Pay it forward

A waitress in Wagamama just made me cry!
To clarify: it was in a good way with a really lovely act of kindness.

I’ve been shopping in the Trafford Centre which has one of those massive dining areas with lots of fast food options round the edge. I really didn’t fancy a McDonalds or a Spud-u-Like, or fighting for a seat, or being glared at for taking up a table for 4 when it’s just me. You get the picture. So I decided to treat myself and go to Wagamama. I love their food and their smoothies and it was relatively quiet. But usually I find eating alone takes a bit of courage, or at least a book to hide behind!

I was feeling brave enough but once seated I started to feel that self-conscious urge to get my phone out so I don’t have to look at anyone or acknowledge my lone-eater status.

Then I decided not to give in to that uncomfortable tradition. Instead to be confident and just really enjoy my food and surroundings. And I really did. It was kind of liberating to just relax and smile and think for a while, and not care about anyone else.

When it came time to pay my bill I got talking to my waitress about eating alone and how she also tends to hide behind a laptop or a book. I told her about this blog, where I talk about worrying less and me trying not to care what other people think so much. She was so supportive and said that she’d have a look at the blog and that she’d like to pay for my meal.

I was absolutely gobsmacked!! You hear about these lovely acts of kindness but now it’s happened to me it made me tear up.

I went back to her as I was leaving and thanked her again and she said, “no problem just pay it forward”.

So then I’ve been finishing my shopping and wondering how to do that. How could I pay that kindness forward. Eventually the answer felt obvious, to find another woman eating on her own, congratulate her for having the confidence to enjoy a meal for one, and buy her lunch for her.

So that’s what I’ve just done. And a lovely lady called Christine in Yo Sushi was kind enough to accepted my gesture. (I should add that approaching a woman on her own and offering to buy her lunch is also a tad nerve wracking!! I hope you weren’t too frightened by me Christine!)

She’s agreed that she will also pay it forward to another lone-eater. I hope she does, and I hope whoever that lady is will feel how I feel right now… That as Unbalanced as we may all be sometimes, women (and men!) are usually kind and supportive of each other. Whether it’s a random act of kindness, a compliment or just a simple smile, we can really make someone’s day.

So here’s to enjoying a meal for one. And here’s to all the wonderful people out there who’ve created a random act of kindness. I’m looking at you Liz, my lovely Wagamama waitress. Thank you!!

If you’ve been involved in a Random Act of Kindness or Pay It Forward type of thing, I’d love to hear about it. Please tell me.

UPDATE: Christine got in touch! 

” I was the lucky recipient of lunch!!!! I was so touched by the gesture – it really really made my day!! It was great to meet you and thank you once again. I paid the act of kindness forward and bought a mum and son on the next counter an afternoon tea cakey treat. They were as thrilled as I was and promised to keep the chain going.

Thanks again – you were a little ray of sunshine for me today xx “

What a lovely day.

Starting school

My top tips for parents with kids starting school.

You’ve done all the practical stuff and your little one is ready their first day at school. But this is just the beginning, and YOU need to be prepared for what comes next.

Here are a few things I wasn’t expecting:

1. Uniform and shoe destruction
Treasure those cheesy photos of your kid’s first day at school (mandatory that they are standing by a door – why is that?). Soon you’ll look back and realise that was the last time your kid looked remotely smart.

School uniforms seem to soak up everything. By the first half term those clothes will be stained, stretched, washed-out colours and may have the odd hole. And if you have a boy who keeps the same shoes for more than a term you have my respect. Fuck knows what they do in the playground but it destroys leather.

2. Kids can’t remember ANYTHING
You’ll be desperate to hear about their day but don’t be surprised if after a few days, your kid (who you usually can’t shut up), decides that their only response to all questions is “I can’t remember”, even when they are still within the fucking school gates.

They may remember what they had for lunch.
That’s all you get.

