Eight of the Biggest Changes Since Motherhood PLUS EIGHT MORE…

A while back, I wrote an informative piece on eight of the biggest changes since motherhood. Clearly being a bit previous with its publication, I have thought of several more. So, here for your gratification, is the original piece with an additional eight, and to save myself from further embarrassment, I’ll add a disclaimer that this list is not exhaustive and will likely be added to on a regular basis as my life continues to devolve into chaos. Enjoy.

Obviously, there are a multitude of things that are just not the same after Vaginal Destruction Day, some quite surprising in fact. Like my new found hatred for fireworks. I used to really enjoy them before VDD; perhaps that’s because they only seemed to appear on one day a year. However, since having children, they seem to have exploded onto the scene from October until the New Year with their constant threat of waking sleeping children. Thank you wanky cheap imports.

Clock changes. Getting the extra hour in bed. Oh, it was heavenly. Now, it’s just utter torture knowing that your 6am, four year old alarm clock will now be jumping on your head at 5am.

However, there are sixteen (and counting) major things that are just not the same for me anymore.

# 1. Makeup.

How the feck did I have time for shit like blusher? Get the black bags hidden. Do I look less like death? Yes. Fuck it, just get out the house.

#2. Tampons

Has the flow changed, or just the flow outlet? Who knows, but there’s carnage every 28 days.

#3. Body hair.

This is a conversation I had with my four year old daughter the other day:

4yo: What are you doing?
Me: I’m putting my deodorant on.
4yo: Why?
Me: Because when you’re a grown up, you need to use it to stop being so sweaty and smelly.
4yo: Does it make your hairs smell nicer?
Me: Did your Dad put you up to say that?

#4. Underwear.

My underwear drawer is possibly the most depressing place on Earth. But, it’s sooooooo damned comfortable.

#5. My brain.

Who are you? What am I writing about? Have I eaten today? Shit, I think I’ve just wet myself.

#6. Muscles.

I have a new found strength as a mother. I can wrestle an inhumanly strong toddler into his trousers, his high chair and his car seat. But only using my left arm. The baby bicep. You pick a hip and stick to it meaning that one arm constantly bears the weight until you have just one ridiculously strong arm which then comes into it’s own when overbearing the strength and will of an outraged child.

#7. Lie ins.

Fuck off end of British Summer Time.

I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I spend my life yearning for a wake up time that doesn’t begin with the number 6, but when I do get the chance of a lie in, I lay there awake. I just stare at the ceiling listening to the screams and mayhem from down stairs and can’t close my eyes. Either that or I’m writing a novel in my head.

#8. Toenails

I am fully aware of my unusually large big toe. However, it can always be made more beautiful with a splash of colour. Now my husband doesn’t know whether it’s my leg hair or toenails causing the lacerations to his lower body in bed. That, or we’re stuck together like velcro because of the sheer amount of body hair between us.

#9.  Bath time.

Bath water seems to possess similar qualities to holy water; my children scream as if being burnt alive like tiny demons. Unless I’m in it. Then bath time consists of :

a) staring at the furry animal between my legs for an inaudibly long time to ensure it isn’t going to bite them.
b) being water boarded.
c) orifice violation.
d) husband taking a dump.

#10. Language.
My ability to use three syllable words seems to have vanished. Along with my ability to say the word, “dead,” without shuffling uncomfortably, coughing loudly and changing the subject immediately onto rainbows and unicorns.

#11. Pockets
Coats, dressing gowns, trousers; if there is a pocket on a garment, it will be brimming with random floor pickings that make no sense whatsoever but still don’t quite make it to the bin.

#12. Carbon footprint

Three hour daily drives for ‘nap time’ + house full of plastic tat that will never decompose + washing machine that only gets turned off when it explodes + every light in the house being left on + the use of AA batteries increasing 400 fold = death to the earth.

#13. Facebook Profile Pictures
Faux-ejaculate Binge Drinker to Earth Mother in just a few clickety clicks. No-one with ever suspect you’re rocking in a corner, flicking your teeth, whilst secretly plotting the murder of your snoring husband.

#14. Music

Disney songs and nursery rhymes now infiltrate my brain like an infection. Every day, I end up punching myself in the face after driving all the way to work listening to the some Disney shit when I could have been listening to anything else. ANY. THING. FFS.

#15. Organising.

“Husband, when is the next gap in the diary between after school activities, weekend activities, birthday parties, earning an actual living, charity fundraising, clearing out the loft and buying more unnecessary pets? 2056? Okay, I’ll book Derek and Pamela in then.”

