The 3 Rs of parenting school.

addtext_com_MjE1MzI3NTA5NzgYou may not be aware of this, but all Mothers attended parenting school. Whether you remember or not is a different matter.

School started when they lifted baby off your chest to cut the umbilical cord. School ended when they placed baby- this time wrapped in a blanket- back onto your tummy or into the bassinet next to you.

Approximately 2.8 minutes. That was your lot.

I bloody well hope you were paying attention ladies and didn’t just mutter, ‘don’t bother telling me, I’ll figure it out as I go along’ because you know as well as I do, that this is the fool’s way.The romantic, birth induced, euphoric, Silly Billy way.

If you were a real mummy and listened attentively, you would not have missed the core part of the curriculum.

The Three Rs.

None of your anzy panzy subject choices back when we were students. No. If you knew your 3 Rs, you were guaranteed to graduate with a solid parenting degree.

For those of you rebels who, when baby was lifted from your tummy rolled over and slurred, “WTF just happened?? Get me off this soaking wet bean bag,”

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I am here to give you a speed lesson on what you missed. This time, pay attention, please.

Routine:

Think back to before the days of children. When you had a life. Remember? Try. Try again. There you go.

Routine will have no doubt have played a role in your life. We all like a bit of routine.  It makes us feel safe and comfortable. I’m talking routine along the lines of “Oh I always go to Pizza Express on a Wednesday when I work late” or, “funny how you always massage my left foot first”.  That sort of routine.

But. You become a parent and suddenly, like every other bloody thing that you possess, you find that your mundane little routine no longer belongs to you. The children. They steal it. Kidnap your routine and mould it into their own.

The bedtime routine, and no. I’m not talking about the candles and Enya routine of old. This here is baby’s bedtime routine (if you’re lucky). Turn the musical thingy on above the cot, creep out of the door, stand outside the room for two minutes, don’t breathe, make it back down five steps. Stop.You coughed. He’s crying. Idiot. Repeat. Six times.

Then there’s the nap time routine. Quick! Clean the bathroom, puree the baby slop, phone your mum, go to the toilet. No time. Phone your mum on the toilet, kick the grit behind the toilet brush. Wipe round the toilet seat with wee soaked toilet paper. (Yuck) There. Cleaning sorted. We weren’t crowned  multitaskers for nothing.

The dreaded meal time routine. God help you if you haven’t got that high chair up and spoon at the ready before 5 pm. Wrong coloured bib? Tut.Tut. Forget it. Just throw the dinner on the floor. It’s where it’s going to end up anyway.

Moving swiftly on to the junior age. Swimming. Every sodding Tuesday afternoon. Watching other people’s kids flap about like drowning halfwits in the pool, all the while thinking ‘its friggin Wednesday. I should be having a glass of white wine and some garlic bread at Pizza Express.’

Bringing us to the teens. After all of those years spent perfecting the art of turning in early with a hotty (the water bottle kind, unfortunately) ready to bounce out of bed to watch cartoons at 7 am, the routine card plays a cruel trick. You are now expected to be wide awake at 11.30. At night.

Get a shower for Christ’s sake! What’s wrong with you?

You’re so boring.

Sing! Really loud. It doesn’t have to be anything good, just any annoying tune will do. Or, why not sigh and slam doors? Either way, you better not be thinking of going to bed. You pathetic old git.

Restriction:

The baby years are restricting in more ways than you know possible. Be prepared. No more grown-up treats for you my girl. Yes, I know you like to tuck into a second bottle on a Friday evening, but think of the baby. He might need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. It wouldn’t look good, would it? You, rolling out the back of a taxi at the emergency entrance, swigging from a bottle of Calpol. No. Have a cup of tea now and watch telly.

After years spent listening to the wheels on the bloody bus on every car journey, the junior years bring something of a light relief. We are now, it seems, allowed to tune into the radio. Don’t get too excited though, it’s only to the station that plays teeny boppy music. And for God’s sake don’t embarrass yourself (or them) by singing along. Just shut your mouth and drive. And don’t look in the mirror and smile when she’s singing in the back with her friends either. That’s so uncool.

Had you paid attention at parenting school you will know that the classification R on DVDs does indeed stand for Restriction. Parental Restriction. That box set of ‘The Tudors’ that’s been sitting under the telly for years? It’s Restricted.  Don’t believe for one minute that just because your teenager is in his room, doing stuff, he won’t come wandering in at the precise moment where Henry takes Ann Boleyn from behind in the orchard.  As fit as you think you are, even you can’t get to the remote that quickly. There’s nothing more unattractive than a sexed up old couple watching porn. Where’s that Only Fools and Horses DVD you got for Christmas?

Put it on.

Responsibility:

The word that sends shivers down any young, free and single girls spine. Responsibility. This one is just too laborious to bore you with. But know this. As the parent of a baby, are held responsible for everything.

Babys’ head. Too pointy. Food. It had better be homemade. Drink. Those cups are bad for his teeth. Tired. Your fault. Hyper.Should have taken her to the baby gym. Clothes. Too hot. Nappy. Too tight. Poo. Too yellow. I mean…

Everything.

As they grow into the middle years, bestowed upon you is the responsibility of arranging play dates. Oh, the joy. No matter that the last social gathering you went to was the sausage sizzle tombola at the supermarket car park. Never mind that now. You will arrange clubs and activities. Loads of them. What was that? The money? Don’t worry about that. Actually, yes. Do. That’s your responsibility too. Set the alarm for 3am, that should do it.

