So I’m sat there, being all mushy with my mum and the boys, talking about why my Mummy is the best Mummy and Grandma in the world. Thanking her for doing the school run, swimming, play dates, parties, washing, cleaning, cooking and even ironing (she hates ironing). She’s done everything for me, whilst I’ve been unwell. And I’m full of gratitude for it. So I ask the boys if they want to tell her anything. And William, age 5, comes out with this corker.
Now as you know, I’m into cars. I know this isn’t for everyone, but please bear with me. When Mumsnet gave me the opportunity to go and drive them, in Austria, I said yes! I have come home with even more knowledge of tyres, how they are made and what goes into their design. So much so, I reckon I could do a pub quiz on it.
The short version is, that in Winter, you need Winter tyres on you car – anything less than 7 or 8 degrees in temperature calls for Winter tyres. That’s from around October to March. These tyres aren’t even publicly available yet. But they will be come this winter. In the Summer, the regular tyres are better. So things to think about are where you will put your tyres when you’re not using them and who, how and where you will get your tyres changed Along with the cost of having a second set of tyres. And trust me, if you’re concerned about car safety, car seat safety and keeping your precious babies safe like I am, you’ll soon work out a way to do it. Why? Because when you see the effects of the differences in stopping differences, you’ll really understand it.
This video shows it really clearly…
I was taken on an expenses paid trip to Innsbruck, Austria, by Michelin, who are partnering with Mumsnet to get the word out there about tyres and the safety benefits for families.
I am not saying that any of this has happened to me in the last 3 weeks. It would be too embarrassing for words, for me to know you Online or In Real Life and I would never be able to look at you again. So for the record. None Of This Has Happened To Me. None Of It At All.
- I have not had a hacking cough that has left me wetting myself so much that I have had to resort to wearing Tena Lady thicker than maternity pads.
- I have not had coughing fits whilst trying to go out of the house that have left me on my knees in the street looking like, well, I don’t know what.
- I have not cried because I’ve run out of toilet roll to spit my produce of my cough onto, when the next roll was 30 cms away and within reach.
- I have not looked at my Dr and literally tilted my head to the side to see if it makes my blurred vision any better.
- I have not pulled muscles that I didn’t know I had from coughing and then wandered aimlessly around the house trying to remember the name of “Deep Heat” and failed, and cried over it.
- I have not cried because I am so jealous of my children sleeping and snoring in my bed, because I was not sat on the sofa, getting angrier and angrier that I was not sleeping myself.
- I have not farted loudly, coughed at the same time, made use of Tena lady and wondered if I’d hit the jackpot and actually Followed Through. I have not done that. Repeatedly. I have not considered wearing my children’s old nappies in case it actually happened to me.
- I have not asked Lovely Bloke “what’s that noise?” to be told it was me, and my wheezing whilst trying to breathe. I have not taken so many asprin that I don’t know my own breathing any more.
- I have not considered being an affiliate for dissolvable aspirin. Or dreamt of straplines on how I could sell it.
- I have not begged to my Practise Nurse for antibiotics. To be refused and told it’s viral. To then cry in the car afterwards.
- I have not developed a system of assessing gross stuff that I have coughed up in my mouth – does it actually need spitting out or, well, I’ll leave that bit up to your imagination. Because it’s not happening for me right now. So I don’t know how to describe it.
- I have not breathed a huge sigh of relief (I’d like to be able to do that, to be fair) at the GP saying this morning that there is a rattle in my lung and that I may need IV antibiotics. I have not thanked God for this potential pneumonia assessment, because it might mean that I’ve not lost my marbles and / or are over reacting at all. I have not done this.
- I have not considered emailing LoveFilm to ask for an extension on Grey’s Anatomy being live online because I’m watching so much of it.
- Nor have I lived some alternate life through watching nine seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in an asprin induced haze for 3 weeks. I wish I had. I haven’t been with the programme enough to do that!
