Pinch punch, Mum what’s for lunch?

All is quiet in the ‘Big Burr House’. Joshua started the day early this morning wearing nothing but his sunglasses saying ‘morning dude’ in his best ‘cool’ voice. Fast forward a few hours, we’re watching the Flintstones, i’m tirelessly scrolling through Facebook and the weather outside is drowsy.

Joshua’s already reminded me at least 6 times that he’s “very proud and excited” that he won a patrick teddy by getting two ducks “all by myself” (no skill involved might I add, it was purely a ‘hook a duck, choose a prize’ situation.

I’ve had a mars ice-cream for breakfast, my house is semi messy (its clean, but is seems there’s a miniature Disney gathering occurring on my rug right now) and were both still in our pyjamas.

I’ve not stopped stressing and thinking ‘what can we do with our day, how can I make it exciting’ – I considered a muddy puddle day and realised that I basically could not be bothered with the aftermath. I considered painting, but today is just not a day for painting.

We’ve built the same 2 jigsaw puzzles at least 12 times and i’ve already drawn spongebob and the gang (I used to enjoy drawing them but its taking its toll now being asked to draw Sandy, Pearl, Mrs Puff, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy along with the main ones. I spend an hour perfecting them and realise Joshua’s off doing his jigsaw again.

We’ve coloured in dory, watched Scooby-doo and Peppa pig (although I was still half asleep for them to be fair), Joshua’s had 2 bowls of cereal and he’s already had 3 meltdowns this morning (one of them because he’s ‘very starving’)

We’ve argued because Joshua’s adamant that the sun isn’t sunny and that the number six is actually a number one. We’ve debated whether a telephone and microphone are the same thing and he’s protested that his vest is red (it’s white)

He’s phoned dad just to tell him ‘Your a dirty wolf and I’m a super-hero’ which led to a 10 minute discussion about how I’m the princess and Joshua’s going to save me, and a long debate of who smells the worst, who has a bum face and who’s a turd worm (Joshua’s favourite word ATM)

We’ve had underpants on our head and we’ve jumped on the bed and played hide and seek (also know as 5 minutes peace whilst he sits in the playhouse that he asked me to put the roof on so i wouldn’t be able to find him) YOU CANT MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

The mum guilt soon crept in and I realised that he must be having as much a tedious day as I am, the poor bugger probably just wants a bit of fun or a bit of fresh air. This poor boy has been stuck in the house today and he’s having to find entertainment within the realm of the living room (AKA playroom with a sofa in it)

Im not doing enough, I need to get him to the park for an hour, I better get up and get dressed I feel awful sitting around doing nothing all day. Better turn the TV off, too much TV time isn’t good. He’s told me he’s hungry 30 times in the last 15 seconds maybe I should make him something else to eat. 

And after all of the chaos and the stress and the worry of not doing enough with our day, that Joshua might be bored and that Ive only done one wash (when theres room on the radiators for two), the drama of still being in pyjamas and the blinds still being shut, I stopped, taken a second to breathe and I realised after dealing with all of the stress of wasting the entire day doing nothing, it was actually still only 09:30am in the morning…..

So sod it,

Ive spent my whole morning stressing about being slobby and doing nothing with my day, I may as well follow through with it and do exactly that, so – Moana and a hot chocolate it is.

We’ll probably have a walk to the park at some point depending on whether I we can be bothered putting pants on, but for now – sod it, Square eyes for the win!

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Brutally honest and innocently rude

Let me set the scene. Its lunch time. Im hungry, Joshua’s hungry, and anytime I cook anything in the oven Joshua goes into a meltdown because he knows he’ll have to wait anything more than 2 minutes.

Ham sandwiches’ll do.

Im in the kitchen, singing away to The Smiths – This Charming Man, when I hear my little cherub chatting away in the living room. ‘aw how cute’ I thought, ‘i’ll turn down the music and have a listen’ –

“But Its not fair I don’t even like butties. I don’t like ham and I hate lettuce. Im not eating it all. oh but then I won’t be able to have any treats, but I do like treats so I might eat a bit ok captain hook? just a bit. Then the treats will be mine *evil laugh* (I’m not being dramatic here, these are his actual words!!)

And that wasn’t all. As I returned to the living room, plates in hand, Joshua says “ooo thank you mum I’m so excited I love ham sandwiches specially with lettuce” and then proceeds to eat half before saying “can I have a treat now i’ve eaten lots”

HA HA NOT A CHANCE YOU DEVIOUS LITTLE SOD GET IT ATE. He refused. No treats were given.

AT WHAT POINT DO WE LEARN TO BE CHEEKY, MISCHIEVOUS LITTLE BUGGERS BECAUSE I CANT QUITE PUT MY FINGER ON WHEN THIS BEGUN.

