In The Garden With Nana

My mum was made to be a nan. She was always telling my sister and I that she “couldn’t wait” to be a nan but very quickly told us she obviously could (we were teenage girls after all).

So when my nephew came along one November, out came the knitting needles. There were jumpers, toys, hats. You name it. It was the same for when T came along.

When our nephew turned two, he was a spitfire and never sat down or stopped running around. So when T came along shortly after, my mum thought it’d be time to start creating her garden haven for the grandkids.

Her first creation was a home made chalk board.


Made with a board of MDF, a can of blackboard paint, and some string. It can be taken off the wall and put on the ground. Our nephew loves drawing on this and keeps him from drawing on nana’s newly paved garden!

Nana’s next creation was her “water wall”:

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Made from an old shelving unit (pallets would also work) and recycled bottles and plastics from around the house and garden, my mum created a fun (and cooling) toy. By attaching the bottles to the shelves using cable ties means that they can be removed or moved around to create something new every few weeks.

The following week came a home made sand box:

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Made from a cheap, plastic box usually found in pound shops, it beats forking out for sand tables from chain stores. The length means it can be easily shared and the lid means it can be left outside.

On top of those creations, there’s a large tub containing soil for digger play, and large, foam jigsaw pieces to sit underneath the slide she got, to create a soft mat. Not to mention the usual garden toys.


There’s no question that my mum enjoys doing this, and if this is what’s created for a two year old; I can’t imagine what will be around by the time T is old enough to play!

K

Mamavsteacher

Mum IS The Word

Women have been having babies for thousands of years. It’s a fact. But when you have your baby, you naturally feel like everything you’re feeling is new and different, and that no other woman could have felt like this, or done that. You think it’s just you.

You worry about your baby and whether you’re doing everything right, and you doubt yourself constantly. You worry it’s just you.

But it’s not.

When a mum asks me the question “How is everything?” or “How are you?”, I often verbally spew my guts everywhere (I apologise if I’ve done this to you) – mainly because they’re the first human I’ve seen outside of my family and S! When chatting, I’m secretly hoping to see the nod of understanding and more often than not, I do see it. I soon then realise that what I’m feeling is completely normal. My worries… Normal. My anxieties… Normal.

Hearing stories from friends and family about what crazy stuff they got up to during the first few weeks of motherhood, as well as how they coped with being a new mum, is the best medicine at the moment. It feels great! I laugh, I cry, I understand. It makes me realise that others have felt the same.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m now looking forward to regularly meeting with mums at my post-natal group every week. We may not have anything in common personally, but what we do have in common are our experiences and our babies.

If you’ve recently joined or will soon be joining the mum club I highly recommend speaking out as early as possible. You are certainly not alone and you will find that everyone has felt the same as you at least once during motherhood. Knowing that will feel great.

If you don’t have any post-natal groups around or other mums nearby, go online! We are so lucky to be living in an age where we can find someone to talk to any time of the day. Whether it’s one-to-one on Twitter, or a Facebook group, you will find the help you need.

So don’t go to Dr. Google – speak to another mum!

K

The Announcement To K’s Mums

Early on, we always agreed that the one thing we would do when (or if) we found out to be pregnant was to wait until the 3 month safety zone before we would announce to anyone. We couldn’t bare the thought of announcing something great and everyone being over the moon, only to have to re-announce to a lot of people that something tragic had happened.
Of course, we would probably have told our nearest and dearest if the worst had happened if we hadn’t got to the 3 months as I feel they’d deserve to know, but during the twelve week wait we wanted to keep quiet so that we could be left alone when it came to brewing a baby without any questions.

I had to tell my work colleagues pretty much straight away as I have a very active job, meaning as soon as someone falls pregnant they have to become office-bound. I didn’t want to become office bound to be honest, as I enjoy being out and about, but there was no way I was going to take any risks. As soon as I told people at work, it spread like wild fire and I had to keep reminding people not to mention anything on Facebook which actually turned out to be ok as people were surprisingly respectful of that wish considering people were really happy for us and wanted to share the news.

