Netiquette. You gotta know when to hold ‘em..

So, it’s really only been over the past week or so that I have realised how much I have a) come to rely on the old t’internet, and b) how well I can navigate my way around it.

Leaving Uni ten (count ‘em) years ago, they had given us all email addresses but nobody was using them. Ten years ago.

Blimey, it’s like talking about mangles and spinning tops.

Cut to 2009 and I’m giving a presenation to 150 SME owners on the merits of online social networking for the benefit of small businesses and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is on Facebook.

Cool..

I think.

Dad bought me the imac when I was on maternity leave nearly 9 years ago. I had no idea the difference really between PC and Mac, but I liked the colours of the funky new monitors. That’s me. Style over Substance.

Well, it looked cool. Nobody thought that an integral disc drive of some sort would be useful and it took at least another 6 years before it got upgraded.

Them were the days.

Ask Jeeves was the search engine of  choice, you could actually sell stuff on ebay without a photographic accompaniment ( who had  a digital camera in 2000? ) and I had nowhere else to browse except the April 2001 board on www.babycentre.co.uk.

Logging on meant dial up with that horrible screechy bubbly ear bleed noise that, when it did actually connect with the cyberspace ether cost 9 quid a minute, or thereabouts.

Thus began my unfortunate alliance with AOL. We’ve been together ten long years now, and this love/hate dalliance has seen us both through a lot of change. Me , three kids and four countries;  them, countless ear bashings, astounding new levels of ineptitude and a transfer to an Indian Call Centre System. Forget Love/Hate actually. It’s just Hate. I am undeniably attached to my email address though, and, like all imperfect relationships, is all part of the package. It’s like ‘ I love you an ‘all, but can you not put wet towels back on the rail…’

Anyone remember Friends Reunited? …..thought not.

But seriously , it changed everything didn’t it?. People actually got married/divorced/shagged/murdered by it.

Millions of armchair recluses became cyber lotharios/ stalkers /attractive blondes called Deirdre with the realisation that you a) barely had to get off your arse, b) could see bare naked ladies and everything c) share photo’s of your white bits and d) didn’t have to actually BE the person you were pretending to be when participating in ‘chat rooms’ (wow, ‘chat rooms’ -so 2004).

Fast forward a bit and I’ve gotta say that the new social media satiates both my huge level of nosiness and lack of  patience like never before. It’s the internet equivalent of my Grandad and the telly remote.

Flick flick flick.

Landing on a page no longer than a nanosecond if you haven’t caught my attention with a compromising celeb snap or a huge lifestyle revelation on a local womens forum from someone I am going to spend the rest of the day wandering if I know becuase they’ve called themselves something like  ‘street 72MirdiffMary’  as their username and told the world where their husband works every time they’ve posted. (which incidentally is an average of 46 times per day, with a noticable break between 8 and 8.30am and 1.45 and 2.15pm)

Is that chat board or just bored?

Listen, I’m as guilty as anyone. Can’t beat a  bit of www.Mumsnet.com for some long distance voyeurism and a good laugh. The level of intelligent debate has really jumped the shark mind since many members set up their own super secret renegade group elsewhere. And.. STOP.

Rewind… Grown women set up super secret renegade … blah blah. Is this what’s become of us? Is our social circle so limited these days we have to rely on complete strangers via a laptop screen for companionship, laughs and advice?

What’s HH Shk. Mo doing on Facebook anyway?  throwing virtual sheep at his ‘friends’ ?? taking the ‘how well do you know Paris Hilton?’ quiz?

Cos I’m certainly not. I upload photo’s of the kids when I remember for the benefit of muchos family abroad (saves me promising to email and failing miserably) and very much enjoy gawping at the relative weight gain, career success and or failure, and hilariously indiscreet and attention seeking status updates of people I never cared to seek out for the past 20 years yet now consider a ‘friend’

DISCLAIMER. I do actually know and like some of my facebook contacts . Honest. You’ll know who you are. Interestingly however, most of my pals with real big girl jobs don’t seem to have much time for online networking. Though registered, it’s good to see the law/accountancy and teaching professions actually doing some work .

I’m plucking up the courage to start posting on my favourite haunts the answers that I’d LIKE to post rather than either nodding sympathetically or adding a pointless twopenneth.

