The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.


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The Trials and Tribulations of Modern Day Motherhood: #2 The Relaxing Bath

It had been five days since she had washed her hair and in that time she had been out running; been caught in the rain and been in the line of fire when her two year old decided that on Wednesdays he hated scrambled eggs.

Once upon a time in a land far away and in a world without her children, Carrie used to wash her hair every other day. Her long, luxurious, golden locks would be emerged wholly into the bath where she would lay and contemplate the true meaning of life while bubbles crackled around her head. When she was ready, she would reach for her shampoo – an exclusive purchase from her hairdressers – and soap up her hair. Once the shampoo was rinced out and the £5 a bottle of conditioner was evenly distributed, she would reach for the hot tap for a top up of warmth and then grab the Kindle that was waiting patiently on the side and she would read and read and read. Bath time, once upon a time, was heaven.

The last straw came on Friday night when her six year old used her hair as a tissue. That’s right, Carrie’s six year old daughter – who was able bodied and two metres away from the box of tissues – sneezed and then rubbed her nose in her Mum’s hair in a pathetic attempt to ‘snuggle’ her. The sight of the sickly green slime that coated her hair made her gag.

“Get off me!” Carrie yelled, knowing full well that a six year old girl’s cuddles only came at a price, usually when she wanted something or needed something.

“I just want a cuddle,” came the muffled voice buried deep within Carrie’s hair.

“What’s that on my ear? Ewww, why is my ear wet. Get. Off. Me!”

Yanking her daughter off her and placing her unceremoniously on the carpet, Carrie glanced at her eldest child and saw tears of hurt glisten in her eyes. Soon, however, Carrie realised that the thin sheen glazing over her daughter’s left eye was not tears at all.  Nope, it was snot.  It seemed that while she was being pulled from the inner depths of Carrie’s hair, she had retraced her slime spreading steps and retrieved some of the goo that had been moisturising Carrie’s split ends. For the briefest of seconds, Carrie considered leaving her hair another day – after all, most of it was out now and it did have a shimmer to it – but the sheer disgust she felt in both herself and her daughter made her change her mind.

When did this become her life?

“Out! Out, all of you,” Carrie shouted as she gathered up discarded shoes and coats in the hallway.

Moments after ‘Snot Gate’, Carrie had persuaded her husband, Chris, to take the children out to tea and within ten minutes the three of them were packed up in the car.  Silence engulfed Carrie; it wrapped its arms around her like an old friend.

The hot tap coughed and spluttered into life as she looked for some bubble bath she may have received as a Christmas present five months ago. Alas, adult bubble bath was not to be found so Carrie had to make do with a bottle of Mr Matey.  Davey the Seaman – ‘a pirate with heart but with an aim like a dart’ – glooped out into the running water. How had she not noticed the inappropriateness of this bottle before?  Ah, yes children – they had turned her brain to mush.  The hot tap continued to fill the tub and as it was doing so, Carrie started to empty out the toys currently residing in the tub. Out came Batman, two dinosaurs, three cars, Woody (who was missing his hat), four Kinder Surprise Egg toys and Barbie.  Barbie was looking somewhat dishevelled and was wearing a ring of dried white suds around her midriff. Clearly, Davey the Seaman had squirted on her during the previous night’s bath… The kids were always bloody squeezing excess soap suds everywhere.

Steam started to circle the air so on went the cold tap.  In that moment, Carrie disappeared to grab her Kindle, undress and grab her robe.  Eventually, the bath was ready; Carrie lowered herself into it slowly and watched as her skin turned pink in the heat.  Slowly laying back, she allowed the water to climb up her spine as she accustomed herself to the hot water . Her Kindle, balancing precariously on the sink, waited for her. Inside the cover it contained worlds she had not ventured into for such a long time and characters, whom she would once refer to as friends, were now merely strangers on a page waiting to be acknowledged.

Once she was fully emerged, Carrie reached for her Kindle and opened it.  Its glowing light entranced her and immediately she was hooked. The opening chapter set the scene wonderfully and as colourful metaphors began to formulate images in Carrie’s head, she heard the front door open and bang shut.

She didn’t move.

Didn’t breathe.

Perhaps if she stayed quiet they wouldn’t know she was there.

Naked.

Vulnerable.

Alone.

A thunderous noise hit the staircase and began its ascent to the top. There was the briefest of pauses before the bathroom door was slammed inwards and her children entered with a barrage of questions.

“Mum! What are you doing?”

“Having a bath,”

“Mum! Where is my tablet?”

