Which Facebook Mum Are You?

If you are one of the reported 1.39 billion monthly active Facebook users, then the chances are you have become familiar with some of the popular identities that crop up on the world's biggest social networking site. The bragger, the loved up couple and the cryptic status updater are just a handful of the personalities that seem to have become synonymous with Facebook. But since becoming a mum I am particularly interested in the varying personalities of the Facebook mum squad. Which ones do you recognise from your timeline and which one are you?

The gushing mum
This mum's kids are her absolute world. We know this because she reminds us daily with long winded declarations of love for her children peppered with hashtags such as #lifesgreatestgift or #luckymummy. She constantly tags herself as 'feeling blessed' and would never dream of saying a bad word about her little angels...at least not on social media. Some may argue she's vom inducing but in a world where there's so much hate, I personally think gushing mum's status updates are pretty heartwarming to see.

The moaner mum
In contrast to gushing mum, moaner mum thinks nothing of complaining about her offspring on the internet. 'Seriously cannot wait for preschool to start' and 'is it bedtime yet?' are amongst some of moaner mum's most well used status updates. For her, Facebook is an outlet - somewhere to vent spleen and seek reassurance from other frazzled mums that things do get better. She may come across as negative at times, but let's face it...we've all thought it even if we haven't written it on Facebook.

The cool mum
Cool mum was cool before she became a mum and she's still cool now. What's worse is so is her child! Often pictured wearing crochet garments and Dr Martens, Baby Cool has already visited more art galleries than you and is regularly photographed helping mum to paint all of their upcycled furniture wearing nothing but a nappy and headphones.

The fountain-of-knowledge mum
This mum has heaps of experience in child rearing and is only too happy to share her advice. She can mostly be found commenting on other people's threads with her words of wisdom. Baby has a sniffle? She'll know all about Calpol/Ibuprofen rotations and the Vicks on the feet technique. Terrible twos? She practically taught Supernanny the tricks of the toddler tantrum trade. Bedtime trouble? Her kids have been sleeping through since they were two weeks old. At times she might come across as 'mummy-know-it-all' but we respect her because she really does know her shit.

The snap-happy mum
Ever since she announced her pregnancy by editing the words 'coming soon' onto a black and white photo of her naked belly, your timeline has been inundated with pictures from snap-happy mum. For this wannabe photographer, bump updates and grisly newborn pics were just the start - to date she has 67 albums dedicated to her favourite subject. You've witnessed their every milestone from varying angles and have probably seen more photos of her child than you have of your own. Whilst you occasionally wonder if she only ever sees her child from behind a camera lens, you also have to applaud her dedication. She's going to have one hell of a family album.

The crafty mum
Facebook isn't crafty mum's favourite social media platform - her heart lies with Pinterest. Still, every now and then she'll upload photos of rainy-day creations that would make Neil Buchanan proud. Whether it's a guitar made out of a cereal box or a Coke bottle rocket, crafty mum can turn any household item into a work of art and wins the Easter Bonnett Parade Every. Single. Year.

The how-does-she-do-it-mum
She checked in at the gym at 7am this morning, now she's just arrived at Alton Towers. She only got back from her holiday in the South of France last week and she's invited you to a fundraising event she's hosting tomorrow. And she works! How does she do it all and still manage to post photos of an immaculate house and well turned out kids? There are either dark forces at work here or she is seriously good at editing.

The joker mum
Joker mum tries not to appear phased by the overwhelming responsibility of parenthood. She doesn't take anything too seriously and her contributions to Facebook are often witty anecdotes or amusing photos of her child with a colander on his head. She may appear cool, calm and collected but sometimes she uses humour to cover up her own insecurities.

The oversharing mum
Oversharing mum likes to inform the Facebook world of her every move whether it's her plans for the day, what she's serving up for lunch or which household chores she hopes to complete during nap time. Sometimes she strays into the realms of the inappropriate - like when she posted photos of her child's first deposit on the potty (although anyone who has gone through the ordeal of potty training will know that this can often feel like a triumph worth boasting about). Some may say it's unnecessary to share every mundane detail of your life online but for many mums, it is one of the only ways they get to interact with other humans over the age of 4 during the day. So give her a break.

The absent mum
Absent mum can't be arsed with Facebook. She'll post once in a blue moon and you'll be reminded that she still exists and shocked at how old her children are now.

So 'fess up, which one are you? I think I'm closest to joker mum...forever wishing I was crafty/cool/how-does-she-do-it mum though!

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Wicked Wednesday #4 - Are You Having a Giraffe?

