Monday 25 March 2013

Milk Police

Based on diary entry 28.02.11

Tricky subject this one. You all know I like to be very honest but I also like to remain somewhat dignified: I swore when I became a mother that I would not be the type that talks about things like nipple cream and maternity pads at a trip down the pub (a trip to the pub, what was I thinking?!). However, I write these posts to my younger, childless self and I swore I would be honest to those who wanted to know what being a mother was really like, so let's press on.

Breasts....  (I'm hoping my Dad hasn't discovered this blog yet). As I've mentioned previously I may resemble Pamela Anderson at her peak (no pun intended), but this comes with it's inevitable setbacks: one being the sheer discomfort, two being their change in job role and three being the fact I have to shove them into bras that resemble something out of a 1960's oxfam display window. I feel so sexy. Not.

More to the point (keep those puns coming...), I hate breastfeeding. ARGH, I said it! I may have to change my identity and lay low for a while to escape the milk police. You didn't think there was such a thing did you? Wait till you have children and they pop out from everywhere. Yesterday I even had a delivery lady ask me if I was breastfeeding, practically as soon as I answered the door (or did I just forget to fasten my nursing bra?!). I gave a tired 'yes' and she nodded in approval and said it was 'the best way'. See, they even go around in disguise. Now don't get me wrong, I do think it is the best way, else why would I be getting up three times a night to do it? But if I hear one more woman say that 'breast is best' I'll clamp their nipples in a vice and ask them what the hell is best about that sort of pain!

I was told at the start to give it a month and it would get better. 5 weeks later and if anything it's worse. I've had every midwife under the sun checking he's latching on correctly (which he is, apparently) but then why am I in so much pain and why is it now taking him over an hour each feed because of all his fussing? I've even resorted to taking expressed milk out to bottle feed him when I'm out to avoid the stress and the pain but I feel like everyone's judging me. I feel like I need to label the bottle in big red letters 'FRESHLY SQUEEZED BREAST MILK', in case any milk police work at costa.

Saturday 23 March 2013

Chubby Bunnies

One thing that I found incredibly patronising before I had a baby was this statement: 'you don't know what love means until you have children'. Well, would you say I didn't know what laughter meant if I hadn't heard of Peter Kay; or that I didn't know what sadness was until I'd sat through 15 episodes of Eastenders?! Just because I have produced another human being do you think that some sort of chemical reaction has happened that's changed my very substance, my capacity to love? No. Else why would there be any mistreated children in the world? I know that everyone has the capacity to love or the capacity to hate. Do I think I have the capacity to love another 10? Yes. Do I think I have the capacity to want to chuck them all out of the window? Yes. As human beings we have a huge capacity for things which is only realised when put into practice. A bit like playing chubby bunnies. 

Then you eventually have a child yourself and you're told: "you don't know how you can ever love another… until you have two". Is this some sort of ploy all parents have to get others to procreate? Do you want us all to produce a bounty of loved children squabbling round our ankles until we are so loved up we start revelling in having our houses caked in sticky jam fingerprints and an array of monstrous plastic toys - until people start walking in our home and concluding that another 'Toys R Us' must have opened in the area?!

I for one am in awe of how much I love my baby. It never ceases to amaze me that after he has been screaming all night he can give me half a smile and I no longer want to throw him out of the window. As a parent I'm now just made more aware of our human capabilities for extreme limits (for sheer exhaustion without dropping dead for one thing!). Having my boy has made me appreciate mankind a little more; it's made me softer, more likely to cry at 'You've been framed' and more likely to invest in a small furry animal (no, really, I'm not going there). It's made me want to do silly things like pull stupid faces in public, invest in toys that take over the living room (and clash with the wallpaper) and sit for hours on end just rocking (that's not even out of madness, though it has crossed my mind). I will, no doubt, be the mum that runs miles to give my 10 year old his forgotten packed lunch box or who waits up till 3am after his first night on the town. 

I have no doubt that my feelings for him will continue to do ridiculous things to me that will change me for good - but (wait for it) not necessarily for the better. What? Controversial I know but I see many parents who love to the death of them - their lives are consumed with their children and they are left an anxious wreck. With any opportunity to love comes a choice - we can choose to love so much that our children turn into our 'most prized possessions' or we can choose to love so much that we set them free. That's scary.

I want my son to learn to make choices of his own - good choices that aren't out of an 'ought' or 'should' but I know it will be hard to let him. I want him to take his own paths in life (although I know that the first time he walks to school on his own I will be the mum hiding in hedges along the roadside to check he's okay). Most of all I hope my son learns that love is a choice. I hope he chooses the things in life that give him more opportunities to love and more opportunities for fun and laughter - whether that's travelling the world, playing sport, listening to music... playing chubby bunnies? You get the gist.

