There’s a difference. #Balance
My boy’s room is always messy, but today he totally beat me in a ‘tidy your room’ argument.
Me: Come in here. Your room is a tip!
7yo: I like it like that.
Me: You need to tidy it.
7yo: I don’t want to. It’s MY room.
Me: But it’s a mess, there are things dumped at the end of your bed, you haven’t put your clean clothes away and you never make your bed
7yo: That’s how I like it.
Me: You’re just messy. We’re tidying it right now. Go and put those pjs in the wash basket
Me: What now?
7yo: Can you come here?
7yo: Have you seen the state of YOUR bedroom?
Me: ……. (shit)
7yo: YOU’ve got a pile of stuff on the floor, you haven’t put your clothes away and YOUR bed is a mess.
Me: ……. well…. that’s different.
Me: …. well….. because….. that was your Dad. I’ll be talking to him too.
Yep, he got me. Smart arse little shit.
For quite a while now I’ve been focused on getting my Work/ Life balance right. In younger life we’re told to work hard, play hard. Then parenthood came along and I felt I needed to work hard, mum hard. So where does the play part go?
When I do (happily) sign up to nights out with friends, I’m subconsciously calculating the correct amount I time I need to dedicate to my kid, before or after, to balance out time away from him. These are the rules that Mother Guilt has set for parents.
It’s not actually about the night out, because of course he’s asleep for most of that – it’s the day after when I just can’t be arsed going on a day trip or getting the monopoly out. Sometimes I force myself to do stuff half-heartedly and end up grumpy and shouty which makes my hangover headache even worse, and my kid has a shit day. Nobody wins. Sometimes I think, it’s best to lay off the drink or come home early so that I can be extra special Supermum the next day. Pay the debt. Restore the Mum/ Life balance. But that’s not right either is it? Is it?
I look back on my pre-kid life where it felt normal, actually humanly natural, to balance a big Saturday night out with a restful Sunday. If I’ve thrown some big shapes at the discotheque, my body should have as little movement as possible the next day, otherwise my head may literally fall off my delicate body. Mathematically that makes sense. But of course life is not two-sided scales – life is 3D. Balance is much more complicated.
My delicate body does need that rest. My head might not actually fall off, but it won’t be at its best. So why make my kid spend time time with my broken head? Is it not better to rest up and THEN be Supermum later? Or even tomorrow?
And here’s my big revelation…. my boy doesn’t actually want to spend every minute of his weekend with me. If I offer him a morning playing board games together he’ll hesitate for a millisecond before saying ‘Erm, maybe later mum. Can I play on the Xbox first?’
I’m now seeing that Mother Guilt doesn’t exclusively visit parents. My boy also has an inner voice telling him that he SHOULD want to spend his every waking moment glued within his mother’s loving embrace. But honestly, 3 minutes is plenty. Perhaps longer if we’re snuggled together on the sofa watching a film. Otherwise, he has boy things to do. He wants to spend time with other people, he wants to spend time on his own. That’s OK. In fact that’s fucking brilliant.
So here I am, with my feet up, writing, dossing, resting. And there he is, in a different room, happily playing without me. Later we might watch a film, snuggle up on the sofa, together but still resting. This week is half term, I’ll be back in full-on mothering mode, and I will Mother the shit out of him, as my best self, rested and all the better for a night out with adult friends.
Mother Guilt ignored. Mum / Life Balanced restored.
Apparently today is Galentine’s Day. I had no idea. It’s a day to celebrate how much we love our gal pals. I’ve just read that it was a joke in a sitcom, that then caught on.
So here’s to my gorgeous girls nearby and on far off shores. Love you ladies. No cards or flowers today. But I promise I will hug you or comedy-honk your boobs when I next see you. You can choose. Xxx
Feel free or share with your own Girls to send them a Galentine’s message (and celebrate a day you previously never knew existed). Comedy boob-honking is entirely optional.
One of the best things about a night out with the girls is the flurry of messages the next day. It’s like receiving minutes from a business meeting, reminding you of the discussion, decisions made and any actions before the next meeting.
The minutes helpfully also contain photos that help jog your memory of the end of the night when snap chat was introduced… including ones you really don’t remember happening.
Here are my minutes from a meeting of former attendees of Glossop comprehensive school, who met in Glossop public houses for a period of several hours. Seven attendees, three apologies.
Let the official record state that last night a meeting of 7 ladies concluded the following:
1. A recognised cocktail-making expert in our group decreed that the Porn Star Martinis in Victoria Lounge are of the highest grade, equaling only those made in her own household. Samples were provided and the group agreed to further (immediate) consumption. Action: all future meeting to include PSMs. Oh, and cheese platters.
2. The group discussed hair removal techniques. Action: anyone suffering from ‘Jungle Minge’ should consider waxing to remove their ‘thigh-brows’.
3. The group discussed their experiences with nits and fleas. Conclusions: 1) if you are in a hotel bath with fleas jumping on the water – get out. 2) The woman seen in a Disneyland restaurant, picking fleas out of her hair and studying them is officially ‘a fucking minger’.
