Posted in blogging, Burnout, parenthood

Guess who’s back? Back again

Howdy Duffer Lovers, time to stick my head over the parapet once more.

I know things have been quiet but things have been changing (mostly for the better) here at Duffer Towers, and it’s safe to say that I’ve/We’ve been hella busy.


  • Christening
  • Moved house (Finally!!! It has a garden!!! And space!!)
  • Changed contracts at work to one that works a lot better for me. Where I don’t feel like telling the customer to “go forth and be fruitful”.
  • Went to see Belly in London.
  • Got a diagnosis for the lad so we can support him at school and he’s starting Reception next week.
  • Lots of back pain. But also discovered the highly functional, and highly uncomfortable delights of sports massage and things are a lot better.
  • Rented out the old place.
  • Refurbishing bits and bats to furnish the place as it’s amazing how much stuff you need when you’ve been living in a mortgaged cupboard for 10 years. Like a TV stand.
  • And I was out of action for 3-ish weeks with chicken pox. No fun if you’re north of 40.

The thing is, when you’ve burnt out before, you have to be aware that there are aspects of your life that you may need to set to one side for a while, so that you can attend to the business of living as your energy is a finite resource.

Back with the programme now though. Yeeehaaaa! x


Posted in parenthood, political

Schools, holidays and the impact on the economy

Out of interest, has anyone done any research into the economic impact of the zero-tolerance policy on children being taken out of school for holidays?

  I’m curious because it won’t be long until we are affected by this, but I’ve also noticed that the silly holiday season is becoming more and more difficult in the wake of corporate efficiency programmes. I work in an environment where our customers work projects are starting to reach full speed in summer, when we have no staff.

No wonder people are stressed.  

Anyone got any thoughts on this? I sometimes think if you can highlight the impact on the wider economy, rather than highlighting what the personal financial impact is (as that’s not something the current government gives a rats arse about), there might be a proper reasonable high level response….

Posted in art, Burnout, feminist, parenthood, political, pregnancy

On having sold your soul to Satan

This is a feeling I get quite a lot.

I’ve worked hard to achieve certain things, only to discover that those things are ultimately a bit meaningless.  Swapping terrible business platitudes (that I was poor at doing anyway – I’ve wrestled the “Haway man, you *pause* are *pause* talking *pause* *emphasis* SHITE!” monster more often than I can count) is something I’m bad at.

I’ve offended a few people along the way, let’s be honest. And I’m pretty diplomatic.

I have a kid now, and while I relish the head space of going to work, I also miss the little blighter so much at times that it hurts. I’m also aware that having structure through having a reasonably challenging job keeps me sharp, focused, and most importantly, not depressed which is a gift that means at the end of the day that I’m being as good a parent as I can be. So what…I don’t spend 24/7 with him, but I don’t take him for granted either, and have the patience when it counts.

But…that’s the deal that you make with fate to a certain degree. We have to make a deal with the devil to ensure that we can keep ourselves fed and watered, with a something that resembles a roof over our heads. If you can do that solely by doing the things you love the most, that’s brilliant, but for the vast majority of us that isn’t the case, and we’re not going to be rescued. We aren’t going to win the lottery, we aren’t going to invent something awesome and we probably aren’t secretly the heir of Potloadsofcashrutania either.

There is nothing wrong with making a living, but you’ve got to assert where that stops and your *actual* life starts. The one where you get enough sleep, the one where you have enough energy to be loving towards those that you love, where you can exercise, where you can eat, drink and be merry and not feel like someone has their foot on the back of your neck. It’s all about head space, and it’s all about getting your head around what you *believe* you should be doing, and what you actually should be doing.

If you’ve got to do something that is intrinsically boring, for chuffs sake, don’t let it eat your life. You aren’t doing yourself any good, draw a line around your hours, say “no” and do some fun shit. Or just eat a random sandwich on a park bench somewhere pretty. Honestly, you’ll feel better. And you’ll realise that the world is not going to pitch off the mantelpiece because you decided to take your foot off the accelerator.

If you want to do something creative, do it, but accept the fact that this other thing (i.e. work) will prevent you at times. But when you do get to do it, do it well, do it freely and with joy.

You haven’t sold your soul to the devil, you’ve just done what needed to be done.

Read, write, draw, play, rest, run, eat…the rules don’t change because you’re an adult. x


Posted in parenthood

Business and busy-ness

Ah, so much for me posting daily!

