Bah Humbug! 9 Reasons This Season Sends me Crackers

Before you all think I’m a complete Ebenezer, let me start by saying that I adore Christmas. I love spending time with family, seeing the kids faces as they get excited by the tree, the presents, the advent calendars and what not. I love the fact that it’s an excuse for more drinking, eating and partying with friends. BUT there is no doubt about it, this season is, quite frankly stressful! So here’s my list as to why this season sends me slightly crackers:

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1. School Notes. With the eldest at primary school and youngest at pre-school, there’s always a steady stream of messages and requests to deal with. But this week has seen a new record – I’ve had over 12 messages including such things as buying tickets for the school play, costumes for the pre-school nativity, oranges for Christingle, Christmas party, requests for cakes for the Christmas bazaar, dates and times for Christmas term break up and more randomly a note about a pen knife being brought into school. Can we stop now? I need a new diary or calendar for the school messages alone.

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2. Arts and Crafts. Everywhere I turn someone is making something fantastic. Whether it’s festive biscuits, amazing new Christmas decorations or gingerbread houses, everyone seems to be creating something and usually involving their kids in the process. I start to feel the pressure creep in. I too, should be doing something or organising things for the school holidays. But as some of you know, this isn’t my particular forte.   I have this lovely idea of the girls and I making gorgeous Christmas decorations to hang on our tree. Instead the reality of me doing arts and crafts is this:

Where as this kind of thing sends me into a cold sweat:

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3. Nights Out. Back in September and October, it seemed like a good idea to say yes to every invitation and Christmas event going, after all December is miles away. It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that in saying yes to everyone I was out FIVE weekends on the trot. A few years ago this would have been no problem. Call me an old fart, but for now, my ideal Saturday night is watching Strictly Come Dancing with the girls, a glass of red in hand and a curry in the oven.

4. Feeling Old. This leads me nicely on to point 4. All these nights out take their toll. I’m in my 40s now and with two small kids waking up early and causing havoc it’s not the best way to recover the next morning. I’m tired. I got dressed up to go out last night and my daughter told me I looked lovely but then proceeded to ask what the lines were on my forehead. That sums it up really.

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5. Elf on The Shelf. Am I the only person out there who doesn’t get this?  As if we haven’t got enough to do without carefully manipulating a doll into a new position every night. And why must I see a daily updates on Facebook from a dozen people about where Eric / Fred / Arthur / Christophe is hiding that night? Do I really care?

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6. Madness at The Shops. Yes, I know we all have to buy Christmas presents, but shopping becomes a bit ridiculous. I do most of mine online now, but a trip into town last week saw queues for the car park at 10am and hundreds of people lining up to pay at Primark.

7. Expense. I dare not add up the amount of money I’ve spent on buying presents and going out. It is ridiculous. As December starts to plod on, I begin to start panic buying. I must get the “best” or “right” present for people and start going a bit crazy. It really isn’t necessary to buy yet ANOTHER stocking filler, but yet I do – just in case I don’t have enough!

8. Travel. Ok so this  one is my husband’s biggest moan. We spend a good chunk of the Christmas period on the road, visiting family and friends. And whilst we want to see everyone, it does feel like by the time 2nd of January is upon us, we need a break to recover from it. Next year, we are hoping to stay put and get people over to us.

9. Decorations with Kids. I had this romantic notion of decorating the tree and the house this year with the kids now that they’re a little bit older. We would all be happy, singing and dancing to Christmas songs and carols whilst hanging bits and pieces up around the house. The reality was that I spent most of the time refereeing fights over baubles and having to carefully undo the kids’ handiwork on the tree which somehow had every item from The Christmas Box literally thrown at it. I love having a real Christmas tree and making it look pretty, but remind me next year to do it once the kids have gone to bed and I can do it on my own with a glass of something in hand.

 

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The tree once it had been re-decorated after the kids had blitzed it.

 

There you have it! Sorry for the moan people. Reading this list, I think most of my bah-humbug moments come from the amount of pressure I put on myself. Pressure to spend, pressure to make arts and crafts, pressure to go out and socialise with every single person I may have met since I was 15. Surely there’s a lesson in here somewhere. If only I would listen and just relax a bit!

Do you have any gripes about the festive season ? Let me know if there’s any I’ve missed.

 

 

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Pink Pear Bear

5 Things that No Longer Embarrass Me and 5 Things that do

It has dawned on me recently that along with the big changes that happen in your life after having kids – you know,  like a permanent lack of sleep, being suddenly responsible for the life and survival of a new human being and err… watching more kids TV than your own programmes, there are other smaller changes that affect us as parents. Things that used to embarrass me, no longer bother me at all. And likewise, things that I never thought about much, now seem to take on a new meaning in the embarrassment stakes.

