To my dear children.
Here we are at the summer holidays. For you, this is good. For me, not so.
Below are a few ground rules that I feel if we all stick to, may get us through this
1. When I promise you that if you do something I will ‘take you to the park tomorrow’, I really will take you to the park tomorrow. Even if it is raining. Though I might have a go at talking you out of it. But if you really
2. There will be food in the fridge.
4. I will only spend an hour or two on the computer. The other 10 hours a day that I put into writing my new novel and publicising Simon’s Choice will be done late at night when you go to bed. I will not snarl when you ask why I have bags under my eyes and when you mention that I have begun to develop grey hair. It is Not Your Fault. I will remember often that you are five years old and seven months old and most things are Not Your Fault.
5. Leaving wet Weetabix all over my 150 year old pine chest Is Your Fault. Please recognise this to facilitate easier relations.
6. I will somehow find the money to buy Arabella a new bike. You look like you are riding a tonka toy. I’m sorry I’m so poor. I shall try to rectify this embarrassing social situation. You deserve a bigger and better bike.
7. I will not resort to wine or vodka before 5pm. After 5pm in certain circumstances I may find refuge in a small drink. As long as point 5 has not been abused, then I should make it to 7pm.
8. I will not resort to the answer ‘Because’. Your questions will be given due thought and a proper answer will be given. Even when you when you ask me why it is Sunday tomorrow and not Tuesday. Please do not ask me the same question repeatedly. The answer will remain the same.
9. No means no.
10. Seriously, the answer is still no.
11. Whilst I rather enjoy some privacy during my morning ablutions, I will not scream at you through the door when you demand (repeatedly) that I change the TV channel to CBeebies. In return you will respect that when the bathroom door is shut and the shower is not running that I am otherwise engaged.
12. On gaining entry to the bathroom, you will not run off to tell Daddy how much it ‘stinks’.
13. You will never, ever say the following: “Mummy, why haven’t you tidied my bedroom yet?” This comment is likely to incur violence. When you are a mummy, you will understand.
14. I will never say “When you are a mummy, you will understand.”
15. I will try not to feed you chicken nuggets for every meal, but please do attempt to try some of my lovely home cooking. It would be appreciated if you didn’t declare everything I cook (apart from chicken nuggets) as ‘yucky’. Mummies get hurt too.
16. It is not necessary to wear five outfits a day. Wake up, pick one (preferably not an organza and wild silk, hand embroidered frock) and keep to it. The more washing I do, the less money I have for sweets. Yes, seriously.
17. I am still keeping to my ice-cream only on a Friday rule. I know the ice-cream van comes every day exactly fifteen minutes before tea. I am still sticking to my ice-cream only on Friday rule. This is not negotiable. Asking me more than once on consecutive occasions may lead to points 7 and 14 being rescinded.
18. Please don’t invite all your friends to things without asking me. I do not appreciate it when I say that we are ready to go out for dinner and there are six scrubbed and anticipatory faces beaming back at me from the drive. I don’t have much money. The entire neighbourhood do not need to be invited to everything.
19. I love you. I’m rather bad at showing it. I’m not sure why this is and sometimes I fill with a fury best described as religious – but I do love you. You’re great kids – you deserve a better mummy.