Only People with a Bigger Family Will be Able to Relate to thisWhile I was away on my own in Ibiza recently, I had a chat with a random, as you do. He asked me, in all seriousness, if people actually had three children in this day and age.

He spoke as if a bigger family was some kind of urban myth, and going against the 2.4 grain and breaking the unwritten rules would be a truly ludicrous thing to do.

Unsurprisingly this guy doesn’t have any children of his own, and didn’t strike me as the type of person who encountered many kids in his day to day. For some inexplicable reason I can’t shake this short-lived conversation off, his naivety (and rudeness) have been playing on my mind.

His thoughts are not unique though, and largely you are going against the grain by having a bigger family (which is anything more than two kids) these days. Most of our friends and family thought we were crazy when we announced our third pregnancy.

I’ve been noticing looks over the holidays – sideways glances from young folk off on adventures that don’t include changing nappies or pushing a buggy. Some comment on public transport, or when we’re out and about, saying ‘you’re braver than I am’, or ‘I couldn’t even cope with one let alone three…’

So here’s a little list I’ve compiled, to answer all those burning questions you might have*

Yes, they are all mine, I’m not the nanny.

Yes, they all have the same dad, we are even married!

No, we didn’t have a third because we were desperate for a boy.

In fact number three wasn’t planned at all, but then the best things in life rarely are.

My standards have undoubtedly got lower with each child, but that’s not such a bad thing. Motherhood and perfectionism do not belong on the same page, and certainly not in the same sentence.

It might take us longer, and we are usually running late, but we do manage to leave the house and do stuff.

wpid-wp-1454930587722.jpegWe also manage to go on holiday (abroad), and have a great time.

Three children is commonly revered as the hardest number of kids you can have, and certainly for the first couple of years I’d be inclined to agree.

At least one of them is always always hungry. Peace had to be made early on with how much my grocery bill costs.

At least one of them (in my house anyway) is up in the night *sigh* Which means I run mostly on coffee and cortisol.

It is true, that three is an odd number, and one will mostly be left out. However, when all three play nicely together it makes me want to weep with happiness and pride.

With three you are hedging your bets. Surely at least one will be willing to look after you in old age?

Just think, my lovely friend Mel has four children, and some people have even more than that…

*this list was complied just for sh*ts and giggles, and is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to tweet me @mummytries with anything you’d like to add! 

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Being a blogger is a funny old thing, and can sometimes leave me feeling exposed, but ultimately I only share what I’m comfortable with people knowing. Some bloggers share no personal information at all, and focus on sharing their skills, others (ahem, like me) are happy to tell you their life story. With that in mind I thought I’d start a wee meme, feel free to join in either via a blog or social media. 

Some random facts about little old me… #Care2Share

I live with my husband and three children. I’m in touch with, but don’t often see my dad, and am not in contact with any other members of my wider family.

My friends are, and always have been, my family, and I’m fiercely loyal to them. Once I decide you’re a mate there’s absolutely no getting rid of me.

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My love affair with the bottle started when I was eleven, and I have at points drunk myself into alcoholic status. I still enjoy a drink, but don’t consume a fraction of what I used to. I’m rather partial to gin and tonic ice lollies at the mo.

I have never ever smoked cigarettes. My hatred of the things started as a young child, when it dawned on me that I only smelt or felt clean directly after a bath and hair wash. 

I thrive in situations that most others find stressful. I believe this is down to having had such a difficult childhood, and not being fazed now by the small stuff in life. I’m also incredibly thick skinned, which I’m learning is a rarity for a writer. It is also difficult to shock or embarrass me.

I’ve always been a writer. I kept a diary as soon as I could use a pen, wrote short stories when I was at school, and travel journals while I was globe trotting. My first blog Ren’s Recipes was created in 2010, and Mummy Tries came three years later.

I wrote my first book Become the Best You whilst on maternity leave with Freddy (2½). I count getting the book into the Top 50 Amazon best sellers charts on the day I self-published as one of my biggest writing achievements so far.

I’m currently working on the second draft of my second book. Kate’s Story is a fiction novel, which has had mind blowingly amazing feedback from beta readers. I’m hoping to have it in good enough shape for publishing by the end of the year. You can read the first chapter here. 

