My reasons why I don’t have Mum guilt

That feeling of mum guilt is something I think everyone feels once or twice in their lives as parents. However, I have learnt how to deal with my mum guilt (well most of it) by remembering the more challenging parts of parenting and reminding myself I should enjoy this guilt free time.

Here are my top 9 reasons why I don’t have mum guilt;

• Chicken Pox – We have had this three times in our house and I only have two children. The first time round it was when my eldest (Joe) was 3 and the youngest (Grace) was 6 weeks, we were contagious and house bound for about three weeks, it was a tough time.

• For the broken glass in the back door after I said “don’t throw stones”. Yes this happened but on the plus side I have been using this quite a bit. For example “Please don’t climb up there you might fall” he still climbs “do you remember that time when mummy said don’t throw stones and you broke the glass” he gets down and doesn’t climb anymore. Boom.

• The time I fished out a Lego head out of the toilet. When Joe was younger his reward chart toys were Lego mini figures and one day he dropped it down the toilet in his poo, he was so upset as he had worked really hard, I took a deep breath and fished that Lego head out.

• Nappies, something no one can avoid. How many nappies do you think you will change being a mum of two? I’m thinking 3650, that’s on average over 3 years, 5 nappies a day times 2 children.  

• The cancelled plans. When a child is sick everything gets cancelled and I’m not talking about a cold I’m talking about the sickness where they are contagious and you’re not allowed to take them anywhere. Every time we are going to a wedding the week before we have the discussion of who is going to stay with the kids if they are really ill (basically something Grandma can’t deal with), it usually comes down to which friend is getting married and who is the plus one partner.

• Public tantrums. For every tut, judgemental glance, comment, avoided cafe as you aren’t really welcome (they make it so narrow you can’t get the pushchair in) and every “cherish every moment” comment you get when you have been up since 4am and haven’t slept longer for 4 hours in a row for 5 years.

• For every bruise, hair pull, scratch to the face and surprise bundle that you encounter on a daily basis.

• For every swimming lesson that they have not listened to or have just walked off and had a shower (this use to be a regular occurrence!).

• Trying to get out of the house, this is mission impossible EVERY time. Socks, shoes are thrown about, tops are unzipped straight away after being put on and general un-cooperation goes on.

So if your feeling a bit of mum guilt just remember you deserve that time off whether it be 5 mins,  a commute or a weekend away…..Enjoy should enjoy it. 

How to parent like it’s the Christmas of 1986

The summer has well and truly left us but now it’s time to cosy up and get ready for Christmas. Forget Elf on the shelf, Ice skating and booking Santa visits in August (we have all done that once) here’s how I remember Christmas in the 80’s.

Stockings

Stockings should be knitted or your Dad’s football sock. This should be stuffed with “Smellies” bubble bath or even bath pearls shaped as various animals, stars and maybe something Christmas themed. A big tube of fruit pastiles, a selection pack of Cadburys chocolate bars including Fudge, Chomp and Wispa and of course a bag of chocolate coins. But let’s not forget that lone satsuma right at the bottom of the stocking. This can be added as an attempt to encourage some healthy eating on Christmas day.

Christmas Decorations

Now don’t hold back, every corner has to be covered. Strings of paper chains along the picture rails, shiny colourful snow flake strings from each corner of the room to the light in the center of the room. Homemade crepe paper doves stuck into the ceiling with drawing pins. Tinsel, tinsel and more tinsel on everything from banisters, door handles light switches, anything that can be given that Christmas touch with some tinsel. The tree can be an explosion of colour of small wooden brass bands, fake robins, knitted angels and loads of lights. Decorating the house can sometimes take a couple of days with constant additions appearing throughout the month of December.

Main present

The main present, the one thing they have had their eye on all year, the present that they have been secretly searching the house for months, working out the size and where you could of hidden it. They have been watching all your comings and goings for the past couple of months and any unusual behaviour has been analysed. There will always be constant discussion about the “main present” with siblings and making sure they have asked for something of similar value.

Christmas TV 

This is the one time of the year The Radio Times appears in the house. Hours are spent going through each day from when they break up from school and the calculations on how many films they could watch over Christmas. The excitement level used to be high as it was only four channels then and films were a rare treat.

Only Fools and Horses

Christmas day is not complete unless the whole family sits down with a drink (Cinzona, G&T or a lager shandy) in hand to watch the Only fools and horses Christmas special. Everyone should cram in the front room and if you are the youngest sibling you have no chance of getting on the sofa so the rug in front of the fire is yours (where you will heat up to temperatures close to boiling) and inevitably half way through a grandparent will start snoring.

Christmas Dinner 

The best meal you have seen all year with all the toppings and trimmings. A roast potato dash will commence, when the roast potatoes are this crispy and light you have to get in quick. Pigs in blankets, stuffing, turkey, pork and of course the humble sprout. I often think like the lone satsuma in the stocking it can be another failed attempt to eat healthy on Christmas day.

