Proudest Moment- Bringing Life into the World and not dying.

This post is part of the #writingchallenge set by @mytalesfromthecrib. You can find her on Instagram

Revisit your list of ‘30 reasons why I am amazing’. Choose the one that surprises you and that you are most proud of. Elaborate.

1.I birthed both my babies naturally and never died.

This is the one I am most proud of and is probably the one that surprised me the most. The 16 year old me anyway. Believe it or not when I was growing up I was shy. As a child and all the way through my teenage years until I was about 16 I felt constant embarrassment, couldn’t look anyone in the face and wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

The college I chose to attend after high school was a different one to most of my class and was at the other side of town. For me this was a golden opportunity to be whoever I wanted, without questions or the judgemental gaze from my peers who I had been wary of for the whole of my school life. Having the freedom to be myself around strangers I found so liberating. To my surprise not only did people not mind it but they actually seemed to like it. The familiar feelings of being scared and unsure of absolutely everything ebbed away and were replaced with acceptance and popularity, things I’d never really experienced before on a social level. I’m now 40, and since then with each subsequent year of my life that has passed I have become more confident, stronger and fierce. Piggy backing on this came the realisation that the initial gratitude for acceptance I felt was no longer needed. So in other words, these days I adopt the ‘love me or hate me, this is me’ approach without much real concern as to which one is picked.

When I was pregnant I didn’t discuss my birthing plan with Husband or even myself I suppose. I just assumed with gritty determination right from the beginning that I would have a natural birth without drugs at a women’s midwife led birthing unit. I’m not sure exactly why I decided this, but there was never any doubt that this was what would happen with no consideration for other options. I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park and I wanted to keep a clear head so I could be present at all the crucial points without worrying about having any adverse reactions to the drugs I might be given. Basically if there is any chance at all that throwing up might occur whether it’s from being poorly, too many vodkas or pain relief when in labour it will definitely happen to me because I’m just one of those unfortunate sicky sorts.

Looking back now I can see that I wanted to be in control of my own journey into parenthood and taking the reins on this without a thought for anything else was maybe part of taking back the power I’d never had so early on in my life.

Birthing a child is one of those things that you do because it is necessary. After all at 9 months pregnant, how else is it getting out? It’s not something you would choose to do on a Sunday afternoon for fun and I’m not going to lie, it feels like a lorry has driven out of your vagina but my attitude was that it was a job that needed doing so I had better buckle down and get cracking. Both times I gave birth I was blessed with quick labours, healthy babies and living to tell the tale which left me with an enormous sense of empowerment. In fact I’d go as far as to say that both of my birthing experiences have had a huge influence on shaping me into the strong woman I am today. I brought life into the world and I didn’t die, even though at times it definitely felt like I might.

Self Care

Self care in my opinion is linked closely with self love.  When we learn to be able to love ourselves, which can be a long frightening journey, it then becomes possible to recognise that we too deserve to be looked after in whichever way we choose at that time and it’s not just the children, the Husband, the house, your job or your friends , to name a few that deserve your undivided attention.

Self care is different for everyone. It’s not always the same thing for me either.  I’m a complex creature, sometimes all I want is to binge my favourite Netflix series whilst systematically demolishing a whole iced birthday cake to myself, wearing a smelly old pair of leggings that haven’t left my body for a week. Other days I might do a fitness video followed by a shower, shave and preening session ending in a face mask, full body moisturisation and fake tan.  Okay the latter is a rare occurence and anyone who knows me is probably laughing at the absurdity of it and shouting ‘’Fuck Off you’ve never done that’’ but I’m here to admit I have.  If running 10 miles a day and feasting on a bowl of lettuce is your thing then dive in.  You might prefer to spend 2 hours in a bubble bath? Or a night on the tiles with your friends and a litre of vodka?  Because it’s not always about physical health. It all depends what you need at that given time for your own mental health, sanity even.  

Lets all remember it this way …

We are very important people

We are worthy of whatever our little heart’s desire

We deserve to feel good

Feeling that we have so much in our lives to look after and be responsible for is a heavy cross to bear and can inadvertently trick us into assuming we can just keep going and going and going, without a break or a rest or any help but we can’t.  In order to do everything in our lives to the best of our ability we need to look after ourselves now and again. So drop that guilt that you’re holding for even considering doing something for yourself and go on that jog, run that bubble bath or tuck into that birthday cake without apology.  You deserve it.

