Monthly Archives: November 2016

Christmas ads fib!

Yes it’s still November but the Christmas ads are out so I’m allowed to now use the C word!!!

I love a soppy Christmas advert, I do. They make me feel emotional and nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside. You can’t beat them to make you really feel festive . They make me feel something else though too.. a bit of a failure. Our Christmases don’t look like the ones on the ads, I feel guilty about our non advert perfect Christmas.

Then I get a grip. It’s all fibs to fool you into buying stuff!! I’ve thought about the perfect Christmas scenes the ads sell us and how my more real scene unfolds at home!

Christmas ad scene :
Perfectly wrapped colour coordinated gifts under an exquisitely decorated tree. I’m always so jealous of the trees.

Real scene:
I’m a good gift wrapper. I love it, luxury paper, ribbons, bows, sprigs of holly (too far I know). That only extends as far as grown up gifts though. Kids gifts are usually wrapped in £1 a roll Asda special paper. The tree?? Oh my!! I let littlest girl decorate the tree so it’s now become her thing. She’s so giddy and enthusiastic about it and the tree always looks… interesting.

Ad scene :
Gorgeously dressed table, glistening turkey, perfectly cooked vegetables, mountains of food.

Real scene :
I do a good line in table dressing. I can compete with an M&S ad, no problem.

It. Ends. There.

Lovely food on the table, candles, place names it’s all there. Then I take my seat at the table. There’s a call of “where’s the pigs in blankets?”

I can’t even say ‘shit!’ silently in my head what with it being Christmas so I rescue the pork products from the oven JUST before they burn and return to the table. I should confess here that dinner is always at least an hour later than I say it’ll be. It’s become a tradition.

Soooo.. dinner late, close call with the pigs in blankets but it’s OK. We’re still on for ad perfect Christmas dinner. Let’s pull the crackers.

Chaos ensues – cracker pulling elbows knock over drinks. I still can’t say ‘shit!’ silently in my head what with it being Christmas. I chirp ‘It’s fine’ clean up mess and yet again return to the table.
“mummy my gravy tastes of lemonade”
For jingle bellsy ho ho ho sakes!!

Ad scene: Huge family Christmas
Loads of kids, mum and dad, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Everyone smiling and dozing and having fun.

Real Scene : Loads of kids, that I can do.
Other than the kids though, there’s just me! Lots of smiles though… well until the early start and excitement catches up with everyone and there’s a bickerfest around 5ish!

Ad scene :
The bit at the end where mum sits on the sofa, sighs a huge sigh and curls up with a much deserved glass of wine.

Real scene :
There’s a brief sit down post dinner before tackling the washing up. Glass of wine that was poured with lunch remains largely untouched but slurps are stolen as operation clean up begins. Then time to prepare supper buffet. Doctor Who is sit down time though. That’s the rules.

So our Christmas isn’t ad picture perfect.

Our tree decs are wonky. Dinner will almost certainly be late and missing a vital ingredient. There are only the kids and I and no rest until Doctor Who. You know what though?? That’s our perfectly, unperfect Christmas.

I love it.

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Parents of small children – this too shall pass! 

I write this post in my bedroom, slouched on my bed with a cup of tea.

The children are playing on Mario Kart together (yes they’ve gone retro)

There is no arguing (yet)

It’s a calm Sunday.

No one needs me.
No one needing me used to really bother me. I hated it, I couldn’t just leave them alone to play together. I’d have to squeeze myself into their games and conversations as I just couldn’t stand the fact I was no longer necessary all the time as I once had been.

Then I got a grip. I realised maybe this was it. Maybe a chapter of a book in peace was my reward for all the teething and nappy changing and separation anxiety and colic. I’d be a fool not to take advantage right?

So, parents of small children. I was once you, my children are now 17,16, 15 and 9 but I once had 3 under 3. I’ve fought the good fight, I’ve got the battlescars, but now I’m at the other side. Let me share with you the light at the end of the vomit splattered tunnel.

One day you will drink tea hot again

Bullshit you’re thinking, putting the kettle on is merely an act of defiance and hope during toddler years, nothing comes from it.

One day friends it will-one day the children will even make the tea for you! Yes you’ll be the one cleaning up the mess but that’s besides the point. Unfortunately if you’re like me and a bit fussy about your tea (I’m a Yorkshire girl it’s in my blood) this novelty will wear off as only you yourself can be trusted to make a decent cuppa but hey, thought that counts.

One day you will have an uninterrupted phone call.

There’ll not be wailing the second you pick up the phone, you’ll not have to chat with a person attached to your leg. There’ll not be cries of “me talk!!” from a little person. It’ll just be a quiet chat. Should teens interupt phone calls the threat to do the same to them next time they’re on the phone generally works as discouragement.

