Bad Mum

Magazine

27 April 2017

D is for Dan

And dust. Which has now settled.
The hilariously bizarre week, in which I saw my name in over 7 different National press articles (truth) has been, and gone.
For the first, and I imagine only time in my life – I went viral. Or should I say, Dan went viral.
I thought it best that I told the tale leading up to, behind the scenes of and the remains thereafter – about Dan, from Purple Bricks.
We needed our flat valued, for various reasons – pronto. I called upon Purple Bricks to undertake the deed, as quite simply – we fancied saving ourselves some moola by putting in a bit of the leg work behind the selling scenes.
Upon sign up, I was designated ‘Dan’ as our agent. He would be in touch within 24 hours to arrange a valuation. Splendid. He messaged via the site, to propose a few time slots available for the next day. I steadfastly batted off various appointment offerings “No, sorry I’ll be on the preschool run then” and “ah, I can’t do lunchtime unfortunately as my youngest will be napping so I won’t be able to show you the whole property” Dan finally suggested the holy grail of times – 5pm. Shitballs.
For me, that period of time is when I try to sit the girls down at the table, ready for the dinner onslaught – in amongst throwing another wash on, folding a new pile of laundry, risking disc slippage whilst I bend over to scoop up the carnage of toys dispersed in heaps around the flat and prepare the girls stuff for the next morning. So you know, a really calm inducing time of day. Equally, bed time is within sniffing distance, so all is not lost.
I explained to Dan, that I could indeed do 5pm, however – my acceptance came with a caution. His visit would most likely be hectic – I have two young children and that’s generally the most frantic time of day, when they are equally both at their peak of tiredness (fucking feral) Nevertheless, Dan’s an estate agent, a man of sales – my cagey response and warning of wild children wasn’t going to put him off the chance to value our flat – so, 5pm it was.
As 5pm reared its ugly head, the girls were seated at the table about to chow down on a culinary delight of baked beans on toast, all was well. Now, for anyone that knows our girls – they’re an exceedingly social duo. Not shy when it comes to meeting people, and certainly don’t hold back on the chit chat when presented with a new face. I’d say, they’re pretty like their mutha. So an unexpected knock on the door generated a high level of excitement. I should have known.
There was Dan. Polite Introductions were made, and I once again alerted him on the potential haphazardness of his visit.
Elsie was the first to pipe up, as she furiously hurled grated cheese onto her plate – “Dan, do you like cheese?” To my surprise, this went pretty much unnoticed. Excellent. We cracked on with the tour of our flat – I was keen to get this over and done with to be honest.
I spent the majority of, the valuation scampering back and forth into the kitchen from various rooms to encourage more eating, less throwing, break up an argument or three – standard shit.
This meant, that most of my dialog with Dan went a little like this:
“Yes, so that was the main bedroom, it’s slightly MARNIE STOP THROWING YOUR FOOD AND EAT IT, and so – it’s a little larger than the others”
“All the bedrooms fit a double…ELSIE SIT BACK DOWN AT THE TABLE AND FINISH YOUR TEA, NOW”
“Is Dan going to watch Peppa Pig with us Mummy?”
“No, Elsie, no he’s not. Sorry Dan, where was I?”
“Yes, so, we have two areas of outside space, a courtyard and a little garden out from the…”
“Mummyyyyyyyyyyyyy”
“Yes, Elsie?” (FOR FUCKSAKE)
“Marnie’s done a poo, I can really smell it”
Excellent.
I excuse myself. Change a nappy, and leave Dan in the capable conversational hands of Elsie.
“Right. Sorry, so – yes, the gardens – the garden comes just off the…”
“Mummyyyyyyyy” “YES, Elsie?”
“I need a poo”
Fabulous.
Elsie sloped off to the toilet leaving Dan and I once again to pick up where we left off. By this point, Marnie had been let loose from the highchair and was casually residing beside Dan, invading every ounce of his personal space.
A short while later, Elsie appeared from the bathroom to announce, “Mummy I’ve finished my poo, it was my biggest yet – a bit spikey, please can you come and wipe my bottom?”
FML. Where do you go from there? Well, firstly the toilet to wipe her bum, and secondly the fridge. For an extra-large vino.
It was a seemingly lengthy hour of my life, I’m not gonna lie. Yet, throughout the spectacle, Dan remained as cool as a cucumber. He graciously batted off the unremitting attention from the girls, and managed to continue at full professional capacity as they emerged in an array of fancy dress attire to belt out another hit from Annie (Tomorrow? Anyone?) I imagine it was a little like attending a west end musical he never booked a ticket for.
Which, is why – when we were edging towards the finishing line of our flat valuation (thank fuck) I explained that I wrote a blog, and when possible I tried to capture the reality of motherhood – I felt this was a rather fitting experience, and would he therefore mind having a photo taken with the girls. He happily obliged. Little did Dan know. Little did we know.
Dan left, and normality resumed. With the girls in bed, Jamie home, I pegged it out of the door, ready to funnel a bottle of prosecco.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again – I’m addicted to social media. No surprise there. So, on the solo train journey (does it get much better than a solo train ride these days?!) I uploaded my photo, with what I hoped would be a comedy fuelled caption, and that was that. As per all my posts I pimped it far and wide – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – but I also thought I would share it on ‘The Motherload’ Facebook group, which for me offers a brilliantly honest, witty and equally potty mouthed platform to share our tales of motherhood. They would love this shit.
I got pretty drunk. Like, half asleep in the chicken shop at the end of the night type drunk. Throughout my evening with my friend Caz – sipping prosecco, chin wagging all things freelance life, mum life, business life, married life and the rest – my phone seemed to be ever so slightly more vigorous than usual. I also had a few messages from mates who were members on The Motherload group, saying “have you seen how mental your post is going?” and “You need to check your Facebook – #finddan has started” but I didn’t think much of it – I was confused (and drunk) and so, I ignored it. If only I knew what was unfolding in the depths of the ‘tinternet.
Needless to say, the next morning I woke up with a substantial hangover. The one where you think you feel ok, but in reality, you are still a bit tipsy, so your fate shall only be determined in a couple of hours, when you fully sober up – most likely in soft play, or Sainsburys. Superb.
The first thing I saw when I checked my phone was the below photo.

