The Teaching Mum

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


15 Comments

My Blog Turns One and I’m Not Famous (but that doesn’t matter!)

Teaching Mum turned one in April.  According to my statistics, I have written and posted fifty blog posts and I suppose it’s a nice even number to round off the year.  Fifty posts in a year doesn’t sound bad to the non-blogging individual and when I scroll through my archived posts, it’s nice to remember the hidden little gems I had forgotten about.  However, upon entering this mysterious world of blogging, a place where you can grab a little piece of internet for yourself, I have learnt that fifty posts isn’t really that much; the majority of bloggers I have found myself mingling with in cyber space post three or four times a week.  I don’t even possess the amount of vocabulary needed to post that often.

In the last year, I have found myself lost in the Twitterverse with a thousand followers; wondered through Pinterest looking at and guffawing at perfect crafting ideas for children;  opened two Instagram accounts (one as me and one as the other me) and bugged friends, colleagues and family to ‘like’ my Facebook page.  For every post I add to my Facebook page, I post in numerous ‘blogging’ groups on there also.  I also Tweet the *New Post* ten times over and send messages to the Mummy Bibles that are Mumsnet, Netmums, Tots100 and  Britmums in the hope that they may read my posts, find me hilarious and put me on their front page.  The thing is though, there are thousands of bloggers on the internet and the majority of them are bloody fantastic.  They have better websites than me, they have blogging buddies, most (not all) have the wonderful gift of time and they execute excellent grammar skills. (Much to my annoyance because I thought my ability to use grammar correctly might give me that edge, but as it turns out, a lot of people know how to use grammar correctly because they were taught it at school – huh, who knew?)

To those wonderful people I know who have read my posts and indulge me in my dream of being a writer, thank you.  I can assure you that every time I press publish on a post and post on Facebook (where my actual real friends exist), I cringe and fill with self doubt.  Therefore your comments are always appreciated and I love that I can sometimes put a smile on your face.

Having spent three hours writing and editing Tunnel Vision last week, I felt somewhat demoralised by the fact that it was viewed by fifty-five people and I felt my blogging mojo slipping away from me.  In all honesty, I have found writing very difficult of late because I have had no stories to tell.  When I started writing, I wanted to have a niche.  I read countless blogs about how to wean your baby, about how to keep your baby safe, about whether to use dummies and whether a boob is better than a bottle.  That kind of writing just didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t want to give advice, I wanted to tell stories.  So that’s what I did.  The first few posts flowed easily because I had some stories to tell, I was on maternity leave and I was up at night feeding The Dude so I tapped and tapped away on my app.  The idea behind my writing  was that I wanted to highlight my imperfections; I wanted to show that being on maternity leave wasn’t all baby massage and drinking coffee so I wrote about how one afternoon was spent at the local tip and therefore ‘My Day Trip to the Tip’ became my first post.  No one knew that I had written it – I was anonymous and when I read it back now, I still think it’s funny because, upon refection, my total and utter d*ckheadness and slackness that day is something that I can look back on and smile about.

It was on May Day 2015 when I finally told my friend JC that I had started writing and asked her to read it. That evening I sent her a link to my then Blogger account and an hour or so later she text me to tell me that she thought my posts were funny.  This was and is by far my greatest compliment because in real life I don’t think I am funny.  I am awkward, shy and a bumbling idiot, where as I find JC hilarious, fun-loving and a, now how shall I put this, a social butterfly.  This encouragement was all I needed to admit to the Other Half that I had taken up blogging and that he may appear as a character in my stories.  “Don’t write about me,” was his response and in a year he has yet to read anything I have written.  That’s why encouragement from my little audience is so lovely because it’s not something I really get from home.  He is however, a well liked character in some of my stories because he too, like JC, is incredibly funny, but in a very different way.  If JC is the social butterfly, then rip the wings from it and lock it in a room filled with UFC on TV and packets Tangfantastics strewn all over the floor and you have the Other Half – he is the master of his home and he doesn’t like to leave it. From our day out to a theme park to the time he bought me bed socks as a birthday present and then when he buggered off and left me to go skiing for a week, my partner is a major character in both my life and blog and long may it remain that way, but don’t tell him, okay?

