I bloody love social media. As a teen though it would have been my worst nightmare! Imagine being 15, a bit chunky, not a huge socialite and totally envious of all your friends....and not being able to hide away from it cos it's there on your phone.... pictures of everyone doing everything and you're not!
Now I'm old enough and ugly enough to realise that a bloody good filter and some good framing can make even the shittest thing look ace. Knowing this, keeps me sane and lets me join in the pretence! This knowledge is hugely important when it comes to being a mom online. It's easy to see meals, days out, toys and milestones through pictures and compare yourself. It used to bother me- probably still does a bit. But on the whole I know it's not the full story. I know it will have taken 132 attempts to get that moment. I know that out of shot is a dirty nappy and a pile of washing and sometimes behind the camera is a mom still in her house coat (or dressing gown!) who hasn't washed her hair in a week and could really do with a pee but is holding it in until nap time when she can perhaps even poo without worrying what the babies are doing!
So in honour of not always living the perfect twin mom existence- here's two recent pics from my camera....
Join in and add your pics that really wouldn't make anyone envious of you! (Balls- just worked out you can't add pics to comments....er......so that's that then! Maybe just add them to the Wicked Wednesday thing on brummymummyof2 on facebook- she's ace at 'keeping it real!').
Photo 1: My bedside table. Notice the febreeze that gets sprayed over carpet sick when I can't be arsed to get a sponge on it quickly. Lottery tickets bought in the hopes of prolonging maternity leave. Shit loads of dentinox that I fear my boys are going to become reliant on for life. Infacol cos I'm scared of wind and will probably still be making them take it age 14. Vaseline- I think I used that cos the Sudocream was downstairs and I didn't want to carry Billy (the current roller) downstairs and leave Miles crying on the bed. Socks to put over their hands so they don't keep stealing each others dummies. Calpol that I drink in the middle of the night when I've forgotten to get a glass of water plus loads of other 'stuff'. I thought by now I'd have a beautiful family photo and a card telling me how wonderful I am that I read when I wake up every morning!
So, apparently Beyoncé got wind of me doing her Crazy in Love dance better than her at my wedding and decided to up the ante a notch.....
She will inevitably be searching the web for help and insight into bringing twins into the world and will most probably come across my blog. The least I can do is share my 7 months worth of wisdom with her. So here goes- things Beyoncé will need to know about having twins, by me, her role model.
1. Be prepared for the same questions and comments over and over again.
You've got your hands full
Are they identical?
How do you tell them apart?
Do they run in the family?
Were they natural?
How do you cope?
Rather you than me
Which one is the good one?
Were they planned?
Two for the price of one (this one always makes me laugh as it is actually true!)
I always wanted twins
Only one pregnancy- you're so lucky!
You've got it all out the way in one go
My kids are only a year apart- I know how you feel
I'm still at the don't mind answering the question phase. The first time you go out- you do feel like a bit of a local superstar, it soon passes though. So Beyoncé- you might think you have fame now - but being a mom of twins takes it to a whole new level!
2. Be prepared to hate Jay Z.
Having one baby puts a strain on a relationship- having 2 puts an even bigger strain. I read some statistics about relationship break ups following multiples- they weren't nice to see. Unfortunately I haven't got any real wisdom to share with this one as I still threaten to divorce Rob daily and I'm pretty scared the boys actually think their dad is called 'Fucking Prick'. I would say talk. To each other. To friends and to yourself when you know you're being a crazy mad bitch. Be ready to apologise and remember you're both trying your best (obviously I'm trying the actual best but he is trying his best! Jokes- he's a good un and it's important to remember that!).
3. Be prepared to offend people.
People will want to help. Some of the help may actually be helpful. Some of it won't. Don't be scared to say no thanks. So Bey (I can call you that now we're pals yeah?) when Solange comes over and wants to pick the babies up, but you've just got them to sleep and you are trying desperately to keep them on the same schedule- don't be scared to tell her to bugger off. She'll thank you for it when they are older and you haven't run yourself into the ground.
4. Invest in a good house coat (dressing gown for all of you not stuck in the 1970's!)
With one kid it's hard to get dressed. With two it's harder. Also, chances are you'll be up a bit more in the night. I have one with a hood. The other morning I was sitting in the window eating my breakfast while the boys were on their gym mat thing and I felt like Lady Gaga. All the school run moms walking past my house were weljel. Bey- mines from the Asda if you're looking for a good one. (Talking of twins, I'm the one on the right in the pic if you're confused!)