“Downstairs where you left it.”

“Mum! Where’s Woody?”

“Down there.”

“Where’s his hat?”

“Ask Batman,”

“Mum! Shall I wash your hair?”

“No!”

It was too late. The six year old had already lathered up and her hands were already massaging her scalp.

It was only then that she realised her two year old had been uncharacteristically quiet and that she could feel something attached to her big toe. Recoiling in horror, she realised it was only Batman and he was wearing Woody’s hat.  She made a mental note of that when so a future meltdown could be averted.  Floating around her now she could see three out of four of the original cast of Ghostbusters moving their way slowly past her stomach. She wondered where Dr Venkman was and thought she saw him pop up between her legs before realising that it was the tail of the plastic T-Rex that had been lying on the bath rug a few moments earlier.  She had purposely placed it on its side as its arms were rendered useless when lying down so clearly this T-Rex had received a helping hand back into the bath.

“Okay, okay, this has to stop now!” Carrie screamed as the T-Rex was flung across the room.

Strategically placing bubbles around all the areas a woman needs bubbles, Carrie kindly asked her children to back away for one God damn minute so she could rinse her hair. Emerging once again into the now cooling water, silence filled her ears as the water rushed in.

“Mum!!! I need a poo!” came the unmistakable desperate tones of a two year old in need of a dump.

Carrie immediately sat up straight in the bath, displacing all bubbles and discarding all that was left of her modesty and barked instructions to her daughter to get her brother’s pants down and get him on the potty.  Once this was done, both children – one on the floor and one red-faced and straining on the potty – sat silently facing Carrie just watching.  Goosebumps began to slowly climb her arms and Carrie couldn’t tell whether this was due to the bath now being lukewarm or whether it was due to the unsettling way her children were just staring at her in a way that reminded her of the spooky twins in ‘The Shining’.

The silence was broken with an almighty crash.

In stormed Carrie’s husband looking red faced and desperate.  He walked briskly towards the toilet, lifted the lid, unfastened his jeans and sat down and a look of relief washed over his face.

“You’ve been in here for ages!  Sorry, I couldn’t wait any longer.  Look at you laying there like Lady Muck enjoying her hot bath.  Enjoying that are you?”

Carrie’s stern eyes spoke a thousand words and Chris immediately shut up.  As husband and wife stared at each other – one on the bog and one in the bath – naked, vulnerable but no longer alone, her son stood up from his potty, bent over and shouted.

“Mum! Wipe my bum!”

Lady Muck indeed.

 

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A Little Plea to RSVP

Mummy was starting to feel stressed about her daughter’s party so she penned a poem about the importance of the RSVP.

A little plea to parents everywhere,

Please help me out before I despair.

Standing before you is just another mum,

Persuaded by her kid to do something dumb,

My daughter she begged for a party at soft play,

Invites were sent – well over twenty I’d say.

Weeks are passing and it’s nearly time,

But my RSVP list shows only nine.

“How many days now?” she asks me daily,

“Have you heard from Luke’s mum and what about Kayleigh?”

I nod and smile and say “it’s just a few weeks,”

As I glance at my phone and pray that it beeps.

I know that you’re busy, hun. Us parents always are,

But RSVP and I promise you a pint because there’s a bar.

Please let me know if little Alfie can make it,

So I can buy a Colin Caterpillar cake – hell, I might even bake it.

Modern life is manic so I will cut you some slack,

But what do I have to do to get you to text a mother back?

I can offer you sausage rolls, sandwiches and of course, Haribo,

Please just tell me if I should expect young Jo,

I’ve got to make the party bags and plan a game or two,

All I need is a simple yes or no from you.

I’ve given you my number and I have told you the date,

If your child loves Wotsits, I’ll provide a whole plate,

I’m writing this in the hope you’ll find it funny,

But seriously, I’ve parted with quite a lot of money.

That’s it, it’s the end of my little plea,

I look forward to receiving your RSVP…😬😊😉👍


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The Trials and Tribulations of Modern Motherhood: #1 The Nativity

It began with this:

Monday evening

“Mum! Mum! I’m Angel Number Three!” my daughter shouted as I entered the house.

“That’s great, Sweetheart,” I said as I threw my coat and handbag down onto the sofa.

“Miss Crawshaw told me not to worry because she understands what you’re like and that I can just borrow a costume from Class 3’s dressing up cupboard…”

“What do you mean ‘she understands what I’m like’?” I interrupted.

“Well, you know how you took me to school on an Insect Day on the first day back after Easter?”

