Monday 29 August 2011

Impossible perfection...

Well, I've just finished reading Lise's most recent blog post about smugness and felt compelled to comment! I've been thinking about blogging on a similar subject myself, except with a slightly different angle.

You see, many people assume I am the perfect mummy/wife with the perfect house and life. But I'm not, I swear to you, I am not!! Appearances can be deceiving.. I know when I leave the house with Ethan I am generally well groomed with make up on, a fairly cohesive outfit (mainly because I love clothes though!) with Ethan looking pretty smart for a littlely. Our buggy is kept looking pretty good because I work feckin' hard scrubbing away at it!! We have funky accessories for it (thank you Elodie Details and Chunkle Munkle!). I usually have a heap of snacks with me (and yes, they are fruit and organic type things normally, lol!! But that's due to the fact Ethan won't eat other stuff!!) If we're going to be out for a while I normally have a packed lunch for him as well... in fact I often make this for him the night before if I'm organised enough.. However, these are just how things appear when we are out of the house!! I'll let you into a secret. In my case, to appear as "perfect mummy" we never get anywhere on time, or at best we scrape in somewhere cutting it fine. I truly believe it is impossible to be perfect. You might manage to have a tidy house, full fridge, bake cakes and feed your child hand picked organic apples but something has to give! It's all about deception. That mum you see in the street with lovely hair and make up and a chilled out child in her clean buggy? I bet you anything she has hairy legs. The "Monica" mum who's house is immaculate? I bet her child is too scared to play let alone make a mess, that's why everything looks so tidy!

We are all flawed in one way or another. If you are anything like me, you constantly check yourself against other people and come away feeling you are not up to scratch. But let me promise you, you may think no one looks at you and does that, but I bet they do!! Lise, in your case, maybe you do have an untidier house than me and go out without make up on. But I bet you're a more fun and relaxed mummy than me! And you don't even need make up due to your natural beauty. And I happen to love your hair!

I'm going to hold my hands up and admit what I am. I am "a Monica". We had some guests over recently. When they arrived one of them said "your house is immaculate! Are you sure you have a toddler?" My pathetic heart swelled. Later, during our meal, we got onto the subject of house work and tidiness and Pete was regaling our guests with stories about how he does something (i.e. wipe down the shower) and I then go and do it again straight after him because it is not up to my high standards. Our guests then began to shift uncomfortably in their chairs.. and I quote "I'm just looking around for crumbs now, I'm scared I've made a mess eating!". Eeek thinks I.. In my quest for the perfect home all I've succeeded in doing is making people feel uncomfortable..

I'm reminded of an incident about 20 months ago when I had my antenatal group and their babies over for coffee and cake. The kids were still just milk fed at that time and pooping regulary. One of the little girls needed a nappy change so my friend popped her on a change mat on my living room carpet. Fine.. I'm FINE with that, honestly! (nah, I am! I may be hung up on things but I'm not that paranoid!). So, baby on change mat, dirty nappy off, naked bum waggling in the air.. oh wait?! What's that? A stream of vomit flavoured korma coloured baby poop. And yes, it's done that amazing trick of passing the mat by and landing ALL OVER MY FRIGGIN' CARPET. My friend was mortified. They all know what I'm like about my house. She's apologising to the dozen. Before she's even grabbed her wet wipes I'm standing over her with two bowls of water, one soapy and warm, one cold, three clothes, a towel, a sponge and a bottle of 1001 stain remover, budging her out the way. Yes, that's right. I would gladly touch another child's stinking poop due to how up tight I am. I am the proverbial control freak.

My message is this, really; Yes, there many smug and perfect looking people out there, no doubt. And in fact, perhaps some of them truly are close to perfection (but they probably have loads of money, a nanny and a masseuse). But I assure you, in many cases, scratch beneath the surface and they are probably a bigger nervous wreck, more stressed and less fun to be around than most!

I say if you can be easy going about these things, you should be, and be proud. The rest of us are probably just flogging our guts out to reach an early grave!

Oh, and by the way, to make you feel even better I totally failed at pancake making this morning, served up 'splodge' as my husband called it for breakfast and then made him drive me to Starbucks at a service station so I could get a Mocha Frapachino to make me feel better.

We all fail at times :)

Thursday 25 August 2011

Un-medicated follower of fashion?!

