The Night Before Christmas (In Our House)

On the night before Christmas, so it is said,

That children should be nestled snug in their beds.

They should not be asking, ‘one more lullaby?’

Or secretly stealing another mince pie.

On the night before Christmas, so we are told

That children will all be as good as gold.

For fear that if they mess about,

That Santa Claus would find out!

 

But on the night before Christmas day,

In our house, things don’t go this way Continue reading

SATs strikes: Stop throwing books at our children’s heads…

MbookY heart is beating fast and I feel sick. I force myself to eat some chocolate because someone said it might help. I take a deep breath and open the door…

The hall is silent except for the occasional cough and the shuffling of chairs. The stench of nervous sweat lingers in the air.

“Turn over your papers, you may begin.”

I look at the clock and I am filled with panic. I feel like I might pass out. I pick up my pen but my palms are so sweaty it is hard to grip it properly. I want to cry. I want to scream, and I really need the toilet.

This was how I felt before every GCSE exam I took. I was 16. This was also how I felt before taking my driving test, aged 22, and my journalism training (NCTJ) exams when I was 24.

Being tested makes us feel anxious. Even the most academic of adults find being in an exam situation stressful, so it’s not hard to imagine how a young child about to sit their Year 2 SATs must feel….

Read more about my thoughts on the impact of testing young children over at The New Statesman!

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I also wrote about all the weird and wonderful words for Vagina at Metro UK. YES. Discussing SATs and vaginas in the same week.  I LOVE my job.

 

How to survive a holiday when your baby won’t sleep

yuck pebbles“You need a holiday,” people would tell me.

I was the mother of two children under two who did not sleep. I was tired, stressed and felt like I hadn’t sat down in years. Of course I needed a holiday. But when you are so sleep-deprived that even a trip to the Big Tesco is a major operation, the mere thought of a holiday can be terrifying.

“The sea air will help the baby sleep,” they said.

“All the excitement will tire the kids out,”’ people assured me.

 

Continue reading

New motherhood is a bit of a dick

motherdick‘How are you finding motherhood?’ People would ask me shortly after the arrival of my first baby.

‘So great,’ I lied, fighting back the tears. ‘Best thing ever.’

The truth is, I felt like crap.

But I had seen the smiling new mums on Facebook holding tiny babies in their arms. I had read the glossy parenting magazines. I knew how I should be feeling. I should be glowing with happiness at the arrival of a beautiful, healthy child. So why wasn’t I? Continue reading

26 lies tired parents tell

liesI have a confession to make.

Since having babies I have become a big fat liar.

I am not proud of myself, but sometimes lying (and coffee, so much coffee) is the only way to survive  The truth would simply hurt too much (or make you look like a miserable twat) so telling the odd fib is a necessary evil.

If you are a tired parent, then here are a few untruths that you might recognise (or maybe I am  just a miserable twat): Continue reading

How Not To Kill Your Partner When You Have Babies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEXPECTING your first child is an exciting time (when I say an exciting time. Exciting for you and your partner – boring as hell for everyone else).

“We are going to be actual grown up parents,” you exclaim, waving around a urine-covered stick, “to a cute little baby!” Continue reading

The 10 stages of getting a baby to go the f**k to sleep

ARE you looking for a way to get your baby to go to sleep and stay asleep when they do not want to be asleep?

You probably won’t find one.

At worst, they will stay awake all night. At best, you may be able to get them to stay in bed long enough for you to enjoy (neck) a glass of wine. Continue reading

Three Things I Am Glad My Mother Never Taught Me

Baby Em with Mum 2 copyHOW TO BE PRETTY

My mother never wore make up.

She didn’t spend hours putting her face on, straightening her hair or painting her nails.

She never dressed me up in frilly clothes that I had to ‘keep clean’ or threw me a mini-makeover party.

My mum may not have known how to to do a French plait but she showed me how to splash in puddles and make mud pies. Continue reading