#16. Me time.

Wisdom tooth removal? Smear test? Ingrowing toenail excision? When can you fit me in?

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Is it really good to be different?

For World Autism Awareness Week, I wanted to share some photos of The Boy, celebrating what it is to be different. I wanted to highlight his quirks and nuances and be proud of all the things that make him different.

It seems being different is celebrated in a way to help children that don’t quite fit in feel better about themselves. But should we really be celebrating difference?

I’m a persistent over-sharer, not because I get to hear people congratulate me on being brave for being different, but because I seek solace from those that say they feel exactly the same way. How many of you have felt relief after reading something that you could relate to on many levels? How many of us belong to groups and join forums just to be among like-minded people? Is that a bad thing? It’s human nature to want to belong, to fit in, to be accepted and to feel comfortable around those that are similar. It is what helped the human species survive in the first place after all.

My olive skin is a completely different shade to my daughter’s pale creamy tones. But we share the same DNA. My son learns and understands the world differently to me. But we share the same DNA. I have friends of all different faiths, backgrounds, colour and ability. But as humans, we are all variations of the same DNA.

Perhaps it’s not revering people’s differences that should be encouraged, but understanding and accepting that, actually, we’re not all that differentThere’s probably more that unites us all in our similarities than there ever will be to divide us in our differences.

As the research rumbles on into understanding autism, I hope that one day, autism will be viewed in much the same way as a personality trait or characteristic; something that is taken for granted rather than feared. I don’t want to cure my son’s autism anymore than cure his shaggy, light brown hair or round, green eyes. It’s part of him. Of his DNA. So, instead of celebrating my son for being special or different, I’m going to commend him just for being him; undeniably brilliant.

Photo credits to my dear friend, Maria.

Why can’t you be more like…

I thought having autism might free my son from my perpetual comparing but apparently not; as we all sat together in his group session for children with communication and socialising difficulties, I studied the only girl in the group. She’s a gentle soul, afflicted with over receptive senses that suppress her. She contorts her body to try and cope, making the space she is in and the world she struggles to understand as small as possible. She is completely silent apart from the delightful tinkle of laughter she emits when she’s being tickled and I’ve never seen a child so mesmerised by shaving foam. What I can see is a calm, passive, non-aggressive, quiet and amenable little girl – the very opposite of my boy – and for just a few guilt-ridden moments, I stare at her and wish that he could be more like her.

I see her for a snapshot of her life, once a week, and can only see enviable qualities that my son doesn’t have. What I don’t see is how long it takes to get her dressed. I don’t see her screaming in pain as she’s being washed. I don’t see her frozen in fear at the sound of a plane. I don’t see how very small her universe must be in order for her to cope. I’m guessing at these things of course. But we all have desperate moments.

Perhaps in a tiny snapshot of life, there’ll be someone looking at my boy and only seeing a passionate, curious, energetic, enthusiastic and happy child and perhaps wishing that their passive, introvert, quiet and shy kid was more like him. I wish that someone was me but it isn’t. In the fog of exhaustion, it is sometimes just too hard.

Now I’ve got it off my chest, I could make a solemn vow, from this moment on, to stop making comparisons when times get tricky…but I won’t. It’s a promise I know I will break and that will only add to the mountain of guilt that I was bequeathed the moment I became a parent. No…I will let the thoughts in. I will take a moment to look at them, accept their truth, and then let them float on by without further attention. I will remind myself that everything passes. I will remind myself that I am doing the best I can. I will remind myself that everything will be okay. I will remind myself that I am that someone (very nearly) all of the time.

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An Idiot’s Guide To Stains

It is usually possible to extract enough information from the location of stains on a person’s clothes to decipher whether they are indeed a parent and the age of child they are a parent to.

From the moment the baby is evicted from the mothership, it leaves clues of it’s existence around your person. This is most commonly in the form of a white smear perched happily on your shoulder and will remain there in various guises until the child leaves home.

A new game develops early in parenthood known as, “Is It Poo?” The rules are very simple; locate an unidentified stain, stare at it quizzically for a few seconds then sniff it. I would thoroughly recommend not licking as it is usually poo. In fact, the game should be renamed, “How Did Poo Get There?”

Clothes that you would have ordinarily thrown out for the wash get picked up, dusted down and put back on ready for another days onslaught. Non-parents will happily point these stains out to you at every opportunity as if doing you a favour in case you weren’t aware of their existence (you were), whereas fellow parents join in with the catharsis of picking silently at unidentified crust when stood chatting rocking together.