Anyway, the weeks went by and we had several sticky situations, for example, I usually eat my steaks medium rare; so when I went round to my sister and boyfriends house for dinner one night with S, my sister was surprised when I asked for a well done steak. Thankfully, I boshed her looks away by saying that it’s easier just to go along with S (who liked well done steaks) to make cooking easier for the boyfriend who was cooking his first steak. Score.

Other sticky instances have include being subtly slapped by S to uncross my legs (I can do this and actually enjoy it now I lost a ton of weight on my legs!), which was covered up by S saying I’ve been moaning about veins – lie – when she was caught doing it. I’ve also been questioned about asking for non-alcoholic drinks at pubs when we’ve been with friends (thankfully, I still have the “driving” card), and finally the fact that I went back into baggy clothing.

A lot of the time, people were afraid to ask as they understood that it’s not very polite to ask a couple who have been TTC for a while whether they are pregnant, but at the same time I understand the signs they see before them.

Anyway, the day finally came when we could announce. We had had a few “trial runs” or “red herrings” between S and I over the years where we would arrange to see everyone at my mums house for a nice catch up – we usually planned this around a time we came back from a holiday, for example, so we could hand out gifts. During these occasions, I would get asked, how “everything” was going, and I would answer “same ol’ same ol” and the conversation was dropped. Perfect. I know deep down that every time I had arranged these get togethers that my mum and sister would be sat at the edge of their seats waiting for THE announcement, but when it didn’t come they soon calmed down. I knew what they were thinking.

So when they day finally came, we had arranged that we would visit on the pretence of doing some gardening for mum and as we hadn’t seen the rest of the family for a while, it would be nice to see everyone. I would be bringing cake (an announcement cake in my head) which wasn’t an odd thing to do.

We bought a plain cake from our local supermarket that you could print things like photos onto and decided to write our message on that so than rather than going “Guess what” we would let someone else open the lid to the cake and get a huge surprise… and what a surprise it was.

Hand-Decorated by K!

Hand-Decorated by K!

There were tears and genuine sobbing, as well as a lot of happy screaming. It was the best reaction we could have asked for. Plus, we got to eat cake! What topped it off was that we were also able to present the 12 week scan picture – which meant that we had passed the danger zone and they were free to ask questions and that they did – hell, they had 3 months to catch up on!

K

Pick A Card, Any Card… Or Not… Part Two.

Whilst writing our previous post; talking about my mother’s wife, my Mac (or perhaps the application I was using (Pages)), decided that it was acceptable to notify me that “wife” was a gender specific term and that perhaps the word “spouse” would be more appropriate in the sentence I was using.

Words are beyond me at the moment.

K

 

Pick A Card, Any Card… Or Not.

As some of you probably know by now, I am an LGBT child. The most important years of my life were shared with my mum’s wife, A. She raised me through my teenage years, through the good times and the bad and because of this, both my sister and I class her as our mum. We have done for many many years.

So, with this, every year my sister and I buy cards for Birthdays, Christmases and pretty much any occasion that we see fit, with “To a Special Mum” or the like on the front. We don’t have to think about it, we just do it.

However, it has only been of recent when S and I have been doing joint “To you, from Us” cards that the lack of cards for “To My Mum and her Wife” or “To my wonderful Mothers” and the like are practically non-existant and it has really angered me. (Whether it is because I am coming to the end of AF and I’m a little emotional, but I almost cried with anger today).

Sure, I can find the cards I want in “special” shops where you can find “Mrs and Mrs” cards, but I am lucky to live in one of the gay capitals of England where shops like these can be found with ease and not down a dark alley, but what about other locations? Gays don’t just live in gay capitals, we’re everywhere! Regardless of whether I can get the card elsewhere, I shouldn’t have to go to these special shops to get a “mum and mum” card, I should be able to grab it in a mainstream store, right?