This post is part of the #writingchallenge as set by the amazing @mytalesfromthecrib. You can find her on Instagram.

Letting Go

Letting go of something or someone that no longer serves you is hard.  In fact it’s Fucking hard.  And emotional.  And honestly there’s no fancy way to gift wrap it, it’s just plain crap.  Sometimes the head and the heart don’t agree with each other and this can cause turmoil, but once you have accepted that this will be your fate you must pursue your new path.

Sometimes it’s not as dramatic as this.

Sometimes it’s not life changing, sometimes it might be as simple and straight forward as letting go of your biscuit habit or letting go of your bad mood. Whatever the level of release needed, I find belting out the infamous song ‘Let it go’ by Idina Menzel as loud as my lungs will allow in my car not only gives me goosebumps and makes me hold my head a little higher but also truly makes me believe I really can ‘rise like the break of dawn’.

This isn’t just for a blog post.  I actually do this on a regular basis, at least a couple of times a week, usually on my way to work.  It’s just so empowering.  Now I’m not saying that listening to a Disney song will make right all the wrongs in the world but it will give you some strength. How can words like these not inspire?  Especially when applied to your own life and situation.

It’s time to see what i can do,

To test the limits and break through,

No right, no wrong, no rules for me,

I’M FREE,

Let it go

And that all important line …

‘The cold never bothered me anyway’  … Basic translation – So Fuck you.

This post is part of the #writing challenge set by the lovely @mytalesfromthecrib you can find her on Instagram

Waiting in the Wings

We operate a minimal child supervision policy in our house.  Is this because I want to sneak off to watch Netflix and crime dramas unsuitable for small people during daylight hours? 

Yes.

But that’s not the only reason.  

I believe that a problem solved alone or a solution found to something without the pressure of me bearing down on my little beauties can teach them valuable lessons.  Now they’re a little older this is quite a doable option.  Obviously when they were toddlers I used to supervise the shit out of every minuscule detail. Putting on socks, teeth brushing, eating, and even the precise monitoring of when they toileted including a full assessment of the colour, size and consistency of what came out.  Of course I’m still here hovering around, waiting in the wings ready to pounce at a breaths notice in order to prevent anyone setting fire to themselves or drowning in the shower but as time moves on these occurrences get less and less.

Does it make me sad I’m not needed as much these days?

Of course, but I’m also very proud to be raising independent people who understand that they don’t need me for every single small decision they make and are beginning to realise there are consequences for their actions. 

A good example of this is schoolwork.  If it’s not done to an acceptable degree it’s not me they will answer to but the teachers at school.  I give them the choice and if they choose not to do it they appreciate there might be repercussions that are not favourable.  In all honesty this has been working brilliantly, especially when my 12 year old got an unexpected phone call from her maths teacher a few weeks ago.  It would appear she had been economical with the truth about her online attendance to these lessons because she found them challenging.  When the teacher called and explained to me what had been going on I asked them to hold on while I took the phone to my daughter. Both her and the teacher were suitably horrified that it wasn’t going to be as simple as to pass a message on through a third party (that would be me), but she didn’t miss a single lesson after that.

Consequences.

Whilst not a pleasant experience she now has the realisation that she is answerable for her actions.  Let’s be clear, I haven’t turfed them out into the world alone just yet.  I still lovingly perform all the motherly duties expected of one with a 10 and 12 year old, but a life lesson here and there I think stands them in good stead.

I plan to continue the same parenting technique I have adopted  so when the time comes for them to stand on their own beautiful 2 feet they will hopefully do so with minimal disruption.  In the future when they negotiate their way into the wild west of adulthood my hope is that they glide into it, relatively unruffled.  Not always an easy process I know but my wish is that when they do approach it they will be safe in the knowledge that I will forever, for as long as I’m here, be waiting in the wings for whenever I am needed as always.

