Operation Lockdown

You know when you first wake up in the morning… That lovely moment when you’re wiping the drool from your lips before it hits the pillow, picking the crust out of your eyes, and then having that really satisfying big stretch? And for a few wonderful seconds, you are blissfully unaware of what’s happening right now.

And then you remember.

In honesty, I don’t think I’ve really comprehended yet just how big this is. It must be the biggest thing to happen in this generation… (although the biggest competition so far is probably the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special).

At the risk of sounding ignorant, it’s not necessarily the virus itself that’s scary. It’s the effect that it has on everything. The economy, employment, mental health, education, Emmerdale…

There’s just a constant feeling of unease, with an endless list of things to worry about… Will I be able to pay my bills next month? Will my son still be able to read after several weeks’ home schooling? Is there enough wine being produced? When WILL Emmerdale resume filming? It’s just all a bit too much to deal with.

I think the thing that made me realise what a big deal this is, other than there being literally nothing else on the news for a month, was when someone said that our Great Grandchildren will learn about this in school, which is a crazy thought. They’ll be told of social distancing, furloughing, Cobra meetings, and all the other terms that even we hadn’t heard of a month ago.

Right, before I go on to say how utterly miserable we all are, let me be perfectly clear here…

I am well aware that during WWII, Anne Frank was in hiding for two years, soldiers were told to say goodbye to their loved ones and assume that they would never see them again, and that an incomprehensible 6 MILLION Jewish people were murdered.

That is undoubtedly a crisis. That is tragic. And we can’t even begin to imagine the suffering.

Comparatively, in the (annoyingly) wise words of Piers Morgan, we’re being asked to stay at home and watch TV. It’s really not that bad. In fact, it’s normally my ideal Saturday night to be honest.

That said, I think we may be experiencing the “Forbidden Fruit” phenomenon. Normally, I’d think nothing of staying at home all day and not speaking to anyone. But now that going out is not allowed, staying in has come to feel like a punishment.

I’m quite an advocate for how difficult life is these days compared to times gone by. The difficulty of getting on the property ladder, the impossibility to have savings (or is that just me?), and media pressures to be a beautiful, happy, skinny Mum, who can bake, craft and do a perfect winged eye liner.

But despite my joy at having the “you don’t know how lucky you are” argument with my 92-year-old Tory Grandpa every week, the fact is that this “new normal” has made me realise that actually, we had things pretty good.

I keep fantasising about February. Wonderful, heavenly February. I was living the dream. Casually calling at Tesco Express on the way home from work after crawling in the lovely predictable traffic, without having to queue outside, for a bottle of Pinot, a £1 bunch of daffodils and a Carex aloe vera.

Up until last week, I was working as normal in the COVID-19 crisis, despite the lockdown. My husband was working from home, looking after our son after the school closures. He kept moaning about being fed up with staying in all day and I thought he was just being a bit pathetic to be honest. But now I have realised just how capable of empathy I am. (Well done me.)

We are currently on Day 5 of self-isolation. It’s awful.

I have sanded, decorated, gardened, cleaned, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher roughly 319 times, crafted, drawn, taught, all in addition to washing my hair every day. And I am still so bloody bored… I’m not the only one. My kid is also bored. And it turns out that when a 7-year-old is bored, they have to tell you EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY.

I think we can maintain a healthy balance between acknowledging that this situation isn’t the worst thing ever to happen in the world, whilst also being allowed to be annoyed, scared, fed up and very aware that time away from our loved ones is actually a luxury.

So in the interests of everyone’s physical health, our mental wellbeing, our emotional fuse, and Emmerdale, let’s just stay at home and watch Tipping Point, yeah?

Chewing Mum

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that these days, we are forced to constantly self-critique against the eternally unachievable standards inflicted on us 24/7 via endless sources of media.

Consequently, I, like many, find myself in a never-ending cycle of self-argument.

On the one shoulder, I have the Body Conscious Me. The Me who knows I need to be healthier; who knows my husband probably deserves a hotter wife; who knows that I hate how I look and can’t bear to acknowledge my dress size.

