Hold the line caller 

Sometimes being a working mum (maybe just being a “mum” full stop), makes you feel like your own life is on hold whilst you look after everyone else’s. 

    You prepare meals for every one.  Plan how you can build something of vague nutritional value into the day whilst they have friends, hobbies, fun in general. Your day is snatches of time. Snippets of what you might like to do, but always interrupted by looking after everyone else. 

    Time spent in the garden might be paused whilst you prepare a meal. Food shop. Hang up washing. Fetch washing in. Iron washing. Distribute the piles of clean clothes amongst the hotel guests, sorry, family members. 

    I carry crochet around thinking I’ll do some later. It gets moved from room to room more times than I pick it up and do it. Days off are to get shit done. Spare time is a thing of the past, lunch times are internet shopping for kids and/or food. 

    I could scream at people who say they can never leave work on time, they’re far too busy. Try having a stressful full time job with kids waiting for you. You don’t know what busy is. I also have to travel for work, I can’t just book it in. It’s a series of calls, bookings, negotiations, planning, who will have who when? Who will pick the kids up? What parties do they have whilst I’m away? Who will cover what? Pleading with their dad to PLEASE go to that assembly because I’ve never missed one whilst he’s missed them all and it feels like only I care about it. 

    I work late some nights to enable me to run round for kids on others. I attend school meetings, miss one “open afternoon” at school and get greeted with sad faces from the kids. Use 90% of my holiday covering kids stuff and the other 10% doing DIY. Texts from school inviting us to assemblies THAT FUCKING DAY leaving me shouting “I’M AT FUCKING WORK”. More and more texts from school asking for money and wondering how I’m going to pay for that, plus new uniform, plus birthday oh and fuck, remembering you forgot to enquire about drumming lessons. Juggling money from cards to accounts in interest free. 

    I’m told our team in the office would sink without me. Sometimes I want to scream “just open your fucking eyes”! Not only do I do my job but I’m also pc fucking support for people who fail to fucking learn shit because it’s easier to ask me.

    I volunteer for Girl Guides and only berate myself for the little we manage to achieve but I feel like I work hard at it. 

    It’s taken me a couple of years to change the name on my passport and driving licence and honestly I just feel like I only just got divorced. I’d love a p.a. Doing things for me is not forefront in my mind. 

    I’m paying over and above for gas and electric because I’ve just not been able to make the call and negotiate a new deal. It took me 4 months to redo my mum’s magazine subscription that ran out (now on direct debit), and I know she’s pleased but I feel guilty and at the same time want to scream. 

    The kids dad berates me for booking play dates on his time (accidentally) and how he “never gets to see them” when they’ve just had a week in Menorca, he gets them every other weekend and does sod all with them. My time without them is getting shit done for them. And why the fuck do all their extra activities have to be on my time you lazy cunt? 

    I honestly feel like I get a barrage of constant criticism for what I don’t do. What I don’t achieve. When someone steps in to help it’s pretty much because I’ve done a shit job at something or haven’t managed to get something done. It mostly feels like it’s a constant circle of trying and failing. I often wonder if I’m going just hit a wall of exhaustion one day when this all catches up on me. 

    I’d love a night out with friends but really when? I’m so tired and insomnia is my new friend. I try and visit friends but it puts such a strain on my time. Friends visit me and then I’m making drinks, looking after them. 

    You know, 18 months ago I stopped my mum coming to my house. She sent me an email after a visit she left telling me how untidy my house was. Not once does she offer to help. 

    My life is one big apology. For not doing things how people would like it. Not doing things on time. Not being able to attend something. Not being able to cover that trip because of family commitments. Not putting that egg shell in the bin. Not being able to find the coffee when a friend comes round. Not buying dreamies for the cats. Not making a packed lunch. Not cleaning the car. Not washing that top you want to wear. Not being able to have friends after school because I have to work. Not reading to you at bedtime because I can’t keep my eyes open.  Not being able to think straight because my head is splitting, again. Not getting more shit done because I sat down “for 10 mins” and struggled to get going again. 

    I dread post coming through the door. It’s either a bill or more demands on my time. I’ve had a Direct Line letter for a week unopened because that means both of these things and neither of which I have. 

    Berocca, iron and B12 are my daily boost, and after giving up coffee 2 years ago I wonder if I actually need something like that to keep me going. Lack of it hasn’t helped me sleep anyway and the headaches haven’t diminished…

    Anyway, today on 4 hours sleep, the cycle will begin again. I will shop for birthdays, pack for a school trip, buy cake – but not eat it and keep moving forwards. If there’s something you want, take a ticket and.wait in line. I’ll get to you eventually. But I’m sorry you might need to remind me a few times. 

