The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.


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Mushy or gushy or just a bit sucky? I don’t know…

When I first starting writing this little blog just over two months ago, I thought it would be somewhat easy. I knew that it would be difficult to balance writing regularly with being a mum to my two little ones, keeping the house from looking like it had been hit by a nuclear weapon and, of course, teaching full time.  But, I thought that the writing side of it would come easy. You see, I have always wanted to write. Every couple of years or so, I have a little whizz of brainwave and a (probably crap) idea for a story pops into my head which makes me decide to have a go at writing because apparently ‘everyone has one book in them’ or so I have read, or most likely heard from one of my hundreds of American box sets I regularly watch. So, off I trot to my laptop, write a few thousand words and then just discard it forever.  Sometimes I return to the story, read it, cringe, weep at my utter drivel and dreadful grammar and leave it in the netherworld forever unfinished, forced to walk among a paperless limbo of unfinished novels.  So that’s why I thought writing a blog would be easy; a couple of short posts every week and it’s done.  Only it’s not is it?  You have to first of all think of something that will entertain others; my life is not interesting and most certainly not entertaining, unless you think that simultaneously answering questions about Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures, weaning and completing on line surveys in order to get Amazon vouchers is entertaining.  It isn’t.  Especially when you get Ella’s Kitchen gloop stuck in between your lap top keys (the ‘space bar’ now has to be hit down rather than just being tapped down).  You then have to think of something that no one else has written about, which is beyond impossible – especially when one in two of you guys are proud owners of a hissy fit throwing three year old girl and a Ninja Flippin’ Dude who just won’t sleep.  I personally then have to think or something that won’t offend others as it would upset me to learn that I had offended or upset anyone in any way.  (I am a bit of a softy and a complete wimp, so the idea of any confrontation makes me vom a little bit in my mouth.)  Although, in saying this all this, I have to admit that my first few posts did come really easily. I just thought that I would take the piss out of myself a bit and write about how I am sometimes a rubbish mum.  About how I am a mum who turns up late to everything, a mum who can’t be bothered with baby classes and baby sensory thingymajigs (totally a word – I am a half arsed novelist after all) a mum who probably leaves her son in his Jumparoo for a little too long, a mum who buys her cake mixes ready made, a mum who watches kids’ TV with her children too much and a mum who generally lacks any kind creative bone in her body. But then I opened myself up to this little blogging community…
Just a few of my current American Box Sets (Hannibal, Vampire Diaries, Wayward Pines and Game of Thrones are recorded on the next page… Peppa is never far from the screen though.
Using my one creative bone.

I didn’t realise that you were all out there floating and typing away in cyber space.  Sure, I know that there are lots of blogging parents, but just look at you all!   You’re all supporting one another, being creative together and generally just being pretty fab parents.  I have snooped into your Twitter feeds and gazed longingly at your super savvy fancy blogs and have just been in total awe of you. And do you know what’s really sad?  I love it when that little ‘1’ or ‘2’ or even ‘3’ comes up on my notifications on Twitter and I see that I have gained a new follower or being mentioned in someone’s Tweets.  I have to admit that I do a little ‘whoop’ that I have been included in the Twitterverse. However, upon reading all these blogs and totally stalking your asses on Twitter, I suddenly became really scared and nervous about my writing and that my posts probably weren’t funny at all.  My creative juices got metaphorically stuck in my mouth a little…

Initially, I thought I was being dead unique and had found my little blogging niche by being a teacher and a mum. But, guess what? There’s bloody loads of teachers who are parents, doctors who are parents, midwives who are parents and so on and so forth and you all write these amazing and insightful posts about juggling work with parenting, dealing with post natal depression, coping after a miscarriage and a whole plethora of other issues that these lives of ours throw at us.  And I was embarrassed.  Embarrassed that I wrote about going to the tip, embarrassed that I dedicated a whole blog post about going to the dentist or going for a walk to a sandwich shop.  Whatever your niches are, you all appear to have this parenting malarkey, working full time and blogging regularly thing down and I really don’t know how you do it.  You have my utter most respect.  I know that’s not something important but here, have it – it’s yours for the taking.

He may have been in his Jumparoo at little too long at this point.