AM I PREGNANT? writes mommyto6.

Dear mommyto6.

 Despite all attempts , my telekinetic 3d abdominal scan facilty doesn’t appear to be working tonight via the power  of the laptop, so…I don’t know love, are you?

IS HE HAVING AN AFFAIR? asks Street72MirdiffMary

Dear S72MM (cos we like to abbreviate)

Having walked in on Hugo and Jane from the Golf Club (is that Jonty from Goldman Sachs wife btw?) en flagrante with accompanying noises and nakedness , I’m suspecting they were doing more than practicing her swing. There’s also the small fact that the maid is visibly pregnant despite you never giving her access to the outside world for the past 4 years and the only other males in the household being a) canine and b) 5 .

I’m guaging  a guess here, and I hope it’s not too controversial or I’m going to get ‘flamed’ (lol), but  it does sound like he’s under pressure at work..

Why not book a couples only spa day from Blue Banana?… Oh, hang on…

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington.

There are very few times I feel homesick for the UK.

In fact, the ONLY time  I feel homesick for the UK is usually when there is the biannual airing of the latest  Cowell Car Crash Cash Cow.

Before I go any further, I do have a vested interest in all this guff. You see, the truth of the matter is….

I wish it was me.

I do.

I really do.

You see , for whatever reason, to go on a  stage and sing my big gobbed Northern heart out is my ultimate pleasure, and one in which I never partake.

It’s in the genes. Great Granny was a ‘showgirl’ by all accounts, and hell, I’m even wearing a ‘Fame’ sweatshirt on my first school photograph. It was meant to be.

But it never was.

Yup. My unique vocal talents have remained  undiscovered. Despite my wishful attempts to become the fourth member of Bananarama, or even just get to play Mary in the Walton Grove Infant School nativity, 1984, it never happened.

Halfway to school, there was a tall lampost. Every day I’d pretend it was Pete Waterman and dreamily decide which ‘choon’ I was going to belt out as I walked paste ‘Pete’.

But Pete was just a Post after all, and my Kylie/Kim Wilde/Sonia renditions clearly failed to impress.

I digress. Anyhoo, unless you are like, well, dead, everyone in the entire universe knew all about Susan Boyle , right?.

As did I, but busy little bee that I am , hadn’t managed to watch any of the rest of the BGT show until the night before the final when DD and I had a You Tube marathon.

Oh dear. Hollie Steele’s mother PLEADING with la Holden et al to ‘lerrer avanovver go!’

She’s ten years old for crying out loud. She’s a distinctly average Soprano in a Monsoon dress , she’s crying her eyes out like a rabbit in headlights, and all her mother cares about is her ‘avvin’ another go’.

Oh go on, Simon, let her, you see there’s nothing us mums like more than to deliberately inflict emotional pain on our offspring in the name of fame.

Or more like in our own pathetic quest for fulfilment via our children’s achievements?

I haven’t quite got there myself yet. None of the mini me’s are displaying particualr talents. Well, none I’m ready to promote to the world anyway. Obviously if Olympic tantrumming is something to be proud of, we’re gold medal winners, stinkiest nappies, least dinner eaten before whining for chocolate – that sort of thing.

But then I look back to the days when I wrote the family page for the local paper. I pimped poor little H out every week for the sake of an hilarious anecdote or comedy picture, as well as any other family member willing. Indeed, a large extended family is  a lazy journalists dream.

I’m still doing it. Somebody needed a kid for a voice over. Before you can say ‘Bonnie Langford’ we’re stood in a recording studio and I’m berating her for getting her lines wrong. Pushy mum turns into embarrassing mum as I’m dropping her off at school and said radio ad comes blaring down the airwaves..

Volume up to 30 and windows open methinks…

I was witness to C’s ‘open class’ at his little dancing group last week. The Billy Elliott boys had won the Tony only the night before, unfortunately for him. Therefore rather than revelling in the cuteness of the 3 year olds barely being able to skip let alone anything one might term ‘dance’, I’ve got his costume for Strictly Come Dancing designed in the back of my mind and I’m half way to Satwa for the sequins.

Which brings me back to Amanda Holden. You see Amanda, rather than being queen of the prime time freakshow, I remember when you were a chorus member supporting your first husband in panto in Sheffield. You were nothing more than a ‘dancer for the dads’, or rather ‘a dancer for the Dennis ‘ obviously….