But it got me thinking, kids are so adorable and so innocent but sometimes they come out with the funniest things – and they have no clue they’re doing so.

Joshua constantly says funny things like ‘I WANT A CHOCOLATE ARSE CREAM’ and “I DONT LIKE YOU, YOU STINK OF A MONKEYS BUM’ and thats all well and cute, but its the ‘adult phrases’ that they pick up and use against us that really makes me laugh.

As a parent, the first thing to come to mind is to say ‘don’t be cheeky’ but in reality, they’re not being cheeky at all they’re just doing what they thinks right and acting how they’ve been taught. For example, every tea time without fail Joshua will say ‘Daddy what do you say to mummy, say thank you for your lovely dinner”. And it isn’t cheeky at all in fact he’s remembered that he must use his manners and he’s reminding daddy to do the same. How adorable is that?

He’s also picked up on my new answer to questions after being asked for the 27th time so now he says “Mum why are we going to the shop, is it because you said so?” ha ha yes Joshua thats exactly why, 10 points to Gryffindor. And so every now and again ill say something like “Joshua come and clean up these books from allover the floor and he’ll say something like “Excuse me, wait a minute I’m busy!” HOW DO I RESPOND. WHAT DO I DO. FAIRY GODMOTHER I NEED YOUR HELP…

His usual ‘why does that person stink”, “why is that girls looking at me” and “look at that silly man dancing mum” as well as “whats his name” and “why is she wearing that silly hat”. All questions that they genuinely want to know the answer to and phrases they’ve picked up on and they have no idea how they might be perceived to other people.

Children are so innocently rude and brutally honesty.

Want to know if you look fat in your new dress? Don’t ask your boyfriend, ask your child! 

 

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Our 6 month bucket list

So, I finally did it.

I booked up my ideas *with the help of Joshua* and we’ve decided exactly what we would like to achieve from our year. We have created our 2017 BUCKET LIST! (shut up, I know its July, I got sidetracked) and I thought I would share our ideas with all of my mum friends that might get a little bit stuck for something new sometimes like us:

2017 BUCKET LIST

Have a Picnic

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Have a water fight

Visit a pumpkin patch

Visit a museum

Have a walk around a lake

Go hiking

Plant a flower/tree

Visit a fair

Go to an amusement park

Have a movie night

Visit a firework display

Build a pillow fort

Go swimming

Visit a new park

Visit a farm

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Have a family game night

Have a sleep over

Help wash daddys car

Play out in the rain

Go camping

Visit the library

Visit a farmers market

Go gymnastics

Visit a beach

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Go to the cinemas

Look for stars (probs when camping?)

Play golf

Paint a picture

Go to a trampoline park

Make our own music instruments

Build a snowman

Bake a cake

Go to the zoo

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Feed the ducks

Visit santa

Ride on a train

Go see the illuminations

Have a family pyjama day

Try a new restaurant

Buy a gift to donate

Go to a local fun day

Play football

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Start a long book to read together at bedtimes

Have a treasure hunt

Play outside to find bugs and insects

Try a new hobby/class

Play hide and seek

Visit the christmas markets

Go on a boat

Make our own smoothies

 

Better get started, were nearly in our 7th Month!

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Warning: Milestone ahead (Joshua’s off to school!)

Last week Joshua had his welcome day at his school nursery. It’s a milestone that I never thought would arrive. One minute they’re only content when cuddling you and with a blink of an eye they respond to asking for a cuddle with “no your breath stinks of cabbage”.

I never considered myself to be the kind of mum that would be worried about him going to school but as much as we often joke “another 15 years and well be free” its absolutely terrifying that 3 years have gone so quickly and that ‘freedom’ will be here much sooner than we thought. *hears glasses clinking on an exotic beach in the distance*

When I decided to spend 9 months out of work with Joshua, other than the guilt I felt for leaving Ryan to be the sole provider, I was super excited and grateful to spend that time making memories together.

“We’ll go on picnics every day, have play dates and venture out to explore the world together”. “I’ll conquer motherhood and then go back to building a career and just smash life in general, easy peasy”.

“ha ha ha you are wrong” said the fat controller.

We’ve obviously had a lot of fun times, but nobody told me just how tedious it would be at other times! Nobody told me how a three year old likes to complete a jigsaw, take it apart and re-build it. 16 TIMES. Nobody told me that my child would approach me with a toy and say ‘lets play’ and then each time I try he would debate “No mum! He doesn’t say that, he says …”

Nobody told me that an ice lolly is NEVER a good idea if you’re not within toddler-carrying distance of a shower, and that no matter how many times you say ‘yeah just give me a second’ .. they will take it literally and ask you the exact same thing a second later.