3. You need to remember EVERYTHING
You’d better have a good memory or a good note-taking system because on the rare occasions your kids do tell you about their day  they expect you to remember every detail.

There’s an army of people now at the centre of their universe that you have never met. As well as their Teacher and around 30 kids you could hear stories about the Head, Deputy, Teaching Assistants, lunch time supervisors, people who come in to do sports activities, people who come in to hear readers and all sorts more. You will not have a frigging clue who is who. Just smile and nod.

Then throw in remembering when they need a PE kit, a costume, a prize for the raffle, money for Children in Need, blah blah blah, and your brain may start to spin.

You won’t be alone. The playground is full of parents working out how they can make an acceptable Easer Bonnet from things they can find in their kitchen drawer, before the parade happens at 11 o’clock. We’re all in this together. It’s fine.

4. Your new weekend schedule
Parents struggle to establish a clear etiquette for who to invite to their kid’s birthday party, and many resort to inviting the whole class. Yes, it’s not only teachers who have to cope with 30 little angels, you do too. And at parties they add sugar!

There are so many of these parties you may start to say that classic cliche of “My kids have a better social life than I do!” and then cry into your Chuckle Chimps Play Centre coffee cup when you realise that it’s not just a saying, it’s the fucking truth.

5. Biff and Chip
These are characters in a very common reading scheme. You must NOT giggle at the innuendo of character names when your child is earnestly concentrating on phonetic domination.

Whilst you can revel in the magic of your kid learning to read (and it is magic, because English words just don’t follow the rules), it’s OK to acknowledge the mind numbing boredom you may feel when you child brings home 29 books in a row where the most exciting thing to happen is ‘Pat ran’ and ‘Sam sat’.

6. Labelling EVERYTHING
Once you’ve labelled everything they wear you can be nice an smug. No way suckers! There’s always more.

Taking in ‘show and tell’ stuff, a costume for the Christmas play, a cake tin filled with ‘home baked’ goods for the Summer fair, etc etc. If you want it to come back you have to label it.

Get some sticky labels and a permanent marker and learn to write on very small things in very small writing. If you’ve given your kids long names, this is where you’ll start shortening them.

7. A house full of ‘Art’
If you thought baby toys had ruined your beautiful adult house, get ready for this shit storm of craft-based crap. They glue, write, draw and model most days, and the best if it gets stapled to a classroom display, while the rest is brought home to you, full of pride and a desire to turn every wall and surface of your home into a gallery of their masterpieces.

They also get school projects that you, yes you, have to help them with. And school encourage you to ‘be as creative as you like’. Brilliant if you are a crafty type. Sheer, glue-filled hell if you are not.

My advice. Get a big box, call it a ‘special school memories box’ and dump all that shit straight in there. Perhaps in a couple of years you can look back at it with teary emotions, or just laugh at the memory of how a stick with a piece of string cellotaped to it’s middle was supposed to represent their favourite character from a book. If only either of you could remember which book. Very unlikely it was Biff or Chip anyway.

Offended!

Those who know me will tell you that I’m not easily offended. But watching Channel 4’s new dating show, ‘Naked Attraction’ made me feel like Mary Whitehouse.

If you haven’t seen the show, the idea is that a single person gets to see six potential mates before choosing one to go on a date. The difference, (of course you can see what’s coming – not a pun… yet) is that the contenders are all naked. And there’s actual science bits where graphics and a voice-over explains why our primitive brain is naturally wired to find certain attributes, such as strong thighs, to be attractive to those seeking a mate.

So far I’m OK. This could actually be interesting I thought. I bit like Big Brother when it first started. If I go beyond the obvious voyeurism, this could be psychological education. It’s not Channel 5 after all.

Each of the contestants is behind a different colour screen and henceforth known as ‘Green’ or ‘Pink’ etc. The screens then reveal the naked people from the bottom up, starting with waist-down, full-frontal glory.