God, there is so much more that I have not done. I am so proud to have conducted myself with Decorum, Grace and Not Cried One Bit at being this unwell. I have not Been A Bad Patient. I have not felt sorry for myself. I have been patient with this illness and I have not taken it as a sign from the Universe that I should not buy another Lottery Ticket Ever Again.
Because that would be silly. Wouldn’t it?
I have to say, February hasn’t been the best month for me. Why? Because, including today, I’ve been unwell for 18 days of it. It’s pants. I felt rubbish beforehand – tired and run down and now, well, I was just pleased to go out of the house for a short while yesterday. All it is, is a virus, but good grief – the coughing, the headaches, the inability to sleep, stand up straight and the pain in my stomach, coupled with pulled muscles from retching and well, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Yuk, yuk and a bit more yuk.
Elliott’s 7th Birthday passed me by in a haze, as has half term – my mum came to stay and literally did 24/7 with them – I’m very grateful. And she looked after me as well – there was a fairly surreal 3am chat where we were sat up discusssing life and the meaning of the universe.
And yes, I did go and do the Michelin trip. I’ll write about it properly another time. But yes, I went, I saw, I drove and I learned a fair bit more than I was banking on – and not just about tyres. Will write about it properly when I feel better.
I just wanted to say in true Monty Python style, that I’m not dead yet. Not far off ;) But I’m not dead yet. And I’m looking forward to continuing to feel better, and getting back on the wagon with life in general, as well as my work.
It’s like this. Michelin Tyres asked Mumsnet to find someone uber cool, chic and who is also a car fanatic, to go and get on a private plane with them, to go somewhere cold to have a driving adventure. Step forward me – I think my email asking to be picked might have been titled “PICK ME, PICK ME “. Ahem. I have very little idea of what’s going to happen over the next few days. But I know I’m going to be learning about driving in snow and ice and need to take warm clothing.
I’m trying to play it cool. And failing. I’m really, really excited!! Chauffeured and pampered, luxury travel and an adventure that’s going to be something that is all about me – me, and a bit more me. I was just discussing last week with Tanya Barrow, how hard it is to remember who you are sometimes – what it is that makes me a person – everything is very much defined by children, work and even in part by being married and being a grown up with a house, cars and saving money. It’s all a long way away from the funky bird that I was 10 years ago and I am very grateful for my life. But part of me thinks that I want to get my groove back – so this adventure is perfect. It’s about me and my interests – driving and being independent. I know I’m reading too much into it, and that it’s really about tyres, but for me, it’s a ticket to some time out from being a mum and agency owner. I don’t need time off from being a wife though! I wish Lovely Bloke could come with me as we both love cars and all things driving related….
Of course, I’m also going to go and look at it from an agency perspective. I couldn’t not do! To date, I have always given opportunities to my team and the clients we work with, so it’s good to be doing this as a ‘recipient’ and see everything from the other side!
Anyway, I’ve got to go and pack my bag for tomorrow – it’s a 4.30am start! I’ve got a Bibetta moda tote to take with me, so I’m looking forward to road testing it. I’m intending to travel relatively light, so if I get chance, I’ll take a pic and add it here. That might be a bit of positive thinking though ;)
PS. Do you know what question I’ve been most asked about this – are you insured? What do they think? That I’m going to get over excited and race or something??? !!
I have someone at the other end of the sofa, wrapped up snug as a bug in *my* blanket. My birthday blanket that I never get to use because everyone else is snuggling in it. Anyway, I digress. There’s a boy at the end of the sofa, who is 7 on Monday. He’s growing so quickly. But for some reason, he’s not getting to sleep very easily at the moment. He’s been awake until 10pm most nights. But tonight, he came downstairs, and found me working away. I told him to get to the other end of the sofa, snuggle down and make me forget he was there, so he could stay for longer.
