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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Big Shout Out

One of the things that strikes fear into my heart more than anything: will my children only remember the grumpy me rather than the sunny me?
The ranting about tinny music on too loud. The rancid socks littering floors and tables but not linen baskets. The leaving of the homework until the last possible minute only to find that we’ve run out of printer ink and now have to complete the email equivalent of landing a rocket on the moon to get the Jabberwocky homework printed out thus avoiding detention.
I only have to read the glorious Puffin Diaries – the honest and moving account of adopting two boys - to squirm about my lack of patience.
There’s nothing like the daughter arriving with a skirt missing a button five minutes before we need to get out the door to flip the madwoman switch.
Or suddenly remembering we needed to send in a donation today for the Harvest Festival for the old people’s home, which - as we haven’t planned for it - leaves the poor dears with the choice of a tin of artichoke hearts, some chestnut puree or a bag of goji berries.
Or algebra homework that involves me searching on the internet for how on earth we can possibly work out ‘n’ or ‘y’ while son pretends to be studying text book but is actually fiddling with mobile phone, leading to a weird scenario where I get so cross, the dog thinks it’s a game and starts jumping about barking and generally hindering the maths solving dilemma.

Then I've only got history, English,
Latin, French, DT and a volcano to make before tomorrow
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at
Of course, the fallout from this is that I then imagine that every mother in the world is sewing on name tapes while whistling tunes from The Sound of Music, dashing with great gusto to the recorder concert without making a joke about bringing earplugs and clapping her hands and saying, ‘What fun!’ when the son asks if he can have a house party - ‘Not many of them have girlfriends, so there won’t be too much making out.’ Least likely statement to get you what you want, right there.
I take comfort from the fact that you’ve only got to have a conversation with a sibling to know that we all remember things so differently. For all our memories have in common, we might as well have lived in different houses, in different eras, with different people.
So hopefully, when the son says, ‘Mum was always shouting,’  the daughter will looked puzzled and say, ‘Of course she wasn’t. She danced to Abba songs and made crumbles and told us she was so lucky to have us.’
Or maybe he’ll be the one to remember that when the chips were down, the person you really wanted on your side was the ferocious Mamma whose mantra was ‘There’s not a single problem we can’t solve together if you tell me the truth.’
And if all else fails, I simply console myself that the first time they get bawled out by a boss at work, they’ll just shrug and think, ‘If you think that’s scary, you should see my mother….’


  1. Now that's something to consider! You are so right - people's perceptions are so different!!! I dearly hope Little A remembers me as being a little bit batty and silly as well as being grumpy!

  2. I know...but how can you make sure the good memories go in and the bad ones fade away? Guess we'll just have to step up the ratio of good times in the hope that something sticks!

  3. I'm fooling you all, my plan is working. OK I will relent to having considerable patience over some aspects of parenting but I am by far the most disorganised of mothers. I always have to go to the school office to get a copy of the letter to fill in which school has text me to say I've not yet handed in, it's embarrassing. Plus every year at harvest festival it's baked beans and a tin of lentils. This morning the kids sat in their pjs until two minutes before we left for school, I'd forgotten to put all the uniform in the dryer last night. I suppose I try not to let all these things bother me too much because I know in the great scheme of things there are more important things to concentrate on. But believe me I do loose it sometimes and boy does everyone know about it.

  4. Parenting...least perfect science in the world...doing our best...sometimes best very good, sometimes falls a little short...enough said!