Aimee Horton

When you can’t find the mute button.


I don’t know one parent, not even the most loving and perfect parent, who hasn’t thought at some point of the day “I really wish I could just press mute – just for five minutes”.

You know what I mean.  You don’t even need to be tired, or in a bad mood or anything like that, it’s just a natural reaction when you’re entire day is a running commentary.  I’m not sure what age it starts; I guess it depends on the child.  But it happens over night.  One day, they will sit playing peacefully obviously they cry, they babble, they make noises and speak a little bit, but there are peaceful moments (usually when you stick the TV on and they stand staring at it open mouthed).  You’re spending days, trying to get them to say “Mummy” (they always say daddy first the little traitors).  Then when they do, you celebrate, your heart melts, often at 4am when they’re standing in their cot, jumping up and down wanting to play, the utterance of “MUMMMYYY” will soften the blow enough to ensure you’re not angry.  I guess that’s nature?

The next day it’s like a switch has been flicked.  From the moment you’re woken up by a loud voice yelling “MUMMMYYYYY”, until the minute they go to bed “wait, wait, wait Mummy, Mummy – I think Buzz needs to come to bed too” that’s all you hear.  The word you so wanted them to say is grating on you more then nails down a blackboard.

I love The Beasts voice.  Honestly. Especially his imagination voice, it’s really deep, and he puts his chin on his chest and furrows his brow really seriously. But oh my god, when I’m lying in bed, and he’s prising my eyelids open with one hand, and the other is walking Spiderman up my cheek “HELLO MUMMAY, I’M SPIDERMAN, I NEED SOME BREAKFAST” I just want to tell him to SHUSH FOR FIVE MINUTES.

Whether you’re asleep “Wake up Mummy, LET’S PLAY”, eating breakfast “why have you got an egg? I don’t like eggs”, on the phone “excuse me Mummy, MUMMY MUMMY EXCUSE ME EXCCUUUSSSSEEEE ME I WANT TO TALK”, having a wee “Are you doing a pooh too mummy?”, driving “Mummy WHAT ARE YOU DOING, the traffic lights are green so GO GO GO”  it is always on.

The other week I was driving home, in my broken car (automatic, got stuck in first gear going onto the dual carriage way), so I pull in and explain to him that Mummy had to concentrate on the poorly car so if he was really really quiet he could have some chocolate.  He nodded, agreed.  I start the car again, and pull out onto the road listening to the clunk of the gearbox as it sticks in third this time.  We make it less then 60 seconds before a little voice whispers “is the car still poorly Mummy?” “Yes darling, it will be all the way home” “so we have to be really really quiet don’t we mummy” “yes darling” “really quiet.  I’m being quiet mummy”.  I take a deep breath, Larry sneezes, “SHUT UP LARRY MUMMY SAYS WE NEED TO BE QUIET”.

Even the winning power of TV is failing.  He still wants to watch it, but he wants me to watch it with him.  I used to love this, snuggling up on the sofa to a film or a programme while Larry had his nap.  It was really restful.  “Was” being the key word in that statement..  Now it’s a running commentary.  “Look Mummy, Look Spiderman is shooting a web KECHOOWWW”, “Look Mummy, no, mummy, lift your head up, stop looking at your phone, Spiderman is swinging, Mummy, Mummy, MUMMY ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION”.

It’s lovely he’s chatty. It’s lovely that as soon as you open the door to somebody he’s confident enough to greet them, usually with “LOOK…I have new Spiderman slippers” rather than the traditional “Hello Mr Naked Wines delivery man”.  But by heck.  I look forward to when he’s in bed, and I can sit on the sofa, with a drink, close my eyes and soak in the silence.

But after I’ve written all of this.  My current favourite sound is when Fatso comes up and demands a “tuddle”, says “ahh tahhh” or squeals “DAH-DAH-DAH DAH DADDDDIIIEEE” in excitement when Daddy comes home from work.  That little gravelly cute voice just melts my heart, it’s better then any Britney song, just don’t tell anybody I said so.

When you realise you’re not always the best mummy.


I was going to write a massive ranting post tonight.  Matthew is at the gym, I have a gin and slim, I’m catching up on today’s Jeremy Vine debate on c-sections, and my timeline on Facebook is full of people telling me (without realising it) how stupid/lazy/vain I am for making the birthing decision I did.  As I mentioned on twitter earlier, the “too posh to push” bandwagon has been well and truly jumped on, and amazingly other reasons aren’t taken into account.  Just that c-sections are a walk in the park, just a quick zip in and out with a manicure and facial before being presented with my sons.*

*DISCLAIMER – I’m making light of a subject which I’m slightly sensitive about and don’t want to enter into a debate when so many people don’t know the facts just what they think.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion, just research it more slightly please.

But.  Instead of going in to all that, I’ve opted to focus on the parenting secrets that actually probably make me a worse mum then the above (shock horror).

As I’ve said before, I sometimes lean towards the side of parenting which makes me feel like a selfish mum.  Not totally awful (you know, sometimes I will share my food and not go shopping to do stuff that they want to do), however when I look at some super parents, you know the ones, who will do anything for their kids, I feel bad.  Especially about the following 5 things.

