One Pink Toothbrush

Welcome to One Pink Toothbrush, where I will be posting moments from my days as a mum and as a wife. Funny moments, messy moments, thoughtful moments, teary moments.... and hopefully using each moment to see what God might be saying.



Tuesday, 25 April 2017

It's Gone Viral

Every so often, something goes viral. In my house at the moment, it's Chicken Pox. Someone gets it, then it spirals until everyone gets it. There's just no stopping it. 
My daughter was pleased that she caught it from her best friend, so they could be Chicken Pox twins. (That's a real thing, for sure). Then there's the Internet.... People tweet something, someone else shares it on social media, it's talked about, people Youtube it, it's re-shared and it's an instant hit. The best one recently was of course, Professor Robert E Kelly. He was interrupted by his children while he was live on air, in a BBC interview about South Korean politics. 

Everything about the video is brilliant; the sassy way the little girl walks into the room, followed by the expert navigating of a baby in a walker, and then of course the dramatic entrance from the mum....Ninja Mum who had one job, one massive job; 'entertain two kids while dad has his important interview, and do not let them enter the spare bedroom where he is trying to look professional'. 
And it doesn't end there...then comes the scuffle of mum, sassy girl and baby walker leaving the room, in a panicked, crying, flustered, bumpy way, followed by mum's final reach from the ground to close the door.

Hahaha I loved it! I watched it numerous times, feeling dad's embarrassment, and mum's sheer panic. I love how dad takes a breath and closes his eyes, knowing there's nothing he can do, and I love the physical comedy from mum. Why do I love it so much? Because it is so real, and I just feel for them. I presume most parents can relate to them. It's messy. It's not as it should be. It's an honest look into parenting. I feel that the video should be shown to every NCT class...'This is you, trying to get on with your life...and this will be your reality'. 
I think it would do wonders for new parents and their expectations.

Parenting is wonderful. It is a true blessing. But it's hard work. And it interferes with your life. It challenges your heart, your wants, your needs. It tests your patience like nothing else. It makes you question who you are. It makes you realise how selfish you are. At the same time, it makes you realise how you'd give up anything for the little people in your life. It can be painful, embarrassing, confusing, stressful, repetitive and sooooo tiring.

Sometimes you have to stop and remember the wonderful blessing that it is.

The thing about this video is that it is just a 40 second snapshot. Whereas, parenting is a life long deal. The current magnitude of this viral hit, is actually a blink in the timeline of this couple's parenting. Yes it will be a well told one. 'Remember that time dad went viral on the internet?'. But the thing about parenting, is that we hopefully have hours and hours, weeks, months and years. This could be daunting, or it could be encouraging. 

If we got it wrong in the last 5 minutes, we can make it right in the next 5 minutes. If we said things we regret last week, we can say sorry and aim to use words which build up this week. If we felt stressed about that problem last month, we can look at the month ahead with new hope even if the problem hasn't changed. If we're tired and covered in Calamine lotion today, maybe next week it'll all scab over! If the kids interrupted dad on that important BBC interview yesterday, we can laugh about it today. Sometimes our kids may well be interrupting our life, our priorities for the day. But our parenting of them has to be a top priority. We have to let them swing open the door of our lives, and walk confidently in.

There is a passage in the Bible, which talks about there being a "time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;" Ecclesiastes 3v3-4

This is so encouraging for parenting. I sometimes feel like I've got the hang of something to do with my kids, and then they change or it doesn't work with the next child, or it's as if I never had a hang of it at all. And then there will be a huge problem that I have no idea how to handle, but the season changes and I can cope with it better or the child responds well. Or maybe a friend brings perspective, or God's word brings new hope. It's all a mystery this parenting malarkey. But surely we're in it for the long haul, so we go again tomorrow. We accept the fleeting bits as fleeting, and we accept the long haul bits as they are, while showing and receiving God's grace along the way. He after all, is the perfect parent. We're not, and that's OK. 

We can walk into our Father's presence, with all the sass in the world, confidently approaching His throne of Grace and equally we can scramble into His presence in a complete panic. We take time to weep about it all, time to laugh about it all, and we ask God to help us find His strength, His mercy, and His guidance for tomorrow or at least for the next two minutes. 








Tuesday, 21 February 2017

True Colour

Last Saturday, I took all the kids to see Trolls. My older two just love their little siblings so much, they couldn't bear to be away from them. Mmm, or they just love the cinema, popcorn and sweets, so they were happy to come along. 

It was a great movie and one we will probably buy or rent now it's out on DVD. The four year old obviously loved Pink haired poppy, who was full of sparkle and joy, and musical harmony. What's not to love? She scrap booked with glitter. Needless to say, the songs have been sung daily since, with older brothers joining in. It's like Frozen all over again. You can't quite admit that it was a good film, but you sing along...