On the other shoulder lives the far heavier Life’s Too Short Me (who I’m pretty sure I like a lot more). The Me who, in the wise words of Sophia Loren, would much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero. The Me who knows that strict dieting, daily weigh ins and cruelly chastising myself, unsurprisingly plunges me into a depression.

I do feel that our modern culture seems to put so much focus on image that it’s almost as if everyone’s forgotten that there are far worse things to be, than a bit fat. Surely, it’s worse to be aggressive, or controlling, or cruel…?

People often think it’s appropriate to question my food choices. In fact, I used to hide chocolate in my handbag and eat it in secret at work because one person would always ask if I was “sure that I wanted to eat it”. Others sometimes ask me how my diet is going; regardless of whether I’m on one or not, obviously just assuming I must be. Fortunately, I have a thick skin (and a thick everything else too) so I tend to just find it funny. It’s ironic too that I much prefer to be the chubby victim enjoying a Twirl, than the offensive tool eating celery sticks.

Granted, I can never stick to a diet for longer than a month, at best. But that doesn’t make me a bad person. If only we were as good at calling people out on their bullying behaviour as we are at criticising others for gaining a few pounds, we’d all be a lot happier.

One of the brilliant things about being a parent, is that it makes you care so much less about this stuff. Not only do you literally not have time to give it too much thought, but you also learn it’s absolutely not important. What is important however, is to be patient, kind, fun and encouraging. I reckon I’ll probably work on those qualities as a priority.

I’ll probably be on a diet for the rest of my life.

Every fancy function I attend in a posh frock, I’ll wish I’d tried a bit harder. Every takeaway I order and large Pinot I drink; I’ll feel guilty about it.

But at least I’m not an arsehole. I’m quite happy being a Chewing Mum.

The Half Term Holiday

After an incredibly busy and stressful few months, I was ecstatic to be going away for a few days with my family. Just the three of us, in a lodge with a hot tub at the seaside. Idyllic right?!

When we got back, I was quite literally heartbroken to be coming home to normal life again.

We had an amazing time.

At least I think we did… The photos on my phone certainly suggest that it was fantastically flawless family fun.

I did get thinking though (you know, while waiting for the third of four loads of washing to finish) that we’ve heard about the concept of making our lives look better for social media, but I wondered if we also edit our lives for us. Do we filter out what’s NSFF (not safe for Facebook) in our memories?!

When I think about our lovely family holiday, I think about my husband hilariously throwing Leo in to the hot tub naked, about us crying with laughter at the immature fun that is a Whoopee Cushion, about it being perfectly acceptable to sink a bottle of wine on a Monday, and about donning a bin bag for the smallest Halloween party ever.

But I think I may have mentally blocked out all the normal and, frankly harrowing, family stuff…

For example, trying to get a 6-year-old boy with a super cool pair of new trainers to wear wellies is an effing nightmare. So of course, before heading off for a walk on the beach, there were cries of “PUT THEM ON. Please… You can choose what we have for tea? We’ll go to the Play Gym? Please?… I’ll buy you a little present? I’ll buy you a massive present? …Fine, forget it! THANK YOU FOR RUINING THE WHOLE HOLIDAY”.

Now, the above may well explain why the boy has come to expect an undeserved gift every time we leave the bloody house. “Are we going to Big Tesco? If I don’t swear, can I get a toy?” If I’m good at getting in the car can I have some sweets?” (Just to be clear, I am aware of what an unashamedly pathetic joke this parenting tactic is). And this absurd behaviour is somewhat amplified on holiday. When you’ve already forked out £50 for three admissions to an oversold local attraction, the last thing you want to do is pay another tenner for a branded pencil sharpener.

Yes, we made the fateful mistake of visiting The Deep on a rainy day in the school holidays. One hour after joining the queue, we had almost got to the ticket desk to be let in (despite already buying our tickets online). We then found ourselves waiting for 10 minutes just to be uncomfortably close to strangers whilst we huddle around a clown fish. Of course, the whole visit was essentially just counting down time until we got to what all kids are actually interested in… the gift shop and retrospective bartering.