1. Larry has a portable DVD player in his bedroom.  He’s only allowed milk from 6.30am.  Often, if it’s before 7am (maybe later at the weekend).  We MAY leave him in his cot with his milk and back to back Peppa Pigs.

2. Sometimes.  As I never wake Matt before 6am unless it’s a DISASTER, if at 5.30am I smell a pooey nappy.  I leave it and act shocked when Matt goes in and changes it at 6.05am. (After I’ve kicked him)

3. I can’t colour in with Theo.  In fact, all drawing and colouring is off limits.  HE JUST CAN’T GET IT IN THE LINES!

4. When Theo annoys me/has been naughty, I sometimes accidently on purpose get water in his eyes when I’m washing his hair.  And I might enjoy it a little bit.

5. When I’m aware of something that makes my children cry which I think is mildly funny I sometimes film it and YouTube it.


2012 Winner of the X-Factor in the pop group “Mums2Beat”

I feel these are possibly my least incriminating.  OH. And Uncle John.  Can I refer you to this post so you still have time to return the guitar you think you’re giving The Beast for Christmas? Good.

When you don’t get any sleep – survival guide.


This morning (at about 03.56am), I was lying in bed deciding whether to go back into Theo’s room as I heard his hacking cough or whether to leave him a few more minutes to see if it sorts itself out.  As his majesty in the bed next to me grunts and rolls over I probably let out what sounded like a pig squeal but was actually a frustrated whimper.

I’ve not had much sleep on and off over the last month with one thing and another. I know, I KNOW “it’s part of the deal”, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t make it easier.

I’ve been relatively lucky second time round.  I feel perhaps I was gifted with a nice baby following the horror that I had first time round.  The beast didn’t sleep through until he was about 7 months old.  In fact, he hardly slept.  I remember the days around the 12 week mark he didn’t even sleep in the day.  He had colic, reflux and was generally STARVING all the time, he did get better though and slept perfectly once he got into his bed.  Then all of a sudden it changed, and The Hungry Caterpillar came along, and I had to get used to lack of sleep all over again, although luckily at 8 weeks after his jabs he slept through from his dream feed.  This was a huge turning point.  From then on, I’m not saying he’s slept through constantly – I’ve had some proper bad nights – (teething and chicken pox both at the same time at 6 months being some of the worst), but I’ve had SOME SLEEP.  Plus, often wake ups consist of the odd game of dummy tennis rather then constant shusshing and rocking and avoiding feeding.

Then over the last month something happened.  Fatso is teething again, and he was up every hour, and on holiday the climate/change of atmosphere /that nasty tooth was causing regular wake ups.  The villa had quite thin walls and if one child woke the other up they’d both be awake and there were often 5am starts – something I’ve been lucky enough not to experience very often.  I came home from holiday KNACKERED.  7 full days with children with late nights and early mornings.  Not exactly relaxing.  Enjoyable YES, relaxing NO.  They’ve both since come back with hacking coughs and I swear they’re both still teething (can a 3 year old get more teeth? He’s dribbling more then the fat one!).  The last 3 nights I can honestly say I’ve seen every hour on the clock between 11pm and 4am.  But, as all of us know, what’s a mum to do?  You can’t crawl into bed and hide for the rest of the day, you always have to DO stuff.  Therefore, I’ve come up with a few survival tips which help me through the day without a) wanting to curl up and cry and b) never taking up my WONDERFUL friends offer for a nap while she looks after my kids (I’d never inflict that on anybody).

1. Get up – dressed – and do your face.

I’m not one for PJ days, I can honestly say, unless I’m so ill I can’t get out of bed I wash my hair and put my make-up on every day.  After both c-sections were done I almost instantly demanded my make-up bag and applied a “natural” face of make up (you may not be able to tell this from the photographs as I look like death, but *I* felt better).  Whilst I think I’ve aged hugely over the last 11 months, I look back at photos of me and Theo when he barely slept and I don’t look too bad actually.  I find if I wallow in scruffs and with my hair scraped back I feel worse.

2. Caffeine.

Tea. Coffee. Diet Coke.  Staples of my day to day life since having the kids.  Necessary for a quick boost through the day (although nothing after about 5pm if you don’t want to be kept up late after the kids have gone to bed).

3. Get outside

I think this is why I struggled slightly more when Larry was little – it was cold and wet and going anywhere was a bit of a ‘mare especially since I wasn’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks.  Personally I  think cabin fever makes you feel worn down, tired and down.

4. Water

Drink lots of it. It works. Honest.

5. You time.

I’ve had a few “down” months recently.  What with a week ill in bed and the change of routine I lost my flow a little bit, and wallowed in not really thinking about me very often.  Recently I’ve got back into running and even just going to get a hair cut and leaving the kids with Matt/at Nursery makes a huge difference.  I can be me again.


So there you go.  I’m not saying it’s a perfect fix, I’m not saying it’s for everyone – but give it a bash, you may get an extra burst of energy.

p.s. Mummy Juice (aka Wine/Gin works wonders as well – although only opent he bar when the kids are in bed ;)))