The episode I saw was a male Picker, was choosing from six female colour-coded Contestants. The screen goes up and we are now eye level with an assortment of Minge-Master-Pieces. I say this because they were all fully groomed and presented in different coloured frames. None of these ladies was showing off her natural, bushy Lady Garden. Not even a well manicured lawn. Five of them were completely bald, and I would describe Number 6 as having ‘a neat gravel border’. I commend her for being the only one to at least acknowledge there was once a garden there.

But now we approach the part where I got offended. The host asked the picker what he thought, and if he liked what he saw. And he was happy. He pointed to the gravel and said “That’s as much hair as I allow”.

Allow!!!

There are many words that went through my head at that point and most of them have the same meaning as Lady Garden but have fewer letters.

What an absolute…. xxxx!

Funnily enough there was no mention of science or primitive attraction during this section. But I had a primitive urge to tie a very tight knot in his garden hose.

I thought we’d moved beyond judging people by what they look like, but apparently not. It’s HER garden. SHE can choose what she does with it.  We all have preferences but are we happy to accept people actually reject a person based on the amount of grass (or gravel) on their front lawn?

Ladies, grow what you want down there, trim it, shape it, or remove it. Hell, put a picket fence round it if you want. Sod what anyone else thinks.

Holiday packing

Packing for a holiday: Women vs men (or just me vs my husband..?)

ME…

One week before holiday

  • Start mentally packing, putting things to one side in my wardrobe

3 days to go

  • Start wearing old crap underwear so I can save my least grey stuff for packing (not sure why I need to to only take my best knickers away).
  • Become laundry obsessed. Even more than usual. Everything must be washed NOW in case I decide to pack it. 
  • Pack my toiletries bag.

2 days to go

  • Freak out because I’m going to a party tonight and nothing in the ‘won’t be taking these away’ section of my wardrobe seems acceptable. Try on everything in the hope that it has suddenly become suitable. 
  • Go shopping and get over excited by ‘Travel Sized’ bottles of everything. Spend 10 minutes deliberating if it’s OK to buy 50ml versions for £1 when 200ml is £1.50. Find empty travel bottles in the next aisle. They are also £1.50. Kick myself for being so indecisive. Return to mini bottles and and buy mini everything. 
  • Buy a new pair of shoes I don’t really need.

Day before holiday

  • Choose the clothes I definitely want to take, attempting to achieve the coveted ‘capsule’ set where everything goes with everything (who am I kidding?). 
  • Limit myself to 3 pairs of shoes, including the new ones. 
  • Try on every outfit to make sure it goes with one of the 3 pairs of shoes.
  • Decide on my travelling outfit and hang it on my wardrobe door. 
  • Pat myself on the back for being decisive and limiting myself. I have NOT overpacked.

Morning of holiday

  • Spot things in the ironing pile that I could probably squeeze in. That top is a bit nicer than the one I packed. It’s only one top. Oh but if I take that I’ll need to pink shoes. That’s just one more pair of shoes. 
  • Repeat two more times
  • Mentally shout at myself for over packing. 
  • Accept it and move on. I am the boss of me. 

Happy. 

MY HUSBAND…

Morning of holiday

  • Put on some clothes. 
  • Pack whatever else is in his wardrobe that he fancies taking. 
  • Grab any toiletries he fancies taking. 

Happy. 

I think he’s got it right really.

Festival Mum

Parent Dilemma. You want to go to a music festival. Should you take your small offspring? Is it still a proper festival experience if you might not see all the bands you want to and you don’t get slowly shit-faced?

This has been a tough one since I became a mum. It sounds amazing to integrate something you love from pre-parent days into family life. But is that realistic for us?

I have heard of many parents who throw a tent and wellies in the back of the car and head off for a mud and music filled adventure. I’m guessing that they are the types of families who love camping trips anyway. We are not. Or more specifically, I am not.