My husband and I home educate our high functioning autistic eldest daughter Polly (7), and have decided to send our middle girl Clara (4), to school in September. 

I have lived in three continents and have had almost as many addresses as my thirty seven years on earth.

I am brutally honest, but a lot more diplomatic than I used to be. I’ll never lie, or dress up the facts, but I’ll deliver them in a much softer way than I would have done in my twenties.

Carl Jung: I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to becomeHubby and I met in a beach bar in Cambodia, and later ran a music shop and vodka bar there. My job was to invent flavoured vodkas using sweets and chocolate. My favourite was butterscotch, which I made by chopping up werther’s originals, adding them to a bottle of Stolichnaya, and letting the sweets melt and flavours infuse in the heat. So good over ice!

I love food, and it occupies many of my waking thoughts. I adore creating new recipes, and my Vitamix gets used at least half a dozen times a day. We eat a real food diet, which means no processed or refined junk. 

I have expensive taste, and a perfect meal would include rib eye steak, yellow tail tuna, scallops and lobster.

I fleetingly owned a healthy food business in 2007/08 called Nothing but Goodness, selling dips and sugar free chutney that I made in my kitchen. It was way ahead of it’s time, and I believe it would be massively successful now. High point was getting my products into the WholeFoods Market in Kensington. Low point was single handedly turning 200kg of onions into five hundred jars of chutney to sell at the BBC Good Food Show, and bringing four hundred jars home!  

The business failure led to bankruptcy, which felt like the end of the world at the time, but I now view as one of my biggest and best life lessons.

Even though I left school when I was fifteen, without a single exam to my name, I worked for almost twenty years in the city of London, mostly at top banks and financial houses. 

I have two tattoos and one piercing, which I consider to be relics of the past. Trying to explain why the ring is in the place it is to my kids has been rather challenging shall we say. 

I always thought I’d have four children, but three is definitely the magic number for our family. 

care2share

Things I Say vs Things I Mean

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“YOLO” my friend wrote underneath my Facebook status the other day. I had no idea what it meant, so consulted with the Urban Dictionary and discovered that ‘you only live once’, which I wholeheartedly agree with. It got me thinking that there are plenty of things I say throughout the course of the day, that I don’t necessarily mean.

Here are some of my favourite dual meaning phrases

“I’m going to the toilet to do a big stinky poo!” roughly translates to: I’m going to hide in the loo to catch up on social media for the only ten minutes this entire day that I’m likely to get a bit of peace.

“Let me take a photo of you guys to send to Daddy.” roughly translates to: I’m going to plaster your faces all over Facebook, Twitter and IG, but you won’t smile if I tell you that.

“I’m just quickly texting Daddy.” roughly translates to: I’m going to see how many emails I can plough through in the next five minutes, before you start kicking off about me being on my phone.

“Just a minute darling.” roughly translates to: it’ll probably take at least half an hour to finish this task.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies“Hurry up and get ready or we’re going to miss the train!” roughly translates to: I’m telling myself to get a move on, because I’m the least ready member of the family right now.

“This is a chocolate milkshake.” roughly translates to: this is the only way to sneak some goodness into your diet (Freddy, I’m looking directly at you here). By flavouring it with chocolate, I can get you to eat avocado, spinach, egg yolk, yoghurt and banana in one fell swoop. Here’s a great recipe, just in case you’re interested.

“I’m going out with my mummy friends.” roughly translates to: I’m going to get over excited, drink way too much gin, fall asleep on the train home and end up at Gatwick Airport #truestory.

Do you say things that have a dual meaning? Tweet me your faves @mummytries

The 2016 To Do ListOn new year’s eve 2013 I decided not to write a list of resolutions, as I’d done in previous years, and instead composed a very short to-do list for 2014. It had just two things on it to achieve for the entire year: write the book, and stay sane. Somehow, seriously I’ve no idea how, I managed to tick both off. The book was written and self-published, then went on to be republished by Austin Macauley this year. I also entered 2015 in a very sane frame of mind, mostly thanks to the wonder that is the GAPS Diet, but that’s a whole other post!

