Thursday, 30 July 2009

From the darkness there came light....

....So I got my period on Tuesday. Thank God for that. Boy does my PMT push me into some dim and dark places...

A couple o' other things have pulled me from the abyss:

No.1 The West Wing. Just discovered it. I know, I know, forgive me. I found Oasis 3 years after Britpop. I just kinda like takin' my sweet ass time to like things, not just cus someone tells me to. It is now my crack. I need to feed my addiction daily or I get twitchy. Is just so brilliantly written and smart and funny and poignant and engaging and thank god there are another 6 series for me to gorge on.

No.2 I'm on a course this week. I don't talk much about work here on my blog as I fear the wrath of the mighty BBC. I don't know why I should, as next April in line with their 'refreshing talent' ideal (which boils down to 'after 2 years here we are obliged to make you staff, which we don't want to do as that would costs us more, with all the privileges that being a staffer allow, so thanks for all your hard work, see you round') - I will have to find new work... Anyway, I'm on a story course which is all about how to structure story - 5 acts, multi protagonist, what is the protagonist's flaw, what is the story value, how to tell the theme from different view points, how to create a hybrid multi-protgaonist story, how to shape shift blah blah - for those not enamoured with such detail, I'll skip it.

Suffice is to say - it is just brilliant. Inspiring, informative, thought-provoking and downright exciting, it has put a smile back on my chops. Shame it only lasts 3 days - I could attend it every week. Its great never to stop learning - the day you think you know it all, I guess is the day you should give up. The joy in what I do is the constant drive to better oneself, to sharpen my skills, to test myself.

No.3 Husband and I have been together 8 long years tomorrow... 7 legally married, 5 officially and publicly married. Have we passed the 7 year itch?? Who knows, occasionally we both scratch. We are going for dinner at a place that is slap bang in the middle of the city, but has a rooftop garden and more importantly a lengthy martini list. People keep reminding me how recently some poor city fella got all spruced up, had a glass of fine champagne and then threw himself from the building. Hopefully the fact it is now the in vogue place to jump in these credit crunch times, will not put a dampener on our date.

No.4 We have booked a Holiday. 10 days - not 7 - crucial difference - in September, to Sardinia. Most importantly - they have a Kids' club. So Sproglet can mingle with Italian kids and splash around and I can read a book!! Then in the afternoon I can take him on a mini train that the hotel runs to the beach: white sands, idillyic clear water. We can build sandcastles and rockpool. In the evening we can step away from the hideous hotel's evening events and as Sproglet sleeps I can do some writing. This book aint going to write itself. Husband can drink fine wine and sleep. Bliss.

So.... things aren't so bad. It is swings and roundabouts I guess. Now I'm off to take the slide...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Just a load of crap

Maybe I wasn't meant to be a Mother.

Today Sproglet crapped his pants 3 times - yes 3 TIMES - in about an hour and a half. Husband was ill. It was up to me to carefully cut off the pants, (pulling them down the legs just creates more horror) wipe his bum and re-dress him.

Each time he walked up to me, his wee face downcast. 'Mummy, poo.' He knows where you poo. You ask him, he says 'toilet' proudly - like, hey Mum, I know things. He may know it, he may even manage to wee there standing up pretty much all the time he needs to go - but my god his arse has yet to meet the seat. Each time I was calm, I asked him why he hadn't told Mummy he needed to go. He hung his head in shame.

Then came bath time. I was chatting on the phone to my aunt - and then I noticed something new amidst the bubbles, something that wasn't shiny and plastic. The brown snake curled across the water and I realised - he was pooing in the bath.

It took all my powers of patience not to just throw him, or myself out the window. He went to bed with no stories. This pooing his pants malarkey has being going on for 6 weeks now. He pooed on the floor at nursery on Fri. He knows it is wrong and yet he persists. I have no idea how to change this.

Anyway - I am kind of at the end of my tether. I just can't cope with a full time job, trying to rent out a flat, keep my house clean, wash the endless crapped on clothes, and raise a kid. Husband and I have no folks to help us - no tribe to rush in and give us a moment to ourselves. I feel guilty when I'm not with Sproglet and frustrated when I am with him.

I feel like my life is a groundhog day of washing sheets and towels and clothes and folding and cooking and stacking and rushing to the nursery and cleaning up crap. I miss who I was. I miss being a Samaritan - that amazing feeling of giving something and expecting nothing in return. I miss that volunteering was my thing - just for me - and it gave me something nothing else does. I miss having time to write. I miss my figure - the pounds just creep on in my sedentary job and car journey to and from work, with no time ever to get myself to my thrashing bashing body combat class or to pump a few weights.

