Mummy Fever by CharlottePearson
It was the best of times … It was the worst of times … ‘Mummy Fever: Mission Accomplished’ is a determinedly honest blow-by-blow account of young motherhood that will remind you why you vowed never to have a second child, and why you probably broke that vow two years later. Discover how to open a door gracefully to a perfect stranger half-naked and covered head-to-toe in … well, never mind, how to grow eight arms, how to fend off the hapless and intrusive advice of your rampaging mother-in-law, how to run a marathon only a few months after you have given birth, and how to deal with an inattentive husband who isn’t planning on changing his life at all. But, above all, remind yourself that young motherhood is a time of enchantment, despite the very real challenges, and a love story, at least towards the children.
Contact Info for Charlotte Pearson
Charlotte Pearson was born in Leicester in 1979 and lived with her parents, both teachers and younger brother, Sam. After completing her studies at Lutterworth Grammar School, in 1998 she was accepted to Keele University to study Sociology, Applied Social Studies and later completing a masters in International Relations. She also spent time at the University of Kyoto, Japan. Charlotte now lives in North Wales with her partner and three children. Charlotte wrote Mummy Fever: Mission Accomplished whilst pregnant with her third child and is currently writing the sequel.
Mother knows best
Today saw the arrival of my mother-in-law.
What an odd woman she is. She has never really done much with her life, and yet to talk to her you would think she has achieved great success. She is a good actress and someone who creates an impressive image of herself in others’ minds … similar to Adam, really.
When Adam was five, his parents divorced. Thirteen years later his father died. Yet to talk to his mother, you would presume she was widowed, despite the fact she re-married when Adam was eleven.
She plays a good widow.
She is a woman who has never really had to achieve anything for herself or finance anything herself. Adam’s father was in the army, so for a few years they travelled. Following their divorce, she lived with her wealthy parents for a while and then re-married a lovely man who is kind-hearted and hard-working, with considerable family money.
She has bounced successfully from one person to another, managing not to work a single day for twenty-five years, while expecting to live a frivolous and extravagant lifestyle.
She has no qualifications, having dropped out of university a year into her course, and yet I was the one who was not good enough to be part of her family. I had two degrees and I have always worked hard. Being a mother is really important to me but so is earning my own money, something she has never had to do.
She has had four children but I would not describe her as the mothering type. She is not someone I would consider to have been a good mother and I am not planning to model my approach to motherhood on hers.
What is quietly amusing about her is that while she thinks she is someone everyone else aspires to being, and someone of great social stature and economic privilege, people keep laughing at her behind her back. On every occasion when our friends meet her, they comment to Adam how high maintenance she must be and laugh at some of her comments.
My family, while always polite towards her, find her hard work and difficult to be around.
Even Adam struggles with her selfishness and her spendthrift ways.
The most difficult aspect of having her as my mother-in-law is the absolute feeling of never being good enough. When Adam told her he was planning to propose to me, she basically informed him that he could do better and asked him to think about it all very carefully. When we got married, she tried her hardest to involve herself in every detail, and when she found out we were expecting Poppy, she felt the need to compare my bump size to hers and impose all sorts of unhelpful advice on me.
She has this way of talking to me which is very difficult to explain – she is a smiling assassin. She says all the right and proper things in public, such as, “Can I please introduce you to my beautiful daughter-in-law?” but then, in private, she is full of personal put-downs and snide comments. It is a true art to be able to speak to someone like this, and she is a professional at it.
I have tried for a long time to be patient with her and to make allowances for her approach to life, to people and in particular to me. If I put my sensible hat on, I know why she is as she is. My years of studying the social sciences mean that I am able to find an explanation for just about every human emotion and behaviour. However, as someone who is currently postnatal and exhausted, I am rapidly losing patience and think I should be forgiven for thinking that at the moment others should be trying to help me out a bit.
I was tired and sore this evening. I just needed twenty minutes to soak in a hot bath and feel like me again. That would do it; I would be fixed.
I fed Poppy from both breasts to ensure she was full and would not need a feed for some time. Adam had to make a work call but he said that his mother would watch Poppy while I was in the bath; it would give them time to bond. She made a big thing about how it would be no problem. She was a mother of four and she knew all about babies.
I ran the bath, making sure I added loads of bubbles. It was nice and hot – just what my aching body needed.
I had been in the bath for about five minutes when I could hear footsteps coming up the stairs and Poppy crying.
There was a bang on the bathroom door.
“This baby needs feeding,” she shouted at me through the door.
“I’ve just given her a huge feed,” I shouted back. “She is fine. It will just be wind.”
“I think I know what I’m talking about. I’ve had four children, you know. If you don’t come out, I am coming in.”
This ridiculous woman could not even look after Poppy for five minutes. After draining both my breasts during her feed, there was no way she was hungry, but my crazy mother-in-law would not listen.
I climbed out of the bath I had not yet had a chance to enjoy, opened the door and took Poppy off her. I could feel myself boiling inside.
Where was Adam when I needed him? Apparently Adam had finished his call and was busy watching something on TV. Where was my back-up?
I took Poppy into the bedroom with me and winded her. In no time at all she let out a huge burp and was all smiles again.
I grabbed her baby bouncer and brought it into the bathroom with me. I got back into the bath and Poppy played in her bouncer, grinning at me as I relaxed.
At that moment I knew it was me against them. FOREVER.
Later that evening, I overheard Adam and his mother talking.
“She is very stubborn. She won’t ask for help. I am here to help with Poppy but she won’t let me.”
I was not surprised by the ridiculous lies I was hearing. The woman was a joke but I was blue with rage.