Sunday, 26 June 2011

Cybermummy (Part 1) - The One With(out) The Iron

There is far too much to say about my Cybermummy experience in one blog post. So perhaps I will start at the very beginning - which, as Julie Andrews rightly says, is a very fine (and probably logical) place to start.

And so let us commence, therefore, with Cybermummy: The Prequel.

Amongst the buzz and the build up, 'what to wear' debate loomed large across Twitter for many weeks. There were many suggestions.

Smart? Hmmm - don't really do smart.

Casual? Yup - can do casual (read 'scruffy') pretty well - but shouldn't I make a bit of an effort?

Frock? Not a hope. The glare from my whiter-than-white legs would strike terror into the hearts of the entire mummy blogging community

Jeans? Ach it's always jeans. Surely I can manage something different for a day?

The temptation to say 'stuff it' and stick with the dressing gown plan was almost overwhelming - indeed it was only the thought of braving the Northern Line (and the rain) that foiled my plans.

And then suddenly the big day had dawned, the contents of my wardrobe were all over the floor and I still didn't have an answer.

In fact the final decision was influenced not by any delusions of sartorial elegance, nor by a desire to impress.

It was determined not with any nod to the fashions of the season, nor because I thought I would be judged.

In the end it was motivated by one factor alone - the fact that this outfit was the only thing I could find that didn't need ironing.

We do actually own an iron. But it may be a reflection of how much (little) we use it that when my husband took it out the other day our 3 year old daughter asked 'what's that?'

We do actually own an ironing board. It's just that after 5 years in our current home I'm still not actually sure where it's kept.

This horrifies my mother (who irons everything in her path including knickers, socks and tea towels). But can I be blamed for the fact that my brothers got the entire family supply of ironing genes while I was left only with the ones that enable me to sniff out anything containing cocoa solids within a 100 metre radius?

But I digress.

The bottom line is that it wouldn't have mattered a jot if I'd turned up looking like I'd just crawled out from under a haystack. I doubt that anyone would have batted an eyelid if I had gone through with the nightwear.

Because that's the great thing about being a mummy blogger. You can be any shape or size. You can wear whatever you want. You can dye your hair any colour of the rainbow.

People don't give a hoot about what you look like. They care about what you have to say.

Our voices matter.

And yesterday was the perfect reminder that that is the really important thing about being a mummy blogger.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Oh Dear Germaine Greer

It's been a long week - and I had the best of intentions for an early night. But somehow an evening out with the girls ended up with just one more cuppa...and by the time I stuck my head round the door to say goodnight to my husband he had just switched on Question Time.

Within seconds I was on the sofa beside him, yelling at the screen for all I was worth.

The sexualisation of young girls has been headline news this week. It is fantastic that pressure is finally being put on manufacturers and retailers to stop pushing padded bikini tops for tiddlers, high heels for children who should be running round the park in trainers and so on.

And of course, yes, it's down to us parents too. We have a say in what our youngsters wear - which is not to say even the littlest don't have strong opinions - but hey, we're the ones holding the purse strings. As a friend once pointed out, mums often tend to dress their daughters as they dress themselves. Looking at her cool and stylish toddler and then at my own in jeans with holes and a hoody that had seen better days I was forced to agree. However I hope that even if my own choice was to wear clothes that were slightly less grunge and more, er, womanly, I would still have the nous to realise my child is a child and should be clothed accordingly.

But Ms Greer's edict that girls should not be kissing their daddies because it's 'teaching them how to flirt'????

Like half of Twitter (it seems) I was speechless.

Sure, kids (of both sexes) will use every trick in the book on their parents (of both sexes) when there is something they want...but even then, since when did cutesy cuddling up and wheedling for all they're worth become sexual?

Should a child not be able to show affection to a parent whenever they choose? I live 200 miles away from my own father but even at the ripe old age of forty somethi.. *coughs* I take great pleasure in kissing, hugging and hand holding whenever I get a chance. I watch my own daughter kissing and cuddling my husband with nothing but pleasure - how can it possibly sum up anything other than the fantastic bond that they share and the love they have for one another?

To teach our children that they shouldn't be kissing the very people at the centre of their worlds is surely to stunt their emotional growth, to let them grow up believing that love for their parents is something to be wary of rather than delight in?

What a sad world it would be if we had to panic about the way a gesture of genuine affection might be construed every time we wanted to show the people that we love how much we love them. I couldn't possibly count the number of times a day that I reach out to give my little one a quick hug, a kiss, a cuddle. It's the most natural, normal thing in the world - and surely viewing it as anything else is only to create an issue where there really shouldn't be one?

So yes, Germaine Greer, I know you don't have kids yourself - but rest assured that my husband and I, like the vast majority of other parents out there, are all for keeping our girls as girls. But calling time on the hugs and kisses? Not a chance.

(Oh - and after last night I may also be forced to sue you for a large box of Strepsils)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Cybermummy. Eek!

I've been meaning to do this for ages...and now I've been prompted by the Meet and Greet on @MummysShoes blog so there's no excuse.

Cybermummy is less than 3 weeks away. I didn't go last year. I was determined to go this year. And I can't wait.

Except....agh! I don't know anyone. Eek! there's that walking-into-a-crowded-room-full-of-people-who-are-all-bound-to-know-each-other thing. Then there's the whole what-if-I-don't-recognise-people fear - people who've become really close friends in the twitterverse but who I've never met in real life (real life?!)

I'm comforted by the fact that loads of people seem to be feeling exactly the same way. So perhaps we should all forget the wobbles and embrace the fact that we finally have a chance to meet the fabulous folk who we probably end up chatting to more often than many of our nearest and dearest.

So please dear Twitter chums (or fellow newbies) - come say hi on here. Let me know that you're going and I'll come and find you. And if you're very very good there's a chance* I might even save you my last piece of chocolate

*(if you follow me you will know just what a slim chance this is but hey - it's the thought that counts. Isn't it?)

A Few Briefing Notes...

Name: Cari

Blog: Secret Diary of A Secret Diary (& also The Nigella Notes)

Book: The Secret Diary of A New Mum (Aged 43 1/4)

Twitter ID: @cazroz

Height: I shall quote my dear chum (Mostly) Yummy on this one... "5ft 5 and a half. And yes, the half does count."

Hair: The fantasy - long, dark, glossy. The reality - mid length frizz. As a child my mother wouldn't let me grow it long. To be fair it mainly grew upwards. In the photos of my childhood I look as though I am either impersonating one of the Jackson Five or wearing a dark brown motorcycle helmet. I have embraced the chemical straightener revolution with gusto

Eyes: Two. Both blue/grey

Likes: Peanut M&Ms. Books. Man United (and yes - I am actually from Manchester). Chocolate. Lie-ins (a girl can dream can't she?) Fresh croissants (ditto). Sugar Puffs with Dairylea (and no milk - yes, I know, I know... now no one will come and say hi). Peanut Butter M&Ms. Cooking (in general). Baking (in particular). Friends. Family (most of). Cats (husband allergic - dammit). Paris. Scotland. Eccles cakes.

Dislikes: where do I start...custard. Mashed potato. Cooked cheese. Celery. The fact i have posted a photo of myself at an event I'm actually trying to forget. People who turn right at the end of my road (despite the two no right turn signs). Manchester City. Flying. Being vomited on. People who don't indicate. Litter. Hoovering. Ironing. Snoring. Bad manners (not the pop group - they were quite good actually). Queues. Pesto. The fact that I am too tired to remember the other 600 things that get my goat...