I don’t really know where I am going with this post and having read a lot of blogs about Brit Mums Live this week, and knowing that there is no way on Earth that I will ever go to a blogging conference where I can meet you all face to face (as I will never accept myself as a blogger or writer), I just wanted to say is this:  I am really enjoying being part of this community that you have allowed me to force, push and kick my way into recently and I really hope that you will let me stay – even if I don’t or can’t post anything for weeks.  I am learning things from you:  I am learning more parenting skills, I am learning that it is okay to not be perfect and that it is all right for me to count down the minutes until my children are in bed.  I am learning how to link up to Linkys and I am slowly learning how to make my blog look a little bit more fancy (have you noticed that my photos now have a purple border around them?  I know.  Professional, right?)  But, for the most part I have learnt that I can reach out to like minded people and not be afraid to write something that has a beginning, a middle and an actual end.  I have had the guts to not leave something in limbo albeit it probably being packed full of rubbishness.  I am in no way saying that anything I write goes anywhere near what could be classed as a story or novel, but I love that I am growing a little in confidence and have had the guts to ‘publish’ something that a few other people may read.  I have you guys to thank for that.  Despite, having a complete creative writing block at the moment, and despite me not knowing where to take this (novice) blog, I don’t want to stop writing just yet, so thank you.  I am not going to bug my friends into reading this post; this is just for my followers on Twitter (the ones I have probably just blagged out out of sympathy) – it’s just a note to tell you that you have all inspired me in some way or another, so thank you. 


A day out in Tesco (no, really) that highlights my ‘mum crapness’ which I may or may not blog about soon.

Modern Dad Pages


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May Day May Day, we have a problem. I have been found out!

11.07am 5th May

Yesterday was the 4th May and it was Bank Holiday Monday.  Without my intending it to, the day became quite eventful and by the end of the evening, I had to finally admit to my other half that I had been blogging on the side. (That’s BLogging, if any of you get your Bs and Ds mixed up.)  It played out like this:

I came into the living room after putting the boy to bed; I was smirking.“What’s up with you?  Why are you smiling?” He asked.
“Erm, you’re going to think I’m an idiot,” I replied.

What?”
“I have started to write a blog…” I said.
Eyebrows were raised but, there was still a smile.“…I don’t know if I am going to carry it on.  No one has seen it yet but I told JC about it today.  It’s meant to be funny but, it’s probably a bit rubbish.  I haven’t mentioned the kids’ names or your name in it.  I haven’t been awful about you.”

He looked bemused, picked up the TV remote and asked me if I wanted to watch Modern Family.  For those of you who do know him, I can’t ask for much more than that.

So let’s back up a little.  I need to explain how and why I suddenly got catapulted into the limelight.  And by limelight I mean 70 follows on Twitter, 15 likes on Facebook and 17 followers on Instagram (as 3.09pm 5th May.)

It is tradition to venture into Rothwell, which is the town I grew up in, on May Bank Holidays.  Over the years, my motivation for going, who I went with and what I got up to has changed. As a teenager it was to go down there and ‘hang’.  In fact, I can remember being thirteen years old and trying my first ever puff of a cigarette on May Day.  Thankfully, I hated it and have never smoked but, for a millisecond I was a rebel.  I can remember returning home and talking to my mum and I was backed against the wall in case, heaven forbid, she smelt smoke on me.  The fact that it was only one puff and it was outside probably meant that I was pretty safe from being caught but, I was terrified.  That’s good though isn’t it?  Being terrified of being caught.  It means that my mum had this parenting thing down.  My one puff was probably one of the most rebellious things I have done and every May Day I remember it and cringe. Rebel? Laughable.  

Over the years then, May Day has meant ‘hanging out’ by the May Pole as a teenager (but away from the cool kids who could actually handle a cigarette), going to the pub with my friends as a young adult, (I had a few years out when I was trying to get educated at university), going to the pub with my boyfriend, going to the pub with my mum and dad (after breaking up with the said boyfriend) and finally, actually going down to see the May Day celebrations with my own children.


I need to just break it off there as the boy has just made an epic noise which can only be a poo and I have to pick the girl up from nursery.  I’ll just add that it’s 3.30pm now so that’s how long it has taken me to write three paragraphs.  Hope I am not going to have to meet deadlines anytime soon.

5.21pm

Right – I am back as is the whirl wind that is my three year old.  We have had a wee, salt and vinegar crispies, a small strop, more salt and vinegar crispies, a wee and a poo and that brings us to now.  She is watching Topsy and Tim on the iPad in front of the TV which has (you guessed it) Topsy and Tim on pause.