5. Enjoy it.
It's bloody hard. You'll feel like a loser. You'll feel like shit. You'll feel overwhelmed. You'll constantly compare. But enjoy it. Being a twin mom is amazing. Two actual humans grew inside your one belly. When one has settled and the other stirs. Enjoy it. (maybe not at the time, but in time you will).
Join in. If you're a multiple parent, a singleton parent (sorry- us multiple parents use that word frequently!), a friend of a multiple- what advice would you give Bey?
My best mate lives in Barcelona. I remember going over to see her a few years ago. Now before I tell you the rest of the story- you must remember we were in our early 30's and Ricky Martins Livin La Vida Loca was our soundtrack to life.....this one particular weekend I travelled out on the Saturday morning and by Saturday evening we were ILLEGALLY STREAMING THE X FACTOR IN OUR PYJAMAS!!! I know the carefree nature and chaos of your early 30's- the crazy memories!! Now the reason I tell you this is to ease you gently into another pretty wreckless weekend- this time Sadam (not her real name- but what I call her- nothing to do with dictators , it's her initial and last name combined) had travelled back to Black Country for some craaazy fun....so we found ourselves in the sweet aisle of the big Tesco and this conversation happened ".......mmmm should I get the starburst OR the minstrels?" Now this question blew my mind. Why was she using the word OR?? Why wasn't the word AND being used instead?! After a very stern word, Sadam retracted her question and purchased both the starburst and the minstrels! Another crazy weekend of fun fun fun! :)
I've been thinking a bit recently about using AND or OR. The truth is I'm struggling to compute some things in my brain- you see I'm the happiest I've ever been but at the same time I'm also feeling other things, not happy things. And it's been making me feel a bit guilty. Can happiness and unhappiness be felt at the same time? Or are they mutually exclusive? I don't know about people who conceive naturally- but for me I feel real pressure to feel great about everything- after all, this is what you wanted. What you paid a load of money for. What you stabbed yourself every day for over 9months for. Of course you must feel constant happiness about it- your dream has come true! And yes, yes it has! And yes I do pinch myself every day with how lucky I am and I have so much love for my boys it consumes me. But I also feel shitty. Shitty that I still only fit my maternity clothes. Shit that I haven't been able to go to bingo. And I won't depress you with the rest!
These feelings have messed with my mind a bit. Is it OK to feel this AND that or should I be feeling this OR that? Currently I feel terrible guilt for even thinking the other things. What's your experience? Please do share!
I once met Sinitta. I've always had a soft spot for her, due to the fact that we share the same birthday. Anyway, when I lived in Australia I met her in Sydney. I literally climbed over seats so I could go and speak to her (she was with Nick from Neighbours at the time too!). In my head the conversation would go like this:
"Hello Sinitta, I'm Jennie -how are you?"
"Oh hey Jennie, thanks for taking the time to say hello- I'm pretty surprised to be recognised actually seeing as we are 10000km from home."
"Of course I recognise you! You were a huge star- plus we share a birthday so I've always had a soft spot for you" etc etc.... then we would probably exchange email addresses, send cards to one another on our birthday and maybe she would even invite me to capital city to meet Simon Cowell.
In reality it went like this:
"Hi Sinitta, great to meet you, I'm Jennie"
Sinitta mutters hello, then looks over my head and clearly has no interest in pursuing any conversation.
What a cowbag! I'd climbed over chairs to meet her! I was so gutted I even forgot to say hello to Nick from Neighbours- I hope he wasn't too upset!
Over the past couple of weeks, I've had another conversation that messed with my brain nearly as much as my none convo with Sinitta did. This time it was with my husband and it went something like this.....
"Rob, are we going to try and have any more children?"
Having experienced loss and then IVF this was a crazy conversation to have. The past 4 years of our lives have been so focussed on having children, that I never thought I'd ever have to have to have this conversation. We've decided not to. Truthfully we couldn't go through the potential head mess and probable heartache with trying naturally and we certainly can't afford to do IVF again. It' s weird making that decision. Although we have everything and more in our boys there's still a feeling of sadness that I'm never going to be pregnant again, we're never going to have to think about cycles, temperatures, injections and conception again.
I know I sound spoilt, but it's really messed with my brain!
Have you had 'the convo' yet? Maybe yours was about having more kids, or maybe to stop trying. How did it go for you?
