Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Thursday, 14 February 2013

....And Goodnight.

All good things, so they tell me, come to an end.

The same is true of mediocre parenting blogs.

This will (probably, unless I change my mind) be my last post on this blog. There are a couple of reason for this. One is the second child thing. The Littl'un is wonderful, absolutely fantastic and I am besotted with her. But I keep finding I don't have all that much to say about her, or rather, about the process of bringing her up. It's all, you know, she does some stuff, I do some stuff, we make it to the end of the day, and then the week, and I don't really have anything to say about it. She hits some milestones, eventually I'll notice; she misses some others, I know she'll get there in the end. Blah blah blah. S'all good. Apart from when it's not good, and I think about having a whinge, and realise there's nothing to whinge about that I haven't whinged about already, so I don't. And The Big'un, while still immensely good value (particularly in her self-penned little ditties, all of which include the word "today" said in a very broad Geordie accent, and her imaginary friends, one of which is called Hevs), does not do new stuff very often, so there's less to talk about there too.

So, I have fewer child-things on my mind, but that, as people who know me will not at all be surprised to learn, does not mean that I don't have things I want to bleat on about. More and more, I find myself wanting to air my opinions on grown-up issues, things that don't have anything to do with naughty corners and Organix crisps and poo reward charts. And this doesn't feel like the right place to air them. This blog has always been a place for me to bore on about "parenting", as much as I hate the term and feel it bears no resembleance to anything I actually do. It's been, as the name suggests, about me as a mother, and a vaguely rubbish one at that. Having got both my kids, somehow, through babyhood though, I now find myself less and less willing to *be* Bad Mammy. I will always be a mum, and it is a massive part of what now, for better or worse, defines me. But the other things that I am are asserting themselves a bit more - I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. An Excel geek. A Twitter addict. A feminist (although one who still doesn't quite understand what intersectionality is). A person who wants to rant and rave about some of the things that happen in this world. This is not the right place to be all these things.

I'm fairly sure I will start a new blog in time, where I can say different things, more things. I can't imagine not writing now. Which is thanks to this blog, and to you lot, for reading it and saying lovely, lovely things about it. Thank you, all of you. All of the support when I've been whingeing about stuff has been invaluable, and made me feel so much less alone, and a bit less crap. I hope that you've enjoyed reading it even a little bit as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I'm feeling a little bit sad knowing that I'm about to stop typing, which is faintly ridiculous, as I am perfectly free to start typing again whenever and wherever I want. On the internet, I mean. I can't go and type anywhere, as I have to stay in the house, or I'll get arrested for abandoning my children. Oh look, I appear to be talking complete bollocks. A sure sign that it is time to wrap it up.

Goodbye all, and thank you once more.

This is Bad Mammy, signing off.

Sweet dreams xxxx

Sunday, 10 February 2013


OK, here is the sleep post. It may be slightly hysterical, as we are in the middle of a crap-sleep phase, but I need something to do while Husband watches Top Gear, so here we go.

You may have noticed that every now and then, I make vague references to sleep problems without ever going into what they actually are. This has been because I haven't been able to even think about them without wanting to sob uncontrollably, but it means that I can't look back over this blog and check what they were, so this might not be the most coherent account of anything ever. Because normally I'm all about the coherence, obvs.

I have not been blessed with brilliant sleepers. It could have been worse, much worse. I know this, because I was a horrible sleeper and I honestly don't know how my mother didn't kill me. But it's been bad enough. Up until recently, I hadn't had more than 3 nights sleep in a row for about 3 years. And I'm not being greedy - by a full night's sleep, I mean 6 straight hours without having to get out of bed to put a boob or a dummy or a glass of water in a small person's face, or to argue about whether or not 3am is an acceptable time to go to the theatre. We've had the phase where The Big'un wakes up shouting for me, then says "NO!" to every suggestion of what might be wrong or what I might do to help and flails her arms in my face until I have to remind myself that although you might slap an incoherent adult awake, it is absolutely not acceptable to do that to a three-year-old. We've had the phase where most nights saw us watching BabyTV at 2 in the morning with a completely wide-awake Littl'un. I do not believe that we have seen the back of any of these phases for good.

