Something really sad just happened. Sad as in the middle-aged way of saying something is ‘not cool’. I had waited for Rich to get home from work to go and fill up the car and go through the car wash (baby doesn’t like the car wash). When he got home we were deciding who should mow the lawn. I said ‘I’ll be all hot and sticky for my date with the car wash’ ‘Your date with Carlos?’ Rich replied ‘I wish!’ I said and we both laughed. The sad bit is, we both laughed.

From sharing a joke about casual infidelity to conversations about mowing the lawn, we couldn’t get any more comfortably married. He does the bins, I do my daughter’s hair for school. We are the average stereotypical married couple, and there’s no escaping it.

The Romance is Dead

What does that mean? Basically when you’ve been married for 10 years, you kind of get used to each other. If that sounds really boring, it’s because it is, for the majority of the time. The romance is officially dead. The Valentine’s day candle lit dinners and public declarations of love are at least. But I never counted that as romance anyway. It’s easy to adorn someone new with praise and admiration. If Rich confessed his undying love for me on Facebook I’d comment asking why he didn’t say it to my face.

Married

The thing about long time stereotypical marriage, is that although it can be boring, when it rocks it rocks big time. Nothing comes close to the feeling of someone knowing you so well. Someone who loves you enough to take care of things when you’re sick or who gets as excited as you about your personal goals. It’s the in jokes shared between just us two, the history, the shared stories, the knowing each other inside and out and the anticipation of the years ahead to continue getting to know each other. I would never trade all that for the initial lust of the beginning.

Beware of the Receptionists

I don’t really bang on about how great marriage is because I know people don’t want to hear it. It’s not cool or ‘in’ and people assume I’m promoting one way of life over another. That’s not what I’m saying here at all. Also, I feel like it could be thrown in my face at any minute. What if when the kids leave home we don’t have anything to talk about? Or he decides his receptionist is sexy and I end up on the singles market aged 50? I can’t say that’s never going to happen but I can enjoy the now. The the security of the banal texts saying ‘please put my wash on spin’ and sending photo messages of our kids being cute together because he’s the only other person in the world who cares about them as much as me. Close friends know it’s not always perfect, and it’s highly probably there will be more to face in the future. But I feel like God is saying to me ‘ENJOY’! Enjoy where you are, right now. Enjoy the familiarity, the security, the shared dark humour. Enjoy it for what it is today, not for what might be tomorrow.

Roots

There’s a bit about being comfortably married in ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ which I chose as a reading for our wedding. I had read this book not long before we got married and was quite taken with it. The extract is a part of the book where Pelagia’s father is talking to her about love. These are her father’s words of wisdom to her on the subject.

‘Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.  And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and, when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.’

Louis de Bernieres

If you liked this one, you’ll love this one about our kind-of-awkward date night.

Date Night

 

I watched the latest royal wedding avidly. I don’t know about being a royalist or non-royal supporter but when it comes to a wedding video, I’m in. I didn’t realise how much I wanted to see it until the day it was on actually, I was transfixed.

It was a beautiful affair. The bride very demure and understated glamour, the groom waiting with his big brother who had gone before him. All very lovely. What I found most interesting was the focus on Meghan’s mum Doria after the wedding.

There was a lot of posts about how brave she was to sit alone and others about how she is fearless. It was as if the world suddenly got really snooty about how families work. I haven’t looked at the stats but I’m pretty sure there are a fair few of us who did not find it unusual at all.

wedding-alone

I realised my mum came to my wedding alone. There were no posts after about how amazing that was, I don’t think anyone really noticed. I didn’t even think about it. There were other members of my family at my wedding unlike at Meghan’s wedding. Perhaps that was why it was so brought up.

What I did notice was that her mum went in the car with her but then Meghan had to walk into the church alone to meet Prince Charles who was to walk her down the aisle. I wonder why her mum was moved out of shot at that point? I don’t know the answer.

It was as if Meghan’s family set up was being measured against a yard stick set by the royal family’s circumstances. But when you think about it, their family history of relationships is not exactly something to live up to. The Crown series I have been watching has painted Prince Phillip as a right cad and we know infidelity abounded during Charles and Diana’s marriage also.