Since going camping with the Guides aged 12 I learned that it only takes two days for my curly hair to turn into a Medusa-like state without the aid of a power shower. I also like my own toilet.

So for the past few years I’ve just not bothered, instead choosing to watch ‘Live music’ on the TV red button, with a brew and my slippers on.

But now my Unbalanced Man plays guitar in a band that are getting invited to play at these festivals. So I want to go even more. Would 6 year old Joe enjoy watching Daddy play? Probably, for about 20 minutes from past experience. But, if you give him a choice between time at Granny’s where he can have bacon butties and ice-cream on tap, or being taken from tent to tent watching all the weird and wonderful artists perform songs that are NOT recognisable tunes from Disney and Pixar films, there’s no contest.

So that’s the answer then. Weekend at Granny’s, and off we go.

But uh-oh, here comes Mum Guilt. I absolutely hate sodding Mum Guilt.

“Going off having fun on your own are you?
Drinking are you?
Don’t think I’ve forgotten that you were away without him last weekend,
AND working away the week before that.
Look at THOSE parents who’ve brought their children.
Look how much fun the kids are having.
Joe would LOVE jumping on hay bails with them.
They are GOOD parents who REALLY love their kids.”

I tell you what Mum Guilt, you can absolutely fuck right off. Yes, perhaps Joe would have enjoyed BITS of the weekend, but probably not the whole of it. Instead, we’ve had an amazing weekend as a couple. Joe is back, more than happy and of course, full of ice cream. Next week Ste has another gig but I’m not going, and the week after we’re setting off on a family holiday. So everyone is happy. You might even say it’s all balanced as it should be.

I’ll admit that festival-ing as a mum wasn’t the same as pre-parent days. This time around we managed to stay up till the early hours on the first night, but didn’t get anywhere near shit faced, and on the second night we came home early and were in bed way before midnight.

So I’ll accept that I’m not a full-on Rock and Roll Mum, but I had a wonderful time. And, I’ll tell you a secret… I slept with* that guitar player!!

*Literally. We were knackered. 

Unbalanced Equality

This weekend Tim Lovejoy was interviewing Kelis on Sunday Brunch and said,

“I’m a dad. I look after my kids 50% of the time but no-one ever asks me, ‘How do you juggle career and children?’. But… How do you juggle career and children!!”

Yes Tim! Spot on.

Why do interviewers (or the people who write the questions for them) think that when interviewing a woman who has a job and small children, then this is an essential question? And yet when interviewing a man in the same situation, they don’t.

This is a question that I’ve pondered for a while, and I have become quite frustrated that it appears to still be considered a ‘Women’s issue’. It really pisses me off.

But I also want to add another point …. It’s not just parents, and it’s not just workers that need to juggle or balance their lives.

There seems to be a magic equation of :

Woman + Kids + Job = “How do you find a balance?”

I started my Unbalanced Woman blog a while back because I was having to make some changes to get my balance right. And it struck me that all types of people feel they are trying to juggle or balance lots of different things in their lives. Not just when they have kids. People feel ‘Unbalanced’ for many different reasons. In my blog I consciously talk about some elements of being a mum, some of having a job, and some about totally different things. That’s MY life equation and my (happily) busy and Unbalanced life.

I know plenty of people with different life equations who are equally busy and therefore may sometimes feel ‘Unbalanced’:

  • Man + Job + Parents needing care = Juggler
  • Woman + Kid + Another Kid = Juggler
  • Woman + Illness + Part-Time Job = Juggler
  • Woman + Retired + Grandparent child care + Social commitments = Juggler

Many of these things are wonderful aspects of our lives, but they still need juggling. And when we can’t find a balance we ask for help, or we strap on our boots and crack on as best we can, accepting that sometimes we drop a ball or occasionally we totally fuck everything up.

So I’m with Tim – if we think it’s important to ask working mums how they balance their lives, let’s give equal interest to working dads, non working parents and non-parenting adults.