I nodded as I grimly recalled the morning of the said ‘Inset Day’ when the elderly caretaker sympathetically looked at my daughter dressed up in her uniform all ready to learn before slowly raising his head up to me where his gaze fixed on mine while he slowly shook his head in disappointment. Had I not read the newsletter he’d asked. Had I not noticed the empty playground he wondered. ‘There was a newsletter?’ was my reply.

Forcing me out of that guilt filled memory, my daughter continued. “And you know how I was the only one in uniform during last year’s Children in Need day and Mrs Gilbert said that we would have hit our target of £500 if only you had managed to bring that damned £1 in?”

Again, I nodded.

“And remember that time you didn’t know it was Sports’ Day and you had to run home and get my…”

“All right! All right!” I yelled.  “That’s enough Mum Bashing for one evening although Miss Crawshaw does have a point, I suppose.  What are Class 3’s costumes like?”

“She ain’t wearing a borrowed costume!” came the dulcet tones of the husband cooking away in the kitchen.

Christ on a bike – now that would make for an interesting Nativity – rolling my eyes, I asked “When’s the Nativity?”

“Friday,”

“Shiiooot,” I swore. “How long have you known about this?”

“Since last Wednesday,” was her reply.

“Why am I only hearing of this now?”

“It’s in the newsletter,”

“Where’s the newsletter?”

“In my bag,”

“And where is your bag?”

“At school on Sophie’s peg,” she tutted at this point to emphasise her outrage at my not understanding why her bag would be anywhere else but Sophie’s peg.

“Why Sophie’s peg?”

“We were pretending to be each other,”

Great.  Fun game.

“Oh, and Mum…I’m not Angel Number Three. I’m Angel Number Two; I’m still pretending to be Sophie.”

Later that evening after my children had gone to bed (and after learning that Sophie’s mother had hand stitched her daughter’s angel costume), I logged onto the internet and ordered some angel wings and a halo and then paid extra for a swift delivery.

After digging out my daughter’s bridesmaid dress from the previous summer, we were good to go.

Tuesday Morning

I ordered the Nativity tickets. Two for me and my husband and two for the In Laws.

“It’s the dress rehearsal today,” I was informed by Rita the over informed head of the PTA.

“I know, I know,” I lied. “I’m just waiting on the wings to arrive.  They’re due today.”

“Don’t worry,” Rita assured me, her voice lulling me into a false sense of security. “I’ll make sure Daisy stands at the back of the stage so no one notices her in her uniform.  If we take off her cardigan, the other kids might just think that Angel Number Three likes to wear white cotton T-Shirts whilst carrying out The Lord’s business.”

I wanted to punch Rita square in the face right there and then, but the tears of guilt welling up behind my eyes would have surely effected my blow.

Wednesday morning

Praise the Lord our Saviour – our angel wings arrived on Tuesday evening.  It was made clear to me then that Christ was looking down upon us and saw fit that the Yodel driver sent to us from Devon was speedy and had an up to date version of Google maps.

Barely unable to contain her excitement, Daisy immediately squeezed herself into her bridesmaid dress, put on her wings and halo and marched up and down the house reciting her one line of ‘Baby Jesus is here! Let’s celebrate with a beer.’ ‘Let’s celebrate and cheer!’ I kept shouting after her but to no avail.

It had rained over night and the frost that had bitten at us during the previous morning had disappeared only to be replaced by mud, puddles and a slight bit of slush left over from the previous weekend’s pathetic attempt at snow.  I had everything bagged up, labelled and ready.  Rita was going to see me for the Mum I truly was: organised and with an impeccable taste in angel costumes.  Yes, my slightly wonky and dented halo was going to shine bright this morning.

“Get your shoes on,” I said patiently to my children.

“Shoes on, please,” I repeated.

It was like I didn’t exist.  I decided to give Daisy and her little brother, Jack another few seconds to make the right decision.  Picking up my handbag, Daisy’s school bag, her coat, Jack’s bag, Jack’s coat, the bagged up bridesmaid dress and a third rucksack containing Daisy’s shoes for the Nativity, I tried again.

“Both of you.  Shoes on, please.”

Nothing.

“You need to put your shoes on now!”

Both of them looked at the shouting clothes stand with blank faces and then continued to do what they were doing, which was absolutely bloody nothing.

“SHOES. ON. NOW!”