Things That No Longer Embarrass Me

1. Doctors – I used to cringe whenever I had to go to the doctor and reveal certain body parts. Now I couldn’t care less. They’ve seen it all before, I’ve had to pretty much show everything off before so let’s get on with the job shall we?

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2. A Messy House – There was a time, many moons ago, when I used to take careful pride in the house. Well, I liked it to look nice. But now, in between juggling the children and fitting in copywriting work, it comes very low down list on my priorities. Yes, I like the house to look tidy, but in reality it’s pretty much in a permanent mess.  I might apologise to anyone who visits, but I’m not embarrassed by it. Not anymore.

3. Dealing with a meltdown in public – Pre-kids I was HORRIFIED by children that used to scream and make a scene in public. I would tut and roll my eyes about the noise. Hah! Little did I know that I would be dealing with them on a frequent basis. From dealing with the toddler’s meltdown about sand on the beach to half carrying her and half dragging her from one side of town to try and get back to the safety of the car. Exhausting. Yes. Embarrassing not anymore. Everyone’s kids do it at some stage and the knowing glances and pats on the shoulder from other people to say “We’ve all been there” prove it.

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The toddler’s melt down about sand

4. Getting important things wrong. Like your child’s name. I recently spent 10 minutes in a shop calling out to my youngest daughter to stop running off. A few other shoppers looked at me wondering why I couldn’t control my child. I was wondering why I couldn’t control my child. Until it dawned on me that I’d been calling out my eldest daughter’s name instead of the toddler’s. I wasn’t embarrassed, tiredness has a lot to answer for.

5) Dealing with accidents – Toilet training puts pay to any form of embarrassment about dealing with wees and poos in public places. With kids, there’s always some form of bodily function that needs to be cleared up. Wet wipes and nappy sacks is the only thing to save you.

Things that Now Embarrass Me

1. The Recycling – Specifically the fortnightly collection of cans and bottles. I’m sure it’s not my imagination that the bin men are spending longer and longer trying to empty our recycling box and making such a din in the process. No, it’s true, we are apparently the biggest drinkers on the street.

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2. Laughing hard – and realising your pelvic floor muscles really isn’t what it once was. Enough said.

3. Having other kids to tea – I swear to God that every time the neighbours’ kids or friends come to tea, we ALWAYS have pizza. My children seem to eat a few certain foods on rotation week in week out, but I now feel slightly paranoid and judged that everyone assumes that this is the only thing my kids eat. Admittedly, there’s not much else that isn’t picked over, but  I must try harder to have a better menu on standby.

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4. Clothes – Specifically, realising that I’m wearing clothes that I had 10 years ago. I’ve never particularly enjoyed shopping, but find that it’s now pretty much near impossible to buy new clothes with a toddler. She gets bored and starts to get impatient when I even attempt to “pop in” for a “quick look.” I end up avoiding it at all costs in order to avoid the resulting meltdown.

5. The Truth Telling the truth is a good thing right? Not when the three year old decides to impart her words of wisdom specifically in a loud voice about people you know who are standing right next to you. I.E. “Mummy, why is  Katie’s daddy looking so scruffy today?”  Cue cringing and desperate babbling about how the toddler talks such utter nonsense.

What do you find embarrassing? And is there anything that you used to find embarrassing that no longer bothers you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tell me I’m not alone in this!

 

 

 

Pink Pear Bear

 Mummuddlingthrough

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Getting Back to It After a Half-Term Break

We have just had a fantastic half-term break. The first part of the week we were in South  Devon and then we went to stay with relations on a farm in South Wales.

I’m not sure if it was down to the mild, sunny weather, perhaps it was because we packed in so much stuff, or it could be due to the fact that the kids were so well-behaved with hardly any tantrums and playing up like we had back in July, but we all had an amazing time.

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Holiday

We arrived in Devon late on Friday night and over the next couple of days managed to enjoy some beautiful coastal walks. We’re lucky to be able to stay at my mum and dad’s flat and so we know the area fairly well. But walking any kind of distance is something we’ve never really attempted with the kids before as Eva has always moaned on about her legs being tired. Strangely enough if there was any complaints this year it was from Alice! Anyway it was fantastic to get out and explore some of coast by foot. We also took a day trip to Dartmoor and took the girls to see a miniature pony centre which the girls both really adored!