Nobody told me that I would turn into a middle aged mother saying things like “BECAUSE I SAID SO” and “If you don’t eat your tea you won’t be having any pudding” and “If you pick your nose your brain will fall out”

Nobody told me that I would hear the phrase “I want…” twelve times an hour and “well thats not fair, I’m going to my room” at least twice a day.

As much as I sit here and worry about how hard its going to be finding a job that works around our family schedule and settling in to something new the same time as Joshua, I can’t pretend I’m not super excited to have a conversation that doesn’t include a Disney character.

Im excited for the next milestone to begin – For Joshua to tell me all about his day at school and about what games he’s been playing with his friends. Im excited for him to make friends that he’ll know for the next 13 years or so and have those friends over for sleepovers. Im excited to take him to football matches and his friends parties and world book day and attend assemblies and school fares and the class nativity (Joshua’s teacher said she already wants Joshua as Joseph haha!)

And I can’t wait for a new start for myself either. Adult conversation, organisation, routine and generally just feeling like I’m doing my part. Im excited to feel less of a failure and of course to have that extra income that I spent a year working for just to pay our on nursery fees.

Its always nice to have a fresh start and to reach a new milestone.

Im excited to watch my son become a young man, but I guarantee a month into school/working i’ll be wanting to come home and do that gruffalo jigsaw 16 times in a row.

 

 

 

Living with Depression and Anxiety

Society brushes anxiety and depression off as a little bit of insecurity more than anything. I think we do all have insecurities and doubts, but people are struggling way more than whether their shoes match their top and whether they’re feeling a little bit sad.

A day in the life of somebody with Anxiety and depression is beyond mentally draining.

It waking up and brushing your teeth with the one you love and not wanting to brush your teeth for less of a time than them because you don’t want to look like you don’t take care of your teeth. Its looking in the mirror daily and wondering how you managed to find somebody that would propose to you. Spending a long time getting ready because you’re so worried about the way you look. Its sticking to the same make up routine to avoid being out of your comfort zone. Its writing a blog post and dealing with the major anxiety because theres going to be people that are going to have a bitch about it.

Its cancelling on friends because (delete as appropriate):

  • You don’t feel Adequate
  • You feel uncomfortable
  • You don’t want company today because you’re too busy fighting demons
  • You don’t feel pretty enough
  • You’re not able to keep conversation flowing
  • You’re not able to drag yourself out of bed
  • You’re not able to physically get up and leave the house today
  • You feel you have nothing interesting to bring to somebody else’s life

People question what its like to have depression and anxiety. They expect you to be stuck in bed and physically not be able to move for weeks on end, and for many this is correct, but this isn’t the case for all. Some people find that they actually go out more often to try and fill that hole in their life. Others paint a pretty picture to their friends and family about how perfect their life is in the hope that it might make them feel better. Some people prefer to stay away from others altogether and completely shut out the world.

I find that personally my biggest issue is the anxiety. I question EVERYTHING I do and doubt everything that I say. Somebody could ask me what the answer to 3+4 is and even though I’m certain with my answer, its likely ill still end my response with ‘I think anyway, I’m not sure, I’m rubbish at maths’.

I walk down the street and fully feel like everybody that walks past is judging me. I get worried that they’ll be judging my weight, what I’m wearing, whether my make up looks ridiculous or why I’m not wearing any make up at all showing my dark circles and looking like a drug addict. Wondering whether I look too young to have a child, why I’m walking down the street at 2pm with my child which means I mustn’t have a job and must be lazy and sponging off the government. When I’m sat on a bus I’m worried about the person sat behind me watching my movements, does my hair look bad from this angle, can they see my roots, if I stand up will my top come up slightly and show off my stretch marks.

When people come to my house Im the kind of person that would say ‘ignore the skirting boards, they were like that when we moved in, ignore the plaster were due to wallpaper. I actually point out the imperfections myself so that nobody will do it behind my back.

I do have more good days than bad. Some days I am overwhelmed with how lucky I am to live the life that I do. I love that I have a beautiful family, were lucky enough to have food and drink and a house and car and a life that allows us to make happy memories and enjoy the time that we have on this earth.

But other days I question my own worth. What is my purpose? Why does my mind play constant games with me? Why do I feel like I’ve got a marathon to run when the only thing on my to-do list today is to cook tea and do some fun crafts.

Its like never feeling good enough. Never feeling confident enough to approach somebody. Not feeling good enough to complete a task to the correct standard. People expect that its just a little bit of worry due to overthinking and that they understand because they also had anxiety once before a big presentation. Its way more than overthinking. Its a constant battle happening in your brain and theres absolutely no way to stop it, even if people say things like ‘try not to think into things too much, try to forget about it”

I am an extremely empathetic person and to my own dismay I mostly live my life through the eyes of others. I spend my time in a conversation wondering how the other person feels. Whether they think I’m being boring or I’m not being truthful or I’m not actually listening to them because I’m too busy thinking of an adequate response.