Bugger.  The rapid projection of my voice caused me to drop three out of the four bags I had been holding but at least the munchkins were finally putting on their shoes and ten minutes later we were all packed up and in the car and ready to drive to school.  Yes – ten minutes had passed because shoes were put on the wrong feet and I had to run upstairs at least three times to check that my hair straighteners were switched off and unplugged.

When we arrived at school, I found that, as usual, all of the parking spaces had gone and no way on earth was I going to park on a junction again after receiving a rather unfriendly and frankly threatening note stuck to my windscreen the previous week informing me that ‘in the future, I should park in a proper parking space.’ No, that was not happening again so I parked up the road a little further – just a minute’s walk from the school – and made sure I was away from all junctions and all houses with twitching curtains.  My children climbed from the car.

“Can you hold your bags?” I asked.

“No, Mum,” came their helpful reply.

“Put your coats on then,”

“Nope!”

I climbed out of the car and hung the bags from my arms, hooked the coats over them and lugged the bagged up bridesmaid dress from the back seat.  The dress, that had been hanging on a coat hanger, slipped from the bag as I attempted to hook it around the third arm I wished I had.  In slow motion, I watched as it fell onto the cold, wet, dirty pavement beneath my feet and at that moment, that very single moment, Rita pulled up just a few metres in front of me – on a sodding junction I might add – and looked on in disgust as I scooped up a now sopping wet bridesmaid dress.

“It’s from Marks and Spencer!” I called.

She couldn’t give two fucks hoots as she ushered her children into the school away from mine.

Thursday

By the time Thursday came along, I had lost two out my four Nativity tickets.

After searching high and low for them, I resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to create some counterfeit tickets using the colour photocopier at work and a pair of scissors.

It worked a treat so if you ever need to get out of the country fast and need a passport, I’m your gal.

Thursday afternoon came around and I was seated at my desk with a classroom full of Year 8 pupils when suddenly, the idle phone laid on my desk lit up and buzzed. Glancing at my screen, I could see the message.

I’m at the school, it read, I’ve got us some great seats.

“Nooooooo!” I yelled to my classroom of kids.

“What is it, Miss?”

“Oh God! Who’s died, Miss?”

“Miss! Do you need me to take over the lesson? I feel that I am ready to teach the class the difference between Quantum Physics and Metaphysics.”

“Liam, you’re in a French lesson.”

As it turned out, my Father-in-Law had turned up for the Nativity a day early and was currently sitting through the junior school’s version of the Birth of Christ rather than the infant’s version.

More worrying, however, was that he made it in to the school without a ticket. My undercover counterfeiting had all been for nothing.

Friday

Nativity D-Day. Lines had been learnt, songs had been sung and Daisy’s tummy, she informed me, was filled to the brim with wriggly worms and fluttering butterflies.

I left work early and left my Year 8 French class in the more than capable hands of Liam and made my way to Daisy’s school.

Waiting for me there was my husband, my In Laws and my boy, Jack. We took our seats and the show began.

Standing centre stage, the angels looked simply angelic and my girl looked beautiful and I could only stare on, beam in pride and pray to the little baby Jesus that she remembered not to say ‘let’s celebrate with a beer’. Jack, being two, is no good at sitting still for anything longer than seventeen seconds and I could hear him stirring at my side. I shushed him and he responded by blowing a raspberry in my direction. He then continued blowing them in all directions (aimed specifically, I noticed, at fit dads.) Our own fit dad noticed his son’s yobbish behaviour and handed him his phone with You Tube open and ready to go.

“No!” I mouthed. “What are you doing?”

“It’s on silent,” was his reply.

It wasn’t on silent.

And just as Mary and Joseph were lifting their miracle baby – The Son of God – to meet the five angels, the familiar theme tune of everyone’s favourite 80s film about ghosts rang out and filled the quiet hall.

“Who you gonna call?” Jack sang out.

Up on the stage, for all to see and hear, Joseph – Rita’s number one son – yelled out in his loudest and most theatrical voice…

“GHOSTBUSTERS!”

It appeared that Rita and I shared one common interest: sons who seriously dig ‘Ghostbusters’. Although, I doubted that we would be talking about it over a coffee any time soon.

Merry Christmas one and all.  Let’s celebrate with a beer.