Ever typed a postcode into a sat nav and ended up still quite lost- even with annoying robot lady telling you to the contrary and that I have indeed reached my destination. Er no love I haven't- so wind your neck in and reroute or something!
Getting my boys has been a long old journey and on the 26th June 2016 it felt like robot lady was saying to me - you have reached your destination. But once again she was a bloody liar! I'd reached the most fantastic service station and picked up the worlds best twin hitchhikers- but I'd no way arrived at my destination.
Being so focussed on getting and staying pregnant- I'd kind of blocked out that at the end of it there would be actual human beings- totally reliant on me and Rob. I can now understand when my boss would say to me in a concerned voice "you do realise you are having actual twins don't you?!" because in hindsight I can now see- no I didn't!
Remember Laura who I wrote about who spoke so openly about her IVF journey- well we ended up being pregnant at the same time and due to our similar backgrounds we were able to support one another (OK she supported me and I drained her with constant messages that read - I've just felt this is this normal, can I do this etc etc), She had her baby 2 months before me and I remember seeing her with him for the first time and it was surreal- she was no longer pregnant, she was holding a baby....still it didn't click with me! That would be me.
When you want something so badly it becomes the destination- but the truth is - life goes on after that and the journey continues. It's now a new journey and who knows where the next stop will be. I for one can't bloody wait to see- it's already been a crazy 14 weeks!
As always I'd love to hear from you -so please do leave a comment! :)
This evening I whooped and nearly shed a tear. All over both of my sons finishing 5oz, burping loudly and having a fantastic poo. In fact I celebrated those 3 things as much as I celebrated when WBA beat Port Vale in the Division 2 Play Off finals at Wembley! A good burp from my boys is often the difference between me feeling like an OK mom and the worlds worst mom!
I'm pleased that at the moment it's such a small thing that determines my perception of success. When I was struggling to become a mom, it was that that shaped my feelings about myself. I felt like a huge failure. Seriously a bloody 15 year old school kid can get pregnant and carry a child and I couldn't! After every loss I apologised to my husband- I'm sorry I have such a shit oven. Every month I would crumble and think how useless I was.
At the time, friends and family would say- it's not your fault, and deep down I knew it wasn't. But it still felt it. Fortunately I was able to gather myself together and focus on my can do's to try and counteract the overwhelming sense of being a failure.
So today I want you to be proud! For a moment lets celebrate what we can do, not what we feel we can't! We're not a country that encourages 'pride'. We tell our kids- don't show off! Well I say sod it! Let's take a moment and tell the internet what we can do and lets not apologise for it. Sometimes it's good to remember we are more that our can not's.
Wow! I am overwhelmed by the comments on the last post. Just wow. What a community of people willing to put themselves out there in order to help someone else. Thank you so much. I have struggled with how to follow it up- but thought what would Phil and Holly do (WWPHD)? Well they'd definitely throw in a less intense article to help the transition.....
People of a certain age will remember the beauty of a mix tape! Taping your favourite records/cassettes/CD's on to one Memorex dbs 90 and then giving it to people in the hopes of either cheering them up, marking a special occasion or just wanting to snog them.
I love how songs can make you feel. I remember travelling to work as a 16 year old and listening to Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette and going from extreme highs to lows all in the space of a bus journey. I sat on my bed passionately singing Stay by Lisa Loeb to some imaginary boyfriend. I have burst into tears up Merry Hill (its a shopping centre if you're not from this neck of the woods) listening to You Could be Happy by Snow Patrol. I have felt like I can't get any happier being in the middle of mosh pit while The Wonder Stuff play Mission Drive. I have felt a million dollars as I appeared in my own music videos via an ipod and the reflection of myself in the window of the train. (Hoping I'm not the only one who does this!) In hospital with the twins I would sing (poor kids, as if they weren't poorly enough!) or play them 'ooo child' by Five Stairsteps and instantly I would feel things really would be ok.
Music can change our moods in the matter of a few bars. So today I challenge us to make our own blog mixtape. Tell us a song that lifts you up, that inspires you, if there's a story behind it- even better! I'll see if I can get down 'wit da yoof' and create a Spotify playlist. And then when times are just shit, or you're just feeling a bit hopeless or lost- maybe this playlist will be the thing that lifts you.
I hope you'll all join in- or else the playlist will be filled with The Wonder Stuff and the Levellers!