On Wednesday we moved on to Wales. My husband’s aunt and uncle run a farm near Usk and again, we’ve been lucky to be there before last October half-term. The kids love getting involved with the animals as well as the tractor and quad bike. And we all love being outside in such a beautiful place with amazing views. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing those views of the black mountains from the farm.

 

Coming Home and Back to It

We got home on Friday afternoon and it felt like we instantly slotted into our old ways. The kids were arguing and fighting. There was a mountain of washing to be done and even The Husband and I were bickering! It felt like the holiday had suddenly come to an abrupt halt!

Monday morning brought more clouds. Alice was suddenly anxious and worried to be going back to school. She clung on to me like a limpet at the school gate and I had to physically hand her over. I suppose this has been amplified by the fact that she changed schools 4 weeks ago. I had the holiday blues and was dreading getting back into work and even Eva who normally loves pre-school was saying she didn’t want to go.

Back in the Routine

Like Alice, I always used to dread the going back to school after any kind of holidays and even now I get a slight pang for getting back to normal, even if it is nowhere near as bad as it was when I was working in London. All this got me thinking about how I now best cope with getting back into the routine after a holiday:

1. Tea. Ordinarily I drink a fair amount of tea, but after a break, I seem to drink even more tea than usual to ease the pain of getting back into work.

2. Write a list. I’m a stickler for a list but after being out of the loop for a week, I need to have one even more than usual so that I know exactly what to focus on.

3. Treats. It seems only fair to ease yourself back into the grind with some biscuits and chocolates doesn’t it.

4. Get writing. Working as a copywriter means that like blogging, if you take time off, you get out of the practice of writing. It can seem harder to think of ideas and to let the writing flow. I try not to get wound up about it and just start writing. Even if this turns out to be a complete load of rubbish, I can always go back and amend the earlier stuff.

5. Have things to look forward to. Even if it’s a takeaway, or seeing some friends, I find this helps. At breakfast this morning I was listing all the things the kids had to look forward to as well to help them ease back into the routine (“Halloween, fireworks, birthday parties, Christmas etc. etc.).

How about you? Do you dread getting back into the day to day after a break or do you love the return to a routine? How do you cope?

 

 

 

Pink Pear BearMummuddlingthrough

Sod’s Law

The last blog post I wrote 2 weeks ago was about changing schools for our daughter. We knew that if we were going to move schools for Alice we would have to it before we applied for a primary school for our youngest daughter Eva in January 2017. So when the chance came up 2 weeks ago to move her to a lovely little village school a couple of miles away, we didn’t hesitate.

We thought that would be the end of it and we’d all be hugely relieved that there would be no more blog posts mentioning any issues with schools again.

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But NO!

Just 8 days after moving Alice into her new school, just 8 days after stressing myself out about the transition to the point where I couldn’t eat or sleep, the unthinkable happened. We got the phone call from our local primary school down the road to say that a place had become available. This was our original first choice of school. The one I’d fought hard for a place for, the one I’d written countless letters and emails to MPs, councillors, school admission team members and even the Department of Education about. The school that all my local neighbours and friends go to. The one we were seemingly excluded from. The one I’d given up ever getting a place at before the all important January deadline.

Primary School Gods

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Holy Crap! You literally couldn’t make this sh!t up. I could not believe my ears. Some primary school God was literally looking down on me from his playground of alcohol and debauchery and pi$$ing himself laughing. At us.

The timing absolutely stank. Just a week earlier I would have moved Alice to this local school like a shot. I would have been jumping for joy and over the moon. But now that we’d already gone through one transition, as a family we came to a fairly difficult decision to not move her again because a) she had settled in so quickly and brilliantly seemingly loving her new school and b) we couldn’t face the upheaval of going through it all again. It just didn’t seem right to unsettle our 5 year old for a second time and risk the fact that this move may not be so good second time round.

I THINK we have made the right decision.I certainly hope we don’t live to regret it like some people have suggested.

Sod’s Law

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Since this phone call last Tuesday I seem to have had Alanis Morrisette’s Ironic’s lyrics going round in my head. You know the one that goes.

“It’s like raaiiin on your wedding day. It’s the free advice you just didn’t take.”

With me adding the line in “It’s the local primary school you’ve always wanted,  get offered just days after you’ve already switched.”

Or something like that.

A few people have since said to me “That’s sod’s law.”

Which got me thinking. What exactly is this term and where does it come from?

Wikipedia defines it as being “If something can go wrong, it will.” And the British culture have added “that it will happen at the worst possible time.”

Well yes, that sounds about right to me. The timing on this couldn’t have been any worse.