    The final turning of the leaf 

    It’s been a very hectic weekend and quite a shitty day. 

    Following on from messy divorces and house sorting, we are in the final throws of decorating the house in which we now all live. It occurred to me recently, that during my adult life, I’ve only lived in a “finished” house once, with my ex husband, & only “finished” because we were selling. I’m looking forward to having a nice house to come home to. A house the kids can be proud of, today it’s started to be realised, with curtain pole hanging and wallpaper hanging. 

    Unfortunately during our pushes to work hard, the kids have had a neglectful weekend. Today alone, the 7yo decided to take herself off around the village on her bike. Thinking she was scooting up and down the pavement outside, I went other to “check on her”. No where to be seen. We ran in shouting her name. The 10yo became fraught with worry. So was I and I was SO angry. Why didn’t I look sooner? 10 said “I couldn’t find her before”. “THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING??” I shouted. Bren shot off in his car. Shouting and frankly, scared as fuck, I rang the police. I was giving the description as Bren drove round the corner sticking his thumbs up. Shortly after, 7 sales round the corner on her bike. It maybe wasn’t even 2 minutes but it felt like hours. I’m sorry I wasted, albeit briefly, police time but God I was frightened and all I can say is, for the briefest off moments, the world seemed huge and I felt lost.

    Then on what now seems a much smaller scale, 10 changed her phone pin to a password and hasn’t been able to type it in correctly since. Phone now on lock down, currently on a mammoth factory reset with apple. 

    I hope this is the grande finale on what has been a tough couple of years. I feel so sorry for 10. She’s a delicate petal as it is and she’s emotionally exhausted!

    Tomorrow our floor fitter arrives and our home becomes homely. Our house starts to become one of which we are proud. Soon we will be able to draw the curtains instead of pinning and tacking remnants to the windows, we won’t be dodging tacks and staples in bare floorboards or struggling around paint pots. 

    We are nearly there and by God we deserve to revel in it once we are. 

    Sweaty Betty – help is here!

    I worked with a woman once who told me she only had to apply deodorant every couple of days and she only did then because she thought she should. Equally, my significant other half barley even gently perspires on the hottest of days. 

    sweat. I sweat enough for the 3 of us. 

    I always have. I mean, it’s not pouring off, but I have had to make lifestyle changes throughout my adult years in order to manage this. During my early 20’s things got so bad I had to use prescription deodorant. Some days I would go to work, run out at lunch to buy a new top, change & bin the 1st one in embarrassment and shame. I smelt. I shower every day, my clothes are always clean. I was clean, I am clean. But I sweated. Once I even cut out the armpits of the top I was wearing and then just kept my cardigan on so no one would know. 

    Prescription deodorant is awful stuff and it burns. For years I had red burn marks under my arms. If any got anywhere other than where your hair grew it burned your skin, you had to apply it every couple of weeks as well as your daily deodorant. If you shaved before hand, it burned. I’ve tried every type of antiperspirant there is.  

    Still now, tight fitting tops don’t have a long life with me. Cottons are always best, I avoid synthetic fibres – they’re the worst. 

    People don’t know. I manage it, less dramatically as before, but I manage. I no longer have to wear prescription deodorant but I can’t wear any perfumed antiperspirants otherwise it’s like the scent is amplified beyond anything that was mildy pleasant when first applied. 

    Because I work in the garment trade, I’m lucky enough to see some new innovations, designs and ideas. 

    A couple of weeks ago I met a father and son team who had taken old technology initially developed by the MoD and applied it to textiles. 

    An odour absorbing pad, as thin and light as tissue, as strong as fabric. 

    If I saw these in a shop I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have given them a second glance. However, I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of samples…

    Maybe you have smelly feet. Maybe your kids PE kit is fragrant for all the wrong reasons, maybe your cat’s bed stinks, maybe you react badly to synthetic fibres like me or maybe you feel self conscious about being smelly, what ever the problem, please try these, they are truly amazing. 

    For me in my 20’s, they’d have been life changing, and in a small, less dramatic way, they still are. 

    Thank goodness for people like these guys who probably don’t sweat a drop. 

    http://www.odegon.com

    A house full of pussy 

    Our house is full of pussies. We went from 0 to 4 in 6 months. Oh God. Sorry, this isn’t the blog you’re looking for. We are talking the furry kind, no wait! The feline kind.  

