Being a Stay at home Mum

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I’ve just written a post, where I mention the frustration of having a good idea for a blog and then having no idea how to go about actually writing it. So I may as well confess, I’m stuck! I have been meaning to write this post for a few months now but as yet …. So I decided to just sit down and write, but as you can see I’m waffling on about writers block and as yet haven’t even mentioned being a stay at home Mum (SAHM) I wanted to write a post on what I do as a SAHM, my ‘job’ if you like?

I thought if I just started writing the words would somehow come tumbling out and yet, still nothing. The problem is two fold, firstly I do so many different things in a day it would be hard to quantify and secondly I guess if I’m completely honest with you, I worry that people will read this post and think ‘that’s all you do?’ I loathe the age old battle of the SAHM v the working Mum, I’ve even blogged about it, but unfortunately it still exists. I have had many, seemingly innocuous, comments over the nineteen years that I have been doing this. They usually go along the lines of ‘You’re a stay at home Mum, it must be lovely to have so much time on your hands.’ I try to be a decent person and not bop them on the head whilst screaming, ‘time what time?!’ before being carted off by the men in white coats, a dribbling wreck.

Although even if the above scenario really did happen, I would probably be imploring the driver of the ambulance to stop off at the supermarket, on the way to the hospital for broken Mum’s, as I have nothing to put in the boys packed lunches tomorrow. Then if we could just squeeze in a quick trip home first, so I can put a quick load of washing in the machine and pick up little Jimmy’s swimming kit; because for the fourth week in a row he has left it in a mouldering heap under his bed, unwashed from the previous weeks swimming trip. Whilst we are there please excuse the pile of unwashed dishes, it may be the twenty first century but we still can’t afford a dish washer and dinner for six people creates a lot of mess.

I think I would have to be sedated with a mega dose of Valium, before I could forget all the whirling thoughts about my children, the house and my never ending ‘to do list.’ Come to think of it I should probably stop writing about enforced stays in hospitals, because it is starting to sound like my idea of heaven! Don’t get me wrong I love being a SAHM, but there are times when I get very frustrated/fed-up/bored of it. As the above paragraph might have given you a tiny hint, I also sometimes struggle to keep up with everything and free time is most certainly not a given.

So what do I do all day? Well I won’t give you a detailed account, because I find my life pretty boring at times and I wouldn’t want to share that boredom with other poor unsuspecting souls. In a nut shell there is a huge amount of cooking and cleaning, even the amount of dust six people can create is alarming. Not to mention the fact that I have to wash 42 pairs of socks every week and don’t get me started on what 5 boys in one household can do to a bathroom. My load has lessened recently as my eldest is now at university. That said he arrived home the other day with a huge suitcase full of dirty washing.

I also take my Husband’s Grandmother to the hairdressers and do her shopping at Marks and Spencers. I’m now quite adept at elbowing the blue rinse brigade out of the way, in my dive for the last piece of reduced salmon. I wonder if I could put that on my C.V.? I’m also a keen ebayer, in fact almost all of our clothes shopping is done online and the majority is from ebay. I can dress the boys in Joules and Mini Boden for less than I would spend on clothes from Asda. W prefers Jack Wills and Ralph Lauren and for me, I buy my beloved fifties style dresses in the wrong season at a fraction of the usual price and sell them on again after a few months. In effect I rent my wardrobe, a great way of always having gorgeous dresses.

This takes up a lot of time, I’m brilliant at finding hidden bargains and dressing us all in great clothes on a budget but it requires patience and a steely nerve. I must resist all temptation not to go above budget and not to cry for too long if I miss out on a gorgeous Hell Bunny dress, five sobs per dress is my maximum.

The faint hearted might want to skip the next few lines, but I promised honesty on this blog …. Annoyingly a lot of my time is spent on the loo these days and to say that is frustrating would be an understatement. IBS and all it’s embarrassing foibles is probably best saved for another post; but if my postman happens to be reading this please save my ebay parcel delivery for the afternoon, how you always manage to ring the doorbell whilst I’m on the loo, I will never know.

Then there is the small business of moving house. We are in the process of moving for the second time in 8 months and the 8th time in 8 years! i’m sensing that 8 is not my lucky number. This house is great but has chronic damp to the point that all of our bedroom furniture and our living room bookcases have turned an alarming shade of blue/green due to the spectacular amounts of mould found growing on the back. More alarmingly W’s asthma has gotten so much worse since we moved in here. Needless to say moving takes a large amount of time, sometimes I feel I am constantly either packing or unpacking. On the plus side we have very little clutter, I am ruthless about getting rid of it, less to pack!

