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We did it! Bad Mums’ Club Launch Night

And breathe!..

Something I’ve not been doing for the past few months thinking about setting up Bad Mums’ Club. Can I do it? Am I mad? Will people really want to come? After all, this was an idea born out of a night in with a bottle of wine to myself ‘a la Bridget Jones’…should it have been buried with the hangover that followed?

No!

This year I made a pact to myself – it’s time to get scared again. You may have heard countless life coaches and ‘gurus’ spouting about ‘do one thing a week that scares you’, well I picked the mother of all scary tasks and now I’m glad I did.

On March 23rd 2017 over 50 women turned out for the launch of Bad Mums’ Club, none of them really knowing what to expect. I admit I was overwhelmed and moved at the turnout (in my head I expected about 10 people to show and that would have been made up of my relatives and close friends) but these were REAL people, most of which didn’t know me from Adam. To see them all together made me think – this really IS what Mums want – a place where you can go and be bloody honest for once, have a bit of fun and enjoy being YOU again.

And so the night began…

Mums who arrived on their own felt their nerves ease as they enjoyed the complimentary glass of prosecco, those who arrived with friends in tow chatted eagerly, all were excited to find out what lay ahead.

I’ll admit I have never been as nervous as I was making my welcome speech to all the ladies. For me this is really personal. I can’t tell you how passionate I am about Bad Mums’ Club and when you feel so strongly about something you really want other people to feel it too. Standing up there and telling a room full of wonderful women why I wanted to do this was daunting, but they smiled, hell they even laughed along with me.

That’s when I knew I had done the right thing.

What followed was far better than my words – BBC Radio 5 live’s Sam Walker, our first ever guest speaker, was fantastic (although I knew she would be). Sam is a mum of two who juggles her career with being ‘mummy’. She overwhelmed me last year when she decided to live her dream, took a break from work and went off with her family to live in New York and Australia for a number of months so they could have the experience of a lifetime. That takes balls and it’s something I think as mums we often think we can’t do anymore – yet here she was doing it. Inspiring, funny and not sugar coating the hard times either…Sam was bloody brilliant!

More prosecco flowed, and why not, we are supposed to be ‘Bad Mums’ after all ; )

Then it was time for the ladies to mingle. They had all been given a coloured sticker when they arrived and now they had to get into groups depending on which colour they were. Some got to try out cocktail flaring first, others reflexology, face mapping and some ate cake – yes really! Local businesses had come along to give the mums a treat and unite the community – something I was keen for Bad Mums’ Club to do. After two hours of ‘me’ time it was hard to get anyone to leave. I was inundated with ‘when is the next one?’, ‘can we have a go at this next time?’ and above all it was just heartwarming to stand and watch women who didn’t know each other at the start of the night, forming new friendships.

So thank you ladies, this couldn’t continue without you. This is for you. This is for me. This is for everyone who has ever had a moment where they feel like they are not good enough. Raise your glass…to Bad Mums’ Club. We are launched and we are proud!

 

 

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Motherhood: The Fake Tan Diaries

I’ve been contemplating over the past few weeks about ditching fake tan for good as I seem to have a history with it that’s not been the best and since Motherhood it’s got even worse.

Let’s start at the very beginning, to the kid free days when I was actually a kid myself. Back then it wasn’t fake tan it was pretty much make up for legs – you put it on with your bare hands and rubbed it in-voila-instant tan…although if you interacted with even a drop of water the streaks would come out fast and furious PLUS you ended up with orange hands.

I remember being 14 when I first took to the bottle (pinching my auntie’s supply) – we had gone to a family wedding and I had bought what I thought was a trendy dress from Morgan which was white with daisy flowers on the straps. I slapped on the tan so I could turn my milk-bottle white pins to a lovely shade of mocha only to get caught in a downpour from the church to the reception. Cue the rest of the night being spent in the Ladies with my legs up in the sink trying to scrub off the streaks with rough waxy toilet paper! The white dress turned to mucky brown and the tears started flowing. Mortified!