The more I wrote, the more I thought opportunities might present themselves.  Being a member of countless blogging communities, I often read statuses exclaiming that they have been contacted by PRs and major companies. ‘Have you all received the email from The Super Dooper Pram Company?’ (I may have made that name up) they ask.  Excited, I rush to my emails only to be greeted by a spam message telling me that I have received a £10 voucher for Primark if I just click here and fill out a survey, which is the metaphorical equivalent of opening your wallet and a moth flying out. That’s when the self doubt kicks in. I wonder why I don’t receive the emails from the companies and realise that it’s because I am a tiny fish in an immense pond where there will always be bigger and better fish and I have to accept this, move on and write another story about my family and friends as they are my inspirations and not the PR lady who sent me a free bottle of Zoflora disinfectant to review and didn’t even thank me afterwards. ‘Ooh, it smells of cinnamon I cooed’, but the acknowledgment of my writing just didn’t come and I worked hard to make my review fit the story telling niche of my blog.

Last night I took to Twitter and complained about my failure at blogging.  There has been a couple of times where I have received an over whelming response to a post and for an instant I thought I was good, I thought I had this blogging mama sh*t down, but as it turns out, I don’t.  Feeling disheartened, I reached out to my 1000 followers and one person responded. Just one. A fellow blogger called  Mummy’s Writing Darling metaphorically shook some sense into me and sent me a link to a post she had written that day and it inspired me to write this piece celebrating the fact that I have been writing for a year (while totally dropping in links to old posts – have you noticed…), but also admitting that it’s hard.  It’s hard to write sometimes, it’s hard to be original, it’s hard when you have very little time and are knackered from lack of sleep, it’s hard to write funny stories when the only thing I really do on a weekend is mark thirty exercise books, shove clothes into the washing machine and try to empty a Dyson vacuum that contains at least three Peppa Pig socks each time it is emptied. Above all though, it’s bloody hard to be consistent in a space so vast like the Internet – in a space where there exists a plethora of bloggers and PRs who, if you dare sit back, relax and step away from the laptop for a moment, will forget you in an instant. I must come to accept this fact.

Last April, a Facebook message from friend and blogger Educating Roversi inspired me to start writing and the stubborn mule in me won’t stop.  I will continue to write for me; I will continue to document my stories about my children as they are the beating heart of my blog and I will continue to dream of being a mega successful author one day.

And if I do, I will give each of my Facebook followers a £100k each.

That might make my Facebook likes increase…because the Facebook page is a bugger to grow.

Apologies for the self-indulgent reminiscent style post; it is my ‘Blogaversary’ after all!

My beating hearts

 


4 Comments

Tunnel Vision

I love to watch the television.

Like, I really love to watch it.

If I am being specific here, I actually love Sky Atlantic.

As in, I am a little obsessed with it.

I don’t actually know how I existed without it in my life and I can’t tell you how elated I become when I see the image of a luxury Volvo smoothly driving down a picturesque, snowy road accompanied by the low sultry European voice that speaks only to me.

“Volvo.  Sponsors of Sky Atlantic.”

In my excitement, my over used and under exercised pelvic floor lets me down again as I sink back into my sofa and watch.

To add to this almost perfect moment in time, if I have a hot cup of Yorkshire Tea and two Tesco double chocolate shortcake biscuits ready to dunk, then I have died and gone to heaven.  Metaphorically I mean – I would expect only Marks and Spencer biscuits in actual heaven and possibly more than two at a time because you would be dead and I don’t think only two biscuits would suffice in this case.  Anyway, I digress…This moment – sitting in front of Sky Atlantic with tea and chocolate – is the closest I get to ecstasy, euphoria and that feeling of ‘Yabba Dabba Bloody’ Do’.  I know what you’re thinking: ‘Boy, she needs to get out more’ and ‘I gotta try me two of those Tesco biscuits.’  And you’re absolutely correct, I do and you do.

Imagine it: Sunday morning, an empty living room, the leather sofa, the television opposite you, the toys –  that usually scatter the floor – rammed into near by cupboards and drawers (yes Elsa, I can see that your head is poking out of my daughter’s desk, but I don’t care), the boiled kettle, the new biscuit packet waiting to be ripped open like a cheap dress from Primark.  The scene is set.  The Sky remote is waiting for you on the sofa; inviting you to caress its little round ‘standby’ button, the curtains are still drawn closed and the room is almost looking like a cinema.  Almost.

