All the good stuff from the 90’s seems to be making a comeback right now. X files, All Saints, Twin peaks??!!Hmmm.. So I’m thinking of getting my 90’s party girl crew together for a comeback of our own.
We had so much fun … I’m sure it’s merely coincidence that this was a pre-children era!
Surely 90’s partying has to beat mum partying??
90’s me: Would prep for a night out all day! Toss about in my dressing gown with a face mask on, hairshine treatment on the hair, maybe a wash in wash out colour if we we’re taking risks. Line stomach around 5ish (slice of toast) and be out by 7 o clock.
Mum me: Going out prep is actually washing my hair rather than relying on dry shampoo. Sighing at the wardrobe packed with clothes that will NEVER fit me again (seriously Kelly, those size 8 trousers, whilst beautiful and crazily expensive will never fit your arse, give them to charity shop and stop torturing yourself)
Down a glass of wine to get into the party spirit and out you go, giddy with excitement at getting to actually go out with grown ups!
90’s me: Was the height of fashion. Cropped trousers, platform heels, a boob tube (90’s me did not realise quite how envious her future self would be looking back at pics in said boob tube) I would run bright red hair mascara though my hair then press stud plastic jewels in (sorry hair) and skip off out!
Mum me: has around 3 outfits fit to be seen ‘out’ in. Mum me though is wise enough to know the key to these outfits is to pull a waist out of nowhere (thanks Gok). I resist the urge to pop a pair of flats in my handbag for when the heels start to hurt.
90’s me: Was a very frugal drinker. We knew exactly which bars had bottles of Metz and Castaway at buy one get one free and which pubs you could get a taboo and lemonade for £1.
Mum me: buys over priced drinks because I’M OUT!!! I’m excited and giddy to be free of mummy!
Mum me tells herself she will take it easy because she can’t afford to feel rough in the morning when the kids will be back at 9.
Mum me lies to herself.
90’s me: Would be clubbing until they turned out the lights. Come on, why would you stop dancing when the treat of tunes such as Cher’s Believe were on offer. We’d dance all night long (that kind of exercise probably explains how we could rock the boob tube) We’d pick up a kebab to eat in the taxi office in the knowledge we’d be in there an hour at least. Was OK though, you always made friends in the taxi office, it had a real drunken community feel! If there wasn’t at least one fight, 3 crying girls and someone vomiting at the door it just wasn’t a night out!
Mum me: After a few cocktails, a bit of a dance and a think about why they have to play the music soooo loud?! I’m on the way home, calling a takeaway en route to eat whilst catching up on whichever trashy TV I’ve missed with a bottle of wine.
90’s me: Never got a hangover. In fact I had never had a hangover until after the children came along. The other way around would be much kinder! After getting home around 3, I’d be up and at work for 7am bright and breezy. Work till 7pm then get back out getting ready in the work loo.
Mum me: Regrets that bottle of wine I had when I got in the second I open my eyes. I persuade the kids to have a movie day and lay on the sofa, dozing to the background of chipmunks and the like.
Hmmm, thinking about it maybe the comeback will have to wait, it sounds exhausting. Besides syncing babysitters is somewhat of a rarity. Maybe we’ll just have a one off comeback night in the future instead. We’ll hair mascara up, crack open the Hooch (that’s made a comeback too but not the apple one which is a shame) and head out on the one night only comeback gig.
I’ve been a single parent for many years and the majority of the time I do really enjoy it. It’s always going to be a thousand times better than what I had previously and it works for us.
I know every family is different and every parent will have their own highs and lows about parenting solo. These are just mine.
I’m in charge. In my house I’m sole maker of rules, sole enforcer of rules. There is no one to undermine me or give the kids mixed signals. As a result every knows exactly where they stand. The kids know exactly how far they can push boundaries before grumpy “games consoles are BANNED” mum makes an appearance.
No one much likes her, me included.
I get to be the ‘come to’ person.
Questions, worries, rants, irritations I’m the first port of call on that front. Whether that’s the little one asking me to teach her Spice Girls dance moves (I really am that cool) or the eldest asking me to do interview prep with him or youngest boy wanting to talk through what subjects he wants to take for GCSE then I’m the person they (possibly wrongly) turn to and I like that. If I can at all help, guide and comfort that’s got to be one of the biggest responsibilities of being a parent. Also,it makes me feel really wise. Not much does that!
