The Other Mother

My son has another mother. There I said it. Well actually he HAD another mother. She lived long ago and she is no longer alive.

Shame, she sounded fun…

Took my son to loads of places, watched all the best films, owns the entire Julia Donaldson collection not just 95% of it. Lived in a castle, with a moat no less. Had another child as well; an older brother for my son. I don’t know much about him or if there was another parent around, but the mother? Yep I know a lot about her. Continue reading

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Breastfeeding Bites #6. Feeding in Public with Beta Mummy

Ah yes, the time has to come at some point where you leave the security of your post-partum bedroom hibernation and take your baby and your boobs OUT. Not out-out, that would be irresponsible surely, but just out – a cafe maybe; a lunch somewhere; a shopping expedition; the doctors perhaps; or, in the case of my first ever public feed, a cricket game… Continue reading

Creative Mothers Series – Single Mum Speaks

Welcome to the thirteenth issue in the Creative Mothers Series –  a guest series for people to share their thoughts and experiences of the impact of parenthood on their creativity.

This will be the last post in the series for a few months, but I look forward to sharing more in the Autumn. Please do get in touch using the details on my contact page if you would like to take part with your thoughts. And you can find more information about the series including the other twelve posts here

Now onto today’s post, and I’m delighted to welcome Min from Single Mum Speaks. Her blog has long been a favourite of mine – her honesty, wry humour and eloquence makes each post a compelling read. 

In this piece Min shares with us the place creativity has always had in her life and the significance of that creativity for her now. These are thoughts that really resonate with me, as I’m sure they will with lots of people…

 

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18 Million Things – Summer Edition

This series is where I indulgently fill up my pocket of the Internet with the virtual pebbles, receipts and loose change of memories I want to keep of my son.

He’s nearly three and we veer between total gorgeousness and utter chaos. I’m writing this today after he randomly and deliberately decided to upturn a large cup of tea onto the lounge carpet, throw a hard unidentifiable toy object at me in anger and then play ‘sandcastles’ with an almost-but-not-quite empty pot of yoghurt.

Yep, so obviously it’s not all roses and sparkles but actually quite a lot of it is – life is silly and fun and innocent and dramatic and the world hasn’t encroached on our bubble yet. Continue reading

Creative Mothers – Calling: Everyone!

I’m very excited to be launching my Creative Mothers guest blog series this week.

Bloggers and non-bloggers, creatives and non-creatives, mothers and fathers are invited to share thoughts about the impact of parenthood on their personal creativity.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a little while…I’m passionate about the human ability to be creative but have never before defined myself as a ‘creative’. I’m not sure I would now either to be honest! But from imaginative play to expressing myself through writing, it is a part of my personality that has certainly emerged since having my son in 2013.

In November 2015 I attended the Mumsnet-organised Blogfest conference and was excited to see that the opening discussion (with a wonderful panel) was on this very topic.

As expected there were some interesting musings on questions about the emotional and practical challenges that motherhood can bring to creativity. In the pursuit of entertainment and given the time restraints, however, the discussion was unable to cover every angle; speak for every parent and get to the heart of the complexities both for those who are creative already and those who don’t see themselves as creative.

I hope this series will go where Blogfest could not! I’d love you to share your stories here on the subject: I’d like to create a space where people can be inspired by other parents, understand other people’s experiences and raise the questions that may encourage us all to reflect on ourselves in different ways.

Everyone is welcome! Please visit the Creative Mothers page for more information and how to get in touch.

Update: pop over and read about the first contribution. Laura’s experiences can be found here.

Mummuddlingthrough
my petit canard
And linking with the fabulous #momsterslink

Three Moments in Time

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Sunday marked the official end of the professional cricket season….HURRAH! Hang out the bunting and pass the trumpet. There was the usual shindig at the club – dinner, speeches, awards, speeches, bubbly, speeches. It was a really lovely evening actually, but the event itself will soon pass into the fug of the twelve previous ones in my memory. What will stay with me, however, is the context…my personal experience of attending it as a Mother and how it compares with the previous two also attended (sort of) as a Mother.
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The Ten Types of Breastfeeding Mother I Was

I listened to a particularly odious rant on my local radio station about breastfeeding the other day. Yes Radio Solent I’m looking at you.