Arriving at the teenage years. Be careful here. It gets tricky. You will find yourself participating in the sick, and twisted teenage game of,  ‘I think I’m going mental’.

Although you are still very much responsible for your teenager (someone has to be), you have to p-r-e-t-e-n-d not to be. Got it? To add to the confusion, when you do make them happy you will never, ever be given the honour of knowing it.

It is now your responsibility to make sure your teenager is happy. It’s what you were born for. It’s the law.

Better get the revision books out for this one.

It’s on page 201.Chapter heading: ‘For Christ’s sake, haven’t you learnt yet?’ 

The (sort of) responsible way to keep a teenager happy.

Wifi. A computer, a set of headphones, a thick pair of curtains and a pile of food in one’s room.

In fact,  just wheel the fridge into his bedroom.

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Perfect. Now close the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love it. Hate it. Blogging.

Some days it feels amazing, other days it drives me insane.

Blogging.

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Three months in and I have mixed emotions on my newly acquired hobby.

Five things that drive me mad about blogging.

1: That all-consuming moment when I have an idea just bursting to come out of my head, but I have to sit at the dinner table, listening to my plumber husband telling me about how the pipe wouldn’t screw onto the o-ring  and how it’s been a hell of a day. In my head I’m screaming “Shhhadd uuup!  I don’t care. Eat faster. Go and take the dog down the road for a poo so I can scribble some notes down”. Though in reality, I have to sit there and say “Ahh, that’s nice, why didn’t you use your pipe twister?” Then smile. And wait. Like a pshyco.

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2:  Every area of your life becomes an opportunity for a blog post. The kids say something, and I start muttering and chuckling to myself like a mad woman. Them, staring in disbelief and horror threatening “you’d better not post that on FaceBook, I’m warning you” Me, scribbling furiously with my little but end of a pencil on the back of the shopping list, shaking like a hag possessed.

3: The stupid hours I’ve wasted on setting things up on my site, only to disappear again two days later. I think all blogs should be written on the back of supermarket receipts then thrown into the sky for someone to find. No stats. No header configuration. No ranky, wanky rating thingys.

No readers. Ok, good point.

I just don’t deal very well with anything techy. It drives me insane and makes me cry.

4: You start dreaming of a life where everything you have is sponsored and so therefore free. Free holidays, free wine, free carpets. Free anything I could write a post on convincing people how amazing the product was. The reality? Sending the kids to my mums for the weekend, getting sloshed on a bottle of cheap red wine, and putting my slippers on so I can’t feel the grit on the tiles in the kitchen.

5: Since I’ve started blogging my house is a shit tip.

Five things I love about blogging

1: It’s something just for me. Blogging is mine. All mine. For the past sixteen years, everything I have undertaken ties to my kids in some way. Singing lessons so I can use my diaphragm to scream at them without hurting my voice. Going to the gym in the mornings so I don’t have to listen to the same old crap regarding which persons turn it is to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Meditation. They think I’m a weird new age freak. Good. It keeps them out of my bedroom for at least half an hour.

2: I hadn’t realised what an amazing blogging community there is out there. I never believed for one minute that people, strangers, would be interested in reading my work. That other writers would take the time to connect with me and even comment on posts. If you’re a saddo like me with no friends, (other than two teenagers who spend time with you through no choice of their own, and a bull mastiff dog with anxiety issues,) it’s wonderful for your self-esteem.

3: You get to say stuff that you wouldn’t dare say in real life.   Meet me face to face and all I tend to say ”Ahhh, that’s nice.” A lot. Although to be honest, you’ll probably never get to meet me in real life because I’m antisocial. I just stay at home with my dog. And cry a lot in the toilet.

4: You get to read fantastic posts from extremely talented writers. Before I started blogging I’d  scan the National Geographic for five minutes in the toilet each morning. That’s if I was lucky. Usually, it meant reading the same page over and over since I always lost my place. Now, I have an array of well written and more often than not funny posts at my fingertips. Men and women who write about all the stuff I love,  like how hard it is to be a parent.  It’s so refreshing to read about other things other than why the world is running out of water and what the green-eyed frog lives on in Mozambique.

5:  I’d forgotten how much I love to write. I used to write letters to my friends when I was on holiday or when I went travelling. I’d write to my Grandma every week (admittedly in the hope that she’d cello tape a pound note to the inside of her next letter). It’s a creative outlet. I love how it makes me feel when I release all of that ‘stuff’ inside of me. I feel incredibly lighter after I’ve written things down and a bonus? I’m a really nice person for about three hours after I’ve published a post.

Well.

Maybe two.

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My Random Musings

How not to be labelled as judgmental by your teenager.

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There I was, going along my merry little homeschool mum way. Innocently believing that I was doing a quite good job for a Thursday when out of the blue, I get a new and  unexpected accusation thrown at me from my soon to be a thirteen-year-old girl. She talks about her wanting for more independence and me not delivering those opportunities.
Hmm…thinks me. Here’s a new one. Goody. I need something to keep me on my toes.
Independence. Welcome new attribute to my daughter’s existence.
Now, I needed to be clear. Were we talking ‘catching the bus home from town alone’ here? Or how about ‘making dinner without having to ask what number the oven should be on?’ Or, was it more along the lines of ‘let me throw my sails to the wind and circumnavigate the world single-handed?’ (I know she’ll do this one day)

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see ya losers
I wasn’t sure of the correct answer but whichever one it was, I didn’t say it. Of course, I didn’t. It’s me, remember?
I made up my mind that from here on in, I would no longer be Mother Gothel. The wicked Mother, locking her poor homeschooled daughter away in the house on the hill. No. I was going to make changes. She’d see a new me. She was going to have her much needed independence whether she knew or liked it or not.