Guest Blog

Today I’d like to present a very talented guest blogger who goes by the name Victoria Hulmes and is the mum behind @Mummy0kids1.  You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.  She is also taking part in the #writingchallenge set by @mytalesfromthecrib so to hear 30 reasons why she is amazing, get comfy, grab a brew and read on …

30 reasons why I am amazing by Victoria Hulmes.

1. I am a good Mum. I may have mixed up PE kits last term and sent off one child with two right pumps and one with two left BUT my kids are happy, well-fed, secure and they are thriving. 

*no permanent foot damage was sustained.

2. I am strong. I said goodbye to Jack, my baby born sleeping. I held him and then I let him go, forever. Pain like no other but I continue to put one foot in front of the other to honour him. He would not have wanted me to crumble.

3. I am tactile. I’m with Olaf, you can’t beat a warm hug.

4. I am confident. I was painfully shy as a child but managed to find my voice and now I don’t stop using it.

5. I am funny. In a scatty, disorganised, away-with-the-fairies kind of way. I think people like that about me: I would never pretend to have it all figured out and I love that I don’t. My husband thinks he’s funnier than me. He’s not. 

6. I am determined. When my six-year old was 10 weeks old he was very ill. Doctors sent us home from the hospital. Twice. I returned and I didn’t budge. I demanded second opinions and tests. His lumbar puncture confirmed he had meningitis and we were thrown into a world of cannulas, tubes, bleeping monitors and IV antibiotics. His consultant said he was lucky. It wasn’t luck, it was fierce maternal instinct. 

7. I am a good listener. People share their problems with me. Perhaps because I wear my own heart on my sleeve people feel comfortable doing the same in my company.

8. I am grateful. I know what I have and I would never dare take it for granted.

9. I am a phenomenal kitchen dancer. I would definitely put Baby in a corner with my moves.

10. I say sorry to my children. A lot. If I have been unreasonable, overly shouty or not prioritised them due to work pressures I apologise. I want them to know that if Mummy gets it wrong sometimes they deserve an apology. I am very open about my mistakes so they know it’s ok screw up from time-to-time.

11. I am a cheerleader. One of the greatest gifts we can give others is confidence. I do believe that if you can’t say something nice, keep you mouth shut. I love telling someone they are amazing because people generally are, aren’t they?  

12. I am independent. I walked away from a toxic relationship, found my soulmate. and the rest is history

13. I am really good at remembering names. (Side note: But I always get my kids’ muddled-up. Calling just one of them is like going through a register – everyone, including the dog gets a mention before I fall on the right name)

14. I am a member of fantastic friendship groups. I swim among a sea of friends and am part of the lifeboat crew. 

15. I am spiritual. I don’t follow a religion but I believe in something – not floaty ghosts and haunted houses but in guiding lights and paths that were meant to be taken. I’ve never seen the face of my departed grandmother in a Dairylea Triangle but I believe that those I’ve loved and lost are with me. Somehow. 

16. I smile a lot. My husband says that’s what attracted him to me 

17. I am a realist. I accept life for what it is – a roller-coaster of crazy and we really do have to just roll with the punches.

18. I am determined to give my children perspective. I made them watch a WaterAid advert once: “See, look at that little girl, no shoes and she has to walk miles to get water for her family, does that put your complaint about your not-quite-ripe avocado into perspective?” Tough love.

19. I am an only child. I always wondered what having siblings would be like and even though I know I missed out on that bond, I had the most magical childhood and have a wonderful relationship with my parents. 

20. I am a writer. It’s taken years and years to build up the confidence to blog – what if someone un-follows me? What if nobody likes my stuff? Ahhh well, bugger it. I now realise who I write for. ME.

21. I am not competitive. I don’t compare myself or my children to anyone. What’s the point? 

22. I am caring. I worry about people. A lot. 

23. I can could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner

24. I am comfortable in my own skin. There’s more wobble than there used to be but that’s because my body has grown, hatched and fed children. It’s a fine-tuned baby-making machine. Well, the baby-making part of it has actually retired but it had an amazing run and I will celebrate it because of that.

25.I am airs and graces-free.

26. I am a welcomer. A full house and the sound of laughter bouncing off walls and rippling through rooms is the perfect soundtrack to any weekend. 