    We have 2 girls that we “rescued” from the RSPCA in April guesstimated at 1 year old & 2 boys “rescued” in September at only a couple of months old. 

    As one might expect, the characters between the boys and girls vary enormously. 

    The girls are, naturally, cool, calm and collected, natural born killers that will think nothing of devouring small creatures. They have a general air of “don’t fuck with me” about them and you can stroke them when they see fit.

    One of the boys last night spent 10 minutes alternating between attacking his own tail and wondering who the fuck bit him on the tail when it was, indeed, himself. 

    And repeat. 

    We suspect the boys are slightly ferrel, their behaviours are slightly out of kilter and they are, for want of a better word, simple. 

    But then again, they’re boys. 

    Our once almost calm, ok sometimes normal house has turned in to comedy central. We get woken in the night with cats nonchalantly walking over our heads who then express surprise “oh! You’re awake!! I’ll just sit here and PURRRR ferociously for half an hour”. 

    There’s getting home to a dark house and having to shuffle to a light switch for fear of treading on one. Then there’s feeding time…  We’ve given up on kitten Vs cat food. Half way through they’d all play musical bowls anyway, but trying to manage 4 hungry mouths all meowing like you haven’t fed them for 3 days is always fun. I’m in no doubt that if we all died in the house, they’d eat us.

    Kitty feeding time

    One thing is for sure though, rescuing 4 previously abandoned kitties and watching them slowly take over your life and home warms your cockles. We had wanted a cat for a long time, we had toyed with a pedigree, whilst I’m sure we would have loved it/them to the end of time, we wouldn’t have the satisfaction from doing a good deed nor the appreciation for the work done by the teams at the rescue centres. 

    I thoroughly recommend rescuing a kitty in need of a new home. I think they rescue you in return.  

    So tag me 

    I mostly reserve Facebook for people I actually like. There are exceptions of course, family for example. I’m joking! Ok a bit. But I have girl guide groups on there, selling pages etc… It’s a useful tool. It’s a handy way to share photos quickly, to share ideas. We’ve tried loads of videos shown for crafts and food.  It’s a good way to pick up tips. 

    However. As we are all too aware, it also seems to be the place for others to convince the rest of the world how amazing their life is. Look how big my house is. Look how much my husband loves me. Oh my God my child won the “most amazing kid in class in the history of the world ever” I can’t believe it!!. Blah blah blah and fuck off. 

    It’s also full of the whingers. The best I saw in the last few weeks was a mum complaining how her younger daughter was being bullied in class. How she “can’t believe the dreadful behaviour” whilst her eldest daughter bullies my eldest daughter. Blah blah blah and really? Fuck right off with that one. 

    So I’m taking a break. I’m not posting and I’m certainly not reading yours or anyone’s time line. And you know what? It’s fucking marvelous! I’ve also suspended my twitter account. Permanently? Maybe not. I like my twitter name and I’d like to keep it. But instead of reading timeliness, I’m reading the news. I’m on line grocery shopping, reading things made of PAPER. Doing crochet. Most of all? I’m not giving a flying fuck about your amazing life or indeed your problems. 
    *not yours though. I actually like you. 

    Ch ch ch changes 

    How much does it bother you on a scale of 1 – 10? 

    Well. Right now, not at all really. But in the summer I won’t wear vest tops. I’ve had it that long I’ve kind of learnt to dress around it. “Let’s say 7”.

    I hate to say it out loud, but the tattoo on my arm is 25 years old now. I was 17. My boyfriends name was John. He was a postman and covered in tattoos. 

    Back in Leicester there was an amazing place full of second hand clothes shops, record shops and a tattoo parlour. The Silver Arcade. Oddly, the place where I first met my next boyfriend (who’s name momentarily escapes me), but that was a year later… “are you having one then?” Said John. “OK then” I said hastily, pointing to the nearest picture that looked ok, “I’ll have that one”. And so the deed was done. 

    A couple of boyfriends later, I met my long term partner (& husband to be). We were together for 22 years and he hated tattoos. I dared to have one on my foot at the age of 26, this was met with great disapproval and so the tattoo thoughts were buried to the back of my mind. 

    I’m now 42 and divorced. I’ve often dreamed of getting another. My BFF has had several and even a couple removed. A colleague recently paid for her boyfriend to have a rework….

    What the fuck am I actually waiting for?

    I googled the clinic. Filled out the online form to register an interest. The notification window declared “someone will call you within 15 minutes”. Less than 5 minutes later I was staring at my mobile thinking “oh shit”. That was Wednesday, today is Sunday and I’ve just been for my 1st appointment. 

