The Spidermum guide to surviving the wedding season with children

image

The invite drops on your door mat and your thrilled to see you are invited to an impending wedding – you, your other half, and your beautiful little spawns – hurrah!
On one hand it’s a massive relief you won’t have to find childcare and your so thrilled the invitee welcomes them with open arms and on the other hand a small part of you dreads the task at hand of controlling two tiny dictator’s in a religious and formal establishment – It was an experience, I will say – and as we have many a wedding to go to this year, I would like to take the opportunity to share with you the knowledge and tips I have gained from our first mission that I would like to call, “Why the fuck didn’t we hire a babysitter”.

Step one – If you’re not religious, become religious.

Before the ceremony starts you recite a silent prayer to the man above asking for him to erase your toddler’s memory of any words not quite so Godly and plead with him that if he ever was to ever place tourette’s upon your child, could he please save it until after the vows.
The fear of 3 year old Spawny #1 would out my occasional “Jesus Christ!” outburst filled me with dread – can you imagine – “In the name of Jesus Chri…” – “Mummy! That man is saying your naughty words! Naughty man! Mummy, is he going to say shi…”
Thankfully, this situation never manifested itself and I believe it was due to my pleading prayer at the start. I not only attended a wedding, I also became a born again Christian. All hail Jesus.

Step two – Don’t be afraid of the walk of shame

It was inevitable that with two small children I would have to do the parent walk of shame atleast once throughout the day. 19 month old Spawny #2 is an absolute character – full of love for life with heaps of energy, I predict he will be completing marathons by aged 3. He’s a vocal chap too, and asking him to be silent is like asking me to stop drinking Prosecco at the reception – it’s not in our genetic makeup and we just can’t help ourselves.
Spawny #2 decided to get particularly noisey at the crucial moments – he was infact so noisey I’m not even sure if the Bride and Groom took any vows – rumour has it they left as man and wife but due to the carnage of restraining said child and humming him nursery rhymes to try and distract him to no avail, I had to walk THE walk – in absolutely ridiculous heels, may I add – and exit the church feeling like I had sinned from spawning 2015’s Damien Devil child as I passed the church committee on my way out. I missed the whole bloody thing but I heard it was beautiful – Congrats, guys!

P.s – Right hand side, 4th row from the front – that banana did belong to us. Forgive me, Father for I have sinned – my toddler rejected it mid service how you’ll probably reject me from church again due to my panic induced “hush the child” littering escapade.

Step three – Prosecco

You arrive at the reception and a small weight is lifted – the children are free to roam and play and…Oh my God, is that a river they could fall into?! You become anxious about the river – you alert and give permission all fellow guests to rugby tackle your spawns should they also see them approaching said river and down your first prosecco to take the edge of off your panic. Hic.
All is going swimmingly – thankfully that’s a terminology and not because your in the river wading children out – and you know Daddy has the eyes on the kids, so you help yourself to a few more glasses whilst “ching chinging” your way through conversations on current affairs and what not. Hic
This is going great! Your a social fecking butterfly!

Step four – More prosecco

Ok, ok. Feeling less of a butterfly now – more a rabid moth clinging on to any hope of dignity or turning the current situation around. Your other half has now taken full responsibility of both children and has left you to slide the slippery slope into the gutter. You know your whooping too loud at the speeches, your pretty sure you just dribbled on your dress and you have the alcohol munchies so bad you ate your portion of the high tea like a wild beast from a David Attenborough documentary. Yummy. I love food. I love wine. Where are the kids?  Hic.

Step five – Put down the Prosecco

Alright. Stop now, you absolute twat. Your not the legend you think you are, that comment made to a victim of your current state was not as hilarious as you first thought and having your Father in Law lift you off the floor because “your shoes are too hard to walk in” is a pathetic excuse. Where are your beautiful children? Oh there they are – with their Daddy and their wonderful Uncle’s having the time of their little lives playing and being loved. You take a moment of reflection – you love them so much, so so much, you love the father of them so so much – just to clarify I mean the father of my children, not the father of their Daddy or their Uncle’s – we may be in rural Somerset, but that’s just not how I roll – you want to make a billion more babies so you can have hundreds more like the ones you are lovingly watching be little angels, you know it’s not the prosecco talking – this is real talk, man – so real you feel utterly compelled to rush over to the men in your life and make you love for them known – you start the bleary eyed journey over to them…and then your jam comes on. They are safe. Your on that dance floor quicker than you can say, “You drunken mess, come and dance”. You catch your other half sigh, relieved. You’ll get him later. Hic.