27. I am a motivated..

28. I am an animal lover. Please bear that in mind when reading my next point. 

29. I am my family. I live for my family. You know they say that women can lift cars to rescue injured children because our instinct to protect is so fierce and so powerful it bestows us superhero strength? Well, I wouldn’t like to test the theory, but if one of my small people fell into a gorilla enclosure at Chessington World of Adventures I reckon I could knock-out that Silverback every, single, day of the week.

30. I am surrounded by love.

by Victoria Hulmes, the blogger behind Mummy0Kids1

30 Reasons why I am Amazing.

This is part of the 30 day writing challenge as set by @mytalesfromthecrib who you can find on Instagram …

1.I birthed both of my children naturally and didn’t die.

2.I have learnt over time to be my authentic self, even though this is not always appreciated.  I say what I think and it’s not usually filtered but I have accepted myself for what I am and appreciate that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea which is now okay with me.

3.I am kind.  

4.I am a huge supporter of women supporting women and am passionate about championing each other. 

5.According to Husband I make a mean breakfast, and a great sarnie and he likes my dinners.  He advised me to put these down as 3 separate items on this list.  I’m not going to.

6.I was a keen horse rider in my teenage years, specifically dressage.  I was quite good at it and competed at the highest level over the period of around 5 years with one of the highlights being when I represented Great Britain in a junior team against Ireland.

7.I am a good friend. I have many acquaintances and tend to get along with most people without any trouble but my close circle of proper friends is small.  I can keep a secret, I’m a good listener and I’m a good cheerer upper.

8.I am capable of eating an entire family size birthday cake without vomiting.

9.Although I appreciate school is important, in my opinion it’s not the be all and end all.  I’m not a pushy parent and would rather my children grew up to be good Humans with a good understanding of people and have a strong character than be academically gifted.

10.Storytelling to me is one of the most important things in life.  There’s nothing like a good story.  Sometimes this means living a life full of humiliation in order to have material. I have some great stories and people seem to like them and have previously referred to me as ‘Christopher Lilycrap’ … a made up name referring to the amount of crap I talk, which I love.

11.I’m good company on a night out

12.I’m proud to be Northern

13. Loyalty features very high up on the important list for me, therefore I am loyal to a fault.

14.Despite talking a lot about gross stuff I actually pump a minimal amount. Except when I’m asleep.  According to Husband I pump and snore loudly the whole time I am in the land of nod.

15.I remember everyone’s birthdays from far and wide and am a genius on the Moonpig app.

16. I run our home and am in charge of everything except actually earning the money. Money shuffling, bills, holiday booking, child care giver, pet looker afterer, dog poo picker upper, cook, cleaner, washer, organiser, admin person, shopper, tech wizard (that’s a laugh but I’m better than Husband) 

17.I was able to breastfeed both my babies

18.I sing a great ‘Good Morning song’ … the one I’ve always woken up my ankle biters with in the morning.

19. I’m very open to just about anything. I believe it’s good to believe in everything and not to judge.

20. I come up with helpful sayings like ‘’Get a tan, have a biscuit’’ because everyone knows that a spot of fake tan streamlines the body and therefore enables you to have a biscuit or 10, guilt free.

21.I have good eyebrows

22.I am able to laugh at myself and do so frequently.

23.I am excellent in most emergency situations.  It’s  sort of my super power, like the time I pulled into our driveway to find a gardener had fallen from the cherry picker he had been on whilst trimming trees.  I found him on the ground impaled on a metal post.  I called an ambulance and got him something to rest on so the post never slipped any further in.  He would have died if I hadn’t found him.

24. I lived in a static caravan and then a garage for over 4 years with 2 small children and 2 large dogs whilst we built our own house.

25.I am strong and resilient, and am proud of what I have learnt on the journey to get here.

26.I am a step mum to 2 amazing young women who I have a great relationship with.

27.I managed to overcome my shyness and self consciousness I suffered during my childhood.

28.I rock a red lip.

29.I love my babies without measure and tell them a lot.

30.I appreciate what I have and practice gratitude everyday.

The Cloakroom, the tearoom and the toilet strictly for wee’s only.