I could go on and on about my life as a SAHM, suffice to say every Mum has so very much to juggle and goodness only knows how working Mums manage to stay on top of everything. I’m running out of time for blogging, so I will end this post with a small plea. Ask me about my IBS, my weight, even my age but please don’t ask me about my free time. I promise not to bop you on the head, I’m a passive girl, but I can’t promise not to start dribbling all over you.

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Mum of four boys ….

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I have been so busy blogging about the things that affect my life as a stay at home Mum, I plum forgot to write about my boys.

Four boys is quite a lot and I receive many comments along the lines of ‘Wow, how do you manage?’ Often accompanied by a wide eyed stare and a small sigh of relief, that they don’t have four boys too. Usually I just laugh and say the wine helped. Which is true, but I’m also not entirely sure how I did manage. Certainly immediately after my fourth son T was born, life was tough going for a while. We lived in a small two bedroom house, with three occupants in each room.

T’s birth had been a little dramatic; we had moved from Devon to Gloucester and had only been here for nine days, when I attended my first midwife appointment. We had no car, so it was a bit of a hike with three other children in tow. At 39 weeks and in a July heat wave, an ungainly waddle was all I could manage.

The midwife performed all of the usual checks and then grew rather alarmed by my blood pressure, it was ridiculously high something like 150/100 and climbing. (This was nearly eight years ago so I might be remembering incorrectly. Just in case this blood pressure is impossible!) After my urine was checked she announced that I had pre-eclampsia and an ambulance was called. To cut a long story short T arrived the following day, beating his Dad by ten minutes to my hospital room. To be fair I was 4 cm dilated when they rang P at 6:30am and when he arrived, less than an hour later I was already cradling our newest son.

T was a fractious colicky baby and breast fed little and often. We were readmitted into hospital three days after leaving at 4am in the morning thanks to my still sky high blood pressure and an intense migraine. Luckily all was well and this time when we went home, we stayed there. My hormones were all over the place and looking back now I can see that I had a definite case of the baby blues if not full blown post natal depression. Living in a too small house with no relatives nearby to help, no car and three other children aged 12, 8 and 4 is not something I would recommend to anyone.

Play dates were tough going, I found 4 boys hard to cope with, never mind any extra! William once had twins over to play for a few hours after school and after coping with 6 boys, I was on my knees calling for Chardonnay to be administered intravenously.

Life slowly got better, we bought a car and with the help of housing benefit we moved to a 3 bedroom house. I slowly started to make friends and as T got older he finally began to sleep through the night. In fact as all of our boys got older life in general became easier and when Jack was fourteen we were able to leave him at home when we went to the supermarket. Dragging four reluctant boys around Tesco, could easily be one of the nine circles of Hell, in my opinion.

Money was and still is tight, feeding and clothing 4 boys is not cheap and got even more expensive as the boys grew. There’s nothing like a hungry teenager or two for eating you out of house and home. Having so many children also means that there is always at least one of them with some sort of crisis. Just when you think one boy is sorted and happy; another problem with a different child will appear. If one has just finished his GCSE’s another might be being diagnosed with dyslexia. If one has been acting out at school and is finally settling down; then another one might be miserable, because he is finding it difficult to make friends and so on.

One of the biggest drawbacks about having four children? Spending alone time with your partner is nigh on impossible. No one wants to take all four boys off your hands very often. To be fair I can’t blame them! That said, my parents kindly had them all for the day on our tenth wedding anniversary. On my 40th birthday P and I finally spent our first child free weekend in almost eighteen years.

Of course no one forced me to have four children and hands up; it was completely my own choice. I hadn’t realised quite how difficult it would be but I also hadn’t realised how wonderful it is to be the Mother of 4 boys. I am never far from a hug or a kiss and even though, this is not allowed in public for three of them anymore, they are all four of them Mummy’s boys, through and through. My eldest boy left home for University last September and my heart broke in two. I cried every day for a fortnight and we spoke on the phone every day for a month. Even now we Skype twice a week and I am always on the look out for ways to increase this. Burnt the toast this morning, do you need me to call and talk you through this terrible time? Please? Needless to say I am already dreading W leaving and that’s still three years away – thank goodness.

 

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