Last weekend saw me left alone with the boys at home, as Mr Only Girl fled the scene on a work trip – this mini-(anti)-break allowed me some time to fully appreciate the boy-ness that plays out in front of me on a daily basis, but is usually osmosed by Mr Only Girl, so skips past my girly gaze.
I grew up as an only child, with a single mum and attended an all-girls school – my life was officially girly. It was as girly as they came, think fake tan, beauty pageants, high heels and mother/daughter shopping trips galore. Then, in 2006, my life changed – there was nothing that could prepare me for a life with boys – things I never knew existed are now common place in my life. Today, I praise those dirty, noisey little blues for giving me a re-education. They’ve brought endless things into my life that I never really needed, don’t really want – but oddly, really enjoy. Here’s just a few…
Friday just gone saw the annual Fun Run at the boys’ primary school where for the past 5 years (and probably long before our boys attended) has been an obligatory, competitive, cross-country style race. First, second and third, in each year group were congratulated with medals and a certificate handed out in next week’s assembly to rapturous applause from their peers. The “fun” aspect came from the optional fancy dress, however, coming from a sporting (read: dangerously competitive) family our boys always opted out of the “fun” part, choosing instead to do their best to win an “actual medal”. Imagine their disgust this year. after 3 weeks of self-inflicted training, when the PTA email thudded into my inbox informing my mini-competitors that this year’s event wasn’t really a race – everyone would be given a medal for taking part and that they would have to drag a “buddy” from another year group round some shin-bruising obstacles!
Has the world gone mad?!?!
What are your first thoughts when you think of Butlin’s? Prior to this weekend, my only experience of Butlin’s was the day trip my great-nan would take (read: drag) me on every Summer – cue memories of wet, windy weather and a somewhat grim, outdated seaside family holiday park in need of good clean, some Weedol and a lick of paint! Some distant relatives would rent a beige looking, damp “chalet” for a week, every year,cramming kids, grand kids and anyone else with the same DNA in their bleak bolthole. But like the poor relations with tongues wagging, Nanny Flo and I’d hop on the train to be granted a day pass to experience a measly slither of their holiday. It’s memories like these, in-ground in the psyche of 30-something parents of the UK that gave Butlin’s it’s stigma as a less than desirable holiday destination. Fast forward 23 years, a £70 million overhaul, and with a Butlin’s Holiday Ambassadorship to my name – we were cautiously off on our very first Butlin’s Break.
As the wedding invites start rolling in, who am I kidding – I don’t have THAT many friends. Ok, so, as the two wedding invites I’ve received stare at me from the fridge door, the glimmer of a full day and night, sans kids, glistens like a beacon of parental hope on the childcare horizon. I’ll be dressed like a grown up for a full day, possibly wear heels (the jury’s still out on my heel walking abilities) and can get stuck into some cheap cava like only a mother who’s left her kids with grandparents for 24 hrs can.
But it only occurred to me, halfway through chatting to a child-free friend getting hitched this summer, that the debate whether to allow kids or not to their nuptials was a fiercely roaring moral dilemma. Kid-free friends – let me put your mind at rest – don’t invite my kids! Please! In my opinion, weddings are no places for children under the age of 15 – after this age, the free food, possibility of a sip (or two) of aforementioned cheap plonk and the chance of a cheeky snog with a young relative of the bridal family, are all good reasons to be in attendance.
Still not convinced? Here’s just some of the reasons you shouldn’t invite my kids…
Thank god for that- school’s out for Easter! At this point, most mums I know would be staring at me with puzzled looks at my jubilant sigh of relief that the holidays have arrived. Two whole weeks with my rabble is far from a mother-earth, bond with your kids kinda experience – more of a “I need a G&T!” by 10am kinda saga, as I become an on-demand dinner lady for a fortnight. So, my joy at no more school is not that I get some quality time with my munchkins (well, just a tad!) but the fact I no longer have to be super-mum for the school’s pleasure – no more fancy-dress days, Easter bonnet competitions, sponsorship forms, cake sales………
Anyone under the impression that by the time your little humans head off to school that your life will become easier has clearly never encountered a school newsletter, PTA email or school office text reminder. Once the two eldest boys started at our quaint, village primary school, I was all prepared for days filled with work, evenings preparing dinner and chatting about our days activities then skipping off to bed at a reasonable hour. Oh how wrong could one mama be?!