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I have a confession to make to you.

I am having a love affair. A passionate, toe tingling, heart-wrenching love affair.

I have all the usual ‘being in love’ symptoms. That slightly ill feeling. Random transitory moods of weepiness alternated with extreme euphoria which I can’t quite verbalise. Obsessive thoughts and lying awake at night thinking about the source of my affection, what I want to say to them running round and round my head in an endless loop. An overwhelming, raging guilt at my neglect of my family, friends and the housework in favour of my new love. Paranoia (maybe they don’t love me back, maybe I’m not good enough!), and taking every single fleeting opportunity to sneak away and dirty myself in its embrace.

I should probably explain (and quick before my husband reading this at work falls off his chair).

It’s not another man. It’s this damn writing business.

I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s all I want to do. All. The. Time. God I’m a little sweaty just sitting here typing. I almost cried with relief when Kai decided he was tired and needed a nap. Just so I could sit and fire up the laptop with shaky hands and blissfully tap out some words.

Is there a Writers’ Anonymous group or something? Cause I think I need a referal.

*sigh*

But that’s the problem. That’s what’s making me weep into my keyboard and mope about like some pretentious, post-modern artiste with a floppy fringe and leggings and a wistful look. I’m NOT a writer. I don’t even pretend to be. I have no experience of it. In fact, this blog (and couple of others on various topics peppered about the bloggosphere) are the sole fruits of my writing efforts.  

But, but, BUT! I think I want be… or at least… oh I don’t know.

I’ve seen you fellow bloggers. In you ‘About Me’s. You list yourselves as writers, or freelancers, or ex-copy writers, or editors or whatever. And I internally seethe. At your confidence, your skill, your experience. Or even worse – you DON’T put ‘writer’ in your intro but instead scream it with every glorious, perfectly constructed, flawless entry.

I bet you have perfect hair and shiny teeth too. And tidy houses. I just know it. Oh how I hate you.

Except I don’t of course. Because I secretly love you. Love your lives, love your talent and your creativity. It’s what brings me back to your blogs over and over, leaving hesitant, unsure comments, or not doing so and slinking off unobseved because all I can think of to say is “I wish I could write something so beautiful”.

How did you get where you are? Where does a mummy blogger with appalling spelling and not one creative writing course to her name even begin? What is it I even want? What does this annoying internal yearning mean?

I guess I just have to write. ‘Writer’ seems an accolade I am a very long way from deserving. But I guess everyone has to start somewhere and I think maybe here is ‘it’. And hopefully I’ll figure out what what the hell it is I’m looking for and what I want to write about along the way.

God this is all sounding very pretentious isn’ it? I’ll stop now…

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I wasn’t particularly popular at school (it’s ok ex-school mate readers, you can nod in agreement).

I was also clever, but not THAT clever. Average clever. (More nods).

But I wanted to be both. Desperately.

I existed on the periphery of the more elitist social groups. Kind of cool by association but obviously not cool, especially when trying to be cool (emphatic nods – ok you can stop now, I get the point). Occasionally one of the more charismatic members would notice I was there and grant me the privilege of their company for a while. Probably mostly out of pity.

I’m finding blogging a bit like this.

There are the popular blogs. They are shiny and polished. Their followers are dedicated, leaving scores of adoring comments. And there are the clever blogs. With their witty and flawless sentence construction; their outstanding use of metaphor and impressive vocabulary. They entertain us with the flare of (insert clever metaphor #1 here). Some are, quite annoyingly, both popular AND clever.

My blog is neither.

But I find myself wishing it was.

Once again I find myself back in the high school mind-set, that awkward teenager with braces on my teeth and milk-bottle bottom lenses in my glasses. Wondering just what it is that makes these shining beacons of blogginess naturally so much better than me? What makes people flock to them like (insert clever metaphor #2 here)?

But then I remember I’m not in high school anymore. I grew up (well, kind of). The braces are gone. The specs are gone. Ok I’m still awkward and gangly but that’s endearing, or so my husband tells me.

So I’ve decided. I’m not going to try to be popular or clever. Because if the same rules apply as when I was a teenager that will only inevitably mean I end up saying something weird and inappropriate and laughing too loud and everyone will look at me funny.

And I’m going to try not to care.

TOO much.

So I hope you like un-popular and un-clever. Because that’s all you’re going find here. But hopefully I’ll be endearingly awkward and socially inept and you’ll love me in that ‘I’d miss you if you weren’t here to bask in my light’ kinda way.  And if you want to invite me to your party, or share some of your chips over lunch and tell me a secret you haven’t told anyone else? Well that would be good too…

…and by the way I think your shoes are the coolest thing I have ever seen and that boy you like has TOTALLY been looking at you all through Maths.

