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,”


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


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.

Beware. You become a parent and suddenly, like every other thing that you possess, you will 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. It’s why they call us multitaskers.

The dreaded meal time routine. God help you if you didn’t have 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 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.


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.


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…


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.


Perfect. Now close the door.


Mummy in a Tutu
R is for Hoppit
You Baby Me Mummy

How not to be labelled as judgmental by your teenager.


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)

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?
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 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.”


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.

This Mum's Life


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.


( 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?



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.


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


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


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.”




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…



R is for Hoppit
You Baby Me Mummy
Rhyming with Wine

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Cuddle Fairy

Mother of Teenagers”>

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:



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.


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!”



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.


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.






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.


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.



Who needs rugby?







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
Cuddle Fairy


R is for Hoppit

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!”

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
You Baby Me Mummy