Certainly not Daisy and definitely not Angel Number Three

Certainly not Daisy and definitely not Angel Number Three…


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My Fierce First Born

To my fierce first born:
You weren’t afraid to arrive before your time,
You left the warmth of the womb to become mine.
Your loud possessive yells,
Made those first long nights hell.
But they only meant that you were strong.
Years have passed but you’re still young,
My stubborn little hero is still unsung.
I hope you grow up brave; way braver than me,
And strive to be the best version of yourself you can be.
Don’t be afraid of adventure; if you want to go then go,
Don’t play recklessly with your heart; don’t always have it out on show.
Don’t accept mediocrity; strive for the best.
Some will tell you you’re worse than average; this my dear, is a test.
Rise above negativity; stamp that sh*t out,
Stay clear of the vanity stage; no girl looks better with a pout.
Fight for equality and be the leader of the show,
But, if something doesn’t sit right, stand up and say no.
Try new things but please stay safe puns sound,
When there’s bullies just stand your ground.
Make friends, travel and always be kind,
Be gentle on yourself too and take care of your mind.
Times will be tough,
When your best will be good enough,
Remember your loved this day until your last,
Run head on into the future; don’t dwell on the past.
There are of course days when I don’t feel like telling you all this,
Like this morning when I came to greet you with a morning kiss.
Just as you turned and woke,
You said ‘you stink’ before I even spoke!
So, lastly, don’t use your voice to throw words that sting,
Use your words wisely and make the hearts of others sing.

#internationaldayofthegirl
#internationaldayofthegirlchild


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The Things I’ll Never Say.

I like to think that I’m quite good at speaking in front of people.  After all, it is something I do most days.  Talking in front of a group of thirty-two pupils daily, however, is very different to presenting to a large group of your peers, your friends and your loved ones.  I am not saying I couldn’t do it, I am certain that I could.

I did it at your funeral, remember?

It’s that awful feeling you get leading up to it: the churning of your stomach, the sickness making you feel dizzy, light-headed and not truly in the moment and then there is the fact that it’s all you think about before you stand to make your introduction to your awaiting audience. 

I don’t want those feelings.

Not at my wedding and I hope you understand.

Months ago, when the wedding planning stages were in their infancy, I had the idea that I would write something, hide it in my dress pocket and ta-da!  I would suddenly magically produce it from the pocket, stand up and present it to my captive audience from where I stood in the centre of the top table.  On lookers would smile and remember you with a fondness, Mum would look on at me proudly as I spoke with confidence and without wavering, Rob would roll his eyes willing me to finish and I would say all the things I want to say about missing you on one of the most important days of my life.  I would talk about how proud you would be of your grandchildren and if only you had met them because they would love you so much. I would speak of Mum and how, at low parts of her life, she refused to be beaten down. I would explain the many ways in which you and Rob are similar but so different in others (he supports Barnsley FC, I know someone has to) and how I saw him in a whole new light on the day he became a Dad for the first time.

I would be sentimental, funny, nostalgic and celebratory and I would make it through my speech without once stumbling on my words and without any tears.

That’s what I thought I could do six months ago.

As it turns out, with only three days to go, I can’t do it and I don’t want to do it.

Sorry.

Allow me to try and explain why.  It may sound heartless; bear with me though as I am anything but.

This one day is about me.

Your funeral gave me the opportunity to stand up and talk about the most important man in my life: you.  It was all about you, so understandably it felt right to talk about you and the father you were.

I don’t want you to be one of the main topics of conversation at my wedding because what will it only serve to remind me of? The fact that you’re not here.

Let me make myself clear.  You are never far from my thoughts and you know I speak about you often.  Over the last few weeks, you have been at the forefront of my mind despite my constantly trying to keep you at the back of it.

That’s not very a very nice thing to do, is it?

But, I have reason.

It’s those damned floodgates, you see. I fear that if they open, I will struggle to close them.  I know they didn’t open at your funeral and my only suggestion as to why is that I was all cried out and still in some state of shock that my father had been taken away from me when he was still so young.  

My friends keep asking me if I am excited about my wedding and I am but I have also told them that I just want it to be over.  That, I can guarantee you, is not true.  Having waited ten years to finally marry the father of my children, I do not want the day to be over.  I want to enjoy it.  However, there’s this thing lurking silently in the pit of my stomach just waiting for Saturday morning to arrive before it can leap out and paralyse me with nerves, anxiety and a deep feeling of loss.  I think the thing lurking is the thought of you and your absence.

Last week, while out shopping, Mum hooked her arm into mine and told me she was looking forward to the weekend and was starting to get ‘a bit giddy’.  I wanted to get giddy with her and yet instead I unhooked my arm and told her I was feeling so very apprehensive about the imminent Big Day.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that it’s very ungrateful and ungracious of me and you would be right.  After everything she has done for me and my family, I was throwing her excitement and her generosity back in her face.

