Call waiting message script for parents


Bingly beep Bingly beep

“Thank you for calling Mummy and Daddy Ltd. We appreciate your loyal custom, and your cry is important to us.

I’m afraid we are experiencing a high volume of calls at the moment. You are child number 3 in the queue and a representative of Mummy and Daddy Ltd. will be with you shortly.
In the meantime you may wish to visit
where many frequently asked questions can be answered.


Thank you for attempting at least 5 seconds of patience before totally losing your shit.

<Peppa Pig hold music>”

Guest post thanks to Rosie Newton, a friend of mine who posted this on her FB page and made me snort with laughter.



Crappy Christmas movie score chart bingo

So I have a passionate love of Christmas movies. Not just any old Christmas movie, but the truly terrible Hallmark, made-for-tv type affair. Don’t get me wrong, I also adore the slightly more upscale The Holiday, or Love Actually type production, but my secret indulgence each year is the daytime festive films aired on Channel 5 and Movie Mix. I sit down with a Christmas craft project (currently a knitted Christmas stocking for The Girl) and really enjoy it, but I do have stringent requirements for my trashy viewing so I have worked out the following ‘bauble’ chart to rate them on a standardised scale. This started out as a sort of ‘trashy Xmas film bingo’ and has evolved into the sophisticated system you’ll see below.

For each of the following items a film receives a bauble:
1 – struggling single ‘mom’

2 – ‘cute’ kid, usually with buck teeth, a pudding basin haircut or pigtails

3 – an elf-type character who has been transported from the North Pole into the ‘real’ world in order to either learn a lesson or teach one

4 – hot chocolates (cocoa will do at a push, or any kind of excessive focus on hot beverages)

5 – making Christmas ‘cookies’

6 – a sing-along! Preferably to a Christmas carol but I’ll accept any kind of group vocal effort

7 – an excess of fairy lights and exterior decorations (inflatable snowmen, reindeer on the roof etc)

8 – Christmas tree(s) – bonus points if they go out to buy it as a plot point

9 – fun uncle, usually single and ideal to be set up with the exiled elf-type character, but any old uncle will do

10 – lots of mentions of Christmas spirit, Christmas miracles, how Christmas is a time for loving, giving blah blah blah

11 – cheesy Christmas soundtrack

12 – Father Christmas!

13 – charity bell ringer dressed like Father Christmas

14 – Grinch-like character who’s all ‘bah humbug’ but will be transformed by the magic of Christmas, obvs

15 – a Christmas party

16 – token black character. I’ve watched hundreds (well OK, dozens) of these films and not a single one of them has featured a black lead character. There is nearly always a supporting ‘sista’ (or the male equivalent) who gets to be the funny, straight-talking sidekick.
EDIT to add – finally one with a black male lead (Turk from Scrubs, natch) A Snow Globe Christmas, if you’re interested.


18 – good clean family fun like sledging, going to church or an old fashioned family dinner

19 – presents: shopping, wrapping, giving, opening.

20 – a good dose of schmaltz

21 – voiceover – either a little kid’s or a nice old lady voice as she reminisces about the Christmases of her childhood

22 – a head injury. You’d be surprised how often this occurs <cough> plot device </cough>, usually leading to a dream sequence where the main character learns some home truths.

23 – a festive-themed name. Currently watching one where the female lead is called ‘Holly’. Also popular are ‘Carol’, ‘Ivy’, ‘Angel/Angela’, ‘Noelle’ etc…

24 – a close-knit community <awww>

25 – SNOW!

5 stupid questions to ask a babywearer

stupidquestionsbabywearerI don’t know what it is about babywearing that invites comment from strangers, perhaps just the mystic nature of carrying a baby close to your body wrapped about by yards and yards of fabric rather than in some hi-tech buggy or buckled contraption with steel struts in – who knows? All I know is that living in a town full of narrow sloping pavements and cobblestones a carrier is not just more attachment-parent-y, but more practical! Whilst I don’t get that many stupid questions where I live (the perks of being a lentil-weaving hippy in Hippyville central) I’m never quite prepared for how many daft queries come my way when I travel abroad. Never quite certain what to say I usually smile politely and say nothing, but I mentally roll my eyes and think of the –rather rude– response I’d like to have made.  This being so, I thought I’d compile a list of the most commonly asked questions and finally lance the boil by answering them as sarcastically as I wish I could in real life. What’s the stupidest comment you’ve ever had when babywearing?