On a day when the planets align. Everyone is enjoying spending time together, and they’re just basically all being nice people, I can look at them and think that I made this happen. It’s the best feeling.
Our family dynamic works. We’ve been us 5 a long time and we’ve settled into quite a nice cosy family. We’ve our own history full of remember when’s?? Our own in jokes and we all just fit.
Ill days. I love all the things I’ve outlined above. I like feeling like the independent woman doing parenthood alone… Until I’m ill. On a day I’ve a vomiting bug or just a horrid cold and want to climb under a duvet and die peacefully, those are tough days. Really bloody hard. On those days I’d walk over broken glass to have another pair of hands to make dinner or do the school run.
The days I’m to be seen vomiting discreetly mid school run because there’s no one else to do it? They’re not my finest hour.
The dark days. You know the ones? When those lovely children of yours turn into demons.. and all at the same time! The little one is having a tantrum because no one will do a jigsaw with her, the boys are arguing about whose turn it is on the computer and eldest girl is stropping about slamming doors for one reason or another. That’s all on me. Just me. I feel like the world’s most awful failure of a parent on those days. I question my parenting abilities and my sanity and on days like that feel lacking in both.
Thankfully those times don’t last too long and someone will do something nice and all is almost forgiven,but oh they’re the worst.
The ‘I need to split myself in two days’. The elder 3 want to see something different at the cinema to the little one. The older kids want to go go-karting whilst the youngest wants to go the petting zoo. If I just had another person around we could split activities and keep everyone happy. As it is my negotiation skills have to come into their own those days. Worst is if sports day collides with prize giving or parents evening is same night as a concert. That’s the real killer of a decision and one you can only ever get wrong.
This one is all in my head.
A combination of anxiety and a huge, huge chip on my shoulder about being a single mum make my mind drive itself nuts.
I hate the fact that at Parents Evenings where the two chairs are set up I only occupy one. It’s always just me. My mind starts telling me that everyone is thinking ‘Oh look there’s the woman with a million kids and no father to be seen’ (I’m referring to the elder ones here little one is lucky to have a hands on daddy)
I always feel like I’m the youngest mum around at the eldest school things too which adds to it.
I think and hope I’m finally beginning to lessen that chip on my shoulder, but I think it’ll always be there in some form!
On the whole I love being just the children and I. Our (not so) little family works well for us and really that’s all that counts.
I picked up Paris for One by Jojo Moyes when I was in the bookshop a few weeks ago. I don’t usually read shorter stories , but I’m glad I did this one.( the Sophie Hannah quick read is great too)
The premise of the story is that a woman is stood up by her boyfriend and ends up away in Paris alone . The whole idea of it has gotten the cogs of my mind whirring .
I’m no stranger to doing things on my own. I’ve been single for years and realised a while back that if I didn’t want to miss out on eating out and cinema trips and the like I’d just have to do them alone. My friends and family do have a giggle at my little solo evenings out but I quite like it. When the kids are away I like nothing better than going somewhere nice with a book for lunch , or dinner reading with a glass of wine. I know it sounds a bit sad but when I look around a restaurant and see couples out eating both looking at their phones without a word to say to each other, then I don’t feel so bad.
I admit the time I went to the cinema alone on Valentines day wasn’t the most uplifting and there was a low point at the theatre one time when an old lady shared her boiled sweets with me and kept patting my hand. I just thought she was being friendly but after the show she said ” it’s such a shame he didn’t turn up love , you look so nice ” She’d assumed I was on my own because I’d been stood up !!
After I’d read this book though , new thoughts started whirling through my mind. There are so many places I’d like that to visit, Paris being one. I’ve been kind of waiting to meet someone to do the whole weekend away thing with. What if I just did them on my own though?? I could go wherever I wanted , no need for compromise on destination.
I may have even found myself browsing the Eurostar website… The kids go away for a week in summer holidays…
Paris for One maybe ??!!!
I contemplated giving the whole internet dating thing a go a while back , it didn’t work. Turns out I don’t have the patience to weed out the knobheads. I often play with the idea of giving it another go , but then I snap out of it. Wouldn’t it be refreshing though to read a profile without all the cliches and lines. A brutally honest this is who I am type thing.
I think mine would read like this:
Name: NOT sweetheart/love/babe/princess
Body Type: Wobbly. Huge arse. Boobs that should NEVER be seen braless.