Years ago I worked with a girl that had even less of a filter than me. For the purposes of this story let’s call her ‘Filterless Fiona’. She had a kind heart, was an extreme worrier and literally said anything that came into her head whether it was appropriate or not, which was a bit hairy at times but was essentially brilliant for entertainment.  She would never intentionally insult or embarrass anyone but occasionally this did happen.  

When you work full time with the same set of girls over a number of years you tend to develop a closeness where oversharing and not keeping any secrets is the norm.  It becomes normal to discuss everything from the latest ‘shewee’ purchase to anal warts with a lot of women’s talk inbetween.  So on the occasions when we would need to do the unthinkable and do a poo at work it wasn’t a big deal because toilet habits had always been a hot topic of conversation. If someone ever said ‘’I’m going to the loo upstairs’’ it was code for ‘’I’m going for a poo, don’t come up, unless I’m not back in 20 minutes, then call an ambulance’’

There had been a new girl due to join our team and our manager had seen fit to give Fiona the job of showing the new starter around the premises, an important job offering an insight into where to find the tea room, the cloakroom and the staff toilets amongst other things. 

Within minutes Fiona could be heard explaining in great detail how the downstairs toilet on the shop floor, which also doubled as a customer toilet was strictly for wees only but if she needed a poo at any time during her shift it was perfectly acceptable to go upstairs to have one. 

The poor girl looked terrified. I admit that although these are the rules, it’s not really part of the standard routine information we give out when someone new is welcomed into the bosom of our little work family.  It’s not something that you want rammed down your throat from a total stranger on the first day of your new job. However, by not beating about the bush Fiona had performed 2 services.  

  1. Getting the new girl used to the environment she would be working in were any sharing including but not limited to personal hygiene, sex lives, marital arguments, whats for tea and toilet habits is openly discussed and accepted without judgement regardless of whether we even know your name.

AND

  1. Making damn sure the downstairs toilet is not a victim of misuse by allowing someone to use it for a crap.

Fiona left for pastures new shortly afterwards.  Since then our little work family has seen numerous new starters come and go.  Some of which would have benefited greatly from a frank unfiltered tour from Fiona because I’m not being funny but when is it ever okay to use a single customer toilet a few meters away from a public shop floor to do a massive shit when there are private toilets for this specific purpose a stone’s throw away up a few stairs?

Once I was thin but now I’m not and that’s okay

As I write this I’m tucking into a family size tub of Ben & Jerry’s with no intention of sharing it with my family or anyone else’s. As I devour the creamy chocolate peanut butter yumminess I am desperately trying to remember what it used to feel like to sit down and not have my midriff tyre slump upwards to meet my nipples. The diet that will start on Monday is also being planned.  

Why Monday?  Because it goes without saying that diets always start on a Monday.  Imagine a diet that started on a Thursday or worse still on a weekend.  I’m struggling to think of anything more ridiculous.  Which means because today is Friday I can legitimately stuff my face all weekend long before Monday arrives. Perfect. It can’t just me who thinks on this level.  On a constant loop of disapproval, guilt and self loathing for eating everything in the fridge, emptying the biscuit tins and when everything has run out contemplating the dogs food.  Okay a step too far I admit, but you know where I’m coming from.  I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this.  

Monday.  First day of planned diet.

7.30am – Natural yoghurt with berries and a sprinkle of oates.  

Lovingly prepared the night before with  unwavering commitment to the cause of losing 3 stone in a week

10.30am – Hungry but fighting it.

Or is it boredom?  Or habit?

1pm – Chicken salad

Delicious chicken, not so delicious salad, unless it’s blathered in mayo and that sort of defeats the object. Eat the meat and leave the salad.

3pm – An apple.  A Fucking apple.  The leftover cheesecake from last night’s tea is calling to me from the fridge.  If I’m being honest, it’s been doing it since 7.31am this morning.

6pm-  Omelette

Everyone else is devouring a roast dinner.  Not trusting myself to have just the meat and veg because I have no self control, and it’s not the same without yorkshire puds,  a mountain of crispy roast potatoes and lashings of gravy,  I listlessly poke at my omelette.

8pm – 3 oreos, an Alpen breakfast bar and a twix.