    I was booked in for a consultation and a patch test. After filling out all of the medical questionnaires, having my skin tone and eye colour assessed to give me an overall rating of 3, it was stated that for the size of it, I might as well have the 1st treatment instead of the patch test. 

    Shit. Ok then. “I’m a bit anxious about it, I’m a wimp” I said. She put my mind at rest and I was given safety goggles and told what would happen. “Don’t worry about the colour as I do the lazer..”

    “Oh I won’t be looking” I said. She started. I was so prepared for awful pain that it actually wasn’t that bad. She said some people describe it as hot fat hitting the skin. For me, it felt like a sharp elastic band flicking the skin over and over. It was done within a couple of minutes. The whole tattoo looked frosted. It’s covered and has to remain so for 24 hours, when I can apply more aloe vera gel. I have a plethora of other creams and ointments, all of which I’m sure I’ve been over charged for but it’s all part of the package. I’ve signed up for 8 treatments, each requiring 6-8 weeks between each session.  I will be less anxious next time, now I know what to expect. 

    It’s a long process but still, it’s quite exciting and I’m feeling rather pleased with myself that I’ve finally made the step. 

    Busier than a fucking busy thing from Busyville 

    Really. I’m running on fumes now. The fuel tank is empty. 

    I’m always pretty busy. I just seem to be that kind of person. I’m not sure why. I always have been. The pre kids me used to work full time and then do 2 or 3 evening classes a week. Now evening classes are a distant memory and a dream I’m unlikely to fulfill within the next decade. I still work full time. I can’t afford not to, except now I have 2 kids and one ex husband who’s as much use as a chocolate teapot. 

    Even when we were together I organised all of the Christmas presents, I wrapped them all, I put them all out late on Christmas Eve, whilst he gently snored on the sofa. The difference now is, I have no one to share the financial burden. Mind you, to be honest him sharing that burden is comparable to him thinking I could feed and clothe the family of 4 on my 65 quid a week dole money. Including buying school shoes, but I digress….

    2 weeks ago today, with the kids reluctantly delivered to their dad, I flew to Dhaka. I was there one night then flew to Myanmar. With a night in Bangkok airport. I spent 2 nights in Myanmar before flying on to Hanoi. I spent one night there before flying home. It was a packed stressful and heavy work trip. I’m still knackered. (Our logistics manager had a brief strop about people having personal parcels delivered to work. I suggested he did my work trip so I could stay home and do my Christmas shopping). I had a conversation with my colleagues on the trip about taking vitamins. I said most days I have a berocca. “Everyday? But aren’t they for when you’re really run down?” He said. 

    “Yes. I mostly am”.

    I’m still trying to catch up on the jobs at home. The washing continues to flow steadily from the basket. The ironing pile seems to be a mountain that is likely to be hit by an earthquake at any given moment. This week I’m running around for 7’s panto. Next week I’ll be running around for 10’s panto. There’s cat litter steadily spreading across the whole floor and we seem to be living on baked potatoes because they can cook whilst we are out. 

    Yesterday, with the car fuel tank screaming at me to fill up, my stomach growling loudly, I decided a lunch trip to the local supermarket would rectify both of these problems. The reality? 2 huge (& heavy) presents were delivered to the office for the kids, so I spent lunch running around at work, loading my car, screeching home, running in, opening the garage, running up and down the drive to load said presents in to the garage, locking up, grabbing 2 rounds of toast with laughing cow on and then screeching back to the office. It wasn’t quite the picture I had in mind of eating my newly purchased sushi whilst I browsed the Internet. 

    Today I’m heading to London for a meeting where my customer has actually requested a pre meeting meeting about the meeting we are about to have, and then also requested a post meeting meeting about the meeting we’ve literally just had. You couldn’t make this shit up. She asked how long I could stay for after the actual meeting for our post meeting meeting. I had no choice but to point out that I couldn’t stay long because I live 150 miles away and have 2 children. Aka I HAVE A LIFE. 

    In order to have these 3 meetings, I’ve booked the kids in breakfast and after school club. I sometimes get to use the office flexi time and actually pick them up from school on a Friday. I can’t be there for the pre meeting meeting as early as she’d like because I can’t physically get there any earlier because breakfast club doesn’t open at the crack of dawn. 

    I’m out of energy and I’m out of money and out of ideas. 

    Oh and fuck, I haven’t even booked tickets for the actual panto at the theatre. 

    I found a  Christmas card in the box of decorations that I’d written to a friend last year, with a stamp on. Don’t be upset if you don’t get a card. It’s nothing personal. 

    God I’m tired.