Bobal’s Babble: What Marriage Means to Me (warning, blog may contain some nauseating declarations of love)

Two years ago today, Mack and I got married. It was the best day of my life; second only to the birth of Mush some 21 months later. Yet, I wasn’t that big a believer in marriage.

I considered marriage to be just a party resulting in a piece of paper ‘formalising’ our existing commitment to each other. There was no religious aspect for me as I’m an atheist so I was never of the opinion that I must get married. This was a view I held up until our wedding day.

Likewise, Mack wasn’t really into marriage. His parent’s marriage had ended in a protracted divorce and his father had then gone on to marry 2 more times. Marriage to Mack seemed fickle and a big white wedding seemed a waste of money. So I never did think he’d propose. And I was ok about that. I felt secure in our relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend and didn’t see how marriage would affect it one way or the other. I did fancy the wedding though but agreed that spending a house deposit type figure on one day was insane!

But then…Mack proposed! Mack will have to tell you what changed his mind (and his mind was changed – he wasn’t just leading me on to make the surprise bigger).

But in any event, one normal, boring Thursday at Easter time Mack put on an easter egg hunt for me using kinder eggs (normal adult behaviour in the Mack-Bobal household). And in the last egg was a beautiful diamond ring. When I turned around, Mack was on one knee and he proposed. We were ecstatic! Indeed planning a wedding is so lovely (with a dash of stress thrown in). And within 7 months we had planned a wedding on a budget. Yet I still didn’t consider that marriage would change or enhance our relationship.

Then we got married.

Our day was perfect with the exception that Mack’s grandma wasn’t able to attend in person as she was too ill (we did have a very memorable video chat with her though, where for a few minutes we were talking to her ceiling and then to one massive eye before she’d figured out the camera). We couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was exactly what we wanted and more (cliché I know but it’s a cliché for a reason).

But I wasn’t prepared for how significant it would feel to declare my love for Mack in front of everyone in our world. Making those promises to each other in front of people that mattered made the commitment seem real and important.  If we broke those vows we’d be letting them down and ourselves. Hearing those promises from Mack gave me a warm sense of security I didn’t even know was missing.

Merging our worlds like that showed me what I stood to gain from a happy marriage.  Not just because there were some excellent examples of successful marriages in the congregation (Mack’s mum’s second marriage, grandparents, aunty and uncles and cousins plus my parents – whilst separated had many happy years marriage and get on amicably to this day) but also because I could see the family I was gaining whom I wanted to keep.

Now, after the high of the wedding, our relationship has changed for the better. Silly quarrels don’t spin out of control as they once would as – what’s the point? No one is ending things so it will have to be resolved in the end so let’s just cut to the chase.

We now take our relationship seriously as we hadn’t done to this extent before (even though we thought we did). It’s a priority to keep our relationship good so we work at it. We now see the bigger picture in a way we couldn’t appreciate pre – wedding. And the happiness we felt on our wedding day acts as a bar that we hold our marriage to. We want to stay that happy.

The first time we referred to each other as ‘my husband’, ‘my wife’ (in our respective wedding toasts) the thrill and pride was indescribable. I still get that thrill now when ticking the ‘married box’ or introducing Mack as my husband.

I’m always proud to say Mack is my husband. I’m proud to say we have a happy marriage (I mean we’re not Ken and Barbie; we do have ups and downs but mostly we get a lot of joy from each other).

Importantly, I’m proud to say that I was wrong about marriage.  Marriage is the ultimate declaration and cementation of love. Never mind how big or small your wedding is – you’re telling the world that this person is so special you can’t bear not to be at their side and what’s more you want them to be.

Mack knows all my stories. He’s lived most of them. My family love him like family and I love his family the same way (well except for Mack’s brother who’s a giant pain in the arse… only joking, he’s our only reader so mustn’t piss him off). I want Mack posing next to me in goofy photographs,  going green next to me whilst we’re travelling (we get terrible travel sickness) and feeding me milky bar buttons (sod grapes) when I’m ill.

Mack is the most incredible person. And he is all mine (well Mush can lay claim a little). I’ve stuck my flag in him and there it will stay forever.

I’m reminded of this every time he sings
silly songs to our baby daughter, when he kisses me on my forehead or when he places my kindle on the bedside table, turns my light off and tucks me in when I fall asleep reading.

Here on our anniversary, I can say that I’m still a very lucky girl.

