there because it’s cuddles on tap and that naughty Mutti feeds me stuff when Mum isn’t looking. Pie loves it too and the Sausages think it’s ace to terrorise the local birds, cats and children.
Saturday we went to this cafe in town called The Birds Nest, Mum always raves about there sandwiches, so it was her choice to go there. I have to say it was pretty cool, amazing lights to look at, loads of people to smile at and a DJ too. The food did look great (Mum assures me her sandwich was epic) I tried to get a piece of cake off the cake stand but was busted at the last second.
We then went back and got organised for a BBQ, I didn’t see much of this but apparently there was an intense boules competition after several glasses of wine, in which Daddy was crowned the champion. Not sure how this happened, sporting prowess is not one of the terms I would have used to describe my Dad…
Sunday was chilled kind of a day, I lazed about, getting cuddles at every opportunity and refusing to partake in any kind of tummy time or rolling activity. I am teething don’t you know? This required constant 1:1 attention and a lot of bonjela.
But shut the door, I found a better teething cure! When Mum wasn’t looking I, me, yes me, I was given a load of chocolate icing to lick off Mutti’s finger… OMG why has this not been on the weaning radar before?? I was quite giddy with excitement and with all my squealing I drew Mum’s attention, that’s when she saw the chocolatey face…
Apparently me and Mutti are naughty, but I am starting to see why Pie loves going to see the grandparents so much! I am contemplating moving in, they don’t even think about offering me broccoli!
I love it when Mum comes to stay, even for a couple of days, it lifts the whole mood in the house. I am calm and relaxed, I don’t feel the pressure of trying to get the kids dressed, fed, and washed, because she is beside me. We laugh and joke, and it makes all those daily chores feel less, well chore like. Because she is my Mum she just seems to inherently know what needs to be done or how something needs to be done and she just cracks on with it, no fuss. I enjoy cooking for her while she is here, because after all these years its nice to be able to give something back, I don’t want her to feel like she comes here and is a slave for me! But having her here certainly makes my life a bit easier and just her jolly attitude helps to lift me up and carry me along, when she goes I feel so flat. Tonights’ bath time was lovely with the kids, we sang and splashed, everyone was happy, but I felt a slight ache because I had had to say goodbye to my Mum a few hours earlier and she won’t be back for a few weeks again now.
I never considered what it would be like to bring up my children so far from my own Mum, but had I known when we had the made the decision to move across the country, what I know now I think I don’t know if I would do it again. I love my house, my husband and my life in Birmingham but I miss my family who live around 3 hours away (if we get a good run!) I am super lucky to have such supportive and lovely in laws, but even they live over an hour away. I wish we had some one closer, someone who I could pop in to with the kids for a coffee or who I could even leave the kids with just for an hour whilst I run an errand or do the food shop. I miss being able to just drop in some where, almost unannounced and have a pick me up pep talk when being a Mum gets tough. They are all the things my Mum would provide if she wasn’t so far away. I don’t want her to do endless hours of childcare or even to sit in our house whilst my other half and I enjoy a child free meal (although I wouldn’t say no to that occasionally!)
What I really need is an adoptive-grandparent, one who lives near to me, who maybe doesn’t have grandchildren of their own. Maybe they have family that live far away and they also crave the kind of companionship that is so lacking for me! Do you think you can put an advert into the local papers? You know a bit like the lonely hearts column, how would it read?
Wanted Granny: Young(ish) Mum looking for a friendly adoptive Granny. Not too old, must love cats, biscuits and tea. Needs to enjoy the company of small children. Would prefer if they had a dog and a garden. Quite happy to take them out to places for lunch and coffee every week, in return for a listening ear and a few kind words. If you are interested in this post and live in the West Midlands please contact me…
Sounds mad doesn’t it? Obviously you can’t just adopt a Granny, but if we could, I definitely would. We could do with an adoptive Grandad too for that matter, one who could mow the lawn, or do a few odd jobs, nothing fancy just things that most people would ask their Dad to do for them! Sometimes I need that cup of tea with a side order of wisdom that can only come from the older generation…
It would appear that Pudding & Pie didn’t get the memo about today being a bank holiday. In fact I would go so far as to say they got the memo, ripped it into tiny pieces and then promptly ate it. I do kinda blame our neighbour who slammed the door so hard at 6.30am that it rattled through every house in the row. I guess they figured that as they had to be up for work on the bank holiday then the rest of us should suffer too, after all misery loves company right? If that is the case I am quite tempted to go over and ring their door bell at 5am every morning until the end of time, But I digress…
So Pudding HQ is awake, even Mr Pudding couldn’t sleep through the noise this morning! Before leaping out of bed to deal with the situations in the room next door we take 2 minutes to hold conversation, uninterrupted:
Mr P: ‘Morning’
(Snuggle in for a quick cuddle, making sure no one gets a mouthful of morning breath)
*Noise Level Rising*
(Sounds of Pie swipping a ‘wand’ through the air shouting ‘expelliarmus’, this later turns out to be an orange felt tip with no lid….)
Me: ‘We need a plan for today…’
Mr P: ‘I thought we could wander to the pub, have a few ciders, maybe play some pool….’
Me: ‘Oh that sounds great, we could grab some lunch, sit in the garden. Oooh and I quite fancy a game of darts’
*Noise starting to reach crescendo*
Me: Are you making coffee or dealing with wee?
Mr P: I will make coffee….
Me: Good choice, nobody would ever choose wee…
(Lay still for a minute listening to noise)
Me: Remember that pub in Whitechapel with the beer garden?
Mr P: The one where The Krays shot Jack the Hat?
Me: Ha ha Jack the Hat, only in the East End would somebody be called Jack the Hat! What was that pub called?
Mr P: The Blind Beggar – we had our first kiss there…
(Noise reaches defcon 4… With accompanying air raid siren howl)
Me: I miss London
The day has begun, two tired and slightly disgruntled parents slide out of bed…