This week Millie was set a school project to do a show and tell about outer space and she chose to create a Planet Happy. She decided that Happy is a pretty rainbow coloured planet 99miles away from the sun, where it is always bright and cheerful, the trees grow in the shape of love hearts and there are five colourful moons. It was so much fun helping her to cut up the box and decorate the planet, and she wrote a story about it too to read out in class. Her imagination is infectious and she came up with the most lovely idea to make and write about her Happy Planet. Fingers crossed she’ll be able to deliver the story to her class and talk about how she made it all, as I can imagine a lot of children put so much time and effort into their show and tell’s but when they have to stand up and give their speech to the class they suddenly turn into clams and refuse to look up from the floor.
Millie is doing so well bless her, she’s growing up so fast, becoming more and more helpful and beautiful by the day and making me so extremely proud in all that she does. At the age of six she is gradually morphing into my best friend, from having once been my dependant child she now involves herself in everything that I do. We do the food shop together and she reminds me that I need to get bin bags and toffees, she gets my purse from my bag when I stop to get petrol, she walks our chihuahua Joey on the way to school and she helps to wash her baby brother Gabriele’s hair in the bath and fold his pyjamas. I never expected nor asked her to do anything other than have fun and be herself, but she has chosen to be my little parrot, to help out and work together as a team and I love her so much it makes my heart squeak. If anything I actually turn to her now and ask for her opinion and advice on what to wear, what dinner to make and whether to catch up on Coronation Street or Eastenders first. I am so blessed to have both of my wonderful children, there really is nothing sweeter in life than being a mother.
I had a fantastic fantasy photoshoot in Cambridge this week and was like a kid at Christmas trying on gowns and dresses, corsets, heels and prosthetics! I hardly ever get to fancy dress, let alone play with props and follow a theme for a purpose. It was so much fun that I didn’t stop smiling all afternoon and I was estatic to see the pictures. I strongly believe that regardless of what we do in life, we should all take a little step out of the ‘norm’ and do something we’ve never tried before, because you never realise how exciting and fascinating life can be if you’re always stuck in a groundhog day. Whether it be taking a different route to work, buying a daring pair of shoes, learning a new hobby or having a themed photoshoot; we should never be afraid to test ourselves and to say “do you know what, I’ve never tried it before but I’m totally willing to give it a go!” I can’t say that perching on a tree stump, wearing prosthetic ears and shooting arrows was ever on my list of things to do, but I had such a great time and I’m so pleased that I tried it as it’s something different and will make a great story one day to tell the grandkids over a pot of tea and some cucumber sandwiches. All grannies need a crazy old tale or two in the bank don’t they, and you should never be deterred from trying new things in life for fear of looking silly or what other people may think. I am undoubtedly testament to that and have never had so much fun and freedom in my life since I stopped concerning myself with other peoples opinion! It isn’t about being cocky or self centred, it’s about doing what pleases you, what makes you happy and what you want and need in life, so long as you’re not hurting others or committing a crime then get out there and test your limits and push your boundaries because life is far too short not to.
I expect the people who want to busy themselves in my life and think badly of everything that I do, which are only a handful I might add, will be reading this right now with their stalking caps on, sucking on a nice bitter lemon sweet thinking that my new pointy ears are just as big as my nose. In fact they’re in proportion with my huge manly feet and fake breasts too, what a coincidence. And yes my elf suit is a little short, but no shorter than what girls my age would wear on a night out. And yes my children do see all of my pictures because I believe in raising them to love the skin they are in, regardless of what they may wear, how their bodies may change and whatever weight they may be. Beauty comes from within, and our skin is simply a vehicle for our beautiful soul, our personalities are what see us through in life, as well as a positive outlook, drive and passion in all that you do. I have no concerns about my children walking into the bathroom when I’m taking a shower, or seeing a picture of me in a bikini or dressed up for a night out, because I know that no matter what my children will always talk to me and be honest and open. Nothing is taboo in our home, God forbid if my daughter was ever concerned about the health of any aspect of her body I know that she wouldn’t hesitate to tell me, if anybody laid a finger on my children they would know immediately that it’s not acceptable, and as they continue to grow they will not face the same embarrassment and shyness over their bodies like I did as a child. I was so incredibly insecure and shy growing up that it totally ruled my life and I was bullied badly because of it, as a result I was never happy with how I looked and prayed that I would wake up one day and look like somebody else. Looking back now, I wish I could have made myself realise how human I was, I had no need to be shy, I had no need to hide away and be embarrassed about myself, and if only I realised then I’d probably be a very different person now. So I choose to raise my children with the freedom that I never had, the absence of embarrassment. I can’t dance to save my life, but if my children take my hand and ask me to then I’m straight in there dancing like my dad, if my daughter asks me to sing with her I turn the music up and sing like a strangled cat with a microphone, and if my son wants to play horsey then I get on my hands and knees and he pats my head and walks me around the coffee table. I do not let pride or self image get in the way of life, my children deserve to grow in a world without limits, without hangups and without any reasons for being bullied.
