Things I’ll never get used to as a parent

I’ve just had one of THOSE mum mornings.

You know the type, where nothing, and I mean nothing, goes right. Where you’re running stupidly late, again, and trying to speed up somehow only results in everyone moving even slower.

Where your semi-decent, moderately coordinated, mostly stain-free, outfit is soon drenched in sweat as you start to overheat wildly at the effort of shepherding offspring out of the house while trying very, very hard to not lose your temper.

(At least you hope it’s that because otherwise you must be suffering from the hot flushes of early onset menopause.)

When your need for caffeine is so strong that you wonder whether you will actually be able to cope physically with the toddler whinging currently ringing in your ears until you reach the rendezvous point where you can access some.

It paints a pretty picture doesn’t it?!

Today I also spent 20 minutes huffing and puffing over trying to install the new ‘easy fit for all models’ foot muff to our buggy whilst poor blue-eyed boy broke his heart sobbing because, funnily enough, Mummy couldn’t cuddle him at the same time.

Clearly I’m just crap though because while fiddling with the stupid stroller straps constituted some kind of Krypton Factor challenge for me, BFF calmly sorted the whole thing in about two minutes at soft play. Show off!

Anyway the point of all this rambling, and there is one I assure you, is that there are some things I think you never really get used to as a parent.

For me the biggest one is being able to get out of the house calmly and on time. No matter how much I plan and pre-pack, no matter how much time I allow it just never happens.

Friends have assured me it ‘gets easier’ but mini-me is almost three-and-a-half now and frankly I just don’t believe them.

The person who articulates best what a nightmare vacating home can be in the mornings is comedian Mike McIntyre.

Google his ‘people with children just don’t know’ sketch and I promise that you will soon be crying with laughter. It’s basically my life.

Here are a few of the other things I don’t think I’ll ever quite adapt to.

*Clearing up other people’s poo

There’s no nice way of saying it is there. I remember at 17 babysitting for some children round the corner and realising with horror that I’d have to wipe a three-year-old’s bottom. Things have never really improved from there.

My personal poo highlight is when it goes up your fingernails mid nappy change. You may try to deny it but you know what I’m talking about…

*Never having a lie in

I have dim memories of weekends long past when I didn’t have to get up before 8am. And no staying in bed with a toddler and large baby sitting on your head doesn’t count.

*Missing the cinema

Hubby and I used to love going to see a good film whenever we liked. Of course we can still go now but planning a night out at the flicks can constitute a military operation so it’s just often easier to wait for the DVD.

*Lack of personal space

Three year olds really don’t care if you need a little time to yourself do they – and I’m only talking about thirty seconds trying to restore your sanity while hiding behind the kitchen door here. Is it really that much to ask?

*The endless questions

‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummmmmmaaaaayyyy….’ (Add your own screeching sound effects here. And the optional banging – yes, that’s your head against the wall.)

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The Mum-slide into middle age: The top ten signs you’re ageing

Today is a ‘go slow’ day in the Neat Freak household, but for once not of the toddler variety.

Last night was a rare night out in London catching up with old friends and colleagues where more than one drink was consumed.

Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hoik up my dress and dance on any tables or anything – in fact the ‘wildest’ thing I did was to almost snooze through my station on the train journey home – but I’m still feeling somewhat jaded today.

You know what it’s like when you have a rare taste of the social speed life used to move at – before the West Wing box set and an M&S dine-in deal became your idea of an ‘exciting’ evening. (Especially if you manage to stay awake until the end of the episode!)

I was never what you’d call a party animal, have always preferred a nice meal, few glasses of wine and a good chat to anything that might constitute wild clubbing. But still it’s amazing how a good night out can remind me just how much life has changed, and frankly just how many grey hairs I now have.

As (slightly younger) hubby loves to remind me, it’s not that long until the big FOUR ZERO… But what’s even scarier than the thought of turning 40 is how it doesn’t even feel like that big a deal these days.

So in the spirit of mums everywhere growing old disgracefully, here are the top ten signs that I’m officially, almost, middle-aged.