I can accept that perhaps there won’t be a card for every occasion or scenario such as “To My Father and his ginger partner”, I can accept that, but in this era where ladies and gentleman are now (legally) marrying the same sex, surely someone like Hallmark should be adding us to their stock? It should be embraced; not just as a money making chance but to accept that LBGT couples/parents exist on the same shelf as hetro-sexual couples and have done for a long time not just because the law has now changed.

I know that the guys at Hallmark are pretty slow on the uptake, it’s only been a few years since the “To my Mum and her Partner” card was released (trust me, I know) but I find it unacceptable that there are still no LGBT cards, even if we were stowed away with the “To my Cat at Christmas” cards – at least it was something.

From a more personal note, I am disgusted and saddened to think that when our child comes to buy their Christmas cards, there won’t be any “Mum and Mum” or “To my Mums” cards, and they will have to be restricted to buying two separate cards because I am sure as hell not being the partner side of the “To My Mum and her Partner” card!

So, come on Hallmark, get with the times! Don’t make me have to add an “S” on the end of “Mum” again.

K

LGBT Families – A Post From an LGBT Child.

This week, I have read several posts about “Blogging for LGBT Families”. All of them were really interesting reads, however it was clear that the majority of the writers were those already with child. There weren’t many in the TTC process – which made me sad. I really wanted to be included, because we’re trying at the end of the day and are trying to create an LGBT family, but I guess that didn’t count. Plus, I didn’t know what to write about.

And then it struck me… I AM an LGBT child.

After my dad died when I was ten, my mum was a single mum for a number of years. She raised my sister and I, and did a sterling job at it too. She always put us first and for a number of years it was just us three. When I was fourteen, however, she came out. (Now, we could go on for days about the history of it all, but this isn’t what this post is about – maybe I’ll write about it one day).

So, we accepted the change. Not that it was hard; nothing really changed – her love was still there and we still loved her. She was the same person after all. Over time, she met several people but finally settled down with our now step-mum, A, and they got married ten years ago.

My Mums.

My Mums.

Now, it wasn’t all plain sailing. A had a lot to get used to. A had to get used to teenagers and their mood swings. She also had to get used to being in an LGBT family. She had to get used to being asked questions, whether my sister and I were “theirs”. Likewise, we had to get used to people asking about our situation and whether A was the “Dad”. I was literally the only person in the school with two mums… and not because of divorce like other kids but because my mum was a fucking lesbian! How awesome! Kids at school would sometimes be mean, but that was nothing a swift kick to the shin wouldn’t fix.

Nevertheless, my sister and I knew we were “different” not that we felt that way, but we really couldn’t care less. At first I looked on and wondered whether it would be different if my dad was around and whether I would be different if he was, but I quickly found out I really couldn’t answer that.

If anything, I thrived on being “different”. I enjoyed having a cool story to tell (apart from the death bit, that’s never cool) about having two mums. Even as an adult, people would ask questions, expecting me to have a third eye or a twitch, but I didn’t. I was “normal” and survived having two mums!

At the end of the day, my mum and A raised my sister and I through the teenage years… The years I think are one of the most important periods. You have painful love losses, your body changes and you’re making important decisions about everything from your career to yourself. I really don’t think it would have made a blind bit of difference if it was just my mum with me making those decisions or my mum and A. I would have made them regardless. But nevertheless, A was there, and she made a difference in whatdecision I made and for that I am thankful.

Now, we’re here with S and I. We’re trying to have a baby of our own and I couldn’t be more excited! Don’t get me wrong, I’m scared as hell about the questions my child will ask and how we will explain them, or what questions kids at school will ask and how our child will deal with them. It’s terrifying. I just hope that we raise them well to stand up and be proud and not hate us for putting them in that situation, or think that they’re freaks.

I guess this is the society we live in (at the moment, anyway). Gayby’s are still perceived rare, certainly in the UK.

I just hope one day, LGBT families can walk down the road and not have someone take a double take to “work it out” or even have to take the time to ask “so who’s the mum”, that it is just something that happens and another option in baby making for everyone.

Let’s hope anyway.

K

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