Mum About Town

Emma is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger and online marketer. When she’s not writing, she gets down with her Smalls, bigs-it-up with Him and swans around London reporting for her blog.

Saying Sorry

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 21 May 2015
The way I see it, there are two camps: those who can and those who can't. And those who can, perhaps say it a little too readily. And those you can't are simply missing that apologetic gene as, more of than not, generations before them have trodden an unrepentant path. But just how important is it to be able to ask for forgiveness? How much is too much on the sorry-front? And where would be without the word 'sorry'?

It wasn't just the incident at school that made me think. Although I praised the concept of last night's homework being an apologetic letter to the teacher in question. Being able to craft a sincere and appropriate apology will stand them all in good stead. Whether or not they 'did it', is actually irrelevant.

Does it ever make anything better? One of the Smalls enquired. Yes, I think it does – if delivered with proper thought and ample qualification. A tail between the legs or relevant non-self-justification rationale can go a long way.

On the other hand, saying it too readily, too loudly or totally unnecessarily, is equally futile. London Underground is full of them. Terribly British over apologetic middle-aged one-journey-a-month travellers. SORRY they shrill when a commuter steps on their toe.

Lastly, up there on the high shelf sit those who lack no remorse whatsoever. The ignorant, the bad and the ugly. The man who mugged my dear friend. The terrorists. The pedophile. They don't feel the pain they cause. Perhaps because they are already feeling too much of their own pain? Either way, one day they'll be sorry.

The evils of perfection

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 11 May 2015
Small brought me his maths homework last night.

'I know this answer isn't right' he correctly volunteered. 'But I don't know how to do it so I guessed a number and added 2 to it.'

I took a closer inspection and the rest of the homework was pretty much in line with what the teacher had requested. And I have this thing about perfect homework so I immediately agreed that he could kick a football in the garden.

Honestly, there really is NO place for perfect homework in this world. Not only does it feel manufactured, bad and wrong, it also happens to be poor preparation for any future life.

In fact, from where I'm sitting, perfection in general is a bit of a curse. Unrelenting, non-authentic and with very few upsides, I'd strongly advise those who feel the need to dot every i. Because the harsh reality is that nothing perfect is sustainable, especially as we live in a society flooding us with unattainable expectations around every topic imaginable. How often we eat our greens, have sex, save money, spend time with our children/elderly parents, exercise, cook from scratch.... the list is nothing short of exhausting.

So join my gang in being slightly messy, that little bit imperfect and do add a random 2 to that sum you don't know how to do...

Dating Schools

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 01 May 2015
I know we're not allowed to talk about it. I know that - along with tutors and scholarships and everything else in between – the whole damn subject is COMPLETELY taboo. However 'horses for courses' and 'go with the flow' are all very well in theory but I do need to tell you how I put 2 and 2 together and BING! right there and then I had my not-so-academic revelation....

In fact, it was while I was touring a possible senior school for our Mini that this award-winning realization hit me. You see, I'm approaching school-hunting much as I did (all those years ago) when I might have been husband-hunting. And THIS is sure to be the reason why my emotions around secondary school viewings are proving a little leftfield. I'll give you an example: I never could dig those men who couldn't look me in the eye – especially if their hands dug around in their pockets. Nor could I date the smarmies, the intellects and... what a utterly hideous turn off those A grades could be. No. Absolutely not. I was looking for someone properly fun, definitely not stupid and more than able to handle any social situation I might fling in their direction.

And – as it transpires - that's what I'm looking for when considering our Smalls and their education – at large. Yet instead I am find myself faced with exam factories, overly-keen teenagers, pushy parents and droves of stressed out over-achievers. I just can't fancy that.

Power of calmness

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 24 April 2015
Why is keeping calm one of the hardest things to do? If only there was a special vitamin pill we could pop each morning to (non-synthetically) adopt our brains to think of open fields, pools of still water and perfect sunsets. Just think how much more effective (not to say happier and more pleasant) we would all be.

And, of course, the knock-on effect would be dramatic on those around us. Having recently spent a very calm go-slow weekend with some ridiculously calm friends, I decided to try a little experiment at home. NO screaming on the stairs to encourage the Smalls to hurry up. NO manic multi-tasking. NO rushing. NO stress. Just for one day.

I won't lie. It really did take some incredible self-control and most definitely didn't feel very me. But... the results were dramatic. At first my fellow housemates looked at me curiously, as if I had been embodied by a half-absent soul. Before long though they too picked up on my calmness.

A psychotherapist might suggest that I was 'deconstructing the ritual'. Personally, I'd just say I was less of mad woman.

Breaking Rules

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 16 April 2015
Are you a rules person? It's a bit like Marmite. Either you love a good rulebook, those double yellow lines and that naughty step or ... well, you simply can't look a police man in the eye.

Our Smalls have been raised for the last decade on RULES. Coats are hung by the door, shoes in the shoe basket, bed time rarely wavers and we certainly don't entertain any fugitives after lights out. But – as they enter their second decade – I'm wondering if we need to shift into the back seat... just a little.

Because breaking rules and escaping that proverbial box is what gives us the freedom to be. (Besides, I know how much I personally need to break any rules to turn a fun evening into a proper dancing-on-the-table session). And if these Smalls can't 'be', how will they grow up to think for themselves, risk for a thrill and feel that all important dubious doubt?

So that's my parenting rulebook utterly broken. In fact, I might even go as far as developing a blind eye. But - if you happen to see some (small) people who look a bit like me on Oxford Street swinging from a bottle of gin, please send them home immediately.


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