Here comes my attempt at justification.  Shortly before hooking her arm through mine, Mum had told me that she had found and washed an old blue and white (LUFC colours, obviously) handkerchief of yours. She had been using it while pressing some trousers and it was clean and ironed and ready to be my something old, something borrowed and something blue and it could hide secretly away in my dress pocket.

I felt the flood gates unlock then.

It was a beautifully simple suggestion. No one would know and I would have something of yours.  But, I don’t want something of yours.  I want you.

I am not a religious person but I do put my faith and my belief in that there is something greater than all of us.  I have to believe this because if there is nothing after we die, then where are you now?  And it’s for that reason that I chose to get married in a church.  However, it’s the church ceremony that, over anything, even the poor weather forecast, that I am fearing.  Fearing my wedding ceremony.  Can you hear that? That’s horrible isn’t it? I’ve picked the flowers, the hymns and asked for the bell ringers.  It’s sure to be beautiful (and chaotic with nineteen children in attendance) but I am fearing it.

Why?

Because, no matter how hard I try to push you to the back of my mind I know I won’t be able to.  Standing outside that church with just me and Mum is where I am going to miss you more than I have probably ever missed you since the day you left us.  I’ll see you in Mum’s eyes as she too tries to not think about how her husband isn’t here to walk his only child down the aisle and I will feel it as she takes my arm to walk me down the aisle.  Every child hates to see their parents cry and as a parent myself, I know how much it pains me to see my children cry when they are genuinely heartbroken, in pain and distress.

With you in our minds, we will both be trying not to cry and if one of us utters your name, the floodgates will come crashing open.

I don’t want look heart-broken as I walk down the aisle and I think that’s why I am choosing to explain this to you now because if I speak about you on Saturday afternoon standing outside the church then my heart will be broken.

If, however, I think about you and make sure you remain firmly in my thoughts throughout the day then perhaps my heart will only be bruised a little and we can all smile through a little bit of pain, can’t we?

I’m sorry.

I hope you understand.

I also hope you enjoy the day, Dad, where ever you are (or when ever – I haven’t ruled out time-travel as an after-life possibility yet.) Be happy in the knowledge that I am marrying into a good and kind family; a family who have looked after me like their own for the past ten years.  Your grandchildren could not be more loved.  And Rob, well, like I said earlier, he is very similar to you.  He likes being at home (getting him to a family party is a nightmare), he loves to watch sport (shame about the football team though), he is quiet (unless he has had a drink), he doesn’t let me get away with anything but he supports me, cares for me and offers advice when needed (often with the lines ‘who cares what anyone else thinks’), but above all, he is a fantastic Dad.

Just like you.


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Chaos is a Caravan

“We have the caravan from Friday until Monday,” I said.  “So I thought, with it being the school holidays, we could go on…”

“We’ll go on Saturday afternoon,” was his reply.

“Well, I’ve paid for it all weekend and don’t you think some family time – just the four of us – would be nice?” I suggested.

“Saturday,”  came the reply.

“It’s a privately owned caravan,” I continued.

“It’s still sh*tting in a bucket,”

His stubbornness is relentless endearing but so is my nagging.

“Will you just consider going Friday afternoon, please?”

And so he did and so we did.

Family weekends away: what you want VS what you get

1. The Holiday Shop – what you want

A family trip to Tesco where you walk hand in hand with your partner laughing and smiling about the forthcoming weekend.  Your children, seated in the trolley, behave impeccably and do not ask for anything.  Life is bliss as you buy the caravan essentials of milk, eggs, bacon, bread, butter, water and a bottle of wine.  Just think: eating bacon and eggs in a caravan.  What a time to be alive!

The Holiday Shop – what you get

A family trip to Tesco where one child demands sweets, crisps, chocolate and a toy whilst the other one is proving to anyone who will watch that he is the Usain Bolt of the supermarket world.  As you reach the top of the cleaning aisle, he is already at the bottom of the pet aisle grabbing at a tin of Pedigree Chum and you don’t own a dog.  As you reach the tin of dog food and place it back on the shelf, he is already locked inside the ice-cream freezer holding up a box of half priced Magnums (and you can’t help but praise him on that epic find).

By the time you reach the alcohol aisle, you wonder if swigging a bottle now and then paying for it at the till will be frowned upon.  The one bottle of wine you were planning on taking to the caravan has now changed into a box of Tiger beers, two cans of Pimms, two gin and tonics and three bottles of cider.