I had grand plans this year of writing a follow up to Become the Best You, but decided against that quite early on. In April I penned a short story, and with a shaky hand, posted it on the blog. It’s one thing writing about my life, which is essentially free therapy, but it’s a very different ball game making up fiction. Friday the 13th tells Kate Jackson’s sorry tale of an affair that leads to the loss of her entire family. I’m pleased to say that it was well received, and it gave me the impetus I needed to continue with it.

Writing Aspirations

My plan is for it to become a full novel, with an overview of Kate’s Story being the first chapter. You are likely to start the book hating her guts and feeling she deserves everything that’s coming to her, but if I do my job properly, you’ll end the book on her side. Full of empathy for her situation, completely understanding what drove her to do what she did.

As I already know from experience, wanting to write a book and actually doing so are two very different beasts. Also the time between banging out a first draft, and holding a published book in my hands could take years. Nevertheless I do enjoy a good challenge, and would be absolutely thrilled to get at least draft one written. This story is inside my head driving me crazy, and needs to come out!

My 2016 to do list is making me realise how much more simple my life was this time two years ago. Here it is…

– instil peace in my home
– become the best home educator I possibly can
– argue less with my husband, and have a lot more date days! 
– write the book
– stay sane
– get super strict with blogging, so it doesn’t take our lives over; and continue not spending too much time on social media
– put my eldest on GAPS Intro

Quite a sizeable list I’m sure you’ll agree… Better get cracking then!

The Things This Sleep Deprived Mama Does to Get Through Her Day“How do you function?”

This is the most common question I’m asked.

When people learn that I’ve spent the last six years plus existing on a minuscule amount of sleep, they are shocked, because I always seem so energetic apparently (they should see me at 3am!)

I used to love my sleep, and in my younger days had an uncanny ability to nod off just about anywhere – as demonstrated in the photo below.

Ren asleep at a bar

Nowadays, because I’m so very sleep deprived, there are lots of little things I do to get through my day. So here we go… in no particular order…

Coffee. I’ve come to realise that I absolutely adore the black stuff, and that it makes me very happy indeed. I only drink freshly brewed, cap it at three cups per day, and try to be done with my caffeine fest by midday. Otherwise I’ll be laying in bed wired, unable to capitalise on the few precious moments shut eye I can snatch before the kidlets start their triple team sleep thievery act.

Extra long toilet breaks. How else would I get my blog written? In fact how do you think I’m writing this post?

Making my peace with having a messy house. I’ve accepted that my house will rock the just been burgled look most days, and I don’t let it bother me. My kids can trash the place in an exceptionally short amount of time, and I’m hardly going to waste my energy picking up toys all day long am I? Oh how the standards have dropped between child #1 and #3!

Catching up with good friends. Not the school gate mums, not the play group mums, but real mates. Gals that make me belly laugh, and know me inside out. I’m very lucky that I have lots on my doorstep with children similar ages to mine, and I make a big effort to regularly see the ones who aren’t so close by. Then there’s always Skype if distance is a problem (several of my besties live in Australia).

TV babysitter. I don’t beat myself up for sticking the kids in front of iPlayer or Netflix so I can do a bit of writing, cooking, or staring into space.

Not keeping a tally. I stopped mourning the lost hours of rest a long time ago, and see no value in banging on about the obvious. I’ve politely told all my friends not to ask ‘how last night was’ because there’s a 99% chance my honest answer would be ‘horrendous’.

Eating great food. I eat a super clean diet which keeps me level and boosts my brain. This means saying a big fat no to refined carbs and sugars and eating tons of salads and good quality proteins and fats.

Funky music. There’s nothing like a bit of Uptown Funk or Shake it Off to snap me out of a foul mood.

A little tipple. If all else fails and it’s been one of those days, then I’ll have a G&T (just the one) to help me survive the witching hour.

Going to bed as early as possible. I put my phone on aeroplane mode and head upstairs somewhere between 9-9:30pm. The bliss I feel climbing into bed and under the duvet is pretty indescribable. Even though in my heart of hearts I know that I’ll be woken up roughly 15 seconds after falling asleep, I shall remain optimistic!

How do you get through your day?

This blog can also be found on the Huffington Post