…and a LOT of notifications. Like a LOT. I wasn’t concerned that I had potentially posted up a photo of myself half cut, wearing a sombrero in a chicken shop. Lord no, I was more so thinking – hmmmm now I look quite drunk here, and I feel pretty fucking rotten now. WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE?! Luckily, for me, it was Dan. Or should I say, my post about Dan. It had gone a bit viral.
It would seem that whilst I was most likely throwing some lithe yet equally questionable shapes in a dodgy club in Richmond (with mirrors on the walls no less) snoozing in a chicken shop, merrily snoring my way home in an Uber, and then settling into a full-blown prosecco coma – the ladies of the Motherload were hunting down Dan. I mean, like full on hounding. They had started hashtags, mocked up merchandise, and were in full pursuit of the child friendly and gracious estate agent. Me? I was happily salivating into my pillow, completely oblivious.
Overnight, and amusingly unbeknown to me – my post on The Motherload had reached an outrageous number of likes, comments and shares. It was the onset of a super bonkers day.
Throughout the morning of madness, I had sent a message to the contact number found on the site – I felt Dan should be pre-warned about his sudden rise to internet fame. It was, after all – me that put his name on the internet for all to see. He was speedy to reply, and confirm that indeed, this was him. Great. Now what do I say? This – “Great stuff. I thought I should just let you know that I posted the photo of you and your little fans (my daughters) on a Facebook group after you left, as I was slightly mortified at the chaos you had to endure in the hour you were here, and um, it’s gone a bit viral”.
In the days that followed, I was interviewed on the phone by the Evening Standard (this was undertaken whilst changing Marnie’s nappy in the toilets of CafĂ© Nero – FULL ON GLAMOUR my friends) The ‘story’ was published online in The Metro, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, Closer Magazine, Babble (Disney’s parent platform) in the states, and the finale to my seven days of viral fame – lapping the carpark of Flipout Wandsworth, hoofing rice cakes into Marnie’s mouth in hope of keeping her confined to her pram – to do a live interview with Emma Bunton and Jamie Theakston for Heart FM. I SHIT YOU NOT.
Four weeks on – I have revelled in the madness that is the story of ‘Dan from Purple Bricks’. I also feel like I had a whiff of what life might be like if I was a cast member of TOWIE (the dream) – having words taken totally out of context and dumped in the papers online, and subsequently encounter my first (and I do hope last) trolling experience on the Daily Mail.  Unemployed Whore anyone? No? Just me then.
Nevertheless, it WAS funny, it WAS brilliantly insane and more so it was quite simply fucking mind blowing at how just one simple post can reach that many people (I believe approx 35k likes, 3k comments and 700 shares if you’re interested) AND spread that quickly. Put that in ya pipe and smoke it.
Side note: Four double bedroom Maisonette for sale in leafy Wandsworth.
Written by Lorna (@mrshhayward

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