My love affair with Radio 2

Other ‘trendier’ mums I know listen to Radio 6 Music. I on the other hand love Graham Norton on a Saturday morning and Sara Cox’s Sounds of the ‘80s on a Saturday night. I knew my listening habits had hit the ‘grey factor’ when mini-me started singing the station’s jingle. She now frequently bursts into song with: ‘Bee bee ceee, radio tooooooo.’ Tragic.

The fact I’m turning into my mum

It used to really bug me when she’d say: ‘I’m just sooo exhausted.’ Now I do it too. At least I can still laugh at myself though – one of my mum’s best qualities.

Crying at reality TV

Supposedly you start sobbing at everything after having kids. And when not breaking down over the ever-breeding laundry pile, I can now be found tearing up over Frankie and Kevin performing on Strictly.

Coveting everything in John Lewis

Picking up some new cotbed sheets followed by coffee and cake in the JL eatery is now my idea of a happy Saturday afternoon. Mini-me concurs on all things café of course.

Checking sell-by dates in the supermarket

I really must stop this immediately. But isn’t it amazing how the dates at the back of the shelf differ?!

Checking for wrinkles

Counting them is becoming depressing. I find applying make-up in bad lighting works wonders.

Having hands like sandpaper

This is a weird one but I have a vivid early childhood memory of feeling how rough my mum’s hands were compared to my own and how much this surprised me. Now my hands are rough, dry and covered in nicks and scratches from washing them so much. Maybe mini-me has even noticed.

Turning off Geordie Shore

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I used to find watching this quite entertaining but now I just wonder how people could happily live in such a filthy house. I’d rather tune into Question Time.

Making sure mini-me is wearing a vest

It used to really annoy hubby when my mum-in-law would ask his vest status, well into his twenties I’d like to add. Now we ask each other if mini-me is layered up against the cold. At least we’re not wearing them ourselves I suppose.

Realising I fancy people young enough to be my son

Hubby informing me how old Aaron Ramsey was t’other day was a real low point. I do draw the line at Harry Styles though – hasn’t he heard of shampoo?

 

What’s in a baby name?

There are many little sparks that can light the tension touch paper when you’re expecting.

After all when you’re waddling around unable to see your feet anymore and coping with back ache, questionable digestion, zero alcohol and ankles the size of Christmas puddings of course any badly timed ‘helpful comments’ from the other half could cause you to blow.

Probably why so many couples end up falling out over which name to pick for their impending arrival then.

Do you opt for something ‘sensible’ or get more creative? Do you decide to take the path of least resistance and opt for a name that runs in the family? Do you accept the fact that as the woman is the one who is actually going to have to push a pot roast through her nostril, so to speak, she should get more say?

Yes selecting names is a controversial business. And according to hubby because he had to ‘put up with me moaning’ for nine months he had just as much say in the matter as yours truly. Fair enough I suppose.

The reason for these ramblings is that babcentre.co.uk has today revealed the most popular 100 baby names of 2014. And if you’re wondering Muhammed and Sophie are the ones topping the charts.

According to the ‘headlines’ Arabic names are on the up, Royal names are on the way down, Eric and Harper are on the rise thanks to Simon Cowell and Brand Beckham and no one wants to name their kid Miley now because of the Cyrus’ evil twerking behaviour.

Unusual names ‘en vogue’ this year include Wren, Genisis, King, Apollo and Braxton. Presumably the latter is reserved for those who’ve experienced phantom labour pains?!

When deciding what to call mini-me and blue-eyed boy, hubby and I weren’t exactly on the same page.

Ever practical, hubby liked to wax lyrical about choosing names that you wouldn’t have to go through life explaining and that you wouldn’t be bullied over. Plus, as he kept saying, in his opinion you don’t name a child on a whim of your own, you choose something they won’t be embarrassed by. One might imagine he’d take the same approach to choosing a fridge…

In fact if Which had customer reviews of names he could possibly have chosen on the basis of that.

I on the other hand made the very grave error of confiding in my mother which names I liked.

Not being backward in coming forward she professed strong opinions on both, said she ‘wasn’t sure’ which got me wobbling over the options, and then by the time I was due to pop said she’d ‘loved them from the start.’

Hmm, never EVER discuss baby name options with your mum.

In the end hubby and I opted for the only names we could actually agree on. At least there were two of them eh – and no we didn’t call our kid Braxton.