Then your one year old son toddles in behind you with a nappy hanging low and heavy, like a damp sleeping bag.  To add insult to injury, he waddles over to the television, holds onto the stand and heaves.  And then he heaves again and again maintaining eye contact with you throughout.

“You’re not watching television, Mum,” that stare says.  “You’re going to be wading through my morning poo for the next ten minutes and I ate sweet corn last night, so watch out.”

And I hadn’t even managed to turn on ‘standby’.

The Dude in his ‘I make a better door than a window’ pose.

However, because I am now a Mum of two, I have got this nappy changing malarkey down to a fine art.  And when I say ‘art’, I mean that I can change a nappy in under two minutes, on a grey rug in the living room with minimal amounts of flipping from the Dude.  So that’s what I did.  I quickly changed his nappy, dressed him, wiped his nose, retrieved some toys from their hiding places and sat down again in front of the television. (With a bag of Freddos).

You have a Freddo and I will have the remote.

Two weeks ago, I discovered a new programme on Sky Atlantic.  Well, actually, it’s not new at all – it is three years old, but because it starred Stannis Baratheon and I refused to believe that Stannis Baratheon could be anyone but Stannis Baratheon, I didn’t watch it the first time round.  More fool me.  But then I spotted it again on Sky Boxsets and suddenly all ten episodes were downloaded instantly and served to me on a plate.  An hour later, one episode down and I was hooked on British/French thriller, ‘The Tunnel’.

Watching the first two episodes was relatively easy as I watched them one evening when the munchkins were asleep and the Other Half was out.  Sunday morning, however, was different because I was on borrowed time.  I already had the one year old with me and it was only a matter of time before my girl joined us and demanded ‘PJ Masks’ be put on instantly.  Could I sneak episode three in before she woke?  Would it be appropriate for me to watch a programme that featured a body that had been cut in half, the drugging and killing of the elderly and a man who wielded a Samurai sword almost as good as ‘Kai from Ninjago’?  Of course it wouldn’t be, but he is one – he barely knows where his nose it.  So, on went the ‘standby’ button and the image of a Volvo filled my screen.  I stroked my son’s hair, wiped his nose and played with toy dinosaurs in an attempt to keep him placid.  The opening credits rolled and suddenly the Truth Terrorist was about to reveal his third truth.

Here comes the Volvo!

Then, my Girl, like a mini hurricane, stormed into the room and my dream was gone.  The ecstasy and euphoria dissipated, the newly unwrapped biscuit was snatched from my hand, my tea – now lukewarm – was left discarded and my TV programme, my beloved TV programme, was paused at three minutes.

Three minutes of peace was all I got.

Three minutes of TV heaven.

Three minutes of swear words and images probably deemed unsuitable for a one year old (and definitely for a four year old.)

Three minutes. Pfft.

‘PJ Masks’!

Reluctantly, I obliged.

By this time, it was 8.15am and both my son and I had been up since 6.30am.  After tapping away on my phone for the best part of half an hour, I whispered into the Dude’s ear: “Where’s Daddy?”  Like a moth to a flame, he jumped up and waddled to the stair case.  My girl, who is afraid to stay in any room alone, raced after us and together we climbed the stairs.

“Shuuush,” I said loudly. “Let’s not wake Daddy.  We should go back down stairs.”

Ignoring me, *fist pump* the children ran into see Daddy (who was feeling delicate from the night before) in bed and I raced back down stairs to my (now messy) haven.  There was washing up that needed to be done, snotty tissues that needed flushing, a thousand Fruitshoots that needed hiding away and a slightly whiffy nappy bag that needed binning, but Stannis Baratheon, who was now called Karl Roebuck, was calling out to me that he was stuck on three minutes and had a terrible crime to solve.

I raced through the Sky Planner and within seconds, my television screen was filled with a dreary Calais police station.

Yes!

Nine minutes passed by.

Ten.

Twelve.

“Mummy!”  Shouted the Other Half.  “He is on the landing roaming around.  Come and get him.”