So.. Here I am. Officially one week without my anti-depressants. Unlike the last time I came off them, I have weaned myself off slowly, reducing my dosage soooooooooo slowly. I've not had the hideous withdrawal symptoms this time, which is fantastic, because they are seriously evil. Thumping head, eyes at the back of my head/tunnel vision feeling, mood swings. Although last time I was not at all ready to come off them, so the side effects added to the fact I wasn't ready to cope was a baaaad cocktail. I crashed big time then. That was May last year. I've been coming off these ones for 10 weeks or more now, bit by bit, and I was very apprehensive. Not in the same way as last time (I knew at the back of my mind that I wasn't ready but the Drs convinced me I should try to come off them). It was the fear that I wouldn't cope, that the same things would happen as before. Last time was so scary. The feeling that everything is out of your control, that you're falling down a deep hole and all the time you have to look after a baby as well. I just felt pure panic the whole time. You know if you're walking home from a pub or something late at night, in the dark down a dark path and you feel like someone is fallowing you. In fact you know someone is fallowing you. But there is no escape. That's what it was like. It all felt so inevitable. It was all I could do to get up in the morning. So, as you can imagine, I really did not want to go back there.

These days I'm super sensitive in terms of my emotions and feelings. Probably too sensitive. Every morning when I wake up I evaluate how I feel, decide if I think I can cope or if it's going to be an anxious day, have I woken up with my teeth clamped together etc... I actually wrote the title for this blog post and intended to start writing it on Thursday.. but I had a bad day, felt totally out of control. In all honesty, I thought that was it, that I was about to spiral down again what with it being (then) five days without my anti-ds. I was snappy tense and very moody. I had a horrible moment with Ethan when I was trying to get him dressed for the day and he was running around excited (like a normal 2 year old!) and I held him down, close to me and said "mummy is going to get very angry in a moment" in, well, quite frankly, a horrible voice. I felt like a total bitch after doing that. Ethan was upset. I didn't yell, hit, punch, anything like that, but I felt terrible. That I could make my child upset in that way. Of course he was fine in under a minute, back to his normal self, but I couldn't rid myself of the disgust I felt over my behaviour. Even now I feel terrible about it.

I continued to feel pretty unhinged for the remainder of Thursday and was very glad when Pete returned home from work, just so relieved to have someone else there with me.

Friday was a better day. A day not without it's tense moments but I didn't feel quite so highly strung.

So, what happens this morning? Sit myself down on the loo, and oh! What's this?! My period. That's it... that's what was behind those horrible mood swings, those out of control feelings. I've always had bad PMT and for me it's bad enough for me to misinterpret as anxiety and PND. On the one hand, I'm relieved of course. It's good to know this was a 'normal' monthly mood swing type situation. On the other hand of course, I have this to look forward to every month... I think when I was on my tablets they probably evened out some (not all as I'm sure Pete will testify!) my PMT symptoms. I don't think my PMT was worse before I had Ethan, I think it's just I'm more aware of these thoughts and feelings and because I'm home with him all day everyday I have no where to hide from them. I end up lashing out because there is no respite. It's true what they say, you hurt the ones you love the most.. because you feel if you lash out at them they will forgive you I suppose! I guess as he gets older it will get easier, he won't need me to be there every second, he'll be more content doing things by himself so I will be able to go and diffuse my tension out in the garden in peace, or have a shower or something without a lovely but whiny small person tugging at the shower curtain asking for a booby song. Or to show me his impression of Poi from Show me Show me dressed up as Twinkle Twinkle when we paused the TV once (loooong story.. paused mid show, she had one of those unfortunate faces and Ethan now likes to pull that face at every opportunity saying "look! twinkle twinkle face!").

Of course, there's the chance that by the time Ethan is of this age I will have another little darling to look after, causing my nipples to scab up and fall off and allowing me to make the undead look good due to being too anxious to sleep (I was once unable to sleep when Ethan was under 3 weeks old because I was worrying about how I would find time to make his pack lunches when he's at school.. yes, honestly..). This might not be the case I suppose. I hope we do have another one. It's what we've planned and deep down, despite the shitty times it is what I (we) still want. I'm scared though. All of it scares me! The difference is that these days, I have hope. I've done it! Somehow we've managed to get past the two year mark and Ethan is thriving. I may not be perfect as a Mum (who is?!), I may snap, but at least I don't yell at my child in public "if I see you go near that fence again I will beat the shit out of you" (yup, heard that little gem the other day). I don't care whether I have to go through the rest of my life on anti-ds or not, and I think that's what's made the difference. I have lost the stigma I held about needing 'help' from pills. So what if I do? You have asthma, you use an inhaler. You have allergies you take an anti-histermin... I have problems coping sometimes and I need help!