Or just join me in accepting that ‘Unbalanced’ is a way of life, for all types of people, and it’s to be celebrated.

#UnbalancedSolidarity

Organised, disorganised or unbalanced

Celebrations like Fathers Day, offer a fantastic insight as to whether you are a naturally an ‘Organised person’ or a ‘Disorganised person’. Or it could be an opportunity to prove just how Unbalanced you are and have a total melt down.

My mum commented that she is fascinated that there were people in the supermarket in the afternoon of Fathers’ Day, flicking through whatever cards are still available on the shelves, even though they have known this celebratory day has been in the calendar all year. Clearly her disbelief proves that she is an organised person. Organised people don’t understand Disorganised people.

Organised people plan ahead for these days. They carefully choose just the right card, with an appropriate picture and oh-so-personal words that will evoke exactly the right sentiment, humour or abuse appropriate for their loved ones.

Organised people set aside time to consider a choice of gifts, and perhaps even compare prices while wandering round the shops on a day of shopping that has most certainly required A List.  Organised people always have A List. Or perhaps, the modern version of organised, where they peruse multiple websites, allowing plenty of time for their gift to be despatched and delivered ahead of the calendar-marked day.

Organised people will already have a choice of wrapping papers, cello-tape (in a handy dispenser), and if required, a packet of stamps in their purse or wallet.

Organised people are brilliant. I want to be one.

Then there are Disorganised people. I know quite a few of these, and I have to say as a sweeping generalisation, that many of them are men. Disorganised people don’t understand Organised people. They don’t see the point.

Disorganised people embrace, and often celebrate that cards and gifts are purchased at the last possible minute. An absolute maximum of celebration minus 48 hours, (more likely minus 2 hours).

Disorganised people buy a card and gift that is ‘exactly’ what the recipient wants. Even if in reality their choice of gift is something the recipient has vmnwver before clasped eyes on, or even knew existed, the Disorganised person will have convinced themselves at the point of purchase, that the fact the items are are a) in front of them, b) within an acceptable price bracket and c) gender appropriate or neutral, means they have chosen wisely and can move on with their day.

Disorganised people will usually remember to buy wrapping paper too. Even if they have 15 other half used rolls and sheets at home, it’s best to get some more.

Disorganised people are brilliant and worry free. I want to be one..

And then there are Unbalanced people. Me, of course.

It’s fair to say that I fluctuate between the organised and disorganised camps. I have a very strong desire to be organised. I even sometimes write A List. I rarely complete many of the activities on it, but I’m fine with that.

And I’m not unthoughtful. I THINK about the presents I want to buy for even longer than organised people spend shopping. I just might not make that essential purchase until the last minute.

My Fathers Day experience this year…
My mum’s birthday is two weeks before Fathers’ Day, so in a fit of ‘watch how organised I can be!’ I ordered personalised Funky Pigeon cards for my husband and my dad, 3 weeks in advance. Yep, 3 whole weeks. Someone should have given me a Well Done sticker. 

Suitably proud of myself I set about the long-term present choosing thought process. I even somehow managed to make a decision, go to the right shops and have gifts in my hands with 72 hours to spare.

I didn’t seek out wrapping paper because I remembered that only a few weeks before I had bought suitable paper and there was enough left over for the size of presents just bought.

Smug smile, I am (for once) Little Miss Organised. Seriously, why do people not make stickers for that?

Until the day comes to go visit my Dad. Now, where did I put those cards? Seriously, where the fuck did I put those cards?

You know when perspective goes out of the window? That happened. I had a total melt down. I turned the house upside down. I looked in the same places at least 20 times. I made my husband and child look in all those places, while I followed them round watching them do it. No amount of my husband saying ‘just get another one’ would stop me. In my head this was a symbol of everything that is wrong with my Unbalanced life. I just HAD to find them.