Unsurprisingly, this kind of thing makes you TIRED. In time, you do kind of get used to surviving on no sleep. Getting a full 8 hours now is actually kind of a shock to the system. But while I can survive on little sleep, there are days when I can't do much more than that, and things suffer. And one of those things is entertaining my children. That's one of the worst things about the disturbed nights: they make the days crap as well. Even firing on all cylinders, I am not one of these get-up-and-go-and-join-groups-and-do-messy-play-and-have-adventures kind of mothers. When I'm tired, I'm beyond crap. I cannot muster up any enthusiasm for anything harder than putting CBeebies on and waiting until it's bedtime again.  Which of course makes them grumpy and bored, which makes the day even harder. It's a rubbish cycle to get into, and some days I manage to have a word with myself and snap out of it and Do Stuff, but very often I don't.

The other thing that really, really sucks about sleep problems is how much it makes you feel like a failure. A warning  - if you ever find yourself with a child who won't sleep, you might think that asking other parents, in real life, or on a parenting website, is a good thing to do. In some ways it can be - you can very often find sympathy, and people who can suggest things you might not have tried. But you are also going to find a whole bunch of implications, real or imagined, that this is ALL YOUR FAULT. It will be your fault for not leaving them to cry, thus making them realise they can manipulate you just for the fun of it. It will be your fault for leaving them to cry, robbing them of the security of a parent who always responds to their needs, and teaching them to be helpless in the manner of a Romanian orphan. You weren't patient enough, weren't strong enough, didn't read the right book, and shouldn't really be whingeing if you're not willing to put the work in, and what did you have kids for if you can't cope with the lack of sleep?

I must say that, if I think about it properly, most people don't really say that. But it feels like they're thinking it. Because kids are supposed to "sleep through", aren't they? Tiny babies, they're allowed to wake up, but once they pass 6 months or so, you should be putting them down and not having to think about them again until the morning. Isn't that right? And if that's not happening, then you've got to be willing to do whatever it takes to "fix" it.

I can't fix it, I don't know how. All the approaches that have been recommended to me involve a lot of patience, resolve and consistency. I have very low reserves of these. They are even lower between the hours of midnight and 5am. My younger daughter, however, has seemingly endless reserves of resolve and screaming, and is willing to use them if she deems it necessary. She is not above deliberately smacking her head off her cot, or trying to climb out. Perhaps I could win the battle of the wills, eventually, but not without considerable, considerable distress to everyone in my house, and possibly even my street. It is not worth it, not to me. Things are not, yet, *that* bad.

I can't pretend to be OK with it either, though, like those who chirp "all babies sleep through in their own time", as if this is a developmental phase I should be relishing just as much as climbing in boxes and trying to eat their own fist. It's rubbish and I want to whinge about how it's rubbish. This is where I think most of my feelings of failure come from. I am not strong enough, either to fix it or to just suck it up. Is that OK? Can I opt out of the quest for the Holy Grail of Parenting that is a decent night's kip? Can I feel comfortable with the decision I've made about what to do (ie whatever gets me back to bed in the minimum amount of time each night), and still be unhappy with the consequences of that decision (being tired and grumpy all the time)? And can I get another coffee over here please?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Moving on Up

I got the next size of baby clothes down the other day (and by "got", I mean "sent husband into the loft for, then had minor disagreement over the existence of a second box, so sent him back up and refused to let him come down until he had fished said box out from a mouldy car seat and three years worth of Theatre Studies notes"). Today I finally managed to get them all put away in The Littlun's drawers.  In truth, the skinny little Littl'un could probably get a good couple months more wear out of her current size, but I am bored of looking at them all, so the poor little love is destined to spend the forseeable future with her (blessedly different) trousers falling down around her knees.

So I spent a chunk of this morning sorting drawers while the children played with empty nappy boxes and argued over blankets. It was weird. Not the arguing, that's par for the course and I'm not sure I tuned most of it out anyway. But the outfits. The clothes I was putting away seemed to be the clothes of a little girl. There were outfits I identified as "favourites", that I recall there being screaming fits over because The Big'un wanted to wear them to nursery and would not accept that they were in the wash. I folded the top and trousers that The Big'un wore to come and meet her little sister for the first time, whereupon she promptly decided the baby was thirsty and tried to share her beaker of water. I'm not sure I'm ready to put these clothes on my teeny baby.

