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.


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.


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.


“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.


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.









Not Just The 3 Of Us
You Baby Me Mummy

5 Reasons Why It’s O.K to Hate Playing Games !

It’s Sunday, and I’m in the library. Alone. The reason for this being that I refused to play a game for two hours with my husband and children. The game in question?

The reason for this being that I refused to play a game for two hours with my husband and children. The game in question?
Frisbee Golf. I’ll say that again in case you didn’t quite get it. Frisbee. Golf.
I know.
That’s not to say I didn’t try to play. I did. I participated for about twenty minutes, running pathetically to catch the Frisbee. Getting annoyed when Tess lost one of the Frisbees in the river. Complaining loudly when I finally caught the annoying flying disk, that the hard plastic “hurt my hands.”
Twenty minutes I persevered before I stuck out my lip like the whinge bucket that I am and whined:

” why don’t you just drop me at the library?”

Frisbee golf.

“What’s the matter with you? It’s fun!”

I’m putting the exclamation mark there because that’s how he said it to me. Brian, the perfect game playing dad. All fun and excitement. The very word. Fun. It makes me nervous.

“Yes Mummy, don’t be so boring. Why don’t you ever want to play games with us?”

Sod off Tween. Looking all lovely in your shorts and your high ponytail.
Making me feel like an old biddy.
Stop siding with Mr fun and look at my red raw knuckles. Look at the sweat under my arms because I insisted on bringing this granny fleece.
They gave in. I got driven to the library which conveniently is just five minutes drive away.

“Let’s just go back and play for a couple of hours by ourselves. We’ll pick Mummy up later.”

Let me tell you; this was not said in a sympathetic way. She practically kicked me out onto the pavement.

To be honest, deep down, I was secretly hoping that they would decide to abandon the idea of Frisbee golf, knowing that I wasn’t going to be joining them. But I kid you not; I swear I saw smoke coming from the wheels of the van they sped away so fast.
And so, here I sit. With a handful of smellies and three foreign students.

Living life to the full on a Sunday
It’s a beautiful day, sun cracking the flags, and where am I? In a stifling library, attempting to write a blog. I’ve straightened my chair, three times. I’ve looked twice at the closed cafe in the corner. Sighing loudly and rolling my eyes dramatically at the inconvenience of not being able to get an overpriced cup of tea. I’m resisting the urge to pick up my phone and text them to see if Sonny has been smashed in the face with the Frisbee and needs his mum.
No. Don’t do that.
It will be good for the kids to spend time with their Dad. Without sourdough trailing behind them. My tweens words start to creep in. They ring in my ears. Ears that are now getting hot from other people’s breath.

“Why do you never play games with us?”

She’s right. I think back to when they were little. Those dreaded words that would turn me cold.

“Mummy, can you play a game with us?”

Oh, God. Oh no. No.

“Mummy’s just going to pull all the hundreds of sheets and pillowcases out of the airing cupboard and then pretend to put them all back in some sort of order. I know, why don’t you get your dollies and put them all to bed under this washed out dirty looking grey sheet and watch them until they wake up? That would be exciting wouldn’t it?!”

Or even worse. In the car.

“mummy, shall we play eye spy?”

Shit. We’re driving from Bath to Cornwall along the motorway. There’s only ever going to be T for tree or C for car.

“I know… Why don’t you two play ‘the first to speak’ game?!”

Clever, inventive, mummy.

No wonder these rich parents employ clowns and jugglers for their children’s birthdays. It’s not because they’re loaded. It’s because they don’t want to admit that they hate playing games with the little buggers.
It’s not just games that involve children that turn me sour. No. They’re bad enough, but, the thought of adults playing games together without children present? Well. That just takes the biscuit. Why would full grown mature adults, who, quite frankly should know better, want to play a bloody game? Have they never heard of wine? Or bed?
Frisbee golf.
I sit here, in the place that only saddos come to on a sunny Sunday, and contemplate why I hate games so much. It’s not as if we don’t have millions of games of which I could at least try and find a flicker of joy, We do. They’re crammed into what is supposed to be the printer cupboard (I know, posh aren’t we?) They spew out onto the floor every time I sneak open the door to get a piece of paper or the stapler. Annoying pieces of wooden rectangles mixing up with yellow counters and that little dog out of the monopoly or worse still, the saddle from Buckaroo. It just adds to my game hating anguish.

