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I don’t think I actually needed to sweep the floor pre-baby. I must have done I guess, but I certainly don’t remember. It must have been the odd occasion, you know – to gather up a random crumb, an errant slice of mushroom, a blip of a tomato leaf. On an otherwise spotless shiny wooden floor. No, dirt didn’t really impact on my life too much.

Now, though. It’s like that’s all my life boils down to. I live to sweep. I sweep to live. Literally. If I didn’t I’d probably sink and suffocate under a pile of trodden-on pasta, squashed peas and slimy carrot. I’m not joking. Perhaps I’m a bit obsessed. But it seems to sum up my life as mum of two small people – a constantly bent-over servant to two small tyrants ruling the roost on their respective thrones. OK, Stokke highchairs, but you get my point.

Yes, I’ve heard of a hoover. But have you heard the one about the terrified toddler who screams whenever you switch it on? And anyhow, getting the hoover out of the cupboard every time the kids have tipped over their raisins for the fifth time that day, is sheer lunacy.

Oooooh. I’ve tried other things. The floor mat for instance (or ‘splash mat‘). Nice idea – keeps the floor clear – but cleaning the damn thing itself is more hassle than it’s worth. Nope. The ol’ broom is the way to go whether you like it or not. It’s probably why these basic objects of female subservience still exist, if you think about it.

Just one thing: whatever you do, don’t attempt to sweep pasta, rice or couscous until it’s gone a bit dry and crunchy, it’ll gunk up your broom and goo the floor even more which is ten times more depressing than having to sweep it in the first place. And hey, while you wait, the toddler might get an unexpected bonus meal out of it. Everyone happy!



They’re just plastic boxes. To put food in, generally speaking. Pre-mumhood I used to have a couple of large-ish ones, for leftovers in the fridge or for taking a pre-cooked lunch into work with me. Useful. But insignificant.

And now? We have hundreds of the blighters. They fall out of the cupboard willy-nilly and annoy me with their various sized lids (why can I never find the one that fits?). We have posh ones from Lakeland and cheapo ones from IKEA (there’s absolutely no difference btw). We have square ones, round ones, ex-icecream box ones (really good actually) and large ex-soup containers. We have ones that say they stack (they don’t) and ones that don’t say they stack (and don’t). We have inherited ones (people come to stay with baby, leave plastic paraphernalia behind) and takeaway ones (neat sized, but don’t dishwash so good).

But live without them? Never. Since having a baby they’ve become an absolutely indispensible part of parent life. The smaller the better. At first you can store (and carry with you) baby-sized portions of mushy food. Later they’re used for leftover baked beans and sweetcorn. You can freeze tiny blobs of gravy (just enough for a toddler sized portion of sausage and mash) and individual cheese sauce helpings to be added to macaroni for a quick pasta meal. Everywhere you look in our fridge-freezer a small plastic container is lurking, filled here with a morsel of fish, there with a splodge of mince.

Not only do they make handy carriers for snack-sized portions of raisins, cheerios and grapes, they double up as toys (especially for older babies, who love to stack and put stuff into things) and, as they get older, containers for beads, buttons, crayons, hair bobbles and, (most recently) pumpkin seeds carefully collected and cleaned by toddler daughter for a mysterious but incredibly important princess necklace project.

Now I understand the care with which my mother bestowed on what seemed, to my more carefree self, a couple of old cracked oblong food containers long overdue for the bin. It’s certain their size, lid-fit and shape hit the jackpot for her needs. My own quest for the perfect plastic container is still ongoing. One that actually stacks, that stores neatly and doesn’t stain red after being filled with tomato sauce. That closes with a neat snap and opens without a struggle. And it dawns that this mummy’s clubbing haze days truly over. Tupperware parties here we come.

When you have a baby, some fundamental changes occur to your social life (understatement of the year, but you know what I mean).

You no longer worry about going to hip bars or cool clubs. You no longer spend Sunday mornings lazing around reading the papers, then ambling down to a sunny pavement café where you can take your time over a croissant and coffee before perhaps moving on to a double bill of old movies at the local arts cinema. (OK you may never have actually done this anyway, but at least the potential was there.)

You have two, perhaps three, criteria for places you can go out to now:
* Can I fit my buggy in through the door, and between the tables?
* Will the other people there give me dagger-like looks and mutter ill-concealed baby-hating comments under their breath the whole time, especially if my baby cries, or heaven forbid, actually breastfeed in public?
* Is there a toilet with a pull-down changing station? If it doesn’t have one – and let’s face it most don’t, you’re in Britain – is there a space on the floor large enough to lay down your baby on a changing mat that isn’t already covered in a pool of someone else’s wee?

If the answer to these questions is yes, congratulations, you have discovered the location for your new social life.

Hey Miss City Woman shooting me a dirty look because I’m blocking the escalator. I used to be you. I too got irritated by slow walkers, and babies that shrieked in coffee shops while I was trying to have a quiet conversation over a frapuccino.

I too rushed around, darting around people in a mad rush to shave two minutes off my commuting time.

Now I am slow. I have to loiter at the bottom of stairs on the Tube waiting for unhurried strangers to help me hoist my pushchair up. If I am in a particularly bad mood I will ‘accidentally’ nudge your Achilles heel with the back of my wheel. It will hurt.

One day in the not-too-distant future you will probably be me, and remember how unsympathetic you were.

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This blog is currently dedicated to stuff new mummies like. As opposed to stuff mummies of teenagers like. That's because we don't have teenagers yet. Give us a few years though. We're told it goes pretty quickly...

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