Today I’m thankful that I still have a mother, but if we’re going to have a day to celebrate mothers, please don’t ask me to:
Bake a cake for a fundraiser
Select a nanna scarf for me before I’m a grandmother
Volunteer for any initiative to improve the lives of already well-off people
Mend garments or
Clean up after babies
Also please don’t:
Buy me ugly socks
Make me a ceramic thingy that I’ll smash
Give me any more craft
Advise me to take vitamins, colonics, miracle cures or go for a run
Rescue another animal for me
Suggest helpful ways to brighten my floors
Today I don’t want to grow, inspire, achieve, strive or nurture, I’m cranky and I’m having a day off. Please quickly bring me a bottle of gin, tonic, lemons and an obedient bar man, then close the door on your way out. Your best present for Mumma is obedience and a big dose of shush.
There comes a weekend in every mother’s life when we have to put on bad music, trample on the walk on wardrobe AKA floor-drobe, cough our way through crusty bits of rubbish and throw out the last remaining bits and bobs of our offsprings’ childhood. That weekend has come for me. There will be no more Hello Kitty pencils, no more craft that comes home saying I luv u mummmy and no more genuine joy at seeing me at the school gate.
I am emptying the unfinished projects into the bin and opening old One Direction pencil cases and finding handwritten notes from their friends. These painstakingly produced jottings were all written at the age when my kids were discovering the magic of writing a heartfelt letter to a beautiful new friend:
Dear Senny, I thik youre really specil and I reallly lik your shoos. I had funn wen we went to the pak and i now we wil be freinds forever. lov you
I’ve been a single mum for 10 years, so there are many jobs in my house that are being tackled well past their use by date. Despite our multiple moves, some special stuff was placed in boxes and carted from new address to new address. The perfectly unused birthday present textas from the seven-year old’s best friend in the hole world that were saved in the back of the cupboard for special occasions have been dug out, the lolly wrappers that she didn’t want mummy to see, beside the half-dressed dolls with real nail polish on their hands. I put together a box of nostalgia, thinking that my last teenager would be remotely interested in the lost cuteness and innocence of her childhood. She came home from a day out at the hideous local shopping trauma centre and said,
“That’s my stuff, what are you doing?”
“We need to chuck out.”
“No, I’m too busy.”
A few short weeks ago she sobbed because the Easter Bunny hadn’t left her an elaborate trail of eggs in our shared yard on Easter Sunday. But now she’s watching make up tutorials on how to copy the subtle facial contouring of the Kardashians on Youtube. She actually wants to look like a Jenner. I’ve failed as a mother. What the hell will I keep from this phase?
Lazy school holiday afternoon. Single mother folding washing, fruit rotting in the bowl, flies buzzing around the child’s cooking/slime experiment, cat eating the last of the bread, children glued to their screens.
“Zen, what are you watching?”
“Some highlights from the IT movie.”
“I don’t want you watching that movie, you’re too young, it will give you nightmares.”
“The boy in it is a Virgo.”
“He’s a Virgo like you mum.”
“NO, you are not watching it.”
“Worth a try, mum.”
Cyclone Senza exploded into my life 13 years ago, after I’d been at the hospital in drug-free childbirth hell for 25 minutes. She couldn’t wait to get the party started.
Or trash our house. She has painted on the walls of every place we’ve ever rented. And they’re good paintings, so I can’t get mad. Senza leaves a creative mess in every room she enters. It would be easier to parent her if we lived in a castle with four maids, a butler and a housekeeper.
My girl, you are the funniest person I’ve ever met; entertaining, smart, animated and kooky, you have only two gears, full throttle or passed out on the floor You struggle to use your inside voice but your astute observations about supposedly mature adults are always worth hearing.
Looking at a box of unpaid bills you said,
“Mum, that is a box full of nightmares.”
You are physically courageous; you surf, swim, climb trees, duck and dive. You’ve had breathtaking bodily self-confidence from the moment you were conceived. And you have a kind heart. This year you cared for babies in a Thai orphanage like they were your own family.
You are fast, furious, full of attitude and love for your friends, and easily bored. I hope your adventurous spirit takes you all over the world. You run head first at life, without fear. Your courage is everything I wish I could find in me (but with less back chat).
You kid, are everything. In your adolescent angst phase, don’t let teen bitches, dopey dudes and unenlightened teachers snuff out your fire.
Happy 13th Birthday to my beautiful hurricane #teenager
Selfless community service alert! My Pollard Parenting Method (patent pending) is now available to my adoring public. Why buy a how to raise rugrats book when Pollarding can help you with awkward mothering moments?
Public Transport + small untamed child = major public embarrassment for mother. If you are sitting on the bus with your child and he starts singing,
When you’re climbing up a ladder and you hear something splatter,
When you’re rushing to the potty and you hear something grotty
Say out loud at regular intervals,
“I wish his mother would come and get him.”
Or simply move to another seat on the bus and pretend the offending child does not belong to you. He may well pull down his pants, tug at his penis, and sing another filthy ditty you taught him, but eventually a kind old lady will give him lollies to shut him up. She will glare at you when she gets off the bus. Pretend not to notice.
The world has gone to hell. There’s a mad man in the White House threatening war, unChristians attacking the gay community with lies and bombers killing and injuring young people all over Europe.
Meanwhile crazy breeders like me are still bringing kids into the world and hoping they’ll be able to breathe clean air when they have children. I’m too selfish to be a grandmother, but I’ve got so much great advice for new mothers I can hardly keep it to myself; on the bus, at supermarkets or the park, parents of young children love me handing out my wisdom.
Here is my latest, state of the art, world-class, incredible, inspirational, never before thought of hints for new parents who really need all the self-help they can find:
- An immaculate house is the sign of a wasted life, think of all those Youtube clips you could be perving at instead.
- Road kill is best barbecued
- Childen can amuse themselves
- Refrain from smoking over your baby
- Be civil to your children’s teachers, they are making you look like a good parent
- Allow rich relatives to send you large, tax-deductible charity donations
- Find suitable children for your kid to play with, i.e. imaginary friends
- Stop talking to your child lest they inherit your neuroses
- Write lots of #inspo #fitspo TO DO lists
- Ensure you live at least 500 kilometres away from monster in law, unless she will clean your house, not brag about it, nor tell her mummy’s boy son you’re a slob
I could write a book. Here’s my I can’t believe I haven’t got millions of followers guru face:
Pollarding is a method of pruning that keeps trees and shrubs smaller than they would naturally grow. It is normally started once a tree or shrub reaches a certain height, and annual pollarding will restrict the plant to that height.
In the interests of fine single mothering, I’ve decided to Pollard my children. Minimal feeding means that my kids won’t grow too tall, thus saving on expensive sports shoes and fancy undies, and keeping school uniform costs to a minimum. My food bill will be reduced, thus Pollard will be kept in the fine style I would like to be accustomed to.
Maintaining a Pollard
The Pollard method is useful to maintain the size of a teen who is in danger of growing too big for a small, single mother budget sized apartment.
Rejuvenating a Pollard
Summer can be a suitable time to Pollard. This method requires the removal of parasites or weakly-attached branches of the family tree. So out with the toxic monster in law and deadbeat dad and in with promoting attachment to healthy adult role models. According to Dr Google, “It may be possible to remove the branches that have grown from the stumps of old Pollards.” Yes! I am well rid of my STDs, the sexually transmitted debts that kept me weighed down for too long. Bring on summer.
If you’re happy and you know it, learn to Pollard
Look how little and cute my youngest favourite child turned out.