1 – Is she comfortable like that?

Nah, she bloody hates it, that’s why she’s smiling and gurgling at you/fast asleep. Honestly! It’s only holding a baby like you would in your arms, but arms-free.

2 – Can she breathe in there?

Nah. I like to suffocate babies. It’s my dream in fact.  Pfft. Always makes me think of that Eddie Izzard sketch from Dressed To Kill “I put babies on spikes” – I mean really. Not only can she breathe, but her face is just inches away from my face so I can (and do) check on her regularly.

3 – Oh my goodness, there’s a baby in there!

“What?! Where?! Holy hell – where did that come from?!”

No shit Sherlock. What, you think I stuck a sunhat to my chest?  I mean, OK, the baby is fast asleep and kind of concealed by the wrap, but don’t say ‘there’s a baby in there’ like you’re informing me of something I might not have noticed. Trust me – it’s not news to me.

4 – Can’t you afford a buggy?

I can. In fact I own one. It’s great for putting all the slings on when I go to outdoor sling meets…

5 – But what if the knot comes untied?

baby in half wrapped sling

Almost completely unwrapped – but look – no hands!

OK, fair enough, I can kind of understand why people might be a bit nervous of this. If I have time, though, I like to freak these people out by untying the knot behind me and letting the fabric go suddenly and watch as they jerk forwards to catch my baby. Hey – I’m not putting her in danger. She won’t fall, I promise. In fact, I can even untuck these cross passes here and just let them hang so she’s only held in one layer of fabric and what do you know, still not hitting the ground with a loud splat.  Wearing a baby in a wrap is one of the safest ways to carry your baby, especially if you’ve been doing it as long as I have. I understand your concern, but trust me, my baby is safe – look – no hands!

Just editing to respond to a couple of comments I’ve had declaiming this post as (worst insult to hurl in the hippy-lentil-weaver world) ‘judgey’. To those people I would simply ask them to examine the kinds of questions I’ve mentioned and the tone in which they are usually expressed.

These are most often not people with genuine queries, to whom I would obviously explain fully if I had time and by whom I would not be annoyed. No, these are ridiculous queries framed to be funny or mimic concern but portray a whole world full of judginess. I’m an intelligent fully-functioning adult. I know when someone is genuinely concerned for the ability of my baby to breathe (and reassure them) and when they’re just being snotty (and ignore them). Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so polite…

5 things not to do or say to your co-parent (unless you want a slap)

5thingsnottodoorsayIn the game of parenting there are two sides – parents versus kids. In this situation it is vital that you keep your game face on and work as a team to overcome the relentless onslaught brought by the other side.  The last you thing you need is to turn on each other – parents need to work together!  In aid of that happy harmony which will enable you to march to victory, I present a few of the key things to avoid saying or doing to your co-parent, lest you wind up locked in the playpen with the toddler (at best).

  1. I’m sooooo tired today
    Now, I’m an equal-opportunities exhaustion kinda gal, so I’m going to try and see this from both sides, but as a breastfeeding (ie- the only one who can do night feeds) mother, I am sorta more on their side generally. Just a little disclaimer.

    So yeah, never say to a mother who went through labour – one of humankind’s most exhausting physical ordeals – has been single-handedly keeping a baby alive with the produce of her body (breastfeeding is literally draining) and spends all day getting screamed at and all night getting woken for food, cuddles, calpol administration etc that you are tired. You don’t know the meaning of it.

    But working fathers and mothers, well, you have to look vaguely presentable, stay on your game, commute to and from work and hell! No naps for you despite the fact you could hear the wailing too  through your snoring. huh.! Nobody at baby group will judge a parent sitting in the corner rocking wearing three-day-old clothes and food in their hair. Nobody expects them to say anything intelligent. Unlike you…

    I think we can probably agree that there are no winners here, so just don’t say it. Ever. Either of you. Although working mothers who also breastfeed… I think you might have the upper hand in the game of “I’m more tired than you”. Hats off Sista.

