“You’re not boring, Mummy”: saying it with words on Mother’s Day

Younger Son's Mother's Day sentiment - maybe more Hindi Goddess than Beautiful rainbow?!

Younger Son’s Mother’s Day sentiment – maybe more Hindi Goddess than Beautiful rainbow?!

Forget the breakfast in bed, or the delicious Sunday lunch eaten alfresco in the early spring sunshine.

Forget the flowers (my husband did), the Guinness cake for pud, the happy aura of calm with no squabbling, or even the home made cards.  If there’s one thing that topped a really lovely Mother’s Day for me yesterday, it was what the kids said that they liked about me – and what I wasn’t…..

We were just finishing our fab, unfussy but really delicious roast at The Coach House eatery at Hatfield House, the sun beating down on my pale wintery face, and I suddenly thought I’d ask the kids what they liked about me.

Let’s be clear, this wasn’t a narcissistic attempt to have my ego boosted – I’m not that naive.  No, it was prompted by the hilariously cute ‘card’ my son gave me, made at school, excerpt above, which was his description of me and what he liked. Quite a revelation to me that my favourite TV programme was on Meditation (I do sometimes meditate but not nearly often enough and I certainly don’t remember when I watched a programme on it!).  Oh and that my favourite food was ‘Casorol’ (I make a lot of those in the winter, it has to be said – something to do with having a meal cooked for two nights in one go…).

I’m also aware that British families are classic for rarely speaking out positive or encouraging words to one another.  We’re brilliant at saying what we don’t like, but to say what we do like?  Hmm. That is just a tad uncomfortable and, lets face it, un-British (hushed voice).  But aren’t words of encouragement deeply important in boosting our morale and strengthening love?  You bet they are.  I love hugs and, crikey, if anyone makes me a cup of tea without being asked I’m all smiles for at least half an hour 😉 but when the ones you love speak out what they like about you, it’s so powerful.  All the more so if Words are one of your Love Language (if you haven’t read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman get it! Essential reading for anyone in any relationship in my book).

But I digress, as usual.

“Your cuddles. Mummy’s really affectionate,” starts the husband.  “And thoughtful.”  Husbands really are rather useful sometimes.

“And your art” says older girl, who we share a love of all things pencils, paper and paint.

Starting to feel a bit embarrassed at the compliments now….

“And you’re not boring!” chirps up younger boy, never taking his eyes off his remote control car which he had started to manoeuvre through my chair leg.

“Oh, yes, Mummy’s anything but boring!” says the husband, with a broad grin on his face.

“Really?” I said, a massive grin stretching out over my face.  What a relief!

“Yes, you’re quite silly sometimes.  Apart from when you’re doing the ‘Do this, do that, hurry up, hurry there” thing’ says girl and boy, mocking my high shrill, We’re-going-to-be-late-for-school-again voice.

I know, I hate that being the Umpire of their Day side of motherhood…

Thank goodness! I exclaimed (more in my head than out loud).

“So, I’m not embarrassing then?” I tease my almost 10 yr old, knowing what the answer is.

“Of course!” she says, draping her arms around my neck.  This time she said it without that tortuous look or whine-tinged voice that she’ll use when she’s right bang in the middle of experiencing that ‘Mum’s embarrassing me!’ moment.

“Oh good.  I must be doing something right, then,” I quipped.

Now, for those of you who knew me before kids, you’ll be guffawing at the notion of me being boring.  Let’s just say I have been known to have many Miranda-type moments in life.  But if truth be told, over recent years I was wondering if the sheer responsibility of parenting, the ticking off of lists in my head and the relentless be here, go there aspect of life had drummed this scatty side out of me and I was, God forbid, boring.

I mean, when did I last do something really dizzy like leave a fairy cake on the roof of my car and drive 3 miles, one very sharp corner and one very steep hill home only to find it still in exactly the same spot when I reached my destination? Or when did I last leave my purse at home enroute to Uni and only discover this after i’d filled up with petrol, 50 miles away? Or realise my hair had caught fire on a pub candle on the very first day of a proper grown-up job? (Personally, I blame the L’Oreal mousse. This was still the 80s, you know).  Or break out into dancing in front of strangers in a friend’s kitchen (actually, that was just this weekend, and one of the guests turned out to be Britain’s next Ambassador to Egypt… enough said!).

Don’t let me kid you into thinking my life is now one of smooth, calm organisation. Heck no!  But being responsible for two smaller beings and one larger one (husband) can make one so sensible, in the Clarks shoes kind of way, even if in a stretched, manic, but keeping-it-all-together-on-the-surface, kind of way.

“You’re also very, very fussy,” added Older Girl, with a wry grin.

Thanks for that one.  Kids don’t half know how to tell you how it is….


Out with the New, in with the Now this New Year

Clarence the Angel with George Bailey in film Its A Wonderful Life

Clarence the Angel & George Bailey in a scene from Its A Wonderful Life

It’s that time of year when the word ‘new’ keeps popping up everywhere.  New resolution, new plans, new hopes, new determination to try yet again at improving our lives/lot/health.  Much as I love a new start and a chance to re-evaluate where we are in life and how we’re doing, this year, I want to suggest something a bit different. Continue reading

Girl’s Nine. And she’s oh so fine.

Today my eldest is 9.  Nine.  And the excitement is just as big as it was when she was 5. Or 4.  And I’m not just talking about her!

Each year I feel extraordinarily proud of her. And proud of my husband who has been such a tender father. Extraordinarily the richer for having birthed her, known her and getting to know her. We feel so fortunate to know this precious human being, this girl with an inner beauty that matches her exquisite smile. This bundle of fragile emotions, all giggles the one minute, explosive the next, and thoughtful in between. This girl whose thoughts sometimes run scarily in parallel with my own, leaving me to wonder where the child has gone….until she dissolves into tears about her pudding being smaller than her brothers….

Last year I wrote a reflection on how she’s metaphorsing from little girl to tween, and all the struggles and beauties inherent that stage (see Eight). I could write it almost the same this year, although I’d say the slamming of doors, disagreements with her brother and pertinent comments are becoming more of a regular feature of our lives 😉

So this year, I thought I’d post 9 photos that celebrate her this past year. I know I don’t normally post photos of her face, so I thought, to heck with it, as its her birthday, let’s celebrate with some photos that capture her sense of fun, love of life and sheer beauty (and yes, she’s inherited from me the insatiable desire to put things on her head…)


Happy Birthday, gorgeous girl! We love you so (and that’s from Dad as much as me – shame I couldn’t squeeze a photo in of him too!)

I’m linking this up with PoCoLo and Magic Moments Linkys…..

I used to be nice before I had children…

I used to be nice...

… said a friend the other day, to hoots of laughter from the rest of us!  I laughed so much my stomach hurt.

She was recounting how, only the day before, she had yelled at her kids in sheer frustration “Why, oh why, did I have children?!”  – and yes, she did say that in front of them!  Their arguing and bickering had got to her so much, she couldn’t take it anymore.   Continue reading

The Art of Plate Spinning (and buying multiple washing machines)

I knew these past few weeks would be busy.

I knew I’d signed myself up to an advanced lesson in the art of plate spinning for the not so faint hearted.

After all, if you go and arrange a large conservatory to be built on the back of your house in November, just before the busiest season of the year, which comes just before you’re booked to take the family on their First Trip to Daddy’s Homeland, Australia, then you’re not expecting a quiet life. Continue reading