On arrival at the check out, you will learn that you have spent over £30 on Haribo and packs of Pringles.

Then, when you eventually arrive at your caravan and unpack your shopping, you will find that everything you bought that needs putting in the fridge is precisely where it needs to be: in the fridge.  Only, the fridge the food is currently residing in is the one in your house back in Yorkshire.  Therefore, over the weekend you will survive on chocolate raisins, Haribo and prawn cocktail Pringles.


2. The accommodation – what you want

The caravan is clean, tidy, fresh smelling, warm and cosy.  Bedding is provided and every want and need is catered for.

The accommodation – what you get

Having spent half an hour driving around the camp site because “caravan 243 does not effing exist” you will eventually arrive at caravan 243 to find that it is clean, tidy, fresh smelling, warm and cosy.  Bedding is provided and every want and need is catered for…until…

“Mummy! I NEEEEEED A POO!”

Despite the kitchen being literally right next to the toilet, the door must remain open in order that you, whilst realising that you have no cold food packed, can keep one eye on your defecating five year old.

“Oh my Gosh!” You’ll exclaim as you abandon the shopping to grip your nose.  “What have you eaten?”

And in an instant, the caravan is no longer clean, tidy, fresh smelling, warm and cosy as windows are frantically opened and food  is left discarded on the side.

3. The entertainment – What you want

A free kids’ disco and reasonably priced alcohol.

The entertainment – what you get

After paying £54 for two adult entertainment passes (thank God the kids are still free) you would expect EVERYTHING in the entertainment complex to be free much like an all inclusive holiday.  Absolutely nothing (apart from two slides, a set of swings and a roundabout) is free.  There is, however, a kids’ disco that’s open to all but navigating your way through to it is like wading through mud and you’re sinking, sinking and sinking because in order to reach the end goal of the disco and (more importantly, the alcohol), you must first battle your way through hundreds of 2p and 10p slot machines.  Expect to wave a sad goodbye to your July wage as the slots swallow up your pound coins.  Your daughter, when standing next to the 2p change machine, won’t believe her eyes when 2ps come showering down into her plastic cup.

“Look mum! I’ve won!”

“No, love.  No you haven’t,” You may be crying at this point as you pick out another pound coin from your purse.

Can we have some more money, Mum?


Like jungle explorers, you will eventually manoeuvre yourselves safely around the various slot machines and into the bar. While it’s great that your moods remain unscathed at having successfully pacified your kids with pound coins and rides, your pockets will now be filled with ‘winning tickets’ as opposed to precious pennies.  At least you’ll be able to get that beer (and hope that ‘winning tickets’ can be exchanged for cash) and sit and watch your children dance to the music that’s been just beyond your reach for the last hour.

As you open the doors, however, you hear the dreaded words: “Can we have the lights on? Eyes down and get ready for Bingo.”

Bugger.

4. The precious family time – what you want

Having spent an evening enjoying the odd slot machine and the kids’ disco, you’ll walk back to your caravan.  Perhaps one child will be on your shoulders while the other one claims that you are the ‘best parents in the world’ for bringing them away on this little break.  Once inside your caravan, your children will change into their pyjamas and take themselves off to bed as you cuddle up on the sofa and watch television with a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The precious family time – what you get

After missing your chance to purchase a Bingo ticket, you head back to your caravan.  One child is clinging to your hip because they are over tired and the other is veering unsteadily on the path because perhaps the three slushies she downed may have contained a little too much food colouring and sugar.

“Hold my hand!” You’ll shout but it will fall on deaf ears as your five year old will already be off running to try to find the caravan that a grown man couldn’t find in daylight and with a map only three hours earlier.

Lo and behold, she will find it though and as you open the door and ask your children to change into their pyjamas, they will ask for more food and refuse to go to bed until a ‘tablet time’ deal is struck.

After ten minutes of ‘tablet time’ you will ‘playfully’ wrestle the tablets out of the little hands that have a surprisingly firm grip and you’ll lay with them because they are scared of monsters.

Unfortunately, because your children are warm, snuggly and give the best cuddles, you will invariably fall asleep and wake up cold three hours later.  After a slight panic at the thought that you have no idea where your other half is, you’ll find him snoring on the sofa wrapped up in a sleeping bag he bought for a biking weekend last May.

Hmm, where’s Daddy?


The weather – what you want

Sun.  And at some point over the weekend you will get this.  However it will be at an inappropriate time like, for example, when you’re waiting for your friends to arrive.

Waiting in glorious sunshine for her friends to arrive.