Tree present

Now even at Christmas the tree is feeling generous and will bear a gift to all that had celebrated Christmas day with it. The kind tree will bring gifts of books, hats, gloves and maybe some more “smellies”.

Boxing Day 

A breath of fresh air after all the indulgence, you can try and use as many of your new items as possible, hats, gloves, scarf and maybe even your “main present” of a bike and of course get through a couple of those Cadburys selection boxes for good measure.  A trip round the park then it’s off to a boxing day party round friends. This can involve a couple of families getting together eating the leftovers, watching films and playing darts. Games like Killer or beat the score can be enjoyed however it can be a little risky with kids throwing darts you need to have your wits about you!

So whatever your Christmas traditions are ENJOY!

Did someone say Pie? And sharing your most awkward parenting moments, I’m in.

I was recently invited to the Everything’s Pukka event in London, where host and fellow mum blogger Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka, revealed Pukka Pie’s new research about the most embarrassing and awkward moments children cause parents in the UK (132 every year to be exact).

It was a pie-filled, cocktail infused evening, where we were reminded that no matter how humiliating your day can be, no matter how red-faced your kids can make you, if you have a pie on your plate, everything’s Pukka. Life is too short to get caught up with the petty stuff so you might as well laugh it off.

I also got to taste Pukka’s new Posher range – available in two delicious flavours, Chicken, Leek and Pancetta and Steak & Porter Ale. In addition, they’ve recently launched their first ever vegetarian-friendly pie, the Veggie Tikka Masala with Chickpeas and Spinach. (Delish!)

The research revealed the most awkward moments to include pointing out how a stranger looks, saying un-pc things in public and or breaking something in a shop! As parents we need to be prepared at all times to be ready to laugh at these moments and celebrate that our children have their own little personalities.

Anna also shared some great tips for dealing with these awkward moments.

1. If you overhear your little one revealing private family information, simply exclaim to the recipient, ‘We were joking!’ and quickly laugh it off. The more attention you give it, the more you’ll dig a hole for yourself

2. When your child asks the inevitable awkward question that they’re too young to know, a simple white lie is your best friend. You’re only protecting them in the long run – don’t feel guilty!

3. Bear in mind that an awkward public experience is never far away – always keep an eye out for nearby toilets and exit points, you may need to make a quick getaway!

4. Always, always have spare clothes to hand – for you and your children. You never know when you might need them

5. Sometimes you just need to let it all out! Having a handy collection of words set aside that sound like swear words, like ‘duck’, will never go amiss!

The Pukka Pies research found that nine out ten parents don’t worry about these moments and carry on laughing and enjoying the ups and downs. Also 50% admitted to embarrassing their children in public by retelling their finest embarrassing moments when they are older.

Lindsay Filmer from Pukka Pies commented “As a busy mum I’ve experienced a fair few embarrassing moments – and so have my kids! I always find that sitting down with my family at mealtime after a crazy day is a great time to laugh about the days’ events.”

Pukka Pies is a family run business starting in 1963 in Leicestershire employing 350 locals who make a darn good pie! After tasting the new range (Steak and Porter Ale was my favourite) I will be serving them up to the family with seasonal veg and gravy, a perfect dinner on a winters night.

The new range is available at supermarkets nationwide, so give them a try next time you are doing the food shop, inevitably dealing with your own awkward parenting moments!

For more info visit www.pukkapies.co.uk

This is a sponsored post with Pukka Pies.

What if a nuclear attack actually happened, here’s my plan.

So this is not a particularly happy post but it’s life as we know it now.

As long as I can remember there has been the risk of a nuclear war happening but until recent events I have not thought about it properly.

So I was having a discussion with my husband the other night and if London suffered a nuclear attack, where we live would be in the heat zone and we would have four minutes to escape. We don’t have a basement and we won’t get all the kids in the car and manage to get anywhere safe so we decided we would spend those last four minutes having fun with our children.

First thing is I would forget about the time and enjoy those last four minutes and show no fear to my children. I want their last moments of life to be happy and want them to die knowing they are safe in our arms.  Obviously a family group hug would be ideal but knowing my children they aren’t going to stay still that long and it will end up with Grace on the naughty step. So I would let Joe and Grace have some chocolate (because we would be gone by the time the sugar rush kicks in) to see their chocolate face one more time, stick on some tunes and dance around the kitchen and end it on going for a group hug and then that would be the end of the Dibley-Rouse’s.

This is a very depressing thought but I don’t know if I would want to survive a nuclear attack. I don’t have any skills I can contribute to society, unless the human race needs anyone to teach them how to shimmy. I would say we had a good life, we all have tantrums (even us the parents) but we do laugh together and enjoyed watching us all develop into parents or small human beings. We have completed most of the to do list so far.