Drinks: never/socially/heavily depends on what kinda bloody day I’ve had!
Hobbies: Theatre and eating out ALONE
More about me
Am mentally sound most of the time , but when I veer to the wrong side of sane it’s not pretty . I’ve many emotional problems including being incapable of both intimacy and falling in love.
I have the table manners expectations of a Victorian lady. Lick your knife or speak with food in your mouth and I will leave the restaurant instantly never to be seen again.
I love crap TV and fantastic books.
Famously indecisive, incapable of talking about feelings *shudders*, bottler upper , compliment averse.
I find myself hilarious, I’m the only one but hey! Talk to myself often.
I haven’t had a man in my bed in so long so please don’t assume any of those shenanigans will be going on. They probably won’t.
Honestly I am A CATCH!!
What I’m looking for:
Makes a good cuppa
Patience of a Saint
Oh and you mustn’t be a total knobhead. Though I fear if you are a total knobhead you won’t realise you are a total knobhead, you probably think you’re a right charmer! Hmmmm send me 500 words on why you’re not a knobhead and we’ll take it from there!
No emojis , use of the word banter or shortening of my name without permission.
Yesterday was one of those days when the children were playing nicely enough together that I thought I could chance a sit down with a cuppa and a book for half an hour. The book though was A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon, and I’m ashamed to say the children were allowed much more than their allotted computer time as I couldn’t stop reading. As soon as they were in bed I finished it. It’s such a stunning book and everyone I know will be getting it for their birthdays. I adored Gina and I fell head over heels with Nick(it’s a possibility that if I spent less time falling in love with characters from books and actually met real life people that I’d be less single, but hey I’ll work on that when I run out of books.)
The premise of the book is the idea of keeping hold of only one hundred items. We seem to surround ourselves with so much ‘stuff’ having to think about what to choose to keep is one I find really interesting . A hundred is really not many at all when you think of clothes and shoes, DVDs, books. I’ve been spending time thinking about my favourite things. Things I keep because they make me happy. I won’t bore you with hundred but I’ve come up with 10.
1) Books. I know obvious right!! Not all my books though,there’s way more than a hundred of those. It’s the books I read as a teenager.Such as Paula Danzigers The Cat Ate My Gymsuit and Judy Blume’s Forever. Who could forget Ralph?. I love these books as I was a weird teenager and spent a lot of my time at the library or reading.These books are cosy and comfy and I’ve re bought them over the years to give my daughters in a few years. Well maybe not Forever!!
2) A dress I have never ever worn.
I bought a beautiful little black dress to wear for an occasion. It cost more than I have ever, to this day, spent on a dress and it’s lovely. Unfortunately I was in the midst of the abusive relationship at this point. One of his favourite games was to say he’d watch the kids while I went out then wait for me to get all ready and change his mind and I couldn’t go out after all. This is what happened on the night of this dress. It’s still hanging in my wardrobe because I really love it and I just know there’ll be a day I can finally wear it. There may be the matter of dropping a dress size or two first, but if it’s meant to be…
3) My old school reports
These are really just for proof to the children that I was exceptionally well behaved, hard working and a model student when I were at school. Just in case we ever get to a point where they ask ‘So you never got into any trouble at school?’ and I can confirm that actually, I never did.
4) A DVD of a family Christmas.
This is a real precious thing. My brother was a bit flash in the 80’s and were all impressed when he bought a video recorder. One of those huge ones. He’d recorded a Christmas Day when my sister and I were little and he had come round. There’s my dad singing and my mum hiding from the camera as she fusses over everyone. My sister being a huge show off and I love it. It means I can show it to the children too and they can get a tiny glimpse of how their grandparents were, having never met them.
5) A box of letters.
I still write letters and I love receiving them so so much. My box of letters people have sent me is definitely one of my favourite things. There are letters that my niece writes me from time to time saying how she misses and loves me, usually accompanied by an unflattering drawing of me! Letters from my old primary teacher that I write to, and letters from my friends when we were teenagers and used to write to one another… Usually about boys. They’re really special and a huge pick me up on a rotten day. I do lament the distinct lack of love letters in there.. But there’s still space!
6) A half finished patchwork blanket.
I decided to make littlest girl a blanket after one particular sunny summer when she’d had a variety of sweet little summer dresses. I thought I could use the dresses to make the patches as I’ve memories of different days out in each of them. Unfortunately my haberdashery skills are lacking so it remains unfinished. One day I’ll get round to completing it though as we’ve gotten through a few other dresses since then.