All this could be the two beers I've necked talking..

Whatever it is, it leads me to what this blog post is supposed to be about. It stands to reason. If I am no longer medicated, then I should probably change the name of my blog! What I want to know is, do any of you reading have any suggestions for names? I'm not sure, so I thought I'd see what other people think.

Get your thinking caps on folks and let me know. I am waiting to hear from you!

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Welcome to my house!

Firstly, thank you so much to all of you reading, and to those lovely comments I recieved in response to my last blog post. They were lovely and I REALLY appreciate them!Sooo... I've made a list (on paper and in my head!) of various subjects I want to blog about and I will now proceed to do so! First up (as it's been requested Lise!) is a photographic tour of my house.

Now, let me give you some background information first; Pete and I bought our house over 7 years ago now. It's an early 80s semi and when we bought it it needed a lot doing to it, not structurally, but a lot in terms of decoration and renovation. We gave it a quick re-paint and a very thorough clean when we first moved in but since those early days we've had a new bathroom, cavity wall insulation, new front door, new windows, new back door (twice! Decadent or what!), new carpets and flooring, new kitchen, decking out the back, landscaped garden (mostly Pete there...), new fences, new paved drive, door knocked through to the garage and every room bar one has been re-painted twice! Well, seven years is a long time and tastes change.. I was 21 when we got this place (I'm a sage old 29 now..). I suppose one day we will move on from this house, but right now I/we love it here.. so please, let me introduce you to "our house!"

Now, I thought it'd be best to show you a few photos of the house back in 2004, but we didn't have a digital camera back then, so I've taken a few pics from our photo album (yes, we have a photo album called "our house"!!). Please excuse the poor quality and glare from lights/reflections. It's nearly half ten in the evening so this is the best you're gonna get folks!

First up we have the stairs and a glimps of the bathroom... you can almost taste the 80s!

Here we have my Dad in the jungle.. sorry, cutting back the garden. He had to use an actual scythe to hack back the grass!

Awww, a young Pete painting our bedroom (the one room which is still the same colour)

What was the office, became the spare room and is now Ethan's room..

Ugh... the original (and I mean original!) kitchen. Ick, ick ick!
Now, please scrape your eyes clean and prepare to meet our house and garden as it is today.. subject to a daily change (because like my mother I am compelled to move furniture around in an attempt to find the "perfect" position.. which of course isn't possible.. but this isn't the time for my quest for perfection..) I won't blab on about what each pic is as they are essentially pretty obvious. I'll start downstairs and then move up.. as if you were having a real tour!

Just a heads up, but when asked what inspires me with regards to our decore, I usually say it's a mixture of things, people and styles. I always enjoy the Ikea catalogue - though we've moved past most of their furniture onto longer lasting solid wood pieces from other places, I love the way they style rooms. Their catalogue is fantastic for ideas. I love their use of colour. Colour is something we as a family are not afraid of, we embrace it! All of us dress colourfully, I always have done. I think it's my creative side coming out. I can never pick one favourite colour! I am inspired by the houses of friends and family. I love my uncle and aunts house, it's homey without being too cluttered and that's something I aspire to. I like to choose pieces and colours that actually mean something, say something about us, not just because they have a purpose. I like a mixture of Scandinavian clean lines and colour mixed with Cath Kidston English cottage chic (without the cottage!). Enjoy!

So! There we go, an idea of how we live in little ol' Clevedon! Hope you've enjoyed having a nosy! I know I love nosing around other peoples houses.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Middle of the road

I've had a lot of thoughts rumbling around my head recently (yes, really!) and they all stem from a "what am I good at?" kinda place. I'll be honest about why, even though it will make me sound quite pathetic and jealous. My friend Lise has started blogging recently and she is truly wonderful at it. I don't wish to take away from how good her blog posts are at all, because I love them. They are insightful, useful and just plain ol' funny! Her use of language is what sets them apart from the rest of the multitude of "mummy blogs". She's just fantastic. And I love reading whenever she posts.. but in truth, I am jealous. I've blogged for years in one form or another, and this blog has been going for over a year. I don't always post regularlly, sometimes there are gaps that last a few months... However, I suppose I always had this thought at the back of my mind that somehow people would love my blog posts and I would suddenly attract a huge amount of readers and people posting comments. It hasn't happened. I don't know why. Perhaps it's the frequency of my blog posts, the subjects, or my writing.. I don't know! More than likely I've not had much exposure. Lise's blog is quite rightly recieving a lot of attention. And that's great! I do honestly (and I mean honestly) feel very happy for her... but it's been bothering me as well.