Life, house jigglage, professional courses, poorly child, scabby eyed mother, poorly husband, sleep disturbance and work have all conspired to keep me quiet. But to be fair to myself (and to anyone who reads this blog) at least, dear reader, who’ve been spared me giving it “I’m so tired/Mini D or Grand D is so poorly/I’m so busy” for 6 weeks.

I’ve also stocked up my corporate bollocks bank so those conversations with the customer are couched in appropriately meaningless terms…weirdly it makes me feel like I’m finally back with the programme…


Posted in parenthood, political

Duffed no more: The problem with raw (ish) census data and the mookswho write about it….

I made the error of stumbling across this rather judgemental pile of shite earlier and had to share:

Official figures show that there are now 300,000 fewer mothers at home that previously estimated.
Experts said that those who decide to sacrifice their career in order to look after their children at home are now considered in the minority.
According to returns in the 2011 census, there are almost 1.6 million women who do not work because they are looking after their home and family.
This is about 298,000 fewer than estimates previously, the Office for National Statistics said.

Well, whoopy-chuffing-do. I would like to say that I’m not dissing Stay-at-home parents here, and if I’m honest, I’d have liked to have gone back to work later…those of you who get to stay home with your kids, you’re doing a grand and frequently hard job and I salute you….however as a parent with a (“career”) job, I find the underlying assumption that I’m gadding about pursuing a career for entirely my own ends at the expense of my kid rather galling.
  1. I love the fact that this study starts with a rather wrong estimate regarding how many women were actually at home looking after their kids, which clearly meant sweet Fanny Adams and wasn’t actually based on any kind of cogent facts. 300,000, even in a population of 60+ million is still a hefty margin of error, given the demographic profile..woman, child bearing age etc.
  2. “Those who decide to sacrifice their career….”. Last time I looked, it wasn’t 1954, and sometimes people (i.e. women – because the last time I looked, we were people too – or did I just miss a meeting?) may have worked very hard to achieve something and don’t see the benefit in just kicking it all in when they pup.
  3. Positive financially responsible female role models and all that – if I had a daughter, I’d prefer it if she didn’t think getting duffed by a Premiership footballer was a reasonable way to make a living.
  4. Also having a kid doesn’t automatically make you Joan of Arc…sacrifice?…*really*?
  5. As we’re in the middle of/end of/wherever point in the whole-time-space continuum of the worst recession since the Great Depression, strangely enough some people/couples would prefer to spread the risk, especially in light of the fact that the Coalition have just cut the 90 day waiting period for large scale redundancies by half………Um, making the people who are propping up the economy easier to sack, that’ll help. So….reducing the help they receive while in work, *and* cutting them off at the knees when they do lose their jobs is frankly a right bag of old wank. In order for women (or men ffs) to spend more time at home with the kids, there needs to be the resources to do it….and to use a food based metaphor, if the familial eggs aren’t going to get scrambled, it’s best that they aren’t all in one basket.
  6. Houses – we like to live in them and they cost a bomb.
  7. Bloody Nora, why am I still having to have this conversation? Necessity is the mother of invention…and graft, unfortunately.
Honestly, do these people think we live in a perfumed floral 50’s cloud where Daddy has a job for life that’ll support everyone? Balancing work and families has been the reality for women for centuries…just deal with it. It’ll make life easier for everyone.
Posted in parenthood, pregnancy

Duffed no more: Fancy a (another) spoonful of boob related guilt?

I actually don’t object to the thrust of the research behind this article and breastfeeding (when it goes well) is great and a lovely experience for mother and baby as well as all the health benefits is something of a no-brainer. Yada, yada, yada…Though for quite a lot of new mothers, it’s utterly crap.  I was lucky for a bit and then I wasn’t. Funnily enough though, Mini D strangely got healthier after a little formula came on board.  Also for the record, I think we’ve already established that I belong to the “Whatever works for you” school of parenting so be kind enough not to start wibbling on about “Breast is best”. Yes, we know. However as I’ve said in the past, formula is not arse trimmings, brick dust and raw sewage in lard either.

HOWEVER what creates involuntary bladder frothing (and clearly not in a good way) is this:

Common reasons for stopping breastfeeding were problems with the baby rejecting the breast or not latching on properly, having painful breasts or nipples and feeling that they had ‘insufficient milk’.

