Thursday, 16 April 2015

Holiday + Small Kids = Hell

Are holidays with small children REALLY holidays? I mean, isn’t a holiday supposed to be a time to relax, enjoy yourself and enjoy new surroundings for a few days (or if you’re crazy, a week plus!)? Isn’t it just going to another place to do the same thing but with added mega stress?

This was my cynical thought process after a particularly harrowing few days away in Portsmouth a couple of months ago. In fact, pretty much every “holiday” we’ve been on since having kids (which has involved between a few days and a week somewhere in the UK) has been stress city with, on very rare occasions, a few pockets of genuine fun at best. Our first holiday was in a lovely cottage in Cardigan, which is where we took Gus swimming for the first time. He was 4 months old. There were some genuinely lovely times but mainly we were on high alert the whole time, not in the slightest bit relaxed (despite the copious evening consumption of Pimms or wine or both). The surroundings couldn’t have been lovelier, the weather was clement, but we were still looking after our first small baby consumed by the weight of new responsibility and perplexed by the end as to why he’d started to cry non-stop. Turns out he needed to start being weaned but I had no idea of this at the time so I came home from that holiday an emotional wreck and that started my first hideous episode with post-natal anxiety.
Pizza Express in the Gunwharf. 

Not a great start.

The second holiday we went on, again in West Wales, fared better but shitty weather, a not particularly toddler friendly beach and a hilly terrain/buggy combo don’t mix too well.

We gave it a miss altogether for the last 2 years. Then in February we booked to stay in Portsmouth for a few nights in a Premier Inn room. It was super cheap! And ill thought through. My Grandparents (late 80s, early 90s) live in Southsea and Emlyn’s (same ages) just a hop away from there on the Isle of Wight. It was going to be a lovely little sojourn to show off our little ones to the oldest generation!

IT WAS HELL ON EARTH.

The packing alone for a 4 year old and 16mth old in a virtually self-catering, very basic hotel room was absurd. We had to literally take the kitchen sink (a washing up bowl et al). The 3.5 hour car journey there was a trauma-fest of boredom and frustration. It was genuinely lovely to see both sets of Grandparents but highly stressful because old people’s houses just aren’t set up for tiny, easily bored kids who have yet to learn social etiquette in such situations! There are breakable things EVERYWHERE. There are pointy corners and slippy rugs and switches and cupboards that can be fiddled with and areas they’re not supposed to go and stairs and no Cbeebies and NOT ENOUGH THINGS to do!

Don’t even talk to me about the logistical nightmare of getting to the South of the Isle of Wight with a car for the day. We spent more time travelling each way than we did at the house and obviously more car journeys was not the kids’ idea of a good time.

But the worst of the worst is 4 people sleeping in a pokey cheap hotel room stuck in the middle of an industrial estate with NO BAR. On the first night, I sat in complete darkness for an hour listening to Joni cry whilst Emlyn took Gus off for chips. We then tentatively put a dim light on and attempted to get him to sleep. He eventually went but woke at 3am and stayed awake asking us if it was time to get up every 5 mins til 5am when he fell asleep. Joni woke at 6am.

The next night everyone was SO pooped we thought for sure it would be easier to get them to sleep. Not on your flipping Nelly. More crying in darkness, more insomniac child. By the next day we were broken. We sacked off the relational visits and ended up in one of those generic, if fairly grim versions of the soft play toddler havens we’d managed to track down. We sat bug-eyed over weak crappy coffees whilst the kids went mental using up their seemingly endless energy resources. Then drove home to Cardiff.

Tell me, please, how HOW was that a holiday?

As most parents will know, we have just had the school Easter holidays. For the second week Emlyn and I took the week off so we could take the kids out every day and enjoy some home time QT. It was amazing! We were super lucky with the weather obviously but that aside, the difference between our time away and last week was incredible. We had kid friendly organised days out every day, we came home to our own beds ....no awful journeys and no horrendous packing. The kids were happy and excited and went to bed at normal times! Hooray! Staycation for the win! It was seriously one of the best weeks we’ve ever had.