7) GCSE/A level English work.
I’ve a folder with assignments and work I did. I’m unsure why it’s only English that survived but sometimes I look through it and makes me happy. Because some of it is really quite good. I’m impressed how fresh and thoughtful my mind was then. Admittedly I had a few off the wall ideas about A View From A Bridge and Lord of the Flies, but there’s some really quite well written work there and it’s nice to reminisce about the days before my brain was addled by child rearing.
7) Our art gallery.
Last year sometime we had the paints out for little girl to do some creating. It was one of those lovely days when having four children is lovely and fun and no one is bickering (yes one of those rare occasions) Anyway everyone decided to have a go and we all spent the afternoon laughing and chatting and painting and we then transformed the living room into an art gallery. Was a nice family moment and not one I had to painstakingly manufacture. So post art gallery I put all our paintings in a folder to keep
Birthday cards, Thank you cards, baby congratulations cards. I’m a bit of a hoarder on the greeting cards front. People are always coming in and out of our lives aren’t they? Looking at past birthday wishes even from people who drifted out of our life for one reason or another make me smile because at one point they cared enough to take the time to write a card. Oh my! this list is making me realise quite how sentimental I am.
I always have half a dozen notebooks on the go. Some contain nothing but to do lists or (failed) diet plans. Some have funny things the kids have said at some point or activity ideas to do with them. Some are Christmas shopping lists. My favourite ones though are those that I’ve used to write down things that are really bothering me or playing on my mind. I’ve always done this as a way of trying to get things straight in my mind or make sense of things. There is something really reassuring in reading back what were huge issues at one point and knowing those worries are tiny now. It’s hopeful and optimistic.
I’m not sure how I’d cut my ‘stuff’ down to a hundred, but it is nice to have been inspired to think about my special things. I think it’ll make a good conversation topic too to have with everyone I know!!!
My parenting journey started with 2 sons, born 18 months apart. I wanted to raise thoughtful, kind, compassionate boys and I think I did. As they grew to be the teenagers they are now I wanted them to grow to be aware of the world around them. I want them to make it a better place. I want them to be aware that as intelligent, white, males that they have huge privilege. I want them to use this privilege well. I want to raise good men.
Parenting is no walk in the park be that daughters or sons, we all know that. It’s a long, tiring, emotionally draining slog. I don’t need to say it’s worthwhile though do I?
Well it is!
I may be looking through rose tinted spectacles but I never felt parenting my sons a particular challenge. There were challenging times certainly, but they gave me confidence I was getting this parenting lark right. At 16 and 18 now they are respectful of boundaries, know how far to push them and know what behaviour won’t be tolerated. I know it appears I’m making these boys seem like the world’s most perfectly behaved children. I’m not and they’re not.Raising the boys so far though has been a relatively calm experience.
When my eldest daughter came along it was a shock to the system from the off. Where the boys as toddlers would stop what mischief they were up to at the “No” word,my daughter would laugh and carry on. She’s always identified boundaries then taken a run up and leapt over them. She questions, she talks of unfairness and gets frustrated when she sees it in action. She shouts and argues and needs to say her piece at all costs. So much so she is happy to take any consequences that come her way such is her need to be heard. I feel I should say here that she’s not shouting that she doesn’t want bolognaise for tea or just being obnoxious. In her mind the things she argues for are hugely important to her.
Her little sister shows similar traits of identifying how girls and boys are treated differently in school sometimes and she does have a moan in a way that a 10 year old can. It makes me wonder if girls just inherently know from a young age that they will always need to shout louder to be heard, will have to work harder to be recognised, will always have to fight for every bit of space they want to take up.
In the same vein, maybe my boys know that they can afford to be laid back and a bit lazy as there are so many fights that they’ll simply never HAVE to fight.
Maybe I’m over thinking. Maybe I just have 4 unique individuals and their personalities have nothing to do with sex. I’m doubtful of that though.
My eldest daughter talks of being in the top maths set where when boys finish first they get extension work, whereas if she finishes first she’s asked to help those struggling ( what with girls being all nurturing obviously!) She’s been told off for questioning this, but as long as she’s polite she’s my backing.