One big parenting mistake later
Fast forward to yesterday.
A trip to the doctors. Nothing serious, which makes it kind of worse. At least in England, it’s free for the nothing serious visits. If you’re going to pay $15 you at least want a bit of chicken pox or tonsillitis. Get your money’s worth.

I was late. Of course, I was late and had already been told by the receptionist when I telephoned that there’d be an hour wait.

I had to get my dependent girly to her singing lesson at 3, and it was already 2.05pm. I was well, let’s say, I was… edgy.

I pulled into the carpark. No spaces. I looked into my mirror and saw an old couple crippled over in pain heading for the sliding doors. The waiting receptionist lady sitting watching us both through the doors, over the top of her computer screen. Firstly at them and then across to me. Smiling. With her stopwatch.

You know that saying, ‘you can take the girl out of Britain, but you can’t take Britain out of the girl’? Well, I’m ashamed to say that the Brit in me decided to rear her ugly head. Leaning over, I opened the car door and practically kicked my poor dependent child out onto the pavement.
“Go and get into the queue. Now.” I hissed. all the while keeping a beady eye on the advancing appointment contenders and their walking sticks.
I’ll go and find somewhere to park.”
I’m revving on the accelerator now.
” Nooo” Wails Miss independent “They’ll ask me what’s wrong and everything. Let me back in…”
Me: (peeling her fingers from the door) “No. They. Wont. Get in there. Now”
Miraculously, the pair of biddies started to straighten up and began to get a bit of a wiggle on. I watched. Horrified, as they glided past my stationary car through the sliding doors like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I’m sure the old woman gave me the finger.

She’s back in the car now, my girl. Back into the safety of Mummy’s cosy little cocoon.
Let’s freeze the scene for a moment.

I’m now going to tell you how NOT to behave when you are a parent. The following is what NOT to say to an already embarrassed teenage girl. Are you listening?
Unfreeze.
Me: What on earth is wrong with you that you can’t get out of the damn car, go into the doctors and tell the receptionist your NAME and that you’d like to see a doctor?”
Her: I told…
Me. Interrupting, shouting over AND wagging a finger. Always a winning combination.
“No, no, no. NO. (that’s a lot of nos) Never mind that. I don’t want to hear it. (Just as well really as you’re drowning the poor girl out). let me tell you, (please do) if you’re not careful you’ll turn into a weird, freaky kid ( I know, delightful isn’t it?) who can’t hold a conversation with someone.” (Unlike you Liz, who is quite clearly an absolute winner with words.)
There. I Said it. And it’s too late to take it back. Gone.
Silence.
Silence is the worst. Silence means she’s taking it in. I try to make a funny comment about the biddies. Nothing.
I apologise. Of course, I apologise. Still, nothing. Probably too stunned. “A weird freaky kid?” It’s not what you expect from your parent, is it?

After a long deliberation, she retaliates. That’s my girl! Knew she wouldn’t be able to keep the silent treatment up forever. Too much of her mum in her. Poor sod.
Game back on.
“You are so judgemental.”

Ouch.

To be honest, I was almost relieved.
I was half expecting, “p*ss off you psychotic, lunatic nutter.” Hands up, I deserved it.

Judgemental. I think I can handle judgemental.

I drive down the road. Towards the singing lesson, pondering my new title and trying to work out how I always seem to get it wrong.
Judgemental? Judgemental?
I want to say,’excuse me young missy, but I am NOT judgemental’. I go to open my mouth in protest but incredibly, unbelievably, manage to stop myself. There’s a first.
Back to the title of this post.
” How to avoid being labelled as ‘judgmental’ by your teenager.”

The answer?
Next time your daughter has a rash on her leg, stay at home and look on the internet. You’ll save $15, and you know it will only be viral. It’s always viral. Even I can tell you that.
Either that or…
Shut your mouth. For ten years. Do not speak. Ever. The end. You’re welcome.

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After the Playground
My Random Musings

Why it’s so cool to be in your 40s.

Another classic accusation from the teenage son yesterday.

“You think you’re so cool. But you’re just not“.

AAAggrrrrrrrr. And… Breathe.

E-V-E-R-S.

( Ok, so he might have a point).

Here’s the thing. I have never, in my life professed to being ‘cool‘. It’s just not in my vocabulary.

Yes. Admittedly, there was  that time when I went to the Wham concert and screamed to George that I loved him, but that was only because I’d seen people do it on the telly and thought that’s how you behaved at a concert. I was only 12. And anyway, let’s face it, George was, and always will be, a God. In fact, I should have proudly owned that pubescent outburst- but I was 12. So I didn’t. Not cool.

Even at the age that I should have been cool, I was not. My goth friend was cool. She didn’t give a shit and wore her Grandad’s scruffy coat and everything, but me?  I just stood beside her saying stuff like, “yeah, I like the Cure too.” When really I adored Rick Astley.