Step six – The final curtain

You’re done. It’s a miracle your still alive. Your darling better – much better – half has settled the little spawns to sleep in the car, lovingly wrapped them in blankets and they rest with the sweetest smiles on their little faces. It’s been fun letting your hair down, after all us Mum’s rarely get the opportunity and you feel you have made the most of it but it would have not been possible without having the most amazing Dad for your children by keeping them safe and loved whilst you abused your liver and the venue’s stock of the sacred fizzy. There’s only one way to show him your gratitude, and that’s to make him some rolls up from the feast of a Hog roast and deliver them to him as he waits for you in the car.
Cor, check out that succulent porky meat – hello, I am still on about the hog roast here – you ram the meat between a couple of baps – Yes, we are still on the hog roast – and wrap them in some napkins as a thankyou for being so lovely – after all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
You say your goodbyes and stumble from marquee to garden to car park and then it happens – man down! Those bloody shoes! Only no one buys the shoe excuse anymore – pork has flown everywhere, your Father in Law may possibly vomit with repulsion at your state at any given moment so what do you do to save yourself?
Why, you scoop up all the pork, chuck it in the rolls and continue to the car to deliver the goods. Yummy.

You can’t even remember who you are, where you come from, or whether eating pork rolls seasoned by car park is a socially acceptable thing to do at all, but what you do know is when you stumble into the car, look at the sleeping spawns and the man in your life you absolutely know the meaning and sentiment of a wedding – it’s about love, family and making beautiful memories. It may be a stressful job – keeping them quiet and safe and you have a longer wait on your first sip of bubbly than your child free company, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’d still drink a shit load of prosecco though…

Advertisements

Part 1 – The Birth Group Cult – The gross confessions

image

One glorious pleasure that the pregnancy and birth of my spawns bought me – apart from an actual child of course – was a membership into a hormone fuelled cult known as an online birth group.
4 years ago upon the confirmation of a preggo eggo, I signed up to a website known as Baby centre – it’s an online forum filled with wisdom and knowledge on all things pregnancy, childbirth and newborn baby – they provide chat rooms for you to make friends with fellow eggs that were fertilised around the same time – I’m not sure if allowing hundreds of temporarily emotionally unbalanced, nauseous, sleep deprived women to converse with one another is insane or pure genius.
It starts off a little like dating – well, what I assume dating is like – as previously mentioned I have been with Mr Spider since my teenage years so a date to me is a drive thru Mcdonalds in a MK 2 fiesta with some fetching neon lights strategically placed underneath the motor vehicle to make it look, “rude” – so with that in mind I am making the assumption that it progresses like dating…

Step one – you make an account with a username – you try to capture the true essence of your personality within it or make it as basic as possible due to the impatient excitement brewing inside you to tell a group of strangers you have a positive test. Hello, Im_having_a_baby1985!

Step two – You introduce yourself as the newbie, list your pregnancy symptoms and wish all the other women well. You continue to refresh your post waiting for a response, urging that fellow egg to reach out to you.

Step three – Someone gets pissed off that no one responded to their egg and leaves. Everyone is sad – or atleast pretends to be and a suggestion of a secret Facebook group is discussed. A poll is uploaded, the votes take place, the verdict is announced – the group is moving to Facebook! In dating circles, this is a bit of a big deal isn’t it – inviting them to see your life, likes and your mug shot!

So, here we are, complete with real names and real faces – we quickly all become THE best of friends, share our wedding pictures if we are married, our children’s pictures if we already have one or two and our deepest darkest secrets – I was more a “share pictures of your dog” kind of gal but I thoroughly enjoyed the blossoming friendships, 24 hour advice and being able to share such a special time with some great ladies. Time progresses quickly and before you know it you are having your 12 week scan and asking for nub guesses, do they look like a boy or a girl, is my bump 12 weeky enough, is it normal that my gentiles have swelled to triple the size already? See, that’s the thing – whilst you share the good times you also share the really, really gross time too.
Now, before I continue maybe I should urge you to stop reading if you are a man or a female of a delicate disposition hoping to start a family soon – I’m only being honest, and I do apologise for being generally vulgar by nature but there was a birth group filled with these thoughts and fears, so clearly we need to air the dirty laundry a little. From memory, my personal favourites were…

1. Swamp crotch. Put it this way, if your pregnant vagina remotely resembled your non pregnant vagina, it is a miracle you are with child. The most common complaint from the ladies I love was, well…a swampy crotch. You can Tenna lady all you damn well like but mother nature is in charge and along with the weight of your unborn spawns melon sized head resting upon your nether regions it really is no wonder your parts become the size of the lips of a participant from the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, and you leak like a tsunami. And yes, it is pee.