4. The group found themselves laughing uncontrollably several times. Action required: quickly swallow whatever is in your mouth to avoid spraying (wasting) alcohol, lean into the person next to you and rock slowly forwards and backwards whilst wheezing that your face hurts from laughing. Option to slap yourself or your friend on the thigh during swaying motion. Repeat as necessary.
5. The next meeting will be scheduled shortly, but a future off-site conference is now being planned for a weekend in the sun. The agenda for that conference will include beers at the airport, disco dancing and sun lounging. The option of 7am yoga was raised and seconded, but the other members immediately declined that offer in favour of investment in long term bed-dwelling and fry-ups.
Girls’ nights are officially the best meetings – fact!
End of minutes.
(Photographic evidence of meeting provided by Snapchat)
I’m really enjoying my new FFS Fitness programme. No classes, DVDs or special sports equipment required.
I just wait until I’m almost ready to leave the house then run round every room, and up and down my stair case looking for shoes, then keys, then phone, then bag, then then then… Until I scream “For Fuck’s Sake”!
Anyone else taken up this craze?
If I asked you to describe your body, what’s the first thing you’d think of?
I’ve just been to the cinema to watch a documentary called ‘Embrace’ where people were asked that same question, and their responses were… fat; disgusting; not perfect; I need to lose weight. It was a bit shocking. People of all shapes and sizes all responded in the same way.
Then the film maker, Taryn Brumfitt, points out that almost everyone she asked made a negative comment about the way their body looked, but no-one comments on what their body allows them to do. Her statement is “This body of mine, it’s not an ornament, it’s a vehicle.”
It makes you think doesn’t it?
Our bodies are amazing. They are so clever, and they allow us to get to places, have life’s adventures and perhaps even create new life. How come we take all that for granted but criticise if they are not the ‘perfect shape’ to LOOK at?
Now I’m not a person who spends that much time thinking about what I look like. I’m really not that bothered most of the time. Let me give you an example…
I once met a friend of a friend who does cosmetic treatments. Within an hour of meeting her she had focused in on a frown line above my nose (not prompted by me) and told me, “I could easily remove that for you”. If she could have read my mind she would have heard two things: First my desire to twat her square in the face, and second a very sarcastic tone which said, “I’m about three stone over weight love, do you think a care about a little line on my forehead?”
But I just smiled and said, “Oh it doesn’t really bother me”. Now to be fair, she was a lovely lady and she was talking with a very positive intension – she meets women every day who obsess about they way they look and she has a way to make them feel better and more confident. What’s wrong with that?
But, let me be honest, even though I don’t care about that line on my face enough to want to remove it , tit’s still the first thing I notice every time I see a photo of my face. Let me be REALLY honest, even though I’m not bothered enough to diet, I still delete the pictures where I think I look like a total heffer, and share the ones where someone else is standing in front of me and taking focus away from my size.
It seems it’s part of our wiring to care about how we look and how others judge our appearance. Because they do. We do. I do! And now I’m questioning why. If I know it’s wrong, why do I care? Why do I judge others?
The answer, according to Taryn, is everywhere. We all know about the ‘bad’ magazines, and the photo-shopping and the adverts for diets and beauty products that don’t work. God-damn money making twats, selling the impossible.
Yes, of course. But it’s not just ‘them’. She pointed out some of the ways we talk to each-other…
“Oh you’ve lost weight, you look amazing.”
“I daren’t have a cake, I don’t want to get fat.”
“I’ve got to get back to the gym, my thighs are like tree trunks”
Holy fuck. We say this in front of our kids, and then wonder why they start using appearance comments as insults.
The real standout of the film for me was a lady who had been badly injured in a fire and was scarred across her face and body. She received supposedly well-meaning comments that she was lucky to have such a good husband who stayed with her. Which made her question – Is that all I was before? A pretty face? Was there not more to me than how I looked? She ended with the killer line… “Actually I am pretty awesome.”
I’m not ashamed to say that I cried.
Thought-provoking, heart-breaking, hope-inspiring. And a whole lot of fun too. I laughed out loud several times, not least when Taryn visited a surgeon who told her what ‘normal breasts’ look like. She has even better self-restraint than me!
Please, PLEASE find a way to see this film.
Watch the Embrace trailer.
Here’s how you can see Embrace
There are screenings across the UK now. But you wont find this film as a normal cinema listing. It’s an independent, crowd-funded film, being promoted via Demand Films, and Taryn herself is in the UK hosting some of the events. (She is a-may-zing. I heart her.)
The idea is that people like me, who feel passionate about sharing this story with more people, will create demand for more screenings, and host our own events. And hopefully that will create demand for more and more screenings. You see?
Find a screening near you
Or host your own event.
There’s no financial outlay. Demand films help you set everything up at your local cinema and help you promote it to your friends and local community. If enough people buy a ticket the show goes ahead. If not enough tickets are sold, it is cancelled and no money is taken from people’s payment cards.