 

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Mack’s Mindless Musings: An Education For Bad Drivers; Lesson 1

As a business development manager, I do my fair share of driving and I like to think I’m a fairly competent driver.

With this in mind I would like to educate drivers everywhere with my understanding of a couple of key aspects of driving. Call it a public service if you will.

1. Motorway Driving

This can be especially scary for your average driver. Hurtling along at speeds in excess off 70mph in a poorly piloted metal box. If I were you I would be terrified! The experience may potentially be less daunting if you knew how to use the lanes properly.

The left hand lane is for driving, centre and right lanes are for overtaking only. You do not have slow, medium and fast lanes. If you are not gaining ground or making progress on the car in front, move the f**k over! I obviously meant ‘fork’ yes fork, put the fork down stop eating your pasta salad as you obviously aren’t concentrating on driving and move the f**k over. I will let you use your imagination for that one. Don’t even get me started on middle lane drivers.

2. Indication

Indicators are the elusive storks on either the left or right hand side of your steering column.

The purpose of your indicators are to ‘indicate’ your manoeuvring intentions to other road users.

When the rusty cogs in your head grind into life and ask you to turn left into Asda’s car park, here is what you do. Check your mirrors to ensure the way is clear, signal your intentions by turning your indicators on then finally execute the manoeuvre. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre.

However here comes the crux of the issue. It would appear that these ninja sticks, Masters of hide and seek or invisible super heroes elude capture on a daily basis as 90% off drivers seem unable to use them.

Find them and use them please or I may be tempted to call you and give you a Liam Neeson-esque speech from Taken.

Thank you.

Mack

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Bobal’s Babble: It’s a Cat’s Life

Mack and I have 2 cats. One very cat like cat called Goofy who attacks your toes whenever you have the audacity to wiggle one and who only allows you to stroke her when and in the manner, she wishes to be stroked. And, our other cat, Doh Doh, who is not so much a cat as a teddy bear. He loves to be cuddled above all else, wants to sleep in our bed with us (even under the duvet) and likes to be carried around.

Up until Mush’s arrival, Doh Doh was my baby. I would smush him into the hoods of my jackets and walk around with him, we would share a pillow when we napped and I knew just how to stroke him to illicit the deepest form of gratitude; that which was beyond a basic purr – the purr and drool!

Then! Wham bam, my actual baby was born. And with Mush’s arrival, Doh Doh’s world was turned upside down. I became reluctant to stroke Doh Doh because I didn’t want any cat hair to find its way into Mush’s mouth. He was no longer allowed in the bedroom, lest he should climb into Mush’s bed. His hood naps were even no more as now his previously clean, snuggly den was more often than not covered in baby sick.

Doh Doh’s nose has been well and truly pushed out. And perhaps Doh Doh could have accepted all of this had it not been for the screaming baby now shoved in his face, spoiling his sunny stretches on the windowsill and making his meals turn up late and without the added touches of leftover steak. So, not prepared to stand for this decline in living standards, he has left home!

The move was gradual. It started one day with a text message from our lovely neighbour saying that Doh Doh had invited himself in and was enjoying a good cuddle. This progressed to the odd afternoon nap at his new friend’s. Now he is reluctantly sent home everyday and on those days our neighbour works; Doh Doh pines at the back door to get to her.  Much to the upset of me. Had I not loved him, fed him and looked after him when he was sick all these years to now become only an after thought?

So I did what any good mother does…I bribed him. ‘Stay at home kitten and you can have treats.’ ‘Go on – nap in daddy’s leather office chair (the holy grail of napping spots due to its forbidden nature).’ ‘Yes,  I’ve caught you on the kitchen work top but no I won’t tell you off.’

And the result? Doh Doh now eats with us, sleeps where he wants, does what he wants then strolls next door for what I suspect is more of the same. He’s even trained our neighbour to carry him back home when it’s been raining so as not to get his paws wet.

Humans: 0          Cat: 1

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Mack’s Mindless Musings: How to survive pregnancy from a man’s perspective (light-hearted)

I’m not going to lie, pregnancy was not an easy time for me! It was obviously harder for Bobal who was actually pregnant but let’s be honest, there are enough books giving advice for women out there already.

What I found or did not find as the case may be, is anything advising a man on how to survive this wonderfully, terrifying time.

With this in mind I feel duty bound to assist men everywhere and this is my fool proof, step by step guide to surviving pregnancy:

Step one: dig hole.
Step two: get in hole.
Step three: stay in hole for 9 months.
Step four: climb out hole.
Step five: meet your new baby.