Except, of course, she's nothing of the sort. She's a walking, kind-of-talking, fruit-devouring, cheese-demanding proper little toddler. I really should get my head around this.

There is no point to this charming little anecdote, other than the fact that it freaked me out a little bit. But on a related note, when I did put the clothes away, I stacked them in rows, rather than piles, so you can see everything, in accordance with number 18 on this list of "Life Hacks to Simplify Your World". Mind. Blown.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Oh well..

I promise, I really did have a post half-written in my head. It was going to rock your worlds.

It was about sleep, again. But instead of another big whinge, it was going to be a look back over some of the sleep issues we've had, and how I felt about them, and was going to be insightful and marvellous. It was the post that I hadn't been able to write while in the middle of them, and after getting a couple of weeks of relatively unbroken nights, I finally felt like I could write it without weeping.

But then they started being a bit rubbish again, and all my calm and measured perspective has gone out of the window. So no blog post. Bet you're all devastated.

I am actually struggling for inspiration a bit at the minute. I know my child-things are meant to be my inspiration, but they're actually being quite nice at the minute, and I always find them harder to write about when they're being nice. And I think I am running out of ways to talk about them being horrible too. So if anyone has any suggestions of things I should write about, or ways in which I should write about them, then please do share, and I shall split the profits, of which there are none, with you.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013, everyone! Hope it's working out OK for you so far.

I have a post half-written in my head, which I'm sure will make it on here eventually and will be all kids of awesome, as per. Until then, I would just like to explain that my absence on here can be blamed partly on Christmas, but mostly by the fact that I have replaced  my unhealthy addiction to parenting forums with a possibly slightly less unhealthy (although that's entirely up for debate) addiction to Twitter. I'm reading lots about feminism, which is good. There are more words that I don't understand, but fewer arguments about who should have folded their pushchair on the bus.

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Rest Is As Good As A Change

You might have noticed, if you are particularly deprived of more interesting things to think about, that I haven't written much lately. Part of this is because of, you know, Christmas and stuff. But mostly it's because I have spent the last few weeks at what has felt like the very edges of my patience, energy and sanity, and Lord knows it has not been funny or interesting, and I wouldn't want to put you through reading my whinges about it. I have been really starting to question my abilities as a parent, and feeling like something must be DONE about it, to make it all better.

It turns out, that the thing that needed to be done was going out and drinking several over-priced cocktails. Who would have thought?

It was both more than that, and not really more than that. I had a work night out on Wednesday, which involved leaving the house at 4.30 pm (and then watching as the bus sailed past me and having to run for it while wearing high heels and miraculously not falling over and breaking my ankle. This has nothing to do with anything, but I am proud of it), going out for drinks and food and then more drinks, going home to bed, and then my lovely lovely lovely husband taking the girls away and leaving me in bed until 10.15.

And that was all I needed. A chance to properly relax, just for one day, not even that, and not worry about anyone or anything but myself, and whether I was ready to return to gin-drinking after a rather disastrous experience at V99 which resulted in me being sick all over my jeans. To stay in bed until I felt like getting up, instead of when small people start demanding Cheerios. To just have some time off.

I feel at peace with the world again now (albeit a little queasy remembering that teenage gin adventure). These last two days, I have been enjoying my children again, and when they play up, as they are wont to do, I feel able to deal with it calmly and rationally, instead of either yelling like a maniac or sobbing in despair.

In the words of Jason Bourne (book, not film), "Rest is a weapon". If you can equip yourself with it, do it. If you can give it to someone else, do it. And if you find yourself in Alvino's this Christmas, have a Raspberry Collins.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

My Daughter, Master Storyteller.

"Once upon a story about a poor penguin called Peppapig. He got found by a big red owl, and they saw the sun in the sky and they saw the stars in the sky and they saw the moon in the sky and they saw the sky in the sky and a flower came out of the ground and they were happy and that was the end of the poor penguin called Peppapig."