Posh isn’t it?
And I know what people will say,
“They won’t be around for long, and once they’re gone, you’d do anything to play games with them.”
No, I won’t.
I can’t see me sitting there, old and grey- well just older and no longer dying my hair- with the sudden urge to play Frisbee golf with my children. Anyway, they’d be about forty, and by then, they too will be middle aged and bitter like me.

I’m one of those people that others call, ’a bad sport’. I’m not in the slightest way competitive. Not like Mr Fun and my tween. I don’t care who gets the first frisbee in the net. It’s boring.

From what I gathered in my whole twenty minutes of participating, the only fun thing about playing golf frisbee is purposely throwing the frisbee away from the target and making someone else go and fetch it. This way, you get a few minutes respite, in which you can either, kick some grass, have a nose around at what other frisbee golf players are doing –usually nothing because they’re too busy being boring- or go and read the rules board. Again.

I must admit. It’s a nice sign.
Way da minute though. Before I fall headfirst into the pit of parenting doom, pulling you down with me, I must remind myself, and my children (you’d better be reading this) of a couple of points.

Granted, I may not be the first to put my hand up for ‘Guess Who” (they’ve all got bloody beards and glasses, even the women.) But, let us not forget the “fun” things that I do play with you. You see, the best type of games are those that you don’t even know you’re playing. That’s the trick. These aren’t organised games my loves. These are the games of life my chickadees.

Here are a few forms of entertainment that only mummy can do. These are; ‘Mummy’s kind of games’

• I can sit for hours talking to you about a film (if it’s British), or documentary that we have just watched. I’m then able to turn that into a writing lesson without you even noticing what I’ve done. Tah Dah!
• How about when I took you to that shipwreck with a pen and paper, and you took turns in writing a line of poetry about it until we had that crazy, beautiful poem?
• Or the time I Blindfolded you both, putting your hands into the bag to feel raw livers and kidneys to enrich your lesson on the sense of touch. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that one. Now that I say it out loud, it makes me sound a bit freaky, and to be perfectly honest; I think it scared you for life)
• Getting us all in the car and chasing the sun for the best view of the eclipse. We drove for an hour pretending we were like that woman in Twister (well I did. You just wanted an ice-cream)
• And I absolutely loved taking you to that ancient woodland in the snow and pretending that we were in Narnia. (And yes Tess. I know. You started crying because I told you that your real parents were dead and that I was your new Mother from Witch kingdom, but come on, it was still a fantastic game)
So, there you have it. Each one of those ‘games’ gave me an enormous amount of pleasure, but not one contained a dice, or rules, or a Frisbee.
Apparently, it turns out that we are different. Game lovers and I.
Had I asked my game loving husband,

“Hey Bri, fancy walking two miles across the beach and writing a funny poem about that old ship?” he would probably have muttered something along the lines of,

“Ermm … I think Liverpool’s playing this afternoon and I’ve got to clean my van out. Then there’s the airing cupboard to sort…”

Aren’t we all, every single one of us different? Talented? Unique?

How boring to have the world full of people with similar personalities, with the same likes and dislikes. All wanting to play Frisbee golf. Or sit on slippery rocks with a wet bum, writing poetry.

I think it’s time to embrace those things that we are good at as parents, instead of focusing on those that we are not. Or those that we simply don’t enjoy. For me, its games, others feel bad about not liking cooking or exercise. But let’s stop giving ourselves such a bloody hard time because we can’t be the perfect everything. Love doing everything. Participate in everything. We’re good enough, more than good enough, and our unique strengths and talents add to societies bubbling concoction of beautiful and diverse personalities. Each of us able to offer something that another person can’t. If Hungry Hippos is your idea of fun, fantastic! If not, fantastic! (call me, now. We need to be friends).
Well. The library has indeed made me feel very philosophical. I must come here more often on a Sunday. I’m going home a new woman. (God help them).

I can only hope that my children remember this.

Their mother may well have been a miserable cow when it came to frisbee golf. But she did a bloody good party trick with a pack of chicken livers.

Rhyming with Wine


You Baby Me Mummy
Rhyming with Wine

Children.The answer is still No.


I know you’re going to say no, but…”
There stands my 12-year-old. Trying to look as doey eyed as she did when she was seven but, with the tween years almost behind her, cuteness has taken second place to a determination. Omit the image of baby Bambi, and think the kangaroo out of Horton hears a who.


There. Now you get the picture.

“I know you’re going to say no, but…”

I didn’t hear the rest. I pretended to have urgent business to attend. The carrots were boiling over; I think I put the milk carton in the non-recycle bin or, I’d forgotten to put the bottle of sauvignon blanc in the fridge, and it was nearly ten past five.
I retreated to my office.


My life it seems is full of affirmations. Trumpeted to me regularly by those beautiful children of mine. Unfortunately, though, they’re not the affirmations that you wish to have written on your headstone. As much as I do all the mantras, have my little post-it notes on the fridge, listen to the soothing tones of my meditation app, as soon as I take the headphones off and step into the life that is mine, I am met by my two beauties. Reminding me that,“ hey. You. You don’t do this, you never do that, and you always say no!”

Ahh, and there’s me thinking I was perfect. Back to the drawing board.

When I was a kid-I, can’t believe I just said that, but, when I was a kid, and it wasn’t that long ago, Ok, Maggie was in power, but it wasn’t that far back, I didn’t hear the word “yes” that often. Apart from the times when I asked,
“so I have to do all the dusting, and the hoovering and Jamie only needs to put the cushions straight?”(middle child favouritism).
“Yes”. Or.
“What? You want me to walk 2 miles back down the same hill that I’ve just trudged up from school, to go and get you a pint of milk from the village shop because you can’t drive and are too lazy to go yourself? And by the way. I’m 9”. (and by the way, I didn’t tell her she was lazy)

Now. I don’t wish to be all- woe is me I had a horrid childhood, far from it. Walking up that hill with the milk sparked future creativity. Breaking up twigs and pretending they were ciggies was surely the beginning of my passion for drama. But, compared to the privileged life that my two lovelies have. Frig, yes. The two resemble chalk and cheese.

Even my idol who owned the local post office and corner shop, the one who was allowed to have a pie from the hot cabinet for her lunch, that one. Even she didn’t have what my children have, and in my eyes, she had everything. She even got a tin of condensed milk in her stocking for Christmas once. And she was allowed to eat it straight out of the tin.

Yet despite  the fact that I didn’t get whatever I wanted, driven here, taken there, enrolled into the next best thing club. I was happy. Damn… sorry. That sounds so bloody cliched, but I was.

And I don’t think it did me any harm. To be told no more often than, yes. In fact, if anything, it made me a more determined, creative, productive and a more resilient human being. ( Apart from when I sit in the toilet crying because… well because it’s Tuesday.)

Let me reveal to you what I did when my I asked my parents for a pony and got a,

I know you’ll think I’m exaggerating when I tell you this, but it’s the truth.

When I was 9 we lived next door to a pig farm. After school each day, (’cause this was the 80s, and we didn’t have fencing, drama club, flute lessons or ballet class in the olden days) I would go to the farm. I’d spend at least an hour hosing down pig shite and then when the farmer went in for his tea; I’d try and ride one of the pigs.

No Joke.

That’s how desperate I was for a pony.

Trying to mount a pig. Now that’s determination. I’ve told my kids this story. They think I’m a chronic liar. I just look back and think… Wow. What a freak.

I’m still trying to work out which one I am. (The freak ) A twisted mother, or someone who believes that children don’t benefit from being spoiled. I’ll go with the latter, which is why I’ve tried with my kids to say no. Not just for the sake of it, but so that they may become creative and think of an alternative. (And so they too can be little pig riding  weirdo’s  like me).
But as you know, and I guess there must be a fair few of you who agree with me on this, it’s not easy.
Its one of the hardest tasks in the world. Saying no to your kids. Especially when most of the time it would be easier just to say  yes. And it’s not just the saying of no. But saying no and then sticking to it. Even when they sidle up to you on the couch after dinner, hoping that your brick wall decision might possibly have been softened by a few grape juices. Go away. The answer’s still no.

One of my favourite films is, ‘ For the boys’ with Clive Owen. A beautiful tale of a newly widowed Dad, raising his boys in Australia. When he finds himself struggling, he sticks a sign to his fridge. It says. “just say yes to everything’
But that’s Hollywood, and maybe if I was married to Clive Owen or I was Clive Owens, dead wife, then I would agree. But I’m not.
Instead I just try to keep my kids pretty grounded. Try to not give them a yes to every single request. And in their defence, they’re actually pretty good.

Ive had to battle not to cave into the pressure of saying yes, simply because if I don’t, I might be considered mean, or be seen as depriving my children of something that may give them acute satisfaction for all of about 17 minutes.

Ok. Wait. Contary to what you may be thinking, Im not the wicked witch of the west. My poor homeschooled children locked at home in their pyjamas with no friends, and the only thing the tight cow of a mother will spend money on is a dictionary, a pair of crocs (replicas, not the real thing) and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. They do alright. More than alright. Honest.

Although had you asked my daughter last night? No. My Little kangaroo would have said they never get anything. Nothing. Rien. Jack sh*t.
Alright Liz, don’t get excited.

Now, because it seems, I have far too much time on my hands, rather than doing the things I should be doing; teaching my children. Picking through the garden with a poo bag, I am writing this blog. To share with you a few of the ‘wants’ that I have received this past year from my teen and tween.

What follows are my somewhat artistic reasons as to why the answer was a definite…No.

“Can I have a pony”.

This is a beauty. And one that I think every 12 year old girl must ask for. Remember the pig? I do. Vividly. Find a pony to exercise for free . Other than that stick a halter on Patrick, our pet sheep, and go for a canter ‘round the paddock.

• “Can I have $10 ? to get a snack while I’m waiting for you to come out of the supermarket with a glut of food that I will devour as soon as I get home”.

The reincarnated seagull that goes by the disguise of my 15 year old son. Get your pocket money out and go and buy your own chips. Even better, come into the supermarket with me and help to carry the shopping. Oh god no. On second thoughts… Just wait here and be hungry.

“Can I dye my hair pink? Permanently”.

ER…No love. You can not dye your hair pink. We are not Stephanie from Lazy Town. We are homeschoolers, and its hard enough explaining to folks why you’re ‘not in school today?’ without saying “oh, and by the way. That pink hair? Its permanent.”

“Can I get a motorbike?”.

No. I’ve witnessed what you’re like with the lawn mower. Pushing it like a mad man. Headphones in, laughing manically to your Ricky Gervais podcast. No. The scooter’s there, ride that. It may not be cool but its bloody zippy when you get that leg swinging.


• “Can I get Facebook?

You’ve got that lip syncing app that keeps you in your bedroom with the hairbrush for hours already. You really don’t need to see dead cats, big lips and plates of spagetti bolognese. Anyway. If you get FB you’ll be able to read all the things I write about you…No.

• “Can I get these expensive trainers with the tick on them ?”.

You know, heres me. I can’t remember the last time I went and bought myself expensive stuff. The Elastic has gone in my knickers… and I can’t seem to find the time to go and buy new ones. Its sad. So, No. Wear the crocs I bought you last month. Until your feet stop growing at a rate of knots, the answer is, NO.
One day I will write a list of all the Yes things Ive agreed to. To make myself feel better.. Until then, I will persist in trying to keep my little darlings from resembling Harper and Brooklyn Beckham, although, lets face it. Riding a scooter in crocs with their mother tailing behind in knickers with no elastic. Theres not much chance of that is there? No Liz, No.

Thank you to my two main sources of blog materiel x

My child? Become a plumber? Over my dead body…

This is my husband, Brian. He is a plumber.

Now I have a friend. A very good friend- who thankfully has nothing to do with social media or any other platforms where this might be seen- who is oblivious to this fact.

Even though we have been friends for over 8 years, perhaps my husband’s occupation just slipped her mind.

Last week, over coffee, she was despairing as to what her 18-year-old son was going to do with his life when she turned to me and said,  “He’s just wasting his entire life. I mean my God. At this rate, he’s going to end up being a plumber”.

This statement was accompanied by a look that one might have were they to walk in and find the male and female kittens they had bought at Christmas, humping the hell out of each other. It was that look of utter disgust. And I know. They were. But that’s another story.

  Although  I felt like this:

WTF you cheeky cow !

Being British, I instead  pretended that  I hadn’t heard her, and did this:

Nice coffee here isn’t it?

But when I got home, I went to my sanctuary that is the toilet. And I pondered.

My office

I thought; should I be friends with you anymore? What if you come to my house for dinner (incidentally she never has, as she doesn’t drink wine and people who don’t drink wine are never invited to my house for dinner). But what if she did and discovered Brians tools hanging by the front door?

(actually, this is me being dramatic, they’re kept in his van)

But then I remembered how she was really kind when I sobbed my heart out because I thought I was doing a crap job as a teacher and decided no. She’s a keeper.

Even if she will never share a bottle of Merlot with me.  It was just a snobby comment. Said from a place of unjustified fear. And we all know, our old pal fear don’t we?

So, I just let it go.

The next day I happened to listen to one of the most inspiring podcasts I’d listened to in a while. ‘Why kids don’t need a university degree to become successful and get a job.’ The host went on to  list ’10 jobs that pay $100k or more (Without a college degree).’

Ryan Deiss, an entrepreneur and guest on the show, summed up trades perfectly.

“Every job is a trade. Whether you are a tradesman at fixing peoples teeth, their bodies, their bank balance. They’re all trades.” Ryan Deiss.

This did two things to me. It made me feel a bit better about myself. (see ya later fear) About my constant insecurities as to what my children will do in the future.

Neither of my two are academics. They love the arts and languages, but maths and science? Nah.  This, of course, wouldn’t be so bad were they in a mainstream school. I’m sure there would be some advisor person who could guide them in the correct direction, letting me off the hook with my unwanted advice. But as it is, they’re homeschooled. So it’s me, the plumber, and occasionally the old guy down the beach with his dog who likes to have a pop at what they might do in the future.


When I left school, about 50% of my friends had no intention whatsoever of going to University. They left school and got jobs as hairdressers, builders, beauticians, butchers. One worked in the bank, another at the swimming pool, and every one of these people, as far as I know, is satisfied and happy.

It seems to me,  that- regardless of what these young adults wish to do- it is pretty much expected of them to go to University and get a degree. It doesn’t matter what in. Just get the degree. As if by doing so they automatically gain acceptance into the exclusive, ‘you’re doing the right thing’ club.  I’m not talking about vets, dentists and brain surgeons. Of course, yes, these jobs require a degree. But many other equally exceptional professions do not.      It’s almost as if by not sending our kids to university for 4 years we are failing. Like my friend thinks. If her son doesn’t go to university, he’ll  have to opt for second best. Get a trade. Become working class. That’s right. Working class. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids? To be working?

Well yes… but It’s just that we are rather particular as to which profession we’d like them to be working in. You know… It has to be a profession on, ‘the really respectable job list’. And therein lies the problem of my friend.

You rarely hear it said, “He wants to be a builder”. “He wants to be a hairdresser.” “She’s training to be a chef”. Maybe you do. Maybe it’s just me.

Chefs, estate agents,  electricians, singers, dancers, florists, jewellers, makeup artists, gardeners, mechanics. To name just a few. You don’t need the magic degree to get any of these jobs, what you do need is training. Patience. Hard work. Commitment. Years of working under a master as an apprentice. Grit.

If that’s what our children are showing an interest in, shouldn’t we be supporting them and encouraging them to obtain these characteristics and skills? Let’s not contribute to this social stigma that is attached to those who leave school and just well,  go and get a job.

 I for one would be proud of any child of mine who was led by their passion and ballsiness for wanting to get out into the workforce and start learning and earning.

Right. Phew. Rant over. If you want to listen to the podcast and become as irate as me, the episode is 225.  If not, delete this post. And don’t tell my friend that I told you this. It was a private conversation.

Right. I’m going to have a glass of wine, alone. I mean to fantasise about what I can spend the $100,000 I’ll be saving on university fees on.

Where did I have it stashed…?

I think it’s in Brians pipes.



Absolutely Prabulous


Busted by my teenager

Yesterday, whilst groaning (it’s obligatory), my teenage son accused me  “Never saying what you really mean..”

Ohhhh, my boy. Don’t go there. Not today. Not when my meditation app has just told me to smile. From my eyes and my heart. Don’t give me conflict today. Pllleeaasse.

But, as usual, we continue. Along our jolly little ‘nearly 16-year-old’ way. Me, the shouldn’t get drawn in’ Mother, and him, the Son. The lovely young, but also you understand, sagacious, (16 in June) son. And so, I attempt to answer. To justify this outrageous accusation. But before I do, I explain that I have to get a splinter out of my finger and rush to the sanctuary of the bathroom, at which point I sit on the bath and have a good long think.

Can you imagine It? If we Mothers, wives, daughters, friends, spent our whole lives saying exactly what we wanted to say. It would either be complete bliss or; we would find ourselves rocking in the corner. No friends, greasy hair, muttering the words over again, “I only told the truth. I just told the truth…”

You see, it’s not that we lie to our children per se, is it? No, we just …a little bit don’t tell the truth to them. Say words. Those words that don’t really count as lies. Those untruths. There. Untruths. That sounds more literate and therefore far more intelligent and kinder than lies, much more justifiable. Little…Untruths. 

What I really wanted to say when ‘Mr. Clever Clogs I’m nearly 16 and so know-e-v-e-r-y-thing-there-is-to-know-about-e-v-e-r-y-thing ‘ was,

“Ahh, Shaddap”.

No… grow up, Liz. Your 46, not 9. I wanted to say

Actually…, NO.

Shaddap was what I really wanted to say, but…I didn’t. I couldn’t.

“You never say what you really mean.”

My God. He’s right. I’m a compulsive chronic liar. I’m one of those who doesn’t even know that they’re doing it.

Tell me. Enlighten me. Is it just me because I’m a homeschool mum with far too much teenage company on my hands, and therefore feel an obligation to spice things up a little in the trust department? Or do we all tell our children these glorious little-coded untruths?

What we really mean when we say to our kids…

  • ‘Look in the middle drawer in the kitchen’ (I’ve thrown it in the bin)
  • ‘I can’t remember’ (I’m not telling you)
  • ‘Have you used that new shower gel I bought you yet?’ (get washed. You smell)
  • ‘I’m going for a walk with Dad’ (I need someone to moan to. About you.)
  • ‘Why don’t you all go and pick blackberries?’ (go away. I want to surf the internet on my phone for half an hour)
  • ‘I’m just going to the toilet.’ (See above) 
  • ‘I think so …Yes’ (I haven’t got a clue who or what you’re talking about)
  • ‘What was Y’s Mum doing when you went over to his house last night?’(tell me she was sloshed on the couch with an empty bottle of wine)
  • ‘Why don’t you have an apple if you’re hungry’ (those crisps will make your spots worse)
  • ‘It’s been lovely these past few days without any distractions’ (I’m ecstatic that your computer’s broken)
  • How do I add a tag to this photo? (I do actually know how to do this. I just want you to feel sorry for me. For once)
  • ‘Do you prefer me with long hair or short?’ (I’m a hormonal wreck going through perimenopause, just say I look gorgeous with both.)
  • Want to come for a walk with the dog? ( I love talking to you)
  • ‘Act your age; you’re nearly 16’ (OMG you’re nearly 16. Please don’t leave home)
  • ‘It’s 11 pm! I don’t want to hear about your drama rehearsal’(lay down and let me stroke your hair)
  • ‘You’re driving me mad’… (I love you).    

Our little world of cryptographic language.

When a toddler says something truthful  (usually much to the embarrassment of the parent standing next to them) people just laugh and say, “out of the mouths of babes!”

So what changes I wonder?

Maybe he’s right, my, ‘Mr Clever Clogs 16 year old’. (don’t tell him I said that though)

Maybe we do hide behind our words.  Never saying what we really mean. Making life more complicated than it needs to be with all our untruths. And as we get older and older we just add more and more layers.

No. Don’t say that. I don’t want to be one of those old women who tell lies about everything from their age to the number of operations they’ve had…

Right then. Time for a change. I’m turning over a new leaf. As from now, I’m telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No more underlying – excuse the pun – interpretations. No more, ‘guess what I mean what I really really mean .’


The truth.

But maybe I’ll just leave out the bit about the spots.

And the smell.

And the fact that I broke his laser pen.

Just tell him I love him.

And stroke his hair.

And tell him I love him.

Some more.

After the Playground

7 things new parents should avoid saying.

Eavesdropping on conversations is the best.

Eavesdropping on parents with new babies, well, that takes the pastime to a different league. There’s nothing finer than walking into the post office, seeing a long queue (granted, not a regular occurrence in New Zealand) and getting behind a couple of young parents swapping baby brags. Sorry, news.  Hearing them always makes me feel sort of curious and nervous at the same time. The same nervous feeling you get when you’re just about to go over the top on the rollercoaster. And interested to know if, 15 years later, new parents are still saying and believing the same old twaddle. It reminds me of all of the things that I too said when my teenagers were babies. And perfect. And kind. And controllable. When I innocently believed that this is how it would always be. In. The. Days. Before. They. Changed.

I know, I know. You think you have the perfect child, we all do. And they are; perfect I mean. It’s just that… you know that saying ‘ don’t tempt fate’? Well, it applies to all of the following points. So Parents. As desperate as you are to blurt out these statements, Don’t.

  1. “He is such a good sleeper”.

Granted, at the moment this is very convenient. Not for you getting up at 5 am to put the telly on. No thank you. We have a routine. We have this sleeping thing nailed.  But, be warned. At 15…you can’t get them out of that same bed for love nor money. You long for a day, just one, when they’ll get up out of that stinking pit before 11 am. I’m still waiting.

2. “She eats anything. Her favourite is vegetable korma”.

That’s because she’s strapped into that chair with no way of escape. It doesn’t last. The Nigella Lawson pea risotto is a thing of the past, and will instead be  replaced by the never-ending question: “does it have mushrooms in it?”

3. “He loves it when I play classical music in the car. I think he’s going to be a composer.”

If you’d rather listen to Adele than Baby Beethoven, do it. The only thing he will be composing in the car at 15 is a text. And guess what? You’re not part of it, so keep your eyes on the road . And , whatever .
4. “She’s already using her pincer grip.”

Believe me. When your girl reaches 13,  and you see those thumbs whizzing over the Instagram keyboard at a hundred miles an hour, you’ll wish she’d kept those beautiful chubby fists in her mouth. Don’t encourage the use of fast fingers. Put mittens on until she’s 20 if necessary.

5. “He’s saying Dada, but I’m teaching him to say, Mama!”

Don’t. Once it starts, it never stops. Just leave it. Let Dada take the blame.

6. “She loves her big brother.”