Why am I doing this blog? Really, truly, is there much point about me rambling on on here if no one (or pretty much no one!) is reading. I know you could say "it's like a diary! It doesn't matter if anyone reads it or not, it's just a record of your thoughts and feelings at a certain time and a good way for you to look back on them". True. But I'm afraid I'd be lying if I said that satisfied me. I've never been very good at keeping a diary. Much like my attempts at novel writing, it would dry up pretty quickly. However, if I feel I'm writing for someone else to read, it spurs me on a little!

I think I have to accept that blogging is not my forte.. at least, not blogging for blogging's sake. Perhaps if I have something specific to blather on about my blogs might become more useful/interesting! So, this is what leads me on to my further ponderings. What am I good at? Let me think....

I'm creative, there's no doubt about that... But I'm not execptional. I can draw, I can play the piano (though I'm rusty these days!) and I can dance. But I don't stand out. Perhaps I'm just destined to be a bit "middle of the road"?!

I tried to take up crochet this year.. those who do read may remember me mentioning that around the new year mark, taking up a new hobby. Now, whilst I have not become the 'happy hooker' I'd hoped I'd become, I haven't given up on my hopes. I've not made anything, but I have completed a few swatches, and I have started up a stitch and bitch group with a couple of ladies I know. I suppose that's a sort of middle of the road success!! Even if I've not made something myself, I like to think that my friend Emma has succeeded in completing that cardigan for her daughter more quickly with the support of our meetings!

I think I'm worried that there's not much to me. It's difficult when you have a toddler and don't "work". There's very little that defines you. I suppose I'm worried about not having much to talk about or to bring to other peoples lives. So, your a SAHM are you? Whoopee!! Anyone can do that! What else can I talk about? PND? Mmmm, that's a conversation starter!! I don't even watch most of the TV programs other people watch!! I need something else in my life. Perhaps I should pick up some pencils and start sketching again....

One thing I think I truly am good at is making our house look good. I know colours.. I'm good at organising furniture and items around the house so they look their best. I can fit the world around me together. I am very very proud of our house. Perhaps I can post some photos of that and you, reader, can appraise me!! I'll post some at the end of this little tirade!

I suppose my problem has always been that I rely too heavily on the opinions of others to achieve self respect and these days the only person who gives me feedback is Ethan.. and sometimes his 'feedback' is very damning! (i.e. "don't look at me mummy! no like!").

I hope with all this ranting and raving I don't put off what readers I do have! All I can say is that if you are reading, I love to see your comments, it makes me so excited in a sad way!

Now, to trawl my laptop for house photos....

OK.. I got a bit bored/tired.. so I only found a few. Here's our entrance "hall" (read tiny space in which you enter the house!")

And here's our bedroom...

Those are the most recent house photos I have.. the rest are a bit out of date! Perhaps I'll pop around the house later and document it!

Well, that's about all I can ramble about for now.. it's 10pm. Time to enjoy my last few moments before bed... night all!

Friday 5 August 2011

Terrible Twos V Terrible Teens

A thought has been forming at the back of my mind this week... that perhaps the "terrible twos" are not unlike the "terrible teens". Lets consider the similarities;

Uncontrollable mood swings (read rage). Check on both accounts. I know Ethan suffers from this in spades at the moment. Sometimes I have no idea what he is raging about AT ALL. And I doubt even he does. I'm sure this also applies to teenagers.. I know how much I enjoyed being 'angst ridden' as a teenager and I know for a fact that I was a very 'good' teen in comparison to most.

Yesterday morning Ethan informed me "no look at me Mummy!" and if I even glanced at him out of the corner of my eye he would turn his head away screaming "no no NO" whilst writhing around on the floor.