It reminded me of being small – or relatively small – and snuggling up myself to my dad, who told me that I had to lie very still and be quiet, or he’d send me to bed. And what did I get to do?? watch Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrot – they were so rude, so funny, so cool, and it was a special thing – lying there in the dark next, the lights of the tv so bright, my mum coming in and telling my dad off, who would insist that I was asleep and not being corrupted, and I’d do some fake snoring which didn’t help matters. I remember it all so clearly.
So now, I’ve spent some quality time watching Jasper and Billy on youtube. Here’s a video that’s perfect – about growing older….
I wonder what it is that my boys will remember of their times at the end of the sofa with me? I hope that they have some memories of it, because it’s very special for me to have them next to me. I love it. Do you do something with your children that invokes memories of your own childhood?
I was writing to someone today about how much I love driving, and cars. And it reminded me of how when Lovely Bloke first took me to meet his friends, we walked past a really, really nice Audi parked outside a pub. And I got into a very seriously and lengthy conversation about the tyres and the Audi generally, about the beauty of it.
My mum and dad taught me to drive when I was 17. It was really important to them that I learnt how to drive. And they even came up with a ford escort 1200 s – don’t forget the s – the sport (!!!) version. It was so old. It was cherry red. And I called her Doris. I loved her more than I think I could ever love a flashy car. She was my ticket to independence. She was fabulous. I cried on the day that she left me. I was going to University and I couldn’t afford to keep her. I stood in front of the car, and my dad took a picture of her. And Nick – my boyfriend for my teenager years was stood in the background. I remember it so vividly.
I had so many adventures in my car. I loved her. And she gave me so much confidence to be out there in world, being independent, doing my own thing. It’s going to be just as important to me that I teach my boys to drive – it’s not about gender. It’s about teaching them a skill that will be with them for life. And hopefully, they’ll learn to appreciate the beauty of gorgeous car wheels on Audi’s at the same time!
I want to write a letter to myself, not the whole “to the teenage me” but for something far more important… “to the new mummy me”… It’s inspired by a conversation with a new mum recently, who felt that she was struggling to work out how to keep on top of everything. So here goes…
Congratulations. You did it. You finally had your baby. Well done. I wanted to write and address a few things so that you can have the confidence you deserve to have in raising your baby with Lovely Bloke.
1. You did a good job of being pregnant.
Just because all you managed to do was be sick, faint and sleep – in-between shovelling in plain noodles from the chinese takeaway for 10 months, that doesn’t render your pregnancy a negative. You cultivated and cocooned that baby and will do another – in pretty much the same fashion. It’s just how your body “does” being pregnant. Accept it. And after the next one, resolve to never do it again….
2. You did bring your baby into the world. You did it.
It’s ok that you didn’t have your hypnobirthing water experience that you’d worked really hard and practised for. It’s ok that you went a loooong way overdue – you were just doing such a good job of 1, that your baby was very happy where he was. It’s because of 1 as well, that the whole inducing process didn’t work – he was just so happy where he was. And even when you had your c section, you still brought your baby into the world – it was just via the sunroof and not the place which you’ll come to refer to as your ‘girls bottom’ for the rest of time going forwards.
3. You are doing a great job of feeding your baby.
You wanted to breastfeed and you’re making it happen. It’s a great thing that you’re confident in your breastfeeding – at home, out and about, on a plane, at the top of the Empire State Building.
Why? Because at some point in the next few months, an American woman, who knows little better, is going to be rude to you one day in Starbucks. You’re going to draw on your confidence accrued to date and discreetly lean into her ear and tell her in no uncertain terms, in your best Liam Gallagher accent and phrasing exactly what, where and how she can stick her narrow minded thinking and viewpoint.
Please note that you’ll only do this whilst Lovely Bloke is putting Precious First Born into his buggy. You don’t want either of them to hear you telling her, in detail, exactly what you’ll do to her if you see her ever again, with every swear word, including that rude one that you never, ever use, because you don’t want your husband to see you in a different light. You’re Cambridge Mummy now, and you don’t want people to see anything other than Cambridge Mummyness of you these days….