I’ve also been pondering what other notable (if less stressful) circumstances of Sod’s Law I have experienced recently? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Spending an afternoon making a lovely home cooked dinner for the kids only for most of it to go nowhere near their lips and a huge proportion end up on the floor.

Spaghetti Bolognese

2.Trying to get the kids to bed early because of having loads of work to do in the evening only to have one or both of them up and down the stairs refusing to sleep.

3. Meeting up in London with some friends who I hardly ever see only for them to get lost and be very late so that we had far less time to catch up.

4. Queuing for a taxi to get home on a night out to find out that our cab driver was going on a break.

5.Thinking your child is potty trained so removing the last pair of spare knickers from the handbag only for her to have an accident that same very day.

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So there you have it. The classic case of Sod’s Law!  Always lurking around threatening to bite you on the bum when you least expect it.

Have you got any tales to add? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

 

 

 

Pink Pear Bear

Mummuddlingthrough

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Changing Schools

People who follow this blog will know the complete fiasco we encountered last year when we didn’t get any of our original school choices. People who follow this blog will remember too the knife in the gut moment when we later realised that this in turn would mean we would not get a place at any of our local secondary schools.

In a nutshell the whole starting primary school thing has been incredibly shit. But despite all that and some initial upset with Alice settling in last year, she now loves school and really enjoys learning as well as being with her friends.

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The Offer:

We found out last week that we had a place at another school. Not our local school which is in walking distance (I’ve given up on ever getting in there), but our original second choice which is a  lovely old village school, very small and friendly.

I was completely amazed to get the offer and almost immediately my husband and I felt it was the right thing to do to move Alice. It will still mean we have to drive to school (always one of my biggest bug-bears) but the biggest advantage is that if we move her now she will get a place at the local secondary school which is in walking distance of our house. I can’t believe we even have to think about this when she has only just turned 5 but the thought of going through what we went through last year in another 6 years’ time is unbearable.

This Past Week:

I got the email last Friday and have spent this week in turmoil. I’ve not slept and barely eaten for worrying about how Alice will handle the move. Whilst I feel deep down like we are making the right choice, it doesn’t stop me feeling like the biggest bitch ever for separating her from her friends and the teachers that she loves. She is so happy and settled at the current school. Can I really upset her all over again?

Like most things in life I also got incredibly bogged down in the detail of the process. When would I tell her teacher? When exactly would we tell Alice? When should I mention it to the other mums?  All this and more were keeping me awake every night.

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The Deed

On Wednesday after school we took the girls out for Pizza and before we got out of the car I pitched the idea about moving schools using my most excited, super confident voice wearing my most calm mask.

For a moment Alice seemed quite taken with the idea until she realised it would mean giving up her current school, and she then wasn’t too happy. We managed to distract her with dinner and shopping but at bedtime – reality had hit. As she lay sobbing in her bed I couldn’t help wonder, “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?”

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I also can’t help but feel incredibly resentful all over again. Why are we seemingly the only people going through this?  Why am I putting my daughter through all this again because the local schools and authorities can’t cope with the pressure of too many people living here and not enough schools? Why does no one seem to care that the individual school rules are unfair and do not join up.

 

Next Week

Alice’s last day at her current school was on Thursday. She took it all in her stride and seemed happy to be handing out sweets to her friends. I on the other hand was an emotional wreck watching her wave goodbye to her teachers and friends as they gave her a fab send off. It really did feel sad and unfair to be uprooting her.

We took her to meet her new teacher and the new school. We were anticipating some upset but was totally surprised that Alice enjoyed looking around the school and talking to her new teacher. After an hour and half we had to drag her away from the amazing outdoor space and play equipment. Sometimes, kids do surprise you. It doesn’t always end up as bad as you think and maybe,  just maybe I have totally underestimated how she will handle this.

Change

I know we are not out of the woods yet and I know that we are bound to have some upset next week when we start at the new school and a new routine.

I know it’s natural for all of us, not just kids, to dread and fear change. I know we need to push ourselves to do things sometimes that are hard and out of our comfort zone.  I need to keep telling myself this next week. I need to remember why we are doing this. I need to keep wearing my happy face and practising my bright and breezy voice. I need to remember that it will get worse, possibly a whole lot worse before it will get better.

Wish us luck for Monday.

Has anyone else changed schools? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Pink Pear Bear
Mummuddlingthrough
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Ain’t That The Truth

Kids. Don’t you just love them? They’re inquisitive, curious and speak their minds with absolutely no qualms about feeling  the need to censor anything.