Last weekend we took Jack to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park where we saw loads of amazing animals - lions, tigers, bears (oh my!) and a bison which he understandably mistook for a reindeer because both have 'horns'. Unfortunately I think that one too many episodes of 64 Zoo Lane have desensitised him somewhat on the beauty of nature. This totally unimpressed face pretty much says 'It's a giraffe mother, and what? I see them all the time on the iPad!'

A real giraffe! Well I was excited anyway.


9 Giveaway Signs That I Have Become a Grown-Up

I turn 30 next year. 30 isn't 'old' by anyone's standards. There are loads of hip 30 year olds (I did a quick Google search of 'cool celebs who are 30' to illustrate this point and found that Katy Perry, Keira Knightley, Kelly Osbourne and Avril Lavigne are all 30 so that totally proves I'm right) but it's still a bit of a milestone age. I've changed a lot throughout my twenties, starting out as a foul mouthed, cider swilling student with a head full of ambitions and I'll end them as a foul mouthed, coffee sipping mama with a heart full of love (sounds wanky but totes true). In case the looming milestone of 30 and the napping toddler to my left isn't enough of a reminder that I'm a grown up now, here are some other giveaway signs.

I don't know about current music
I used to be able to rap along to Lisa Maffia's verse of 21 Seconds by So Solid Crew like an absolute pro. In fact I could probably still spit dem lyrics now because they're pretty much ingrained on my brain after the hours I spent listening to the godawful racket as a teen. But it would sound ridiculous and wrong, like the time I caught my mum singing along to Yeah by Usher and was mortally offended. 'That song is NOT for you,' I told her in utter disgust. Now I'm not really down with what's current and cool in the music world. I like Sam Smith but Ariana Grande? Sounds like something I'd order in Costa.

I am domesticated(ish)
On sunny days I wake up and my first thought is 'oooh, it's a good drying day' followed closely by 'what have you become?!' I also cook. Last week I made soup FROM SCRATCH. It had a few accidentally unblended chunks of celery and carrot in it but if anyone questioned it I told them that it was 'rustic'. Because I'm a grown up so I can use words like rustic. I bake too albeit with a lot of help from Betty Crocker. But as someone who survived three years at university on a diet of cheese slice toasties, I feel this is a vast development.

I'd rather stay in
There was a time when spending my Saturday nights in dark, sweaty clubs heaving with drunken strangers and shit music used to seem appealing. Not anymore. Who needs overpriced drinks, inevitable drama, chavs grinding against your leg all night then telling you to 'cheer the fuck up' when you politely ask them to go away, dodgy kebabs, extortionate taxi fares and raging hangovers when you can just curl up at home in front of the fire with a takeaway and a bottle of wine....is number one on the list of things I never would have said in my early twenties.

I hang out with my parents
Don't get me wrong, I love my mum dearly. But in my late teens/early twenties the prospect of hanging out with her and my stepdad was...well, a bit urgh. That's what my friends were for. I was always invited on family days out and holidays but I never went, much preferring to have the house to myself for a week so I could invite my friends over and get drunk on caps full of Bells whiskey from the booze cabinet. But these days we socialise with my parents a lot. We go for meals or to the pub and sometimes even my grandparents come along too. I genuinely enjoy their company. Maybe because I have more in common with them now.

I love IKEA
Everyone loves IKEA. But in my early twenties I'd only emerge with a belly full of horse meatballs and occasionally a fake plant for my bedroom. Now I'm all over the Pax wardrobes, fancy shelving units, cushion covers and cheap crockery. AND there's always a 60p hot-dog waiting for me at the end! Best. Day. Ever.

I live vicariously through TV
With the gradual shift away from going out in the evening and socialising with actual humans, I find myself developing an unhealthy interest with the ones on the telly. 'What's that Ian Beale up to now?' I'll say as if I actually know him. Or 'That bloody Roxy Mitchell, always nicking her sister's husbands, she's got no shame' as if she's a real person. I've started watching all the grown up shows like Masterchef and Question Time and when I really get into a particular series, I become worryingly attached. It's a good job my evening schedule is so bleak because missing the finale of Banished...well, that just wouldn't do at all.

I drink wine for pleasure rather than to get shitfaced
I used to think that Lambrini was wine. I would glug it and all of it's cheaper, nastier counterparts with gusto (even Lambrella which you could only find in the really questionable corner shops and often had bits floating in it) because my sole intention was to get as drunk as possible for as little money as possible. Now I actually like the taste of proper wine. I don't mind spending a bit more on it because I understand how it compliments meals and I savour it rather than neck it. I still have zero connoissuerial coffee tasting skills though.

