Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Ok Ok
Time for some different news.
The beautiful spring day of yesterday, has bounced back into a rather blustery and wet Wednesday.
Overnight new mum Sorrel hatched out four tiny white chicks in her impregnable broody box, three of which she has accidentally flattened like pancakes with her large inexperienced buff orpington feet.
Nature can be a bit of an odd bod sometimes, as many younger animals do not have that innate ability to care for their babies with an ingrained, unwavering skill. Some mums simply need to learn 

When I was a gal, mothers generally were housewives
They cared for the kids in houses that were often influenced by a matriarch, a sort of sage that showed new mums the ropes so to speak.
Grandmothers and aunts
They were the unsung supervisors,role models and mentors for a new mother
They helped with the washing on Monday
and often did the ironing on a Tuesday afternoon.
They were the ones that knitted those intricate white cardigans and bonnets we were all forced to wear
and showed their daughters just how to bath the baby in the sink, once the dishes had been removed.
I don't think I am guilty of seeing the past through rose coloured glasses when I say mothers in the past were apprentices of sorts, with their extended family acting as unofficial assessors and teachers

Today new mums are expected to go back to work . Indeed many have to return before little Jake or Amelie has outgrown their first babygrow! Grandparents seem younger than they did.....they are not just around the corner anymore and many of them have careers of their own.
Being a matriarch housewife is not seen as a vital job anymore.
Money needs to be earned

So who DOES mentor new mums nowadays?
Of course grandmothers will always be the first port of call
but I wonder just how many inexperienced "Sorrels" there are out there, isolated stressed and clueless

what do I bloody know?
I haven't got an 'effing clue have I?


I will leave you with a pic of the "patient"

Fingers crossed


  1. Home life must a bit on the draining side for you at the moment - what with your night-job. I hope Mabel is feeling is feeling better today.

  2. Its been a little "all or nothing" at the mo tom, Thanks for that... I am working tonight too
    looking after a ventilated, sedated and critically ill patient will be a doddle!

  3. Oh she looks a bit sorry for herself there John, poor thing.

    I'm sure she'll be ok.

    Get some zzzz's.x

  4. isolated stressed and clueless

    just about sums me up John. Living in a small village, no family around and terrified of the responsibly of the tiny, demanding thing, that I'd brought home from hospital.
    You are right, without any support from mum and Granny, it can be very tough.

  5. in the good old days we used to have community spirit.... and midwives and social services.... wait, maybe that last one was just me!!

  6. As a self confessed feminist - (Rant alert) Women are still often without a choice as to whether they can work and/or bring up babies. Going to work when babies are not even out of their 'grow suits' has been dressed up as a choice but of course it isn't a choice at all. (Rant over)
    Of course most motherly sorts will find someone to care for, to administer antibiotics to in a patient's glummest hour, to photograph their babies and post stories about them - and then go to work and do it all over again!

    Well done John, hang in there. You'll be in a good position to dispense advice to the Sorrels of this world. We need more folk with your compassion and knowledge, granny or not.

  7. So you've got a hen called Sorrel? Hang on, isn't that your mother-in-law's name? Does she also strut about clucking all the time, shitting wherever she wants, playing hard to get with the males while munching on corn grain and grit?
    I'm not a dog lover but I'm rooting for Mabel. With your loving care and attention, I'm sure she'll pull through.

  8. sarah
    I absolutely agree.women today, sometimes have less choices than they did which sounds a dreadful contradiction given today "eveyone can have everything" mentality...but way back when I was a babe, I think the extended family and grandmothers played a more vital and important role which is perhaps lacking in today's world

  9. Don't worry John, the government will rarely let mothers step out of line. It has more rights over our children than parents do (you've set everyone ranting this morning).

    Btw - my poor mum was washed in the kitchen sink after the dishes had been done - BUT IN THE SAME WATER! Not by my grandmother I hasten to add but the people she was evacuated to.

  10. When you say flattened like pancakes I hope you mean that like cartoon chicks they'll just pop back into shape and continue running around....