A while back I wrote about some of the bizarre and strange questions that my eldest asked me. She was obviously going through a curious phase with lots of pressing questions on her mind like what farmers wear.

The youngest has always been a bit of a chatterbox, but it seems that lately anything that comes into her head will then proceed to come straight out of her mouth in a monologue of verbal diarrhoea. Sometimes this can be cute, sometimes funny, but other times it can be completely mortifying and embarrassing.

 

Here’s 5 things that the 3 year old has mentioned recently which all have an element of the truth to them.

1. “Daddy is the Beer King.”  Well I did warn my husband that if he insisted on drinking beer so frequently that the kids would start to pick up on it.

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2. “What do you do all day Mummy?” This was said to me one morning as I dropped the toddler off to pre-school. “Daddy goes to work, Alice goes to school, I go to pre-school, so what do you do?” At which point I stammered and spluttered as if I was being quizzed by a teacher or boss about how I do writing work on my computer at home and how I also do all the cleaning. “Oh yes,” said the toddler, “You do the hoovering don’t you.” Yep that’s right, that’s me.

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3. “Why are you ALWAYS drinking wine?” Errr… In my defence, this was said to me whilst I was making a slow cook casserole with some red wine. I honestly wasn’t swigging from the bottle (at that point) at all. Why am I often made to feel like a naughty school girl by a toddler? But note to self: don’t drink wine too much in front of them again.

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4. “You’re a bit scruffy today aren’t you?” Interestingly, this wasn’t actually said to me which I could have taken on the chin. More embarrassingly this was said to my neighbour’s husband. To be fair, the toddler was as usual telling it like it was: He was in his jogging bottoms and hadn’t shaved, but STILL, I was a bit embarrassed and had to make a show of feigning mortification.

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5. “Daddy do you have a baby in your tummy?”  Closely linked to point number 1, my husband has a bit of a stomach. When we explained that no, there wasn’t a baby in daddy’s tummy, the toddler wanted to know why daddy’s tummy is big and if it will will “ever go down?” Whoops. Time for some exercise (and cut down on the beer) methinks.

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It’s funny how kids can talk and talk with no sense of holding back or being less blunt. I wonder at what age we start to censor our speech? I wonder at what age do we begin to realise that telling the truth in all situations even when we might hurt people isn’t always a good thing?!

I’d love to hear any home truths that kids have told you, let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Pink Pear Bear
Mummuddlingthrough
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How to Beat The Back to School Blues

On Monday the eldest daughter will be back to school and the following week the youngest will be back at pre-school. September signals the end of summer and getting everyone back into some sort of routine.

There’s something that lurches in my stomach at the thought of going back to school and it’s not even me going! As a kid I used to dread the end of the summer holidays and I used to get holiday blues as an adult going back to work so maybe it’s just the thought of the summer being over. Maybe it’s the thought of losing my kids back to school and pre-school when we’ve (mostly) had a great summer together, or maybe it’s the changing of the seasons and I know that the nights are drawing in and autumn is almost upon us.

Back to School Blues

So here’s a list of things that are going to keep me going once the old routine of September kicks in over the next couple of weeks:

1. Crack on With The Day Job. I’ve had a fair amount of copywriting work to do over the summer which has meant a bit of juggling with childcare and more late nights. So with the kids back in their routine, it will give me a chance to follow up some important leads, plough on with getting some work done and growing the freelance business.

Freelance Copywriting

2. Get Back into  Blogging. What with the summer holidays and juggling work, the blog has been a bit neglected. I want to get on with writing more blogs and updating the site too.

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3. House Projects. Now that we’ve made the decision to stay put rather than move house, there’s a lot of projects going on ranging from buying new furniture and decorating to plans for extensions.

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4. Photos.  This one seems to permanently be on my list of things to do. I snap away all the time with my phone and camera, but I never sort them out. I need to get on with the backlog and put some photos into frames and finish my year books.

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5. Clothes Sort Out. The change in seasons call for a clear out of the wardrobe! I need to see what I can salvage and what I need to buy for the coming cooler months.

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6. Get back into Running. December last year, I did something I never thought I’d do: I started running. For various reasons and many excuses, this has totally gone to pot over the summer. I hope to put my trainers on and get running again in September.

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7. Book in Some Treats.  Having something to look forward to always cheers me up! We’re already concocting plans for October half term and have some days out pencilled in the diary for a couple of weekends too.

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Do you mourn the end of summer or are you glad to see the start of a new season? Do you dread that “Back to School” feeling or are you glad to be back in some sort of routine? What are you up to when the kids head back to school? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

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