Some of my bad days I just need to curl up in a ball and hide away for a few hours and have a cry. Others I just need a cuddle and time with my family. Other times I am able to hide it completely and paint on a smile as though everything is fine.

I live in the constant battle of being so deeply in love with my family that they can get me through anything, and also having them around being my biggest concern of one day losing them due to this horrendous illness.

Its like I have many different ‘Laurens’ to attend to, when I actually only have the time to care for 1 or 2 of them.

  1. Mum – being a mum is to me the most important of the many roles, from spending time with Joshua and being a mum in general, to being a stay at home mum and keeping up with the housework/shopping/bills and other ‘mumsy’ stuff
  2. Being a girlfriend/daughter/friend – talking to, spending time with, checking in on and generally having these people in my life is a blessing but sometimes I find that I  spend more time worrying about being good company than actually doing so
  3. Work – although I’m not currently working its something i constantly worry about. I am so desperate to build a career and become successful but with current issues of childcare and working hours its not going to happen overnight
  4. having me-time – I rarely have time to just relax and have me-time. We spend a lot of time as a family and luckily I have Ryan who I am able to completely be myself around through the good bad and the ugly, but I love those days where I can stop battling with my own mind for a few hours and just switch off, whether that be writing a new blog, taking some photos or having a few drinks and a bit of a pamper session.
  5. Being depressed – This one takes up a lot of my time. Putting things on hold, cancelling days out and appointments, avoiding day to day duties and rearranging schedules because of my ‘fuck everything’ days. Those are the worst
  6. Being normal – It sounds absurd, but when you’re depressed the most simple thing can be a chore. The routine of waking up to do absolutely nothing with your day is hard. The idea of having a shower and washing your hair can seem like a mountain climb. The idea of having company round for dinner is way harder than cooking some extra food.

Its like I’m endlessly spinning plates and deciding which ones I’m going to have to let smash to the ground in order to keep the other ones going.

As hard as it might day, and as worthless as it can sometimes make you feel, I have learnt that having anxiety and depression is not something to be ashamed of. It is a serious illness. We are not crazy and are most definitely not just being overdramatic or lazy.

I sometimes think into the person that I am and the challenges that my own brain can put me through, and it has often led to me feeling ashamed. Society plays a big part in that for the fact that in this day and age depression and anxiety are still a taboo subject and most people are still frightened of admitting that life is not always sunshine and rainbows. I hope that one day the subject will be discussed openly and people will feel in a more comfortable position to stand up and tell their story, because its most likely that you are surrounded by people that are in a similar position.

Its taken a lot for me to write this blog and even now after writing it up, I’m still tempted to delete it and pretend it never existed (and maybe on one of my ‘fuck everyday’ days I might do just that, but I’m going to go ahead and post in the hope that theres just one person out there that might feel a little less stressed in knowing they are not alone.

It’s a battle I am fighting every day and will continue to fight. I don’t always win, sometimes it gets the better of me, but I am proud of the fact that each time I get a knock back, I will continue to get up an fight back every time. 

Every flower must grow through the dirt in order to blossom.

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For answers, turn to page 64

How unfortunate is it that you cannot google ‘how do I respond to my shithead of a son refusing to eat his broccoli?’ – I mean, you can google it, but the best answer you’ll get is from Julie on Mumsnet telling you how you should give him a good wallop like they did in the old’en days.

I hope it’s not just me, but I’m constantly questioning whether Im doing enough. If I let him play fight with his dad is he going to crack little Jimmy at school across the face. If I ignore and laugh at his cheeky (and really cute) little comments (like “i’m getting sick and tired of you”) is he going to end up being really cheeky and naughty? But if I don’t let him say the little remarks how will he ever bring out his personality properly, he’s not exactly saying it in a vicious way?

What do I teach him about death? He thinks that when you die you turn into a star in the sky but once he goes to school what if his friends teach him that you don’t, you’re either burned to a crisp or buried underground.

How do I approach the fact that some of his friends might not get as many christmas presents as him. How do I explain that father christmas doesn’t have favourites, its just that some people are luckier than others.

If I show him a baby bump and explain there’s a baby inside, is he going to point at the stomach of every woman and say ‘look mum theres a baby in there!’

When he throws his Moana boat across the room in a strop you can’t skip to page 64 to find the answer. Its on you.

If he doesn’t want to go out for the day and even when we get to the park he doesn’t fancy going on anything, do I force him because its fun and its good to get fresh air, or do I bring him home and hope that he doesn’t turn into one of them kids that never wants to leave the house.

Do I continue to buy him the toy figures of every disney programme ever created because he absolutely loves them, or will he end up spoiled and expect it from is?

You get the point. There is no manual.

