A New Essex Girl is one! A year which has passed both madly fast and at a snail’s pace as seems to be the way when tiny children are involved.
I always thought the concept of blogging was naff. Who the hell cares what I have to say? And then it filled a massive void of creativity when my baby was leaching all my energy and it didn’t seem so naff after all.
Dear reader thanks for sticking with me. I’ve plans to go beyond the blog which I’ll tell you about next Friday. For now let’s just marvel that I kept at this thing and that you stayed with me.
Happy birthday to me and ta for reading.
My daughter is napping. In the few weeks I have been a mother I have learnt there is lots that can be achieved in these brief periods of rest. Like putting away a wash or making a cup of tea with ninja levels of precision so no rattling teaspoon wakes her or buying a strapless bra and some support knickers. It’s the last one I’m doing today.
I’m in Brent Cross, in the Marks and Spencer changing rooms. A saleswoman is asking me if I want her to leave so I can take off my top in private. As she’s going to see me without my t-shirt on, and in my manky maternity bra once she comes back, I tell her not to waste her time and to stay. Before giving birth I would never have felt comfortable doing this. Now, I don’t care who sees me naked. This body grew a person, this body is a fucking miracle.
After my boobs are measured with minimal fuss, the saleswoman drapes the measuring tape around her neck. Her elbow nudges the handle of the pram. We both startle, expecting screams which mercifully do not come. In a whisper she tells me my new, huge bra size and that this glut of bosom shall be short-lived. My soon-to-be shrivelled breasts are mentioned as a warning not to spend a lot of money on something I will get little use from. She leaves to get a selection of low priced bras and pants. Alone in the dressing room I wonder if she is a mother too.
Tiptoeing back inside, the saleswoman hangs a selection of beige undergarments on a rail next to the mirror. I am handed a bra and a pair of size 16 support pants to try on. She turns her back whilst I put on the bra. In the interests of hygiene I have to force the pants over the ones I am already wearing.
When they are on I look at my reflection, “These aren’t sucking me in at all.” My stomach is no flatter in appearance, it stays the same empty yet flabby belly it was before. “They’re too big. Maybe I should try the 12? I would have taken a 10 or a 12 before I had her.”
“Well that was before, wasn’t it?” Her eyes slice into mine before drifting to my belly and back to my face. “Things have changed.”
The woman tuts to herself and clears the rail of too large pants. Her elbow whacks the side of the pram. Whimpers of waking folllow straight afterwards before turning into shrill screams. The woman is right, it’s not like before.
I wouldn’t recommend reading the Daily Mail for the obvious reasons. However, if you happened to stumble across this nonsense then I direct you to the doodle below. A quick Google of ‘Daily Mail’ and ‘new mum’ revealed what the non-slummy, Daily Mail approved new mother should resemble.
After 33 Doodlebugs for Sarah Millican’s Standard Issue magazine, the site (and therefore my column) are closing shop.
People I don’t know reading it and telling me they like it has been amazing but the very, very best thing about it all was this:
You can view my last one, alongside the other 32, here.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and you really should), you might have already seen I’ve been writing for Mush. Mush is an app which allows you to connect with fellow mums in your area. It’s an amazing idea, it’s like Tinder for making mum pals and without there being an expectation you’ll send nudes or pretend to find the fact someone once went travelling to be Earth-shatteringly profound. Anyway, alongside getting to meet the mum pal of your dreams, you’ll also be able to read the Mush guides which are interesting, funny, helpful articles tackling all things motherhood. There’s loads of them to keep you entertained while you have a quick cup of tea or are trapped under a sleeping newborn. Here are the ones I’ve written:
Ways I tried and failed to be a cool mum
How to avoid flexi-working guilt
Polite responses to impolite questions about giving birth
Key advice for your new mum wardrobe
I’d love you to read them. If you’re in need of some mum company while everyone else is at work or if you want to meet new people with children the same age as yours the app really is super duper. I hope you’ll download and meet your mum BFF (do people still say BFF or is that passé?)
It was my mother who heard it first. “She sounds English” she said of my daughter and I told her she was wrong. Children as young as my daughter have not yet developed accents I thought. And yet, after my mother had left I could hear it. Yes, there was an accent. No, it wasn’t the same as mine.
I am Scottish. My husband is English. My child was born and lives in London (sort of) and yet, now she speaks with an English accent I am shocked to have given birth to this person from another country.
This is of course exactly how it should be and much better than the fear I had throughout my pregnancy that she would develop a hybrid of my Glaswegian tones mixed with my husband’s Essex ones. In my nightmares I heard echoes of Jimmy Krankie meets Danny Dyer and I was scared. That she is simply English is a blessing. Yet it presents new things to be worried about. Will she make fun of my accent for it being different to hers? If we move to Scotland will the hybrid accent become a reality? At airports will border control think I have kidnapped her from a nice English family?
This blog post is brought to you by ideas that weren’t strong enough to support a full-length piece people would pay me for.