I read an article today where Uma Thurman said ' When my son turned 7 I sort of stood up straight and realised I had been exhausted one way or the other for the past 10 years.' (Her daughter is 11). 'My big wish now is to make a little time for myself. I think many women, working women get this. I mean how do you justify that hour and a half to yourself? When you have this to do and that to do and you want to be there... that's what Motherhood is about - the chaos and confusion and loss of yourself. Of course there is a good part to losing yourself - any mother that doesn't give herself up isn't a good Mother - but at the same time you get to a point where you can't reach the identity that helped you be stable in the first place - and that is quite a frightening feeling. Guilty when you are here and guilty when you're there, of being torn in half. Your happiness depends on your sense of duty: what's your shame level today? What did you do wrong, what could you do better?

She goes on to say how she went to see a Dr a few years ago and he wrote a prescription that said 'Hotel - one night a week.'

She never did it.

I remember when Sproglet had just been born, I was tired and strung out and overwhelmed and lonely and scared - that I fantasised about running off to sleep in the local Holiday Inn. How banal is that? I didn't even fantasise about a luxury martini filled pamperthon, but a grimy basic budget hotel, where all I wanted to do was sleep. I figured that having had a C section, I couldn't get on the tube anyway - so it had to be within walking distance - my lagoon of tranquillity.

Last week was a hectic week work wise - I worked until midnight on thurs, was up at 7am, got Sproglet to nursery and then worked at my desk all day at home. Speaking to writers, typing notes, fielding calls. I didn't have time to eat more than a pitta bread dunked in hummus. Then I was dashing out the door dealing with estate agents and a painter who came to fix my worst ever painting faux pas and a small crying child and getting groceries - and I finished my last notes to my writers at around 8pm.

I feel so stretched and so angry all the time. Resentful at the Husband for always working so much and leaving me to cope with everything. Wishing I had a moment to try and write the bloody book that an agent wants me to write. A moment just to think about the book would be good.

I guess if I had another similar Mother to talk to about it all here it would be great. But the Mothers I know are not like me. In the area we live in - safe, good schools, terribly achingly middle class - verging on dull - but green and lush and quaint with a beautiful canal and a wonderful park for sproglet to throw himself around - there are terribly achingly normal folk. I want the people I knew back in London - without sounding like a complete wanker - I miss the folk I know who have a bit of bite to them - chequered pasts, dark secrets, filthy senses of humour - mainly work in creative areas - like a drink, swear like pirates and talk about something more than Motherhood.

I wanted a lovely home, I wanted Sproglet to have a secure happy childhood - maybe I just don't fit in here. Maybe Motherhood is too difficult for me. Maybe I just failed.

Today I told Husband that my new fantasy is that I walk out the door and just keep on walking - I never stop. I never look back. I just walk, endlessly - having no destination in mind. He did his usual thing of being cute and trying to endear himself to me, jollying me out of my thunderous mood.

People mean well - they offer to babysit, or say they'll call - but folk are busy and time flies by and I guess most of the time I'm usually pretty busy myself. Life is all about fitting people in and arranging weekends so far in advance your life becomes mapped out for you for the next few months. My friend Pocket used to live round the corner - I cooked her risottos most weeks, we sank many bottles of red and we had coffee and cake all the time. She was my 'day in day out' friend - someone you don't have to arrange to see. Almost family. But she now is a thriving song writer in LA and her absence is greatly felt in my life.

Husband is a bit of an island. I'm more of a bustling city - I need people to thrive. I like mooching in book stores, grabbing Thai for lunch, catching a movie, browsing trash mags, tinkering in Mac make-up like a kid in a dressing up box. I like late night conversations in greasy winebars with rotting sweating candles on the table. I like dancing wildly to rubbish music in hot tacky bars, my hair stuck to my head.

I feel I was someone once who knew who she was. And now, well now I clean up crap.

Maybe I just have raging PMT. Readers, forgive me.

Saturday, 18 July 2009


God it is great to feel myself again. By that I mean, to be in rude health after a week of sloth due to having a thorough dose of swine flu. Well, unconfirmed but presumed swine flu. The docs no longer come out and swab test you,, they speak to you over the blower and say 'yep, sounds like swine flu, all flus are now being treated as such - rest up, lots of fluid and can you get a flu buddy to get your prescription of Tamiflu.' A flu buddy? Who the fuck wants to be mates with anyone dripping in snot with temperatures of 39+ ??

