Flash Fiction | You Don’t Love Me

biscuit

 

For a moment my heart stops.

Ottie, I say, sitting down and offering you a biscuit. Some weak recompense for the toy you so want so badly but I have no money to buy. I love you so much I can barely think about how much I love you. When I do I have to sit down. [I sit down]. I have to stop everything, including breathing. I literally can’t do anything or think about anything else. Thinking how much I love you makes my heartache worse than any break-up and my feet numb as if I’ve run ten marathons. When I think how much I love you I worry about everything because anything could be something that impacts on your happiness. How much I love you makes me want to fix the world beyond any reasonable hope. It makes me want to banish the bad guys, save the good guys and protect every new born and promise them a happy, pain free, love filled life because every child reminds me of you.

I knew children before. I knew how they lived in the present, delighted in simple things, laughed like they meant it and how that laughter went on forever. I knew that they ran with a love of running I have long forgotten and how that ability to love without boundaries said everything anyone could ever say about what was good about living. I knew that children imagined the impossible and dreamed of beautiful things and that the monsters of their nightmares could always be slain.

I loved children before. But you’ve taught me more. You taught me children aren’t archetypes for adults to gaze on for their own consolation. You are noisy and challenging and subtle, surprising and free. You have not only transformed my life entirely but raised me to a new way of living I could never have imagined before you came into my life.

Ottie looked at me, slowly munching on the biscuit and thinking about what I’d said. I smiled, unexpectedly nervous, and waited. He pushed the last crumbs into his mouth and said, the small one is nice too. And it’s half the price.

 

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Can Any Mother Help Me?

Social Mothers: Motherhood, Motherwork and Social Media

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UK mums only please!

What happens when the oldest job in the world meets the newest technology? Is social media transforming the way women adapt to motherhood? Are you constantly onilne posting photographs of your little ones? Exclaiming how litte sleep you’ve had? Asking advice on everything from how to sooth cracked nipples to where to buy calpol at 3am? Or do you just trust your instincts?

The purpose and value of this study is to find out what impact social media has on the experience of motherhood and how it effects women’s transition into motherhood as well as how it continues to positively or negatively impact on their lives. If you are a UK mother and use social media either a lot or a little I would like to hear about your views and experiences. All the information you share in the survey is anonymous.

It will take about 20 minutes and feedback from mothers who have already taken it was that they found it interesting and enjoyed filling it in. I appreciate your time and in sharing this with other UK mothers. If you have questions about the survey please do not hesitate to contact me through this blog.  If you want to be updated on the findings of this research and any related publications please follow this blog. I’ll be posting updates here.

Click on the link below to access the survey. AND THANKS!

Motherhood and Social Media Survey 2015

How far will you go to be a good mum?

shelling broad beans for my 6 month old

As mothers we often find ourselves doing barmy things for our children – like crawling on shop floors for toys cars lost under display units or staying up until the early hours to ice 30 cupcakes in a pirate theme or shelling broad bean [a labour of love if ever there was one I tell you. My 6 month old loves them but the husks are a bit too, well, husky for his toothless wee mouth.] Things we’d never have dreamed of doing BC [Before Children] but now launch ourselves into with unquestioning gusto.

Are we just barmy or is these the truest expression of motherly commitment and love?

Would love to hear your stories of ‘barmy’ motherhood.

For example…‘The other day I found myself ….’

Go on. Share! 🙂

What is it with mothers’ blogging?

