Stay at home… feminist?

I’m having to come to terms with being “kept” like a pet cat. I’m painfully aware that the money I’m spending is not “mine” in the way I always planned. And if one more person calls me a yummy-mummy, I think I might eat myself.

Some SAHMs would have it no other way – a choice that has to be respected and valued – but for me it’s just not working. To read more of my thoughts on being a feminist who doesn’t do what she thought a feminist would do, head over to Cheltenham Maman who carried the guest post in September…

Peppa Pig saved my life

“My offspring will not even know who Peppa Pig is,” I loftily proclaimed pre-children, as I sneered in superiority at the parents who bought the DVDs, t-shirt, stickers, cup, bowl, bag, lunchbox, pencil case and pyjamas.

“What is this two-dimensional animated swine?” I imagined my offspring saying in bemusement as she sat in her gender-neutral clothes at a rustic wooden table artfully constructed from upcycled pallets and scaffolding rescued from next door’s skip (it just needed some love).

She would be shelling her afternoon snack of sugarsnap peas, and playing with wooden toys made from ethically sourced wood blessed with caresses from the funking fairies and would wonder, “Is there something wrong with her snout? It’s always pointing sideways. Perhaps that is why she is always whinging?”

Knob (me, not the child. Even for a fictional one, that would be harsh).

In reality we have a glass kitchen table (wipe clean), life is significantly more plastic and primary-hued than I had planned, and in my parenting “philosophy” Peppa is a key player.

Admittedly, I’ve had moments when I would happily have roasted the little porker – she taught my daughter to say “No” in a particularly fucking rude dismissive manner, and I’m not proud that the theme tune was the first ditty that the BSCB danced too.

There have indeed been times that I have wanted to take a shotgun and shoot the shine off the little squealer but unfortunately this precocious porcine preschooler, who hams everything up, speaks with her mouth full, and finds it impossible to admit when she is wrong, has proven too useful to be served up for Sunday dinner.

Peppa of course offers an easy source of entertainment in potentially combustable situations on airplanes, buses, and basically anywhere we’re in prolonged contact with the same seats and members of the public. But I feel this little piggy offers even more to the average parent navigating life with a ticking time-bomb of a toddler.

Essentially, trotting out the line “You know, like Peppa does,” has prevented many a day from being consumed in a mushroom cloud of toddler and preschooler pandemonium.

Visits to the dentist and doctor, sharing a room with her brother, the necessity of wearing boots to jump in muddy puddles, tidying up toys, the importance of not dropping keys down a drain, and navigating arguments with friends, are all situations in our house in which Peppa has been referenced.

And if that isn’t convincing you, then consider how “big” issues such as environmentalism and feminism are somehow woven into this oddly 2-dimensional candy-coloured cartoon.

This may well be because the makers of the programme appreciate listening to “Dum dum dum dum dum, dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum” on repeat for several years of one’s life might convince one that taking a knitting needle to the inside of one’s ear is an entirely reasonable act. So, rather than bear that burden, they throw us beleaguered parentals a bone of a slight side-smile at the antics of Mummy Pig at the fair, and have you seen how hopeless Daddy Pig is at hanging a picture? Haha.

Not only do the creators of the show so convincingly have our back in this way however, many episodes are veritable self-help volumes with tips on how to approach, well, life.

Do you recall the day the world ended? Back in June when we woke up to find that 52% of the country thought being in the EU was a bad idea because of fish, or something…? I was convinced we were headed at warp speed down a black hole from which there would be no return, but G-Rabbit’s baritone blues broke through the despair:

“I woke up this morning. The sea was still there. The sea the sky the sea the sky the sea the skyyyy.”

And all was well once more.

Sort of.

There are of course always going to be occasions on which once the wheels of whinge are set in motion not even the big guns (a KitKat) can restore order.

In general however, I believe the Power of Peppa has been vastly underestimated.

Yes, it is annoying that episodes last just 5 minutes and thus only buy enough time in the shower to wash one side of your body, but before you toss her in the trash with the rest of the leftovers, just think of me.

Because, I can hand on heart say that there is many a time when Peppa Pig has saved my bacon.

Bank holiday Mon-YAY

Let it be said that I love a Bank Holiday. Who doesn’t? They’re ace! But, like everything, Bank Holidays are not perfect, and they do have a few characteristics which are not Hakuna-ing-ma-tatas:

  1. After a Bank Holiday the house is in about four times the mess of a normal weekend, and there is double the amount of laundry there usually is. There is a whole extra day with an extra person in the house – surely this should make it EASIER to complete life admin, not harder? And who IS wearing all these extra clothes?
  2. The grocery order doesn’t get done. I hate going to the supermarket so for years I have done an online grocery order. One of my proudest achievements as the adultier-adult that I have become since the small people arrived has to be that I now have an Actual Routine around buying food. This means that no one is left scraping together a meal on any given Tuesday from some tinned tuna and a courgette. Well “routine” is perhaps reaching a bit, because what I basically mean is that I do it on a Sunday. Except on a Bank Holiday. On the Sunday of a Bank Holiday I think I must forget it is a Sunday. So today is now Tuesday, the cupboards are bare and I’m wondering whether to roast the courgette or just eat tuna straight from the tin.
  3. I drink too much. Back in the day, Before Parenting, this was what Bank Holidays were made for. Not so much now when the small people demand to be kept alive from 6.30am every morning with absolutely no respect for the fact that it is a “day off – May says so”. But I clearly haven’t quite caught up with this fact as, faced with a 10.30pm finish after some dinner with the girls on Sunday night, I decided to ditch the car and drink lots of wine instead. Silly.
  4. Time gets all twisted. The week in anticipation of a Bank Holiday passes really slowly, the weekend itself then goes really quickly, and then the psychology of the four-day-week means that you feel like it should whizz by, but in fact it drags and has you crying into your coffee as usual on a Wednesday morning… How is it only Wednesdaaaay…?
  5. Expectations are always too high. Whether it’s of the weather, how much fun will be had, or how many “jobs” you will get done, it is likely that you have returned to “normal life” this Tuesday feeling a little disappointed in yourself.

Having said all of that, however, I would make it clear that Bank Holidays are the bomb, and like all the best things in life, they’re free! Not to mention the fact that if you got it wrong this time around, don’t worry – there is another one in a few weeks. God loves a trier…