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Thursday, 20 March 2014


I was brought up on a hearty diet of shouting, smacking and blame served up in a large bowl of belittling. The culmination of which was ginormous alcoholism, minor suicide attempt and a very ropey trip to Bagshott in a Mini that I was piloting. Luckily, having driven straight over a roundabout, I plumped for sleeping some of it off in a Holiday Inn car park and when I awoke at 5 30am I realised that, not only was I going to be late for work, I also had to cover some ugly lacerations to my wrists. Thankfully my long time therapist sent me home to take medication and regroup, otherwise, I feel I might have looked for a shotgun. My Father would no doubt put the lack of shotgun down to bad planning and management, and to a certain degree, one must agree. If a jobs worth doing and all that!

As L.P Hartley states so fabulously in The Go Between, "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." Massive sigh of relief, as I just don't want my children to go through any of that or, in my eyes, I will have failed totally as a parent. Of course I want them to drink, enjoy themselves and experience life, but they might not be as lucky as me, and this is what sticks in my head when I shout.

This morning for instance, getting my children to school, something that I have to do 5 days out of 7. Granted we are nearing the end of term, and tiredness is setting in, but that doesn't change the fact that by law, they have to attend academia. My eldest, who has the capability to make almost everything she says to me, seem like tazers to the temples, my bad, was "creating", as they say. She didn't want to go to school.
"I hate school Mummy" said in weak crying whinge
"What do you hate about school darling?" Mother's gentle, measured response.
"I hate work!"slightly less weak whinge
"You have to work at every school darling, that is what school is. If you didn't go to school, you wouldn't know how to read and you're now really good at reading, and you're spelling is great, you're a spellerer now, aren't you?" Slight smile creeps on to face of eldest child
"Yes, but I don't want to go to school because I hate work and I don't like Mrs X" Back to full whinge.
"Well, school, is a lot better than prison, which is where we'll all end up if we don't get dressed and go to school!" Slightly more formal impatience to interlocutation.
"But I don't want to go to school, I hate it, I really, really don't like work." Maximum whinge and almost full throttle crying, tights thrown to the floor in demonstration of disgruntled absolutism.
Tazers applied aggressively to mother's temples and all major pressure points
"EDLEST CHILD! We have to go to school, if we don't we'll go to prison, so stop bloody whining (not at all proud of my swearing here, but I want to paint the whole picture), get dressed, as we have to do every morning and get to school."
At this point, husband came through the front door from dropping the bins at the end of the road and I hear my youngest speaking to him
"hello Daddy! Mummy's upstairs shouting and Eldest is crying!"

My heart melts, I'm the worst mother ever, but does that stop me? No, not at all, that just makes me angry with myself and leads me on to all the things that I do for the family that I don't complain about, that if I didn't do, then all of them would be at sea. Husband kindly tells me to belt up, I know I should, but that just makes me shout about stuff even more. It's ghastly and hideous, but it's learnt behaviour that I need to saddle in order that my children not turn out like me. Books and Google.

In my sane and virtuous mind, shouting should only occur when normal talking cannot be heard and or, as the dictionary would have it, as "an expression of strong emotion". Shouting at children because you are an impatient human being, is simply not, in my mind, acceptable. Doesn't stop me though!

There are those times, when you know that you shouldn't shout at your children, because you are in polite society and the majority of people have mobiles that mean Social Services are just a few buttons away, but it's impulsive. Like when your child runs out into the busy road, usually at school pick up, tries to pick up the iron by the hot plate, tries to pull a pan of boiling water on to their face, is about to cut through their fingers at an arts and crafts gathering. You shout, people look and tsk, but you know they all do it. Mother Theresa shouted. I bet, even the Dalai Lama has shouted. It's not the end of the world, it's what you do after that counts, isn't it?  

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Checking in

I have started a few blogs over this last period of silence, but then never actually got to finishing them for fear that one might offend someone and the others, people probably just don't want to read about, and another, was relevant at the time, but no longer so, and so it went on.

It turns out, that nothing really seems to be giving me cause to rant or gripe at the minute, probably means I've cracked this bringing up children malarky. One should look to me from now on as the "raising children compass" of the world. It's all here, in amongst these blogs. Got a question, flick back through the fromer detritus and read something that's slightly relevant, it'll change your life!

Spring is here, the sun is out, it seems to have stopped raining for the time being and children can once again be free range. The trampoline in our garden is proficiently and gloriously, creaking and groaning under the strain of a thousand children and I am now thinking of ways to get the children in to eat / stare at food in front of them as opposed to getting them out from under my feet. Can I get an Amen!?

With Easter looming, I am actually looking forward to having a whole load of time with my 4 and 6 year old. I keep asking husband if there is something we can do to freeze the children, even yesterday when the youngest emptied ink out of a biro all over the new car and this morning when they broke husbands new "man" measuring tape. We pulled ourselves back from the brink of capital punishment and rationalised that...
"yes, they may be totally out of control and have little respect, if any, for anything, but they are children, more than that, they are our children!" and the point I think is in there. They are children.

I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to go back to being a child. Wouldn't want my childhood, but I'd like to be a child again. I'd like to be able to take responsibility for literally nothing and leave stuff all over the place, have someone think about my every move and lay life out in front of me, not in a controlling way, but in a whimsical film clip kind of way.

I am very aware that I have said virtually nothing in this blog, but I just wanted to put something down on screen, seems to be quite important if you want people to read the things that you write.

We might go camping in the Easter holidays, probably just end up at the bottom of the garden. Skiing was a little out of the price range this year, but there's next year. And, we're thinking of taking off for a year, with the children and a tutor and learning all these things then, why the hell not. You're only young once, make plans, break plans, but don't do nothing, that's what we do when we're dead. This is spring, let's spring, got to be worth a shot, no?