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First time at Mumsnet Blogfest [now in it’s third year] and I have come away feeling inspired about blogging and the genuine empowerment it gives to women from all kinds of backgrounds and with all kinds of interests. I met a secret divorcee, a jewellery and crafts maker, a business advisor, a designer, a fashion stylist, someone who does amazing things with vintage fabrics, all of them mothers, most are wives [or exes] and all are dynamic individuals following their passions as women in an age defining activity – blogging. It’s a place where all of us can share our experiences of motherhood and intimate personal relationships – something as women we all share but also express ourselves beyond the tag of mother/wife/partner etc to other like minded souls without leaving the house. Something like approximately 80% of all bloggers are female. So what is it about blogging that attracts women and in particularly mothers? Traditionally ‘stuck at home with the kids’ women can now communicate with a global audience. We can share our interests and passions and experiences and feel connected and validated. Rather than isolated and alone. Is it the ease with which you can take part in wider society while still fulfilling your family commitments? Perhaps. But more than this I think it is about writing. Whatever you’re writing about writing requires a level of reflexivity – of reflection that makes meaning in our lives. Writing allows us to catch hold of at least some of the things we experience everyday and hold it dear. The discipline and structure involved in putting even just a paragraph or two together bring you out of the maelstrom of life – particularly family life – and like a meditation allows you space to think. This might seem like a small deal in the scale things – but life is made up of small things and as I age and life moves faster I value this space to reflect more and more. I started blogging as a way of connecting to my students [I am a writer and lecturer] but since having my now 3 and half year old and 6 month old boys I want to write about my transition into motherhood. I even embarked on a PhD around this subject. [See my about and research pages] I would love to know why you blog? Why did you start blogging? Has your reasons for continuing changed? if so how? Why?

Old gender Frontlines endure in Todays Suburbs: Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk

This novel was suggested to me by my PhD supervisor as I began my research in to the impact social media is having on experiences of motherhood. The women and mothers in this novel don’t make use of social media, nor does their author to communicate who they are so it wasn’t for that that my supervisor suggested the book. Rather it was for its precise anatomy of the struggles of women with the daily divided tertories of men and women’s work. they way Cusk describes lives where the politics of gender should be alive, kicking and screaming – but isn’t. These women are bright, intelligent but most exist as if feminism hasn’t happened. As if The Feminine Mystic, Female Eunuch, A Room of One’s Own and the many other conscious raising tracts of the politics of sexual inequality hadn’t happened nor the movements they inspired. Cusk and her characters are dissatisfied in their housework and child rearing duties and wonder what’s changed for women now compared to the past. Certainly not much as far as they see. Some accept this as the way of things. Some find it less easy to stomach. But what to do? Crop your hair the only answer one woman comes up with. Cusk relies on a conventional third person narration to detail the thought, dreams and actions of her characters with a genome scientists precision. The shopping trips, school runs, neighbourly dinner invitations that make up their seemingly similar suburban lives  in desirable  Arlington Park the landscape in which they must thrive or sink. As we move over the lives of these characters Cusk gives us a wide tracking shot of their lives, intercut with well place close ups – but she keeps us at a distance and at times I found myself reading on as a matter of duty rather than desire. I think the distancing effect of her writing is due it part to its eloquence. Dare I say over eloquence? Although I admire and enjoyed her prose the impact of the characters lives feels backgrounded as a consequence of Cusk’s prose style somehow. Cusk writes with acuity and if you are a wife and/or mother it is likely you will find something to recognise in these pages. But don’t expect any solutions to the problems of domestic life it raises.

Mum’s use social media more regularly than general population…

Just came across this report on parenting website babycentre.co.uk. Some interesting findings clearly presented.

http://www.babycentersolutions.com/docs/BabyCentre_2013_UK_Social_Mum_Report.pdf

This report was commissioned to analyse the social media habits of mothers and how that impacts on purchasing habits. It demonstrates what you might suspect – that social networking does indeed drive purchasing decisions – and in particular the consumer habits of mothers. Well why else would advertisers pay popular bloggers, you tubers  and social networking sites to advertise on their pages? Despite this obvious finding there’s much to mull over here. For example [p10 of the pdf] how women adapt their social habit when they become mothers – for instance finding themselves having less in common with friends who don’t have children and feeling more comfortable with friends that do or new friends who are mums because they can talk about their children without fear of boring the other person. Is the world really divided between those who have and those who don’t have children. I’d like to think not but i have to say this point rings true in my experience. What’s your experience? Do the eyes of your friends-without-children glaze over as you discuss little johnny or jana? Also how mothers use social media to enhance their well being by posting about personal, health or professional goals and achievements. A positive thesis. A more negative thesis – one I’ve been reflecting on these past few years is how social media increases social anxiety and stress. Perhaps these are two sides to the same coin. The anxiety or stress we might feel by seemingly not having such beautiful, ambitious, achieving lives as our peers is placated by purchasing the product and services so conveniently placed next to our social activity… mmm.

Anyways – lots more to digest so take a look and if you see anything of a similar nature on your interweb travels do share. THis is all grist to the mill of my PhD.