However, I am not here to cast judgement. And I can appreciate those ‘warrior mom’ posts about Doria Ragland came from a place of respect and admiration. But really, it’s not such a huge thing. It is what it is. Some families have one parent, some people don’t have a lot of extended family. I bet  if you asked Meghan and her mum Doria they probably didn’t think anything of it either. They were probably both distracted with celebrating happiness.

single-mum-india

Mum and I on a beach in India

I really didn’t see Doria as a downtrodden poor old maid who had no strapping man to take care of her for the day, or alternatively as a militant feminist woman who never accepts help from anyone. I just saw a mum sitting in awe of that cathedral, looking on in love at her daughter getting wed.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, let’s not be so easily led to believe that one shape or size is the right one. As long as there is love, that’s all that matters.

 

If you liked this post you might enjoy this one about how women support each other.

I didn’t get my act together in time to make a sponsored gift guide for Mother’s Day this year (March 11th 2018 if you were wondering). These are all the things I myself would love to receive for Mother’s Day. It’s basically an elaborate post it note to my husband Richard. This is what I like (insert big flashy arrow here). I’ve already scored a couple of hours for an afternoon tea with my 7yr/o which I planned, shopped for, and booked myself and I am really looking forward to. Of course no material thing compares to the love and adoration of my wonderful angelic children and perfect husband, but here are a few things you (YOU RICH) could buy me just to say ‘we might not say it a lot, but you’re totally bossing this whole mum thing’. 😉

  1. Benefit roller lash mascara.

I’ve been binge watching Jeffree Star videos lately (girrrl) and he is living and dying for this mascara so now I want it too.

2. A cutsie or funny travel mug.

Not that I’m ever that sort of organised mum who thinks far enough ahead to have a coffee prepped in a stylish to-go reusable coffee mug but I would like to have one on the side that looks pretty so I can pretend I am. I love this one from ‘Be.’ but I think they’re in Australia, and I haven’t checked their shipping.

mum fuel travel mug

Photo credit: Be. living and homeware website.

3. A pretty spring scarf.

Anything sort of light and airy. This is one he might not think of because I don’t wear them often but they’re great to chuck on and I feel like they disguise my belly a bit. They are also oh-so-feminine so that’s nice too. This one is £25 from Monsoon.

S

photo credit: Monsoon website

4. A cake stand

I saw some lovely ones in Tesco but now I’m totally lusting after this wedgwood one with a gold trim. It’s my daughter’s birthday in March and we are having a princess afternoon tea so this present is *essential*. While there, just as well get some lovely little cake plates from John Lewis to go with it really.

cake plates

Photo credit: John Lewis website

5. Basically anything from the Lush shop

 

If all else fails a big bunch of bright flowers from Morrisons will do the trick lovely. Or you can order from Prestige Flowers. Don’t give me chocolate (I’m on a diet, obvs) or wine because I don’t really like it & I’m happy to just drink your gin, or vouchers (totally not thoughtful and lazy). Oh unless it’s make up vouchers and a lot of them for posh make up then I can completely understand.

 

MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR.

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

PIN IT FOR LATER

 

Date Night – do you do it or do you think it’s overrated? It had been 2 years since me and my husband had been out on our own without the kids. If you’re a married maid like me I’m sure you can appreciate how rare a nice date night is. So, we booked a table and a babysitter and went out for a slap-up meal.

10 year wedding anniversary

In two months’ time I will have been married for 10 years. Like most people, we’ve been together longer, so it’s 13 years altogether. We used to go out a lot. We’d go to the cinema all the time, we even had monthly passes. We’d go out to eat together just if we fancied and with both of us working and just one cat to take care of it was easy to do. We went out with our friends every weekend. Things have changed on that front since having our children and it hit me a couple of weeks ago that it had actually been 2 years since we had been out together!

We went out to a local Italian restaurant. I had been there before with friends but Rich had never been. We knew it was within running distance of the house. It worked out well that we could walk there and back and both have a teensy drink too. I wanted to wear something nice and make a bit of an effort but it was cold and as my mum used to say ‘You can’t make a silk purse of a sow’s ear’ so I wore jeans as usual and just put extra eyeliner on.