For all I know I could be doing absolutely everything wrong and it terrifies me. I could wake up one morning in the future to find my son has turned into a cheeky little so and so that never leaves the house, never cleans up after himself and refuses to eat anything green. Maybe one day ill look back and think Julie from Mumsnet knew exactly what she was talking about – she realised her mistakes and beat the shit out of her fuckery of a teenager and now she’s out in force trying to stop other mums from making the same mistakes.

Maybe one day i’ll be the new Mumsnet loser trying to give out my words of wisdom because I don’t want anybody to bugger it up the way I ended up doing so.

But I think if Joshua came anything close to being naughty Id like to think we would nip in in the bud there and then. He is a good lad, we are actually very lucky, but I do question that he might wake up one day and it’ll all change forever.

Chances are Julie doesn’t know what she’s talking about, she probably doesn’t even have kids. I reckon she’s one of those grumpy old women that frown on the bus when a baby makes a slight noise. She probably has 8 cats, her family never visits and she spends her days hid away in her bedroom commenting on youtube videos and making complaints about a tin of beans thats slightly bent to try and get a coupon for 20p off the next tin she buys.

Thinking about it, Id rather end up with a quick-whitted little bugger of a son than a Julie anyway.

 

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Why play tug of war when you can cut the rope in half?

I have always been an open book. I tell people way too much about my life and the older I’ve got, the more I’ve always regretted it. I told people plans that I didn’t follow through with, I told people about struggles I’ve faced for it to be used against me. Ive shared my experiences, good and bad, in order to help other people and sometimes, myself.

But as I said, as I’ve gotten older, and especially over the last few months, I wish I’d never have discussed my life with others so much. Especially temporary people. I had a job that I quite liked when I was just 17 and after being a complete open book to them as to why I was late once (I was currently homeless, I only had enough bus fair to get me to work and not home and I literally carried a bag of my clothes around with me) I think they decided that It would be easier to find somebody with less baggage. But young and naive Lauren just wanted to let them know that I am doing everything I can but its just a little hard at the moment. Its something I have always regretted and think about often, and only the other day did I pass the manager that fired me. God I was close to walloping her across her saggy, judgemental mush. (not sure if I realise that this isn’t a personal diary and the world will be able to see it, but hey – I said i’d still be an open book about some things I suppose)

I wish I never told anybody anything when I was younger. Colleagues, Distant relatives, anybody that isn’t Ryan I suppose. I think I will always be openly honest about a lot of things, but now I think I would love to take everything back and be a complete closed book. I am at a stage in my life where I wish nobody knew anything about me that I don’t want them to know. Nobody has the right to discuss or judge or even question the person I am and used to be (who I would go as far to say are two different people).

I find that in the past I sometimes painted a picture of myself who I thought each person wanted me to be, rather than actually being myself, but over the past few months I would say I have learned a lot about myself. It’s like all of a sudden I’ve had this epiphany and I know exactly who I am after my dramatic quarter-life crisis late last year.

But one thing I have definitely learned this year is that I cannot be dealing with drama. I cannot cope with the constant need to fulfil the happiness of other people when it actually makes me feel a little bit shitty in doing so. I cannot paint on a face and pretend to be happy with a situation when I am not.

I’ve cut off a lot of people off over the past few months (A LOT) and I honestly have never felt so relieved. Having to constantly stick to arrangements that I’m not happy with, sitting in somebody’s company that I cannot bare to spend another moment fake laughing at, listening to somebody tell a story whilst thinking ‘that’s bullshit’ the whole way through. Well it honestly started to grind me down. Pretending to be somebody I’m not in order to please others.

So instead of pulling and pulling at the rope, fighting to stay happy and trying to please everybody and keep the peace… I just let go.

The relief was instant. I have never felt better. I stopped giving respect to those that didn’t give it back. I think the few people I have around me might sometimes worry that I might regret it one day (and who knows, maybe I will) but I decided that I have to do whats best for me. I will not have a single person in my life that puts me down, makes me feel less of a person, or particularly tell me that I won’t amount to anything when they have a big big lesson to learn in life considering they know nothing about ‘adult life’ at this point. (if any of you are reading this, ill let you decide which one relates to you)

I think my biggest worry was that cutting myself off from the world might affect Joshua, but if somebody is having a negative impact on my life, surely this would inadvertently affect him? Besides, the people that truly love him and want to see him (and its definitely clear who those people are) would not cut him off due to our differences. The ones that have cut him off as though we’re a package are the ones I feel sorry for. It is most definitely not his loss, its theirs. And I think I will continue to follow this motto.