Now, as we will all be painfully aware, the journey for any holiday, or in fact anywhere, is a whole new level of hell. The newest way in which our little darling makes it especially unbearable is with his decision that motorways are his “worst enemy”. Cue seemingly never ending moans and high-pitched whines of “How many minutes ‘til we’re off the Motorway? 23 minutes?! How many seconds is that? The motorway is so boring, I’m so bored, this is boring… How many minutes left? And how many seconds?…” And because nothing ever goes to plan for us, we managed to hit a city centre exit at 5pm, so you can only imagine for how many minutes (and of course, seconds) we were subject to this incessant whiny mental arithmetic.

Leo also seems to have become obsessed with speed limits. Now, having sat through two Speed Awareness courses, I can confidently say that I’m a pretty decent and safe driver. However, this probably isn’t purely down to the good old DVLA. These days, it’s more on account of my six year-old screaming at the top of his voice, “THIIIIIIIIRRRRTY OOOOOONE MUUUUUUM! SLOW DOWN!” Diligent, yes. But it doesn’t half bloody wear thin quick.

And the irritations harp on… A new and adorable quality the boy has picked up is the ability to play us off against one another. Yep, absolute Only Child syndrome. All it takes is the slightest disagreement; such as “Toast for breakfast?” “Nah, let’s have bacon”. He loves it. He’s right in there with, “I’m on your team Mum” and “Mum’s mean to you anyway, Dad”. If it wasn’t so worryingly devious, it might be funny.

Finally of course, we were also inundated with the Ignorant Accident. Also known as, not listening to my repeated hypersensitive anxious ramblings and therefore nearly cracking his skull open by falling on the slippy floor, giving himself third degree burns on the red hot kettle and almost drowning by carelessly messing around in the hot tub. At least that’s how I saw it anyway.

Apart from all that, the holiday was perfect to be fair.

I am sure that we’re not the only family to edit our lives for social media. But it’s important to remember the perfectly imperfect. Otherwise, how the hell will I make his life a misery when he’s older?!

It’s Not Me, It’s You

“Well, he is a bit, you know… a bit spoiled… and a bit of a brat sometimes.”

“He likes a tantrum when he doesn’t get his own way, doesn’t he?!”

…Cue an irrepressible rage (and lots of crying, obvs) from yours truly.


A couple of times recently, I’ve been witness to my own child’s character assassination. And boy, it hurt me to my very core.

I’d opt for a harsh critique of myself any day of the week. I’d willingly hear about about my annoying sneeze, ever increasing weight and possibly excessive Pinot habit, all day every day rather than hear that.

Now if I were to get a bit of perspective on the matter, I would calmly say that the comments weren’t all that derogatory, nor if I’m being completely honest, are they false. They are 100% true and I say that, though through gritted teeth, totally confidently. In fact, I am guilty of having many a Mum moan and saying exactly the same myself, although probably with worse language, after a 40 minute argument about trainers.

So why does it bother me so much?

Is it that I am completely over sensitive when it comes to my kid, or is telling someone else about their child’s occasionally bad behaviour unnecessary and unacceptable?

I think the thing is… I can say that, but you can’t.

My boy is generally very well behaved and low maintenance. Actually, he’s been a doddle to rear if I’m honest.

However, I am acutely aware of when my son is less than perfect (most tea times and bed times without fail), and I make sure he knows about it. I’m not one of those parents who allows their child to hit and kick them while shouting and screaming, and not say a word (not that I’m judging those parents, of course). In fact, I often feel sick to death of hearing my own voice citing that I’m disappointed, appalled, ashamed and so on. I’m not crying out for a rude awakening from my utterly oblivious state. I don’t need your help so please keep your crappy opinion, to which you are quietly entitled, to yourself.

