#53: My Long-Forgotten Life Skills

#53: My Long-Forgotten Life Skills
5 minutes to read

Since my foray into the world of motherhood, I’ve definitely gained a whole host of new skills. I can’t quite put my finger on them at the moment, but refereeing and extreme multi-tasking will be in there. I’m sure there are others *muses wistfully for a moment*. 

However, in addition to the appreciation of independence which I took for granted, and being able to sleep properly, a number of life skills seem to have slipped from my arsenal. My children won’t be teeny forever, so regain these attributes I must.

In no particular order, then, here are a few simple areas that I need to work on if I’m ever to be deemed normal again by wider society.

Table manners

Ah…long, lazy mealtimes. A dip of some bread here, a glug-glug top up of wine there, a discernible pause between courses. Hell, courses themselves. A grown up conversation, enacted in varying pitches to suit the subject matter. These days, I inhale my meals lest a small person lay claim to it before I’ve finished, shovelling “fuss free” food into my gob while simultaneously dousing down one or more children with a wet wipe. We barely clatter our cutlery to the plate before getting out the dustpan and brush, firing up the dishwasher and running a bath. When my husband took me for a birthday lunch recently (I’m still having meat sweats from all the venison), we’d finished three courses plus coffee within 90 minutes and had precisely fuck all to say to each other. I had to stop myself from inspecting his lap for crumbs (oo-er).

Reading and doing culture, innit

My Amazon wishlist has never known such lean times. I’m still plodding through my book purchases from 2012, I can’t concentrate for more than ten minutes, and I actively choose “dip in and out” styles of prose whereby all chapters are short and entirely self-contained. Poetry would be a good option, I suppose, as everyone knows that the best poems are concise…only they also involve rather a lot of interpretative buy-in from the reader and I ain’t got that at 10pm. I used to quite enjoy a hearty peruse through the Guardian of a Saturday, over a pot of tea and slab of cake. I’d take in 80% of the supplementary sections, favouring “Money”, “Family” and “Work”. Ho, I must have thought I could succeed in all three ideals! Child 1 arrived and I whittled my reading down to just “Family”, giving my husband “Sport” and chucking the rest in the recycling. Today, I scroll through the app on my phone once a month. I don’t think I’ve had the chance to cry at “A Letter To” this side of November 2015.

Loose lips sink ships

Discussing the fecal matter produced by one, two and sometimes even three of my household is frankly disgusting. Yet, I’ll quite happily hold court with casual mummy acquaintances at a baby group and natter away about teething poos, weaning poos, explosive poos, lack of poos, how to self-medicate lack of poos. Then I’ll move on to ruminate over engorged breasts, leaking nips, incontinence, lack of mojo, discharge, water infections, thrush, contraceptive methods and periods without batting an eyelid. Is nothing sacred anymore? Why do mums have to chronically overshare, and repeat the same conversations on a loop? In a way, I’m looking forward to not feeling duty-bound to ask if X is showing signs of crawling, or which Baby Sensory class Y goes to. 

Remembering that the world is not a blogger

Admittedly, this one is entirely my own fault. But if I didn’t have children and endless, endless days of maternity leave (not actually endless but I can’t talk about that yet without feeling sick), then I wouldn’t have started a mummy blog in the first place now would I? My failing is that I assume EVERYONE has an interest in my blog, from the pizza counter lady in Sainsbury’s to the bloke in the bank. Everyone has surely heard of me by now, especially the mums at the groups because they’re my target fucking demographic. Recently, a real-life pal, not in my target fucking demographic, unfollowed me on Twitter. I allowed my feathers to be ruffled for a while before I scrolled through everything I’d tweeted that morning. Jesus Christ, I must have turned into one of those people whose news feed makes your eyes roll. It’s one thing to enjoy your art, but quite another to ram it into the wider world with all the subtlety of an axe. When I’m released back into civilization proper, I must not brandish my logo’d pen everywhere and attempt to slip business cards into unsuspecting pockets. All the world’s a stage, and I must respect my fellow performers.

Dry eyes in every house

I’d estimate that I’m about 1.5 seconds away from breaking down into floods of tears at any given moment. I’ve always been quite, er, emotive, but these days it takes very little to set me off. Old, doddery people holding hands. Key changes. Daydreaming about the birth of my children (which I do, daily). Other babies. Masterchef. Yesterday, I found a fiver on the path walking to our local shops. One of the brand new ones that look fake. I contemplated how many packs of Maltesers I could buy with it before deciding to pay it forward, and I gave it to Mouse to give to the nearest homeless man. She asked me why he was sat on the ground “wearing a blanket” and I started to tell her that some people don’t have a bed to sleep in at night, and aren’t we lucky. I couldn’t even finish the sentence without getting choked up. See, I’m off again now. It’s not that I need to toughen up as such, I just need to develop a slightly better reflex action to make the tears pipe down before they hit the surface. I need to figure out where my emotional stopcock is, if you will. Or just take to wearing massive shades everywhere.