In honour of those non yummy, not quite scummy.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1188504/Why-good-bad-mother-world-modern-parenting-hideously-competitive.html

This woman is really starting to get on my ‘bits’. Last week she was crowing in the same rag about how she loves her husband more than her kids, and why it shouldn’t be taboo to say so. This week, cue mind numbingly dull article on why she doesn’t like pushing her kids on swings ‘cos it makes her arms hurt, and a moan about why we mothers are so judgemental.

Judgemental? , yes we are. we are women, and even amongst the best of us, it’s in the DNA.

Public parenting triumphs and whingefests are really trying my nerves. Take Myleene Klass. seems like a perfectly nice woman and all that, but popping out a single child does not a parenting guru make. Why would I want to read her book? Now if Mel Gibson’s wife (or ex) were to write one, I might listen. Perhaps. Modelling for M&S does not qualify said celebrity parenting guru to design a range of baby clothes. But they do, and somebody must be buying into it, ‘cos there would have been no dotted line to sign on otherwise.

What next? A Geri Halliwell endorsed clip on ashtray for the bugaboo?

Sigh, these articles are so dull. Isn’t there an in between, I mean, I wonder if the DM would be interested in this pitch;

Why it’s okay to be a normal mum.

Mother Inferior talks about nothing in particular, describes her relatively average week in which she does a bit of work, shouts at the kids for making a mess, then apologises and tries to get them in bed at a decent hour. She occasionally worries about her weight, but doesn’t tend to go around looking like she’s just been dug up either.

Would it run?

You see there doesn’t seem to be an in between in the land of public parenting. We’ve got to be one or the other, and we’ve got to crow about it, through either pride or shame, both misplaced.

We are either Groomed within an inch ‘Bunty Cupcakes’ (TM Mumsnet) with 4 messy haired blonde kids, 3 dogs, a sprawling estate, a vanity project housed in a commercial villa on Al Wasl road, lunch at Shakespeare’s, Dr Khan on speedial, (but not Dr. Loubser, you understand, the maid will take care of that) OR, we feel the need to exclaim how we haven’t brushed our hair in 8 days, wine o’ clock has just reached a new low of noon, and how dinner a deux constitutes a couple of roadside schwarma.

Cool! – how normal, this makes you, how edgy. How down to earth.

Not really, you see, whilst the Yummy Mummies appear to have it all, we all know they don’t. We all know they only have so much time to spare because they don’t really have any kind of job on the go. (a small boutique, interiors, events and ‘pr’ maybe?) they have handed over all parenting duties to an army of Fillipinas and ‘Hugo’ is lucky to see his own home during the hours of daylight, as opposed to the inside of his assistants drawers down in Emaar Square.

And as for the ‘Scummy and Proud’ brigade.. Being covered in sick and Sh&t, 3 stone overweight and p”3sed by 12, well, that’s not really so admirable either is it? What’s meant to be a two fingered salute to the perfect brigade is just reading a little tired in my eyes.

‘Being a Bad Mother’.. well it’s all relative Ayelet isn’t it, you see, I’d say posing with my kids in a national newspaper under the headline ‘I’d rather be in bed with my husband than taking you lot down the park’ well, I’d say that’s not exactly a career pinnacle is it?

Yes it is dull at times, rewarding at so many others. We do lose a bit of ourselves when we become parents, but there really is no need then to walk around like we got dressed in the dark everyday just because ‘Saskia’ had a bad night.

Jeez, I felt lucky to get in the shower once a day with my constantly hungry first, and hell, I still look pregnant 2 and half years after the birth of my youngest, but you know what… It doesn’t rule my life. I like my kids, I like to spend a small portion of time away from them. I’m overweight. I need to excercise more.. I try to ‘make an effort’ I haven’t booked in at cosmesurge… I should ‘bake’ more…. The kids know what a vegetable is, and unfortunately, a Burger King. Cries of ‘oooh, how do you manage with 3…’ well, you know what? I’m not sure. It’s a complete bumble, good times and bad, but we’re alive, we juggle and we haven’t dropped all the balls yet. We are , in effect , completely normal. Boringly normal,

Lets hear it for Mums and Dads, neither Good, Bad, Yummy nor Scummy.