Admittedly I haven’t got all the details worked out and you may have a few relationship issues now but… you will have survived.

Mission accomplished

Mack

P.S I plan to do a serious version of this post in the not too distant future… not that this isn’t gold standard advice but I think I can do better.

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Mack and Bobal Waffle On: When You Have a Baby, Your Life is Over

We discussed children early on in our relationship and then several more times through the intervening years. We knew we wanted children but didn’t feel ready to give up our single lives for quite some time. We both stumbled into feeling that it was the ‘right’ time to start our family, independently but at the same time. It was not a decision we took lightly. Having discussed it many times before and having spent many lovely hours with our beautiful nieces, we knew how we wanted to parent and knew that we would want to centre our world around that little baby. We therefore knew that our lives were going to change. More than that, we couldn’t wait!

When we learned we were expecting, we were thrilled and pretty much immediately set about telling our nearest and dearest and they were all so happy for us. But once the hugs, kisses and tears were out the way, we were suddenly bombarded with friendly warnings and tips. ‘Get your sleep in now as once the baby is here, you’ll never sleep again,’ ‘that’s your party days behind you,’ and ‘you’ll never watch a grownup film again,’ to quote but a few.

We were further inundated when we went public with the news, 3 months into our pregnancy and the comments became increasingly more cynical. ‘Your body will never be the same again,’ ”say goodbye to your money,’ and the rather more colourful; ’18 years until they leave home – if you’re lucky. You’d get less for murder!’

We couldn’t believe it! We felt like we were diving into this decision with open eyes and open hearts but this negativity was so pervasive we thought that perhaps the ney-sayers knew something we didn’t. Would we really end up like that? Would our lives really be over once the baby arrived? Would we grow to resent the little life that we brought into the world? After the 200th time of hearing such comments, niggles of doubt about the life changing decision we had made started to creep in.

Thankfully however, since the arrival of our little mushy bundle of joy, we can honestly say, with no flicker of doubt that we feel sorry for those adults and their children and here’s why.

Upon Mush’s arrival we have ventured into a whole new enthralling chapter in our lives. Unlike any chapter before it. A chapter that we began intentionally and haven’t questioned since.

Don’t get us wrong, it isn’t easy. The long sleepless nights, endless nappy changing, relentless screaming (not just from Mush) and the constant worry that your baby is trying to commit suicide make it a trying time. But and it’s a big but, we can honestly say we have loved every sleep deprived minute and why? Because we choose to.

We have created a person! A person who is half Mack and half Bobal. A person who did not ask to be born and is completely at our mercy for her every need. We will be instrumental in guiding her through the rest of her life and equipping her with the perspective, skills and physicality she needs to make her life into something incredible.  For us, the whole premise is terrifying and exciting in equal proportions. We cannot wait to see what she becomes and at the same time we don’t want her to grow up.

We would urge all would be, soon to be or existing parents to remember the feeling of when you first hold your child and strive to hold onto that feeling for as long as you can. We will most certainly try to.

Having children is a privilege, a pleasure and a great responsibility. We would all do well to remember that.

Mack and Bobal

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Bobal’s Babble: Raising a Child in Today’s Scary Times

Yesterday, I woke up to a smiling, bonny baby and to the news that over 120 people had been senselessly killed in Paris. These people were not in a war zone but at a concert, eating at a restaurant and strolling around their city.

Upon reading the news, my stomach sank. Every time I hear of a horrid attack of violence, even if it’s at the back of beyond, I feel it as acutely as if it was someone I know hurt. Because it could so easily have been my Husband at work, my Besty at a concert or my Nan shopping. It’s terrifying. These people who are just going about their daily business are shot down, burned alive or subject to other barbaric torture right out of a Stephen King novel.

I’m raising my daughter in a world where there is genuine cause to fear for your life when going about your daily business. It terrifies me that I can’t keep her safe. Yes, I can teach her right from wrong, expose her to good people and teach her to stay alert to possible dangers but I can’t protect her from random acts of violence.

What can I do? Do I stop her going to big citys for fear of that 1 in a million chance her bus will be blown up? Do we stay away from planes lest they crash? Do I home school her in case a student pulls out a gun in class? Do I limit her ambitions to ensure she doesn’t join a profession that chases the violence to report on it or fight it as army staff?

