Friday, 9 March 2012

Good Parenting

Don't be fooled by the title.    I'm definitely not referring to myself.    So breathe a sigh of relief.    No pious preaching from this pulpit.    (Just acutely agonising alliteration.)

I don't know if this is due to approaching menopause but I keep seeing loathsome new mothers everywhere.    They look frumpy and have crap hair and no make-up.    (You didn't click on this blog by accident did you?  -   thinking you'd find open-armed PC parenting sisterhood stuff did you?)    It has been widely established that I dress like an elf,   have put on 2 stone in 3 years,   sport a self-inflicted Willy Mossop hair-don't in a faded shade of mutton-dressed-as and that my thick lashings of black eye-liner look ridiculous so this isn't a campaign for some lunchtime make-ever show.    I just hate the way they moon about,   as interesting as boiled potatoes,   not thinking that their husbands or boyfriends would possibly think any the less of them because they are so over-flowing with nature and nurture that a spot of hair gel would be somehow inappropriate.    I wish they'd all brush up or fuck off.    It just reminds me of how crap I must have looked too.    (I never did lose touch with my mascara brush tho' I'll have you know....)

I hate new mothers.   And the feeling is mutual.    I look at them and see slow-moving smug younger know-it-alls.    They look at me and my litter and see the back of the book  -  and it wasn't the ending they've imagined.   They would want to complain to someone about false advertising if only they allowed themselves to glance my way for longer than a nano-second.    Most of them manage to cut me out of their peripheral view by some primal instinct.    But I suspect it is the only primal instinct they have left.   Everything else they do or think is as directed by some nazi child-rearing-expert brain-washing virus.    Just listen to them talk to each other.    It's thinly-disguised aggression.    It looks like Stepford -  but it's way more Hyacinth Bucket at it's core.    (I do remember frumpy,   I do  -  I don't ever remember the smug bit.    I never reached smug.    Bad parent obviously....)

We were surrounded by a pack of them in the swimming pool yesterday.    They were patrolling around their button-eyed poppets like warships.    Obviously they must have been horrified a bunch of wild pirates had just dive-bombed into their peaceful harbour  - (shouldn't these children be in school?)  -  but they weren't catching anyone's eye.    Amazingly we were still invisible.    We had to negotiate all these icebergs in our adventures.    (It was getting on for 12.30  -  shouldn't they all be shovelling avocado mush down the obliging little red tunnels and getting ready for a nap?)   It could've gone all This Town Ain't Big Enough but we each managed our own realities.    We made occasional 'mind the little ones' chirrups to steer them away but it's more a case of wary circling.    Eventually the lot of us had to make way for the crocodile parade of shivering prisoners of war.    Sorry  -  school lessons.    We were roped off and glared at all the way to the baby splash puddle hellhole  -  a sure-fire way of nudging us into the showers and out of their hair.    Even after all the changing shenanigans,   while waiting for our chips in the cafe,   we could see the PoWs still shivering on the side of the action.    Except by now they were wet and shivering.    At least the new mothers were enjoying their 'what my perfect child eats' serve-and-volleys with each other in the warm.    Definitely not noticing the goose-pimpled future through the windows.

I don't think I remember a whole lot about my monsters as babies  -  it all seems such a blur.    I worry that I'll not even recognise each one if 4 baby photos were lined up before me.    It was a battle of time,  energy and unwanted advice.    It did take me some time to remember I had my own mind and my own instincts  -  and these have been challenged over and over.    I don't think I dyed my hair for a stretch of about 2 years at some point.    I'd lost me completely.    I never had my face on for school drop-off  -  (but it was always there for pick-up -  I must've had a tiny voice still squeaking away).    I used to wear brown for christssakes -  destroy all photos.    I recall I tried to limit sweets and telly.    How quaint!    I bought wooden toys.    I smiled at pregnant women.    Oh my gods.....    It was another planet.

It was a planet where people with older children DID NOT EXIST.

I hated experienced mothers.    It was like looking at the back of the book.    I stopped reading altogether.  

Recently I joined a yahoo group for Home Edders involved with exams etc.    Minx has mentioned she might like to do some GCSEs.    So I stuck my toe in new waters.    It trebled my inbox and my burdened my already oppositional mind with anti-everything.    At first I thought I'd persevere.    But I realised it was just making me worse than usual.    I can't help feeling that if I guide my feral beasts towards academia it will just stifle their genuine talents.    Some kids have a bent towards paper and pens and maths and engineering and history and astronomy etc etc....    Some already know they want to be a physicist or a vet or a geologist and can get their heads round this stuff.    I can't get my lot to  look at the back of a cereal packet.    Minx may well be happy with it  -  I will get round to sorting out a much recommended English course (as written by a Home Ed mum) and see how it goes but without any gloaty-excitement on my face or bragging to my mother.    No pressure.    It's just another 'thing' she's interested in as far as I'm concerned  -  like playing the piano or taking photos.    Both of which she's gleaned from her dad and is happily building on by herself.    But I've had to leave the yahoo group.    I was in danger of posting up something childish last night whilst in a bolshie mood.    It just seemed SO obsessive.    It was peeking at the end of another book I decided was way too hardcore.    (I'd not even bother to wait for it on DVD  -  not enough action.)  

But are these academically-wired parents sucked into a lie?    Are they living their lives through their children?    They are Good Parents.    How DARE I question the validity of qualifications?   (Well... I've got some and they never got me anywhere.... )

Or....  am I standing in the way of my kids' path to a fruitful life?    Am I living my rebellion through them?    I'll not know 'til I get to the end of the book I s'pose.

As far as I'm concerned there's no hurry to write it.  

(Gods know writing books ain't so easy eh?    Still no sign of anything on that score round here.)

I know I am a Bad Parent.    I'm fine with that.    I hate good parents.    I just wonder if my brood might prefer a good one?  

Oh well  -  shit happens.    It's best they learn this sooner rather than spend a fortune on counselling later.    See?    Always thinking of them!    Good parent after all....



  1. I for one - LOVE, LOVE - your look especially the pink hair and the lashes. There were so many things heer to make me laugh (mind you I laugh when I read the word fuck) The boiled potato thing, so funny because I was just going to write about the smug new mothers. Will quote you if I ever get around to getting of my arse to do so. Thank goodness we are around to put the world if just everyone would listen!

  2. Ha ha!! If only they really KNEW what was in store for them eh? But I s'pose it's one of those mysteries we keep up - like I'm currently refusing to ever accept that one day I may wear a velour leisure suit and enjoy Gardeners Question time....

  3. I did read this last week but computer conked out just as I was about to comment. So will do it again now but may say something different as I can't remember what I said.
    When I look back at photos of me when Rory was a baby I looked such a frump with very short (manageable) hair, hideous specs and no dress sense. The baby was everything. Thank heavens he grew older and I grew my hair.

  4. Ha ha - wot no suspenders? Thank the gods that part of our brain does somehow start to grow back after the initial first year or so.... even if I do look like a clown now, I'm glad I've not got a stitch of sensible brown knitwear on me. (I'm also glad I still don't know how to download photographs or this whole post will backfire horribly!!)