And the end of the story is that I didn’t find them. I still have absolutely no idea where they are. So I had to join the Disorganised people in Tesco, to panic-buy any card on the way to visit my Dad. But I took with me an utter frustration and self-loathing that I had qualified for the Organised person Olympics, in the run up to the race, and then fell flat on my face just before the finish line.

So there we have it. Whether you are an Organised or Disorganised person, this Unbalanced person is jealous of you. Because whether you bought a card two weeks or two hours in advance, you know where your fucking card is.

I’m a hypocrite

I came across a school paper this week that set out a series of rules that should be completed each day ‘before you turn on the screen’. It included:

  • made your bed
  • had breakfast
  • dressed, brushed your hair and brushed your teeth
  • completed 20 minutes of reading AND 20 minutes of writing or colouring AND played outside for 30 minutes AND made or built something creative
  • cleaned a room 
  • helped someone in your family in another way

My first thought was, “Jesus Christ!”, and my second was to quickly check if these rules are intended for the adults or just the kids. I would physically harm anyone who tried to make me follow these rules. Not really, but I would call them some rather disgusting names. In my head. I’m a coward really.

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But it made me think… do I set rules for my kids that I don’t follow myself?

First of all, let’s tackle the screen time one. I spend the majority of my day looking at a screen, for work, for communication and for entertainment. I think there are few people left who don’t multi-screen – watching TV while intermittently checking messages and social media on our phones.

It’s rare that I won’t have looked at a screen before completing any of the first three things on the list. Often I look at my phone before I’ve even got out of bed!

We live in the digital age and, here’s the point, so do our children.  Reading a story or watching a story – who gets to say which is better? I love books, theatre, film and TV, and blogs, let’s not forget blogs. They are all just telling stories. We recognise Shakespeare as the ultimate writer, but let’s remember that the majority of his celebrated work was written as plays – for people to WATCH. Could TV and film and even You-Tube arguably be considered as just ‘modern theatre’.

My boy has just shown me a Spiderman world he’s created in MineCraft, with pants-wetting excitement and pride because he’s worked out how to build something he’s not done before.

  • Is he being creative? – tick
  • Using logic, intellect and tenacity? – tick
  • Writing and colouring? – (in computer code) tick
  • Social skills – tick. He has friends who share his passionate hobby and they discuss ideas and teach each other new skills. 

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So why do screens get such a bad rep? “Because of risks to eyesight, posture, lack of exercise” my argumentative brain cries. OK, all fair points. We have to watch those, for kids AND adults in the digital age. But my brain’s back with a counter-argument: is that different to when we had to learn from all the back and lung problems people had in the industrial age when manual labour, like working in a mill or a mine, was the norm?

So I do watch what my boy does, and try to make sure there’s a balance of activities and responsibilities. The same as I try to make sure he gets enough exercise, sleep and healthy food. I admit I’m absolutely guilty of being more bothered about those rules for him than I ever apply to myself, which makes me a total hypocrite. He eats better, sleeps longer and gets more exercise than I ever do. 

I think I might just cut him some slack on the screen time.

Will I turn into my mother?

They say it’s inevitable that a girl will turn into her mother. Good God that’s scary.

If it’s true then I’d better get my finger out, because I’ve got work to do.

If it’s true, then I’ll become the most loving, thoughtful and generous woman I know.

  • I’ll be able to mend clothes, bake great cakes and get any stain out of anything.
    (Seriously, she can do that!)
  • I’ll know the best treatment for every childhood illness.
  • I’ll be a wise but humble woman and a fiercely loyal friend.
  • I’ll remember birthdays, anniversaries and all those little things that are important to others.
  • I’ll be fun to be with but also happy to be on my own, in my garden, with a book.
  • Oh and I’ll be an amazing gardener who knows the names of plants and trees and birds (the proper names, not just ‘that one with the red leaves’)
  • I’ll be polite enough to meet the queen, but those close to me will hear me prove I know all the rude words too.
  • I’ll be a spelling and punctuation nazi, and even pull a pen out of my bag to correct graffiti on a public toilet door.
  • I’ll be an amazing grandma, and my grandchildren will look forward to seeing me, especially as I’ll always have a freezer full of the best ice-cream known to man.
  • And I’ll always, ALWAYS, drop everything the second my (grown up) baby needs me.

