Tag Archives: memories

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.

Food

I do not do cooking. I have an up and down relationship with food.  OH cooks.  I do it occasionally but more often than not OH gets in and cooks dinner.  I like to imagine he enjoys it.

This was me cooking for myself.

Veggie burgers, rice, peas and bread.

Functional nom.

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Tea party

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We found out we were having a baby girl at 20 weeks. 

Well, they tell you it looks like a girl because boys can tuck it up between their legs and look like girls.

This is OH, BIL and Cousin 2.  She is teaching OH the fine art of consuming imaginary tea, cakes and beer at a tea party circa 2009.

Stafford

In erm…oh crap I can’t remember…2008 (?) our lovely friends got married.  There were lots of photos.  I was in some of them and ruined them.  I was pretty skinny and quite twatty looking.   I have self-image issues.  Moving on.

Then they moved all the way to fucking Stafford.

North of north.

I am terrible at being away from home.

I become annoying and just need my own company.  I get homesick.  I need to poo on my own loo (thank God for that How Clean Is Your House book.). I neeeeeed to be able to have my own timetable and be in control and eat all day not have set meals and all the other bad habits I have. 

Anyway, we went to see them.  I was pregnant.  It was hot.  I needed to pee every fucking five seconds.  I was grumpy and annoying and they were great.
We went to Trentham Gardens:

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It was a lovely day out. 

Party time

Borrowing photos from Facebook probably shouldn’t be allowed but I only have a set of pictures of other people from this party so I’ve resorted to cropping one of myself from facebook.   This is a representation of a set of pictures:

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I look a little bit insane.  I’m also 18 weeks pregnant here and felt huge even though unless you knew how skinny I was before you wouldn’t be able to tell I was expecting at all.

Anyway, this party.  It was the birthday of one of the guys I used to work with.

One of my friends got very drunk and puked sambuca in our toilet which made me hurl.

It was a good night.

Doing it all at once

When I fell pregnant, we weren’t really expecting it.

Yes we were trying for it but we didn’t really believe it could happen.

As I got fatter though, we realised that our living situation wasn’t ideal and that we would have to move before the baby was born so we started house hunting.

In order to remember the houses we viewed, we took pictures.  Or tried to when we remembered.

This was one of the bedrooms:

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Yes, they had left an old tumble drier in the corner of the room.

How not to do it.  This particular house was a bit of a building site actually and not great for the price. 

Then we viewed my great aunts house.

My great aunt died of Ovarian cancer the day after Jade Goody died.

Her last words were “I just want to be with Bert.” (Her husband and my great uncle who passed away.)  She was a very strong and brave woman and fought even when they told her there was nothing they could or would do because of her age.

Her house was ideally situated for work, it had the right number of bedrooms and had been well looked after.

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It had masses of storage space but sadly was outside our budget.

The house was left as my great aunt left it, which as you can see meant that it continued to look lived in.

Don’t get excited – it’s an old picture

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Recently, as part of my get-the-fuck-organised drive I’ve been trying to sort out my million and one stashed pictures and get them uploaded so I don’t have to worry about losing them forever if hardware fails.  Which it does. Regularly.

So, last year my blog was lacking images.  Only an average of three images were uploaded a month.  Now we can’t have that when I have approximately 5000 images from the past two years lurking about so I’m bringing them to you, each one with a little bit of waffley back story much like this.

The first one (ie this one) is pretty self explanatory.

The pee stick that heralded the start of my adventure in parenting.

It was December 28th 2008.  I had spent Christmas eve drunk on wine with a ciggy hanging out of my mouth constantly.  I had had a sudden drunken thought that evening – “I shouldn’t be doing this as I’m pregnant.” But I brushed it off because I think all kinds of crazy shit after a glass of red.

Then I had spent Christmas day stuffing my face and drinking pomeau in the kitchen away from the children.  There was a forehead thermometer and we were all being checked.  Green if your temperature is normal, amber if you’re a bit too hot and red if you should probably be in bed keeping your bloody lurgy to yourself.

Everyone else was green.  I was amber.

I had another drunken thought.

Then I finally braved the pee stick.  After months and months (18 of them!) of trying and failing, I didn’t expect the instant positive.

I cried hysterically and called to OH “you had better come and see this Daddy.”

The bleeding started on New Years Eve.  I did not have an easy ride.

Anyway, it all worked out.  She was fine and is now a lively two year old.