Hello and welcome and howdy. You join me on a momentous day. Today is the second day of my 5:2 intermittent fasting/starvation diet. I know, I know - this is absolutely not a very 'me' eating plan. I am more of a gluttonous, chocolate and cake eating fan but in recent months I have performed a very slow about turn with my thinking and on Tuesday I awoke with a tiny bit of determination to give it a go. Sadly I didn't think it through fully as that is also the day of Great British Bake Off which is the very worst time to try and stick to a very restricted diet but stick to it I did and I have even done another day today - hoorah! I didn't realise when I first heard of the plan, that you were allowed to eat something on your fast days - I thought it was a nil by mouth type of plan, but the more I learnt of it and the more I realised what you could actually eat for 500 calories, I became more and more interested. And then a friend from the playground became very skinny on the plan and that seemed to spur me on more than anything else. So, here it is. I am on the plan I have poo pooed and belittled for around six months.
I can't say it is the easiest thing I have ever done - especially as I am still breast feeding which always makes me feel hunger quite acutely - however it also is not the hardest thing I have ever done either. I have no idea why I can't 'just eat less' (as I am so often told by K) because I want to not be fat, but I can't. I need someone to tell me what to do. It always amazes me that one day I can wake up fat and carry on eating regardless of my desire to do something about it, but then the next I can wake up and follow a strict eating plan be it weight watchers or fasting. Why I can't 'just eat less' every day of my life will always be a complete mystery to me. Anyway the fact is I do need someone and this book is now my 'someone'. I will of course let you know whether it works.
I suspect that my need to do as I'm told comes from my rather forthright mother. Last weekend I popped back to Suffolk for Kent Sister's new baby's christening. There are numerous reasons why it happened back in Suffolk and not in her beloved Kent and at first I was less than enthusiastic about a weekend trip back and forth to the motherland. However, a quick shift in parental responsibilities with the big two (I have no extra children on Friday thank goodness) meant that I was able to leave at lunch time on Friday with just the little two. After a fairly lengthy journey (the M 11 was clearly having its time of the month as it was in a hideous mood both for the journey there and back) we arrived in a very sunny Suffolk. It actually turned out to be a fabulous weekend and felt a little bit like a mini break. However, due to the christening party taking place at mother's on the Saturday afternoon, Friday afternoon and first thing Saturday morning were a little tense. I was on high alert not to make a 'mess'. My laziness and messiness has now reached rather legendary heights within the family. I have no idea how I am now deemed one step removed from Stig of the Dump but the warnings from mother over how i must act and behave in the lead up to the weekend were so dire, at one point I was scared to arrive even an hour early. However I did brave it and spent every waking moment scared witless over the children making a mess (for actually it is them that makes the majority of the mess and it is I that decides whether I do or do not pick it up) and following cybs around wiping her hands/walls/putting away toys that she got out. I also used the same glass for my drinks every time I poured myself one. This is a BIG problem for me usually. Apparently. Mother was kind enough to point it out and then when she saw me re-use my glass she followed with 'Well done - that does help - seeeeee you are learning.' It was all I could to bite my tongue and not to point out that the reason I repeatedly take a new glass for each drink I make, is because the very second I put my empty glass down on any surface and dare to look the other way is precisely when she swoops in, picks it up and takes it away. I then can't find it for my next drink and take another glass. The 'you're learning' helpful hints were not refined to my glass usage either. I hoovered as well, which she was most pleased about. You would think I was 14 and was using it for the first time. I did, in my defence use the hoover over the summer as well and I might add that I use the hoover in my own house almost every single day and manage to keep a family of six fed, clothed and in relative cleanliness comfort, but I didn't point it out as it all seemed futile. I think in her eyes I will always be a messy freak in my mid-teens.