“Never wrestle with pigs, you both get dirty, and the pig likes it”

For a while I felt lonely and wondered why I felt so distant to the world. I wondered why nobody liked me and why I was never good enough, and why everybody around me seemed to have a problem, but the truth is, it was my time being wasted, not theirs. It was me cutting them out of my life, not the other way around. Its me walking away and leaving the tug of war. So its not that I’m lonely, I’m just choosing not to play a game that I have no interest in winning.

I have my amazing fiance, my gorgeous little boy, a few very close family members, a few good friends and I’m pretty sure they all know who they are. I have very few people around me these days and yet I’ve never been more happy.

Now the only games I have to worry about playing are ‘I spy (it usually begins with ‘N’ and the answer is usually dog) and football. And thats how I hope it stays…

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We already know how to be parents thanks hun x

I WONT TELL YOU AGAIN, UN-GLUE YOUR EYES FROM SCOOBY-DOO FOR 3 FUCKING SECONDS AND GET YOUR SHOES ON- is what I say in my head as I pleasantly ask “Joshua put your shoes on please, and if you don’t listen to me, you won’t have a DVD on in bed tonight”.

There’s so many parenting manuals flying about WHS and Waterstone’s recently and its usually written by a woman living on 150k a year who has a well behaved child called Jasper.

They usually share their bedtime routine (I bet it doesn’t contain frogs behind radiators) and the fact that their child is excelling at life and its due to how much of a brilliant routine they have. Their babies usually start walking at 12 weeks old and know how to wipe their own arse at 9 months. Piss off Karen we all know how to give them a bottle at 7pm and pop them in bed to get them into a routine. What we really need is to share our wisdom with each other of ways to win against our little smart arse kiddiwinks that sometimes have an answer for everything…SO IF YOU’RE A NORMAL MUM (or dad) AND YOUR CHILD CAN SOMETIMES BE A LITTLE SHIT, IGNORE PARENTING MANUALS AND SUPER-NANNY, I’VE GOT YOU COVERED.

This is my ‘how to deal with children that aren’t as well behaved as Jasper’ top ten tips!

1: Bribe them – “If you don’t eat your broccoli, you won’t get big muscles like daddy” My all-time favourite, works every time!

2: Ignore them – Oh you want to plank in the middle of the aisle in Tesco because I won’t let you buy the book that you already have? Cya! *wanders off down the aisle, hears tiny pitter pattering behind seconds later* *hopes that pitter pattering isn’t in other direction, if it is, you better get your running shoes on*

3: You are superior, don’t forget that – I don’t know one single mum that hasn’t ever said “BECAUSE I SAID SO”. It works, what we say goes! and if not ill send you my youtube tutorial of how to build a toddler dungeon.

4: Blag it – “Joshua I know I said we would watch Horrid Henry this morning but Henrys had to go to school, he’ll be back later though” – HA I WIN YOU GULLIBLE LITTLE SHIT!

or

“Im sorry baby I know I said you can have the last cookie but daddy ate it, don’t worry, mummy will buy you some special ones just for you” *wipes crumbs from around mouth subtly* hahaha

5: Wing it – This is something we are ALL familiar with. We all wing it on a daily basis. Thats what parenting is isn’t it? “Of course I know what temperature my child should be, it should be 37.5 Silly, I DID NOT JUST GOOGLE IT OK!

6: Sod it – Did I say Joshua couldn’t have had a cake after his tea because he punched his dad in the face? yes. But if I go back on my word and tell him he can have his cake will he eat all of his tea? yes. *discreetly slides cake across the table and gives the ‘don’t tell dad’ evil stare*

7: Deny it – I KNOW FOR A FACT WE’RE ALL GUILTY OF THIS. “He said what? Fuck off? Oh I don’t know where he got that from, its not like I was watching Love Island whilst he was playing in the hope that he wouldn’t be listening, it must have been grandad’s fault” hahahahah

8: Play on it – “Are you not going to listen to me today? Oh okay, well wait until I tell daddy when he gets home, wait until I tell nana and father christmas” oh that doesn’t bother you? WAIT UNTIL I TELL BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINE THEN” yeah 1-0 to me kid!

9: forget it – Don’t create a battle the next morning. If one night your child happened to ignore absolutely everything you asked them to do because being a dinosaur was more fun, and you threatened them with something along the lines of “RIGHT YOU LITTLE FUCKER GET TO BED AND WHEN YOU GET UP IN THE MORNING YOURE NOT HAVING YOUR TOYS AND YOURE NOT GOING TO THE PARK” but you actually do want to get them to the park, do not threat. Im pretty certain they would have forgotten anyway. U will not go to hell for going back on your word.

10: DO NOT FOLLOW MANUALS – happily exchange free advice with any other ‘normal’ parents but do not pay for a manual because they do not know anything more than you do. They did not crack any codes and do not have access to any more information than you do.

Fuck Jasper and his bedtime routine.