No. Because then that evil minority wins. There will always be people who want to hurt, destroy and kill. I’m not prepared to let them define mine or my family’s lives. I’m going to raise my daughter to love others, treat others as she would like to be treated and to respect everyone’s views, even if she does not agree with them. To live and let live. Maybe if we all do this, the violence could stop.

To all those in Paris, know that we feel your pain as we stand united against atrocity.

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Mack’s Mindless Musings: Extreme Baby Flatulence

Mush is now 11 weeks old and amazes me more and more each day. There is however one thing that I have found especially illuminating. In fact, I have quickly progressed through a range of emotions regarding a certain thing she excels in. I find it hilarious, disgusting, unending, embarrassing and sometimes just downright impressive!

What am I talking about? My child’s extreme farting abilities! I am not the only one with mixed emotions towards this competition standard flatulence (if there is such a competition, she would win hands down). Mush herself can be sad about the wind, outright angry, find it hilarious, confusing and much to her parents delight; has been shocked by it on more than one occasion!

The tuneful delights of my daughter’s bottom become most inconvenient when out in public. She can reach such decibels that the every day Joe Public cannot and will not believe it was her.

In an effort to combat the embarrassment (for me personally) I have teamed up with said baby. This is what we do:

First Game
Step 1: Mush breaks wind.
Step 2: I accept responsibility for aforementioned wind in a very loud and obnoxious way.
Step 3: I vigorously waft a certain part of my anatomy.
Step 4: Bobal digs a hole, climbs in and attempts to die of shame.

Second game
Step 1: Mush breaks wind.
Step 2: I hold my nose, look disgusted and point at Bobal.
Step 3: I pick up baby and quickly vacate the area glancing over my shoulder at Bobal with a disgusted expression.
Step 4: Bobal attempts to defend herself, all the while looking more and more guilty.
Step 5: See Step 4 of Game 1.

Mack

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Bobal’s Babble: The Skinny About Breastfeeding and How I Survived (an honest account)

I knew from even before I was pregnant that I wanted to try and breastfeed my baby. Once I was expecting, I undertook heaps of research into it so as to try and prepare myself for what to expect and I seemingly encountered only 3 different types of information. The judgemental ‘breast is best’ type article which lambasts any person who can’t/won’t breastfeed. The glamourous pieces which focus on getting your figure back and feature photographs of beautiful celebrities breastfeeding their children whilst having their faces made up (yes Giselle, I am talking about you)! Or, the fluffy, earth mother type post which focus on the bond with baby and depict naked ladies sitting in streams whilst breastfeeding their babies.

Mack and I also attended the NHS Breasfeeding workshop which took us through the biology of breastfeeding, the dos and don’ts for breastfeeding, what support the NHS could offer for breastfeeding mothers and how partners could get involved (Mack was keen to support in any way he could but I suspect the thing that most stuck in his mind from this class was the knitted boobs)! I found the class fairly helpful although it was still given with a hint of judgment of formula feeding mothers and, if you are a google-aholic like me, the subject matter was all stuff you will have already found out in your own research. In hindsight, none of these sources came close to advising me or preparing me on how I would feel, once Mush arrived. I therefore hope that this blog can bridge that gap or atleast serve to remind me should I become pregnant again.

I was really fortunate in my labour and birth. I got the natural birth I wanted and Mush was born a healthy 8lb 5.5ozs and was awake and alert straight away. This meant she latched onto my nipple as soon as she was put on my chest. Ofcourse, I was that weak from labour that I couldn’t support her weight but a helpful midwife held her in place and then Mack took over so that Mush could take her first feed. Now, from my research, I can tell you that that first feed is not milk (this comes in later) but rather colostrum – concentrated goodness as I like to call it. I felt so proud that Mush had latched straight away and it felt so lovely (and dare I say ‘natural’ without sounding like a total hippy) to hold her and feed her for that first time.

From class I knew that Mush’s tummy was tiny so I expected to feed little and often. I did not expect that Mush would stay, quite happily, latched onto my nipple for sometimes an hour at a time. I also did not expect her little suck to be so bloody powerful; akin to holding the hoover attachment to your leg (we all did that as kids right?). We were fortunate to be released (from hospital, not jail) the same day as Mush’s arrival which was lovely. It was also nerve-wracking as we found we didn’t actually have a clue what we were doing (no amount of research can keep this feeling at bay) especially with breastfeeding. Here’s the lowdown on my experience with breastfeeding and the methods I employed to survive.