You get up then! Get up, get up, get up!  I screamed in my head, but being the dutiful partner and mother that I am, I obliged once again and hit pause.

At 10.20am, the grandparents called (by far the two greatest people on Earth) and came to take the munchkins for a couple of hours.  I usually take this time to clean the house and mark a set of books. On Sunday however, as soon as the house door closed, on the kettle went, out the biscuits came and the TV, once again, was un-paused and for forty-three glorious minutes I watched my own TV programme.

Later that evening, after the children were asleep and after my ironing pile was tackled, the Other Half joined me on our sofa.

“Fancy watching ‘Modern Family’?

As if I could cheat on Sky Atlantic with Sky One.

Pulling out some Peppa Pig headphones and our old battered iPad.

“No,” I said. “I am going to watch another ‘Tunnel’.”

And there I sat in silence for an hour wearing my daughter’s headphones as I watched another episode while the Other Half watched UFC on the TV sitting next to me.

As I read this back now, I worry that I am giving you an insight into not one, but two unhealthy relationships.

But, hey, at least I am on season two of ‘The Tunnel’ now!

Why, hello Sky Go!

 

 

Rhyming with Wine


Leave a comment

(Not my) Easter Holiday

My children are geniuses – they have hijacked my laptop, logged into my account and written a blog post about their Easter Holidays.

What on earth are they being taught at nursery?  I am impressed.

Day One:

The Dude:  Got my first black eye.

My Girl: Mummy got up with us (she claims that she is always awake and never sleeps, and that Daddy never bothers to bloody get up anyway), but she was much more chilled out than usual.  She drank her tea and gazed lazily out of the window while my brother and I destroyed the living room.

A chilled out morning enjoying our view. Mummy says we should appreciate our view more because we paid and arm and a leg for it…Not sure whose arm or leg though.

She did freak out a bit when my brother decided he wanted get all of my colouring pens out of my desk, but tripped on his way to the desk and hit his eye on the corner of it.  Yes, she screamed at that, grabbed him and kept repeating the word “balls” as she looked at his eye.  Not sure why she used that word as, for once, there were no balls in the living room.  Anyway, this kafuffle brought Daddy down stairs and she asked him to assess the situation.  Together, they decided that seeing as he was back on his Batmobile and zooming around Gotham the living room, he probably didn’t need to go to the hospital.

Mum, you’te The Joker and I’m Batman (ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner Batman!)

After Mum’s guilt had subsided and she had resigned herself to the fact that her only son was going to be sporting he black eye for the next week or so, we got dressed and ready for a day out to Tropical World in Leeds.  She told me that we were going with Grandma Pam because she would pay for everything; she then told me not to repeat that to anyone, but no one reads this blog, so I am sure it will be okay.

During my trip to Tropical World, I thought I would tell Mummy how much I wanted to go to the park down the road from where we live over and over and over again.  While we were looking at the stingrays and huge fishes, I told her that I wanted to go to the park with Daddy.  While we were looking at the beautiful butterflies, I told her that I wanted to go to the park with Daddy.  While we were looking at the Meercats, which I loved by the way, I told her I wanted to go to the park with Daddy.

Mum! Can you see the meerkats or is the swelling of my eye getting in the way?

Also, when she was kissing my brother, (she seemed to do this a lot, especially when she was on the receiving end of disapproving looks from other parents) I told her that I wanted to go to the park with Daddy.  Mummy finally gave in and we all went to Roundhay Park and played in the adventure play area.  I loved the slide and the swings, but felt it was only right to point out that Daddy wasn’t there.

 

Where’s Daddy?

Day Two

The Dude: Stayed at home with Mummy all day.  Avoided my sister’s desk.

My Girl: Yay! Daddy took me swimming! Mummy was going to come, but she kept going on about the fact that my brother has no swimming trunks.  I pointed out that he had some shorts and then I went running upstairs (with Daddy, of course, because being upstairs on my own scares the living bejesus out of me) and found a pack of swimming nappies stuffed into the corner of my brother’s wardrobe.  I nearly missed them as they were buried under a pile of old muslins and a Peppa Pig that, when touched on the stomach, sings ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ over and over and over again.  I’m not going to lie – I wanted to punch Peppa, but feared that she would just start singing again.  After handing Mummy the nappies, she made another excuse about my brother’s ears and how they are not supposed to get wet.  I told her that she didn’t have to put him under the water, but still she would not come.  “She just can’t be bothered shaving her legs because she is lazy,” was what Daddy told me once we were in the car and on our way.