  2. Sing any kind of CBeebies theme tune, ‘Let it go’ or any other irritating kiddie ear worm
    It’s not funny. It’s not clever. It’ll really piss off the other parent who spends all day muttering nonsensical lyrics to themselves in a perky american accent.
    Or do what The Man and I do and turn it into a kind of ninja sneak attack, see if you can slip in just enough of a phrase to ordinary everyday conversation that you can’t be accused of doing it, but manage to plant an earworm anyway!
  3. “But you do [insert disgusting, time consuming, fiddly or otherwise unappealing chore here] so much better, that’s why I left it for you…”
    This is not a compliment. This is you evading your duties. Pull your finger out you lazy so and so and do your bit. You’ll never get good at it if you don’t practice.

These final two, admittedly, are specifically from the parent who has not been stuck at home with the children to the parent who has.  Say either of these to a stay at home parent and you won’t just get slapped, you’ll get eviscerated

4 – I  just need some time to myself
Seriously? You get to commute by yourself. You get to pee by yourself. If you choose to skulk away from your desk you can probably even eat by yourself.  How much more time do you need? Huh? huh? HUH?!

5 – What have you done all day?
Now, there are ways and ways of saying this. Asked in an enthusiastic, interested tone, mostly directed towards the three year old then this is just showing interest in your day. Fine. What you never ever ever ever never do is cast your eye around the house and exclaim it in a tone of disbelief. You think this is bad, buddy? You shoulda seen it without all the tidying up I did. Plus, Stay at home parent, not stay at home housekeeper.

I am so tempted to round this list up to 6, as my erstwhile husband has just told the three year old that I will watch a Thomas DVD with him knowing full well that modern Thomas cartoons are my absolute pet hate, but I’ve already made the artwork and can’t be bothered to do a new one for ‘6 things not to….’ so Man – be warned. I do not appreciate your sneaky tactics and I will get my own back.

Extended breastfeeding – or just breastfeeding?

Thanks for hopping over from Renegade Feminist and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 5 Extended Breastfeeding we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from More4Mums providing a set of ‘Hot Milk’ Lingerie, a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic  Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

I dislike the term extended breastfeeding.  I, and many of my lentil-weaving hippyish friends, prefer to call it natural term breastfeeding, but only other lentil-weaving, hippyish people know what that means so I’m forced to use extended breastfeeding, because, in our modern-day 6-months-of-boob culture, anything past six months is seen as extended.  Just in case you’re still in the dark, though, allow me to enlighten you: extended breastfeeding is feeding your baby from the milk in your breast until an age where your family (either blood-related or in-laws) start openly asking you when you’re going to stop.  Naturally this is different for every family.extended breastfeeding

Yes, that’s right. In this age of tits on every billboard, buy a daily newspeper to admire some cleavage, décolletage being the selling point of every brand imaginable – whether relevant or not – it’s the sight of a mother feeding a child who (to quote a relative who should know better) “is old enough to ask for it” that really gets everybody clutching their pearls in abject horror.

I never set out to shock and dismay. I knew for sure that I wanted to breastfeed and, like many other mothers, had six months in my head as the goal I was aiming for. At the time I think I just believed this was how long you were ‘supposed’ to do it for. After three years of in-depth peer supporter training, I now know better.

Six months is just how old a child should roughly be before introducing anything other than breastmilk. Formula companies are banned from advertising in this country for babies under that age, so all their advertising (behind which there is much money) is aimed at ‘follow-on’ milks and so on for babies older than six months. I, like most others, mentally converted this into a maximum age limit for breastfeeding and honestly thought anything beyond that was unnecessary and, perhaps, a little odd.

And then I had my baby. My precious Boy. I held him in my arms, watched him stroke his cheek, my breast, his cheek, saw his wonder that he and I were the same person and two different people all at once. I fought to feed him despite birth trauma, bad advice, pain and post-natal depression and then, at about eight weeks it began to get easier, by 12 weeks it was easy (except for the sleep deprivation – oh God, was I deprived!) and by six months, when he started to mess around with bits of mango and fingers of toast I was laughing.

“Why would I give up now?!” I laughed to myself as I sailed out of the house with no paraphernalia other than nappies when he was five months old.
“Well I’m not giving up now!” I declared to myself, and others, when his molars started coming through aged one and feeding in the night was the best, easiest, quickest and most natural way to resettle him.
“Thank God I hadn’t given up!” I exclaimed through several stomach bugs at all ages where the only nutrition and fluids he took was endless, comforting suckles at my breasts.
“I don’t want him to give up now…” I murmured as I held my big two year old on my lap and stroked his hair and cuddled him in the only time he stayed still for more than a minute in his busy day.