As the years wore on I decided to give it another try and all was going well with my foray into FAKE…until the patter of tiny feet meant my tanning beauty regime went out of the window (along with shaving my legs and plucking my eyebrows!) Who had the time or patience?

There was one particular day after having my little girl that I thought ‘right I’m going to make the effort today and I’m going to put on some tan and feel like the old me’. I had visions of taking her for a walk in the pram the following day looking like a glowing yummy Mummy – it would make a change from being make-up free with constant dry shampooed hair. So, I slapped on the tan before bedtime and waited for it to magically develop overnight.

What I didn’t realise is that this was real life and I’d only had a baby two months ago and that baby had a habit of waking up numerous times during the night to be fed. In my zombie like routine state I jolted upright as soon as she started crying for milk and went to get her bottle. Despite being shattered I loved those times just the two of us as she would cradle her face up against by arms as I fed her.

I managed a few more winks of sleep after putting her back down and then it was time to get up again. It was then I realised my mistake as I walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I had totally forgot I had put tan on and now, as looked down at my arm, I saw a beautiful tanned limb with A HEAD SHAPED WHITE PATCH in the middle of it. NOOOOOOOO!

Yet again I had sacrificed any chance of me looking good (cos clearly Mums can’t do that). But then I looked at my arm again. If I had NO tan, what did that mean for my baby girl?

Racing back to the bedroom I looked down to see her cheeky face smiling up at me. Phew she’s fine, I thought – no damage here. Until I looked closer. Had I opened the curtains properly? There seemed to be a shadow on one side of her face. Nope curtains fully open. Christ! I’ve tanned half my baby’s face!

You’d think I would have learnt but oh no. As the arrival of baby number two was imminent I had plans to try and make the moment they met Mummy for the first time as glamorous as possible. Yes, this time around I’d have those lovely post birth ‘Mother baby photos’ complete with perfect painted nails and a blissful glow (unlike the first time around where I had a swollen water retention moon face that was red and sweating-albeit smiling). So, 9 months pregnant with a huge bump that meant I could no longer tie my own shoelaces, I decided that I would attempt to put on some fake tan prior to the arrival. I look back in disbelief at being naked in the bathroom trying to reach my legs enough to tan them and getting myself in all sorts of positions in pursuit of having no white bits. After a lot of huffing, puffing (and sighing), I actually managed it.

But what came next was not in the plan…

Tanned from top to toe I take my heavily pregnant self to bed only to lie down and hear a ‘pop’.

‘Did you hear that’, I asked my husband? ‘No’, he said barely looking away from the telly.

‘I think my waters have just broke’.

I got up out of bed and ‘gush’ there was a steady stream of liquid coming down my leg. It wasn’t the thought of me possibly being in labour that was freaking me out though it was the fake tan streaking down my legs at a rate of knots!

I think it must have given the midwives the best tale to tell after I rang the hospital to say my waters had broke and ask should I come in. I confessed I was covered in fake tan and wondered if I needed to shower it off-  to which she stifled a laugh and said ‘oh no love keep it on, it might be a long time yet so at least you can let it develop’.

I certainly got some weird looks as I rocked up looking like David Dickenson to the labour ward. And yes, as you might expect, to top it all off I needed monitoring which meant 2 stickers attached to my chest that were later taken off (along with the tan in that area). My glamorous pics were to no avail but I was lucky enough to have a gorgeous new baby and clearly should have known better.

As I look now at the bottle of St. Tropez I have before me I smile…well there’s definitely no more kids for me on the horizon, why not take the plunge one more time. What could possibly go wrong???

Cue Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ‘Umpa Lumpa’ music…

 

 

I’m a Parent Get Me Out of Here!

When was it that weekends changed from being a haven for hangovers and lie-ins to becoming the time to be inundated with kid’s parties?? Yes, gone too are the Sunday mornings you raced to Mc D’s (post Saturday night clubbing) for a fast food fix, replaced by your little ‘uns hounding you for a trip to the Golden Arches just to get the latest free Happy Meal toy.

Life certainly changes in lots of ways when you have children – often resulting in you having to do a number of things on a weekend that sometimes you wish you didn’t…like visiting Playcentres!