———–

NOTES:

Possible clever metaphors

#1    a) a thousand glittering iphones.
b) a jewel beetle’s bum.
c) David Cameron

#2    a) a fat kid to cake.
b) Kai to dangerous electrical equipment.
c) Boy racers in pimped-out Renault Clios to a McDonald’s drive-through

Oh I give up.

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I have to say that I am REALLY enjoying this blogging thing. I’m eagerly anticipating the moments when I can steal a little time away to write. It’s becoming a kind of refuge this blog. A way of de-stressing and unwinding, of laughing at myself and helping me not to take things too seriously. And I realised today that I have been keeping it faithfully for over two months.

I guess that doesn’t seem like much to some, but to me this is quite an achievement.

You see I’ve always been someone that took interest in a great number of things, picking and choosing between them all depending on my mood, but I have never been very good at maintaining focus on just one thing. I leap from one subject or hobby to another like some kind of giant human thought-association research project. The slightest thing can set me off. One book could set me off an frantic journey of discover taking in Arthurian Legend, onto tree lore, spiralling my way through Ecology and Environmental Campaigning, onto Green living and knitting, finishing up with remembering to separate my paper and my plastics.

It’s quite exhausting.

As such I find myself perpetually juggling a dozen or more different projects, all half pursued and half finished, left on one side as something new and more exciting steals my attention and my enthusiasm.  Over the years I’ve picked up no end of different skills and bits and pieces of knowledge.

In the interest of getting to know me better, here’s a few:

I draw, paint (and once won a competition), make cards (when I’m too broke to buy them), am a reasonable calligrapher, (producing stationary for two weddings), can knit jumpers with pirate motifs, embroider and undo knots that most people would find impossible, produced two (unfinished) patchwork quilts. I’ve had a go at amateur film making, featuring myself as both a hooker and a bearded doctor, and had a stab at photography. I’ve sang in public (not something I plan to repeat). I became quite adept at yoga, learning to contort myself into any number of positions, turned my bathroom into a laboratory whilst making my own beauty products and home remedies and cured my mum’s menopausal mood swings (well… almost). I’ve played three different musical instruments. I’ve read about philosophy and religion, argued extensively about both, making my mind up then changing it all again. I’ve ran for my local council and got a lot more votes than I was expecting. I’ve written letters and been on tv waving a placard. I’ve traced my family tree back to 1750. I’ve read ten billion books on every subject known to man.

And that’s before I’ve even mentioned my jobs. Let me see… I’ve sold shoes and waitressed (badly), I’ve organised filing cabinets and typed invoices at a double glazing firm. I’ve taken disabled children swimming and been a teaching assistant. I’ve taken care of elderly patients, wiping bums and changing giant nappies. I’ve bathed several old and wrinkly men. I’ve ran a school library and literacy projects and children’s book clubs. I’ve even sat with someone as they died.

Quite a list isn’t it?

But don’t get me wrong, this is not supposed to be a brag. Because although I am a bit of a jack of all trades, I am a master at none. At best I could be called ‘competent’ in most of the things I undertake but I’ve never been really good at anything. Maybe because I’ve never stuck with one thing long enough.

On first consideration, motherhood seems to be much the same. As always, I’d get points for enthusiasm but no-one is ever going to consider me an expert in the subject.

And yet now I come to think of it, it actually IS different this time.

This time I’m being FORCED to stick with something. As a stay-at-home mum I can’t give up changing nappies, or getting up at 6am every morning, or making toast highly delicious and varied and nutritious food stuffs. Well, I guess I could. But Kai wouldn’t be very impressed, and he has a great ability of pointing out my shortcomings in a very loud not-to-be-ignored kind of way.

This is one job I can’t quit.

And do you know what? I think it’s doing me the world of good. I think I have learnt more about patience and discipline in the last 12 months than in the whole previous 26 years combined and throughout all my other weird and wonderful occupations. I’m actually COMMITTED to something. And even stranger, I’m not bored or losing interest. I’m actually enjoying it. And looking forward to doing it a whole lot more.

Most surprisingly of all it’s making me want to change. It’s making me want to be more disciplined in other areas of my life. There’s the blog of course for starters. I’m trying to keep the house tidier and am making more of an effort with the cooking (and even better, so far I haven’t killed ANYONE! Result!).  Determined to know a bit more than ‘a bit’ about something I’ve enrolled on a part-time self-study degree course that I start in a month. The cynic in me tells me I’ll probably change my mind after a year and do something else, that the blog posts will dry up in another month and the house revert back to it’s old slovenliness, but actually I don’t think that’s true.

Because do you know what? I think I’ve changed.

I think I’m almost… *gulp*… becoming a grown up.

Now where’s that book on Quantum Physics I started?

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First of all I have to ask. Which one of you has cursed my house? Because, as is fast becoming an almost weekly occurance in our family, we have been struck down by the illness fairy once again. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. A throat infection, a low-grade fever and the weak-and-wobblies have meant Kai has once again had to be subjected to the bare minimum of parenting and opened the doors to my usual guilt-ridden worries that I am not doing ENOUGH.

Why is it a few days of feeling under the weather causes me to doubt every single one of my parenting choices, life choices and pretty much every other aspect of my self in one fell swoop? All I have been able to do this last couple of days is curl up in a ball on the sofa and moan faintly while Kai looked on bemused and tried to feed me various bits of half-eaten rice cake that he had squirrelled away in his toy box.

The killing blow (and ultimate salvation) came in the form of The Mom Blog. Not mine but other moms’. You see I’m fairly new to the world of blogging and although I didn’t think for a second my contributions to the bloggosphere were in any way different or special, I hadn’t quite realised just what a teeny tiny insignificant speck I was in the vast universe of the Mommy Bloggers until I started looking. There’s frickin millions of them. Which isn’t in itself a bad thing, until I started reading and found that the vast majority of the ones I came across were very obviously the work of neat, ordered self-congratulatory, self-important, taking-everything-far-too-seriously SUPERMOMS.

And reading them I was suddenly left feeling very small, very immature, very incompetent and completely unqualified to be a mother (or a blogger).

Because I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form a supermom. Not even close.

For starters I do not bake. I am in fact a dreadful cook. I have never made home-made soup or pasta sauce. My son often eats frozen fishfingers and ravioli from a can. My crowning culinary achievement lately was to mash pre-bought roast potatoes with a fork and grill them with sprinkled spring onion and cheese (was yum though). My cupboards contain tinned mince and dry spaghetti.  I don’t know what a ‘caper’ is. I don’t frequent deli’s, or buy organic unless it’s on sale (because I’m broke). I often eat chocolate for breakfast. Or biscuits.

I do not own a shining stainless-steel bedecked kitchen in which I wear an apron or from which waft the delightful smells of cookie dough or roast dinners. My kitchen is in fact this:

DSCF3376

Two square metres of cramped appliances and this morning’s washing up all of which smells of catfood and damp and may or may not have previously undiscovered forms of life making a cosy home behind the fridge.

I do not pray with my child, or at my child, or about my child (preferring to talk to said child himself, and my husband, and other REAL people when I have a problem). I do not attend a bible study group, or go to church, unless you count the very excellent church-run playgroup I attend but even then I have a tendency to mysteriously disappear when they start with the inevitable baby Jesus songs.

I do not have a ‘good’ child. He does not sleep on demand or without assistance. He is, I fear, a very long way from ‘sleeping through the night’. He is often lively, noisy, demanding and extremely separation-sensitive. If you are male and not in his immediate family you WILL make him scream just by looking at him. He probably watches too much tv. When tired, frustrated or over excited he bites and scratches. He is not particularly fond of vegetables.

My (mostly second hand) clothes don’t fit well and are not particular fashionable. I don’t have a personal style or have a skincare regime. I prefer to buy groceries than pay for expensive hair styles so my hair leaves rather a lot to be desired. If you were being kind you would call it ‘tousselled’.  I don’t own a single pair of heels (given my tendency to fall down even when wearing flats) but do own several pairs of well-loved trainers. I have yet to figure out how to make it through the day without getting covered in food, sick, poo or wee. I could count on one hand the number of times I have worn make-up in the last year.

I am not the social epi-centre of a trendy group of friends. I tend to be the one sitting in the corner looking tired, dishevelled, and coming across a little weird. I either talk too much or not at all. I laugh too loud, have a tendency to mix my words up and the awful habit of not finishing my sentences. In the last twelve months I have had two evenings out without the baby. Neither of which involved drinking cocktails or dancing. Both of which involved knitting and drinking tea at my best friend’s house 100 metres away.

I am not a measured oasis of calm. I do not bend in the wind. I have a tendency to be selfish and resentful. I frequently neglect my husband in favour of a little extra stolen ‘me’ time. I often fall apart, have meltdowns, cry, scream and then hurriedly put myself back together again before anyone notices.

I swear too much.

So no. Definitely not a supermom.

So bombarded as I was with tales of bible camp, and bake sales, and endless photos of shining, clean, perfect babies (who I’m positive slept like angels, the little sh*ts) and their shining, clean, perfect moms, I was left feeling pretty much like crap.

And there I probably would have stayed. Feeling like crap. Except thankfully I didn’t. Because I kept looking and I kept reading. And hidden in amongst the endless drivel I found my salvation.

Other not-supermoms. Yep. Thank the sweet Lord.

Other moms that swear and struggle and take the piss out of themselves and their lives and laugh at everything (that kind of slightly hysterical laughter that sounds a little like sobbing). Who have equally grubby, wild children and equally grubby, unkempt houses. Who choose blogging over housework and say that if you’re child is playing happily it’s perfectly acceptable to steal a little extra writing time.

I love these moms. Suddenly, being given free reign to eavesdrop on their lives and their mistakes and their mini-meltdowns, I felt sane again. It was ok to not be perfect. In fact, it was pretty cool. For all their shortcomings these moms were obviously intelligent, accomplished, successful, witty, and despite all their self-deprecation, completely and utterly awesome mommies.

I was happy to be in their camp. Well, happy to in the anonymous periphery of their camp. If I can ever manage to be even half as good a writer, comedian, social commentator or creative free-spirit as most of these women I will consider myself to have done very well indeed.

Screw you supermoms.

So here it is, for your enjoyment: my honour blogroll of the moment. Thank you ladies for restoring my sanity and giving me some much needed reassurance this week. For telling me it’s ok to find motherhood impossibly hard and ok not to take it all too seriously.

Not Drowning, Mothering

Naptime Writing

Bad Mommy Moments

I love you. Please keep writing.

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Morning all. Well it’s been an eventful few days in our house after a strange turn of events led me to start writing on a blog chronicling the ins and outs of a rather complicated online game based around the tv show LOST (which is btw THE GREATEST SHOW IN THE HISTORY OF TIME!). Doesn’t sound very exciting to most of you I know – until I tell you that in the last three days the blog has had 8,500 hits and been mentioned on dozens of Lost fansites, news websites, and blogs! At one point the game (known as #lostarg on Twitter) got in the top ten most talked about topics and has had a HUGE following. It all got completely out of hand with lots of people getting very carried away setting up false trails and generally playing the players – but that’s another LONG story. Reporting on it all has been enormous fun and a very welcome distraction from the drudgery of everyday life – I never could have imagined I would get so many readers. For my part in it all I have been irritating all my Twitter friends by posting endless references to obscure codes and Egyptian Mythology through my twitter alter-ego ‘Porridgebrain’. I’m sure I’ve confused the life out of everyone so apologies there.

Anyway- back to reality.

In other news Kai has developed two interesting new habits. One is to repeatedly smack both me and his dad round the face when he gets excited. The other is pound all food offered to him on his highchair flat with his palm before eating it (well, before eating what’s survived the attack and not ended up splattered on the floor/walls/my face). Neither is going down particularly well with me I have to say.

Poor mite has been super grumpy this week with the return of the dreaded ‘T’ word, the word that strikes terror into the hearts of all mothers – Teething. Such a innocuous word and one that, before I became a parent, I dismissed without a thought. Little did I know how much it would take over my life and my sleep. So ok all you non-parenty types out there here’s the truth about teething. Babies are born without teeth (well most of them, except those weird babies you read about born with a full set – urgggh!) and then over the next approximately 2 years have to grow 20 of the damn things. They move around while the poor child sleeps, causing untold agony and misery, they cut through and then pop back in again, teasing you with their games. You waste your money on untold numbers of  teething products; gels, granules, drops, teething rings, all promising to bring relief but doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And then finally they appear, one by one or in pairs, ready to be tested out on your fingers, face, nipple, in fact what ever your child can get their new surprisingly sharp gnashers into.

It’s official. Teething sucks. Or maybe ‘bites’ would be better.

Kai currently has 8 teeth (yes that means 12 more to go! *sob!*), four on the top and four on the bottom, so these ones coming through now are his molars which are bigger and therefore more painful. I can see one of the buggers at last but I’ve learnt not to trust that as a sign it might be over – they have a cruel agenda of their own these bloody teeth and I doubt poor Kai is free of trouble just yet.

Anyway I’m off to make a cuppa. The delightful child got me up at 4am this morning and has only just gone down for a nap so I better make the most of the peace.

TTFN!

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