Sunday 10 March 2013

My new accessory

based on diary entry 26.2.11

Before I had Albie I would make sure I invested in a decent outfit before I went out - or at least jazz one up with a decent accessory. I remember people telling me how when I became a mother my child would become my new accessory and I'd spend hours in Mama's and Papa's depleting all of my maternity funds on new baby outfits. I know many mothers like this but I am not one of them. My logic is that baby's don't have any knowledge of fashion. In fact, you'll find that babies seem to hate fashion because the moment you put them in anything expensive they vomit all over it. Babies, contrary to popular belief, don't care how much money you spend on them or check for designer labels in their baby grows. They want to be fed and cuddled. End of.

You would think, then, that when I became a mother I would not change my fashion habits. Wrong. I now have a whole new sense of fashion. There are certain fashion rules of thumb that I've lived by my whole life which have now totally gone out the window. For example:

1). Wear black if you put on a few pounds, it's very slimming.
Wrong. Classic mistake for new mothers wanting to hide their mummy tummies this - that is, until their baby vomits white sick all over them and it dries like cottage cheese. Best stick to those faux pas patterned outfits - 90s patterned trousers are ideal for disguising vomit.

2). choose a neckline that is flattering to your face.
Wrong. Choose a neckline that stops your gigantic milk jugs from accidentally making an appearance. Tops are now a practical item - and you may as well order several in that 90s pattern again to match the trousers, though you'll soon be wearing clashing outfits when all your shell suits are in the wash.

3). Wear the right shaped bra to flatter your size. 
Wrong. You don't need any flattering in that department because a) they're massive, b)You're partner won't be going anywhere near them and c) It's all about support and accessibility. You sexy thing you.

4). Have a haircut that flatters your face shape.
Wrong. Don't get a haircut. You'll be wearing it up for the next 6 weeks and dousing it in dry shampoo every 3 days. 

Despite all this, however, I do consider Albie my new accessory. Not for fashion but for more of a social accessory. I've always found large social gatherings a little daunting... I never have the right things to say when starting new conversations. Now social occasions are a walk in the park because no one even looks at me anymore... they are all too busy cooing over my son and if they get past him they just look at how huge my boobs are and then move on. Admittedly it's not the most rewarding existence, I'll give you that, but I am pretty happy to fade into the background for a bit and not have to talk about the weather or ask someone what they do for a living. That is, until someone asks to hold him and then I'm left explaining why I'm wearing a patterned ski suit from the 1980s.

Find out more about me at

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Goodbye Jimmy Choos. Hello choo choo trains!

Based on diary entry 24.02.11

From the day I announced I was pregnant I was bombarded with 'advice' relating to the massive change of life that would befall when a baby arrived. It's funny really, because I always thought advice was a helpful piece of information - something which you could act upon when problems arise. So confused was I by people's idea of advice that I had to look it up in the dictionary:

Turns out I was right. Confusing then, when other people's version of advice is this:

What this advice really is, is a way for other parents to somehow place labels on other naive individuals who think that family life will be a state of bliss (oh how we laugh).
Here lies the top 5 'advice' given by parents to others:

1). In the midst of a pregnant lady recalling what she did for the weekend, this advice usually follows: "Make the most of having the weekend to yourself sweetheart, before you know it you'll be up to your eyeballs in shit and vomit and weekends will be a thing of the past."

2). When a parent is stood in a queue in the supermarket with a toddler having a massive tantrum (the toddler, not the mum - thought it's a close call), another parent will come from almost nowhere with those helpful words of 'advice' "It's all downhill from here love - it only gets worse."

3). When an expectant mother is innocently purchasing herself a new pair shoes a helpful shop assistant will say "That'll be the last time you ever buy anything for yourself once that baby comes and bleeds you dry. Goodbye Jimmy Choos. Hello choo choo trains!"

4). When a pregnant lady is still in her pjs at 11am on a saturday after being rudely awoken by the postman, he looks at her and gives a knowing chuckle "Just you wait, you'll still be in your pjs for different reasons next time I knock on your door at 11am. No more lie ins for you!" (queue evil cackle).

5). When a pregnant lady says she is feeling tired the whole room will go silent until you can only hear a tumble weed blowing past (because we get a lot of those in Sheffield) and everyone will look at her with a smirk... "tired?!! Just you wait!"

So when I received multiple emails about art competitions and the first thing that entered my head was "well, you don't have time for that now do you Lisa", I remembered the so called 'advice' given to me and out of sheer defiance and determination I got out my paints and started painting. I've realised that sometimes being creative is more important to me than cleaning, eating and even sleep (yes even) - and for the first time in a long while I felt myself. So I finished my painting which I did in half hour stints throughout the day, in between feeds and rocking Albie to sleep. Having a child has limited my time, which is a good thing because it's made me more determined to use my 'free' time for the things that are important to me... until I get interrupted.

My painting was a 'still life' of my immediate environment. It's entitled 'I don't have time to paint I'm a mother'. Long may the creativity continue... screw the advice.

How do you feel as a parent about being given advice? Has it been helpful? 
If you have any funny stories about being given advice please go to:
or feel free to comment below! :)