After swimming, I asked for a McDonalds.  When Daddy told me no because I eat too many McDonalds, I decided to take a leaf from Peppa’s book and repeat the word over and over and over again.  Guess what?  I got chicken nuggets, chips and a toy.  What a nice surprise.

Day Three

The Dude: Got my first hair cut. It made my black eye stand out even more than it did before.

My Girl: I went to Grandma and Grandad’s for the afternoon. They showered me with attention, gave me lots of treats, played games with me and made me feel like I was the only girl in the world.  Grandparents are awesome.  When Mummy came to pick me and my brother up, Grandma asked if she had managed to do her marking. (Mum had been complaining all morning that she had about a hundred books to mark).  I over heard her explain that she had done no work because she had had a two hour nap.  Hmm, she is lazy after all.  Daddy was right about Mummy, which I find weird, because Mummy often tells me that no matter what he does, Daddy will never be right.

Day Four:

The Dude: Mummy was paying me no attention so I hid all of her red pens in my Batmobile.  “Little bugger,” she said when she found them.  I wondered if this was a new name for me as I have over heard my sister refer to me as this  moments before Mummy has told her off and sent her to her “thinking chair”.

 

 
After putting the pens way beyond my reach, she started to pull out some books from a box.  Now I know how much Mummy dislikes marking, so I thought I would show her some affection by gripping onto her leg and screaming.

 

Hi Mum!

She responded by telling me that she knew I was tired and that I needed a nap.  I did not need a nap.  I just needed some Mummy love; I reinforced that fact by pulling incessantly on her fringe and licking her eyeball when we were upstairs on her bed.  She called it ‘licking’, but I prefer the term ‘kissing’.  Anyway, she quickly gave up on the nap and carried me back downstairs.  She shoved a whole Easter Egg in my hand and told me “to go to town” on it.  I didn’t know what that meant so I just ate it and then wiped my hands all over the living room rug.

My Girl:  I finally went to the park with Daddy.  Best. Day. Ever!

Upon returning from the park, we found Mummy on her hands and knees cleaning up brown mush from the rug in the living room.  She told Daddy that she had only marked four books and that she needed more time.  Daddy shook his head and made a mad dash for the kitchen.  I heard the door slam just as Mummy handed me her phone with the Plants V Zombies app open before making a mad dash herself back to her table full of books.  I don’t know what happened after that; the world around me became a blur as I began to choose plants that could fire peas at zombies.  Every three minutes or so, I thought Mummy would like to know that a zombie had eaten my brains, so I ran over to her at the table and shouted it in her ear.

Day Five:

The Dude: Mummy woke up grumpy and waited in bed until Daddy came and got me.  I displayed my resistance at this by having a morning poo.  Daddy showed his resistance to the whole situation by changing me on the carpet right outside Mummy’s bedroom.  He then asked her to get some wipes and a nappy bag and then dress me in a new sleep suit because I had a bit of ‘poo juice’ on me.  After I was changed, Mummy came downstairs with us all because she was “bloody well and truly awake now”.  Daddy called me an Evil Genius and high-fived me.

After a while, Mummy was getting frustrated and said that she needed to get out of the house and go to town.  My ears instantly pricked up and I held out my hand for another chocolate Easter Egg.  Instead, she picked me up and put me in the car and we literally went to town.

My Girl: As a family, we drove into Leeds and Mummy told us that she was going to treat us all to lunch.  We went to a super duper child friendly place called Wagamamas.  Mummy pushed some and paper in my direction and ‘ooohed’ and ‘ahhhed’ as I was handed some chopsticks.

Mummy had to use a fork.

I told her I wanted to go to McDonalds.

And then to the park with Daddy.

 

At the park with Daddy. I wore my helmet because Mummy came along too and Daddy always points out that ‘accidents always happen on her watch.’

Mummy loved being off work with us really.