4. Accept your tummy.
You’re going to get lucky again, and sooner than you think, and create another little person to house and look after in there, so you may as well accept that you’re not going to be doing anything about the muffin top, or rather bakers dozen of muffin top ness that you have. Instead, keep going with the walking (to cake shops) with Mother Rouse – the Batman to your Robin, and you’ll be fine.
5. Don’t expect so much of yourself.
And this, is where it’s really important that you listen. Please, please, please, give yourself a break. You are not meant to be wonder woman. You are not meant to be able to do the washing, cooking, cleaning, making puree, doing crafting and singing stimulating and educational songs to your Precious First Born every day. Heck, if you get each of these things done once a week you’ll be doing well. Give yourself a break woman! What wasn’t cleaned or perfect then still is not now and you and your family are just as fine now as you were then – if not more so!
6. Adjust your expectations.
Being a Mummy is a blessing and the greatest thing you will ever do in your life. But it’s also one of the many great things you will do in your life. Stop thinking that you have to be consumed by your Precious First Born all day and night, every day and night. It’s ok – no, it’s more than ok, to think about yourself, Lovely Bloke and to look for opportunities to keep your own identity. That’s not selfish. It’s practical – it’s what makes your you.
And whilst we are at it, can you please, please, please, work to adjust your expectations of life as a Mummy and as a Wife. Neither are hearts, flowers and roses all day, every day. In fact, if they are any of those things, even once a week, then take it, seize it and love it. It’s really a bit daft to think that life as a Mummy is going to be a bit of hard work, with lots of fabulousness the majority of the time. It’s not just the converse – it’s totally the converse!!! It’s hard work and a slog most of the time, with brief moments where Lovely Bloke and/or Previous First Born, will smile or smirk – and it won’t be from farting. It’s precious, it’s real and something that you want to grab hold of and love with both hands. Squeeze your boys. Make the most of them and enjoy them.
7. Address things when the are small – nip them in the bud.
This applies to relationships, the washing, the Previous First Born being unwell, and yourself and Lovely Bloke being under the weather as well. I won’t write any more here – there’s so much that this can apply to.
And finally, be happy. You’re doing a great job. You have a gorgeous, loving and cohesive family unit. You’re striding out together making a new path for your new family – doing things differently, making it work and having fun along the work.
Enjoy every moment x
I’ll mention this very quietly, because it’s not something that’s cool to say. But actually, I’m getting quite excited about Christmas. The run up so far has been stressful – Lovely Bloke likes to buy in a shop, whereas I’m all over Amazon like a rat up the proverbial drain pipe. It’s because of me their poor packers are walking 11 miles a day. I might go and volunteer for them this week, to burn calories ahead of the feasts that are coming my way soon!
Anyway, back to it. I’m actually looking forward to Christmas. As a business owner (God, that sounds grand, but I think it’s important to not pretend it’s just me making everything happen – it’s a huge team effort) I have always found Christmas to be quite inconvieninent to be honest. It’s been a drain on time and resources and I’ve been annoyed that others haven’t wanted to work day and night like I do. But for some reason, there’s been a shift this year.
Maybe it’s the boys being that bit bigger, asking more questions about the validity of Father Christmas? My attempt at Elf on the Shelf didn’t go well – “Mummy, there’s a Waitrose tag on his bum. He did not come from Father Christmas at all”. Ahem. Elliott -1, Mummy – 0. I’ve now taken to telling them I’m emailing Father Christmas with updates on their behaviour. They know I’m good at the ‘emailing thing’ and don’t question that!!!!
It’s a good place to be. Looking forward to seeing friends and family. Hanging out together. Doing the hanging out thing. And drinks copious amounts of Pimms. Did I mention the Pimms? Anyway, I’m looking forward to Christmas. And proud to put it out there. So long as you don’t tell anyone I said.
Anyway, oh, the joy of Pimms. But that’s another post altogether…