It’s the “feeling that they had ‘insufficient milk'” comment is the one that troubles me.

Sometimes it’s not just a feeling. Insufficient milk is a fact. It happened to me and Mini Chunk. If I’d persisted, he’d have been Mini Twig.  The primary and most natural way to get your milk back is to spend several days doing skin-to-skin contact (which is lovely stuff but not always entirely practical) and if you’re tired, depressed, achy or in big pain and with a child who is screaming their metaphorical bollocks off because they are slowing starving, being sequestered semi-naked in a theoretically ‘calm’ environment might actually be the thing that drives you finally and irrevocably around the fucking twist.

Being a new parent is hard enough without being encouraged into a situation that’s going to send you all The Yellow Wallpaper.

Being a new parent is also hard enough without having the media telling the world that you are/you have been a shirker or a let down. Remember that this stuff is all “ideal world” and you’ve done your best x

Posted in feminist, parenthood, pregnancy

So…Mr Rhyming Slang…and your tragically ill-informed mates

The case of Savita Halappanavar has highlighted why I will never, ever stop banging on about this. Since becoming a parent, I’ve become actually more pro-choice than I was before. I didn’t actually believe that was possible.

So….Mr Rhyming Slang….

Yes, that’s you, Mr.Hunt, oh and you, Dorries, you fame-chasing-right-wing-press-baiting-blogger-harassing-half-wit, now hopefully up to your nipples in rats, spiders, centipedes and soap stars who are approaching the brick wall of the end of their careers like a stampeding bull on whizz. Oh, and you too, Cameron, Romney, Ryan, Bachman and Palin.

I hope you’re feeling suitably scared by my teeny blog with a teeny audience.

Right, hat in the ring.

The stuff that goes on the wombs and love tunnels of the world (and that corner of the world that you exercise a degree of influence over) has *nothing* to do with you.

If you’re going to take a role like “Secretary of State for Health”, a tiny bit of medical knowledge is generally useful. Also, as a very recent parent (I’m looking at YOU, Mr Hunt), one would hope that a tiny bit of attention *might* have been paid to little things like when certain scans occurred on ye-olde-up-the-duff time line that tell you whether or not your kid is likely to, oh, live….and stuff.

What these halfwits don’t seem to realise is that, if they erode the rights as they currently exist, they run the risk of ending up killing a woman because the fading heartbeat of the baby she’s losing is more important. That is what happened here, all because some people believe that Sky Dad says no. They also seem to have convincingly ignored that by doing this, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that this could bite them on the arse, personally.

I like that fact that our fine and admirable medical profession in the UK (especially obstetrics and gynaecology because they are the ones I’ve had more to do with recently) are focused on trying to ensure the best outcomes for everybody. Delaying life saving treatment (because that’s what Savita would have really been getting because that miscarriage could not have been prevented) cost a woman her life.

Not good enough, not acceptable, please let birth and pregnancy be dealt with appropriately…and political types…..shhhhh, before you make more of a fool of yourselves.

Posted in music, parenthood

Duffed no more: It runs in the family

To be completely honest, I garnered a faint suspicion early on that my darling Mini D was perhaps going to take after my side of the family (in some respects) at the 12 week scan. From the anecdotes that I’ve heard from quite a lot of mothers, their “euphemism” was serenely treading water, sleeping or looking generally pretty Zen at this point. And my beloved is a bit of a laid back guy.

Hmm…after about 10 seconds into the first ultrasound, it was clear that this was not going to happen in my world. Jumping bean central. Rick O’Shay. Ditto at the 20 week and 23 week scan. We couldn’t tell the gender because he wouldn’t actually stay still long enough. This reminds of my greatly adored and brilliant little sister, whose dedication to talking to people, and possibly having more energy than many have in a lifetime is just awesome, if a little brain cobbling for the casual observer.
Oh and the fact we nicknamed him “Kicky”.

This blog sounds terribly me-me-me at the minute but I must admit, I hope it means he’s “caught” the music gene, because two big lads in the house who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket would probably be the death of me. This flat is *way* too small for tunes that are not meant to be atonal, becoming slowly more atonal over time. This is combined with bizarre timing that results in gradual shortening of a given musical phrase until it’s only the “headline” bit of the riff that’s suddenly being delivered in 2.5/4 time rather than the 4/4 it started out with. After driving one round the twist. It’s like a riff has a half life, gradually losing notes like radium loses electrons…