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Where do we go from here? (my first hand experience of the NHS deteriorating)

So before this year (and giving birth) I’ve never really had any major hospital appearances. I once sprained my ankle falling over my blow up chair when I was 5 but other than that I’m one of those people that would rather just stay home and hope for the best.

Recently however, I have been in and out of hospital and I must say it opened my eyes a lot! I knew the NHS was falling behind a little but I didn’t realise quite how much. I had to originally go into hospital in May and had a rubbish experience and had to stay in overnight and as always, every single nurse and doctor was amazing! They gave me all of the pain relief I needed, and did everything they could to make me feel better both physically and mentally.

After a very high temp (38+) and some issues relating to my previous visit, I rushed back to hospital a few weeks ago and I have never experienced anything like it in my life.

I was told that I am a priority and my symptoms needed to be dealt with within an hour in order to ensure I would be okay (obviously I’m panicking) and then after multiple blood test etc I was told I would have to stay in overnight. Early the next morning the doctors popped in on their rounds and confirmed that they would need me to go nil by mouth (don’t eat or drink) and they would get me into surgery ASAP. I signed a disclosure form and signed my rights away to the fact that they could put me to sleep and I might never wake up (so I’m obviously mortified and its now playing on my mind).

The hours are passing, Im starving (come on, everybody knows I’m always hungry anyway, so I was going slightly cuckoo) and the surgery is playing on my mind. Ive took off my jewellery (including my engagement ring, which upset me because I didn’t want to die without it on my finger, dramatic, I know) and I’ve popped on one of those gowns showing my bum to the world. Each time I see a nurse I ask whats going on and when i’ll be in surgery and none of them have any idea. One of them explained that I should definitely be in within the next hour because they wouldn’t leave me Nil by mouth for so long. She was wrong. An hour and half passed and I called another nurse in. She explained that their theatres were not open due to funding and staffing issues and they are waiting for the availability of the theatre used in A&E. I of course understand and anybody in a worse condition would obviously be a priority and the waiting game continues. I’ve only eaten a belvita biscuit in about 21 hours by this point and Ive only had fluids through my cannula.

My bums getting cold (ha) and an escape seems like the perfect plan. Ive been stuck in the same room for 2 days with no idea when i’ll be going into surgery, when i’ll be able to see Joshua again and whether my local KFC was missing me.

Anyway 10pm comes, Im in tears, Joshua’s with his nana for the night (another praise the lord for grandparents moment) and the nurse goes to collect a doctor. She confirms that I can have something to eat but I won’t be able to go into surgery until the following afternoon.

So obviously, I’m too hungry to care about the surgery issue and before Ryan can get his left shoe on, I’ve already sent him on his merry way to Dominos for a large pepperoni, some kickers and cookies.

Morning comes, I’ve got dry mouth from the pizza that I could kill for another piece of, I’m not allowed a drink of water and I’m ready to face surgery again in my bum-breezy gown. I spend the whole morning watching movies (I watched Me before You, which is a super emotional movie about falling in love with somebody before he dies, so I’m super dramatically emotional again) and am preparing for surgery finally happening when a doctor pops in.

“Hi Lauren, sorry to mess you around but it looks like you won’t be having surgery, we can’t fit you in, so were going to try an alternative option” she leaves the room and my eyes glisten across the room at the galaxy bar that Ryan bought me the night before. The doctor suddenly reappears and asks whether I’ve eaten yet, I haven’t, but I’m about to… She tells me to not eat and that the anaesthetist is here to discuss my surgery with me so it looks like its going ahead. He explained that they have a scheduled transplant at 3pm so they would definitely be squeezing me in before then.

Another five hours pass, 3pm has been and gone and no sign of surgery happening. The nurse is trying her absolute hardest to find out whats happening for me and nobody has an idea. A second doctor turns up around 4:30pm and explains that “Its not that I shouldn’t be having surgery, its just that they don’t have the room or staff” and after 3 days in hospital, hardly any food, no clue whats happening and plenty of tears, the doctor finally makes the big decision of … … …  sending me home with antibiotics. The issue is still unresolved and after another hospital visit last week I was told that I will have to return to the hospital late August if the issue persists and possibly end up still having the surgery.

At first I was absolutely furious. I was angry that I had been messed around so much. There was no plan in place, nobody knew what was happening with me and we spent a lot of money that we had plans to spend elsewhere on a visit to the flippin’ hospital (ALL FOR ANTIBIOTICS)

But then the reality of the situation dawned upon me. Every member of staff that worked on the ward was brilliant throughout both hospital visits. They were rushed off their feet running from room to room to help each patient, majorly understaffed, working long shifts and every single one of them still worked so professionally and did everything they could to make my experience that little bit more bearable. The theatres are shut and they are having to send patients home untreated, which I presume like with me, that it will only bring those patients back in the long run causing further issues down the line.