Yesterday’s May Day celebrations saw my best friend (JC), my Mum and I venture, with our children, into Rothwell.  We were one ride down (£2 a kid) and all was going well.  Then Mum threw a curve ball. “Is that a snake in the grass?” She observed.
WTF?  No, of course it wasn’t, we weren’t in the prairies, marshes, deserts or forests of North America (thank you Wikipedia).  However, she was indeed correct. There was a snake in the grass.  A huge, chunky yellow one with a bulge the size of a can of baked beans or a small child’s hand protruding from what I assumed was its stomach.  Then she walked over to it with the pram and the girl in hand.  I am not afraid of snakes (well, I wouldn’t want to confront one) so I walked over to it too.  I actually thought my girl would go into melt down but, much to my complete surprise, she stroked it.  I did too!  Mum then did a swift turn and pointed at something else lying in the grass.  Upon first glance, it looked like road kill.  It was, in fact a fat red lizard laying down and soaking up the fine Yorksire air. Barely being given the time to look, she was off again with my daughter eyeing up a big black centipede thing, a skunk, a meerkat and a little monkey.
“It’s educational…and free,” she shouted as I was getting more and more flustered. 
My friend, I noticed, was getting a bit agitated too and I knew why.  We were getting closer to the tent and in the tent lurked the tarantulas.  I had this dreaded feeling that I was going to turn around and there would be someone right behind me holding one and it would make me jump, which would then make the tarantula jump and of course it would jump onto me. Despite not being a fan of arachnids herself, Grandma waded in once again with her beloved Granddaughter. I hesitatingly followed.  Then I saw one being lifted from its glass imprisonment.  I yelped and I was gone. If the girl suddenly needed rescuing, it wouldn’t be by me.  I could see my friend already guiding her children towards the big bouncy slide. Even though it was £2 a head, it was better than a tarantula jumping onto your face.


Two more rides later and it was lunch time.  There were two pubs nearby.  One was packed and the other expensive.  My mum then had a genius idea and she was forgiven for the creepy crawlies.  We headed to another pub that was opposite the fish shop.  The clouds parted and the sun began to shine; it was almost as if God wanted us to sit in a beer garden, drink lager and eat fish and chips.  And so it was done.

After lunch, we said our goodbyes, my daughter had a melt down as her two friends were leaving, my son, who had snoozed his way through reptiles, rides and lager, woke up and made his presence heard so we headed home.  Before leaving though, I reluctantly told my friend that I had dabbled with a blog; I sent her the link for her to read later.

Bedtime was once again upon us.  My partner and I take the ‘divide and conquer route’ whereby he puts the girl to bed and I, the boy.  I usually use this time to catch up on texts and social media as I can’t do much else whilst I am using the magical milk to get him to sleep. I sent a text to JC to wish her son a happy birthday for the next day and she replied to say she had read a post.  It was all good.  Suddenly another text came through.  It was from a friend I work with.  I love this girl because she says and sees things as they are.  Now, I am not much of a swearer but, I took her ‘effin hell, I’ve just read your blog’ as the highest of compliments.  This was after, of course, me having my own ‘effin hell’ moment of how did she see it?  In my sheer numtiness, did I publish it to the whole of Facebook when I sent the link to my friend earlier?  No.  It was Instagram. I checked my new Teaching Mum Instagram page (that I didn’t think was connected to my personal one) and suddenly I had 17 followers, all of whom I knew.  Damn it.  I was out there and open to criticism and pisstakes.  However, what followed was quite lovely.  My work friend said she liked it.  JC text again and said it made her laugh, I got a few likes on my Instagram page, I got a nice message from another acquaintance (who is also trying her hand at blogging) so I plucked up the courage to ask a few of my close friends on Facebook to ‘like’ my page.  And that kind of brings me back around to now.  Therefore, thank you KW for your expletive text last night; it made me step out of the metaphorical blogging closet.  Thank you to JC for telling me that I made you laugh and thank you to my other half who, rather than look for the blog and make fun of me, allowed me to watch Modern Family, have a cuppa, sit back and enjoy knowing the fact that a few people whose opinions I really care about had read something that I had written.



Pictures:
One huge snake, a lounging lizard, a centipedy thing (that’s definitely its scientific name) and three children who didn’t appreciate being told off for running around a beer garden.

11 hours later…10.04pm and I am finished!