Mum About Town

Emma is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger and online marketer. When she’s not writing, she gets down with her Smalls, bigs-it-up with Him and swans around London reporting for her blog.

Oh… HELLO sunshine

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on Friday, 10 April 2015
Oh... HELLO sunshine. We're very pleased to meet you but did have just a couple of quick questions: Are you here to stay? Or just flirting a little warmth and brightness in our direction. You see, your big, bold entrance needs a little planning. And, if you are in fact here to stay, our winter toes and hibernation legs (ditto working upwards) need to know.

But if you're going to be gone tomorrow, we can simply relax. Bundled up in lots of layers is the only way we really know how to dress. A hot sun only confuses British fashion and – let's face – sandals are a minefield to negotiate.

Picnics, BBQs and a freezer full of ice-cream need planning too. Are lunchtime soups already VERY last month? What about sunglasses, umbrellas and that extended scarf?

So while we're very happy to hear the birds chirping, to walk home in evening light and to feel the presence of a yellow ball of glow in the sky, it's just that we need to know if you're teasing. Are you part of some big joke?

Do let us know before there's a hosepipe ban.

The Ski Carrier

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on Thursday, 02 April 2015
If you're not a skier, you'll just have to bear with me here. And, if you do ski and fail to see the tree I'm about to bark up, then perhaps just smile sweetly and move on. Because with ample mountain air and feet buckled firmly into those weighty boots, I've been doing a little thinking...

First let's start with the basics; there is no dispute that carrying skis is unavoidable for anyone who chooses to pursue this frosty sport. And, let's face it, these long, heavily laminated planks of wood are, at the very least, cumbersome to carry while trekking to and up any mountain.

The smallest of these foot accessories belong to the 4-year-old who can ski but, of course, can't bear the weight of her equipment. And so her father carries the burden, until she is deemed strong enough. Then follows only a few years of independent ski carrying before any unsuspecting boyfriends pick up the mantle in their bid to show manliness.

Predictably, the husband follows suit too, until... inevitably... two pairs becomes four. And with the increase in skis comes the juggle of carrying while sharing the burden. Because (and this is the crucial bit) ski-carrying means much more than the mere physical act – there is the burden, the responsibility and the unconditional support.

Of course, there will one day come a time where we can no longer carry any skis. And, at his point, the meaning is completely lost.

So, here we have it. My equivalent of The Giving Tree (if you haven't read it – please promise me to do so) is The Ski Carrier. Put simply, it's the stages of life with and without skis on our shoulders.

Life Journey

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on Wednesday, 25 March 2015
The Angelina Jolie effect continued yesterday as the glamorous actress and peace ambassador released news that, in a risk reducing operation last week, she had had her ovaries removed. And in a BRCA1 gene mutation type of way, she and I are now on a par.

Now more than 4 years since I had my pre-emptive double mastectomy and a year less since my oophorectomy, I do finally feel that that part of my life is over. It's just something that happened in the past. Not because it was such a dreadful journey, but simply because that was me then and this is me now.

The whole point about a life journey is that we are constantly moving. A close friend recently lost her father. It was a hideous time and yet now, a few weeks on, she is moving closer towards a happier moment in her life.

Angelina and all those other risk adverse girls are brave but you too would do the same. We take what life throws at us and try to regain any control possible over our destinies. And – when we're not journeying through troubled waters – we slip back into the daily joys, trials and tribulations of 'normal life'.

Unfortunately though Jolie's operation did not remain the first item on today's news agenda. A plane carrying 150 people crashed in the French Alps. Sixteen of the dead include children from a German school exchange trip. And this is the very worst sort of journey imaginable.

Glossy Finger Wagging

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on Thursday, 19 March 2015
There's been a fair bit of finger wagging at those glossy magazines this week. Women far and wide (no pun intended) seem to have an axe to grind and it involves those 'perfect mums' in those shiny pages profiling their 'perfect lives'.

Now, I do understand that sometimes those features can be eye-watering nauseating as well as self-esteem damaging. Honestly, I DO get it. But talk yourself off the edge, ladies, and realise that no-one's life is even half close to perfect. Those magazine editors (who are honestly lovely and normal) have pages to fill and, anyway, reading about a perfect mum is much more inspiriting than a lady-who-has-totally-lost-it.

One of those profiled happened to mention that her children do not play with plastic toys, watch TV nor dress in anything less than couture. We all know THAT'S never going to be the truth for us. The real women. But it is amusing that she tries to pretend and should therefore make you smirk not growl.

Peronally, I read these magazines for pure escapism and, actually, it would be a boring old world without them. There are plenty of horror stories in the Daily Mail and Woman's Own, but I count on those with thicker, sumptuous pages to allow me to fantasize.

So the bottom line is - don't get your knickers in a twist over someone else's gloss, it's often not as it seems.

Mother's Day Misery

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on Thursday, 12 March 2015
How does Mother's Day make you feel? Self-congratulatory? A little smug? So happy and content you could burst?

On the contrary, it makes me feel somewhat melancholy and a trifle guilty. Actually really, truly guilty. And because it's such a curious contrast as to how the Smalls want me to feel, I had better try and explain myself.

Firstly, Mother's Day reminds me of how brilliant my mother is. Sometimes I wonder if she is just too daunting an act to follow. Motherhood (along with marriage) is the hardest job we've ever signed up for. It feels like a continual hike up a very steep mountain, with very few bit pit stops. I STILL ask my mother a million questions a week. And this makes me feel sad. What will I do when I can't consult my mother the oracle any longer? I'll be so lost...

This brings me to my second melancholy thought. More than 4 of my besties are already unable to ask their mother how to descale their iron, get rid of a child's hacking cough or take those small people off their hands for an hour of peace. And I feel so SO sad for them. I almost wish I could share my mother with them to make it fairer.

Before I cause mothers up and down the country to fling themselves on the floor in a pool of tears, I do have one more miserable thought. All those thank you messages and I love you cards bring out the great guilt. Am I a good enough mother really? Couldn't I be less short with them? Listen to their detailed stories with undivided attention?

I suppose the bottom line is that it's our day, Mums. They want (and need) to thank us. It's just that it's sometimes hard to stomach.


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