I am almost three weeks into my thirty day review of the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet, which involves eating as I normally would for five days each week, and cutting down my food to around a quarter of my daily calorie allowance on the other two days. So far I’ve lost eight pounds in a couple of weeks, and it’s surprisingly easy to do. The reason I’m only doing it for thirty days is firstly because it’s a blog review, and this way I have a set amount of time for me to chart progress and report on my findings, as people who want to do it as a lifestyle would obviously continue it for as long as they feel fit, and secondly because I don’t have a massive amount of weight to lose. I want to remain fit and healthy without putting my body in danger of cutting out necessary food or only eating from a certain group. After finishing my latest exercise regime I’ve continued to eat the same large portions as when I was working out but without doing any exercise now, so I’ve put on a few pounds and am happy to shift them for this trial.
I’m not looking to be anorexic, and I’d never starve myself, this was the first ever diet that I’d come across that I actually agree with the ethics of, eat normally all week and be health conscious just twice. So far I’ve shifted weight and found more energy, I feel less bloated whilst still eating everything that I love. There is no fat-cat company fee, no expensive meals to purchase or plans to follow, and I’m not making anything out of it, it’s just a worthwhile healthy happy lifestyle with great results that I support. This is exactly what I love doing, finding things that I am passionate about and sharing the results to help, inspire and motivate others. Karma is a beautiful thing and it’s what makes the world go round.
Speaking of karma, I saw a status on Facebook this week that really offended and upset me. Without going too far into the in’s and out’s of it, somebody on my friends list had posted an agitated status about seeing a ‘young mum’ telling off her child in public in an unsavoury manner and stated that they wanted to ‘slap the chav’ because of it. I don’t normally comment on others statuses, but this really upset me. Firstly I don’t agree with child cruelty, there is no need for bad manners or unsavoury language, but at the same time children do need to be disciplined and told off when they behave badly. If the mother had left the child jumping around or shrieking I’m sure others would have been offended, but to tell them off and ensure they behave had also caused offence, what more could she have done? I didn’t see the incident, only the Facebook post about it, so I don’t know the full extent of how it happened and what was said to the child in what way, but as it was posted by a non-parent, I have seen similar ignorant viewpoints many a time. I responded with the notion that they may not have seen the build up of behaviour which led to the discipline, but simply the parents distressed reaction for which they judged their negative opinion on. I also pointed out that the person who posted the status on Facebook was agitated at the time, and because of this their statement of wanting to slap a young mother was not their typical behaviour, they don’t normally behave in such a way as it was simply the result of having lost their patience, just as the mother did to have told off her child. Children are notorious for throwing food on the floor, breaking things, having a strop or playing up in public; they get tired from walking, complain about being bored and want to go home or generally pick at, kick or irritate their clothes and anything else within their reach. Children are children and it isn’t an easy task to keep them focused and behaved in a public place at any age. If I see a parent with a screaming child in a pushchair racing past, I give them a sympathetic smile because we’ve all been there, however people without children look down their nose, kick up a fuss and complain about the disruption, ultimately discrediting the parents ability to take care of their child because of it. Nevermind the fact that the child has been fed, changed, winded, played with and wrapped up and is having a moan for not stopping to stroke a dog or having the wrong colour cup whilst the mother tries her hardest to get home and be as little inconvenience to others as possible.
For the fact that the words ‘young’ ‘mum’ and ‘chav’ were used, it really made my blood boil. I first became a single parent at the age of twenty and faced the despicable eye of the public, casting judgement on me for having a child so young, belittling my prior achievements in life and questioning my ability to raise a child whilst still being a child myself. Despite my daughter being impeccably well mannered, bright, inquisitive and academic I was tarred with the brush of ‘young mum’ and thrown into the box of no hope and no future, destined to be buried under a mountain of dirty nappies watching daytime TV all day and no job, which I am proud to say could not be further from the truth. Had I have been ten or even twenty years older I have no doubt that people would have smiled at me pushing my beautiful daughter in the pram, perhaps even held a door open or started a conversation with me, rather than a look of disgust and pushing past us like we were an inconvenience whenever we stepped out in public.
As a mother of two I understand the struggle every woman goes through for her child, the responsibility you take on is enormous, you lose your freedom, social life, right to a normal nights sleep, your memory, marbles and at times your patience. But everything that you do is for the love of your child, from carrying them full term to giving birth, night feeds and wet noses. You give them your all, your undivided attention and constant commitment and always question your decisions, worrying about their health, their development and happiness. And even at the end of the day when the rest of the house is silent and all are sleeping, as you clean up and tidy, cook and repair the chaos of the day in preparation for the following morning, you still feel guilty that you’ve not done everything you needed to; you didn’t have as much time one-to-one with your child as you wanted, didn’t cook as well as you’d hoped to or give them enough kisses or time spent reading before hurrying them off to bed. You try and try and try all day everyday in a never ending cycle of too’ing and fro’ing that is motherhood, and after rallying the troops for a public outing, something as simple as visiting the supermarket, going to the bank or stopping for a spot of lunch can turn into a military operation. I am fortunate that my children are generally understanding and well behaved, but in public they do still test me. My son Gabriele strains from within in the trolley to try and touch everything in sight and my daughter tries her hardest to guilt trip me into buying every toy, t-shirt or sweet that we pass. I deal with it in a calm manner, smiling, reassuring and politely telling the children to wait until we’re home or distracting them with little tasks or games so that we can get in and out as quickly and painlessly as possible.