Now whilst they may seem the fail-safe solution to keeping the little ones entertained on a rainy day, a visit to a Playcentre is actually like starring in your own personal episode of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ (minus eating kangaroos naughty bits).

As soon as you step through the secure gates it’s a jungle out there, packed full of mini species screaming like banshees and pushing past their fellow inhabitants in the plight to be the one who reaches the top of the roped tower first!

Why they are called ‘soft play areas’ is also beyond me as, if you’ve been, there’s nothing ‘soft’ about them, you have to have nerves of steel as a parent to survive a session.

There’s a number of challenges that await…

Let’s start with the noise levels which are just set to MEGA WATT HIGH!

Then there’s the fighting, the tears and the tantrums…and I’m not just talking the kids here because, boy if little Johnny knocks over tiny Tim then whoosh the heavies step in as their parents square up to each other momentarily – before realising that whilst they are busy arguing their kids have made friends and are now off playing in a completely other area!

I hate to say it but as a parent you are deluded if you think that a trip to the Playcentre is going to give you time to sit, relax with a brew and watch your child play happily. You WILL end up in there with them at some point so BE prepared.

Here’s some of the ‘codes’ you need to watch out for…

Code RED – yes, not only are nose bleeds common place but as kids bash and bop their way through the plastic covered obstacles you can expect an array of battle scars and blood to prove it.

Code YELLOW – here toilet training has a lot to answer for! Dodge the yellow pools at all costs because you will either end up with your socks getting wet and smelly or you’ll slide across the room resembling Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

Code BROWN – do I really need to spell this out?

Then finally there’s the fear you will at some point be dragged down the MEGA SLIDE which runs from top to bottom of the mass roped structure.

This often results in one of two things…your bum gets stuck in the groove as you realise these slides were actually made for kids not adults or you slide down at the speed of a rocket and end up with skin burns from tensing up so tight on the descent.

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can dodge the slide either as it’s usually the only escape out of there. The alternative route would mean trying to squeeze yourself through a hole that’s the size of a pea and crawl out of it backwards, leaving you all flushed and sweating (flashback to childbirth)!

It’s a wonder we don’t all shout ‘I’m a Parent Get Me Out of Here’ before the play time allocation is up. Thank god for the time-limit, there’s nothing better than hearing your surname over the tannoy…you feel like giving the announcer a kiss on the way out.

So, the next time you are at a Playcentre give another adult a smile to show them you feel their pain and remember, as the kids from High School Musical once sung, ‘We Are All in This Together’!

Love,

The Big Bad Mumma, aka Michelle xx

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Girls World!

Why is it that your children always seem to break the most expensive items you own or dive straight in to wreck those prized possessions that you love the most? It’s right isn’t it…I can see you all nodding your head along as you are reading this. We’ve all been there, from the stain loving blackcurrant juice spilt all over the new sofa, to them smashing a special vase as they ‘play fight’ in the living room. You go through all the emotions from horror, to anger, to guilt for shouting at them and then you spend a fortune trying to replace items only for it to happen again not too far into the distant future!

I distinctly remember going through all those emotions when my daughter was about five years old.

It was the day she decided to give herself the makeover of all makeovers when her school friend came over for a playdate.

A VERY expensive playdate it turned out…

As I recall I’d done the ‘good mother’ thing of giving in to my daughters pleas of having a friend round and spent ages dreaming up activities for them to do  – from building a den, making bracelets, colouring in Disney Princesses and had even bought a packet cake mix so I could show off my culinary skills and bake with them!  Within five mins of her friend arriving my well-prepared role was redundant though as they ran upstairs to my daughter’s room, giggling and chatting like two old women.

This ‘playdate’ thing is quite easy I thought – I really shouldn’t have got so stressed, what had I been thinking?

I poured myself a celebratory brew and sat down to watch a bit of telly, one ear firmly on the girl’s giggles, the other on Loose Women’s gossip.

And then it happened…the laughter stopped. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

As a parent, you know what that means – one thing – mischief has begun!