That thong, th-thong, thong, thong

It was in the getting ready that my contemplation began about the term date night. It really was not like dating at all. It started in the daytime, making sure the baby didn’t nap too long. I started getting ready at 5pm so that I could do the baby’s bedtime. Instead of wine and music and thongs I struggled with a pair of spanx, which I’m now convinced are too small for me. Realising he could probably find my naked body in a line up with a blindfold on I realised the futility of the spanx and thought I’d rather enjoy my meal so took them off again. Already it was more like a scene off Bridget Jones than anything else.

When you’re dating you’re trying to get a measure of someone else. Trying to find a snapshot of that person’s life and seeing if you would fit well together sharing life. When you’ve been married for ten years you couldn’t know a person more. I would just feel like a twat trying to do flirty conversation with Rich, he’d look at me stupid. Also there’s nothing I can ask him about himself that I don’t already know. I could chart out this man’s bowel movements. I know he likes football, I know he’s kind and caring. We’ve spent the last 13 years side by side. I know what he’s capable of. Equally, he can tell if I think the person two tables over is being too loud, if I don’t like the food or I’m trying to stifle a laugh at someone who just tripped over. More than this, I can’t hide from him if I am bored out of my wits with the conversation!

A shared sense of humour

Luckily for me, I married good and this fella makes me laugh so much (when we get chance to actually finish a sentence or two between us). We had a nice time and after -I must admit- an initial sort of ‘oh shit what am I going to say’ when I realised I had no fall backs, I relaxed into it and enjoyed myself.

We were only out for two and a half hours, and as I’m sure is quite normal we had one of two little beings still awake when we got home but it was totally worth it and it definitely filled up my cup. Walking home I thought I would rephrase ‘Date Night’ to ‘Keeping in Touch night’ and he was already talking about planning the next one so I can’t have been too boring either!

Date Night

 

If you liked this post, you might like to read one I wrote about how me and Rich work as a team even though I’m a SAHM.

Having children is a wonderful experience no doubt about it, but when it comes to our parenting we all have doubts and fears that crop up from time to time. Having just got through all the ‘when are you having another one?’ comments from friends, family, and strangers in shops, let me give you the inside scoop on the stuff nobody talks about openly…

1. When you’re pregnant at some point you will cry that nobody will love your eldest anymore.

They will and they do, trust me. Babies are cute, but they don’t do much. Your eldest is probably developing at an incredible rate learning amazing new skills every day and becoming their own person and family will be just as interested in this as they always have been *whilst* doting on the new baby as well. You will find friends eager to include your eldest in the whole thing, talking to them about being a big brother or sister and maybe even putting a little something in with the baby’s gift for them too. Friends rock.

2. You will worry if you can love the second child as much as your first.

You absolutely will. Love is an amazing thing that you cannot measure out into jars or share out like skittles, and mum’s are awesome at it! You will have that rush of love every time you look at your second just as you do when you look at your first baby, and it will knock you off your feet.

3. You will be just as excited about development milestones

Watching a tiny human learn how to crawl and walk never gets old. You may have heard other parents blithely say it all blurs into one on your second baby and yes, you may not be able to remember exactly how old they are in weeks and hours but it won’t mean you feel any less invested in their physical and mental and emotional development. It’s all joyful second time around too, and you have another tiny person to celebrate it with too!

4. You will have a ‘what have I done?’ moment

Nobody really says this out loud but I’m sure we’ve all been there. I hold my hands up and say I definitely have. Some days are just harder than others and there might come a time where you’re stood outside the car wondering how one of you is supposed to get two of them and the shopping out, and in which order. It does get easier, promise.

5. Your heart will swell when you see them together

When you see your eldest trying to comfort your crying baby, or the two of them cuddled up on the sofa or playing a game together, something in your soul will go off like a firework in a way you never even knew possible.

Parenting is hard, whether you have two children, or one, or six, but there is always some beauty to be found in amongst it. A sibling bond is an amazing thing to feel part responsible for helping to cultivate. If you are pregnant on your second, don’t kick yourself for having these type of thoughts – you won’t be the first or the last. Siblings are awesome!