Instinctively Clueless

My favourite piece of advice is “Don’t be a dick.” It applies to every imaginable situation. It transcends race, religion, nationality and sexuality. As with anything worthwhile in life, it even has its own Twitter hashtag. What better endorsement?

A couple of weeks ago, however, I was a bit of a dick. It’s not an isolated incident. It does happen. I’m only human and I am remarkably good at ignoring my own advice. I say my own, I hardly invented it. In fact, if you look at ‘Just a Normal Mummy’ on Facebook, you’ll see a pretty fantastic article that she wrote a year ago about not being a dick. Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, I was waxing lyrical about the virtues of the sleep training program we used. I tried not to do it smugly but I genuinely thought we had nailed it. Turns out, had we balls! I shouldn’t have been so goddamn cocky. Jemma, you dick.


My Miscarriage and Moving On

Social media is a strange thing. Like a flock of technology peacocks, we display our practically perfect lives in the most bizarre ways. Every gym workout, every beer, every “cheeky” Nandos (I mean, really? What exactly is cheeky about it? It’s a bloody Portuguese chicken restaurant!), every picture of your child in their new school uniform is shared. Even what you had for your tea. If you didn’t Instagram it, did you even eat it? A friend, who is anti-social media said recently “Who gives a shit what you had for your tea? Why do I need to see a picture of that?” She isn’t wrong. We can’t bear for anyone to think we are anything less than gleefully happy.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. The passive aggressive, Jeremy Kyle style over sharers who play out their dramas for all to see. Usually, these are people I haven’t seen since school or the distant relatives who I can’t quite bring myself to delete, due to entertainment value. Yes, I’m a nosey bastard and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But we’ll skip all that for now.

I should point out that I am as guilty as anyone on social media. Yes, I am an unapologetic baby bore but I am fairly typical of my age group. Most people I know, aged between about 28 and 40, are fully engaged in a huge baby boom. Facebook is filled with scans of fertilised eggs or a child’s first poo in a potty or statuses bemoaning lack of sleep. (Christ, don’t I know about lack of sleep! See my last blog). In these desperate attempts to portray our shiny happy families, there is no mention of any other side to all this unprotected sex that 30 somethings are having with wild abandon. No one dares hint at any heartbreak.

No one dares share their baby news until 12 weeks have passed. Except for me. I couldn’t hold my own water with any of my pregnancies (not literally; incontinence has come AFTER my kids were born). I was so ridiculously excited that I was having a baby, I absolutely had to tell everyone! Not on social media but, among family and friends, it was common knowledge. I honestly didn’t get why I should keep it secret and I still don’t.


Sleepless in Brighton Le Sands

At 33, I’ve seen virtually all my friends marry and have at least one baby. Some, like me, are on their second. To date, no one has been insane enough to have gone on to have their third but I’m sure that in a couple of years’ time, one couple will get very pissed on a very rare night out and find themselves with a little “surprise” forty weeks later. That’s if the divorce parties don’t start first (apparently, it’s trendy to celebrate the death of a dysfunctional relationship). Statistically, at least, it is inevitable that I will know at least one divorced couple before I bid goodnight to my thirties.

There are numerous reasons marriages fail; growing apart, infidelity, small children… In fact, the third reason can often lead to the first and second reason. Nothing heralds the end of romance in your marriage like having kids. Whether it’s because your husband has seen you crap yourself in childbirth or because the majority of your conversations revolve around the bowel movements of your child, a shift in dynamics is guaranteed. Especially if your children don’t sleep. Sleep deprivation ruins marriages. In fact, sleep deprivation ruins lives and it is something that neither the NCT, Gina Ford or Sarah bloody Beeny can prepare you for. (I swear to god that woman has been pregnant for at least 18 years. No wonder she and her husband bought a derelict castle. It was the only place that they could house all their kids) I hate the cliché of ‘nothing can prepare you.’ It’s so bloody patronising. However, it is, rather devastatingly, true.



Losing My Mind On Mat Leave

It’s 5 months since I started my maternity leave with my second (and last!) child. I have now reached the stage where I go beyond disappointment and right into rage on a Friday, when Eamon and Ruth present This Morning. It feels like they are constantly on the verge of an argument and through every contrived laugh, you can almost hear Ruth fume “Oh just fuck off, Eamon…hahaha.” Their real life marriage just isn’t a patch on the TV marriage of Holly and Phil. You know, the one we all aspire to. The one where you don’t have to have the obligatory sex at birthdays, Christmas and August bank holiday. The one where you genuinely laugh together every day. The one where you aren’t a nag and he picks his dirty socks up off the bedroom floor.

I think it’s clear from the amount of thought I have given to This Morning that it’s getting to the point that I have lost all sense of myself and what is actually important in life. So should I really consider going back to work now and is there ever a right time to go back, if at all?

In all honesty, it’s actually more financially worthwhile for me to stay at home. Childcare is expensive. It is easy to understand why
so many families are now opting to have a stay at home parent, when nursery fees amount to more than your take home pay each month. Even when my eldest gets his free childcare hours in April next year, austerity will fully hit our household. However, I’m not sure I can put a price on my mental health.