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

Love it. Hate it. Blogging.

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



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

Five things that drive me mad about blogging.

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


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

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

No readers. Ok, good point.

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

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

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

Five things I love about blogging

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

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

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

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

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


Maybe two.


R is for Hoppit
You Baby Me Mummy
Pink Pear Bear
One Messy Mama

Rhyming with Wine
My Random Musings

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

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


Last week in a cafe, I evesdropped overheard a woman despairing as to what her 18-year-old son was going to do with his life,

“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 and because I shouldn’t be listening to peoples conversations anyway, I did this:

Nice coffee here isn’t it?




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.

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. Just as the woman in the cafe believes; 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.

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.

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