One day Cbeebies will no longer be on your TV

You’ll miss it too! Not just because you fancy Bloom either. Here’s a post I wrote when I realised our time with ‘beebies’ was over.

A time will come when you can bathe alone.

It will. I promise.

No one using the toilet whilst you’re trying to enjoy the aromatic joy of patchouli.

No bath invasions that begin with 2 toddlers diving in to join you and end in you getting out and leaving them to it,cursing having used your expensive bath oils and wishing you’d have just poured the radox in.

No helpful pre schoolers thinking your bath looks a bit boring devoid of toys so throwing in every toy they own for you. .. Plus a couple of loo rolls, a pair of knickers and a bottle of mouthwash!

Clock change will make no difference at all.

You’re always the first one up anyway and, don’t wet yourselves with glee, but you wake up of your own accord! ! They can arse about with clocks all they like but a teen who doesn’t rise until lunchtime is not going to be affected. That extra hour in bed they speak of? It’s real people and you one day shall feel it too!

I know it may seem I’m boasting but I promise I’m not. It’s just I remember during the chaos years I truly believed sleep and solo loo trips were a thing of the past forever.

That’s not the case.

The most pain in the arse bit about being here on the other side though is this.

You get a little sad that all upset your child feels can no longer be cured by a magic mummy kiss.

You feel mournful that no one needs you to read them a bedtime story.

There’s a twinge of guilt that those baby days you often wished away are gone.

You know what you do when you feel that way though?

Pour a large glass of wine, run a hot, deep bubble bath and take a book in there with you. Enjoy a long, uninterrupted soak and remember – you earned this!

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Tammymum

Mission Mindfulness

Shared parenting at Christmas (sucks!) 

Once upon a time small girl’s daddy and I rocked shared parenting, and my we were smug about it. Check us out not having to split Christmases or argue over who’s turn it was to have birthdays. We spent most our free time together with all four kids, holidaying and sharing days out and birthdays.

Wow aren’t we mature we’d think.

We’d spend Christmases together all 6 of us,small girl’s daddy coming over first thing Christmas morning, having dinner then staying the night so he could have a festive glass or two.  Our unconventional, yet workable family unit served us well for a good few years.

Pride, as they say though, comes before a fall.

We fell.

Mr and Ms Smuggington are no more.

The point came where it just didn’t work anymore, there was way too much bickering and sniping and it all just stopped feeling nice. It’s a shame but it happened and the last few years have been very different.
Christmas is somewhat of a battleground now.

Who gets Christmas eve?

How do we share small girl’s time on Christmas day?

Can we agree not to make gift giving a competition?

Who gets to do panto?

What about New Year?

It’s an exhausting exercise in compromise and putting small girl first but oh it’s hard and stressful and fraught with resentment in all honesty.

Turns out I’m not great at sharing. As I always say, I dislike the term Shared Parenting (Co-parenting doesn’t feel right either!) We don’t ‘share’ small girl like she’s an object, we do though share her time. At Christmas time more than any other I have to rein in wanting to have it all.

All her time.

I want to do Christmas markets and ice skating and panto.

I want to do Christmas eve baking and crafting and I want to do our Christmas eve hamper.

I want to watch Christmas movies in brand new pj’s with hot chocolate on Christmas Eve with ALL my children.

I want to read small girl’s Christmas bedtime story.

I desperately want her to wake here Christmas day, to open presents before breakfast.

I want her at OUR table for Christmas dinner then to play with her new toys before all of us snuggling to watch Doctor Who before bed. ..

I’m sure daddy would like the same, he’s a brilliant daddy and that little girl of ours is very lucky. The elder 3 are stuck with just me!

However I know I can’t have it all. I know I have to give a little, I know small girl loves her time with her daddy as much as with us. It’s not easy though, doesn’t get any easier with time.

Grown up, mature ‘small girl’s needs come first’ me will make an appearance once Christmas negotiations kick in.

Responsible parent me will make compromises and sacrifices and tell herself it’s just one day.

Rational, semi sane me will bite her tongue and take deep breaths.

Then, when negotiations are done and plans are made I’ll pour myself a large glass of wine, swear a bit, maybe throw something and likely have a little cry.

It’s OK though because Christmas will be great. Small girl and indeed my elder 3 will all have a fun time. They always do.

Small girl is comfy, cosy and happy and settled at either house because (say through gritted teeth if necessary but. ..) shared parenting works for her.

She has different, fun traditions at each house. She does declare daddy’s Christmas dinner the best though which makes me want to serve roast daddy for Christmas dinner,  but she always enjoys her Christmas. She’s always happy and declares every year to be ‘the best Christmas ever!’ and really, grumpy mummy aside, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it??

 

 

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