By about two and half he was only having milk every couple of days and when I got pregnant and suffered horrendous pregnancy sickness for the first four months it was game over and the last of my milk went. He stopped wanting to suckle, even for the comfort.

If you’re wondering about feeding until your child weans themselves then I can honestly tell you it’s wonderful. It’s special. You can have time away from them (my son stayed away from me for five nights on two separate occasions and both times we managed to pick back up where we left off), but you don’t need to set yourself a goal now.  One of the very best things about breastfeeding is that (once you’re over the initial hump) it’s intuitive. You do it as and when. You know when it’s necessary and when it’s not and you can change your mind as you go.

For the family who wonder why you still do it, well, it’s none of their business really, but I always found “There’s a reason they keep their milk teeth until they’re five or six you know!” was a very effective deterrant. If nothing else the look of horror on their faces as they picture you still feeding a six year old is totally worth it!

For more extended breastfeeding experiences please hop on over to My Moo and Woo where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.

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The Tiger Who Came To Tea – a modern metaphor

A critical analysis of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’ as a commentary on social and familial dysfunction

The Tiger Who Came To Tea was one of my top favourite books as a child and now my son is as fond of it as I was, but it’s a strange experience to re-read, as an adult, something you knew inside out and back to front as a child.  Everything that seemed so obvious, straightforward and normal when I was three strikes worrying notes as a grown-up and I began to question the true story behind the story.

tigertoteaFor a start the tale seems to be told less from the point of view of Sophie, the little girl (as you’d expect from a children’s book) and more from the POV of the mother.  Straight away this makes me question the motives behind the story – is it a true depiction of events, or is she embroidering the situation to draw her daughter into her fantasy life and aid her in the deception of her husband, the ‘Daddy’ of the story? My instinctive understanding of the book from this new perspective is that ‘Mummy’ has some kind of mental health or addiction issue, possibly drugs or alcohol.

Firstly she seems to need to run through a list of the possible menfolk who may or may not be at the door unexpectedly – does she have debtors calling? Is she selling favours? Does she owe the milkman and the grocer money? This is a possibility that seems to be borne out by the ‘Tiger’ supposedly drinking all the water in the taps – perhaps the bills have gone unpaid and the water’s been switched off.

tigertotea2The Tiger is obviously the excuse ‘Mummy’ has cooked up to excuse her shoddy housekeeping and other misdemeanours to ‘Daddy’ and when you read that this Tiger has apparently drunk all of Daddy’s beer, the reason for her behaviour comes clear. She has a burgeoning alcohol addiction, as so many middle-class, middle-aged women do.  Why? I hear you ask – well the answer to that is apparent if you only look at the illustrations. The first portrayal of Daddy shows him wearing some very snazzy tartan trousers and standing with his hip jutting out and his keys held limply in one dangling hand. Yes. Daddy is a closeted gay.

So let me re-narrate The Tiger Who Came To Tea as I posit it really happened…

Mummy finds herself trapped in a dreary domestic drudgery to a man who does not find her attractive and to whom she is merely a beard.  She has one precious child, but not the three she always dreamed of and in her loneliness turns to alcohol to see her through the day. She drinks one of her husband’s beers, then another, then another until they’re all gone. Sneaking out of the back door she also smokes a quick spliff she bought off the grocer’s boy, then comes back in to find Sophie has laid the table for tea.

The munchies start to hit and she’s ravenous but how to explain her behaviour to Sophie? There’s only one thing for it.  She quickly spins a story inspired by the repeatedly ringing doorbell.  Ignoring the milkman and grocer’s boy – both trying to claim the money they’re owed – Mummy pretends there’s a Tiger at the door and he wants to have tea with them. Taking the part of the Tiger, Mummy devours the sandwiches, the buns, the biscuits and the cake. Her throat raw from the spliff, she gulps down all the milk in the milk jug and all the tea in the teapot.

Mummy seizes this opportunity to make excuses for the lack of any supper for Daddy and the paucity of food in the ‘fridge and pantry, caused by her neglect of the grocer’s bills.  The kitchen is a complete mess and Daddy is due home any minute, so Mummy hurries Sophie into her nightdress without washing her or brushing her hair and they both go down to tell Daddy all about the ‘Tiger’ who had eaten all the food and drunk all the drink.