I have nightmares for the poor parents whose children throw tantrums in public, who knock things over, cause a fight with a sibling or throw a strop and refuse to walk any further. Children are young, emotionally immature and easily bored and it’s not their fault, but equally it isn’t a walk in the park for the parent either. The fact that they called this ‘young mum’ a ‘chav’ means that they were looking down their nose at them, perhaps for the way they dress, their financial struggle or lack of education. Does this have anything to do with their parenting ability? No. It is just a social status. They could have just said ‘I didn’t like the way a mother just spoke to her child in public’ but instead the vile context of ‘I want to slap that young chav mum’ made me feel sick. If a middle aged woman dressed in a suit, or a grandparent in a floral dress had said and done the same thing would anybody have even batted an eyelid? I wonder how many times that young mum has cried for feeling inadequate, how many times she’s questioned her ability or felt the same horrible reaction from the public as I did for being a young parent. How many nasty stares, cruel jibes or whispers behind your back does a young girl have to have before she gives up and can’t take it anymore? How many doors have to be shut in your face before you just stop trying? And how much courage and love did it take for her to carry on through all of those sleepless nights and tearful tantrums, to still be there holding her little ones hand and taking them out for a special lunch together. It could have been months of pressure and stress that led to her telling off her child in public, perhaps a few hours of tantrums and teasing, or a matter of minutes that led to the straw that broke the camels back. As humans we only have so much patience, some more than others but we’ve all got our breaking point. Is it fair to judge a person based on one single act? She didn’t hit the child, didn’t hurt them, just told them off, and now somebody has written a horrible status about them on Facebook, reinforcing that brush covered in tar about incapable young mothers.
My response was to consider the child’s agitative actions leading up to the telling off, that keeping a child’s behaviour in line is far more favourable than letting them scream and shout in public, and that being ‘young’ or a ‘chav’ should never have been brought into the equation as it is simply stereotypical and judgemental bile from the ill-informed. When they have children of their own, their patience will change, their outlook will mature and their sympathy and consideration for other parents will no doubt become apparent. And I guarantee you they will say sorry to their own parents for their behaviour as their child. It is ridiculous to judge a person unless you have first walked a mile in their shoes. Stating online that you want to slap a young chav mum for telling off her child is the lowest of the low and I can’t sit back and accept that. If you see somebody struggling then instead of shoving your foot on their head and pushing them further down, extend your hand and help them up. If a child was been mistreated don’t just sit there and let it happen then bitch about it online after, if they were really in a horrific situation then intervene and help them. If a child drops a toy from their pram pick it up and give it back to them, and if a parent is forced to tell off their child in public be grateful for their non-violent discipline because the world would be, and frighteningly already is, a far worser place without it. Age should not be brought into parenting, neither should sex, race, religion or whatever else you may choose to classify people as, don’t call her a young chav, call her a mum. A 14 year old mother can be just as capable as a 42yr old at raising her child if she is of the same mindset, age does not always equal maturity. We are all different and some people are more attuned to handling stress, pressure and responsibility more so than others. You cannot judge the masses by the actions of a few, and you should never disrespect or diminish the achievements and ability of those who you deem to be less of a person than you. That young mum took the hard route and stuck around, you have no idea how she was raised, what her own parents are like or even recognise the fact that she didn’t give up and abandon or sign away her child to be like the other girls her own age. She’s doing her best in a struggle to be socially accepted as a young parent whilst keeping her child safe and calm in public so as not to inconvenience your day. So the next time you see a young mother with a child, have some consideration, have a heart and smile, open a door or pick up a dropped toy because it doesn’t cost anything but means so much more than you realise.
And whilst I’m on a somewhat hormonal rant, I just had a tweet from Zoo Magazine to say that I’m in print this week. I first modelled for The Daily Sport, Zoo, Nuts, Loaded and FHM back when I was eighteen, a shocking eight and a half years ago before having my two children, and it made me smile to pick up a copy of the magazine just now. Just because I have children doesn’t mean my life must grind to a halt, it doesn’t me that I can’t be a twenty-six year old woman and have body confidence. I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not getting any younger but do you know what, you only live once and I’m going to enjoy what I’ve got whilst I’ve got it because we’re a long time dead.
Incase you didn’t pick up the moral of todays blog – don’t be so quick to judge and look down upon other people. We all fight our battles behind closed doors and thoughtless and cruel actions can be the tipping point in somebody surviving or giving up completely. Spread love, hope and happiness and cut out the cruelty, jealousy and vindictiveness. Life is so much more beautiful when you reap what you sow.