If I wasn’t cool at 16, I’m damn sure I’m not going to manage it now.

Not being able to let it rest, and dying to know if he’d met a friend’s Mother who was letting the side down, I pressed on.

” How many 46-year-olds do you know that are cool?” My hip sticking out and pretending to chew gum.

Mr, too cool for school (literally) looks at the hips, shakes his head in disbelief and says:

“Just because you’re old. You can still be cool…”

Errmm. Let me think?

No.

Sorry.

Still thinking…

I try and recall the people with whom I associate the term ‘cool’

Well… there was The Fonz. He was cool. Well, sort of. In a way that only a 30-year-old man who likes hanging out at ice cream parlours can be.

Rizzo from Grease. She was cool. Bad, beautiful, dangerous and yes. Cool.

Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction. Very, very, Cool.

BUT GUESS WHAT CLEVER CLOGGS?

Haven’t you spotted the c-o-n-n-e-c-t-i-o-n yet?

Durrr…

They were all CHILDLESS. Yep. Carefree. Single. Solitary. Unaccompanied. Sans enfants.

Cool.

Did you ever hear a little voice behind Fonzie saying,” can I have a lick of your ice cream Daddy?” No.

Or when Kenickie was reaching for the broken condom, I didn’t see Riz whip out the phone and say” I’ll just quickly text the kids and let them know I’ll be late.”

 

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And, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t recall Uma sauntering onto the dance floor with John, only to announce “my daughter learnt  these moves for her dance exam in term 3, she got a merit, we’re so proud of her”

I rest my case. How can a parent EVER  be considered cool?  It’s i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e.

I may not be cool. BUT dear boy, when you become a parent, there are other traits that you long to be able to brag about, and after 16 years of Motherhood, I reckon I’ve earned a few.

 

  • I homeschool you and your sister. That takes the Patience of a saint.
  • I gave birth to you. Your head was massive. Bravery.
  • I sometimes let you think that you know more than me. Consideration.
  • I congratulate you on getting 1000 subscribers on your YouTube channel, even though I’m wondering if you bought them illegally. Supportive.
  • I say nothing when you sing at the top of your voice in the bathroom to hide the fact that you’re playing games on your phone. Tactful.
  • I don’t look at your messages when your FaceBook account has been accidentally left open. Trustworthy.
  • Sometimes though, I might look at the beginnings of the messages on your home screen when your phone is left on the counter.  Honesty.
  • I hid that pretend spider in your bed that time and wet myself watching you scream your head off.  Humour.
  • I dragged you 12,000 miles across the world when you were 8 years old so that you could experience living in a different country, even though people said we were wrong. Determination.
  • I let you leave high school after  12 weeks so that you could return to learning at home. Dependability.
  • I  answer your bizarre questions about the world (” how long do you think it would take for a deaf, dumb and blindness epidemic to reach New Zealand..”) at 11 pm,  when I’m knackered and quite frankly could do with some sleep.Communication.
  • I love you so much it makes my heart ache. I mean I really love you. Even though you won’t let me listen to your Skype calls and you turn off the ‘find my friends’ feature on your phone when you’re in town, so I can’t locate you… I still, and always will, really Love you.

So there you have it.

We parents don’t want to be cool (granted, some of us don’t have a choice in the matter.) We don’t need to be. We have too many other brilliant labels that we are flaunting.

We will leave the coolness to you.

To you and to John Travolta.

He has kids.

And he has a helicopter.

That’s so cool…

 

 

diaryofanimperfectmum
R is for Hoppit
You Baby Me Mummy
Rhyming with Wine

<img src=”http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e14/Motherofteenagers/teen%20logo%20launch_zpsf7wwiqa5.jpg” alt=”

Cuddle Fairy

Mother of Teenagers”>

I need more time.

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The last time I looked there were still 24 hours in a day. To my knowledge no-one has reduced it to nine. Yet talk to people and they all agree, time seems to be shrinking. Being rationed. No time for this, no time for that.  I find myself struggling to find the time to be:

 

  • A competent teacher,
  • A kind and loving mother, who can be taken out in public.
  • A calm and not too frantic wife
  • A good friend who doesn’t blog about her besties.
  • A  dog poo picker upper.
  • The scrubber of all things dirty.
  • The sergeant major of all orders and jobs.
  • The taxi driver (the unpaid one)

These past few months have found me particularly time starved. Probably due to both kids being at Mary Poppins rehearsals which opens in July,  Brian getting busy at work, and me, trying to do everything and be everywhere.

We all need more time.

A tired and haggard mummy is not a nice mummy.

No one likes a mummy who doesn’t say nice things, do they?

No, they don’t.

Over the past few weeks, I have taken action. Waging my war against the time thief, and because sharing is caring I’m revealing my secret tips. They’ve saved me time. They will save you time too.

  • Batch the washing. It seemed to be that my washing machine was on the go every day if not twice. The time gobbler. It suddenly dawned on me that all of us have enough clothes, socks,  and tea towels, to last us at least week or so.  Why not do two massive piles of washing two days a week (I’m working up to one) instead of the piddly bits and pieces every day?  Bingo. Nobody has gone without a pair of undies, I haven’t had to resort to drying the glasses with the corner of my shirt and apart from Mondays and Thursdays I don’t have to think about that time-consuming chore anymore.

