Monthly Archives: May 2013

Run to your man!

I am a woman.

I am a strong woman.

I am a mother, partner, a female role model.

I work in the male dominated world of IT.

So when it’s suggested that there are things about the house that women need to be given confidence to do I get a little irritated.

When you live with someone, you do fall into roles, especially if one of you is the designated Stay At Home parent. Even if you don’t have that though, like us, you still have your jobs. A little list that each of you do to keep the house ticking over.

And if one partner leaves or is unavailable, then it can be daunting to have to take over their jobs.

But is there a question of gender division here? Should there be?

Neither my partner nor I can put up a shelf, and we’ll both have a crack at the Ikea flat packs before deciding it’s better if I take the kids away before the hammer gets a bit excited.

He gets all the exciting jobs looking after the neighbours computers because I was wise enough to plead ignorance when they asked why we have a large collection of machines (mostly mine!).

The cars are a bit of a difficult one. More often than not, he’ll sort them out, but I’m perfectly capable of phoning the garage myself. I’m also not bad at making a judgment as to where the issue is.  I spent three years helping an ex nurse his Jaguar back to health so know a bit about how a car works and what kind of sounds they make when they’re broken.

You see, these are things that anyone of any gender can do. We shouldn’t need encouragement.

We, as women, should definitely not be hearing, seeing, or ingesting the words “run to a man!”

We can and will do anything we need to in order to get by, men or not.

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Sharenting

This story begins a long time ago. Twenty years ago in fact.

When I was 12, I started secondary school, the schools in our area being the last to accept 11 year olds.

On the first day, we got to the school gates and I freaked out, refusing to get out of the car. I embarrassed my mother, lost the respect of my peers and gave myself a great opening scene for a NaNoWriMo novel.

I didn’t and still don’t know why I did this and the feeling I had back then follows me to this day. I have been known to drive for 6 hours, fail to find a parking space and just drive home.

In 1994 they didn’t diagnose social disorders or mental illness in kids (which again, made an excellent basis for a story.)

Anyway, my Mum would tell everyone she met the story about how I wouldn’t get out the car.

As if I wasn’t already ashamed enough.

To make it worse, my Aunt would chime in with the story of when I was 6 and clung to a lamppost outside the school because I didn’t want to go in after a Drs appointment.

Now, these stories were damaging to my self-confidence. Every time they were told, I felt that my family were trying to make me out to be the black sheep. The sympathy my mum elicited from them got her friends, people she could share with. The looks of abject disgust I got will stick with me.

Comments like “such a little bitch”, “you need to help your mum more” and “I’d have beat her from here until next Sunday.” accompanied the story right through my teenage years.

Then I had kids.

And found Twitter and blogging.

I finally understood why Mum felt the need to share this behaviour and why it got the responses it did.

Sharenting has been around for a long time, just the means have changed. These days, we can create a comedic post about our preschooler asking awkward questions and gain responses from sympathetic parents having had similar experiences. Back then, toddler tantrums were something which you pretended you didn’t see. After all, your kids were perfect angels.

Ok, so growing up it may have been damaging, but now I laugh about it. I talk about it freely.

And because of that incident, I expect these behaviours from my own kids and know from reading others’ experiences that it’s ok.

Through my intense frustration, I’ve found support and encouragement and even comedy in these moments which would otherwise be recounted with a snarl and horror.

Sharenting is important for the mental health of the parent, to empower them to talk about these experiences in an environment where they can express themselves without venom being spat directly at the child. If my mum had blogged about the car thing, I would have been embarrassed, hurt by some of the comments maybe, but I wouldn’t have had to see the disgusted looks, the horror that I behaved so terribly, the disappointment, as though I had shamed the entire family again. Perhaps my Mum would have got the support she needed as I grew up, becoming more and more damaged. She’d have had someone to talk to when she was feeling guilty because I was self-harming, taking meds and failing to thrive.

Perhaps it would have made us closer if I could read about her experience as an outsider, watching her child on self-destruct.

This is why I sharent – because we’re all just muddling through, doing what we can and, who knows, someone reading might just glean an ounce of hope from your post.

Parenting is bloody hard enough without isolating ourselves and feeling vilified for talking about our children.

Leave the baby alone

Ru and Oscar

Nom nom nom

And other choice phrases such as “No.” and “Get your foot off his head!” are just a few of the things that you, if you were my next door neighbour, would hear me say.

You might even go so far as to wonder whether it’s actually a recording which fires with alarming regularity. When you find out it isn’t a recording, you’ll wonder why the hell I DON’T record it because the kids might possibly take more (some as opposed to none) notice of a broken record.

Sometimes I wonder the same.

Oscar is so obsessed with his brother he is constantly touching and stroking him. This would be lovely if he didn’t also feel the need to occasionally try and remove Ru’s eyeballs.

Let’s add “Not in his eyes!” to the list.

Thing is, my kids are not very responsive. Rarely, I’ll get a sideways glance, sometimes even s dirty look.

Most of the time, I get ignored.:

Poke, Poke, Poke

“How many times do I have to tell you to leave the baby alone?”

Poke, poke

“Baby’s cryin'”

“He is now that you’ve put your fingers up his nose, yes.”

A come back

Aaand, we’re back!

“You’ve had yet another baby, haven’t you?”

Well, yes.

And I’m on maternity leave again.

But that’s not why I’m coming back. (It mostly is)

You see, even though I return as a mother of three, having survived a c-section and a rocky patch in our relationship, I still have things to rant about.

So, fuck yeah, I’m back.

Now I have three kids to talk about.

One is off to school soon (oh, thank goodness!), one starts preschool for one day a week after half term (again, thank goodness) and the third wakes me up with a shitty nappy at all hours of the night. Oh, and has given me a 10 inch scar across my pubic bone.

Thanks kiddo 😉

I’ve not got any less sweary.  I’m probably going to rant a bit.

I’ll try and keep to talking about my kids and things that affect their worlds rather than drifting off into my own confused little bubble of self-deprecation.

I WILL PIMP MY OTHER BLOG (Muddled Manuscript – go see it. I have lots of writing and “creative expression” [pretentious] stuff on it.)

Expect  –

Things.