‘Mum vs the World’ survival kit giveaway

We’ve all had these sorts of days. You wake up to children bouncing on your bed. Your head’s pounding, eyes caked closed, nose streaming with snot, but you can’t roll over and hide your head under the duvet. You have to get up, wipe small bottoms, wrestle them into clothes and get on with the day. The kids fight and run away and shout and do everything except put their blooming shoes on.

And the reward you normally get for finally getting them out of the house? Public misbehaviour and rude judgey people staring you down or (shudder) actually saying things to you. Don’t you wish you could just karate chop them in the head?

Masked Pony Productions gets it. They’re an all-female comedy production company, whose work is specifically aimed at women and especially mums. They’re not only producing fantastic YouTube content that mums can relate to, they’re also championing female talent in the showbiz industry.

They got in touch with me recently to ask if I could help spread the word about their ‘Mum vs the World’ YouTube shorts and I was impressed with the quality of the production. I felt like I was watching a sitcom already on a major TV channel, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these ladies on one of them soon. They won best scripted pilot recently at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Check out one of their shorts:

If you like this video, please consider subscribing to their YouTube channel, and/or following them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Awesome giveaway involving wine and chocolate

Masked Pony Productions are offering one of my lucky readers a ‘Mum Survival Kit’, to help you relax at the end of a long day. The kit includes:

  • A bottle of Malbec
  • A large bar of chocolate
  • Baptiste dry shampoo
  • An iTunes £15 voucher
  • A spikey reflexology massage ball for your aching back
  • A cucumber (For your eyes, obvs)

To enter, please just click the link below and follow the Rafflecopter instructions.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY TO WIN FREE WINE AND STUFF

Giveaway terms & conditions

  • This competition will open on 4 November and will close on 19 November at 12am GMT.
  • One winner will be selected at random.
  • The winner will receive the Mum Survival Kit goody box described above.
  • UK entrants only.
  • No cash alternative will be offered.
  • The winner will be announced on The Mum Reviews’ social media outlets, not the blog.
  • The winner will have 28 days to respond to their winner’s email.
  • The prize will be posted directly from Masked Pony Productions.

Listed on The Competition Database and Loquax.

I did not receive any incentive to do this review. I’m just nice like that. But if they get famous maybe they’ll invite me to a swanky party or something.

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How motherhood makes you stronger

With motherhood comes all sorts of lovely experiences and some, um, less lovely ones. The first time your child says “I wuv you” is lovely. The first time he vomits on your lap is not lovely. And yet, some of the things that really suck about parenthood have actually made me improve my coping skills in a number of areas.

Things the pre-child me simply couldn’t cope with just roll right off me like the peas my toddler placed on my head. So here are 5 ways motherhood has made me stronger.

Poo, vomit and other bodily effluvia does not phase me

Before I had kids, simply the smell of vomit would make me feel ill, let alone actually seeing it or, god forbid, touching it. Now, I can quite comfortably (and even intentionally) catch vomit with my bare hands. It may not be my favourite pastime, but I can handle it.

I don’t think twice about the odd smear of poo that may make its way onto my person. These things wash off so easily. It’s only a little bit stinky.

And, as a parent, sometimes picking bogeys out of another human’s nose is simply a necessity. You can try using a tissue but it doesn’t always get the job done. And I’d rather pick it and bin it than stare at it flapping out of my son’s nose all day.

All of this exposure to nasty, germy things means that I have very little fear of anything I might encounter late at night on public transport.

Spiders

On my 8th birthday, I brushed my teeth and when I spit out the toothpaste, a partially-chewed spider came out of my mouth. This was an extremely traumatic experience which kicked off a lifelong fear of spiders.

I remember being 18 years old and finding a spider a big as two 50p coins in my bathroom. I called my dad to kill it for me, but he had decided to foster my emergent independence as a responsible adult by informing me I had to resolve the situation myself. I was too scared to squash it, so I dropped my 1500-page English Literature anthology on top of it and left it there for 2 days. When I finally got up the strength to remove the book, the spider simply got up and crawled away, never to be seen again. I neither killed it not removed it from the house, but it would appear I taught it a lesson!

In more recent years, married life has meant I always had an obliging husband to remove spiders for me. He is a kind and gentle soul and so catches them in the designated “spider cup” and throws them outside.