 

  • Buy the same wine for the week. (If you don’t drink wine just skip this point and then write to me later and tell me why not.) My weekly grocery shop sees me standing at the wine section of the supermarket, doing the same thing every week. I look to the top shelf. No, too expensive, I look at the bottom shelf. For cooking maybe but I’m not that desperate yet. To the middle then. Yes, but which one in the middle? The one that doesn’t go over $14. The one that you always sodding buy. If you find a wine that fits the bill, get a load of the stuff. That way you can be in and out of the wine section in three minutes. In France, you’ll gladly order ‘the house red’ with your meal. What’s the difference? Stick it in a carafe and ooh la la, job done.

 

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  • Make up a selection of sandwich fillings that will keep in the fridge for a few days. Just because my kids are homeschooled, it doesn’t mean that  I’m spared the time-consuming decision of “what can we have for lunch?” A little tip from a former cafe owner.  Mix together some tuna mayonnaise, egg and salad cream, grated cheese or whatever you like on a sarnie,  stick them into some tubs, put in the fridge. Simple and quick.

 

  • Make double dinners and freeze. I recently started to enjoy the benefits of not having to cook on a Tuesday night, by putting this into practice. Lasagne, Cottage Pie, mash, curry, (no low carb diets for me). Peel a few extra spuds, throw in an extra pack of mince, and you’ve made double. Portion up and freeze. I promise, come Tuesday night, you’ll thank me for it.

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  • Write a list of five things you want to achieve in the day. I’ve started doing this and I love it.  The rule is, it can’t be more than five tasks and four of them must be small. As in, ‘phone the vets about the dogs sore ear’, small. The big one must be achievable. Don’t go and write ‘sort out my wardrobe’ if you know that you’re only going to have half an hour between swimming lessons and karate training. Be realistic. Perhaps try, ‘throw all my old knickers away’ (not until you’ve bought new ones though). When you’ve ticked those five things off, relax…you’re done. And don’t you dare add a couple more things to that list.

 

  • Choose your outfit the night before.  You may have to ignore the looks from your other half on this one.  My husband lays in bed, peering over his book, eyeing me with suspicion. Praying that I haven’t developed OCD. I choose my outfit along with knickers and bra the night before and lay them out on the bedroom chair ready for the next day. It saves me a massive amount of time and effort in the morning. It also reminds me of when I had to wear school uniform and so makes me feel young. An added bonus not to be sniffed at.

 

Sometimes, the most obvious answers to our problems are those which we ignore. Most of us believe that the solution to the lack of time can only be solved by employing big changes. Quit your job, Move to the city where there’s public transport. Get rid of the dog. Get rid of the kids. Tempting.

It’s not true. Small changes add up. Put all of those small and seemingly insignificant changes together, and you’ll notice a major difference.

Now. Stop reading this and go and put your knickers on the back of the chair. Not those ones… the elastic has gone in those… throw those ones away.  And, cross number three off your list.

 

Do you have any tips on saving time that you could share with me?  Let me know in the comments.

I’ve got loads of time to read them x

 

 

You Baby Me Mummy

 

 

3 Little Buttons

Saturday morning anxiety.

I’m convinced that everyone else’s parenting skills are better than mine.

They’ve all got this motherhood malarkey down to a tee I reckon.

I chose the wrong time to go for a quiet coffee. Just the two of us, me and my husband, Brian. I thought it might be like the old days. You know. Before they came. But I didn’t think it through. It was Saturday morning. It was 11 am. I should have known that the parenting anxiety would plague me. Follow me out of the door.

“hey! don’t forget me!”

That’s all you need on a Saturday morning, isn’t it? A coffee a pastry and a hearty serving of angst, please.

The café door swung open and in bounced that teenager. If you’ve ever read a New Zealand sports magazine, I think he’s that model kid that advertises rugby boots or some coconut water sports drink.

Me, with my paper cup in one hand a croissant with jam in the other. Him, with his muddy knees and sweat lathered hair, looking the picture of teenage boy healthiness, bellowing to his mum (who had her running shorts on and was ordering a ‘trim’ and looked more like she should be his girlfriend) for food.

He was hungry. He was sporty. He’d been on the pitch since 4 am. He’d been with the team. He’d been with the ‘guys’

Bang. My, parenting barometer goes flying right down.

I knew there was something I had to worry about this weekend and here it is.

“why don’t our kids do sport?” I whisper to my husband.

Annoyingly, he refuses to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations or talk about them behind his coffee cup like me. He doesn’t believe that if you speak about the person sitting behind you like this:

 

 

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see them behind me?

 

 

They can’t hear you! Foolish fool. Needs to stay in more like me. Get some practice.

“They do karate.”

Ah, shad up Mr positive. That’s what I thought in my head. But because I’m 46 and really very mature, I refrained from verbalizing those thoughts.

Yes. I know both our kids are black belts in karate, but that’s on a Tuesday and Thursday night. That doesn’t count. It’s not on a Saturday morning, is it? There’s never anyone outside the village hall on a Thursday night when I drop off.

No.

It needs to be a Saturday morning to have any credibility in this world.

If your kids don’t play sport on a Saturday morning? Then you are… well. I don’t know. You’re weird and so is your dog.

Every bloody time.

“No school today?”

“Hi, person that I’ve never seen before in my life, No. They’re not at school today… we homeschool.”