Please don't judge me because I'm going to tell you something now and it might change how you feel about me....I love the X Factor. There I said it. I love it. I love Dermott. I love using my 5 votes on the free app, I love Dermott, I love the fact that every year I think it's fixed and I love Dermott. (Have I mentioned that?!)
There is however one thing I dislike and it happens every year- the bloody sob stories. You know.....my mom is an Irish disabled and my sister has brain injury and I grew up on a council estate.....I can't sing, but I really want a chance to change my families life..... and they get put through even though they are more tone deaf than Katie Price!
Now you might be thinking- you're a walking contradiction, your whole blog has been developed around how shit your body was at creating and growing babies! The perfect Sob Story. Well yes, it probably would get me through to judges houses, but I'm trying to view my story a bit differently. I want it to be a bloody good story, inspiring, hope giving, real- not another hard luck tale.
So today I'm going to ask you to share your bloody good. inspiring, hope giving real pregnancy stories. It doesn't have to be a sad hard tale. I want to hear from people who had no trouble getting up the duff, those who have long term issues (PCOS etc), anyone who has a baby, tell us how you got there! (we don't need all the details! :) )
If you're not a parent- still get involved! Tell us your plans- be proud of them, what would be your ideal scenario. Are you worried about something? Ask if someone has any experiences that may help you! Please, only first hand stories- we all know of a friend of a friend of a friend who got pregnant whilst living in a convent alone. Real stories from real people- you!
If you read something that you like, let that person know. So, over to you! Go!Go!Go!
(Please feel free to remain anonymous if you want!)
I'm not generally a superstitious person. I have lived on the edge and put a brolly up INDOORS! I have put new shoes on a table and you may not believe I could be so wreckless, but you know those drain covers that are in threes? Well I walked over them ALL! (and I didn't have to turn round 3 times and spit on the floor!)
On my path to having my twins I suddenly became obsessed with ritual. I had to do certain things or else.... For every appointment I had to wear my blue Ravenclaw Harry Potter socks which I would store at the back of my sock drawer so no one else would wear them. This ritual became problematic when my ankles became the size of a thigh and I could only really wear flip flops. You'll be pleased to know I didn't do the old socks and sandles combo- I instead cut off the circulation to my legs and wore them. Justin Bieber was in charge of my scans. If he wasn't on the radio when I was travelling to the hospital then I just knew it was bad news. Many times I grew anxious when he still hadn't made an appearance as we neared the hospital! Shockingly, he did get played every time! (I've literally just realised I should of just stuck the bloody CD in, would have saved me a whole load of panic!) When I went into have my section they had the radio on.....and Justin Bloomin Beiber was on!!! A miracle! I think my most disturbing ritual (for my husband (Rob) who up until now had no idea I was ritual crazy!) was being in a foul mood and refusing to talk to Rob in anything other than a snarl and grunt that had to include at least two swear words on the way to each appointment. You see, we had had cross words (OK I'd had a go at him) on the way to our confirmation scan in Tamworth and that was great news, so obviously I had to reinact being the worst wife in the world every time. For each trip to Tamworth we had to travel in our Fiesta and go round the roundabout next to the clinic. As the one time we went in the Scenic and missed out the roundabout I'd been told I'd only produced two eggs and had been asked to consider abandoning the cycle (turns out the two eggs were actually quite perfect- but I didn't know that at the time!). Each time I injected my Clexane prior to an appointment (borderline Sticky Blood Syndrome) I had to say certain words either out loud or in my head!
I was an absolute control freak- I know now it was my way of doing something- anything to make this pregnancy a success! I'd do it all over again too! (Sorry Rob!)
Is anyone out there willing to admit some of their strange rituals? Pregnancy or otherwise related? Please make me feel a little normal! Thank you!
I bloody loved reading Dear Deidre as a kid, and I mustn't forget the invaluable life lessons I got from Nick and Anita the life gurus of Just Seventeen! I mean they knew exactly how to overcome the fear of using tampons and how to approach my crush!
Today I want you to share the best worst advice you've been given. For me, I think the best worst advice when I was struggling to conceive was... "stop trying, it will happen then!" Usually followed by the story of a friend of a friend of a friend who knew someone who gave up all hope and then suddenly found themselves pregnant with quads! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate people taking the time to share their advice with me - but sometimes I've had to nod, smile and say thanks for that and not groan and say really?!
So, go on, share the best worst advice you've been given -about anything! I know I'll be cringing as I realise that I've probably said the same thing to somebody with a well meaning smile...