So unless we win the lottery and can take a full time nanny, cleaner, packer, journey entertainer, lots of drugs and SEPARATE rooms then we’ll be staycaying very much so for the foreseeable.

Do you holiday with small children and come back with your brain and emotions intact? Please let me know your secrets in the comments section below!


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Parenting. You ARE doing it right.

A while ago there was a ridiculous post being peddled around Facebook along the lines of “If you climbed trees, scraped knees, scrumped for apples, got felt up by a paedo in a park, *insert other nostalgic archaic nonsense here* came home when the sun went down and you turned out alright, re-post!”. It really annoyed me. Posts that wang on about how things were better in the past really wind me up. The world we live in now is far more exciting, far more accessible on an international level, bursting with information readily available at our finger tips, but most importantly it is SAFE. We don’t leave our doors unlocked and our kids unaccompanied in parks, or by rivers or whatever other ludicrous notions it promoted because we are aware of rape and murder and kidnap and paedophilia.

HOWEVER.

I am increasingly aware that even though I thoroughly agree that our technological age means that our lives and our children’s lives are much safer, it also means that there is a staggering amount of information floating around us constantly on how to be a parent. When I was pregnant with my first, only 5 years ago...it felt like I was swotting up even by buying a few pregnancy guides....even the silly one with the crazy Aussie woman in it. These days, if you haven’t joined a parenting group or network or whatever by your first missed period then WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! How on EARTH do you think you are going to PARENT PROPERLY WITHOUT THOUSANDS OF MUMS/DADS TELLING YOU HOW?!

Recently a lot of there seems to be so much stuff in the media about what we should and shouldn’t be doing to or with or at our kids. Parents are heaping huge amounts of pressure on themselves just to parent their own children in a way that society deems acceptable. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to our peers consciously or subconsciously. Just today there was an article in a national hate-rag about how Helena Bonham-Carter had brainy kids because she educated them with “Mozart” in utero. WHAT.

Of course the quest for parenting guidance is nothing new. It’s just that historically your field of knowledge and comparison would be so much smaller. You close friends, family and neighbours would be your information points. These days we have not just peers on social media constantly shovelling heavily filtered visions of parenthood under our noses but “celebs” sticking their four-penneths in too! Which is turning us all into paranoid jibbering wrecks about whether or not we are doing it right.


We need to back the fuck up now and realise that what we are doing is really probably ok. Let’s take some of the pressure of ourselves and stop overanalysing every little thing we do or don’t do for our kids. I hate to say it but we really probably do need to return a little bit to the sentiment of those ridiculous status updates and worry a little less about how our kids are doing. Because we turned out alright didn’t we?! Re-post, LOLZ!    

Mama and More

And then the fun began...

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Biggest Post-Birth Fear

One of the things I dreaded post childbirth was the state of my downstairs department. It’s a pathetic thing to be worried about in the grand scheme of things. Especially if it takes precedence over whether you’ll be a worthy mum and whether or not you can create children that are not psychopathic etc.

But I’ve always been quite proud of my downstairs bits. I’ve had quite a few compliments and definitely no complaints. I worried: would it be obliterated by squeezing a watermelon out of it? I mean, I’d seen a documentary with one of those funny, cool girl presenters who you wish you’d been bezzie mates with at school (Anna Richardson, Dawn O’Porter you know the ones I mean) and I’m pretty sure SOMEONE on there had said SOMETHING like it not being too bad afterwards. I pinned all of hopes on that one opinion. I wanted my vah-jay-jay to be in the exact same state afterwards as it was beforehand.

Well that was a bit naïve wasn’t it?