Mack and I aimed to feed Mush at least every 3 hours through the day (waking her up if necessary) and every 4 through the night but Mush wanted to feed much more than that. Mush just liked being on boob (as her feeding soon became known in the Mack-Bobal household). She would stay put for 40 minutes a time and fall asleep in my arms. She would (and often still does) feed every hour. This epic feeding caused me all kinds of problems.

(TMI WARNING) Sore, cracked and bleeding nipples caused pain I was not prepared for, never mind when your breasts becomes so engorged, heavy and beyond sore as your milk comes in. I mean, I didn’t have the easiest pregnancy as I suffered from severe symphysis pubis dysfunction resulting in me being on crutches, labour itself is no walk in the park but the pain I felt in those first few days of breastfeeding was so much worse to me as there’s no getting away from it – your baby needs to be fed. As Mush spent so much time feeding, I never felt like I had time to heal and I starting dreading the next feed. And I blamed myself for this. My latch must be wrong or my milk supply must be poor or maybe my body can’t do this. All I kept hearing in my head was the words an instructor had said at the breastfeeding class, ‘if breastfeeding hurts, you’re not doing it right.’ I would have quit there and then was it not for my 4 saviours: good support, time, lanolin cream and hot baths.

20151013_115906Support

I found support to be so crucial in those first few days when you’re tired, don’t know which end of the baby is up and you can only sit down when it’s on a donut pillow. And boy was I lucky with the support group I had. My mum and mother-in-law were priceless and picked up the slack so that I could focus on nothing more than nursing Mush. Mack, was incredible and he ran around making sure that wherever I was breastfeeding I had water (you feel so thirsty when breastfeeding), food and entertainment plus he took all the nappy changes etc so that I could make the most of the time Mush was not on my boob (usually with such luxuries as a shower, nipping to the loo or putting some washing on).

My local NHS brestfeeding support network were great in that they checked in regularly and came round to check my latch and tell me what a good job I was doing (hearing this from a stranger truly bolsters you when you just want to quit)! But perhaps my biggest source of comfort were my 2 cousins who had had babies a few months before me and an old college friend that I re-connected with at an anti-natal class whose baby is 12 days older than Mush. Having people to turn to for advice or reassurance, to ask those stupid questions of and to moan to at 3 in the morning who are going or who have recently gone through the same thing is so key. It reminds you that you are not alone, that it is often the same for everyone and – this bit is important – once you hit 7 days post partum EVERYTHING will hurt much less.

Time

This leads me nicely on to time. That 7 days is horrible but (again TMI warning) once my nipples scabbed over (I bet Giselle’s nipples didn’t scab over) and my milk settled down I truly felt better. I didn’t feel completely back to normal but I started to. So if Mack and I have another baby, I will be focussing on that 7 day mark as I can endure anything for 7 days. Given that the worst of it for me (I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had an infection) was that short period and coincided with the usual post partum complaints, I found paracetamol to be a great relief and would take a couple when the pain was particularly bad half an hour before a feed (this is my ‘batteries not included’ bit – all medication should be taken in accordance with the instructions and doctor advice). Breastfeeding has become easier and easier in the weeks since Mush was born and it doesn’t hurt at all now. The only exceptions being when both Mush and I got a cold meaning she wanted to feed more and my supply was down a little thus increasing ‘on the boob’ time and when Mush forgets that my nipple is in fact attached to my breast and she pulls at it or generally messes around instead of peacefully eating.

Lanolin Cream

In those early days of feeding, I was overcome with a massive love for my newborn daughter and a more intense love for my husband when watching him hold our little baby girl but my third love at that time was definitely Lanolin Cream. Using this on my poor nipples helped so much and soothed so much – I nearly used a tube in my first week. It isn’t the cheapest thing to buy but worth every penny as it is safe to use when breastfeeding and doesn’t have to be washed off before feeding again. I also used it lightly on Mush if her lips became chapped from feeding. Buy it in time to put in your hospital bag and re-stock way before you actually need it (you don’t want to be without it). In fact, I had 2 tubes on the go – one for upstairs and one for downstairs/changing bag as tackling the stairs at that point can sometimes take a herculean effort.