Wait for it… Wait for it…

“Really? But…what about the. Dun Dun Duunnnn… SPORT!”

 

 

IMG_9173
Oh my god! That completely slipped my mind!

 

Yes. You’re right. Let’s not worry about whether or not I can teach my children algebra (actually, umm, no). Or if I can give a plausible explanation as to why the moon is round (is it something to do with it whizzing through the air so fast?) or even, did Shakespeare write Hamlet? (I don’t know. Let’s watch Shakespeare in love, and we’ll see). No. None of that, only,

“what about the sport?”

It’s getting worse. The anxiety. Rather than ignoring this beast of a teenager, and closing my ears to how he and his mates “nailed it”, I’m thinking back to what my own two beauties are doing.

Oh god. On this beautiful Saturday morning, when it seems every other teenager worth their weight is out on some pitch doing something that involves a ball, my two?

They’re playing bloody Minecraft.

When I ran out of that door at 10 am this morning screaming the list of jobs I wanted to be done by the time I returned, one was still in her pyjamas stinking and the other? Well. I don’t know about the other because I only saw the back of his head. His face lit up by the artificial sunshine of brick man land.

Deflated and feeling familiarly inadequate, I suggested to Brian that we return home and,

“I don’t know… Maybe you could take them on a bike ride or something”.

He reminded  me that he has (cough),

“a few things I want to do around the house”.

Yeah, I bet you do.

Back from the café. And they hadn’t moved. Still sat there. Staring. Glued to it. (in all fairness the dishes had been done, but I think they’d used the dog blanket to dry the wine glasses.)

Mummy’s home! Yay! All kind and tolerant and relaxed from her time alone with Daddy. Hurray!

“Turn that bloody thing off. NOW’

“I’m winning… just give me five more minutes.”

Only it wasn’t said like that. More like this.

“ H an n g  on… I’ m…………w…i…n n…in…g” fingers going ten to the dozen.

I should have been a nice parent. Like in the books. You’re supposed to listen to what they say and take their opinions into consideration. After all, they’re humans too.

I contemplated this for about minus zero seconds. Reached over the hump of fleecy pyjama top and the cereal bowl. And clicked the little X.

Horror.

Good job Liz. So mature. You really thought that one through.

All shouts and flinging arms and dramatics,

“I’m banning the computer” I scream “ go and get a life”.

I’m on to a winner here. I can feel it. There’s no stopping me now.

There’s the teenage scowl that would melt ice, followed by the sigh that would freeze it up again.

Me. Busy, busy, busy. Got to wash those wine glasses again in time for tonight. Far too busy polishing the hob to get into a fight. Eyes down, wiping the same spot for the past two minutes, middle-aged huff, huff, huff.

Like a gnawing little rat I proceed;

“if you put as much time into your piano as you do that bloody game you’d be Mozart by now.”

That’s an intelligent observation, Liz, seeing as Mozart is dead.

Teen flounces out.

It’s pouring down, Brian has decided that today would be the perfect day to put a pull-up bar in the garage (probably so he can escape out of the loft) and I’m left here. That’s the downside to living in the country. Beautiful yes, but no transport. 15 minutes drive from town. I hate board games as you may have heard, so there’s no way that’s happening.

Two big, lanky, bored teenagers, circling me in the kitchen like  hyenas.

“What’s there to do if we can’t play on the computer?”

I kid you not. Those were the exact words.

“Ermmm. Shit, shit, shit, think, think, think. Why don’t you read a book?”

The raised eyebrow.

 

 

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seriously???

 

 

I ask myself am I being unrealistic. Are there any teenagers, anywhere, who get up  on a wet Saturday morning and think, ‘I know. Sod Facebook and my memes. I think I’ll read a book.”

Are there?

Don’t lie. You’re just saying that to make me feel better.

I know the answer is yes.

I just know it. I can see it in my head.

In my mind movie.

It’s fantastic actually. If ever I get bored, I’ve got this film that runs 24/7 in my mind. No joke. It stars a fabricated family that looks a little like mine. There’s always a perfect husband. Cool and chilled.

A  calm and beautiful wife, calm. Not frantic. Calm.

And these two wonderfully intelligent, funny, adorable teenagers. These teenagers do things like stand in the kitchen with their mother. Talking. Sharing funny tales of stuff that have happened throughout the day. They make smoothies with lots of green stuff in them, and they’re chatting, chatting, chatting. Laughing, Laughing, Laughing.

Drinking their green smoothies. Together. Liking their mum.

And do you know what? I can never see a phone with a picture of a girl with doggy ears, ANYWHERE!! Nope. No computer, no YouTube, nothing. Only books. Glorious books.

And the mother? She’s smiling away and nodding in agreement with the child. She never EVER says;

“is anyone going to empty these bloody bins or shall I just do it again?’.

No. She never says that. She never rubs between her eyebrows with her fingers, trying to erase those two lines that are being etched deeper and deeper into her face. No. She just opens the door to the bin cupboard, takes the milk carton from the non-recycle bin, that hasn’t been washed out properly and stinks of cheese, and calmly places it into its proper place. All the while, keeping eye contact with the smoothy drinking book worm youth standing next to her. Oh, and I think he’s got a rugby shirt on too.

I want to be in that film

I could watch it all day. It’s rated a U. There’s never any bad language or violence. And the rude bits? They all take place in candlelight, and there’s this ever-present wispy fog surrounding the husband and wife. Oh and look! She’s laughing again. Never yawning and saying,

“where’s my Nurofen my stomach’s friggin killing me”

No. never that. Just smiling. Wanting to join her fun-loving husband. In all things fun.

*******

I wonder what rugby boy is doing now? Probably practising some fancy rugby throws with his dad. Getting Ready for next Saturday’s game. Out with ‘the guys’. Making his parents feel as though they’ve done a bloody good job.

I’m desperate. I don’t know what to suggest to them. They’re both just hanging around. Sighing.

I know. I’ll do what I always do when I feel like I can’t cope. Go to my office and have a little cry.

 

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Come on in liz. You know you want to.

 

 

I think back to my own childhood. To my brother. To my sister. We weren’t homeschooled. We went to school. But we never played any sports on a Saturday. In fact, we were lazy little sods who given half the chance, would stay in and watch Swap Shop.

Sometimes, if my mum and dad went out to the shops, we’d have a farting contest on the landing upstairs, but that was about as sporty as it got. No netball or hockey for Lizzie.

Come to think of it, the only sport me and my friends actively participated in on a Saturday was ‘knock a door run’. Either that or phoning the operator from the phone box and asking her if we could speak to E.T.

No computers back in my childhood.

I love this toilet. And it loves me. It has a way of showing me that everything is going to be alright. I swear, if it was big enough, I’d put a day bed in here and never come out.

Tap tap tap. You’re nearly through Brian. I imagine I’ll come home tomorrow to find him camped on the roof by the chimney. Like that nutter grandad in chitty chitty bang bang.

My time in the office has both calmed and educated me. While here, I’ve been informed, by courtesy of mindfood magazine, that gaming is actually beneficial for the youth of today. It teaches them code.

There. Thank you very much, gifted journalist, who wrote that. That’s all I needed to hear. You’ve saved my Saturday. And my kids would lick your shoes if they could find you on Facebook.

So what if my kids never play team sports. So what? Neither did I and I’m alright. Ok, ignore the fact that I find solace in a two metre by three-metre room with a toilet in it, but that aside, I’m pretty normal.

I admire from afar those parents who drive their kids to all of these sports at the weekend and stand and watch on the freezing cold sidelines, I really do. But face it, Liz. It ain’t you. And that’s ok.

My positive thinking brings me out of the office a new woman (I think I, may have schizophrenic tendencies but we won’t go  into that today ’cause I’m in a good mood now).

I tell them they can put the screens on.

Knock themselves out on musically. Put dog ears on their photos and send them to the world. Get on snap chat and send streaks. Smiley face, heart eyes, unicorn. Rainbow.

Kill square block man with your hammer that won’t move sideways. Learn some more code.

And when they get bored of that? They can go and play ‘knock a door run’.

There are approximately  100 metres between each house on our road. That’d keep them fit. Keep my lovelies occupied.

I could get them to wear that old rugby shirt that my mum got me from the charity shop. Someone might drive past and notice, and then I would no longer feel inadequate. Perfect. Sorted. I’m happy.

 

 

IMG_9493
Who needs rugby?

 

 

 

 

 

Mummuddlingthrough
diaryofanimperfectmum

Why every teenage boy is an ANIMAL (and how to handle him!)

It happens overnight. The teenage boy trots off to bed on his fourteenth birthday all kisses, clear skin and lightness, and unbeknown to you, whilst sleeping, a shapeshifter enters the room and replaces your baby with an array of animals guises.

Having been robbed of his boyhood but gifted with this ability to morph into any given animal at his pleasure, the teenage boy grows confused and cocky. But mostly just cocky.

We the parents, however, are never quite sure who or indeed what the hell is going to roll out of the pit and into the kitchen on any given morning, leaving us fearful and thirsty for wine. But mostly just thirsty for wine.

Parents, don’t despair. Fear can be eliminated through knowledge. And I am here to hand you that knowledge. By recognising the current animal form that is holding your baby boy hostage (he’s still in there somewhere you tell yourself) like me, you too can sail through life with a teenage boy.

It’s true.

Honest.

The Cat.

The teenage boy on hitting fifteen will morph into a cat. lounging around nonchalantly all day. Meowing at night to be let out, and only coming to you when you ignore him.

Keep the food bowl topped up and resign yourself to the fact that he probably has worms. Furthermore, unless you want to fall out with the neighbours, don’t let your tomcat out after dark, especially if there are any suspicious females lurking.

 

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I know I look 15 but Im 18. Honest.

 

The Bear.

It is customary in Canada whilst walking in the forest,  to carry a ‘bear bell’ with you. This clever contraption means to alert any bears within close proximity that you are close by but don’t mean trouble. On hearing the tinkling, the quite often aloof bear is warned and thus will withdraw quickly in the opposite direction.

I know, I know you don’t want trouble. None of us does. Just that pair of socks that have been under his bed for the past two weeks. It’s not a lot to ask. But why not use a little bell? Let the teenage boy know when you are lurking. Especially when he’s on the phone. It gives him time to get to the toilet and lock the door. Be warned though, showing bear-like tendencies, the teenage boy may take to hibernating in that same toilet. Be patient. Give him time. He’ll be out within a couple of hours. When the battery dies.

 

The Dolphin.

