Snapshot #23 – The many personalities keeping me fat

Fat is a horrible word. I totally don’t mean fat. Fat is subjective.

By fat, I mean unhappy with my body. I mean not like my body was before. I mean droopy, wobbly, disproportionate. I mean generally a few counties south of where it began. I mean feeling like probably 80% of all mothers, or even all people, feel about their current flab situation.

Well now I know why. It isn’t my fault. It turns out I have a multiple personality disorder. For those who can’t be arsed to read on, the crux of the matter is: I don’t choose to eat the cake; it’s the little voices that tell me to!

Genuinely.

Firstly, there’s the compensator. That voice that finds the excuse. We’ll call her Trudy. Trudy helps me see that jeans shrink in the wash; obviously that’s why they won’t go over my thighs. She tells me that everyone bloats following their breakfast, of course my stomach isn’t really that big! ‘They cut clothes smaller these days, it saves the manufacturers money,’ she says when I need to go two sizes bigger than expected. I quite like Trudy. She’s kind.

Then there’s the voice that tells me: ‘This isn’t quite right. Come on, this top used to hang not cling. The knickers haven’t shrunk, your bum has grown. That’s not a double chin because you’re looking down, that’s just what your face is like now.’ Let’s call this voice Betty. Betty isn’t being mean. She doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Betty is the bringer of truth. Betty wants me the voices to stop conning me. She wants me to sort this shit out and become one hot tamale.

Next we have the voice of hedonism. Let’s call her Lolita. Lolita is indulgent. Lolita likes it rich, dark and oozy. Lolita is the voice that picks up the chocolate and puts it into my mouth. She convinces me to treat myself to the kids’ leftover spaghetti hoops on toast ice cream and a glass of wine. For no reason other than it tastes better than a lie in and why the fuck not. Lolita is a wicked wicked woman. I wish I could be Lolita. I love you, Lolita.

But then, who should toddle along, but the voice that yells ‘What in the name of saggy tit skins are you doing!?’. This voice judges me. She berates the choices Lolita forces on me. She’s probably called something like Judith. She’s a bit of a bitch if you ask me. She tells me off for my weakness. She criticizes me for giving in to Lolita’s temptation. She shames me for eating five biscuits before the kettle boils and tells me I should stop drinking vodka wine when the children are eating tea. I bet fucking Judith has never demanded a postcoital snack of crumpets and I bet her thighs don’t rub together either.

I should also mention the voice of reciprocity. I’m sure we all have her. She tells you that you deserve the doughnut because it’s been a hard day. Why not have the rest of the Doritos grab bag? After all, you’ve been good all week. This voice has even been known to tell me I deserve the prosecco as it’s only two days until my cat’s birthday. I think we shall call this lovely lady, Mary. Good old Mary understands the struggles of daily life. She appreciates that sometimes you need an 11am snack of smiley faces and ketchup. She applauds your realisation that you, of course, need onion bhajis AND naan bread to accompany your Indian takeaway. Mary empowers women. You go, Mary, you marvellous lady.

And finally, there’s the cheapskate. The skintflint that hates wasting money. Margaret. Margaret is the reason I finish the children’s meals, regardless of whether it’s hour old porridge or sandwiches with all the filling scraped out (so just half-sucked bread, then). ‘You’ve just paid £20 for that meal!’ she reminds me when I start to get full in a restaurant (this NEVER happens, tbf). ‘What a waste of money and effort!’ she screeches if I consider tipping three-day old leftovers into the bin. If there’s ever cake/biscuits/sweets at work, Margaret urges me to get my fill – it’s free after all. I have an odd relationship with Margaret. Like, I get where you’re coming from, love, but do I really have to eat this pre-licked digestive that my toddler just threw on the floor?

I’m so happy I came to the realisation that I’m not just struggling to lose the weight – I HAVE AN ACTUAL ISSUE THAT I CAN’T HELP. It’s nothing to do with willpower, or assertiveness or just PUT THE FUCKING JAMMIE DODGER DOWN YOU FAT MORON! Nope, it’s all the fault of Trudy, Betty, Lolita, Judith, Mary and Margaret. Perhaps if they stopped warring, I’d be skinny. But alas, they cease not. And so, I must eat the cake.

 

 

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Snapshot #22 – What to do if you’re going to be a total bellend

I nearly cost myself a divorce last weekend. I momentarily lost my mind and all my friends took advantage. I was only trying to be helpful, be a fun mum, be one of the cool kids. But it turns out I was just a bellend having an oddly optimistic moment.

I hosted a sleepover. I didn’t mean to, it just kind of happened. I said ‘We have plenty of space, the kids can stay if they need to!’ And then, without realising, we were putting 7 children to bed. Repeatedly. For hours.

Before my friends berate me for making them sound like selfish twats, I offered. Then I reiterated my offer. Then I reassured them I was happy to do this. Then I sent them home, sans enfants.

And before Husband Dearest reopens divorce proceedings, it was all my own doing. He said no. He said what the fuck you absolute lunatic. He said I’m really not happy about this. I heed you now, Husband Dearest, I heed you. Thank you for not walking out at 4am and not nutting any of the toddlers during the 5.50am Morning Song.