Hot Baths

You had time to take a bath, I hear you ask? Yes because my lovely husband worked it out that way and what a difference they made. Apart from the loveliness of having that 40 minutes to yourself, I found hot baths to be wonderfully relieving for my sore boobs (more on the engorgement side of things as opposed to nipples). Steam and heat do relieve full boobs and encourage let down and when I couldn’t have a bath I would sometime lay a hot, wet flannel over my boobs for 5 minutes pre and post feed which also offered a degree of relief. For maximum healing potential, throw some Epsom Salts into your bath – good for upstairs and downstairs! I did, to air on the side of caution, rinse my nipples with clean water after such baths though to ensure that there was no salt residue on my nipples before the next feed.

On a side note and speaking of downstairs, I found baths to be a much better way of cleaning the carnage than showers plus, if you are struggling to wee after birth, my midwife gave me the oh so glamourous tip that you should wee in the bath (perhaps at the end and not the beginning) which should be a much more comfortable experience!

 

Dismfort aside, the other thing I wanted to address is supply. I don’t know a breasfeeding mum who doesn’t at some point (usually in those early days when the Health Visitor tells you that our baby has lost weight) question their supply. Biologically, there is only a tiny percentage of women that actually have supply problems that cannot be bolstered. For the rest there are several things you can do, as follows:

 

Feed on Demand:

Breasfeeding is like Pringles, the more you pop, the more you can’t stop. The more you feed the more milk your body will create. In the first few weeks I used boob as the first port of call. Eerytime Mush cried or fussed I would see if she was hungry/wanted that comfort. Some days this would result in days where Mush was on my boob the entire day but gradually as my milk supply was established, we settled into a routine. When I’m ill or she is though, we still have the odd easy day on the sofa feeding and sleeping to make sure that the milk is there.

Breastfeeding tea

You can buy actualy breasfeeding tea filled with Fennel and other milk boosting goodness and they actually work. I found that when I was struggling to express, a couple of mugs of tea through the day would mean I could express much more milk.

Attend feeding groups/meet with other mummies

As above, that support will reassure you that you are doing a good job, that there’s nothing wrong with your milk and that your baby is thriving becase of it. I had several moments of self doubt when Mush had put on barely any weight between weigh-ins but other mums reassured me that growth spurts, sickness, vacciantions are all much more likely to have affected Mush’s weight and that my milk was fine. So long as your baby is consistenly putting on some weight I was reassured that everything was ok.

 

I hope my account reassures and helps. Every day you breastfeed is another day in the bank and another day you can pat yourself on the back. You’re doing a great job. And the day you decide to move to formula/if you do then you can continue to pat yourself on the back because despite my pro-breastfeeding leaning  so long as your baby is happy and healthy; you’re doing a great job!

 

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Bobal’s Babble: A Guide on How to Procrastinate

This blog is directed at all those poor souls who have an idea and pounce on it.

Those parents who are able to juggle kids and work whilst maintaining a spotless house and getting in an evening run. Those entrepreneurs who hold down a full-time job yet manage to spend endless hours devoted to extra curricula hobbies whilst making sure their hundreds of friends feel loved and cherished. Those busy professionals who put in 12 hour days whilst immaculately dressed before going to the gym, cooking a healthy tea and then going out for drinks with friends.

I understand how you long to put these things off and spend your time planning to do things whilst sat in your pyjamas or starting ambitious projects that you will never finish. Don’t worry there is a way. It is known as the Bobal Method and I am going to teach it to you.

The Bobal Method

Step 1: plan to set your alarm for 6AM every day, weekend or not, to train your body clock into springing out of bed each morning so as to really capitalise on those early hours.

When said alarm goes off, tell yourself you work hard and therefore deserve a little more sleep today but tomorrow you will get up at 6AM sharp.  The next day hit snooze every 10 minutes until it’s 8AM. The day after that compensate for a late night by having a morning without an alarm.

Before you know it, your mornings will be nice and chaotic resulting in you having 5 minutes less than the minimum time you need to get ready. This usually means that you must choose between being late,  not brushing your hair or wearing yesterday’s clothes which you will have helpfully left in a pile on the floor (see Step 2).

Step 2: plan to set out your outfit and lunch the night before when you’ve got loads of time to match shoes to tops and even pick jewellery out (yes Mack, I’m talking about you!)

Do this for night one and enjoy the next day when people compliment you on how good you look (because apparently my normal look is dragged through a hedge backwards) and how yummy your lunch looks.