  11. I've done the Young Mum in a Village get tons of conflicting advice, get lectured by the health visitor and bullied into feeling inadequate!! (even when you've just had number four....!!)

    Like your charges...listen to the baby/patient/animal first!!

    Mabel is looking better

  12. continuing prayers for, so sorry about the little chicks. I'm not sure my Mom ever had a chicken do the mother bit. Our baby chicks came in a box and went in a brooder box with a lamp to keep them warm. the closest thing the little balls of fluff had for a Mom was my Mom!

  13. We are getting our 80 chicks without a Mom in June. They will be day olds & going under a heat lamp. So I suppose Rob & I will be their Mom, as we were for the bunch last year.

  14. It is still quite common here to find four generations all living in the same house; so much easier for young Mum 'Veronique' to go guard the sheep.

  15. Poor Mabel doesn't look at all well John...give her a hug from me.
    And as for 'who teaches the new Mum's" - have you seen Jamie Oliver's TED talk? He states we now have three generations who are raising children who have been taught their families or schools. So many out there feeding families who can't boil water. It's alarming that schools think teaching supposedly erudite courses important instead of basic stuff like cooking, sewing on a button and balancing a cheque book! How about some life-skills???

  16. Being an ex-teacher I have seen the end result of poor parenting where parents, particularly single mothers, are working all day. Their kids are left to fend for themselves. Times have changed and I feel it will all sort itself out in the end, like it usually always does, but until then.....fingers crossed for these kids.
    Yeah for Mabel!

  17. John, I think women are born to this sort of thing, instinctively knowing what to do, a bit like hoovering and shopping and talking about shoes during the football.

  18. Some women just aren't the nurturing type and some men are. I was absolutely scared to death when I brought our daughter home from the hospital and spent quite a bit of time on the phone, long distance, with Mom getting her advice.

  19. Sadly, I think we're two or three generations removed from learning parenting skills. Today's new mothers have a hard go of it because their mothers missed out on that matriarchal guidance. It's all guesswork and celebrity advice columnists now.

    And Mabel does look very down at the mouth...though I'm not familiar enough with bulldogs to know how much more than usual. Please don't tell her about the squashed chickies, it is probably more than she can handle at the moment. I do hope you get a ray of sunshine soon!

  20. A fascinating insight into history. I didn't realise you were born before the Industrial Revolution...

  21. I never had children...I feel my skills would be Sorrel (hen version) in nature.
    KISS KISS KISS for Mabel.
    Jane x

  22. it WAS wales bel.... and I suspect when you were a lad most mothers didnt work either......oh hang on you lived in sheffield...... your mother was probably a buffer girl

  23. Life has changed for both the better and the worse. I think that moms (or mums) will always do their best, and along the way will make mistakes that they will learn from. Flattening their brood though is a no-no.

  24. Whoa, Sorrel set your pen flying. You're right. I'd add missing neighborhood, back from the days of common goals and expectations. Any neighbor could say "Stop that!" and one did. Well, it's just a new world to figure out.

  25. The sweetly named Sorrel flattening her own offspring? Needing to learn how to be a mum? Well, I had plenty of practice with my much younger siblings. When I hatched myself the midwife declared me "a natural", whatever that means. And, like your and my mom and Doris Day, I staid at home. Nothing better for a chick than a bit of clucking.Teach them how to catch the worm.

    By way of comfort of Sorrel's inadvertent infanticide: My mother when a little girl took a not quite yet hatched abandoned egg to bed with her. To keep it warm. Sweet. Luckily that generation wasn't easily traumatized. She woke up a bit like Sorrel having flattened that new life by turning in her sleep.

    Some you win, some you lose,


    Hug to Mabel. Slobbering kiss in return not acceptable.

  26. I have some hens that are broody so they are also sitting on eggs. I generally sell my eggs to the local health food store. I always wonder about new motherhood in the animal kingdom. Sometimes I think the new moms will learn and sometimes they can sense when something isn't quite right. With my new bunny mom we lost one baby and I can't determine what happened. Fingers and toes crossed for Mabel.