The weather – what you get

Rain. 


On the day that you book the Pleasure Beach that’s when it will rain.  Don’t be fooled by the morning sunshine peeking from behind the clouds.  It is tricking you.  It is giving you false hope.  It is telling you not to layer up, not to take a coat and to leave the waterproofs behind.  This is a mistake.  By 2 o’clock in the afternoon you will be p*ss wet through but because British stoicism will always shine through (unlike the sunshine) you will continue in your quest to find pleasure at the Pleasure Beach.


The theme park – what you want

You get to go on every single ride (even The Big One) without queueing for more than five minutes.

The theme park – what you get

A ride in a fairy taxi, which your son will hate.  A ride in a hot air balloon, which your son will hate. 


 A slow, slow ride through the exciting, multi-lingual world of Dora the Explorer but all of this will be worth it just to see your partner and your daughter battle it out on SpongeBob Square Pants Splash Bash.

“You’ll get wet,” you will warn your child.

“I don’t care, Mummy.”

Famous last words.


Friends – what you want

You will spend your weekend in the caravan with your friends.  Together, you will eat, drink, chat and be merry.

Friends – what you get

You will spend your weekend in the caravan with your friends…and their kids.  Together, with your children, they will become a force to be reckoned with and the caravan will descend into a pit of chaos as beds are jumped on, poos are pooed, tantrums are thrown and food is dropped.  But, despite this, you will eat, drink, chat and be merry.

And you wouldn’t want it any other way.


“Never again,” he said as we left the caravan with two content and dozing children.

“The kids have loved it,” I said.

“Yeah, but it’s still sh*tting in a bucket isn’t it?”

Don’t worry. He loved our family break. Here’s my proof.


 

 

 

 


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Back to Work with Love the Sales

I know I shouldn’t be thinking about going back to work yet as I have only been off a week and a half.  But, I am.  Unfortunately, work is never far from my mind.  I know I have data to analyse, new schemes of work to write and seating plans to create before I head back in September.

However, before I start creating my new ‘Horror Writing’ scheme for our new Year 7s, let’s first think about creating a new work wardrobe.

When I return to work in September, I will be a ‘Mrs’ as opposed to the ‘Miss’ I was when I left.  Therefore, with a new name, let’s look at some new clothes.

I like wearing dresses for work and one of the dresses that caught my eye was the navy Hazar Night dress from Reiss.  It’s really simple but I like the high neck, the length and the fact that it comes in at the waist.  More importantly though, I think this is a very professional looking dress and it is important, when working in a school, that you look professional and formal at all times.

With a new dress must come new shoes and because this Hazar dress is navy, I have had a look for blue shoes. Usually for work I tend to wear black shoes because they are ‘safe’ but blue and black don’t always sit will together. I have taken a look at the Ted Baker site and picked out these little beauties. However, after a day of teaching back to back lessons, I am not sure if I will still be able to stand! I had better invest in some of those gel pads you can place in your shoes.

 

Ted Baker

Ted Baker Saviy Pointed Toe Court Shoes, Dark Blue Suede

For the last two years for work, I have been using a hand me down Marc Jacobs bag. My mum, a keen collector of designer handbags, gave it to me when she was done with it! Since then it has been filled with red pens, board pens and exercise books and is now literally on its last legs. If I were to buy a new handbag for work, it would again have to quite large as being a full-time working mamma, I bring a lot marking home with me. Once again, I looked at the Love the Sales website and found this black handbag from Ted Baker.

 

Ted Baker Taleen Bag

Taleen Bow Detail Leather Bag

Despite preferring heels for work, when it comes to casual wear I love jeans, t-shirts and trainers. Once work finishes and I arrive home, that’s when I become Mummy again and there is no way I can chase my kids around in heels. Looking at the Converse section on Love the Sales, I have picked out these floral trainers. Having owned a number of Converse trainers in the past, I wanted something a little different and I think these are perfect. They come in two different colours also: green and pink or lemon and pink.

 

Converse

Converse Breakpoint Ox Floral Textile

Finally, I love Superdry T-shirts and own a number of them because they are comfortable and not expensive. I found this bright t-shirt on the Superdry site and thought, when teamed up with blue skinny jeans and the above Converse, it would look very summery and when I return to work in September, the outfit will take me back to summer 2017!

 

Superdry

HIBISCUS – Print T-shirt

Right, I think that’s enough talk about work for this week. Now to go back to enjoying my summer holidays with these two.

All of the above were sourced from Love the Sales.