She’s written letters to sports shops because she had to buy shin pads for football labelled boys as the shop didn’t label any girls or children’s. It was boys or nothing.You can read her letter here
I’ve been in a shop with my daughter when she’s witnessed a dad tell his daughter she couldn’t have football stickers as they were for boys and to get Hello Kitty ones instead. I saw how she wanted to ask him why? I saw her biting her tongue but really not wanting to (I regret speeding her out of the shop that day. I should have let her ask him why)
Faced with all this and only 15 (I know she’s a whole ton of misogynistic crap to deal with yet) there’s no wonder she’s frustrated. She’s way more aware of the world and sexism than I was at her age. Feminist mum will do that for you I guess. It’s going to make a person question and want to stand up for themselves and others.
I know my daughter will be labelled stroppy and mouthy and feisty (yuk), words never used to describe her male counterparts who behave the same way.
If we can channel her spirit though, surround her with strong females who do listen to her, who don’t hush her or tell her to behave more ‘like a girl’ (something I’ve been picking people up on all her life) I’m hopeful that these daughters of mine can and will try to change their world for the better and that can be no bad thing. Follow @daydreamer_mum
She is small(er than me) and very funny.
I’m sister-sick at the minute. I only live 2 and a half hours away from her, but when I am desperate for a chat and a cuppa it seems much further.
My sister is my favourite grown up on the whole planet. I adore her in a way I never have another adult .
We didn’t used to get on, we did the teenager hating stuff. I was the goody two shoes to her more teenagey teenager.I’d be the one telling mum she’d been drinking or hanging out with boys (I know I know…I was an arse!!)
Our parents had both passed away by the time my little sister was 16 so we had to put the teenage behaviour on hold. Grow up a bit and realise that we were stuck with one another. When my mum was first diagnosed with cancer, her first tears were shed worrying what we would do if she died because ”you hate each other”. Over the next few years we got to know each other better,spent much more time together and realised that actually we did get along ok.
Becoming mums seemed to seal the deal really. When my eldest was born, we were still living together in our mums house and she was always on hand to help out. I’d often, when he was a newborn, go into her room hand him over and go grab a couple of hours sleep. It was a sanity saver.
I’d like to think I’ve been a good sister.That I’ve been on the end of the phone when needed , that I’ve stepped up to auntie duties.
My sister though did the hugest thing for me by letting me move away. She never made me feel bad for moving, for us not seeing each other as much. She is so supportive of what is right for me that it takes my breath away.
My sister is my best friend. We speak daily and when we do get together I laugh so much more, I love so much more and I am so much more. She is the link to our parents, we can share old family giggles and ponder what our parents would have thought of us and how different things may be if they were still here. She is an amazing auntie, playing the good cop to my bad.I adore the woman and trust her with my life and that’s a pretty good feeling.
She has done more for me than she will ever know and as a bonus extra she plays by the rule of drunk.You know the one ? No matter what you get up to whilst drunk it is NEVER mentioned the next day.
If I could clone her I’d give a copy to every one of you , but I’m not sharing my one!
Most importantly, she doesn’t read my blog. We don’t really do serious and heartfelt her and I. So I’m safe to say I have the best sister ever and not be called a softarse!!
Dear lovely, kind, intelligent , interesting hot new boyfriend… (my fantasy boyfriend, my rules)
I’ve been single many years and virtually no one has ever come close to boyfriend status. That you’ve gotten to this point, well frankly I’m amazed!It also means you’ve my little sister’s approval (her good judgement of character exceeds mine greatly) So well done you! Honestly bloody well done (my therapist will be thrilled – I did mention her right?? )
The thing is, lovely new boyfriend, it’s been a long while since I’ve had a boyfriend. You remember the chat we had about all the previous ones being knobs ? Well you’ll have to forgive my initial expecting you to be a knob too. I’ll be all defensive and closed off no doubt, so again well done you if you saw that through. It is a truth universally acknowledged that my next boyfriend will have to have the patience of a saint. Go you!!
Now having been out of relationship action for all this time I feel like how relationships are done has changed. Social media has grown so much, where does that fit in? Do we have to be Facebook friends? It’s just all my family are there and.. Oh my!! We certainly don’t have to have a smug couple profile pic do we? Please say no!!
Twitter.. we don’t need to follow one another do we? Just Twitter is my quiet space, my thinking zone.
The last time I was in a new relationship was so long ago I definitely know things have changed since then! How does one communicate with a boyfriend in 2017? We still doing good old fashioned phone calls and texts?? Are we WhatsApping?? What? I’m truly out of the loop.