Throughout my first pregnancy I noticed I was a bit trickily when I was laughing or coughing which was slightly alarming! I had no idea things got “trickily”. But then I was warned that my baby was measuring large and that his head was off the 90th centile I was almost begging for a C-Section! When it was time to have him, I’d had to be induced early at 38 weeks (his head measured 41 weeks at that point!). It meant a long drawn out horrendous process including lots of drugs and forceps. I’d had to have a 2nd degree episiotomy and had a load of stitches. To be fair, I healed with no drama and was back on it at the suggested 6 week mark, much to the delight of my husband. (Did anybody else’s husband get the super horn post birth?) And he was happy enough that not much had changed down there which in turn delighted me too.

Attending regular Zumba classes (yes I really am that cliché) or anytime I got a bad cough I was reminded that things weren’t completely back to normal.  I had to be quite careful of a random star jump or unexpected coughing fit.

Soon it was pregnancy number two and things took a much steeper turn for the worse. I carried extra amniotic fluid during the pregnancy and my weight was at an all-time high, which put extra strain on my long suffering bladder. And yet again I had a baby whose head was measuring off the scale! Why me?! That coupled with the fact that during the labour I chose to ignore all the midwives’ suggestions of taking it slowly to push her out. I just squeezed her out in a few very hard pushes meaning that my hoo-ha was like a burst Chesterfield afterwards. It didn’t help that I had a student nurse had to stitch me up whilst being SUPERVISED (that’s got to strike the fear of god into anyone).

Afterwards it became apparent that things were very different. Things inside felt engorged and spongey. And “trickling” became actually just doing some wee on a much more regular basis and with less encouragement. I was gutted! My biggest fear had been realised! My perfect hoo-hoo has left the building!

I did have to go to the doctors and find out that I had a partial prolapsed front vaginal wall (horrendous). I was referred to a physiotherapist and told to download the “Squeezy” app onto my iPhone. But actually 16 months down the line, and a good few stone lighter, things aren’t as bad as I’d feared. You’ll all be thrilled to know that my sex life hasn’t been affected by the physical change in my anatomy and I’ve also got used to being a pant wetter. You just have to learn to be prepared!

It really isn’t the end of the world that things are physically different now. It’s probably a good thing that my main concern post birth has been the health and welfare of my children and not how big the wet patch is on the back of my dress when I get off my bike in the morning. And a bonus for me, being the chronic over sharer that I am, is being able to talk about the state of my vagina with complete strangers.

Motherhood does strange things to people doesn’t it?


And then the fun began...
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Monday, 9 March 2015

Tips to Survive Your First Blog Event featuring Blog On Cymru

This is a little low down on what it’s like to go to a blogging event if you’ve never been before. Until yesterday, I too, was a Blog Event virgin! My cherry has well and truly been popped now, thanks to Blog On Cymru.

CAKE

Last week I was having a quick nosy down my the feed of my Twitter list “blogger friends” ...the list where I’ve hand-picked the funniest / loveliest of my blogger buddies (come on, we ALL do that, right?!) and noticed that some people were talking about an event called Blog On Cymru. Being a Welshie resident of Wales’s resplendent capital....I wondered why I hadn’t heard of this event and needed more info STAT! SO it turned out...it was the following weekend ...there was a spare ticket going and suddenly I was on a (virtual) train to Blogsville Central! Woohoo!

To say I was nervous was an understatement. It was quite an impulsive thing to do and I didn’t know anyone who was going. I’ve never been to a blogging event before even though my blog is 3 years old. For the last 2 years I’ve wanted to attend what seems to the Mecca of all parent bloggers: “Britmums Live” but I’ve either been up the duff or in charge of a very small person.

Not only did I not know anyone, I didn’t really know how the day would run. I knew there was a schedule of sessions but what would the format be? Were they talks where we just listen in silence or like seminars where we’re asked for feedback? What would the in between bits be like? Would I be stood around like a Billy-no-mates being all shy and embarrassed and feeling like a loser?! What would lunch be like? Was it all going to be awful and super awks and cringe?

Of course it wasn’t.

It one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time organised by lovely, friendly girls who all made a massive effort to make the day relaxed, informal and most importantly fun.

