Archive for April, 2016

On Being a Mum: what we did right, what we did wrong

April 23, 2016

I’d love your input, and your friends’ input and your husbands’ and partners’ input and your kids’ input. Especially your kids’ input.

I’m working on a big writing project to which end I’m asking the question, ‘What did you (or your mum, to all those kids) do right? And – and this is just as important – what did she do wrong?’

As a mum to three – big now – kids, I’ve done – do – lots wrong. I nag. I stress. I sweat the small stuff. My nagging meant my son unfriended me on Facebook.

His status that day read something like, ‘Holy crap, in trouble with university accommodation officer for jumping out of first floor window, may be evicted’. I ought to have ignored it. He was 21 at the time. I did not. I called him. He in London. I in Africa. I called and he curtly told me he was busy. I called back. Again and again and again and finally he conceded to converse with me. Our conversation went something like this.

Ben, why are you in trouble with the accommodation officer?

Because I jumped out of a first floor window

How did you get caught?


Why did you jump?

Because it seemed like a good idea at the time (in tones beginning to sweat sarcasm that suggest I am beginning to push my luck)

Were you sober?

What do you think mum?!

I drone on and on about the importance of responsible drinking, not incurring the wrath of accommodation officer, how much his father and I fork out for him to be at uni and then I condescendingly ask, ‘So, Ben, did you learn anything from the experience?’.

Yes Mum

I wait smugly, expectantly, glad that my ticking off has paid off.

I learned that the next time I jump out of the first floor window, I must wear a balaclava.

I deserved that. And I deserved the unfriending.  It took three years for him to trust me not to nag via the ether again and nervously send a friend request. It took me precisely five minutes to realize I’d cocked up and how. I treat my son’s virtual friendship with silent respect now.

But – like all mums – I’ve done the odd thing right. It’s never about being the best. It’s only ever about doing the best you can. The speed bumps are inevitable.

Please write to me at Your voices and thoughts and anecdotes are important. Anonymity guaranteed.

Please share this with your friends, your friends’ friends and your kids and their friends.

Thank you x