I hate clothes shopping but love grocery shopping
In an unexpected reversal, shopping in Topshop has become a chore while a Tesco big shop is actually quite good fun. Anyone who has children (especially feral toddlers) will know that clothes shopping with them in tow isn't just pointless but utterly soul destroying. Trying to shoehorn yourself into a pair of skinny jeans in a tiny changing room while child wails with impatience and whips back the curtain to expose your bare arse to a bunch of smirking teenagers is never fun. Nor is getting the evil eye from an immaculately dressed shop assistant as he makes a mad dash towards the white bodycons with his sticky fingers and runny nose. By contrast, Tesco is big and bright and airy. It sells cake and wine and bribery material such as Kinder Eggs and toy cars. Trolleys are excellent for confinement and Jack usually gets so relaxed in them that he falls asleep leaving me free to peruse for all the best deals at my leisure.

I'm a mum
Regardless of your age, nothing screams 'TIME TO GROW UP' like parenthood. Must be something to do with the all encompassing responsibility of having another human relying on you to keep them alive and all that. Suddenly you're life is no longer your own. You don't come first anymore. But that's OK because it's the start of an adult life which might involve making sacrifices, changing your lifestyle and swapping late nights for early mornings but I wouldn't have it any other way.

A Day In The Life Of a Hungover Mum

Since becoming a mother there are things that I have definitely improved at; wiping bottoms, multitasking, functioning on three hours sleep and making giraffes out of Play Doh to name just a few. There are also things that I have become considerably worse at - for example socialising and arriving anywhere on time. But at the very top of my list of failings is my ability to hold my drink like I once could. I'm not sure if it's my age, my hormones or lack of practice. All I know is that my days of boogying on down for so long on a Saturday night that I'd often see the sun rise over the top of Lidl as I staggered home are long, long gone. These days a night out requires weeks of planning, hours of fruitless beautifying and, in most cases, I'm usually tucked up back home with a Dixy Chicken by the time the clock strikes midnight anyway.

Still, every now and then I do believe that a good blow out can be a positive thing. Spending time with actual adult humans and letting your hair down can be lots of fun, especially when fishbowls and Beyonce tracks are involved. But there is always a price to pay for such merriment. This is how the aftermath of a typical (rare) night out usually unfolds for me.

7am: Wake up feeling surprisingly sprightly. No sign of sickness or headache. Just the warm, fuzzy glow of an excellent night out. Wake sleeping boyf to inform him that 'I still got it' before conking back out into fitful slumber, totally oblivious to the fact that I'm still half pissed.

10am: Oh no. It's begun. The second awakening brings the full wrath of hangover hell. The room is spinning, my stomach is gurgling like a blocked drain and someone appears to be playing bass guitar in the depths of my skull. Then the flashbacks begin. Did I really call that bouncer a 'beardy twat'? Did I actually get low, low, low, low on the advice of Flo-Rida? Why did I feel it necessary to stop for a battered sausage interlude in between bars? Surely it wasn't me who ended the night weeping to a bunch of long haired, eighteen year old girls in the toilets because 'I want to be young again'. Realisation sets in and a small part of my dignity is lost forever.

10:15am: Seek sympathy and cuddles from boyf while exploring the possibility of him fetching me a Mcmuffin. Find that sympathy is minimal. Apparently he is cross because I shouted 'stop crushing my spirit, you spirit crusher' at him in the street when he suggested calling it a night at 3am.

11am: Nausea has ranked up a gear. Mcmuffin is no longer a viable option. Stomach is a grotesque curdle-fest of wine, cider, VK Apple and Baileys (?!?!) with that rancid battered sausage floating around in the mix too. A scene similar to something I once saw on The Exorcist ensues.

12pm: Grandparents will be dropping child off imminently. Must try and regain composure by washing crusty eye make up away and brushing teeth several times. The exertion of trying to act normal has broken me and I have to have another lie down. Boyf deals with handover. Hear my mother tut on the doorstep and mutter something along the lines of 'pathetic, at her age' but can't summon the energy to feel ashamed.

2pm: Child is bored and feral. I have made it downstairs and am slumped helplessly on the settee. He senses my weakness so naturally he tears the house apart while singing Frere Jacques at the top of his voice. Boyf is playing Football Manager and is still grumpy. The cat has pooed in his litter tray and nobody is doing anything about it. Everything is dire.

Mother is suffering...therefore it is my duty to be at my peak of annoyingness. 

2:30pm: Make the bold and somewhat rash decision to go to the park. Child will burn off energy and the fresh air will do me good. Round up the troops, I can do this!

3pm: I can't do this. This becomes obvious very quickly. Child wants me to chase him and push him and seesaw with him. All of this is beyond my capability. My feet are blistered and my legs are aching with lactic acid. I desperately want to lie down on the park bench but I'm wearing my scruffiest mum hoody and haven't brushed my hair today so could easily be mistaken for a vagrant which would do nothing for my dwindling self esteem. After a full 12 minutes it's time to admit defeat and slump back to the depths of the toilet bowl where I belong.