Even so, if you are thinking of popping your own Blog Event cherry (because obviously after one event, I am a seasoned PRO now!) my tips for making you feel less awks at an event like this are:

Engage socially beforehand…. If there are Twitter lists and/or Facebook groups…join both and mingle online. I think it helped that lots of people were feeling the same way beforehand, even some who knew other people going. Also people in the Facebook group changed profile pics to their faces instead of kids or pets or funny quotes!

Start chatting to anyone about anything….even something innocuous like how to fill in your name badge (I just put my online name…forgot my blog name completely! Lots of people will recognise you more from your blog name.) This way, you’ve broken the ice and are talking. Most people just want someone else to do the work.  

Chat to people who are sitting / standing alone. They will be in the same position as you and more likely to want to chat. People in groups I think generally feel safer (i.e. more comfortable) and are less likely to feel the need to mingle so much. I am actually glad I went alone because it forced me to chat to people I wouldn’t necessarily have met otherwise.

If there are any competitions, enter those, buy raffle tickets / do the tombola (is there always a tombola at a Blog events?! Random!) It’s easy to start chatting to people about the lovely prizes on offer ….like a gorgeous mustard yellow Boden shopper!


Isn't it pretty?!

Take advantage of the refreshments! If no one is doing much talking, at least you have something to do whilst you wait for the event to kick off...stuff your face with all the free cakes…yum!

Once the session starts check your Twitter feed especially the hashtag of the event you are in. This was surprising to me…. either I was surrounded by super rude dudes (I wasn’t) or it’s the new thing….live tweeting / commenting on the event as it happens! It probably makes me super sad to admit this but I found this one of the funnest parts of the day….

After you’ve established some contact, realised that this blog event malarkey is actually quite fun and not an exercise in excruciating awkwardness, you could find out if anyone is going to other events and when / what those events are.

Finally, after the event, follow up with any friends you’ve made via social media and keep the connection going….I found it a great way to meet some truly brilliant people.

Ok this last tip is SO ridiculously obvious that I’m almost embarrassed that I wrote it.

But did you find any of the other tips helpful? Will you be going to any events as a newbie this year? Would you add anything if you are a real seasoned pro?

Let me know thoughts either on here or Twitter. 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancakes Shmankakes

I have tried, every year since I can remember (OK the last 4), to make pancakes. Normal, thin, crepe-esque pancakes. Not the thick spongey Scotch/American ones. And let me tell you, I am not a crap cook! I'm actually quite good. I have friends who (I think) can testify to this! But the ability to make a batch of crisp, even, round yummy pancakes escapes me every year. Mine absolutely alway end up as burnt fatty lumps of under-cooked-in-the-middle batter. I have tried everything....different recipes, different pan heats, different techniques. I don't think I've ever got it right. I don't get it. I make really BRILLIANT Yorkshire puds.....aren't they supposed to be the same thing? 

My mum used to make the most delicious, delicate pancakes. My brother and I just blindly took it for granted that every Pancake Day we would be shoving our faces full of sticky sweet sugar and lemon juice laden pancakes and we wouldn't even have to have proper dinner first or anything! It didn't occur to me that there would be some skill involved in the creation of these yummy, spherical treats. 

Imagine my surprise when, the first pancake day after having Gus, I faced the disappointing reality that pancakes are actually really not that easy. At least, not for me. I was picturing a fun evening of frying and tossing but NO! The reality was a rollercoaster of tears and anger and shouting and eventually just quiet disappointment. And that's a process that has been repeated every year since, as I just could not accept defeat in the face of something seemingly so easy! 

This year, however, I have given in. I have bought pre-made pancakes. My name is Jess Helicopter and I am a sell-out. But I don't care that I am a sell out because I am going to have a happy house of hungry Helicopters this evening whose craving for pancakes will be immediately sated within 10 minutes of me getting home! Hoorah! 


By the way, if I hear one more person tell me another "fail safe" way to cook pancakes....... THAT SHIP HAS SAILED. 


