Warpaint

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I had a really terrible night of sleep (well, lack thereof) last night, coming off the back of 2 or 3 similarly terrible nights, and almost 17 months of mostly broken nights, some worse than others. I really struggled to drag myself out of bed this morning when J’s cheery babbling and smacking of my face indicated he was ready to get up and play. (On that note this is much less good than the lovely Jeeves alarm clock I used to have). After a massive cup of tea in a mug which more closely resembles a bowl, and taking out some of the grump by bitching about Bing and his latest mishap, I decided I should probably get dressed.

Jonathan was happily reading, OK playing with his books in his cot so I had the time this morning to slather on some industrial strength makeup. My husband often trots out the ‘you don’t need to wear make up’ line, and while it is always nice to hear that the person you love thinks you’re beautiful, it’s a little wide of the mark. Sure, I’m not wearing it to make myself look *worse* but it’s not about it being a mask to hide behind so much as a coat of armour helping me face today.

The me on the left was feeling washed out, cried this morning, and doubted herself about continuing to co-sleep when her son’s sleep has been so bad lately. She felt irritated about having lots of meetings to go to this week, wished it wasn’t Sing & Sign, and thought about how there aren’t enough hours in the day.

The me  on the right decided she was off to Waitrose before Sing & Sign to buy some cake for a playdate later, and to get a nice coffee. She was looking forward to hanging out with some new friends later, and watching J pace the church hall at our class like a caged lion, every now and then deigning to clap the grown ups singing. She felt proud of managing work, council duties and motherhood.

She just didn’t fancy showing the world those struggles and worries today.Some days she goes out with no makeup, avocado in her hair, and snot which is somehow on the back of her top. Others it’s the nice uncreased clothes and a bit of lippy.

A makeup bag might not seem like an arsenal to some people, and it’s not one that everyone needs, but for me my Warpaint gives me confidence. Obviously it’s an over-simplification to suggest that 5 minutes putting on some slap resulted in a complete turnaround in my mood. Caffeine and WhatsApp chats were also at play. I guess what I am trying to say is that on the days when motherhood feels like a battle, remember you are actually a Badass Warrior and arm yourself however you choose.

 

Won’t somebody think of the children?

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There’s a rumour going around that the nasty government are trying to take money away from CBeebies, which would put it (and CBBC) at risk, and see programming given over to commercial channels. How likely this is, I’m not actually certain, but as soon as I heard I had a ‘Fetch me my pen of RAGE’ moment, so here is my letter to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale,

To the Right Hon. Mr John Whittingdale,

Sir. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? You can’t have CBeebies. You can’t take it away from us. I’ll be upfront here, I support the Red Team, and don’t like most of what your lot are up to, but really, this is too far. We need CBeebies. Do you not realise how important those ten minutes of the Teletubbies at 7am are? I get to drink my only hot cup of tea of the day in those ten minutes, while my 16 month old stands, probably too close to the TV, transfixed. 

I know you seem to have it out for the BBC, and I don’t know why. Maybe they dissed your mum one time or something, but just lay off Andy, Mr Bloom and The Octonauts OK? Only the other day I saw Flop, forced to impersonate a human, having to leave that poor helpless Bing Bunny, to go onto the BAFTAs declaring ‘woe unto’ whoever messes with The Beeb. This was most un-Flop, and all a bit Thomas Cromwell if you ask me. Heaven knows how many of his possessions Bing broke and had to put in the box of broken shit while he was away, and Hoppitty almost certainly got lost.

And that’s all on your head Mr Whittingdale. I hope you can live with that. 

Really though. Watch half an hour of preschool TV on Channel 5, or Nickelodeon, and then switch over to CBeebies, and you’ll realise what a good thing you’ve got going on there. Educational, diverse, often charming. OK, there’s also Kate and Mim Mim, but no one said it was perfect.

I thank you for your time and look forward to your swift response (you can send it over in Mr Tumble’s magic spotty bag to ensure instant delivery) confirming you’re going to back off.

Yours sincerely

Mrs. S. Betteley

PS. If you happen to run into Jeremy Hunt I’d be ever so grateful if you’d stick a banana skin on the floor in front of him. Preferably on an evening or weekend so if he ends up in an NHS hospital he can see for himself that people are at work.

 

 

For anyone interested, the petition can be found here

Teaching ’em young

voting

Even if you aren’t into politics, it probably hadn’t escaped your attention that there were some elections across the UK last week. As a Labour Party member, activist, and councillor, I concede that I probably take more of an interest in this than some, but I really do bloody love an election.

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I am slipping through, into the airwaves

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Music is a funny old thing isn’t it? I walked into town from our house this morning to buy a couple of bits. It’s an absolutely glorious morning, the sun is shining and the air is fresh. I was by myself because J was having a nap, and Robert is home. I don’t have the widest selection of music on my phone at the moment, and decided to put on Jack’s Mannequin. Is this an admission that will lose me cool points? I don’t even care. I loved Something Corporate so hard back in my sixth form days, and transferred that on to Jack’s Mannequin a couple of years later.

As I walked I had to really fight the urge to sing along out loud at the top of my lungs, as I thought I might get some funny looks bellowing ‘THIS MIX COULD BURN A WHOLE IN ANYONE BUT IT WAS YOU I WAS THINKING OF’. It was just one of those perfect moments of sun, music, and a boatload of nostalgia combined, and it got me thinking. I wonder if I am alone in this, but sometimes I feel the most like *me* when I am alone, in moments like that. When asked to introduce myself on an Instagram meme earlier, I noticed I chose to define myself as being a wife and mother, then my job, then my role as a councillor. Those things are all really important, and all make up me, but sometimes I feel a bit of a pang for the me who was just me. I don’t for one minute believe you have to lose your identity when you become a mother, nor do I believe you are only *complete* once you have children, but I do believe that motherhood has changed me.

I am stronger than I knew I could be, more patient, but also so much more tired, and more irritable at times too. I appreciate small moments of happiness in a way I didn’t before: how that first cup of tea in the morning tastes; the look on my son’s face when I open my arms and he runs across the room to cuddle me; how blissful a totally quiet room can be.

I took a break from writing this because J woke up from his nap crying. I really enjoyed that sun & nostalgia drenched half hour remembering days gone by when music, friends, drinking & dancing were my world. But when J was crying just now, he sat on my lap with his arms around my neck, nuzzled in for a long cuddle until he felt happier, and it did things to my heart I don’t even know how to explain.

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This post was brought to you by:

Jack’s Mannequin – Everything In Transit

Bank Holiday sunshine

Pret A Manger chocolate covered corn cakes. Yummmm.