Those poor nurses that had to make phone calls after phone calls to see if they could schedule me in somewhere else, the ones that checked in on me as they passed and probably didn’t have a second spare to have a think about what they would have for tea that evening.

We are so lucky to have free healthcare in the UK and I’m sure we have all at some point taken it for granted, but the NHS is deteriorating and it was hard to witness first hand. I appreciate the fact that our healthcare is free but when the staff are struggling, the patients aren’t getting the treatment they require and the hospitals aren’t getting the funding they need it begs the question: Where do we go from here?

Well I’m pretty sure most of you are aware, but for those of you who aren’t: In 2015 It cost the NHS £87,600,000 for paracetamol prescriptions alone!! Paracetamol administered from the hospital costs the tax payer 20 TIMES more than it does to buy paracetamol from a high street store.

An NHS webpage reads “Please think carefully and consider whether going to an A&E department is really necessary and the best option for you. You may be able to look after yourself at home with the right advice and information or you might need some help from an NHS service in your area.  Of course, in a genuine emergency the A&E department will provide the best possible care for life-threatening illness and injury, but you should only go there in a real emergency.

As many as one in four people who go to A&E could care for themselves or use alternative treatment.  In fact in 2010, in the North West of England alone, incorrect use of A&E departments cost the NHS around £21 million. A single visit to A&E can cost £124 just to be seen”

Please think carefully guys. I know its out of our hands whether our free healthcare does end sooner or later, but whilst we do have it we should to everything we can to cherish it.

Another page reads: “The emergency department is for patients requiring emergency care for serious and life-threatening conditions. Please use the service carefully so it can best support those who need it most – people with chest pain or blood loss, or who are blacking out or choking”

So please don’t go to A&E if you’ve got a slight cough.

Lets do what we can to save the NHS – because lets be honest, we’d be buggered without it!

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R u even a manc girl?

Are you even a Manc’ girl if you don’t smother your skin in St Moritz at some point in your life and wake up smelling of biscuits every morning.

Or if you’ve never smothered your face with Laval ‘foundation’ – I’m pretty sure it wasn’t foundation, it was definitely orange cement with a hint of grandmas perfume.

And the accent! Holy shit why was I born with such a common gob?

Do you even have a best friend if you don’t wanna smack her 3 times a day?

What about your friends parents that love you more than they love their own children?

Did you spend your early teenage years wearing fluorescent tutus from duty free in the Arndale, with the leg warmers and earrings to match?

Are you even a manc girl if you didn’t spend your weekends sharing a quarter bottle on the park with your mates?

Do you remember the days when Shout was actually a pretty nice shop facing The Piccadilly pub and then it moved to the Arndale and sold market stuff for a tenner?

Do you remember when we all used to dye our hair red or bright purple (I did both, what a dick head!)

And the days when we would play knock a door run or kerby!!!

Are you even a manc’ girl if older women didn’t used to say to you ‘ooo youll feel that cold when you’re older” because you’d walk around showing off your cute new top and the rain wasn’t going to stop you…  well pissing hell Ethel was right wasn’t she?

Do you sometimes forget you’re not one of the lads and end up calling your mates ‘lad, pal, mate, r kid?’

Oh and council teas were the best. Fish fingers, chips and beans or sausage mash and gravy!

Of course you owned a Jane norman bag, but did you actually ever shop there? Course you didn’t!

Are you even a Manc girl if you didn’t wear Pink blusher in high school at some point. worst make up trend ever!

And the crop top, joggers and military boots era? ohhh dear ladies!

Did you ever spend half an hour inputting the codes to change the colour of your MSN name which was usually an Ndubz lyric?

Or change your BBM Picture to a black screen and your bio to a full stop to let everybody know that you’re in a grump..

And I know for a fact that you all used to spend hours on stardoll.com dressing up your fave celebs!

Manchester is a crazy place. It’s one giant community that I am so proud to be a part of. We might have a bloke-ish accent, and we might like a good chip barm (or muffin, don’t be at it) but I honestly think that we’re a good bunch overall! We have culture and kindness and passion and good food! And I bet our school memories shit on those of an essex girl! They might be ‘reem’ but did they ever wear headbands with flowers bigger than their heads?

To the girls that I grew up with – the ones that lived on the same estate as me, the ones that I danced with in my Primary school discos, the ones that I moved up to high school with and blossomed into a pink blusher wearing, bright bow socked, food fighting Jane Norman rep. To the girls that I went out with on my first night out to town and in rubbish pubs when i was only 14 (thanks to our Genna and her passport that looked piss all like me!). To the girls that have drifted off to have their own families, and to university and moving abroad (Courtney you little cow!) I still love all of you and I hope you’re all happy and loving life!

Love to all of my fellow manc girls! stay fabulous, you da bomb.