I coasted along in such a manner without facing my spider fear until I had kids. Now, there is a real problem because nothing is more spine-chill inducing than the notion of a creepy-crawly, fang-sporting, hairy spider crawling over your sweet, sweet baby’s face. And so suddenly I became both fearless and merciless when a spider comes anywhere near my children’s domain. I’ve caught them in cups, I’ve hoovered them up, washed them down the drain (even using an implement to make sure they really went right down) and even, on one occasion, picked one up by the leg and flung it out the window.

Thank you, motherhood, for teaching me that no spider is fiercer than a mother’s love.

Squatting, carrying, running and squeezing

We’ve covered squeamishness and visceral fear, but of course motherhood also makes you physically strong. The average observer may not be able to see our mum muscles, but I assure you they are there.

A mum can hold a wiggly baby to her breast whilst assisting a potty-training toddler in wiping his bottom.

She can wrestle a tantrumming toddler into a carseat or highchair.

She can climb a flight of stairs in a single bound if she hears a suspicious bang while the kids are in bed.

She can wiggle into narrow spaces to retrieve a much-loved toy.

She can squat for unreasonable amounts of time when needing to apply shoes or change a nappy in a less than hygienic area.

She can push a buggy, up and down hills and over grass or gravel, for untold hours until the little bugger angel falls asleep.

She can carry her handbag, two children, an overstuffed changing bag, a potty and a bit of shopping with barely of bead of sweat appearing on her furrowed brow.

And we do all of this without (much) whinging. Pre-kids I would have collapsed in a heap if I had to do all that.

Pain, illness and lack of sleep

Everyone knows that childbirth hurts, but the bit that comes afterwards hurts even more because it lasts longer and nobody offers you any drugs to cope with it. We take our babies home when we are worn out and emotional, with stitches holding together either our stomach or our undercarriage. I had an emergency c-section after my first, and had burst blood vessels in my eyes and soft tissue injuries in my legs after my 2nd from pushing too hard. But in modern life we’re expected to just carry on. Maybe pop to the supermarket or take a nice(??) walk. In other cultures, women are allowed to stay in bed for a whole month after the baby is born!

Then some of us might get this lovely thing called mastitis. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a lovely infection inside your breast, which not only hurts the breast itself but gives you flu-like symptoms that make you feel like dying. And besides taking antibiotics you have to keep feeding the baby with your sore boob to help it get better. Ouch is an understatement.

Then of course there are the bugs. Have you ever tried to breastfeed in between bouts of vomiting? Or worse, cooking a meal for hungry children or changing a really stinky nappy? It might actually be my personal version of hell.

But I look back at the times I kept everyone alive when I felt like dying, and think it’s a pretty amazing achievement.

Keeping calm and carrying on

The final skill that motherhood has taught me is staying calm in the face of confrontation. I’m not going to say I’m always calm … but it takes more to throw me in a tailspin than it used to. Sometimes, I’m even calm with my own children. Mostly, this skill is employed outside the home when dealing with other adults. I know that it is very unlikely that, under everyday circumstances, an adult is going to scream in my face, kick me in the shins and lay on the floor screaming. And thus any confrontation is that much easier to deal with.

So the next time you feel like this parenthood gig is bringing you down, or you feel insecure about your parenting skills, just look back on your tired, sick, sore self, carrying heavy loads, vanquishing dangerous insects and catching vomit in your bare hands, and know that you are one strong mama.

What things can you do better now that you’ve faced the travails of raising small children?

Mission Mindfulness

Family dinners aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Before I had kids, I was adamant that we would always sit down together for family meals. In the typical manner of a person who doesn’t have kids judging actual parents, I thought it was silly to be serving your children a separate meal. I also had this beautiful wholesome image in my head of us all sitting round the table and having a civilised conversation.

But now that I actually have to share my mealtime with my little anklebiters, I understand why some would rather not.

A dramatisation of dinner in our house

Dad: It’s teatime.

There is no response. The TV drones on in the background. 

Mum: It’s teatime! Come sit down at the table, please.

4yo: In a high-pitched tone No! PJ Masks is coming up next! I want to watch PJ Masks!

Mum: We’ll record it then. Presses record button on TIVO with intention of surreptitiously deleting PJ Masks after child is in bed. Turns TV off. Okay, now sit down!

4yo slowly and reluctantly walks towards the table. 2yo continues to play with his Ninky Nonk toy. If you don’t know what a Ninky Nonk is, lucky you.