Daddy sighs inwardly, but knows the true reason for Mummy’s neglect and disreputable behaviour and knows that it is him to blame really. He takes them out to dinner and, perhaps, he gently talks to Mummy about her ishoos, because this book thankfully has a happy ending – a tale of redemption and optimism if you will, because the next day Mummy pulls her act together and went shopping and on the final page it states that the Tiger, obviously a metaphor for Mummy’s descent into alcoholism, never came for tea again.

Or perhaps Judith Kerr just wanted an excuse to paint a big, friendly tiger eating cakes. Go figure.

Just in case it isn’t absolutely, screamingly obvious – this post is intended as totally tongue-in-cheek, inspired by the lovely surrealism of one of my favourite childhood books. If you enjoyed this style of post, then why not try ‘Another Day For Me‘ – a critical analysis of Nick Cope’s song of the same name.

Absence, a poem

The brats and I went down to stay with the Mater for a few days recently to give The Man time to do useful and uplifting things like install lighting in the garage and painting all his Warhammer miniatures (don’t say anything!). Just before we left I scrawled a little ditty for him on the whiteboard in the kitchen, and thought perhaps you might enjoy reading it. I call it ‘Absence, a poem’…

7 unexpected uses for a big, floaty scarf

I love my floaty scarves. Not only have they been a fashion staple for me for many years, they also act as a sort of grown-up comfort blankie (as my real one, an old white muslin with a yellow trim, has mostly disintegrated and is now kept in a hallowed and secret place to be tenderly stroked in times of great crisis).  Plus, teamed with a pair of sunnies you, too, can look like a celeb wannabe.

Bearing in mind the extensive and punishing use I subject my scarves to, though, I would recommend stocking up on a wide selection and not spending very much money on them. Market stalls, Primark and supermarkets are the ideal scarf-purchasing venues. Happy shopping!

20150713_142345 blogready

1 – Hides unfortunate stains. Yup, as a mama I quite often have to spend the day with food and sick stains on me (and am usually grateful it’s not worse, to be honest). In fact, if you look at this post you’ll realise that I even leave the house wearing them, rather than just acquiring them over the course of a day.  If, like me, you haven’t the time or capacity (whether mental or washing machine) to do something about this then a lovely big floaty scarf is definitely the answer. (here are some tips from the very attractive Wendy, I especially like the Waterfall for cover-ups purposes!)

2 – Sun protection.  I’m not a big fan of slathering suncream all over tiny babies. Heck, I even try to avoid doing it to my big boy or myself where possible. As compensation for this I have to work harder with covering up, instead.  Hats are both obvious and essential but, especially when you’re a sling mama like me, there are often bits of baby exposed to the sunlight that you’d like to keep shaded without having them in long sleeves, trousers and socks in the heat.  Tucking a floaty scarf into a sling over their legs, draping it over them when feeding outdoors or, even in a buggy, if the hood or umbrella doesn’t quite keep them in the shade. Large muslins and sarongs are also good for this.

3 – Modesty. I’m not a huge exponent of the ‘cover yourself when breastfeeding’ philosophy. If anything I tend more towards the #ostentatiousbreastfeeding club and feed whenever (and wherever) my baby needs it. However, I do find it a little uncomfortable when I’m wearing something that requires pulling down, under the breast, as this leaves an awful lot of bare chest exposed above the baby’s head which can feel rather exposed. For situations and outfits like this a lovely drapey scarf is ideal for just making you feel a little less vulnerable, and a scarf is rather prettier and less ‘breastfeeding-y’ than a muslin. Right?

4 – You can fashion impromptu clothes out of it.  This sounds a little weird, but bear with me. More than once we have had a series of nappy and/or food and drink incidents in a row (or, eh-hem, may have forgotten to pack a change of clothes. Oops) leaving my child with no clean clothes to wear.  Once I even had to pop a bottom-half-nudey boy on his bike seat and tuck his jacket around him to protect his modesty on the way home.  If you have a lovely big scarf then it’s no drama to create a quick sarong skirt, dress, or even some MC Hammer style droopy trousers if you’re feeling really creative.  It’s better than having to walk home with a wet, cold or naked child!  Could also be used as emergency turban type arrangement for hot days when you get caught without a sun hat.