Maybe I can say it because it’s clear that even if I am having a brief moan about one rare moment of “being a child”, I still love the bones of him. Other people, who don’t know him that well don’t have that safety net of unequivocal love. Meaning that I’m left with the impression that they just hate my kid. And that is unacceptable.

I encounter feral behaviour from children every day. Not just through my son, but also through my work with the General Public. However, I would never think that it is appropriate to bring it up in conversation with a parent, in what would undoubtedly be an awkward attempt at offering some unwelcome assistance. I wouldn’t feel it acceptable to pass comment even if I was asked for my opinion, nor if the kid is genuinely bloody horrible.

I recall a colleague of mine telling me about a fall out she’d had with a friend over a similar comment. At the time, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. At the time, I wasn’t a parent. Perhaps that awareness of the effect of throwaway comments comes with the overwhelming love you feel as a parent. Perhaps that is the filter you need to empathise and therefore understand what is appropriate and what isn’t. Or perhaps I’m being utterly pathetic.

I don’t know for sure, but I’m sticking with… It’s not me, it’s most definitely you.

The 5 Stages of Turning 30

Today marks two whole months of being a 30 year old. And I’m proud of myself.

I’m a bit proud because I think I’ve managed to get away with not letting on how much I hate it. But I’m mainly proud because I have successfully graduated from the School of Grief, coming to terms with the 5 stages, following the tragic loss of my twenties.

(I knew that my AS Level in Psychology would come in handy one day…)

Stage 1- Denial

I went through a brief phase of just trying to change my age (like really old people do), and thought I might stick at 28 for… well, forever actually. But it turns out when you have a big birthday, everyone knows how old you are.

Even my 5 year old clearly understands my torment and sadistically won’t let me lie about it. In fact, he felt the need to tell our next door neighbour, “Mummy is so old I have to look after her now”.

Stage 2- Anger

There’s a chance I may have a total intolerance to mild irritation. I appear to have turned into my 90 year old Grandpa when he flies off the handle for a few Battenberg crumbs on the rug.

Young people irritate me. (By the way, I would define young people as anyone below 25… No, 23.) The ridiculous clothes, the inability to do anything without having your face in your brand new iPhone that I can’t afford, the unbearable negative attitude despite the fact you have no humans reliant on you and no real responsibilities, and the incessant and totally pointless use of the word ‘literally’.

NB. Other things that anger me for no real reason: Sandi Toksvig, the unnecessary use of garlic, and my Husband.

Stage 3- Bargaining

Some aspects of turning 30 are, I suppose, not all bad. There are some things I am happy to see the back of. I will not miss sudden and unexpected breakouts of acne. However, I understand this life-changing prize must come at a price. And that price is approximately a million pounds for anti-wrinkle products, because that’s what a fear of the ageing process forces you to do when you’re 30.

Another significant compromise involves a change in your taste in TV shows (which your entire life revolves around). Gone are the days that I binge watch cool Netflix dramas and illegally download the newest Hollywood Blockbusters. These days I live for The Great British Bake Off and Emmerdale… and apparently, I also use phrases like, ‘gone are the days’.

I vividly remember spending my not-so rebellious youth taking the piss out of my Mum for her shocking taste in TV viewing, and now I find myself too watching Eggheads and shamefully, enjoying it.

Stage 4- Depression

As well as actually being old, I genuinely feel it. I have that female anxiety where my Body Clock is now very much a thing, rather than just something I’m aware of through reading mindless moaning on Mumsnet. I feel forced into making decisions I’ve been putting off for 5 years, just because I’ve had a birthday. And it’s a bit of a lose-lose situation. Do I do what I feel totally unprepared for… emotionally, physically and financially, because it might be my last chance? Or quit forever? Or risk being a Geriatric Mum?!

Stage 5- Acceptance

Over the last few years, I’ve seen nearly all my friends turn 30. And I know that the ones who were really bothered by it were those who felt they hadn’t achieved what they wanted to.

When I think back to what 18 year old me wanted when I was 30… I wanted to be married, have a great job I enjoy, have children and a loving family unit, have a lovely house, wonderful friends, and generally be happy in life.