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Drugs Saved My Marriage

The internet is a wonderful way to present a heavily edited version of yourself to the world. Online I try to be funny and ranty and entertaining but if you know the real me, you’ll know that recently the ranty has been more prevalent than the funny.

I have also had, from time to time, periods of depression and anxiety. Not just anxiousness about something tangible, like a driving test or 10 (don’t even talk to me about that!) but free floating anxiety that permeates everything, leaving me paralysed with fear for NO reason. Rendering me incapable of concentrating or functioning other than on a very basic level. Thank GOD I haven’t experienced too much that since Gus was about 15 months bar a few wobbly days but I am always aware that it has the capacity to come back at any given moment if things start to overwhelm me emotionally....like being permanently angry for no reason at nothing and then exploding at my husband and my kids and feeling sick, SICK with guilt.....

First, a little background info.

My first memory of feeling anxious (although I had no idea that’s what it was) was moving to a new school in London after moving from Wales when I was 4. Specifically watching my new school doing a version of the Nutcracker and feeling sick and nervy but not really knowing why...the music still gives me the creeps now.

 Another time was when I had a case of cystitis as a kid and I was stuck in an assembly line waaaay far from the exit to the loos and I had a panic attack. This led me to years of associative anxiety if I was ever away from a loo especially being stuck in traffic jams on the bloody M25....leading to much amusement about taking ice cream tubs on even short car journeys JUST IN CASE! 

As an adult, anxiety reared its ugly head in the form of what friends and I would call “booze blues”...if we’d had big sessions on the beer and we’re feeling wobbly or miserable or anxious the next day. But the proper, everyday, hit-you-like-a-ton-of-bricks anxiety came when I went through the time which I like to refer to as Cancer-gate. My beloved Nana (Mum’s mum) was in hospital being operated on for secondary cancer of the womb. That same day, my mum, at 49, was diagnosed with a rare and extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. Within 2 months my Nana (who everyone expected to pull through) was dead and my mum had had a mastectomy and was on her second round of Chemo. That time SUCKED. It was horrendous and I guess unsurprisingly my tiny mind couldn’t cope!

I didn’t turn to drugs though. It actually never occurred to me at that point. I saw a counsellor but I don’t think she helped much. I just felt like a stupid, blubbing idiot every time I was there. I knew that anxiety was a common side effect of grief and I thought it would go at some point.

It wasn’t until a year later that I started to feel more and more desolate and insular despite my Mum doing brilliantly. I realised I was depressed. I had lost interest in everything. I cried at everything. I just wanted to sleep and never see anyone or do anything. So I went to the doctor. I was prescribed 20mg Citalopram. 6 weeks later I felt normal again. Not super-whizzy delirious and jumping through fields of flowers on a warm sunny day happy....just....normal. It was amazing. I had no idea how not normal I’d been feeling until I felt like me again. I re-emerged into the world as if I’d never been gone. That was 11 years ago.

Cancer-gate left a lot of emotional scars and I spent a few years flailing about trying to find some stability in my life (also a few years of brilliant, happy, drunken, silly times but flailing nevertheless). Of course, at the most unexpected time in my life...when I’d just finished a destructive relationship and had moved home from Oz in a pit of debt and misery...  I did find emotional stability....in the form of my husband. Now PLEASE don’t misinterpret this as some Victorian-esque misogynistic statement that a woman needs a man to be happy! All I mean is that I finally found a relationship that filled my emotional needs. 

But I still didn’t feel like I needed to come off the Citalopram. Some people I know, who have taken anti-depressants to help them through PND or other tough emotional episodes in their lives have been desperate to be rid of the pills. I completely understand that but I’ve never felt like I needed to. That’s not to say that when I was first prescribed them, I didn’t feel like a complete an utter failure in life! Why do I have to have DRUGS to make me feel NORMAL????? OTHER PEOPLE can cope without them! What’s WRONG with me?! WHY AM I SO PATHETIC?! I was so hard on myself.