Oh and don’t even get me started on *whispers * s.e.x. I bet they’ve changed how you do that an all!! Which actually I suppose wouldn’t be so bad as the regular way tends to result in loads of…
Oh! The kids! Forgot about them! I’ll have chatted to you about them. A lot probably.
Is it OK if we keep you at a distance for a long while though??
Thing is I already have to share their time with a million other people. Also if I’m doing the boyfriend thing, I’d be wanting it to be separate from the mum thing. We’re not looking for a father here you see. We’ve been us for a long time now and work well. I’m unsure how an extra person would fit. I assume you probably have kids yourself. Ooo how many though?? Having 4 myself I’m not sure it’s better if you have a whole tribe too so as you understand the chaos or if it’d work better if you just had one or two….. Hmm I’m sure I’ll have over thought the whole kids/boyfriend questions lots though before we got to boyfriend stage so it must be fine. (Handy hint :I over think, just reassure me)
Anyway I cannot wait to meet you, thoughtful new boyfriend, if you’ve learnt all about my ‘little issues’ and quirks and can put up with my incessant chattering about nothing in particular then I’m reckoning you’re a good lad!
Lots of love (not in an I Love You way though. I can’t really do ‘love stuff’ – see earlier reference to my little issues)
Ps. You do like crisp sandwiches and wine right?? Red preferably but I can compromise with gin…
And you don’t snore do you?…
And you’ll let me take you to a quaint Northern city called Hull right?..
Once upon a time I was mum to 3 children under 3, or to be accurate 3 under 2 and a half (and I’m still here to tell the tale!) It was the hardest work I have EVER done , in any capacity. How we as parents manage to keep things ticking over whilst that exhausted , in hindsight , is nothing short of a minor miracle (I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Cbeebies and rusks for the part they played)….usually soothing me whilst the madness was taking place.
When people would sit next to us on the bus (only happened if there were literally no other seats , people avoided the wild eyed woman with a double buggy and a baby strapped to her that looked as though she’d not seen a hairbrush in weeks) When some one did sit by us though this was the most popular conversation.
Stranger: Are they all yours??
Me: Think so , I’ve lost count! ( too tired for small talk)
Stranger: How old?
Me: 3 , 18 months and 6 months.
Stranger: Well if you think it’s hard work now , just wait until they’re teenagers!!
I used to wonder how true this could be. I mean teenagers slept all the time, didn’t they???
Now we’re at the three teenager household time.With a 17,16 and 15 year old I’m discovering that the teenage years are remarkably similar to the toddler times.
With toddlers you attempt to teach to put one toy away before getting something else out , repeatedly day after day with limited success. Same applies with the teenagers. They can bring a cup out of their room (applauds) but why put it next to the sink rather than in it…you’ve gotten almost there..you can do that last little bit surely….same goes for dirty washing and the wash basket.
They ask questions I cannot answer
Used to be things like ‘ How many spiders are in the world?’ or ‘How many bricks do you need to build a house?’. It’s progressed slightly ‘ If you pushed a swing in space , what would happen?’ These days we can refer to the second parent in our house – Google!! The toddler days were reliant on how imaginative mummy was feeling!
They refuse to acknowledge tiredness
I remember one time I was around a childless friend , youngest boy was having one of those over tired toddler meltdowns. My friend asked what on earth was wrong with him. I replied that he was tired. “Why doesn’t he just go to sleep then?” asked my friend!
If the boys don’t have enough sleep now they will be grumpy and irritable all day. Should I suggest an early night though they will insist they are absolutely fine then continue to yawn and grouch till I inevitably end up sending them to bed.
They are obsessive
When they were little they loved Bob the Builder…so every time they sneakily introduced a new machine ( I have not forgiven you Snowed Under)the boys would stroke it as they went passed it in the toy shop , their eyes turning love heart shaped in adoration for a new vehicle, the one that would complete their collection. Until the next one came out of course (Sunflower Valley you did a right number on us).The focus of their love has changed and it’s now all Hull City or Doctor Who or that stupid bloody Football Manager game when they love , they love hard!!!
They’re accidentally offensive
The cringey no filter of the toddler mouth was always dangerous in public
“Mummy that lady smells”
“Mummy that man is picking his nose”
“Why is that man so fat mummy?”
Thankfully we have learned to think before we speak though we still suffer the occasional slip up , invariably at my expense. “Mum I think that skirt isn’t your size , it’s too short”
I’m enjoying this stage in parenting though, as much as I occasionally crave the little , sleepy , milk-drunk faces (womb ache alert!!!) They are becoming quite good company!
When my elder 3 were babies, with just 2 and a half years between them, strangers were united in one common statement.
“ooo they’re cute now but wait until they’re all teenagers at once! Your house will be a nightmare ”
Even at the time, having not slept in three years, not being able to remember how it felt to go out without baby sick on my shoulder and just sleepwalking through a life of nappies and feeding and sick and colic and that sheer exhaustion that early parenting rewards you with. I thought it unlikely that it could get any harder. I had a newborn in a sling and a double pram resembling a tank containing a 1 and 2 year old. Teenagers can walk unaided right?
Now here we are. The babies are now teenagers and nosy strangers? You were wrong. This is not harder than babies. Nothing I have ever done in my life has been harder than 3 babies. Call me a wimp but when I think back I just have no idea how I survived the first 4 years of motherhood.
Parenting teenagers isn’t easy of course, I’m not claiming that. There are just advantages to having almost fully formed humans about the place. Do you mind if I blow the trumpet of teenagers for a second? Here’s the great things about parenting teens:
1) They’re almost self sufficient.
They can make themselves food. Fair enough it’s usually a bowl of cereal and you often have to do scary crockery retrieval missions in their rooms *shudder* but at least now the response to “I’m huuunnnggrryy” can be “make yourself something to eat then”
You can’t do that with a toddler.
2) You don’t have to entertain them.
In fact they really prefer it if you don’t try. When my boys ask of a Sunday what we are doing today I know they’re crossing their fingers whispering ‘please nothing’ under their breath.
My youngest, at 9, still requires entertainment. A weekend isn’t a weekend if we haven’t baked, painted, sewed, jigsawed , visited the park, been swimming and put together a dance show!! On the weekends that she is at her daddy’s, the elder 3 and I can whack on a movie marathon and stay in our pj’s eating popcorn. I’m not going to pretend I don’t enjoy those weekends.
3) You can get them do jobs you don’t like.
There are some parenting jobs that I just can’t stand. Top of the list:making packed lunches. Making the sandwiches in a morning is now eldest girls job.
Putting laundry away goes to youngest boy and the eldest gets to sweep and mop the floors.
All the jobs I hate done by other people -fantastic!
Obviously, the kids don’t exactly revel in their duties and sometimes computer confiscation gentle cajoling is necessary. They generally get done eventually though.
4)They’re good company
Now they’re older you can actually sit and have a real conversation with them. This is one of my favourite things about having teens. The boys have interests in politics which means we can chat about that sometimes. Mostly though, they’re very good company… as long as it’s on their terms. Be that doing football score predictions, debating the best Doctor Who episode or having to read a book they’ve just finished as they NEED to talk to someone about it. I don’t mind chatting on their terms, I just enjoy spending time with them before they’re off playing computer games and can barely answer a yes or no question let alone chat.
5) They can still be bribed /blackmailed
In the baby days there was nothing these guys wouldn’t do for a bag of milky way stars (do they even still make those?) Now the stakes are a little higher. All about carrot versus stick. I can offer Domino’s for tea if they get their project finished if we’re doing the carrot. As for the stick, I may have threatened to become friends with all their mates on Facebook or put baby pics on Instagram if they don’t get their jobs done.
I must state I would never actually do these things, they are just effective threats.
6)Years of training is beginning to pay off.
Parenting is really just an attempt to raise good humans isn’t it? Send adults into the world who care and are polite and who want to do good. This really does take some doing I’m willing to guess. When the eldest asks how my day as been though, or the 14 year old washes the breakfast pots unprompted before school whilst I’m getting ready that makes me a little bit happy.
I’m not trying to make out we’re The Waltons or that raising teenagers is a dream. Come to my house on the days they all hate each other and Bickerfest is happening and you’d likely take the cute babies and no sleep any day.
It’s just that strangers telling an exhausted mum of 3 kids under 3 that it was only going to get worse, was scary to me in my sleep deprived state. If you’re that woman right now, it’ll be fine. I can’t see a point parenting will ever be easy, but at least teenagers generally enjoy sleep and incontinence isn’t such an issue.