I flew up the stairs two at a time (Jess Ennis has nothing on me) – BANG – I opened the bedroom door…EMPTY…where were they?

Bathroom? (Where girls LOVE to go in pairs-something they never grow out of even as an adult, right?) …EMPTY.

There was only one room remaining and as I realised which one it was, the blood started to drain from my face…

OUR BEDROOM!!!

I slowly opened the door to be greeted by two clown faces smiling back at me.

I wanted to laugh but then I looked down at the open make up bag and carpet covered in foundation, glitter and lipstick and then I wanted to cry.

Yes, with the lack of an 80s Girls World in our house (if you are of a certain age you will know what I mean by this), she’d gone straight for the jugular and given herself and her mate a makeover from my brand-new MAC collection. She didn’t even touch the Collection 2000 eyeshadows or the ancient Estee Lauder lippy. At least I can console myself in the fact she’s got good taste.

I don’t think this will be the last time she raids Mums make up bag but back then the girls were swiftly taken to wash their faces clean (as best they could caked in 3 layers of an array of colours and sparkle). And then it was ‘home time’ when the playdates parents rang the bell for pick up. Of course the friend mentioned their makeover as the first thing out of their mouth but like any ‘good Mum’ I laughed it off – ‘oh it was fine, nothing really’ (just a hundred quids worth of make up ruined in an afternoon).

So, as I find myself putting on those rose coloured glasses now and again as my daughter races to double digits and I pine for the times she was ‘oh so cute and adorable’ I will remember these moments and store them up to get my revenge on her by retelling them to future boyfriends, her 18th and of course at her hen do!

A Mums got to do what a Mums got to do right?

 

 

Dr. Google will see you now!

Dr. Chris Steele, Dr. Ranj and even Doc McStuffins have got nothing on me when I decide to be a ‘have a go’ doctor. Oh yes, we’ve all done it haven’t we? Running a temperature, heartbeat racing faster, I’ll just type it into Google and see what it says…usually finding out within a couple of clicks that it’s something horrendous, or even worse, terminal. Cue adding sleep deprivation to the list of symptoms as you absorb the facts from the modern font of all medical knowledge.

I’ve TRIED to get out of the habit numerous times but it’s just so bloody tempting, especially when you have kids and are like Miss Marple trying to get to the bottom of their ‘mystery illness’.

I remember when my little boy was just a few weeks old and I’d put him in his moses basket to sleep at night and found him soaking wet the next morning, despite having a nappy on. His little vest was soggy but his bottoms were pretty much bone dry.  This happened not just one night but continued for about three and by then I’d convinced myself that there was something seriously wrong.

‘Oh my god…excessive sweating’…what does that mean???

There’s only one thing for it…Dr Google!

So, I found myself (already in the ‘new baby sleep deprived state’) lighting up my dark bedroom with my mobile phone as I searched for the definitive answer.

Ping…Click…Ping…Click…wait…wait…

Heart Disease!

Oh my god, oh my god!

I woke up a very grumpy and tired husband (who had already told me under no circumstances to ‘go on Google’) and, like a screaming banshee, proclaimed we had to get our son to hospital ‘right now’ and ‘I KNEW something was wrong’!

After being made to take a series of deep breaths and calm down, I started to look less like the woman from The Exorcist and decided to meet him halfway and ring the maternity unit’s 24hr helpline first.

Shaking I pressed in the number and put the phone on speaker so we could both hear.

“Hello there, my little boy has been wet through for three nights after being put down to sleep and I’ve just Googled and it says he has heart disease, should we bring him in?”

It came out so fast that my teeth were tripping over my tongue!!

Silence.

 “Can I ask if his nappy is on right?” she asked.

“Of course it is, this isn’t my first baby, I know how to put one on,” I hysterically snapped.

“Was your first baby a boy or a girl?”

“Girl” I answered thinking ‘cut to the chase here Matron, we might not have much time…Google says it’s serious’.

“Ahhhhh…right.”

Silence. Followed by…

“Can you do me a favour and loosen your sons nappy and look to see in which direction his winky is pointing…”

I carefully followed her instructions.