On night two, sort your outfit out again but realise that you procrastinated doing the washing so pickings are slim. Once you’ve selected that skirt which you love but goes with nothing and that top with a hole in the armpit, go to the kitchen to make up your lunch. Whilst there find that you put off shopping in lieu of uploading your holiday snaps onto Facebook so wrap that night’s cold pizza up in some foil to take for lunch.

The next night you are too tired to even walk today’s clothes over to the washing basket so just discard them where you stand and veg in front of the telly. The next morning wear said scrunched up, dirty clothes and buy lunch out.

Step 3: make a promise to yourself to start that diet and fitness overhaul on Monday.

On Monday eat an entire pizza, drink half a bottle of wine and polish a bag of Minstrels off. You obviously can’t start being healthy this week after that so plan to start next Monday. Repeat Step 3.

Step 4: vow to go the gym more.

Then, each time the thought to go to the gym occurs to you, rationalise that you can’t because a) you just washed your hair so it would be a waste of nice hair, b) you didn’t shave your legs, c) your iPod has run out of battery, d) it’s Friday night – who goes to the gym on a Friday night? or e) all of the above.

Step 5: prepare for maternity leave with grand plans to bake cakes everyday, maintain an immaculate home, get fit and healthy and raise your baby in an effortless way; implementing a routine from day dot.

Then have baby, laugh at previous intentions and be thankful for each day you’re able to keep said baby alive and happy!

Step 6: decide to become the all singing and dancing version of yourself by being a fitness guru in the gym, a gourmet chef in the kitchen, a parent Super Nanny could be proud of and a DIY pro.

Trawl Google and Pinterest etc for inspiration and then make to do lists before dividing said lists into subcategories, making little tick boxes and underlining headings with pretty and coordinating colours. Keep adding to and rewriting the lists when you get renewed inspiration.

Never complete any of the tasks on your lists.

Step 7: (a homage to my university days) receive essay topic and deadline and plan to get top marks and hand essay in early.

Immediately go to note down deadline date in diary. Decide your diary is looking a little shabby so trawl the internet looking for a new diary to buy. Await arrival of said diary then take lots of different coloured pens to note all of your family and friends’ birthdays.

Forget to diarise essay deadline.

Three nights before the essay is due in, bump into a classmate who has just handed their essay in (nobody likes a smart arse) and run home to start your essay. Spend day one drafting an essay skeleton and then allow yourself to get talked into going out that night.

The next day, get up late with a hangover and spend the rest of the day paraphrasing Wikipedia to write your introduction whilst rewarding yourself with cookies.

On day 3, panic and spend the day berating your bone idleness on the phone to your friend then pull an all-nighter to cobble together an average essay. Spend the morning of D-day running around everywhere looking for a printer before slamming the finished product on the desk of the university’s receptionist with 5 minutes to go.

Finally, the ultimate step in procrastination, Step 8: start a blog!

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Mack’s Mindless Musings: An Introduction to Me and My Wife

My wife (Bobal) has always wanted to write a blog. I have always supported this idea as I’m devote in the belief that she would be very interesting to listen too.

I love my wife but she sometimes has a far from normal sense of humour, a distinct lack of common sense, can be incredibly opinionated and some may say loves our two cats (Doh Doh and Goofy) far too much! As long as Bobal hasn’t read that and I survive long enough to write this next bit, I would also say she is extraordinarily intelligent (it’s scary sometimes), very creative, kind, selfless, funny, interesting and generally beautiful inside and out.

On the flip side of that personally, I have never had much of an interest in blogging due to my general lack of intelligence and far from adept grasp of grammar and the English language. I knew however if I showed an interest in starting a blog that Bobal would also want to follow suit.

My motivations to enter the blogosphere are not all together selfless though, I of course have my own agenda. I would like a platform to improve my writing skills and a medium to put down on paper my (mostly) random thoughts. I hope to find the experience quite therapeutic, but who knows?!?

I actually became inspired to start blogging the morning after an argument with Bobal whilst I was driving to work.

Initially I thought that I could perhaps impart some wisdom regarding relationships, don’t ask my why! However this then spawned a myriad of different topics I thought I may like to write about however thoroughly uninteresting they may be. With this in mind you will see me write about my take on motorway drivers and road rage, tips on weight training and relationship advice; from the importance of arguing to how to communicate effectively. For good measure I will also throw in a dash of fun anecdotes from day to day life as a parent – from the dad’s perspective plus much more I’m sure.

I can’t imagine that many people will be interested in what I have to write but regardless I look forward to writing it.

Mack.

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