  27. i must admit, i did a double take when i read, "When i was a gal..."

    I know what you mean, though. We weren't very close to family, but our neighbourhood was like extended family. My mother was also 12 years older than her youngest sibling, so she had a bit of baby care skills under her belt before we came along.

    I was never the maternal type and never wanted kids. I'm more like Sorrel, i guess.

    As for Mabel, i'm glad to see she's sitting up! I do hope she can rally, and i'm sure the love you've shown her has gone a long way to make her want to get better.


  28. I think one reason so many mothers go back to work is because homes are now so expensive and mortgages practically impossible to obtain or repay unless there are two major earners in the household. If the father could pay the mortgage, I think many mothers wouldn't return to work at all, or at least not until their kids are older.

  29. Hi Mabel! Poor thing looks absolutely miserable...

    You are so right about today's moms/grands/aunts. Everyone today is so busy and disconnected. I grew up under the old system as you described. My grandmothers, aunts and mom's friends were around constantly, popping over for coffee and chatting, All are gone now (except mom, she is still with us). fun times. No computers! Can you imagine? xo

  30. Yes, we've created a double-income society. Though we manage. You just have to cut out holidays and clothes (and make home-made wine). ;)

    I didn't have any support (interference), but I was thankful for the Internet every time I needed to know something about baby Roz. Course that can be information overload and it's best not to read too much. Babies are easy, though. (I don't know what all the hype was about.) It's just a spud in a bouncy chair for the most part.

    Everything crossed for you and the patient.

  31. Neither my mother nor either of my grandmothers were buffer girls! But they did all work.

  32. oh poor Mabel, she really does look sick, I hope she perks up soon,


  33. Oh Mabel...I wish that I could give you a big hug...

  34. Glad to see Mabel sitting up and looking interested. If I go lay on the sofa will someone come and hand feed me chicken please........ Thats a no then. Hey ho, better go and make myself some tea then.

    Wanted to share a little story with you in the hopes that it brings a smile to your face. A few weeks ago my 3 year old grandson went to visit his country grandparents for the day. They have sheep and next day I asked him if he had been to see the sheep and had they had any baby lambs yet. Yes, he had seen the sheep and their new baby lambs. He then looked a bit puzzled and said, " one of the babies had sticked its head up its mums bum. I fink it was having a look round" . That has kept me smiling for a few weeks now.

  35. Kisses to the patient!

  36. Sweet Mabel. I hope she is on the upswing.

  37. Mabel looks so sad, you can see in her little eyes, she isn't feeling well :(
    Let's hope Albert lifts her spirits.
    I was raised mostly by my gran, in the bakery, and when it wasn't my gran, it was the women folk, who were neighbours....
    That's what divorced families had to go through, it takes a village.

  38. I agree, John. I believe the generational family had a lot going for it that many of today's families don't have.
    Every job has a learning curve.

    Mabel looks sorry for herself, but definitely looks a little better. Glad to see it.

    Hope tonight isn't too hard on you.

  39. Come on, Mabel girl! You can do it! Get better, dear.

  40. Everything is crossed for Mabel. And I think you are about 100 per cent right about motherhood and parenting more generally. Sadly devalued in today's society. As is your own profession. It seems (and perhaps this is just cynical me) that if your profession does not bring in a large amount of money it is worthless. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

  41. Hugs for Mabel from across the pond. Perhaps she needs a vacation somewhere it is warm and sunny? I know of a place in Arizona . . . <3

  42. This post resonated with me, John. My mother passed away before I had any of my kids and, although my sister was nearby, she had her own family to look after and it wasn't the same. I didn't want to be a 'bother'. My own daughter is now expecting and I look forward to doing those grandmotherly things you described. Also, I have recently inherited an 11 year old mutt - first dog I've ever been responsible for. I now can somewhat relate to all your doggy ramblings! Haven't read your most recent post yet, but the piccie of Mabel with the 'cheesy' smile makes me think the news is going to be good.

  43. I've just caught up with your Broody news - does she still have the one chick? Mo


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