What more could I want? I have everything I could possibly need. A few wrinkles and Sandi Toksvig is a small price to pay for what I have.

Dear Grandad…

You were absolutely designed to be a Grandad.

You were, in fact, so committed to the role that you weren’t just a Grandfather to your actual grandchildren… Your neighbours, daughter, even friends the same age all refer to you as Grandad.

When me and the other Grandkids were growing up, you were our hero. No one could make us laugh like you, and not just because you let us drink Lambrini with our tea. We would be captivated by your stories, usually about your family, of whom you thought so much. I feel so lucky that my son had the chance to get to know his Great-Grandad, and I promise I will always share your unconventional pearls of wisdom…

Your humour always had a marvellous way of making everything OK… when I was sad about needing braces; you swiftly removed your false teeth and correctly pointed out that, “it could be worse”. When I had got in to trouble for picking my nose and farting in public (we both know where I got that from), you assured me that even the Queen picks her nose, and that if I never trumped I’d explode.

You really did spoil us rotten. Now I’m older I have a much better understanding of how ridiculously amazing it is for you and Grandma to have taken five grandchildren away to Disneyland (I struggle going to the supermarket with one) and I could never have repaid you for your kindness to all of us.

Even in to your senior years, you refused to be the one who needed looking after. When we’d come over to visit, we were always keen to help you both however we could… shopping, cooking, gardening. But you were still so keen to spoil us, we were effectively on a lavish retreat being force fed wine and fry ups (obviously strongly against our will).

There’s so much I will miss about you Grandad… your jokes, your breakfasts, your 25 year old white t-shirt with a thousand holes in it, your side burns and your stories.

But I feel so lucky that you were my Grandad, because you really were the best.

That’s what she said…

It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so horrendously offensive, and yet be totally clueless to it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that when it comes to our little darlings, we can be a little hyper sensitive to every, “Are you sure he should be eating that?” and “I wouldn’t let my child stay up that late.”

But sometimes people just cross the metaphorical line.

The comments in question came from a childless woman so I have been told I should be sympathetic to a lack of understanding. In truth, I have somewhat struggled in the sympathy stakes and have predominantly opted for blind rage as my general response to the following…

“That’s the good thing about you, you’re, like, a cool Mum.”

Ah that’s nice, I thought.

“You know, you don’t always go on about kids and stuff. No one really wants to hear about that, everyone just smiles to be polite.”

Totally with her so far to be honest.

“You know, with most Mums, if anything happened to their kids, they’d never get over it, but you’d be fine and just get on with it.”


So it turns out someone actually thinks so little of me as a parent. Never have I been so hurt. Someone I spend a significant amount of time with, seems to believe I’d carry on as normal the day after my son’s passing (which physically hurts to even type).

Of course, the rational part of me listens to my friends when they tell me it’s absolute crap. But I couldn’t help analysing everything I’ve ever said and done to give such a poor impression of me as a Mother. What could I possibly have done to lead to such a shocking assumption?

Aside from the obvious… writing a blog under the name of The Unfit Mother, the only thing I could really think is that I am a working Mum. I go to work. I enjoy work. I strive to succeed in my work. I like having a bit of time to be me, rather than someone’s Mum or wife, so I don’t constantly talk about my home life.

But does that really make me a bad parent?

When I first started writing this post, it was a day or so after the incident. I was initially determined to use this platform to justify my parenting skills and make a huge statement that I love my child.

As it turns out, I shelved it. This was mainly as a result of my irrepressible rage and excessive wine consumption every time I thought about it. I’m glad I shelved it though. Because when I came to revisit this piece, I realised that such a post would be bloody ridiculous.

Of course I love my child, more than anything else in the world. Of course I’m a competent parent, I’ve managed to get him to the ripe old age of 5 as a healthy, happy, bright boy. But also, why the hell should I justify myself?

So instead, the new Me has decided that this post is about letting it go and having a bit of faith in myself.