Smears of mud that adorn tops of thighs signal a parent of a toddler/preschooler/teenager that has momentarily lost it’s ability to walk, mere seconds after relishing the delights of stamping in muddy puddles.  These stains will remain there for the foreseeable future as the parent usually only has one pair of trousers that comfortably fit since childbirth.

No fabric is exempt from the stain-spreading abilities of a child and no surface is immune. Washable pens become impervious in the hands of a small human as they can somehow detect exactly which surface falls outside of the ‘washable’ characteristic and scribbles violently, forever leaving self expression all over the place.

New games will naturally evolve as the children get older. These include:

Get Your Shoes Off The Sofa

Don’t Wipe Your Fingers On There
Please Use A Tissue
Stop Masturbating In Your Socks

All of which have exactly the same rules:

Player One shouts the title of the game loudly at Player Two. Player Two ignores Player One and continues with loathsome behaviour. Repeat daily.

Investing in a really good washing machine or spending out on decent stain removing products are a waste of time and money; just buy an incinerator. It will serve you much better. Or move house.

An Idiot’s Guide to Instructions

I followed some instructions today. When I say followed, I mean used them as a guideline based on the fact that I had a child eagerly awaiting their new toy. When I say eagerly awaiting, I mean having an apoplectic fit that their new toy wasn’t ready instantly. When I say apoplectic fit, I mean suicidal, homicidal and all the other cidals.

The instructions were as follows:
Very straightforward had I not had an all out cidal toddler. So I have rewritten the instructions for future reference.

1.The large Jungle Magic pen requires 2 x 1.5V AAA batteries. Locate the battery compartment on the side of the pen. Don’t bother with a crossheaded screwdriver. Find a blunt knife from the drawer to open the battery cover.

2. Quickly realise you have got the wrong size batteries. Scramble to find a remote with AAA batteries. Remove from remote and place into Jungle Magic pen.

3. Fill aqua pen with water all the way to the top. Do not take volume of water into consideration when inserting sponge-filled aqua pen. Spill water all over your inconsiderately placed smart phone. Shout expletives as your child starts to claw at the back of your legs.

4. Put smart phone in a bag of rice knowing it will do fuck all but at least gives you some kind of hope you’ll be back on Facebook by nightfall.

5. Turn on Jungle Magic pen. Grit teeth.
NB. This toy contains offensive noise which may affect most adult humans. If you suffer from <<insert conditions>>, seek advice from your general practitioner before turning on this product.

6. Locate toy from under sofa after being abandoned following 30 seconds of use. Switch off. Use knife to remove batteries. Never replace. Pretend product is broken.

WARNING!
Important care information! 
Only use pen for specified use. Do not attempt to insert up your nose or into plug sockets. Only use clean water and not water collected from the toilet, puddles or your own saliva. Do not machine wash. Do not tumble dry. Do not iron. For best performance give to an adult and never let a child near it.

The Anatomy of a Mother

There are many documented physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. Breasts and legs look like they’ve been graffitied by a toddler with a dark blue pen. Feet, ankles and calves all merge into one painful, fluid-filled cankle. Blotchy, dry patches and stretching skin cause incessant scratching, mainly around the bumpal region. And lest we not forget the discharge. Just everywhere. From all over the place.

These changes tend to dissipate fairly rapidly post Vaginal Destruction Day, apart from the discharge, whereas the lesser documented changes which occur after VDD are generally permanent.

Ears become enlarged initially to aid with breathing detection which occurs every forty seconds for the first six months. However, this also develops into an ability to correctly identify the scream of her toddler amongst forty other screaming toddlers. Nostrils are widened due to the excessive amount of crotch and bum sniffing that takes place until her child is potty trained. They also come in very handy when trying to determine the dirty clothes from the clean clothes that have taken up every inch of carpet on the floor. Shoulders becomes broadened due to her child’s inability to walk anywhere and insistence on shoulder rides only – ears also useful for handles.

A women walking through town fondling herself isn’t necessarily a pervert, she may be just trying to recall which boob she last fed from. From an outsider’s perspective, this is usually easily identifiable from one enlarged breast throbbing like an alien egg about to hatch with supporting damp patch whilst the other bosom looks like a deflated balloon. One arm is significantly larger than the other (known as the baby bicep) due to holding her baby/toddler/child/teenager on the same hip.