Mum: Come on! It’s teatime.

2yo: NO! Catch the Nonk!

Mum picks up 2yo who does his best imitation of an angry cat in a bag, noises included. She places him in his highchair and attempts to put on his bib as he morphs from cat-in-bag to enraged Kraken. She passes him his food and he merrily starts eating it.

4yo: wiggling around in chair, not eating. MI, MI, MI-MI-MI. I’m being a Pontipine!

If you don’t know what a Pontipine is, lucky you.

Mum: Please be quiet and just eat your food.

4yo: NO! MI!

Mum: If you don’t eat your food, then you can’t have any pudding.

4yo: BUT I WANT PUDDING! MI MI MI!

Mum shrugs, gives up and attempts to eat her own food while 4yo continues to make irritating noises.

4yo: Need the toilet!

Mum: Well, go then.

4yo: But I need you to watch me.

Mum: …

4yo stands there holding himself and refusing to go to the toilet on his own. Mum gives in and follows him to the toilet and watches while he goes, thoroughly losing appetite in the process. After the deed is done, 4yo returns to his chair and starts happily munching his broccoli. 

Dad (to 4yo): So who did you play with at school today?

4yo: Everyone.

Mum: And what did you eat for lunch?

4yo: I don’t remember.

Mum: What was your favourite part of the day?

4yo: Everything.

CRASH.

2yo: FINISHED!

2yo had finished eating and so he had launched his cup onto the floor. 

Mum: Okay, hun, but you need to wait until the rest of us are finished.

2yo: FINISHED!

2yo picks up his spoon, extends his arm, makes eye contact with Mum, and ever so slowly opens his fingers and lets the spoon fall to the ground. Giggles hysterically. Then, he picks up his plate. Mum grabs it before it ends up on the floor.

2yo: PLAY PLAY PLAY! CATCH THE NONK!

4yo: I CAN’T EAT BECAUSE IT’S TOO NOISY!

4yo suddenly falls off his chair from all the fidgeting. Screams at the top of his lungs.

2yo: PLAY! PLAAAAYYY! AHHHHH!

Dual screaming continues.

Dad quickly serves the children some cake.

Silence. Mum and Dad drink wine.

2yo: dropping cake bowl on floor FINISHED!

Are family dinners civilised in your house? Do your kids respond to your efforts at conversation? Do they always need to take a poo halfway through? Let me know in the comments.

Petite Pudding
Tammymum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
The Pramshed

Parenting skills I didn’t know I needed

I’ve got a little bit of blogger’s block. I’ve been trying to think of something vaguely funny to write to offset some of my serious posts. It occurred to me that there are all sorts of parenting “soft skills” that nobody talks about. Those little things you do all the time when you have kids, but you never ever did before you had kids. Nor did you ever anticipate that you would need to do such things.

parenting-skills

 

  1. Scraping toothpaste off of things (e.g. the sink, my bra, the cat)
  2. Jumping over toddler gates in the middle of the night (because those things are impossible to open when you’re half asleep)
  3. Explaining why you shouldn’t rest your penis on the sink (But why, mummy? I love to put it there!)
  4. Explaining why you shouldn’t put your finger up your bum (You shouldn’t, right?)
  5. Explaining why you shouldn’t put your finger up the cat’s bum (that poor cat)
  6. Defrosting and cooking sausages (the only thing they’re guaranteed to eat)
  7. Cutting teensy tiny nails without drawing blood
  8. Distinguishing poop from chocolate (harder than you might think)
  9. Cleaning crayon off of windows (impossible)
  10. Phonics (those things m-m-m-make no ssss-sense to me)
  11. Extricating back-arching toddlers from narrow behind-the-sofa hiding places
  12. Cleaning up a poonami without smearing it all over the wall
  13. Using a screwdriver to replace musical mobile batteries at 4am
  14. Carrying a handbag, changing bag, shopping and a wriggling toddler at the same time
  15. Carrying tired preschooler up hills at speed to reach toilet in time
  16. Secret kitchen biscuit consumption whilst preparing fruit for children
  17. Never leaving the house without snacks and wet wipes
  18. Not getting stuck when fetching children off playground/soft play equipment
  19. Oceans of patience and self-control
  20. Remembering to get lots of cuddles before they turn into stinky teenagers

Can you relate to any of these? What are your unexpected parenting skills?

Tammymum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday