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

What you can do with a whole hour !

 The clocks went back in New Zealand at midnight last night. I woke up this morning with a whole extra hour to my name.

Oh, joy.

An extra hour. For a short while, I felt like a rich lady.


 Let’s face it, the only thing worth a jot in life, is time.

Time, shows up in life as two guises.

There is time rich. When the hours roll along languidly .  Hands, stretching lazily around the face of the clock, surrendering at the last moment to reach reluctantly over to the next minute waiting in line.  Remember that time?  When you have devoured three whole pages of your favourite book.  Been cuddling with your newborn baby, laying , just smelling their head. Painting your toes. Wandering along a beach, a park, through the streets of a new city. Waiting for a bus, waiting for an appointment. Waiting for the blue line to appear in the window.  Those times.

When you look to the clock and find, just 2  small minutes have passed…

And then, there’s the other sort of time. Time poor.

The mean one.

The one that taunts us. The one that can run faster, much faster than we can. Time that, when we arrive at the finish line at the end of the day, head falling with exhaustion onto the waiting pillow, is there. Smug.  Arms folded, legs crossed, head cocked , as if to say “what kept you?”

As I lay in bed this morning, I wandered which one I would be encountering today. I knew which one I’d rather dance with, but it seems that the choice is often not ours to take.  My mind, saying “do this! do that!  you’ve got loads of time” (an extra hour!).

In reality,  I felt the hands of time, taunting me. Dragging me , kicking and screaming, towards mid morning , and before I knew it, my lie in had gone over time and that familiar feeling of ‘running out of time’ came over me.

Children it seems, have a very simple philosophy on these matters. I decided to ask the oracle that is my 12-year-old daughter, her thoughts on the matter. Resisting the urge to say, “Tell me quickly!”  I instead calmly asked:

“Tess. Why do you think it is, that sometimes time just whizzes past, and other times the time just goes so slowly ( I know. That’s a lot of times…)

“Oh, that’s easy. Time goes really slowly  when you’re concentrating on just one thing “

The words of professor Higgins spring to mind.  ‘By Jove, I think she’s got it’

Lightbulb moment.

It all fell beautifully into place.

The baby, the reading, the bus, the blue window…

To Concentrate on one thing . Otherwise known as mindfulness. To be mindful.

Mind :The seat of consciousness. The focus of ones thoughts. To apply oneself to. To concern oneself with. To give heed to. To notice.


I set myself a small task. It was to empty the dishwasher . I know- my life oozes excitement- but, I made sure that I focused on that , and that alone. Looking at every cup, placing it in the correct drawer (Ok, ramming it into the other cups because there was  no space) but really concentrating on just that.

It was quite unbelievable. That whingeing  dishwasher, that dishwasher, that in my household, sits there like a burping,  overstuffed aubergine, constantly whining, “I’m full… empty me …” was unburdened  of its contents in about 90 seconds flat. Done.

I went on. Little things, that I needed to do. Brush my teeth , fold the washing, phone the piano teacher and cancel the lesson.

All of these things I found were done in a moment. A focused , concentrated, moment. Stress free.

Try it. It works. I promise.

I made it to about 12pm. But tomorrow I’m going to have another practice. And the day after that , and the day after that too. I am waging a war against the time thief that goes by the name of poor. I am determined to win.

Give yourself one task to do. Just one. And focus your complete  attention to whatever it is you’re doing.

Watch what happens to the time.

Just promise me one thing? That if you ram two cups inside of each other to make more space… Do it mind fully .


Spot. The difference when you’re not 12. 

As Mothers, we are always telling our children, “be who you are!” “Dont worry what people think of you!” ” Just love being you!”.


I woke up this morning with a big fat spot on the side of  my face.

“Where the hell has that come from?” is what flickered through my mind for 3 seconds. But, then I remembered.

We had run out of toilet roll last night.  If the kids were to use the kitchen paper towel when they visited the toilet this morning, it would block up the septic tank. Not a nice thought , and one much more important than the offending spot. Off to the shop I go. New face guest in tow. Ah, how bliss it is, to be 46 and not give a shit about a spot.

Fast forward five hours. Sitting next to my 12 (and 3/4 ) year old daughter, in the car. Although we have been together all day, still, she had failed to notice this new addition. Until now.

“What is that on your cheek?” She asks, in a tone that is reserved only for mothers and daughters.

“A spot- see! Even adults get spots!”

It was said in a , ‘look at me ! I’m 46 , Ive got a spot and I’m so cool about it.’ sort of way. To reassure, not myself, but her.

Or maybe both of us.

The reasoning behind that?

I look at this beautiful girl. Who, so far this week, has worried and fretted about the following :

  • The new knickers that you bought me (2 weeks ago) show through my dance shorts.
  • My lips are getting too big for my flute (honestly) and its not blowing right.
  • I think there are  flees in my bed (new kittens, so fair point), my backs itchy.
  • I’ve got a mono brow.
  • I’m too tall.
  • My T.shirt isn’t white anymore (hands up to that one)
  • Ive got too many moles…

OOhhhh …I could go on and on.


My wonderful girl is 12. She’s beautiful, she’s talented.

But she’s 12.

And remember how hard 12 was?

And I think I’ve got problems, with an overflowing septic tank.

So, my lesson and hope for today?

Is that, when she saw her Mother-facing the world without an ounce of, ‘its going to make it look worse’ concealer on- she took something away.  Even a little,tiddly,12 year old something. And logged it, into that beautiful brain of hers.

Please know that you’re  gorgeous. Know that it wouldn’t matter if you had twenty million spots and eyebrow hairs and lips and fleas and yellowy white t shirts – you’ll still always be gorgeous. Because you are you. Because you are 12.Because you are 46. 52. 64. 73. 88. 96…

We are all … just gorgeous .

Thank you spot. Thank you age… Thank you toilet rolls.