Fuck, that’s a lot to live up to! If I ever manage to get close to being as wonderful as my mum, my son should feel very lucky indeed.

#UnbalancedRoleModel

Slow down?

There’s a song and video doing the rounds called ‘Slow Down’. Everyone gushing how they sobbed when they watched. But I didn’t. I’m clearly a cold-hearted freak. Am I missing an essential mothering gene? 

Apparently Mothers around the world are hailing it the best song ever made. Accompanied by a compilation of videos of children playing, smiling with their parents and siblings and showing beautiful memories of everything in a perfect childhood.

The message is clear, “time with your children moves so fast”. 

I get the message – there are plenty of ‘blink and you miss it’ phases of raising a child. I’m just not feeling the sentiment with quite the same emotion, for two reasons:

 The stages the singer wants to Slow Down weren’t that fucking picture-perfect in reality

My experience so far tells me that actually it just gets better. So bring on the future! 

I can honestly say that every age my Ginger Boy has been so far, has been my favourite. When he was a new born baby, I remember people saying that babies are boring until they start to talk and show some personality. I was absolutely outraged! Had they not met MY baby? My completely gorgeous, expressive baby whose gurning face made me laugh every single day? 

But of course, as he grew in size and expression, I have to admit, babies are pretty damn boring compared to what comes next. And while I cherish all those memories of me bursting with love as his tiny fingers wrapped around mine, they are also entwined with memories of a period of no sleep, a mini breakdown and phoning friends asking how long this period of crying through the night (him and me) would last. 

 I most certainly did not want that time to Slow Down!

Last week my friend made a sad face because her youngest is now potty trained. I was amazed that this was not a celebratory event. She explained that it signifies he’s growing up and he’s not a baby anymore. Apparently many people feel the same way when their kids hit a significant milestone. 

I get it (I think), but again I was left thinking that I must have a heart of stone. When we reached that stage there was absolutely no mourning period. All I felt was a joyous realisation in a garden centre that when Ginger Boy told me he needed a poo, I was no longer required to perform the obligatory shit-sniff before taking my toddler into a disabled toilet, lay him out on a plastic tray, stinky end nearest my face, and hold his windmill-propelled legs away from my head with one elbow, to stop me being hit in the face by a shoe, a wet wipe or, let’s get real… actual shit. It never EVER occurred to me that I might look back on that phase with anything more than a vague fondness for the comedy shit related memories. I certainly don’t ‘miss it’!

And that’s how I feel about life, not just motherhood. Life phases are amazing. I don’t mourn for any of them or want them to Slow Down because there’s always something else ahead to look forward to. 

 For example:

‘School days are the best of your life’. Yes they are but…. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be old enough to go to the pub

The butterflies in your tummy for a first kiss are fantastic. But… Look at what comes later (sex obvs!) – a long term intimacy that’s well worth moving on from those butterflies

My single, party days were amazing. But…. then I got to meet my husband. 

Does my practical attitude mean I’m cold? Maybe. Should I take the video’s advice and Slow Down? Perhaps. The good phases and the bad phases and everything in between, all move fast. Thankfully I have a good memory and about 1000 photos to help me remember the good bits (I never took any photos of the poo windmill in action, so maybe I’ll forget those bits. Maybe that’s not a bad thing). 

I guess in summary….  I’m thankful for where we’ve been so far, happy with where we are now, and excited about where we might go to tomorrow. I don’t want to slow down OR speed up. I’m just grateful to be on this roller coaster of a parenthood ride.