Unusual/fussy eating habits. Check and check. Ethan has days when he is brilliant at eating but he is currently going through a difficult stage. If it isn't fruit or ice cream he is unlikely to eat it. He won't even eat the sponge part of a fairy cake, just lick the icing off and beg for "more cake" until another is provided just for him to lick the icing off again.. Now, as a teen I was terribly fussy when it came to food and eating. I had some very interesting habits including having to roll sandwiches into a cadbury's chocolate log type affair and swallowing them down in one bite to minimise their contact with airborne germs (yes, seriously!). Mind you, there was the time I went off sandwiches all together and started hiding them around my bedroom because I didn't want my mum knowing I didn't want them... She found them of course, a few weeks later (probably because they'd grown enough bacteria to allow them to walk out of the room themselves and have an impromptu counselling session with my mum in which they discussed how useless their existence was since I refused to eat them). When she confronted me with her discovery, in the way only a teen can, I denied all knowledge! Ethan has ready started hiding food... writing this reminds me that there are several days worth of half eaten apples under the TV unit and I really ought to get rid of them...

Not doing what they are told. Well, this goes without saying really, doesn't it! What teen (heck, what anyone!) likes to be told what to do.. None. In terms of a toddler, well, they may make out they don't know what you mean (they bloody well do!) but they know it's a lot more fun to push the boundaries. Just how far you can push mummy depends on several factors:

- How much sleep has mummy had? 5 hours + and she'll probably cope with a fair bit of your contrary behaviour.

- How much coffee has mummy had? 3+ mugs of strong coffee and you'll be able to push her.. Beware if she can't handle caffeine well or has had 6+ mugs because she'll probably fly the other way and be so jittery and hyped up you (the toddler) will end up voluntarily taking yourself to bed 7 hours early just to get out of the way!

- What level dosage are mummy's drugs? OK, I know this might not apply to many (or even most!) mums but I know there are a fair few more of us than you might think out there who owe their ability to cope to the SSRIs they swallow down every day (I know I do!).

Doing things they shouldn't do: This is a continuation of the above really, and of course all toddlers do this!! Generally I suppose they do these things because they don't know any better (whereas teens should, we hope!) although they soon realise how much fun it can be to get a rise out of mummy by doing something they shouldn't. In Ethan's case it usually involves dancing on top of the dining table, climbing from the bath into the basin, washing his toothbrush in the loo or paddling in a pool of his own urine. In the case of teens of course, 'things they shouldn't do' include booze, drugs and sex and toddlers (we hope!) would not be involved in any of those. Although it is not unknown for me to find Ethan sat in the recycling box in our garage drinking the dregs from beer bottles. God help him when it comes to alcohol. With me as an example I won't have a leg to stand on when it comes to lecturing him! Let's not mention the time I came home from a colleagues wedding wearing a table cloth due to my own clothes being saturated in vomit. Or the time my mum found me wondering the streets at 2am because I no longer remembered where I lived..

OK, enough of all this. It's all very tongue in cheek really, and I love my toddler dearly, I really do. And I'm sure I'll love him as a teen! It's just I hadn't imagined I'd be ignored by my child until he was at least 13....

Tuesday 2 August 2011


My friend Lise has a new blog and it's inspired me to get writing mine again... at least for a while! Or a day, who knows...

Does anyone else have a toddler who is obsessed with songs? I'm sure there are many.... but can they carry a tune? Ethan can sing so many tunes it's somewhat freaky. Tonight was beyond the norm even for Ethan. Just before bed I was the lucky test audience for his new song, "Twinkle Twinkle little Dinkle". I kid you not. Dinkle is his willy of course. The song was performed along with actions including the tugging of the aforementioned member resulting in what my brother used to refer to as a "strong willy". *Sigh*.

Staying on the subject of songs, Ethan has a new hobby - to request I sing a song about an object of his choice. This is testing even my knowledge of songs and music.. At bath time I was requested to sing a song about robots. Now, scanning my internal database of songs, I decided that the rap "Half Man, Half Machine" by Goldie Lookin' Chain was unsuitable. I came up with Robot Rock by Daft Punk. Anyone familar with this particular tune will know that there is very little to it lyrics wise, chiefly one line. "Rock, Robot Rock!" (and actually, Pete and I prefer to sing our own version, "Cock, Robot Cock!" so of course I had to ensure I didn't slip into that! Though considering the subject of Ethan's own songs, perhaps he would have preferred this version!). I soon got bored singing this one line over and over, but if you have a two year old, you'll know how long they like things to go on for... if only I'd come up with "I am not a Robot" by Marina and the Diamonds... At least I'd have had a bit more variety then!

Well, I'm going to get back to my red wine... If anyone reading this hasn't taken a look at Lise's blog, hop along here and you're guaranteed a chuckle!