But over the years I’ve learnt that people are so different in their abilities to cope and that’s OK. I’d never think that about anyone else who took anti-depressants! I DON’T think that about the millions of people who take them, and whatever else they need to make themselves feel OK. So I stopped beating myself up about it too.

Why am I talking about it today though? Well since having Joni, I’ve been steadily getting angrier and angrier at less and less. To begin with, I thought it was lack of sleep, surging hormones, the stress and strain of having 2 small kids (one of whom didn’t sleep and spent the first 4 months crying for 3 hours every evening). Then later, trying to juggle work, and driving lessons, and having a gastric band (yeah great timing on your life choices Jess!) and two small kids....but then I really started to dread weekends. This brilliant post resonated with me. But then our weekends seemed to always ALWAYS end up with rows and fights and tears and shouting. And me shouting a LOT. And loud and scarily and then hitting walls and scaring my kids and making my husband hate me. I was this person but much, much worse. And I was spending all my time thinking that I can’t wait for Joni to be older because things will be easier but then feeling sick with guilt because I want to enjoy her NOW at THIS age.

One of my friends said that I was so lucky to be able to enjoy Christmas with two small kids and how magical it would be. I thought she was mad! It was going to be a hell of fighting and tantrums and shouting and wishing for bedtime EVERYDAY OF THE HOLIDAYS. Thankfully it wasn’t at all...it was lovely...probably because however angry I am, I am still obsessed with Christmas. And booze. Booze helped.

But I knew in the New Year I would have to do something to address it. It was starting to make me feel anxious. And if it wasn't a threat enough that I was damaging my kids and my marriage with my irrational outbursts, the thought of returning feeling of constant terror was enough to make me face it head on.

I thought about seeing my counsellor (I’ve got a great one now) and I've looked into doing some anger management courses. I downloaded some meditation apps to help me relax before I go to sleep but part of the problem was, I wasn't sure if my anger was just from me being overwhelmed by my situation....which even though short term and not terrible, is fairly full on. is it ok to need some outside help to get me through this time of small kids, working life, driving lessons, lack of sleep, constant dieting? There IS a lot of stuff going on. And each time I WAS angry.... and this applies to when I get PMT anger too....I felt totally justified in being that angry. Not so much with my kids....usually I was angry because they were moaning but they were moaning because they were being hurried because I had made us late...and I could see that pattern of behaviour and was trying to change it. But with my husband...I'd be angry because of the most pathetic things and I REALLY FELT I WAS IN THE RIGHT. I'd argue to the death that I was right and that I had every right to be apoplectic because his decision making was JUST.SO.STUPID. What a bitch. What a horrible, horrible bitch. 

In the end, the only thing I felt that would have an immediate effect on my behaviour would be if I went back to the doctor. I asked him if he could up my Citalopram to 30mg. And he did. 

Luckily we had a fairly peaceful few weeks following that visit. I've found that usually making the decision to make the change is the hardest part. The acknowledgment that things aren't ok and they need to change and the fact that I was doing something proactive to change helped the weeks pass more uneventfully. 4 weeks down the line though I DO feel different. I feel NORMAL. Again not skippy, happy, ecstatic. Just OK. And NOT angry. I mean, I do get the angers but over things that are normal to be angry about like my son being rude to strangers, formulas going wrong in spreadsheets at work, the end of the wine etc. But I'm not being mental about ridiculous things like Emlyn buying a ready meal that contains aubergine because EVERYBODY KNOWS AUBERGINE IN READY MEALS ISN'T COOKED PROPERLY...what is WRONG with yOU that you didn't KNOW THAT?! 

The shame. 

This last weekend was brilliant. I didn’t dread it. I didn’t spend my time shouting at everyone and praying for the kids’ bedtime to come around. I didn’t look forward to going back to work on Monday so I could have some peace. I ENJOYED my kids!  I was NICE to my husband. It was a HAPPY house. Thank YOU Citalopram! I think you just saved my marriage. 


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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

I am a Woman of Many Hats.