Is it acceptable that I was repeatedly reduced to tears, all because one person, who is (as of yet) blissfully unaware of the all-consuming love that engulfs you as a parent, made an ill-advised comment? It’s not her fault that she doesn’t understand that level of love. That jump-in-front-of-a-train-just-to-stop-them-getting-a-chesty-cough love.

I heard a lovely phrase today… ‘to be good at family’. I know, that I am bloody amazing at family, and those who matter know I am and respect me. And if they didn’t, they wouldn’t matter.

It’s all about self-belief. Now, generally speaking, I’m not one for preaching about all that stuff, but we can’t allow ourselves to be beaten and berated by every idiotic remark from someone whose opinion is ultimately so irrelevant. We get enough negative press from ourselves and indeed our little ones. Surely, self-belief is part of being a good parent.

So go and be good at family. And everyone who thinks you aren’t can piss off.


Once again, lovely illustration care of Anna Lewis @ Sketchy Muma

Out Out

Incredibly, I have been able to have 2 nights out in the last month or so. But… Just to be clear, that is the first time I’ve had 2 nights out in a month for the last 6 years. When I finally experienced it, I was bogged down with an internal debate of if I’d changed vs. if the youth had changed… or both.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it was awesome. Seriously. But there were lots of small aspects to it that I just couldn’t get on board with, which actually made me glad a night out generally only comes round once every 6 months or so.

My first night “out out” was a gig in Manchester… I know, who do I think I am right?! I took my amazingly glorious sister-in-law (honestly not enough superlatives for that woman) to see Richard Ashcroft, who has been my favourite artist for about 15 years.

I was so excited, and the gig was unbelievable, the best I’ve ever been to. The music was awesome, the location was perfect and the company exceptional (told you, proper girl crush).

However… We arrived at the venue, got a drink and found our spot. It was heaving, with a group of rowdy lads next to us, but we miraculously did manage to find a space we liked. It had a good view, good access to bars and toilets (turns out that’s more important when you’re old). We sat down on a Poundland poncho, (obvs well prepared) and within about 30 seconds we had a pint of overpriced lager chucked all over us in a playful coincidence. So much for the pre-arranged ‘getting ready’ time in the schedule. Ruined so very soon.

This is just a small part of the intolerance for drunken youths (this being defined as people 2 years younger than me, who weren’t unintentionally and suddenly parents before planned). It is honestly a shock initially to see this behaviour, which is essentially what I looked like a few short years ago, but fatter and in worse clothes.

I managed to get my mate kind of OK after that horrendous start, but then the unthinkable happened… we needed a wee. And a mere 50 minutes later, we were actually allowed to have one. I mean, these environments kind of stand in your way between you and your basic human right to urinate. We queued and queued, just to have the door brayed in by a drunken moron just for taking an extra 30 seconds to touch up our lipstick.

My other night “out out” was in a local city centre on the last day of the school year with teachers. You couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere to be honest. And my teacher-girl-date (another Wonder Woman) was wonderfully sympathetic to the fact that I wasn’t a teacher and therefore wasn’t familiar with the many, many acronyms used in education. She went to such an effort to ensure I was happy and having a great time. It was so fun, but again, not all wine and giggles…

In addition to having a wee, we all know that another basic human need (isn’t it?) is to get a drink. Turns out this isn’t so easy on a Friday night in Leeds. Why must it be so difficult? When you finally work your way to the front of the bar (while realising that revealing your not so perky cleavage doesn’t do the trick anymore), you are faced with the dilemma of how much you’re willing to pay, versus how much you’re willing to carry, all while considering how long you can hang on until you accept ownership of having to return to that hell hole.

After a traditional Wetherspoons start, we found an amazing bar, which was such a laugh. All was going so well then all of a sudden the place just seemed to get very creepy very fast, but to be fair, it was about 2am. We decided it was probably time to leave when a stranger came over to us with 2 drinks and said, “I’ve got you these, I haven’t put drugs in them”. Now, to open an interaction with that, is… well it’s odd, let’s face it. It’s like being introduced to someone and them feeling the need to say, “Hi, I’m not a murderer”.