All eaten while my head is still in the cupboard and therefore secret and therefore doesn’t count.

8.03pm – Mixed berry cheesecake

Also eaten inside the fridge and therefore also doesn’t count.  And it’s been shouting its head off all day at me so really I’ve done well to last this long.

This is a random sample day of any diet I’ve ever done in the last 15 years.  Starts strong and with devotion to the flat tummy that is within my grasp, if only I could stop the secret eating.  It is unfortunate that this continues through the night. A regrettable habit that began during pregnancy 13 years ago and refuses to leave. I can set my watch by it.  

The sample diet above is a huge step forward from the pills and potions I would try in the old days.  Anything that promised an instant drop of 3 stone in a week, was mostly made up of speed, and only let me eat 4 peeled grapes before I was full, I was buying in bulk.  One time I got this diet powder that you had to mix with water to make the most repulsive drink to ever exist.  It had the consistency of wall paper paste and was brown.  The sort of brown that would emerge should you  nutribullet one of your own turds. Not the most appetising thing and rather difficult to swallow due to the thickness.  The idea was that you should drink 3-4 glasses of this filth during the day, I’m assuming to keep you full, then your evening meal should consist of 300-400 calories.  I look back now and laugh in the face of the turdish tinged glue.  The idea that anyone would even consider this now seems outrageous.  Absurd even.

I have found with getting older and feeling more settled that I have become accustomed to my body. The saying ‘comfortable in your own skin’ makes sense to me now.  Let me explain.  

*I’m married – And although at times Husband pretends to hate me I know he actually thinks I’m alright.  He likes my body, even the wobbly bits, and especially when I was pregnant which I found a little bizarre admittedly, until I started to understand.  The body is beautiful.  Even if it’s not a size 10.  Even if it has stretch marks and bumpy bits and absolutely when it’s on the brink of giving life.

* I have 2 beautiful children – This wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of my body.  Despite the years of abuse like drinking, junk food or lack of exercise it still worked its magic and produced 2 healthy babies.  For that I will be eternally in awe.

*In recent years I’ve come to understand that I’m okay – I’m slowly learning who I am.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, I fully accept that’s alright and don’t try to be.  I’m kinder to myself on all levels and not just in relation to my body.  I cut myself slack when my favourite jeans don’t fit anymore and instead of crying and feeling terrible about it I’ll just buy bigger ones.  I’ve also acquired a keen nose for anything in the world of fashion that resembles a smock, a burka and anything in tie dye.

*Being more aware of what is important and what isn’t – Going through certain life experiences and struggles has allowed me to open up my gaze and look at things in a new light.  It has allowed me to see the beauty in life and people I never had the time or the inclination to previously when I was too wrapped up in shit like how thin I could be. 

I honestly quite like my body these days.  It’s bigger and flobbles more than it did.  On weeks when I’ve gone hell for leather with baking, and eaten it before it makes it to the baking tin, I have struggled to see my lady bits from a birds eye view. My boobs and arms are bigger, Husband compares my back to that of Jeff Capes regularly horrid man but I don’t mind. 

 It’s ok. 

 I know now that bigger does not mean less beautiful.  Everyone was made to be different shapes and sizes.  How tedious would it be if we all were exactly the same size and had identical bodies. Like the vast majority I still have moments of hatred when I wish my stomach was flatter or my arms slimmer.  There are still times when I plan strict diets to lose 3 stone in a week but these are short lived.  We should love our bodies, not hate them.  Celebrate their uniqueness and respect their resilience and under no circumstances be ashamed of them.  Our bodies are responsible for giving us our babies, fighting off illnesses and  dragging us around day in day out without agenda. And for this we should be thankful.

Broccoli, Carrot or a Chicken Nugget?

Scenario: You are asked to make a short video congratulating a work colleague for 15 years service that will become part of a montage.  When the finished article is released onto the group WhatsApp chat you realise everyone has left heartfelt messages and filmed their actual selves except for you who is a Snapchat talking sausage roll.