Widely quoted across the press were the comments regarding the breastfeeding habits of two types of breastfeeding mothers: the ‘librarian types…earth mothers’ and the ‘classy…yummy mummies’.

This is obviously an extreme example but we can all be guilty of pigeonholing people. We can all sometimes forget that every person we meet is a complex, multifaceted individual.

So in a bid to remember my very own multi-facetedness (not a word), here are the ten types of breastfeeding mother I was:
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Letter to my (unconceived) unborn second child

Hello! It’s your Mother here.

People have been asking for months (and months and months) now: ‘do you want another?’ like you and LJ are cups of tea and they’re wondering if they should put the kettle on.

Apart from balking at the assumption that ‘another’ will be easy to come by I haven’t really known how to answer this question and I think you need to know why.
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Hello, what do you do?

I’ve decided to start this blog with a very common question to help explain where I’m coming from. To be honest I didn’t expect my first post to be as serious or as rants as this, but stick with me and we’ll get to splashing in puddles soon I promise!

So how many times have you been asked this question? Or asked it yourself? I know I’ve lost count of both. Given the nature of my partner’s job as a professional sportsman I’m part of a world where what you do is often intrinsically linked with who you are. Of course this is common throughout society…what we choose to do does say something about who we are. But not all that we are, and not even who we think we are, but instead who the asker thinks we are.

The asker builds a quick and, let’s face it, sketchy picture of you based on one or two words used to describe your job. The asker decides if it’s your passion, your calling, a stop gap job, a mistake. They make assumptions about your intelligence, your commitment, your people skills, your lifestyle.

To give you an example…my partner, Andrew, is a professional sportsman as I’ve said. He loves the sport that he is lucky enough to get paid to play. But when his career finishes he has a fantasy of working in a supermarket part time and following our children around (!) the rest of the time. If he is able to carry out this ambition and in the future answers ‘what do you do?’ with ‘supermarket shelf stacker’, the asker will make completely different assumptions about who he is at that moment without Andrew having fundamentally changed as a person at all.

When I had a job I had problems with being asked this…I worked in the arts. I speak quietly, it sounded like ‘arse’. I always had to repeat my answer. I was usually met with blank looks and so launched into a description of the complicated multi-partner, multi-art form project I managed. More often that not (being mostly, which wasn’t much, asked it by men at Andrew’s work events) there just wasn’t enough of the familiar in my answer for the asker to grasp on to and the follow up question, asked with a patronising jokiness, was invariably ‘so do you like cricket?’. Sigh…

Now I’ve stopped working and spend my days playing with Little J, I fit in far more neatly to the social hierarchy. For me this makes ‘what do you do?’ so much harder to answer. Full time mother? Well, yes but I’m fairly sure my friends that work who also have children are full time mothers…you don’t stop being one just because you’re not physically next to your child. And does that make Andrew a part time father? Or when he’s at an away game, a zero hour contract father? And don’t even get me started on ‘housewife’. I’m fairly sure I married Andrew, not the house. I’m also fairly sure I’m still his wife even when I leave the house.

My tussle with expressing myself the way I want to, while resisting society’s pigeonholes has spurred me to to start this blog, along with a desire to create a record of my thoughts and experiences as a new parent. I’ve written more about what I do, who I am and the blog’s title on the about page. I hope this blog will express who I am and maybe if I’m asked again ‘what do you do?’ I’ll be able to answer in a way that doesn’t answer that at all, and instead tells them who I am.

Because ultimately it is a limiting question, a way for us to cling onto the security of stereotypes and therefore it is about as useful for really finding out about someone as sitting down to tea with their shadow.

 

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