Like the dolphin, your teenage boy lacks the ability to string any real words together. Rather thinking it amusing and acceptable to produce repetitive, no brainer, fekking clicking noises. This, along with other annoying tendencies such as drumming, clicking, and tapping brings us to conclude that although infuriating to the point of reaching for the rum at 10 am, the dolphin has a cheeky smile and so usually gets away with it. Most of the time.

 

The Dog.

A dogs’ sense of smell is 1,000,000 times more sensitive than that of a human.

I swear. You can be driving into town, still, five kilometres from the centre, and the teenage boy will smell it.

Like a Beagle.

Mcdonalds.

“Ooh, that smells so good. I’m starving. Can we get a drive through? I’m starving.Oh, I love that smell.Can you lend me $10? I’m starving. Ohh that smell. Take me to that smell. Take me.Take me. Now.”

This doggy characteristic could prove very useful were it to be used in locating that rotting piece of rancid cheese from under the teenage boy’s bed. Sadly though, the Beagle function doesn’t appear to activate within its own bedroom.

And staying with dogs for a moment.

Dogs can hear sounds four times further away than any human.

You will notice that although sitting within spitting distance in the next room on his computer, on being asked to set the table your male teenager will suddenly become Helen Keller. Try and have a private conversation with your other half after dinner, however,  about whether or not to take the data plan off his phone because he’s costing you too much friggin money? And unbelievably, although located at the bottom of the drive putting the bins out, the teenage boy transforms into a Boston Terrier. Back into the room he comes,  as fast as lightning, panting at your feet. “Do you want a cup of tea? What are you talking about? Everything alright? I’ve put the bins out. They’re nice flowers.”

 

The Rabbit.

A rabbit can see behind itself without turning its head. Despite the fact that the teenage boy is sitting at his desk with his back to you, that one time you try and sneak into his room to

Despite the fact that the teenage boy is sitting at his desk with his back to you, the one time you try and sneak into his room to retrieve that stinking piece of wood with the metal wrapped around it, the one that he brought home from the beach when he was ten? And without warning, like the exorcist (but without the head spinning round bit, but equally as scary) he’ll demand that you put it back. Hands off. He needs that. That’s important. That’s metal wood. It’s rare. No, it doesn’t smell of fish. That piece of wood is staying. Forever.

 

The Horse.

The horse has the ability to sleep both standing up and lying down ( I could do with that function.) Remember this the next time your teenage boy is standing at the sink about to do the dishes. Staring. With the water

Recall this the next time your teenage boy is standing at the sink about to do the dishes. Staring. With the water having gone cold. But still, nothing. Just staring. Or humming.

Try not to have your usual hissy fit; screaming like a fisher wife about the sink full of water having just cost you two dollars. He’s probably just having a little horsey sleep. That’s all. Anyway, what’s wrong with him washing your crystal glasses in stone cold scummy water?

 

The Parrot.

How we all used to laugh when taking our young children to the zoo, to find the parrot in the corner repeating everything your embarrassing little ratbags said to it.

“Bum! Willy! Big fat poo head! Stinky fat willy bum!”

My children were homeschooled and therefore very intelligent.

Very much like the Quaker Parrot who requires a tremendous amount of attention and stimulus to avoid boredom, the teenage boy is the same. Spend sixteen years of your life giving him this attention, and you too will be rewarded with a parrot for a son.

“I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry.

Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously?

Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. Whatever.

I didn’t!  I didn’t! I didn’t! I didn’t! I didn’t!

I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry.

 

And on the subject of hunger.

 

The star-nosed mole.

This little mole eats faster than any other mammal. It finds and swallows its food in less than a quarter of a second. About as fast as you can blink.

The next time you all sit down for dinner and notice that your teenage son’s plate has been emptied before you’ve even had your first gulp of merlot, try turning a blind eye. Remember, when at the dinner table with your teenage son you are a mummy mole. A poor sighted mummy mole at that. Try and behave accordingly. Keep your head turned downwards, eat your sausage and try to ignore that noise coming from across the table. It’ll be over soon. Sooner than you can imagine.

 

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I’m  STILL hungry.

 

The Chimpanzee.

Apart from the obvious hairy slouching and grunting attributes, there is another distinguishing characteristic that the teenage boy takes from the chimpanzee.

According to the Daily Mail Australia, chimpanzees will forget trivial information at around twenty seconds. Now we aren’t talking the password to the wifi here. No. That’s not trivial.  That be clocked were you to whisper it into his ear at a live football match. No. I said trivial. Remember people, that when phoning and giving the teenage boy irrelevant  instructions such as ‘put the oven on at 6pm’ so your effing dinner will be heated in time, or reminding him as you rush out of the door of the paltry little request of ‘give the dog her antibiotics with her breakfast’, he is a chimpanzee.

Cold lasagne is what will be waiting for you upon your return.

And the dog? Dead.

I sincerely hope this insight into your teenage boys animal metamorphism has helped somewhat. Proceed in observing the behaviour and using the above information for reference, take each day slowly. Most importantly don’t despair.

There’s only about another one thousand five hundred or so days to go.

Remember though, popular to teenage boy belief,  no-one is perfect. If, after trying your hardest to understand and sympathise with the teenage boy, you still find yourself wanting to bash your own head in, rather than face another day of looking at the cocky little sod, there is a solution.

A zoo.

Just until he’s about twenty.

Or twenty-four.

They have visiting hours and everything.

Just a thought.

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