5 – You can fashion impromptu nappies out of it. You thought the clothes thing sounded bad? That’s nothing darlin’.  My little girl had only been here 8 weeks before she managed to have a day where she blasted through all the nappies I had with me (perhaps it was 2nd time parent over-confidence that meant I hadn;t packed enough, who knows. She waited till I changed her into her last clean nappy before having the poo blow out to end all poos. Marvellous).

Luckily, as a cloth nappy user, I had a spare wrap (the waterproof bit) with me but no absorbent inserts. I didn’t even have a muslin which I have been known to use in a pinch before. Quick as a flash I grabbed my emergency floaty scarf, folded it into a neat pad and tucked it inside the wrap. Had I been sans wrap it still would have made a decent temporary nappy held together with knots and happy thoughts, although not as waterproof it would have stopped a total flood.  Naturally I hotfooted it home once the temporary solution was in place and even made it back before she did anything on the scarf.

6 – Emergency muslin. Yup. My darling husband subjected one of my scarves to this when The Girl executed a spectacular display of digestive pyrotechnics in the backseat of the car. He grabbed the nearest ‘muslin’ to hand which turned out to be a floaty white scarf of mine.  I think he was grateful for the extra coverage such a large piece of fabric provided as the sick just kept coming.  I was in no position to quibble bearing in mind the use I had put this poor scarf to just a few days previously (see item 5). Oh well. It all washed out!

7 – As mentioned in a previous post, Slutty Mummy – ten ways to save some precious time in your day but still look respectable, scarves are also a handy way to dress up an outfit to look completely different.  Take the same t-shirt and jeans, but wear a different colour scarf with it and you could easily make it last several days before it smelt so bad you had flies buzzing around you.

Slutty Mummy – ten ways to save some precious time in your day but still look respectable

Slut: NOUN

    1) (Derogatory) A dirty, slatternly woman

Now I’m as image-conscious as the next 21st Century woman. Things our mothers never had to worry about could cause us to be landed with a photo of us on our worst possible day available to everybody who we’re in contact with. It just takes one quick snap on someone’s phone at toddler group and all our ‘friends’ on Facebook can see how gruesome we look after 5 consecutive months of broken sleep, living off biscuits and caffeine and no bloody makeup to disguise the effects.

However, I have found a few quick cheats which mean I can meet other mums at the preschool gates with – at least – equanimity, if not pride.

1) Don’t wash your hair very often.  I have long hair and, since switching to a ‘Lush’ shampoo bar it doesn’t seem to get as greasy as it used to so, as long as I tie it up, I can get away with not washing it very often. Damn but that’s a time saver.  For those who really can’t do that then maybe try dry shampoo. I’ve heard great things about Natural Essences dry shampoo.  I sometimes grab a few more extra seconds by not even brushing it. Sleep with it tied up, then you just take it out, twist it back up and bish bash bosh – there ya go. French plaits can be good for this too.

2) Don’t take your mascara off at bedtime. As a fair-complexioned woman mascara is really my makeup essential but I don’t always have time or mental energy (or remember) to do it in the morning. I find the best solution to this is leave it on at night, then just take a quick swipe under your eyes with some makeup remover first thing. Saves time at both ends of the day!

20150713_142234 (1)3) Wear big scarves.  Not only warm and cosy on chillier days these can also be used as a handy cover-up for stains (esp baby sick on the shoulder) or to change up the t-shirt and jeans combo you’ve been rocking for 4 days.

4) Cultivate your floordrobe. No time to fold and put away? Why not do as I do and deposit clean and used clothes alike on a chair or an artistic heap on the floor? Saves time at both ends as you can also just lift off yesterday’s outfit and add a fresh pair of pants for a new and exciting twist on an old look.

5) Don’t wash clothes automatically. With the exception of knickers (because even slutty mummies have limits) don’t just throw your kit in the wash at night unless one of the following applies: it has visible stains, it smells or you just can’t face hanging it up and it’s easier to squirrel it away in the laundry basket.

6) Only buy shoes you can slip on. Not only does it save time with laces, zips, velcro and other fastenings, but you know you’ll have to run upstairs at least twice on your way out of the door to get essentials you’ve forgotten and if, like me, you don’t like shoes upstairs then slip-ons are vital. Why do you think we all wear Birkenstocks and Ugg boots?