I don’t know what life would be like after a nuclear attack but it would be very different to how we live now and I’m not sure I want to live through that. All I can hope for that certain world leaders get nuked too so the survivors have a chance.

Jesus this is serious stuff right? let’s carry on as normal and hope for the best unless you can do anything to stop this then do it now!

 

 

 

 

This family does Center Parcs……Holland style.

We recently embarked on our annual trip to Center parcs in Holland. Now there are plus points going to a Center Parcs abroad as its a lot cheaper, the car trip and ferry is exciting for the kids (maybe not so much the parents) as you can treat it like a mini cruise.

So over the last four years of holidaying with children I have now accepted it’s not going to be relaxing, next year we are definitely going somewhere with a kids club! I brought these “This Mama does” milestones cards to capture the highs and the lows.

Scorchio/Rain rain go away – It definitely was not hot, but this actually didn’t really matter as when you are at Center Parcs there is loads to do inside and the trees are a good shelter, there is also nothing like whipping out your mum’s borrowed pac-a-mac in all of its purple patterned glory.

Happy Campers – Holidays are about doing stuff but sometimes everybody needs some “down time” so the iPad can be brought out, which in our house is a holiday treat.

Are we there yet? – The classic car trip to holiday but it all adds to the fun, the excitement building up in the car as you cruise through Europe listening to French radio (Joe fm). Even if the sat nav says 10 more miles add on an extra 7 miles for the detour round the small villages that the sat nav has sent you on to avoid that 30 second traffic jam.

Scream for Ice Cream – The whole family could scream for this but this year we were more scream for M&M’s that Joe and Grace enjoyed helping themselves to in the fridge door.

Picnic Party – No picnics on this holiday, the ground was too wet or covered in bugs so it was a packet of mini cheddars in the villa.

A bit of culture/Day Tripping – It would seem Grace is not on the blogging corporation band wagon yet and can not hold a card. We did visit a national park in Holland called De Hoge Veluwe where there is free bike hire, and a museum with Van Gogh paintings, obviously we didn’t get to go in there but the restaurant and play park were great.

Water babies – Joe and Grace enjoyed a jacuzzi bath every night and even made the seat bits into their own slide. I would like to say I enjoyed a jacuzzi bath but it was a bit loud and would have woken the kids as it sounded like a plane taking off.

And Chill – For about 43 mins then you end up falling asleep as you are so knackered but it is quite nice because you don’t have the daily things to do and that endless to do list can wait.

Living the dream – Having a BBQ is living the dream for Joe, so off we went to the nearest town to purchase a disposable BBQ for €1.99 and Joe’s dream came true.

No washing up – We did venture out one night to the buffet that meant no washing up and the chocolate fountain and the ice cream machine were amazing.

This is not relaxing – We waited for 15 mins with the mini carousel going round and round but they loved it, even though myself and husband where on catch Grace when she tries to jump off duty.

Happy Hour – Clearly we were not going to be taking advantage of the happy hour but breakfast was our happy hour it consisted of bacon, sugar, honey, lemons and blueberry pancakes.

Holidays are go – When your kids go on safari and try to drive a small jeep round a dirt track, everyone’s patience was tested but actually pleasantly surprised and I think Joe might be a better driver than me.

 

 

 

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Adopt a cow? Yep you “herd” it right.

 

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Yep that’s right the guys over at Cadbury’s UK have started a campaign to adopt one of the cows that supplies the delicious milk that goes into Cadbury’s chocolate buttons. Cadbury’s conducted some research and found that some city kids believed a cow was either the size of a double decker bus or as small as a cat. In response to this they made a robotic cow with two puppeteers inside and called her “Buttons”.

Myself and Joe were invited to meet Buttons and she was pretty amazing and maybe a bit too realistic for Joe. He was a little unsure but after some careful persuasion with actual chocolate buttons he did get a bit closer.  Buttons is an animatronic life sized cow that a team of 20 prop specialists have created working 500 hours to prefect Buttons and she really was amazing.

 

During our visit we got to participate in a Pi – Cow – So (Clever, eh?) drawing class with the renowned artist Rose Blake, she had created an easy step by step guide on how to draw Buttons. It was very similar to an art class with easels surrounding Buttons as she posed to be drawn.

So pop over to https://adoptacow.cadbury.co.uk/ to get the kids involved in adopting a cow, there are loads of facts and games to play as well. There is also a chance to win an overnight trip to meet your adopted cow!

Sorry, I’m really shit at goodbyes

So for some reason I’m really shit at saying goodbye. The end of an era fills me with fear, not because I haven’t enjoyed our time together at school, work or a holiday, it’s just I don’t want to do it and cry and when I say cry I mean sob like a baby.