I AM a tad messy. However I am not revolting. I just prioritise my time differently to people who are ordered and neat and OCDish. I can turn a blind eye to toys that have not been put away. I am able to go to bed with dirty dishes left on the side. If I see fit I can leave piles of clean clothes for days on end before I sort them and put them away. None of this keeps me awake at night. I don't think this is something to be upset about. In my house if I don't sort the dirty dishes when I go to bed that is because I know that they will still be dirty and waiting for me in the morning. Ditto with the toys and the clothes. I know that eventually it will all have to be dealt with and that I will be the person who does the dealing, so when I get around to it really doesn't upset me. I would like to be the type of person that spends every waking moment cleaning and polishing and organising so that when I walk in to the house it is a gleaming example of cleanliness and organisational mastermindednes, but, I don't want it enough to spend every evening and spare moment making that happen. In a bit of a low point during the holidays Mother lamented my messiness so much that one morning I came downstairs to be told that it 'would be such a shame if your children turned out like you'. She was quick to point out that she didn't mean my personality, just my messiness. I have to confess that it stung, regardless of her meaning. I am pretty sure my propensity to mess (which to be honest I still refute partially - yes I am not the tidiest person on earth but I am not the sort of person who leaves cups out to grow mould in or who doesn't do the washing up for days on end so that you end up eating your pot noodles with a tea strainer - I do have a base level tidiness and hygiene) is actually at the very core of my personality and being as a whole. I am, therefore I am. I have always, always, always been slap dash in everything I do. I have never EVER, EVER been neat. My writing is appalling. Almost illegible. Most of my school projects and homework books had splodges of drinks or food on them and I was never ever able to file or keep things in safe places and then find them again. That is just not in my genetic make up. On the whole this is a good thing as it means I do not spend nights unable to sleep for worrying about every little thing. I am able to let vast swathes of worries wash right over me. This is an excellent skill to have. I am also able to spend weeks on end with my mother. If I were unable to let things wash over me this would be a totally untenable set up. Comments over my weight, parenting ability and proclivity to make mess and my general disorganisation as well as all of her quite bizarre views on people who appear on TV, would cause heated arguments and messy scenes if it wasn't for my incredibly laid back attitude. My messiness, my weight, my disorganisation - they all go together to make up my personality. They mix in well with my more positive attributes which I shan't go in to now lest you think me boastful and immodest and thoroughly unbritish. I am aware that along with all my negative points there are also many positives so I do try not to get too down about it all. After all it isn't really in my nature to do so.
I do worry almost constantly though. I assume everyone does. At the moment my worries are many and splendid in their ordinariness. A few of them are listed:
Are the children spoilt ?
Should Bea be allowed a mini ipad for her birthday?
Are they deprived?
Will we ever take them abroad/to disneyland/legoland?
Should I do more for them/with them?
Do I shout too much?
Am I too soft?
Do I treat them all equally?
Do I feed them too much?
Do I feed them enough?
Do I read with them enough?
Shit I haven't paid for their school dinners - will they feed them today?
I have no pension.
Children in Syria.
Nairobi. What would I do if I was in a siege situation with the children?
What will I do when the children are all at school full time?
Am I a bad role model?
Am I doing any of this right?
What if I get ill?
Am I ill ?
Can I keep doing this?
What on earth would I have done if I was doing this 50 years ago?
The latter worries me on a weekly basis. How on EARTH would I have coped with all of this fifty years ago. I am pretty sure that I would have ended up sticking my head in the oven. I know that sounds extreme and slightly odd to worry over but I do. I wonder how on earth women coped. It must have been so incredibly lonely to have to be a stay at home mother whether you liked it or not, to have to clean and tidy a house and prepare a warm meal for your husband every night whether you wanted to or not, to have no dishwashers, no grocery delivery service, probably no tumble dryers, no dedicated children's channels on tv, no free nursery places for three years olds etc etc etc. And the major life changers - no mobile phones or internet. It is totally unfathomable to me how different things would be for me if I had no one to talk to at the end of the phone which is not stuck in one place in the house but with me wherever I go and has the benefit of twitter, facebook and Words with Friends at the flick of a finger. These things make the unbearable monotony bearable. There are times when I can vividly understand why someone would deem sticking their head in the oven a peaceful resolution to the stultifying monotony and never ending drudgery of daily life as a housewife (I must just say that the peaceful part comes from falling asleep from the gases and NOT from roasting your head as my university housemate had assumed - that would take an exceedingly determined woman and would be a hideous and horrific way to go although the idea of our friend assuming this was what they meant every time she heard/read about someone 'sticking their head in the oven' made us laugh until we peed ourselves. That happened more times than you would think probable actually....) Mercifully I do not harbour suicidal thoughts so I am not warning you of my imminent demise but sometimes as I clean the loo, pick up umpteen gazillion toys, make yet another bed, sweep the floor at least three times a day, get shouted out, shout at someone or close a frickin drawer that any member of the family may have 'forgotten' (read couldn't be bothered) to close, I always thank my lucky stars that I live now and not any earlier. Sometimes I worry far too much about the housewives that have come before me. Essentially I have it easy. And an electric oven.
The other worries are pretty normal I think. I can do very little about the hideous atrocities that are happening in Syria - although we are, in a typically middle class mummy fashion, organising a coffee morning to raise some money to send to the Red Cross so that they can help. That is as much as I feel I can do at the moment. I did risk a shopping centre today which was mercifully not under attack from terrorists so I didn't have to think about what to do in a siege situation and I did buy Bea the ipad mini - although it felt wrong and will no doubt come back to bite me firmly on the bum when every subsequent child thinks they will get one on their birthdays too but there you have it. The fighting over her ipad and the worry over her breaking it will keep me occupied for many months to come. One thing I do not have to worry about is their Christmas jumpers - I am feeling incredibly happy as I already have one for every child! It makes me feel exceptionally organised. It is only just October! I shall sleep soundly tonight in my smug organisedness, surrounded by the piles of my clean washing. And sleep I shall have to do as quickly as possible - before the hunger kicks in.
And with that I bid you adieu. More excitement and news of weight loss and Bea's Birthday shenanigans to follow shortly. Worry not.