Make the most of this one. It seems that when a pair of siblings enters into the dark void that is teenagerism, they make a secret pact. “In front of  Mum and Dad, at least, we will hate each other .Especially at dinner time; just to ensure their dinner goes down in lumps.”

7. “I’m taking him to coffee mornings. He needs to socialise.”

If your idea of sitting in a big circle with a load of other knackered parents, staring and comparing little blobs, mashing, mushy banana (if you’re healthy) or digestives (if you were me) into their bibs, then go ahead. Honestly ? Go round to Grandmas, (if you don’t have one handy, there’s always the old people’s home down the road), make yourself a cup of tea, get a magazine (preferably not on good parenting), and let her hold and coo for an hour. Socialising done. And don’t worry, in 15 years he will have 1023 friends, on Facebook.

There then .  That’s  it for starters,  but,  be warned. As the years go by there arrives loads more. All the time. However, at least you’re in the ‘know’ now . You’re in the proper parents’ gang. You see,  they don’t tell you these things at antenatal class, it’d seem a bit scary wouldn’t it?   “Heres a free nappy, oh and by the way, anything good that happens? Just ignore it, it doesn’t last”.

So, new parent. Next time you’re stood waiting in line and someone asks how the new baby is,  just say, ” naughty as hell ” that way, you’re not setting yourself up for future disappointments. Not only that,  but you’ll keep the nosy old bag, the one listening to your conversation behind you, happy.



Island Living 365

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Rhyming with Wine

A homeschool Mothers’ life. Her REAL life…

Someone , whom I won’t name, said to me this week 

“You’re so lucky… You just seem to have it all together…”

I won’t tell you how I replied, but, it got me thinking. 

As a result, I’d thought I’d share with you all (all 4 of you), my life of which some may see (through those pink specs)  and the actual reality of it. 

Here’s how my week went. 

(Please excuse the crap drawings… my sister is the artist in the family. I’m the otherwise perfect one…uuhhumm)

As some of you may be aware, I have homeschooled  both my kids for the past 8 years. (Sonny is coming up to 16 , and Tessa is nearly 13.) Fun times. Honestly. No really. OK then. Fine.

When you tell people that you homeschool, that you decided , out of choice , to stay at home with the little buggers, they look at you with either : 
(a) Do you need to see a doctor? Or,

(b) Are you a half wit?  No, just joking. Or, 

(b) Wow… you are amazing … what a fabulous life you must have . 

Here’s what people imagine homeschooling to look like…

And so Henry, King of England, was born , Blah, Blah, Blah…

But if you’d walked into my house on Monday morning.

This, is how homeschooling really looked…

Get off that friggin’ computer, you unhealthy pair of addicts…

It’s not easy being married to a plumber with his own business. As any self employed person will know, the money gets paid, as and when. Usually when. When the customer remembers or when they can be bothered. 

Wednesday came around and I was asked to phone and chase a customer… Great. 

Sonny decides to play the hallelujah song at a rate of knots on the piano… Tessa is winding the cat up, the signal on the phone goes dead if you go anywhere outside the prison of the living room… So.

This is what the customer thought they heard…

No problem, honestly! Just whenever you’re ready!

However , had they listened properly they would have heard this …

Hhmmm . Moving swiftly on to a Friday .

I look on FB and see a gorgeous picture of a couple sipping wine, with a caption “date night!”.
Date night. 

What’s that?. 

I think back to the days before my life changed beyond belief.  To the days before my chicklings took my life and decided to claim it as their own . To the days when I didn’t introduce myself as, ” Hi! I’m liz… Sonnys’ mum”.

If I lied to you. Remember, lied to you , here’s  what our bedroom looked like on Friday night…

I feel so young

It was a lie… remember?? the reality? Come on… and don’t bother telling me this isn’t the last thing you think of a night…

Did you put the bins out?

Exactly. Charming but true. There. So that was my week. That was my little, homeschooling, practically perfect wife and Mother week .
Right. I’m off to cook my children a homemade risotto … frozen pie and chips? Me?