For example I recently left my job, not to go to another job but to look after the family full time, so there was no reason to be nervous right? Firstly when I handed in my notice I was trying to be all adult about it but needless to say I sat down in front of my bosses and cried even before I had actually said why, they thought someone had died. From that moment I wanted to slip away as if I never existed at work. This wasn’t because I didn’t like the people I worked with, quite the opposite it was because it was like leaving my second family. So as my “low key” leaving do approached I dreaded it, with tears welling up on the train on the way in and walking to work for the last time. Anyway the day came and after an emotional outburst in the pub the week before (again it could of been like someone had died) I felt getting a bit tiddly woo was the way forward. Previous to this I had made a quick “leaving do” playlist on spotify that I thought summed me up. To start with “Simply the best” by Tina Tuner (nothing like a bit of self praise) “Working 9-5” by Dolly Patron, however as a parent you actually work 5-9. As the average age in my office is 23 and the choker was making a big come back I put some “cool” tunes on there, well what I consider cool anyway like “Waves” by Robin Schulz and finally for a bit of inspiration and to make it slightly liberating  “Go your on way” by Fleetwood mac. By 6:43pm it was like that scene out of Bridget Jones diary at the Christmas party with the lighters, with people swaying and me looking like a dick.

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How to parent like its the summer of 1986

Ahh the 80’s, my childhood, I don’t remember endless day trips, we just hung out in the park, did DIY bonfire nights and renditions of various musicals, so here are my top tips on how to parent like the 80’s.

Head to the park

No need to pack up the car simply get a bat and ball and head to the park. It’s free and there is loads of room to run, run, run. Various games can include Piggy in the middle, Catch (so simple but SO good), you could pretend you were Boris Becker and play “Tennis” all day. Rounders was always a favourite, it’s not summer without a jumper for a stump and a plastic cricket bat and who doesn’t love shouting OUT!

When the days were not so bright whip out a vinyl of your children’s favourite musical.

Joseph and the Technicolor Coloured dreamcoat is a good choice (this came out in 1991 but you get my drift). All day  they will spend preparing a master piece obviously serving justice to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. This would also provided some evening entertainment for the whole family who would be forced to sit through the “hits” of show with your child appearing from the curtains that covered the french patio doors (now  bi-folds!)

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Stop sibling rivalry: How to get yourself noticed as the 2nd child

When you are the second child things are tough, you are sharing your parents with another equally needy (in different ways) sibling. Here is a 16 months old top tips on how to get noticed as the second child.

  • Be a good sleeper at first, this will lure your parents into thinking they are totally winning at the parenting game. Anyway as you are the second child they won’t get up to every sniff and snuffle as they know you are fine, so just grab yourself a jellycat and snuggle up. Sleeping also gives your parents energy to do lots of fun things, parents are much more fun when they are not staring into space most of the day and shaking from the caffeine intake.

 

  • Build up a bond with your sibling or siblings as this makes  your life a lot easier and your parents will notice you more as you are hanging out with the one that they focus all their attention on.

 

  • Spend the first five months in your bouncy chair observing what your sibling does on a day-to-day basis, ensure you note their weaknesses. For example my parents clearly would love my brother to sit down and colour and create beautiful artwork worthy of framing and becoming part of the family home, so once you are fit enough start showing an interest in colouring, showing off you ability to sit down and hold a crayon and make a mark on the page.  Your parents will think you are genius and start muttering things like “look she might be a sit down and colour kind of child”

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My letter……

Dear Anna,

I’ve been meaning to write to your for 36 years but I’ve been brushing it aside but now I am a mother of two I think I am starting to appreciate the pain my parents and family have gone through and still going through when you died of cot death at 3 months old.

We grew together from one egg so we were carbon copies of each other but apparently I was the loud one and you were the quiet one that would roll your eyes at my dramatic ways, by the way I’m still pretty dramatic.

Obviously when you died I didn’t really know what had happened but as I grew up I would always get your memory box out of the top of wardrobe where our mum had told me  I could look at it  at anytime and I did.  I would so very carefully take your belongings out and lay them on the bed, looking and wondering what it could of been like being the “the twins” growing up. Would we of had  the same personality as we looked the same?

I use to mention you all the time to people I met but gradually over time the awkward conversations were too much and especially as when I became a mum I did n’t mention it as I didn’t want to scare anyone about the unthinkable of  losing a child. I use to cover up the awkwardness with comments like “could you imagine two of me?”, but obviously two of me would of made things complete.

Now I have two children of my own I often see a trait in them that I can’t relate to a member of the family and I think maybe this is you?

I still check my children are breathing when I go in and check on them, the first thing I look for is their little lunges moving and I have even been known to end up waking them up, a sacrifice I’m willing to take to make sure they are breathing.

You are always in our hearts and we remember the day your died every year and never forgotten on our birthday.

see you again one day

your twin sister

Jeni xxx