Smug Mums Incorporated

It’s been a rather stressful few weeks in the Neat Freak house.

A seemingly never-ending bout of illness finally culminated in a spell in hospital for blue-eyed boy, and although everything’s pretty much back to normal now it’s been a case of muddling along as best we can for a while.

My never-ending ‘to do’ list is now the length of a short novel and I’m actually getting genuinely scared of being eaten alive by the laundry pile.

Being a long-time convert to the philosophy that a tidy home equals a calmer, happier person, I think what I find hardest about being a parent – apart from the lack of personal space – is the lack of space in general.

The plethora of ‘toddler tat’ in our lounge often feels like my biggest bugbear, that and how my kids manage to leave their sticky fingerprints and footprints on everything. But hey, it goes with the territory.

What’s harder to admit is that sometimes I find it hard to remain serene in the face of mini-me emptying out every toy she owns. Or that I love the fact that she does cake making and potato printing at nursery so I don’t have to at home.

Personally I think the sanest thing you can do as a mum is to accept the fact that you’ll never be ‘perfect’, try not to feel guilty about the decisions you make and above all never forget to laugh at yourself – whether at home or in public.

After all being a good mum is many things, but it’s certainly not black and white.

So why do the smug mums brigade, Smug Mums Incorporated if you will, seem to feel it’s okay to look down their noses at the rest of us?

You know the type, the ones who wouldn’t know self-deprecation if it bit them on the arse and who recoil in horror at the thought of feeding their offspring anything that’s not locally sourced, organic and prepared from scratch.

Queen of the Smug Mums, or at least the celebrity face of the campaign, has to go to Gwyneth Paltrow, her of Goop, or as I prefer to call it Gloop fame.

You know that lifestyle website with ‘useful’ tips on the perfect capsule collection wardrobe, the importance of owning a black designer jumpsuit and hearty recipes. Chickpea soup anyone?

To be fair Gwyneth herself has waxed lyrical about how we mums don’t cut each other enough slack. But then she always goes and spoils it by dropping clangers such as how office jobs are easier if you’re a mum than being paid millions to make a film. Or how she only allows her children to watch TV if it’s in French or Spanish.

And while describing herself as a ‘working mom’ as she did recently at a political fundraiser – of course we all host these regularly where I’m from – might be technically correct, in reality she presumably has staff and nannies by the dozen on standby.

Oh Gwyneth if only instead of writing about the benefits of juice cleansing on Gloop you could recount that time when you broke wind in a baby sensory class and blamed your unfortunate offspring.

Or when you let your kids have cheese and a bag of maltesers for tea one night because you couldn’t get them to eat anything else.

Or when you stuck them upstairs for some ‘quiet time’ with the iPad so you could indulge in 30 minute’s uninterrupted trash TV.

We’d like you, and the other Smug Mums, so much more…

Coughing over the dilemma of ‘basic human rights’ (pre-kids)

The Neat Freak household is one full of sickness at the moment.

Mini-me has managed to take down everyone within a five mile radius with a particularly lovely hacking cough/streaming cold/ what I like to refer to as ‘cotton wool head’ combo. (So apologies if the following doesn’t make total sense!)

Poor blue-eyed boy is particularly stricken and looks so sorry for himself that it makes me want to cry. Horrible.

Having spent the weekend being sprayed with snot, tears and projectile vomit (don’t ask!) all this got me thinking about what it was like being ill before children. You know when you were actually allowed and had time to be ill.

I have vague memories of lying on the sofa with a selection of films to watch on telly and a ready supply of chocolate to hand, hubby checking in to see how I was and bringing home my favourite food for dinner.

Whereas now you’re lucky if you get time to swallow some pills to tackle your own temperature before donning your virtual nurses’ uniform and starting a seemingly never-ending shift of mopping brows, fetching juice, finding favourite Ben & Holly episodes, trying to coax little people to eat something, reaching for the Calpol, doing the fourth pyjama change of the day etc. etc.

Being ill is in fact one of those things you consider a ‘basic human right’ before having children. There are lots of others too…

*Drinking a hot drink while it’s still hot – some days I lose count of the number of times I re-boil the kettle. Either that or pretend to ‘enjoy’ my semi-cold, stewed cuppa that’s been sitting waiting 20 minutes for me with a piece of kitchen roll over the mug.

*Not dreading twice-daily teeth cleaning – this may of course not be universal but as mini-me has a hatred of brushing it’s become something I truly despise. Nothing like trying to clamp your daughter’s head in one position so you can clean her teeth as quickly as humanly possible after 15 minutes of trying to coax her into letting you do it in a less stressful fashion.

*Wearing stain-free clothes – It doesn’t matter how many aprons I use, how many muslins I attempt to hold up as a ‘human shield’ I still always seem to end the day speckled in food, formula, milk, mud and other unidentified substances.

*Being able to pee alone – God I miss ‘using the facilities’ without having to do any one of the following: Singing a selection of show tunes to provide ‘entertainment’ from behind the bathroom door, answering questions from behind the bathroom door, trying to pacify a screaming baby from behind the bathroom door, mini-me yelling ‘Mummy, I need a poo!’ from outside the bathroom door, taking mini-me and blue-eyed boy into the bathroom with me…

*Packing for every possible eventuality before leaving the house like some mad bag lady – I find this one is particularly enhanced by hubby nagging about why it takes me so long to get ready, and then later tutting because I didn’t think to bring a football, third change of clothes for blue-eyed boy, the kite, the preferred nappy cream, a wider selection of snacks and drinks etc. etc.

I’m sure there are many, many more of these. To be continued when my brain loses its current fuzzy status and returns to ‘normal’ – whatever that is…