One of the things I liked about Poppy was how positive and joyful she was. She always looked for the silver lining, somewhat naively at times, but she believed the best of people, and when she got beat down, she had a higher perspective, and she sung about it. On the way home, I told my kids how Biblical it was. They raised their eyes from the back of the van, I'm sure. 

God doesn't ask us to be positive all the time. In fact, He encourages us to cry out to Him, to be real with Him, even if that means we're angry. But He does ask us to bear with one another, which means He must realise we have a tendency to bug each other. And He does ask us to "Rejoice always", and to "think about whatever is true, honourable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, just and worthy of praise". Poppy fills her mind with the best thoughts about the other trolls and the circumstances she finds herself in. 

During one comical scene where she pretty much nearly gets eaten by every imaginable creature, she is looking pretty rough and beaten, and she is trying to still sing and still have a smile on her face. Sometimes we do that. Someone might ask us how we are doing, and we put a brave smile on and usually say we're fine, rather than be honest with our struggles. If we are to 'bear one another's burdens', we could probably do better at letting them know what our burdens actually are.


The best bit for me, as it was probably written to be, was just after Poppy loses all her colour and the desire to sing, because she has accepted sadness and defeat. At this point she is encouraged by a friend, who understands her. He gets her to lift her gaze, from the darkness inside, and reminds her of the true colour she has within her. It's a lovely moment of friendship. Helped even more by the voice of Justin Timberlake.

Recently a friend at church, who is very different to me, in loudness and chattiness, gently encouraged me to be who I am meant to be. She literally lifted my gaze, and spoke such truth to me that it honestly returned my colour. 

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing". 
1 Thessalonians 5v11

As with singing 'Let it Go', when arguments happen in our house, we now seem to be singing 'True Colour' to one another. Sometimes I watch one of my kids lose their colour, and as their mum, I want their colour to return brighter than ever, so of course I encourage them. I try to get them to see God's purpose for their life, to lift their gaze. I may even sing to them, (which sometimes tips them over the edge). But sometimes I just have to hand them over to God and ask His colour to shine brightly in their hearts. His truth. His love, His joy to make the difference.

How can you encourage your children today? Have you told them what makes them full of colour? What about a friend? A spouse? A work colleague? Or even a complete stranger?Don't wait until they lose their colour to encourage them, go sing at them, and throw glitter at them. (I cannot be held responsible for the throwing of glitter at random strangers).

Friday, 17 February 2017

Half-Term Thank You Notes


Thank you Asda,
 for reducing the big bottle of gin at the start of half term.
Thank you friends,
 who invited my children over for playdates.
Thank you more,
to those who offered sleepovers. 
Thank you Kingsmill,
for two loaves of bread for £1.50
Thank you Asda,
for rolling back the family bottle of nit cream.
Thank you Movies for Juniors at Cineworld,
for making it affordable to take 
all 6 kids to the cinema.
Thank you sister in law,
for an excuse to eat Chinese take away.
Thank you Netflix,
for running endless episodes of 
Alvin & The Chipmunks.
Thank posh hotels,
for Sweet Potato fries while blog writing.
Thank you son,
for turning 13, and making me proud.
Thank you husband,
for love and support, 
mixed in with complete humorous despair.
Thank you friends,
for making me laugh 
and asking the tough questions. 
Thank you couple at church,
for paying for my boys' sock restock.
Thank you Asda bakery,
for providing 12 doughnuts for £2.50.
Thank you friend with 5 kids,
for helping us demolish them.
Thank you eBay,
for taking saved pocket money 
as payment for Lego minifigures.
Thank you Ashton Kutcher,
for wanting to put an end to sex trafficking.
Thank you Mod Pizza,
for a reasonable night out for a family of eight.
Thank you Lemsip,
for being a comfort to many.
Thank you cashier at Asda,
for wishing me 'Good Luck' as I shopped with 4.
Thank you WhatsApp,
for sending me newborn baby photos this week.
Thank you mother in law,
for sharing your 60th over 
Afternoon Tea.
Thank you reduced aisle at Asda,
for providing interesting meals and 
cheap cereal.
Thank you Facebook, 
for wasting hours of my life and for friendship connections.
Thank you Brick x Brick man,
for providing safe 
Youtube Lego videos.
Thank you safe 
Youtube Lego videos,
for providing me peace and quiet.
Thank you other mums,
for sharing your wins and losses, and making me feel normal.
Thank you melted cheese on anything,
for making dinner a moan-free, everything-eaten experience.
Thank you inspirational people,
for making me want to dream bigger.
Thank you dishwasher,
for your support and faithfulness.
Thank you Lego Batman,
for Butt jokes which made me lol.
Thank you husband,
for spreadsheets and budgets 
which enable us to save.
Thank you babysitters,
who keep coming back!
Thank you uncles,
for treating the teenager 
and shaping him.
Thank you kids, 
for not arguing with each other when you are asleep.
Thank you children,
for praying for me after I shouted at you.
Thank you creatives,
Thank you kids,
for playing in the garden long enough for me to do a Bible study.
Thank you Double-Glazing,
for allowing me to not hear my kids in the garden.
Thank you Bible study,
for reminding me that my worth to God
never changes.
Thank you God,
that I cannot add to my worth, 
or take away from it.