As discussed previously, personal hygiene hasn’t been my strong point this year.  Given the choice of bathing, preening and applying makeup for a video message or becoming a talking sausage roll where only your eyes and teeth are visible it’s a no brainer for me.  So when I was asked to contribute a short congratulatory message on our WhatsApp group I could think of nothing better than disguising my not so attractive appearance by becoming a Cooplands sausage roll.  

 I may have also indicated on the video message that because I have worked there longer (ok only 1 year longer, but longer is longer so …) than her that I was therefore in charge of her, making me her direct superior which I thought was hilarious when I did it, only realising later that it looked as though I was saying that length of service determines your authority in the workplace, which I sort of was but only as a joke.  Then I remembered that our manager has been our manager for less than a year.  Little bit awkward.  

It turned out though that she loved my message, even if it was delivered by a delicious pastry treat containing pig’s tails and eyeballs so that was a relief.  She also assumed that the comment about me being her direct superior was a joke (it wasn’t, I am in charge of you, and you must do everything I say – you know who you are).

I love nothing more than a good Snapchat filter.  I have a variety of favourites that I use to communicate with certain friends. Instead of calling or texting them like a civilised human, I like to record long rambling messages as a head of broccoli or a carrot.  Strangely it always seems to be a fruit or a vegetable.  Anyway, this is my recommendation for the week.  Choose a friend who you want to catch up with and then carefully select a Snapchat filter to record a long and drawn out message about nothing. Some of us on Instagram have already had a little practice this week following the Snapchat challenge I set.  Send them it and you will either be rewarded with a response from a talking chicken nugget or similar which I have to say always lifts my spirits and lets you know without doubt that these are ‘your people’. Or, they will decide you are a complete Fucking weirdo and ghost you.  In my experience there isn’t usually much of an inbetween.  Just for reference, in these instances these are not ‘your people.’

Good Luck.

‘Hell’s Angel’s’

Scenario: When your brother confides that your children are the sole reason he has chosen to remain childless.  He admits he loves them and they are little angels but the variety that have come straight from the guts of hell.  His pet name for them, ‘The hells angels’ now makes a great deal of sense.

My beautiful little ankle biters can be a trifle overbearing sometimes.  I accept this. Loud and shouty and more than partial to mischief, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I feed them a bag of speed each morning for breakfast, but this aside I still didn’t know if my brother was joking or not.  He has managed to remain childless and now in his late thirties it’s probably unlikely he will be a dad which is a shame because he’s the perfect candidate to be a parent in a big kid meets protector sort of a way.  He does have step children though so his potential to air his parenting talents haven’t been totally lost.

 Then I remembered a particular visit my brother had made to my mums when we had been there.  It involved my then 6 year old boy who was going through a phase of pulling down peoples pants from behind when they weren’t looking because he thought it was hilarious. Which lets face it, is always funny in any situation.  He had claimed more than one victim with this killer move including  but not limited to my Father In Law.  The time he had done it to his Grandad, everyone in the living room had got an eyeful they didn’t want.  Grandad had been carrying a tray of tea at the time which rendered him helpless and made it impossible for him to pull his shorts back up straight away which was a bit awkward but totally brilliant at the same time! 

 My ankle biters had terrorized my brother from start to finish during this visit and it was nicely concluded with my 6 year old giving him the biggest wedgie I’d ever seen a thirty something get from a small child, quickly followed up by his signature pant pulling move.  It is probably important to note that this happened on the driveway in full view of the neighbours in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.  It is also equally important that I mention my brother had made the unfortunate decision to go commando that day.  After remembering this little nugget I realised the probability of him being serious about why he was childless was fairly high.

 I don’t hold this against him, far from it in fact.  To me it is a huge compliment.  My anklebiters have personality and I love it. I appreciate that my life would most likely be easier and less frustrating if they were quiet, well behaved and didn’t earn themselves titles like ‘The Hell’s Angels’ but honestly who wants that?  Strong personalities are something to be celebrated and without a doubt an asset in this world we live in.  I’m sure over time and with the introduction to high school, college and various other life adventures that they will be brought down a peg or two so I feel grateful for their strength of character because one day they’ll need it.  It’s also a bit of a relief to all involved that my boy seems to have outgrown his love for making family members do involuntary moonies so relax people, no need for those very tight belts anymore.

Eliza x