2. Stretchmarks. Oh em gee. I was terrified of these – shallow, maybe – but you are told time and time again it is the one thing you cannot get rid of once you have them (piles are quite similar in that respect too – ahem…) I remember I wasn’t alone with my rather large fear and we would all comfort one another everytime a new line appeared. Occasionally we would sob and wail, too. Save yourself the expense of the special lotions and potions – £120 later on litres of Bio Oil and hours spent dangerously sliding about like a washed up obese whale which almost resorted in Mr Spider having someone come and do a health and safety risk assessment for me, my oil and our bath due to too much application, I can honestly say – I have some, and I do not care. They aren’t as bad as what you think they will be. My belly button that now resembles a cats anus, however…

3. Pubes. Right, well. You tend to wave “Tally Ho” to the locks in your pants thanks to your ever growing bump at around 25 weeks of pregnancy, give or take. After that, whatever takes place is out of sight and mostly out of mind – until the due date draws near and you realise you have grown an amazon jungle complete with its own aboriginal tribe – think mud huts and everything. You go into blind panic and out comes the shaving foam and a hand mirror – I have even heard of some recruiting their darling husbands with the garden sheers and hedge strimmer for a more professional look. In hind sight, all I can say is do not fear – once active labour hits you’ll be pining for the presence of the aboringi’s for a bit of moral support.

The thing is, pregnancy can be gross. Amazing, beautiful, exciting, but definitely gross. Had I not had a group of ladies with the exact same worries to share my inner thoughts with can you just imagine how you would feel with thinking you were the only one?

So it is with that, that I thank the gorgeous ladies from 4 years ago right up until today – this hour infact as I asked them to cast back to their swampy crotches to remind me of the horror – for being there through it all. Alot of us have gone our separate ways, but we certainly shared some special times! I’d like to do a few more blogs on our other experiences, as there really has been so much more to the journey other than vaginas…

I’ll be back…

Miscarriage awareness – A footprint in my heart

image

I was washing up today and had the TV on in the kitchen, minding my own – when This Morning came on with a discussion of miscarriages. I stopped in my tracks and listened to the lady speaking, bravely sharing the pain she had experienced, all in the name of raising awareness. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but how many other women do you know of who have suffered? I bet not very many – for whatever reason it’s such a taboo thing to talk about and even now as I write this I am uncertain as to whether I will click the “publish” button and share this with you all – I want to, but I fear it coming across as attention seeking, or self pitying and I rarely do serious so it feels out of my comfort zone, but I had my baby taken from me too once.

Mr spider and I hadn’t planned to fall pregnant – infact, it could not have come at a more difficult time – babies had never crossed our mind before, despite being together for 5 years already, we had never even discussed them – I was a newly turned 20 year old working out what I wanted to do with my life and Mr Spider was very much into his expensive hobbies and we lived for the weekend, besides I don’t even think we would have known what to do with a small person who would rely entirely upon us!

That all changed one autumn evening when I realised mother nature hadn’t reared her bitch of a head – I couldn’t even remember when she last did come to think of it, but pregnant? Nah! Amongst my group of friends, pregnancy was something to avoid so we would always reassure one another that the way to make the witch appear was to do a pregnancy test – reverse psychology if you like – obviously it would come back negative and the search would continue. Firstly, I would like to point out that it is nothing short of terrifying purchasing a stick to pee on when you look about 12 years old at most (I either have stunted growth or a gene I will appreciate when I am in my fifties – I can’t ever look my age at all) and secondly I’m not going to lie about how apprehensive I felt that it may come back positive. Stranger things have happened.
Home we go – mainly to recover from the elderly man serving me taking 3 bloody hours to get the security case off the test and then he greeted me a gem of a question, “Would you like a bag?” Would I like a bag? Would I? Yes! And if you aren’t going to give me one for my pee stick, I’ll take one to put over my head to hide the utter embarrassment of this ordeal. Oh how I would love to serve him viagra pills one day. But that is unlikely, as I have moved 2 hours away, he was so old he has probably passed away, and I’m also a stay at home mum with a distinct lack of viagra contraband to sell. However, given different circumstances…

I did the test and felt physically sick – I rested it on the side of the bath and waited 3 minutes for it to reveal our fate. Now was not the time for us to start a family was the only thought racing through my mind – one minute down – can’t peek yet. I’d get really fat, I didn’t want to get fat – 2 minutes down, not long until I can look now. Do I even like babies? I don’t think I do. I like dogs. 3 minutes is up – let’s take a look. Oh my God, I am pregnant. I’m pregnant and Baby, I already love you.