One hip will be displaced significantly to the side in support of the developing baby bicep to such an extent that it soon becomes impossible for the mother to hold her baby on the opposite hip for more than three seconds before having to switch back. Groove marks just above the wrists aid with carrying plastic shopping bags as the handles of the pushchair inevitably get overloaded causing the pushchair to tip backwards at every opportunity.  Hard skin on knees from crawling on all fours trying to retrieve crap from under the sofa, being ridden like a donkey and scrabbling through all known varieties of disease-infested soft play reach their peak thickness at around three years after which only a pneumatic drill can chisel it away.

Although fingernails have to be kept short to avoid lacerating her baby when getting it dressed/changing it’s nappy, a mother utilises a long little fingernail to perfect hoicking out bogies of the nose and eye variety.

The most subtlest change happens over a period of years. The stoop. Unfortunately entirely unavoidable. It begins with the nappy changes, gets developed further trying to avoid head injuries whilst being dragged into playhouses and through tunnels and reaches a critical point after years of having to push and/or drag bikes, trikes and scooters, most commonly without it’s rider because they only wanted to use it for fifteen seconds on the way to the park. The stoop gets cemented permanently into an almost right angled position when her child starts school and they fully expect their bike/trike/scooter to be available for their use on the way home.
Updated editions of human anatomy books will be available very soon.

 

About Me

I am a dental hygienist, a mother and a blogger. I fell into all of these things by accident, well apart from motherhood – that was a military operation that would put the Special Ops Force to shame involving a bicarbonate of soda douche… but perhaps the less said about that the better.

I used to have many fantasies about motherhood but then I had children and they ruined everything so now I write about my observations of motherhood with the occasional bit of oral health advice thrown in for good measure.

You can follow me on many social media platforms however, I would suggest Facebook and Twitter just for starters.

Feel free to email me about anything, especially if you’re a magazine and want me to write a column for you. I’m an attention whore so will probably do it for free.

Thank you for reading and remember to always brush before breakfast and don’t rinse out with water afterwards. Not many people know that. You’re welcome.

The Obsessions of Parenthood

 

 

There’s not many situations where it is acceptable to bring up the subject of poo after meeting someone for the first time, but not only is it entirely welcome in parenting circles, it is absolutely obligatory as part of the initiation into parentdom. That and discussing how your vagina now resembles a battered kebab. No? That one’s just me then.

It didn’t strike me how obsessed I was until looking back through old photographs. 1 in 50 were of turds. In potties, down toilets or smeared across carpets. I suppose there is something fascinating and quite astonishing with how much turd a child can produce, hoofing out something the size of a coke can. Especially when they live on nothing but crisps and the occasional bread stick that they’ve found under the sofa. I also find it a thing of wonder how raisins remain completely unscathed in the digestive process. And sweetcorn.

Telephone and text conversations with my other half seem to revolve around the children’s bowel movements, each of us pent up with pure anxiety when a poo refuses to make an appearance for a few days. Because we know, an AWOL toilet dweller can ruin all the best laid plans and WILL rear it’s stinking head at the most inconvenient time possible. The dirty bastard.

Even Grandad now gives me the dung debrief after a session of childcare.

I was the naive one on the right. The fourth trimester lured me into thinking I was achieving it too. However, I was unaware that (most) newborns can sleep through a nuclear explosion by day. It’s just by night they decide that sleep is cancerous and should be avoided at all costs.

I soon came the realise that sleep was like the butterfly effect; too much sleep in the day, ruined everything at night. Too little sleep in the day ruined everything at night. Just the right amount of sleep in the day…well, it happened a handful of times which turned me a bit psycho as I tried to meticulously replicate every second in the vain hope that it occurred again. My children clearly sensed this and had great pleasure in flicking me the bird just when I thought I’d cracked it. I’m not entirely sure why I’m using past tense – they still do. The spiteful little douche bags.

So because I go very mental with inadequate amounts of sleep, it’s for everyone’s safety that I tiptoe around the house. I’ll probably continue to tiptoe until they reach teenagers and then I’ll have to start mimicking the eruptive volume of Krakatoa on a daily basis just to get them out of bed.

I can’t tell you the moment this all started to go hideously wrong; when the vegetables were slowly filtered out and the staple diet became Monster Munch. I spoon fed the first kid and then baby led weaned (left to his own devices) the second kid, both of which has resulted in food that has to be covered in an orange crumb to be accepted at the dinner table.

I could have let them go hungry but the sleep butterfly effect meant that I just couldn’t risk it – they seemed to sleep so well after three pouches of Ella’s Kitchen Banana Brekkie before bed, why fuck about with actual meals on a plate?

Every now and then I think I’ve had a break through but just like the episodes of sleep, it’s short lived, and then turns to shit very quickly. So I stick to what I know…. Poo.

Remembering the details

There have been so many times since my children have been born, that I’ve reached over to pick up my phone and photograph a moment only to find my phone out of reach.  Frustrated at the missed opportunity, I’ve attempted to freeze frame the moment in my mind’s eye and fix it permanently into my memory box. I have long forgotten these memories or have no idea whether the ones I do remember were the ones I really wanted to.

It happened just the other day. Me and my nearly three year old boy were on the sofa, watching a film. He was laying, following the curve of my legs and lower body, resting one hand on top of mine and pushing one of his feet down the side of my slipper boot I had on. Once he had firmly wedged his foot in and was satisfied with it’s position, he remained still. My phone in the other room, I was unable to capture the image; a moment when his little foot, small enough to fit in the gap, wriggled so warmly next to mine.

Going through thousands of photos files recently, looking for one picture in particular, I came across a video. I don’t know what made me click on it – there are hundred of videos. In it was my son about six months old and my two and a half year old daughter. My son is belly laughing and there is this beautiful interaction between the two of them. I’m filming it and as I watch it back I have absolutely no recollection of the moment or any details surrounding it. So it seems that even if I do capture the moments, I still may not remember them.

Technology has been in the limelight a lot recently especially regarding what kind of future we can expect for our children when everyone spends so much time staring at a screen. I have read articles demanding parents put down to their phones, stop filming, stop sharing on social media and live in the moment.

This forgotten video was a wonderful reminder that memories can become skewed. Through the day to day drudgery of trying to make each day perfect, feeling overwhelmed with guilt at not achieving it and focussing on a belief my children don’t have the relationship I yearned them to have, I had forgotten the details. A beautiful moment lasting a few minutes showed me the truth. And with each subsequent photo file, leaving a trail like breadcrumbs to lost moments, good and bad, they helped me challenge my self image as a mother which always seems to be heavily weighted with regret.

So I say, keep taking photos. Keep filming. Capture the details. Share them if you want to. Every so often, look back and remind yourself of what a good job you are doing. Remind yourself that your children are nourished, stimulated and loved. Remind yourself that you are perfect in their eyes. And then, one day, you’ll be able to remember the details together.

I don't know exactly when this was taken, or what we did that day but what I do know is, it must have been taken when Dad was at work and her little brother was still asleep so we're having undisturbed, tired mummy cuddles

An Idiot’s Guide to Toddlers

otally Unreasonable

Toddlers are bipolar with multiple personalities. They switch between personas frequently and swiftly without warning. Don’t assume that just because they’re coming towards you with their lips pouting that they won’t punch you in the face.

bsessive

Like collectormaniacs, they squirrel away objects in every corner of the house with a preference for large quantities that are impossible to carry all at once. You will be expected to carry this precious bounty every time you leave the house otherwise Psycho personality will make an appearance.

etermined

You can’t knock a Toddler’s determination. They can do everything. They don’t need your help. It’s just a shame their tiny little fingers or inability to judge space and time coherently means that they end up flipping out, blaming you for their failure at everything. Help them but DON’T HELP THEM. They need your help but THEY DON’T NEED YOUR HELP. Help them but made sure they don’t know YOU’RE HELPING THEM. STOP HELPING.

emanding

They live in a very specific world and have things in a very specific way. Unless you possess the powers of telepathy, just accept you’re fucked. You’ll never be able to second guess the personalities or pre-empt their next move. They change the goal posts daily just so you’re constantly walking on a carpet of lego.

oathly

You can’t really blame a toddler for being opposed against having a hand reach around the front of their face like a child snatcher with a chloroformed soaked hanky. Despite just innocently trying to remove the thick green oxygen-depriving gunk that exudes from their nostrils, they’d rather have that hanging from their faces and eat off the floor than actually consume healthy greens and breathe freely.

ffective

With fingernails that are impossible to clip and tiny fingers that infiltrate orifices as fast as lightening, they can disarm an adult human swiftly. They can also bring you to your knees by setting you impossible tasks such as ‘make the batteries work again’ or ‘make me a dippy egg that’s not too dippy but still dippy but isn’t dippy’.

ageful

Satan himself isn’t even immune to the rage of a toddler. The most effective deterrent when a toddler reaches volcanic eruption point, is to stand very still. Like a statue. Offer no eye contact and eventually when the toddler forgets you exist, you can slowly side step to safety and phone the police.

When does this phase end, you may ask. It doesn’t.

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