How about you – is there anything you need to re-learn, after realising that mummying has commanded a paint stripper effect on your balls?

-SJW October 2016

Mouse Moo Me Too


  1. October 25, 2016 / 7:56 am

    Ha this is a great post. On the rare occasion I go out for dinner with my other half, sans child, we literally look around the restaurant for something that might incite some conversation. Times have most certainly changed! #chucklemums

  2. October 25, 2016 / 8:26 am

    The reading one! That grieves me. It takes me so long to read a book nowadays. I just have the concentration span of a gnat. The only things I can manage to read nowadays are blogs and like you I then assume everyone knows what a blog is!

  3. October 25, 2016 / 9:26 am

    I just finished reading George Orwell’s 1984. I don’t think I quite understood it and definitely skipped bits out that went on a bit, but it’s so hard to concentrate on anything serious past 10pm. I’m now ready the Unmumsy Mum, which is much easier to take in. Not to mention hilarious.
    Something I’ll need to relearn will be time management. Remembering that leaving the house without a small person doesn’t need to take over an hour and that it can be done in a mere 10 minutes!

  4. October 25, 2016 / 10:30 am

    The teariness! I remember that so well when my two were younger and it’s all to do with the go large serving of hormones, I’m sure we get scattergunned with a load more ‘mones’ so that we can get good at being nurturey/cry at lonely looking old people in cafes etc. Good news – once you hit the tweenager years you’ll get your weekend paper back (do love a larf with Claudia Winkleman). #chucklemums

  5. October 25, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    all of this YES! The world is not a blogger- I am constantly teetering or obsessive blogzilla and normal human promoting a brand.

    Love this post!

  6. October 25, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Oh my god the teariness! Thinking of how teary I am now literally makes me teary – what a mess. I definitely need to re-learn how to be on time, I won’t be able to use a slow moving tot as my excuse forever, although I’ll probably try x #chucklemums

  7. October 25, 2016 / 7:34 pm

    Oh, all of these. Especially the tearing up bit. We’re planning to move in a few weeks (just down the road – how ambitious) and my husband wondered out loud if the Popple would try to climb the stairs to our old building when we pass it on the street. Just thinking about her wanting to go ‘home’ got both of us choked up. A bunch of saps, we are. #chucklemums

  8. October 25, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Can I say YES again! I’m teary just reading this!!!! Oh the feelings twitter unfollowers evoke in me… Need to get over it really! haha! loved reading this. Spot on! #chucklemums

  9. October 25, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    So get it… Why don’t people Know who we are yet? Why aren’t we famous? How do they not know about the time and effort we put into this! Damn it! #chucklemums

  10. October 25, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    *sigh* I feel like such a thicko these days. I can’t remember the last time I read a proper novel. Oh yes – I can! It was during those blissful 3 weeks of maternity leave that I took before FC#1 was born. It was lovely and sunny and I sat in the garden for 3 weeks in a comfy chair, reading a 500-page novel with actual long words and no pictures.

  11. October 27, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I haven’t read an actual book since I was in hospital waiting for them to extract Whingelet 1. And I cry at everything. FFS. #chucklemums

  12. October 27, 2016 / 6:54 pm

    Haha, yep, the world revolves around talking about shit and wolfing down your dinner as fast as you can #chucklemums

  13. October 27, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    haha great post…….I’m goig to comment on behalf of my OH, she wont read it so I can say what I want. She has become an absolute blubbering mess since we had Effy, she will cry at absolutely anything and at times she wont even know a reason. If you find your emotional stopcock, please let me know. I fear we may flood soon #chucklemums

    • October 27, 2016 / 10:37 pm

      Ooooh a dicey comment if ever there was one! Take advantage of the excessive tears and swoop in like a stallion to make her feel better. Or just tell her to shut the hell up with her snivelling. (Don’t do that).

  14. October 28, 2016 / 12:28 am

    Completely the same, apart from the reading because I never actually read books before either!! I read more than ever now – it just happens to involve blogs… #chucklemums

  15. November 1, 2016 / 7:47 am

    Oh as humorous as this is there’s a tinge of sadness yearning for a time before – no not a time – a person before – I felt this when the children were small. But funnily enough I was chatting to someone the other day about having been pregnant with my 3rd on my 30th and I know this sounds bizarre but I felt older then that I do now (13 years later *cough cough*) and I think it is because you settle into a totally different grown up state through those early years of marriage and smalls and then at some point between now and then you throw all the grown up crap out the window and get yourself back – so I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’re in a transitory state at the moment and I promise that in another 10 years you will have so much more than fuck all to talk about with the husband oh and I reckon EVERYONE will know who you are too by then! Awesome awesome post xx

    • November 1, 2016 / 12:45 pm

      Thank you so much, brilliant advice / something to cling on to! It’s very hard not to wish the time away when you feel like you’re somewhat buried in the dark ages! Xxx

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