5:30pm: Is it bedtime yet?

6pm: Time for social media damage limitation. Cringe at drunken tweets, delete Facebook status that reads 'TONIGHT we're drinking from the bottle!!!' and de-tag any photo taken after 11pm. Get cross and ranty about the ridiculous fact that clubs now employ photographers to upload pictures of drunken revellers to Facebook. Why is this a thing? This should not be a thing. Surely it is a flagrant breach of my human rights to have pictures of me cranking dat to Soulja Boi on the internet without my consent. Scroll past said pics hurriedly and pray my work colleagues/fellow pre-school parents never stumble upon them.

7pm: Physically I'm recovering but now the booze blues have taken hold and self loathing is in full swing. I hate myself. I'm a disgrace. I'm a parent now and while all of the other Instagram mums have spent their Sundays baking, crafting and taking country walks with their little ones, I've been comatose on the sofa breathing toxic fumes and eating Cheese Strings. Feel deeply ashamed and vow to become a better person. Start googling chia and juice cleanses in order to become healthier and happier.

8pm: Am ravenous. Sod chia. Ring Chinese.

8:45pm: Stuff egg fried rice and curry sauce into my face until I find my happy place.

9pm: Climb into bed sorrowfully, ignoring fake tan stains. Vow never to drink again.

Please tell me it's not just me.

On Your Third Birthday

Jack, today you are three and I know it sounds like a massive cliche but I honestly don't know where the time has gone. It only seems like yesterday when I was being handed a wrinkled, squawking bundle with a cone shaped head and left wondering 'what am I supposed to do with THIS?!'

I'll be honest. In the early days I wasn't sure how well we'd get on. You were needy and loud. I was sadly lacking in any natural maternal virtues and had always been a fan of a long lie in. I was overwhelmed. You were demanding. And I sat back and let other people do the things I should've been doing for you because I genuinely believed they could care for you better than I could. But my confidence grew with each day we spent together and that, my friend, is when you became my buddy, my sidekick and the absolute apple of my eye.

At three you are a whirlwind and a little bit barmy. You like to collect other peoples clothing (usually leggings or pyjama bottoms) and wear them like scarves around the house. You have a deep rooted obsession with wind turbines. You insist on saying goodnight to every single child in your nursery class (and most of the staff) before going to sleep at night. The other day you told me you were calling your new toy horse Doncaster. Doncaster?!?! You make me laugh everyday, even more so now you can talk. I honestly think you are the coolest, funniest little boy I've ever met.
But you are also hot headed. Over the course of 'terrible two' there have been some apoplectic tantrums. Sometimes when you put the last piece of lego on a tower you've been meticulously building you are just a little bit too vigorous. The tower will fall and you will literally shake with rage. And if I call you 'an angry little man' you get even crosser, bellowing 'AM NOT A MAN, AMMA BIG BOY!' Yes, yes you certainly are.

Because now you sing the alphabet correctly and can count past ten. You have meaningful conversations with me, voice your opinions (yes, I know the multi-vitamin tastes 'scusting but if you'd eat your veg you wouldn't need it so much) and recite nursery rhymes which I love. I know that three will be the year when we crack the potty (maybe literally if you keep throwing it out of the door in disapproval) and when we phase out the bedtime bottle that some would argue you're already far too big for. I know I'll have to start correcting you when you call the hoover the 'hooter car' or ask for 'graby' with your 'tatoes'. Because babyhood is a distant memory now and even your toddler days are numbered. You are, as you so regularly tell me, a big boy now. And although I sometimes pine for the tiny baby that I didn't have a clue what to do with, I also can't wait to meet the person you're going to grow into.

This year I've worried about not hitting certain milestones. I've wondered if I'm 'meeting your needs' and still often feel out of my depth as a mummy. But I read somewhere that the measure of a mother is in the happiness of her children and if that's true then I think I must be doing OK. Last night before bed you told me that 'when dark finishes it'll be my birthday' and today we spent the day opening presents, eating pancakes and going to see some penguins. It wasn't extravagant by anyone's standards but you were happy. And that makes me happy. So sod the milestones, I've realised that as long as we're happy that's all that matters.

Happy birthday Jack. You really are a joy. Love you.

Your mummy xx

Wicked Wednesdays #3 - You Have Been Evicted

When I asked Jack to come out from underneath my dressing table (sorry, his 'house') he wasn't impressed. He'd made himself quite comfortable in there with his toys and breakfast so he didn't appreciate being evicted. Think he briefly considered claiming squatters rights to begin with, then he resorted to his best tactic of squawking in protest. The joys!