We had an open house for the bank holiday. Everybody brought lots of food and wine. The furniture was pushed back, the garden was wet and rainy open and we had a nice little gathering in full swing. It’s possibly my favourite thing to do. Nothing* beats a house full of happy, tipsy, wonderful people. There kids were a bit primal, but no first aid had to be given, so I’ll take that as a success.

Having sent out the casual offer of kiddie beds, we’d ascertained that no one was really taking us up on it. In fact, one wondrous being actually offered to have Monster Minor. I was encouraged to stop being a complete dick by wondering if I should take this personally, and stop bringing attention to the fact that I’d momentarily lost my mind, offering our services as a toddler/preschooler hostel. So when we began preparing for the event, we were pretty sure we’d escaped nocturnal creature fielding duties.

Husband Dearest describes learning that this wasn’t the case as rather gradual. I’d use the term ‘snowballing’. We soon realised that 3, 5 including our own, would be staying. That was ok. One was Monster Major’s girlfriend and sleeps like a log (if that log had beautiful ginger curls). Another two we could learn to manage. They’d be so tired from all the amazing fun our house had beheld in the previous hours, that they’d crash at 8pm and sleep 12 hours, waking refreshed and full of manners and etiquette.

The bath factory line began. Usual occurrence at mass gatherings, and rather the military operation now. However, what followed was the feral screams of over-excited Mini Monsters. Trying to put them to bed was like Whack-a-Mole with fewer hammers and more sugar-induced mania. And it’s not like we were doing it single-handedly! Parents were still around, yet safety in numbers was a futile concept. Nothing can make that situation worse. Unless you add in two more 3-year olds who want to join the party.

But I know, I offered! It’s all my own doing! I can’t complain when I actively encouraged this. I don’t blame my friends. I’d have done the same. I blame them for not sitting me down, telling me not to be such a stupid motherfucker and that I completely could not handle seven 18-month – 3-year olds overnight. Perhaps they were too polite. Perhaps they believe in me. Or perhaps they just wanted a night where their monster was someone else’s problem.

Most parents left whilst the bed-swapping, nappy-removing and bare-bottomed conga lines were still taking place. And reeeeaaaallllyyy slowly and reluctantly, most went to sleep. Well, four out of seven. Two beauteous beings stayed until all children were passed out. The final 2 monsters still raving were treated to a real concoction of tough love, cuddles, blankets, stories, threats, and S.K.’s most monumentous consequence yet: ‘If you don’t go to sleep right now, you will never ever eat chocolate, ever, ever again.’ (It worked, S.K., you total legend.) They then stayed for a couple of cocktails and a bizarre game of kick the play mat mirror around the dining room.

Husband Dearest and I made it to bed around 10.30/11ish. And we had Peace At Last. Until 2am. The little bastards (sorry, I’m totally not calling your loves bastards) scamps worked as a team for two hours. The game resembled that one where you work together to hit the balloon so it doesn’t touch the floor. Except, it wasn’t a balloon, it was us. And it wasn’t the floor, it was sleep. But the hitting felt real. Cue lots of cuddles, songs, bed visitors, stories, reassurance, curling up at the bottom of a bed pretending to be asleep, muttering FFS, groaning ‘Nooooooooooo’, and Husband Dearest hissing ‘ONE CHILD ONLY, NEXT TIME!’ We. were. spent.

So when Monster G decided 5.50am was the precise time he’d treat us to his glorious rendition of Sounds of the Cat Once Strangled, we were a little less than perky. When he and his blow-up-bed buddy ran through the upstairs, waking the other campers with the chorus, we could have given it a miss. Though when he entered our room, did his funny little jig, and ran out again, I think even Husband Dearest may have cracked a smile.

If I wanted to be a major-league bellend, I might say the glee on Monster Major’s  face when they ran around the landing at 6am, made it all worth while. But I’m not that much of a nob and it didn’t.

A pretty seething message to the parents slightly before 6am, must have guilt-tripped them, as we had 3 collectors arrive before 7am. You people are amazing. I can’t imagine it would’ve ended well if we’d have had to cope with them for much longer. When you’re nearly four-foldly outnumbered, it’s only a matter of time until someone has a complete and utter nervous breakdown or reopens last night’s vodka.

So, in all the madness, I did learn a few things.

  1. Do not let J&A bring pudding for the children. It will contain sugar in copious amounts. And certainly supervise the gorging on said dessert; otherwise some Monsters will still be bouncing off the walls at going up to 10pm.
  2. No child is a safe bet. Parents may tell you they sleep until 8am. They lie. Parents may tell you when they’re asleep, they’re dead to the world. They, too, lie. Children are like zombies. You can’t knock them out, they keep coming back, and they want to take your soul.
  3. Sometimes On exceedingly rare occasions, Husband Dearest may actually be right.
  4. My friends have terribly low standards for who watches their children. They watched Husband Dearest and I drink from 3pm and STILL left their children in our care. The things they’ll do for a moment’s peace.
  5. Having someone’s children for less than 12 hours, does not clock up any favours, unfortunately.

Sleepovers for Mini Monsters. It’s not big. It’s not clever. Don’t be a bellend. Don’t do it.

 

*Total, unashamed lie for effect. A LOT of things beat that. Sleeping through the night. Sleeping past 6.30am. Sleeping without a child in the bed. Red wine. Nando’s bottomless frozen yoghurt.