“Up” was my answer, confused as to why this was relevant.

Pause.

 “I think you’ll find that little boys need their bits pointing downwards when you do up their nappies. It seems that your baby has been sprinkling upwards for the past few nights.

Give it a try and I’m sure the problem will be resolved.”

My husband stifled a laugh and turned over. I hand palmed my head in embarrassment. What a neurotic idiot I’d been! And how much had I gotten myself into a state thinking the absolute worst.

What followed was the usual ‘I told you not to Google it, now turn off your friggin’ phone’ from the husband along with him mumbling about how his new son must have ‘a very effective winky’ to be managing to spray that far over himself these past few nights.

Men eh!?

I’m not gonna lie and say I no longer consult ‘Dr. Google’, because I still do, I’m like an addict in rehab slowly weaning myself away from the web and its unreasonable medical verdicts. I take solace in the fact that I’m not alone – I know there’s others out there like me. To those parents I say, repeat the mantra ‘Google is a guideline only’ and remember if you want a proper diagnosis speak to someone who isn’t made up of pixels and, finally, if you have a baby boy right now and you are going through something similar….point it south!!

 

 

Bad Mum on Tour!

What do you get when you put seven girl friends into a house for a get together, add copious amounts of gin, a laptop and a credit card?

Answer – A hangover from hell and the realisation you’ve all booked a three-night break in Majorca for later that year!

That’s what happened to me back in January and five months later I found myself on the beach enjoying my first ever girl’s holiday at the ripe old age of 40. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t plain sailing getting there. First up I had to break the news to my husband…eek! Would ‘the drink made me do it’ work? Or maybe, ‘it was peer pressure’. Whatever I said to him I knew it was going to go down like the ending of Game of Thrones…not good!

The reactions in my house went a bit like this:

Husband – sighs and shrugs head, then silence (errr, does that mean you are ok with it then???)

Son – unfazed, doesn’t even look up from playing Roblox on the iPad

Daughter – exclaims “Yey! Does that mean we can have take-out every night you are away and eat Haribo’s for breakfast? Sick!”

The icing on the cake really came though when I found out later that day that the girl’s trip only bloody fell on the same weekend of my mother in laws big birthday party, so now I had joined the club of Bad Mums, Bad Wife AND Bad Daughter in Law!!

Despite the huge amount of guilt I felt in the lead up, I held on to the mantra that ‘life is too short’ and sometimes it’s about putting yourself first, which as a Mum, we rarely get to do.

And, oh my god the trip was a revelation – firstly by realising that as soon as we got to the airport, it was just me I had to look after.

I could browse duty free without having the other half bugging me about the amount of time I’d spent trying on a lip gloss on and I could go for a wee when I wanted to, not because my little boy had asked me to take him to the toilet for the umpteenth time.

It was like a whole new world, one where my name was Michelle, not Mum.

Things I did on my trip…

  • I bought an ‘unmumsy book’ (Irvine Welsh’s Dead Man’s Trousers) AND I got time to read it.
  • I got a full 9 hours sleep and lay in past 7am!!!
  • I sunbathed
  • And the only hard decisions I had to make was should I get a sangria or a gin cocktail.

Don’t get me wrong I missed my kids and husband incredibly (they will be reading this) and I face timed them every day but getting a part of me back meant the world.

Sometimes as a parent we often forget where the real ‘us’ went. I’m not suggesting you all go out and book a random girl’s holiday (cue hubbies everywhere coming after me en masse) but what I AM saying is it’s ok to be ‘the real you’ every now and again.

So, take a few moments after reading this and think about something you used to do before having kids. What did you really enjoy, and not what you think you should do now you’re a Mum.

Maybe it’s rediscovering your passion for music, dancing like no one is watching or buying a pair of killer heels that definitely don’t come with a Mum tag

Oh, and one bit of advice before I sign off…don’t take your credit card out when drinking gin, you never know where it might take you ; )

Till next time,

The Big Bad Mumma (also known as Michelle!) xxx

 

 

 

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