20150713_104612-17) Always have your baby with you. Not only is s/he your living, breathing excuse for looking like a walking scarecrow, but nobody will be looking at you if you have a cute dumpling of a baby to coo over instead…not so useful for business meetings perhaps.

8) Wet wipes. Wipe off old makeup, fresh sick, freshen up your underarms – a multitude of uses and none of them related to baby bottoms.

9) Fake it. A spritz of perfume, a neat set of pearl studs, a cheery smile. If you look like you think there’s nothing wrong with the way you look then who will dare to question it. After all, if you’re wearing jewellery and perfume then you must have made an effort, right? Right? Oh well, maybe see point number 10 then…

10) Avoid mirrors. You’ve done the best you can in the time you have. Seriously woman – why torture yourself by looking at the result multiple times in a day? Give yourself a break, assume the best and get on with your day. You have more important to things to think about, haven’t you? Like whether Doctors is on today, or if it’s still cancelled for Wimbledon…

Five stupid questions to ask a breastfeeding mum

In total I’ve been a breastfeeding mum for nearly three years now, but had forgotten what it’s like when you’re solely responsible for a newborn’s nutrition, as opposed to just providing comfort and a wee supplemental boost to a hulking great toddler. It reminded me how many irksome, ignorant or downright daft comments you can get when you’re breastfeeding a tiny baby, especially when you’re a lentil-weaving hippy like myself and do it shamelessly, anywhere and intend to do so for a prolonged amount of time.  Do any of these ring a bell with you? Let me know if I’ve forgotten something.5stupidquestions

1 – Doesn’t your husband/partner mind?
Um – what now? Does he mind that I’m keeping our baby alive in the biologically normal way mothers are supposed to using my breasts which were purpose designed for this particular job? Funnily enough, no. He doesn’t. If he was the kind of twit who did I probably wouldn’t have wanted to make babies with him in the first place.

2 – But how do you know how much milk they’re getting?
Well, put very simply, I don’t. Does it matter? If they’re getting fatter, doing shits regularly, peeing often and generally showing signs of thriving then I don’t need a list of numbers memorised to reassure myself. Quite frankly I am in awe of formula feeding mums who do this – it looks like a cross between advanced mathematics and black magic trying to keep track of how many ml/oz and when, and when to increase and what if they don’t eat it all. I just stick my baby back on the boob when she gets grumpy, or wakes up, or I don’t know what else to do with her and go on reading my badly written chick lit novel.  Breastfeeding is really the lazy mother’s approach.

And just to head the follow-up question off at the pass – I know when she’s finished because she either falls asleep or comes off and belches at me in a satisfied manner.  It’s really not rocket science.

3 – What? She needs to feed again?
Yup. And stop sounding so annoyed about it, it’s not your boobs who are getting gummed to death.  Human milk has only about 4% fat content as opposed to as much as 40% in some other mammals’ milk, it’s no wonder they need to eat often.  Plus in hot weather it’s also their source of hydration too, and I know you drink more in the heat.  Boob also provides pain relief, emotional comfort, skin to skin (which helps with temperature regulation), immune boosting and all kinds of other goodies too, so mind your own business and let my baby feed when they need.

4 – When are you going to stop breastfeeding?
OK, so this isn’t quite such a stupid question as some of the others, except that it’s not really anybody’s business but the mum and baby in question.  Before I had babies I thought maybe six months, because that’s when you’re ‘supposed’ to feed until, then I realised that was just when you could introduce solids, not when you had to move a baby onto formula, so hey – why give up just as it was getting really easy? So then I thought maybe one year, but by the time we got to one year I figured I may as well just keep going until my baby decided they didn’t need it any more, same way I had let him decide when to eat solids and start crawling and walking.

5 – Aren’t you worried about breastfeeding ruining your breasts?
Well, hrm, maybe I would be if I was that vain, except that it’s actually pregnancy that knackers your boobs, not feeding from them.  My breasts totally disintegrated during my second pregnancy and I’ve decided to just give up and merrily wait until I’ve finished feeding this baby when I can abandon bras altogether and either tie them into a neat bow or just tuck them into my waistband to stop them jiggling about.*

*Disclaimer – I think my husband might actually object to this. He’s only recently mastered the art of undoing a bra one-handed and likes to show off.

So there you have it – five of some of the sillier questions I’ve been asked on this topic, but I’m sure there are any others I’ve forgotten about in my post-baby haze.  Remember, it’s better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

The List