A budding career in puberty

spring-budsMy daughter has buds…not the obvious, ‘buds’, mates at school type buds, though, thankfully, she does have those. But more, spring like ‘bud’s, the type that are just about to blossom and bloom, into, well, yes: breasts.

I have to admit – I am not ready for buds, nor bras or B.O. and don’t even mention boys. But despite my desire to file her in the freezer immediately and keep this ‘on-hold’ for a few years whilst I get my bonce round it… puberty appears to be one road we are racing headlong towards without my authority or consent.

BUT, it appears I must wholeheartedly embrace this new found chapter of motherhood, not deny the existence of boobs and periods like some of our fore-mothers of the 1970’s.  Many of whom were happily indifferent to those one or two poor big-breasted girls who were left to swing and hopefully, presumably, work it out for themselves?

Into, obviously, the lingerie department at M&S we go. I mean, where else? BHS has long gone, Woolies a distant memory – and H&M or Primarni’s is surely not the place to take your beloved baby to begin her lingerie buying and puberty embarking career?

I try and appear, outwardly, nonchalant, while inwardly I am nervous and my heart is slowing shattering into a myriad of failed mother fragments. As we stroll around the bra section in M&S, it dawns on me that this is, without doubt, a milestone and I think that perhaps I am also a little bit excited about embarking on this together.

A large, soviet looking matron bustles up and ushers us into the official M&S: ‘bra fitting cubicle’. “I am professional bra measurer, Sveetie” she barks at us in a 1950’s Hungarian accent. “Remove your top sveetie”. My daughter looks to me for reassurance and I nod nervously.

32 Double A – the classic beginners statistic – Grade One, if you will. I am relieved – Miss Hungary circa 1956 brings us in a number of overly pinked and princessed starter bras from their ‘Angel’ range…my heart sinks. Simplicity, classical innocence, why the need to trash, brash and over-design everybloodything?

“You look beautivul Sveeetieee”, Olga drawls, did I mention she was Olga?

All, the bras in the Angel Range are made from a thick padded material that Olga had reassured us: “protects the growing nippvles”. However, the 32AA still seems vast on the buds and a great cavernous valley opens up between my daughter’s actual chest and the bra cup. I am secretly relieved, maybe we still have, what – another year at best – to enjoy the last sighs of childish innocence.

We thank Olga profusely, because despite her overtly Bolshevik manner and mighty, square, breast shelf – she was incredibly kind and gentle. As we leave, we hear her booming in the next cubicle: “I am Olga. I am professional bra measurer, Sveetie.”

Giggling we dash past the cubicles, ditch the unicorn covered pink starter bra and find a simple white one, which my daughter clutches over-enthusiastically. Her unimpeached joy at growing up and becoming: a Woman, as overtly abundant as my unfathomable fear of losing my innocent daughter to the devil clutches of puberty, pimples and parties.

But, I muse, I think I handled it well – puberty is safely stowed in the back drawer until the next unleashing of her wild humanity. I was calm, practical: a hands-on mother who smoothly ushered in and managed: The. Next. Stage.

This is what motherhood is about surely – utter panic, sleepless worry-filled nights, followed by facing: THE TRUTH and then, naturally, dealing with it in a modern, finger-on-the-pulse woman, kinda way…bring on the pimples and periods – but not the boys, not yet.

The Guilt of Motherhood

5b9b65e0-f880-4a85-9ff1-483130dc5446Some days, I find myself shouting: screaming and swearing like a fish-wife and, as I do so, in front of me stands a crying child. Quite obviously terrified, quaking, in case I actually reach out and hit someone. This is all due to: being late for school, again –  or someone hasn’t put their socks on, brushed their teeth, or is still: playing lego/drawing/reading/singing on the piano… while the minutes, just literally dissolve into a black hole and we are late, again.

I shout in vain for them to: ‘get a bloody move on’, jumpers unfound, toothpaste strewn down shirts, hair in a tangle and all, for, what?

Conformity.

As we drive silently in the car – my anger slowly draining from my body – the children: quiet, tense, the day just unfolding.  I resolve, silently to myself, to apologise and hug them as tightly as I possibly can before they go into school.

I do.

The rest of the day is spent in a grey fug as I feel drenched in dark mother-guilt about my: outrageous behaviour.