My least favourite thing about a night out out is that the need for food no longer waits to rear its ugly head at 4am when waiting for a taxi. I will literally eat anything greasy put in front of my gob after a couple of glasses of white wine and I will turn seriously ugly without it. In fact, I have been known to send someone out for crisps, just to manage my raging hanger on a night out.

I love a night out. I love that my awesome husband actively encourages it so he gets some quality boy time. I love spending quality time with the girls and having something to look forward to. It’s wonderful because it’s a rare treat, so I appreciate it so much.

But my favourite thing of all has become what was a punishment as a kid. My favourite days are now staying in my PJs under a duvet on the couch, watching kids films with my family and going to bed at 9. Suppose that’s parenthood for you… awesome isn’t it?

School Mum’s Guide

As a newly qualified school Mum, allow me to share my wide spread expertise on the first year of Primary School… Not for the child; there’s enough booklets, pointless information evenings and transition visits for that, This is for you… the totally unprepared Parent.

Firstly, let’s start with preparations you can make in the summer. I seriously underestimated the amount of uniform that one child would need. People always moan about the sheer volume of washing when you have a baby, but I never really got that, so was shocked and appalled at how kids can go through a jumper a day… that’s what happens when they have baked bloody beans for lunch every day. Also, socks. You’ll never have enough socks.

The school playground is the best place for one of my favourite activities- People Watching. Mainly because most of the other parents are arseholes. This will become apparent early on and your hatred will only deepen as the year goes on. They really are unbearable… but my God, they are fun to watch. At our school, we have ‘Bumbag Mum’, ‘Mrs Thinks-She’s Poppins’ and ‘Self-Obsessed Gym Mum’. OK, the last two are a bit wordy but to be fair I don’t care enough to find out their real names so I have to make them up. You will find yourself going all Katie Hopkins and making horrendous assumptions about the children (and secretly hoping your little darling will not want to mix with the offspring of your blissfully unaware enemy).

One of the most difficult aspects to school is that 4 years old is not too young for love it seems. When my son told me he loved Lilly (this ended up being 4 separate girls in total by the end of the school year) and had kissed her, I was slightly upset that I wasn’t the only woman in his life anymore. But Christ, that slight knowing-it’s-not-quite-real disappointment turned out to be nothing compared to when he got dumped. I swear to Pinot Grigio, I was hell bent on hunting down that little trollop and giving her what for. I’ve since been told, that’s not really the done thing. I still pushed in front of her at the Fair though… well and truly showed her.

Next, there’s Parents Evenings. Shockingly, it turns out that not everyone understands just how intelligent, well behaved, and generally perfect your child is. In fact, it feels like you’ve been punched in the face every time their teacher offers the tiniest bit of ‘constructive feedback’. When I was told that my son is so eager to please that he often puts up his hand despite having nothing to say, I found it difficult to hold back what was brewing inside… “OH I’M SO SORRY THAT HE ADORES YOU SO MUCH HE WANTS TO HAVE YOUR ATTENTION AND CAUSE YOU A MILD IRRITATION”.

Possibly the biggest frustration of all is that kids remember NOTHING. When they first trot off to school, you feel a bit lonely, and a bit like your arm is missing while they’re at school. You find yourself constantly wondering how they are, if they’ve made friends, does the teacher like them… but don’t worry, that passes by week two. The most irritating thing is that by the time 3pm comes and you’re desperately awaiting news of all of the above plus a full breakdown of lunch including portion sizes, it’s incredibly frustrating to repeatedly hear, “I can’t remember”. The truth is; kids are far more resilient than us and we’re far more bothered by the whole experience than they are.

When it was all over on the last day of his first school year, this became all the more apparent. I basically cried at everything. I cried at a beautiful note from his teacher, cried at how proud I was of how well he adapted to school life, cried that he made so many friends, cried that he learned to read and write, and cried that he did it all with a huge smile on his face. He had no idea what the big deal was.