Husband was not happy at all in having to cope with all things Sproglet - until his work told him not to come in for the week and then he became the happiest camper in the land. I lay in bed and sweated, froze, coughed, hacked and ached. It wasn't pretty. Day 4 and I finally dressed. There are only so many slasher horrors and cheap soaps that one can consume.

The hardest part was doing nothing and just allowing myself to be sick. I never do nothing. I am always working, reading, writing, cooking, washing, tidying, cleaning, sorting, buying, etc. To just lie there and not do anything was so difficult. I felt guilty about being ill... Odd not to be at work and yet not on holiday. I can't remember the last time I just vegged without thinking 'I should be doing a wash, writing something, sorting out the cupboards, Sproglet's wardrobe or the like. My protestant work ethic clearly burns strong - I had to log in to my work email for fear that something was going on - gasp - without me!

Also, I had to hibernate indoors - isolate myself from the world. Indoors for 7 days - my god, I was bouncing off the walls. Ready to kill Husband for just breathing. I'm back to work on Monday - I can't wait. Sproglet kept crying at bedtime and asking for me, wondering why the hell Daddy was suddenly in charge. Clearly, something was amiss.

Well I'm back. Husband is relegated to deputy. All is now well at chez CrummyMummy. I've had the dreaded lurgy and I beat it.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Wanna be in my gang?

Forgive me if I've trodden this well worn path before - but motherhood is boring. There I said it. Waiting for the lightening to strike me down. Nope - I'm still here. It is the thing apparently all Mothers know but none say. You see, according to this book that I intend to buy 'The Mommy Myth' - the media have created this ideal of motherhood - how it should look, feel and be - and us women all desperately try to live up to it - which no matter how hard we try, we can't and so we are forever cast into the pit of guilt and frustration. Welcome to life chez Crummymummy...

We give ourselves amazing expectations and blame ourselves when we don't build our Mother Rome in a day. Here's the other great thing we do - we don't talk about it. No, we're all too busy showing each other how well we cope, how perfect our lives are, how easy it all is (according to this book...).

Husband has told me that I'm a good Mother, if not a natural one. See thing is - I don't enjoy happy clappy groups. I fear most other Mothers. I feel like a 17 year old in Converse pretending to be a grown up. Whilst I like painting and playing outside and water splashy games and reading books and bath time and going to the movies together, eating sushi and letting Sproglet scooter around where we live, I find myself standing at the park counting down the minutes until I feel my 'good Mother' cup has been filled and I can dash home and let Sproglet delve into his toy mountain and I can delve into ten mins with Grazia.

I've friends who have changed completely post child - their lives now revolve around the children, verging on the point of obsession. Somewhere I feel I partly lost them. Maybe it's because I'm just not like that. Sure, Sproglet's routine comes first - I never went out before bedding him during his first 2 years - but I tried to fit him into my own life, not the other way around. I needed to retain me to be a 'good Mother' to him. I went out 10 days after I had him - leaving him with my Mother to see a movie, ironically about a Paedophile (Hard Candy - worth a watch) - and every chance I could to get to the movies, I grabbed it with both hands. I still do.

I'm not the Mother who bakes homemade birthday cakes. I don't plan daily activities and join every swim club/child activity group in my area. I work full time, I try to have a life, a clean house, a clean (if unironed) wardrobe for Sproglet. I try to cover all bases. Right now, as I type, Sproglet, dummie in mouth is relishing 'Tigger and Pooh' on the Disney Channel. Maybe I should be making cut out potato paintings or rustling up some fairy cakes with him in the kitchen - but in truth I cannot be arsed. I am shattered after work. I need to wind down before we do bath and bed and read 'Aliens love Underpants' for the 60 millionth time. Fresh as if it were the first...

My therapist told me the other day that she wishes she had £1 for every Mother who came in and unleashed her guilty secret - that she found Motherhood boring and repetitive - but she couldn't tell anyone - or else what would they think of her? She'd be cast out of the Alpha Mummy tea group - and then were would her social outcast baby be? Therapist said it happened particularly in my posho area.

I'm thinking of trying to start my own Crummymummy group in the area. Baby talk is banned. We have to drink alcohol at all times. Swearing is obligatory. We must confess to all evils including lusting after 21 year old tv characters like Chuck Bass. We must eat only cake. We must admit to missing our old singleton lives whilst still loving our kids. At the end we must group hug and tell each other that we are normal.

Wanna join?