Thank you Father,
for all of the above, for your abundant blessings.
"Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus".
1 Thessalonians 5v18





Thursday, 2 February 2017

Caffeine & Prosecco

Sometimes as a mum, you simply rock. 
A couple of weeks ago, I vocally expressed my annoyance at the cup rolling, cup flicking and cup spinning at the dinner table. In an attempt to make my point, I dramatically threw a plastic cup away from the dinner table, and asked if it was okay to do such a thing? 
But the cup landed upright in a box at the other end of the kitchen. And to four bottle-flipping boys, this was an epic mum moment. I completely failed to make my point, but the kids thought I was cool. And a win is a win. I'll take that.

Sometimes as a mum, you completely suck.
Maybe the nagging of four young men; the husband has to tell me when they've glazed over. They just need simple sentences, not a monologue which includes my feelings. Or maybe when the whole street hears me shout the infamous, "stop shouting at each other". Or maybe when I'm on my phone too much. It's a varied list, which always brings out the Mummy Guilt.

Sometimes as a mum, you just survive.
The hero that is Bear Grylls, he might teach you how to survive in the wild. But that's nothing compared to the sheer grit of Mother Survival.  Bear shows you how to drink your own wee if you're desperately dehydrated, but the sleep-deprived mother would probably drink it too, if it had even a shot of Caffeine (or Prosecco) in it. 

Bear teaches you coping mechanisms for strenuous circumstances, like when you're stuck out in the wild, on your own, with no-one nearby. Wait a minute, that doesn't sound strenuous, that sounds delightful. Just me and nature. Alone. In the quiet. Well yeah I could survive that. In fact sometimes I try and get myself stuck at Asda on my own for a little while, or I try to get stuck in the van on my own for a little while. Or just in the loo on my own... Haha that's not even a real thing!

Bear wants to come and survive dinner-time at my house. Now that's a strenuous circumstance; six or more kids at the table, the extroverts downloading about their day, fighting for an attentive ear, the quieter ones communicating via specific eye movements which you daren't miss, the spilling of water and the throwing (and landing) of cups and cutlery at each other, with the prospect of Homework and chores looming. You couldn't just light a fire in those kind of conditions, it'd send them wild(er).

Or what about surviving the post breakfast table; the bit just before the school run, when school shoes are handed to you with huge holes in the toe. And the PE kit which can't be found, and apparently it hasn't been found for weeks, but this is the morning it is needed. Oh and the homework that wasn't done which needs to be, or it was done, but now it lives in an unknown world full of PE kits. Meanwhile a philosophical question may be thrown your way, or one about sex, or Noah, or advice might be needed on a friendship issue, or sudden tears just because....and usually the milk hasn't got a lid on it, but it's out of your reach...a mum spots that kind of danger a mile off.


And Bear could take a tip out of any mother's advice book if he needed concrete for some reason. Look no further than 'dried on Weetabix'.

There's the survival technique needed for the mental torture of a fully dressed child, being back to naked again. Why? What possible reason do they have? And they think you actually want to hear their reason....
Or surviving the unknown; the child who puts their finger in your face, with a brown sticky substance on it. And you know you should just wipe it, but a mum doesn't, a mum sniffs it. She always sniffs it, even though she should know better. The sniff is to see what level of intervention is needed. Does it need a lick, a wipe, or antibacterial gel? And what if the wet wipe packet is empty? That one empty packet can sometimes be the tipping point for even the most seasoned of mothers. And the wisest of children will walk away at this moment....walk far away.

For nearly 13 years I have been mothering now. That's just over 4700 days. 113880 hours. And like I said, some days/hours I rock, some days/hours I suck and some days/hours I just survive. And that's okay. A favourite Bible verse in our house is 1 Corinthians 10v31, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God". Or maybe I could paraphrase it, 'whether you rock, or suck or survive, do it all for the glory of God'. 

When I rock, I'm to give God thanks that He helped me rock. When I suck, I'm to say sorry and ask for God's and my kids' forgiveness. And when I'm just surviving, I'm to ask God to sustain me. 

To quote Bear Grylls, "I do not want to reach the end of my life in a perfectly preserved body. I want to come flying in sideways, covered in scars, beaten up and screaming: Yahoo! What a ride!"
That sounds a lot like motherhood to me...

When four of them have finally gone off to school, I venture upstairs with a toddling companion, to see what survival techniques are needed up there. A most relied upon and tested method is closing the door to whichever room I've come across, and slowly breathing in through the nose, out from the mouth. A technique I learnt in labour, but with less Gas & Air, more Caffeine and Prosecco.

(NB This blog post was started on November 10th 2016. That is what 'surviving' looks like for a blogging mum).