So. I am a woman of many hats. I have come to this conclusion only this week. And each one requires completely different skills, socially, emotionally and physically. It’s bloody exhausting! And yet it is the nature of working Motherhood. Actually it’s the nature of Motherhood in general, because your Mum hat is not the same as your Wife/Girlfriend/Partner hat and Friend hat. Anyway, this post is going to be hat-heavy so if you have some weird HAT phobia, look away now.

This is just ONE hour in the life of all of my Hats:

Mum Hat
I am the mum….i am everything that mum incorporates….I am responsible, loving, fiercely loyal/protective, bossy, strict, shouty, short on patience, concerned, caring.  I’m  obsessed with feeding them correctly so I meet all the nutritional requirements that will stop them developing some hideous disease, disciplining correctly to ensure they tow the line but are not emotionally scarred from the shouty mother who loses patience too quickly when at 8.45am with school starting in FIVE MINUTES and they still haven’t got their SHOES ON!!!! In this guise I am theirs completely. We get ready for the childminder drop off for child 2 and school for child 1. (obviously birth orders not orders of preference).
I’m with the childminder, I am talking about my child’s lunch and her nappies and her mood that morning and then me and child 2 are off to school with my Mum hat firmly on my head.
But walking into the playground, as soon as I see another Mum-friend, this hat gets yanked off and I am wearing….

Friend Hat
I am chatty, “Hi hi” and trying to be funny “yeah my one’s a little shit too” and self deprecating because I want to be your friend “I’m such a LOSER” and we’re talking about some inane crap but it’s fun and I’m enjoying and then a tug on my leg….

“Mummy it’s time to go iiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnn” “Mummy I need a weeeeeeeeee” “mummy I want to go on the climbing frame”

And zooooom on goes the Mum Hat! Which is temporarily confusing and disorienting to my tiny brain….! Wha’? i? Oh yes I’m wearing the Mum Hat. “Ok babes…off you/we go” etc. And then I am fully wearing the hat because I am talking to the teacher about reading or packed lunch or something else equally thrilling.

Then I am back in the playground for more Friend Hat activity and banter. I’ve instantly forgotten I have kids and right in THAT moment I am all about trying to bring the funnies.
Then off I trot off to work…completely and utterly in a world of my own. I have an idea…I’ll just pop into Mum’s for a quick cuppa before work, I’ve got 10 mins. I’ll throw on my…..

Daughter Hat
I am silly, stroppy, bossy, giving my mum unwanted opinions about her decorating choices, asking her advice about disciplining my child or feeding them or whatever and then I am listening and talking and listening and listening and chatting and having coffee and having fun. Then all to soon I have to leave to go to work so I know which hat to choose now obviously but hang on, what’s this?! I’ve had a text from Emlyn….he’s having some work based crisis….i quickly fling on….

Wife Hat
I am concerned, I am being diplomatic, I am trying to rationalise the crisis, I am supportive, I am comforting, I am promising rude things to cheer him up later, and trying to bring the funnies yet again. Husband appeased……I’m reaching for the Work hat…..

Walk along the road, wearing the Work hat, thinking of buying coffee and what spreadsheets I have to trawl through and who I have to pay and Bam! I walk straight into a school mum!

Friend Hat: “Hi Hi” we’re chatting about school places…”I haven’t seen you in ages, oh you didn’t get into Hawthorn? Oh but how is….blah blah blah” but then out of the corner of my eye I spot a colleague coming towards me …this is awkward….i don’t know this woman well and I need to get to work and my two worlds are about to collide but phew! Conversation winds down and I only have to greet the work colleague with a head nod and wave as they cross the road to get milk for the office and I reach the office door and finally put on my…..

Friend Hat!

Work Hat.
I’m focused, I’m pumped, I’m ready to face my dullsville spreadsheets, I’ve got my coffee, the computer’s on…..text from the childminder. Child number 2 has got a temperature….I need to pick her up and take her home and………I’m swapping my hats once more……

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