For a summary:

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a25006911/mums-wake-up-with-facebook-instead-of-coffee

Found anything else like this? Please share and help me broaden my PhD research net!

Post a link in the comments sections below – or if you’re seeing this on my FB page share with link with #socialmediamums.

THANKS!

Petals – Supporting Those Suffering from Pregnancy Loss

Loosing a child at any stage of their or your life is a tragedy. Loosing a child you never met or felt is a strange event. Like missing something you never had. mourning someone you never knew – but to which have a completely visceral connection. After my third miscarriage [trying to have my first child] I was referred to a consultant who made the routine investigations and suggested medical answers to my situation. If it hadn’t been for the service Petals Charity founder Karen Burgess provided at my hospital’s birth centre I might still be searching for the answers to more difficult questions. the ‘why me’s?’ How can I grieve for someone I never knew?’  ‘How long will I feel like this?’  It was a deeply isolating and sad time where everywhere i looked happy mums laughed with their healthy newborns, women blooming in late pregnancy gracefully sidled around every corner and the realisation that something I had taken for granted but now knew to be as uncertain as everything else worth having in life – having a safe and healthy pregnancy – seared, raw and relentless. My sessions with Karen helped me to come to terms with the loss and galvanised me to look to the future with a positive and mindful attitude.

If you live in the Cambridgeshire area you may need Petals services or know someone who will so please support their work by voting for them in the Lottery Good Causes. Winning would raise the profile of this charity, its work, acknowledge the emotional impact of pregnancy loss and if they win they also receive a cash award. Money that would enable even more parents to receive the support they need at a difficult time.

Please Support this charity by following the link below and voting by July 23rd.

Thanks Sx

http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/petals

40 Weeks

It’s been 40 weeks. Today is the due date for my second boy. 40 weeks coursed through with various degrees of nausea, poor sleep, deeply aching back and hips, brain so blank from tiredness that makes you wonder if you’ll ever be able to put your thoughts together again,   [that nothing-else-makes-you-tired-like-pregnancy-makes-you-tired  feeling] fully cognisant that you are soon to enter  the glorious ‘ordinary’ sleep deprivation stage of newborn’s sleep and feeding demands and breast-feeding. In france you are not considered full term until 42 weeks. I will spend the next 2 weeks feeling overdue simply because in Britain we choose to call 40 week full term. Funny how some thing so biologically universal can be socialised in such culturally specific ways. from the end of today I will have to inform enquiring friends and family and strangers [nothing invites a random conversation so readily than being a heavily pregnant woman]  i am over due with the concomitant rolling of eyes, and sympathetic ‘nearly there!’ Baby is moving like a Kung Fu pro most of the time but my blood pressure is calm this time, so i’ll stick it out for as long as I can. As usual husbands prefer an end date and talk of inductions have taken place but after my last experience I want to give this boy every opportunity to show up in his own time. Of course a part of me very much wants to get on with it too  – childbirth is such a momentous, life altering and unpredictable thing that various degrees of apprehension are unavoidable – but seeing as this is likely to be my last journey on this particular biological trip a part of me also just needs to take my [our] time. Status update – as and when…

Bringing Up Britain

If you haven’t already caught this news series it’s worth a listen. Interesting speakers discussing issues relevant to all parents, taking the issues we parents care about everyday and giving them a rigorous airing. Have posted link to first ep in this series here – although currently at ep 3 as of last night – but lists give clear synopsis so you can of course choose to listen to whichever interests you:

Radio 4 Bringing Up Britain

How We Become Who We Are

How We Become Who We Are is my doctorate novel about the stories we tell that make us who we are online and the gaps between our real and virtual lives.

Is this myself, or are we merely fictions – David Shields reality hunger

From How We Become

‘Frankie knew the internet was a slippery thing. She knew how easy it was to get caught up. So many diversions, distractions, lies, fantasies, desires in one place. If it’s not selling you something it’s telling you something, making something, faking something. Sapping life out of the new, squeezing the value out of everything. Frankie had too often had enough. But as she watched the stats of her youtube channel pass 1 million subscribers she ascended from the merely ordinary to somewhat remarkable. It was a good feeling. A feeling she felt she deserved. For the first time in her life Frankie had assets. Assets that, if she played her hand right, could fundamentally change her life.’

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