It hit me hard. As soon as I saw the line signalling a positive test I loved my baby and whatever was wrong with our lives or not particularly baby friendly, we could fix. It’s funny how your feelings can change so dramatically and so quickly, but the love took over. I had life growing in my uterus and I instantly wanted to protect them and love then and wow, a baby.
Mr Spider was as shocked as I but we really felt like it had happened for a reason and we would do everything we could to get ready for this small person to come and be with us – we’d move, we’d save, we’d grow up and have a future, the three of us.
Now people always say not to get carried away in the early days, but when you are so in love and feel like you have been given an olive branch to make your life a better one in the form of a little bundle, it’s hard not to. We would sit up all night and talk about baby names, pushchairs and how we would tell our families – at the time it was our little secret and it felt beyond amazing. We adored them already and knew their name be it a girl or a boy, I was even having some sickness, we would tell everyone soon but for now the baby was all ours – our future and our hopes.

One morning I woke up and didn’t feel well at all – must be pregnancy related I thought – this was a brand new experience for me but I had read no end of complaints of sickness and sore backs in those few weeks I had been frantically searching the Web looking for constant reassurance I was growing our child safely and well. I decided to take a bath to see if a bit of a soak would make me feel better but unfortunately this is when our goodbyes began. I had started to bleed.
I called Mr Spider and called the Dr’s surgery who agreed to see me. I sat opposite my childhood GP, sobbing through absolute fear that there wouldn’t be a baby when she reassured me that bleeding was very, very common in pregnancy – scary but common. I think it’s important to remember this if you are reading as my very last intention is to scare anyone. I have many friends who have bled in pregnancy and have gone on to have beautiful babies, but either way it’s not something to ignore. My Dr didn’t ignore me and sent me to the Pregnancy assessment unit at the hospital – this filled us with a little hope, but deep down I knew.

I don’t and won’t go into the details of what happened here as I just can’t find a nice way to write it – it was clinical and quite cold but even now the pain has been healed from being blessed enough to have two beautiful babies, I just feel bad for my unborn fetus that they had to be treated in that way – as a fetus. I appreciate there is a medical job to do and the nurses must see the situation regularly but it was unique to us – to us this was our baby and for the weeks we had known about them our hearts were filled with excitement and love. I had been told the words “I’m sorry, your miscarrying and you are losing your pregnancy” and I felt like my heart had been ripped out – I had never met this life growing inside me, I had never even considered that I might like to be pregnant but I knew them and I knew that I was going to miss them so, so much.
It was hard for Mr Spider too, his baby had gone aswell and he had to remain strong for me – the biggest kick in the teeth was the physical pain which now having been in labour with two children I know feels very similar. Why did I have to physically hurt when emotionally I was battered – it’s such a  awful thing to try and process – one minute you are pregnant, and the next you aren’t.  We cried a lot the night we got home. No talk of baby names or pushchairs. No conversation at all.

We told our friends and family after it had happened and we knew they sent their love and support but no one talks about it, I can’t blame them – I’m not really sure how you address something like that, but I knew I wanted to talk about it – my baby existed once, I was proud of that, but never felt I could say. Comments you receive can hurt – “you can try again” – well, I didn’t want to. I wanted that baby. My baby. “Atleast you didn’t lose it later in pregnancy” – as awful as that would have been, pain is pain. Dreams are dreams. Love is love. They are your child from the start and are stolen from you. No matter when a woman miscarries it is devastating. I have never felt that is a fair thing to say. Saying goodbye to someone before you have even met them should never be an option.

I believe everything happens for a reason and 5 years on I thank that little baby for coming into our lives and waking us up to what we really wanted – a family. Whilst I am no longer sad I hold the experience very close to my heart think of it often – the pain was raw for a very long time, until I looked into the eyes of my first born baby actually, when I met him I cried with joy and a little bit of sadness that we would never be blessed to see the face of our one taken from us.

Never let anyone dismiss your feelings if you have miscarried, and never give up hope that you’ll hold your own baby one day. If you want to talk about it – talk! We need to address this so much more. This is my first time in doing so as I have never felt able to, but why shouldn’t I?

Your a Mummy from the moment you conceive, so please never feel anything less. 💙