And I wonder: did my mother, ever, do this to me?

Yet sometimes, and I have to make this point to you, this is not a regular occurrence, but just, very occasionally, (honestly),  I am so lost in anger. I. just. Cannot. Stop. Even when: right in front of me, I can see the destruction I am manifesting in my children.

Motherhood has revealed the darkest side of me: the anger and venom that gently froths, darthvaderlike, just beneath my conscious…Waiting for some unknown trigger to set free the raging torrent  across the still-ish waters of family-life and establish literal tsunamis of pain, tears, anxiety and, quite probably: therapy-inducing permanent fuck-up fuelled futures…with an over-priced psychotherapist proferring instant coffee…

And, as the days from that jarred, hurtful, venom-filled moment pass – I carry the wake of churning guilt and bitter after-taste disgust within me. I cannot believe I can behave this way to those I love more than any other beings on the planet…

What is that?

I apologise, again, many days later and desperately seek forgiveness – it is waved off.

But that anger is really, truly, not fine, sometimes it is truly scary and I’m in it and I cannot find a way out.

 

Finally A Real WOMAN That Wobbles

Finally, a brave ad agency has created an advert that celebrates women, in all their natural, real and raw beauty – wobbly bits and all.

Please watch it:

This Girl Can is frankly, flaming brilliant and full respect to both Sport England and the ad agency FCB Inferno who were brave enough to chose the beauty of reality over the dishonest and mendacious choices of the all-consuming,  behemoth fashion industry.

Every female, and male, in this part of the world has been duped into believing that natural beauty is a form of photoshopped physical perfection only achieved by Barbie – a goal few of us will ever attain. Leaving the rest of us mere mortals with a warped perception of our bodies, deep insecurities, shame, embarrassment and a fucked up way of behaving towards, not only food, but each other.

I firmly believe that most men appear to genuinely see it differently – and adore all our jiggilly and wibbly bits – just as we adore theirs.

If only the fashion industry were brave enough to embrace the natural shape of everyone rather than endlessly creating and photoshopping an entire universe that will never be achieved no matter what we put ourselves through.

Let us continue to shout long and loud about this campaign and applaud the massive balls of Sport England and FCB Inferno.

 

Underpants

Can men actually stack dishwashers?

I’m possibly biased as I write this knowing that many folks might not have a) men or b) dishwashers – or perhaps neither things in their kitchens – this is, probably, a good thing.

Men are, generally, useful in the car and in bed (not always) but near a dishwasher: I don’t think so.

How is it that man can pack the boot of a car with painstaking precision, shifting the entire contents of your household neatly into a space the size and depth of a child’s paddling pool in less time than it takes you to have a wee – yet cannot physically put a dirty coffee cup into a dishwasher, or, even better: a sink; don’t even think about it. 106

Have you noticed on your journey through life that small men, i.e: boys, have barely any capacity to hear what you are asking them – you have to state the same question myriad times, then triple-check they have computed the information.

What they do with it thus is anyone’s guess.

Ask a boy to get their shoes on at 8.25am on a school day and find them ten minutes later embroiled in logging football cards, shoes: nowhere in the vicinity.

Is this training for their future of non-filling dishwashers and sinks?

In his brilliant book, Raising Boys, Australian child psychologist, Steve Biddulph, notes that girls have better hearing than boys, and ,moreover, boys’ retinas are more sensitive to movement, but less sensitive to colour than girls.

I feel this explains a lot and is a point I try my darndest to remember every single time I tell my son to brush his teeth, pick up his underpants, turn off the tv, put his cereal bowl in…

Beholden to the boss

IMG_4200France, our perennial adversary, recently unveiled plans making it illegal to send work related emails to colleagues after the working day has finished. Yes, you heard me right – it will become illegal to write, open or send emails after 6pm.

This people – is downright bloody genius, don’t you think? Hang on I am just going to google this and check I have it right…

Ohhhkay – so it will not be actually illegal per se – but the Gallic country has indeed introduced new rules designed to ‘protect’ workers in media and consultation. These rules ask workers to switch off their work phones and stop checking work emails after 6pm and before 9am.

This intentional disconnect is such a bloody fantastic idea. In this crazy century we are in we need to be given permission to have down time, to eat supper without a device, to understand that it is just, no MORE, important to have a life outside of the workplace – and that the internet will not explode if we don’t check it every five minutes.

If you work from home it is exceptionally tricky to locate the off button – much to the delight of your employer – and much to the frustration of your family.

It has become more and more acceptable to work at all hours of day and night. If a client or colleague emails and expects a response, the rub is that if you don’t respond you feel guilty and if you do, you feel pissed off…

We feel beholden to that all encompassing dictator; the internet, all its devices and ways of luring you in.

But what if we were all on the same page – that we could relax in the knowledge that we are having our, much needed, time out altogether – without the fear that someone else will jump on your bandwagon just because you are happily taking a walk or sharing a meal.

This simple yet brilliant idea is one we, I think, should fight to adopt – here on our shores, where working all hours has crept into our lives and is fast becoming the norm.

So are you in with me?

Working nine-to-five

For the first time in four years I have utterly, totally and completely abandoned Fealte & Rosebud. My place of respite and rejuvination. I screwed up: I went and got myself a fucking job. Now I find myself writing for the wedge, not the edge and my friends let me tell you – it sucks. rosey_mother

Well, not the money in the bank every month bit – obvs. But the actual, physical, doing the work bit.

As your very last child crosses the bridge into the eternal abyss of the British schooling system one is left – and bereft. The pressure begins to build…expectations, raised eyebrows and you feel you should move on – your work here is done – hell, let the teachers pick up the slack.

So you scan the job sections, you talk to friends, you fantasize about the perfect job and here’s the rub…it doesn’t actually exist.

The real nux of the problem – is that the school day is ridiculously short. Within that 9-3 window the washing still needs to be washed, the shopping bought, the meals cooked, the old man appeased, the hoovering – jesus, girls how do you do it? Who washes the inside of the pan these days? Who, tell me, puts out the recycling, folds up the pants and pours the wine? And, into this madness, not to mention BTW, the football practice, ballet, play-dates, cubs and all the other social overkill that escalates with school attendance, you have to squeeze your working day in and out and appear, deep breath: measured, on the ball, intelligent: unflappable – not the washed out old bag you really are…

So without employing a cook, a cleaner and a myriad of after-school or before-school clubs, frankly, your just winging it. But in the craziest of ways, it feels good: you can do it: you’ve pulled it out the fucking hat.

Yes – it might be pasta every night and hell, who needs play-dates, they spend all day with the bloody blighters anyway…and, guess what, I can afford perfume now.

Until, that is, someone pukes…or the holidays rear their ugly/beautiful head.

But what I really wonder is – when the day comes that I lie on my deathbed…bear with me …and consider: what was the most important achievement in my life? (Apart from the, as yet, un-published book) it is, without doubt: my children – no regrets.

So, in order to juggle everything – all the minutiae gets thrown out – the sweeping, hoovering, play-dates, hand-made bread, cubs – fuck it all – we will just do the best we can without, compromising the bin lids…and our, very precious, time together.

Eureka! My Psychological downfall is FOMO…or TL;DR

Do you ever feel like your missing out on all the fun?

When you slavishly tune into Facebook or Twitter and see all those people, your so called: friends, having fun, hooking up, going to parties and looking, amazing, natch – does it make you feel like a miserable, friendless, lonely old goat?

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I feel that too sometimes and will avoid Facebook and regularly deactivate my account…only to slink back in the dead of night to remind myself what the rest of the world are doing whilst I am in bed reading a book.

Then I discovered FOMO!  It was a eureka moment for me – because I thought I was alone in feeling like I was missing out: having three binlids without doubt hampers your social life.

FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out and the Oxford Dictionary has officially entered this acronym into it’s dictionary.

Isn’t it great: a wonderful, new 21st century anxiety we have created for ourselves – a new paranoia we can hand down to our children, and their children…

Only I would like to avoid this kind of paranoia being passed on and wonder if excluding FB from their lives is a good place to start – am I fooling myself that I can protect them?

Also, and this is a goody: TL;DR…I am worrying, because TL;DR might be happening right about…now.

The Oxford Online Dictionary entered TL;DR which means: Too Long: Didn’t Read!!

Bloody marvellous another superlative facet of our, so called, slick modern existence!