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.

Au pair turnover

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on Thursday, 30 October 2014
‘Oh DO write about your au pairs!’ I have been begged many a time.  But, if I’m honest, the stories are best told over a bottle of wine and, besides, name-and-shame has never really been my game.  Not really.  But, as one packed her bags this weekend, we found ourselves reminiscing over our international lodgers at Sunday breakfast.  The good, the bad and the ugly weren’t our specific categories but we did take a closer look at our statistics as Mini scribbled down the long list of foreigners who have lived with us over the last seven years.

‘We’ve had more au pairs than Tottenham’s had managers!’ He chuckled as I quickly tried to justify our rather rapid turnover.   Of course, it’s not all down to the girls as I suppose we’re not in the least bit perfect and living with a family can’t be easy either.  Some girls are homesick, while others are blinded by the freedom of being abroad without their parents.  But the idea is that they really do enjoy their taste of London while finding the Smalls (and less small housemates) amusing, fun and not too noisy.

So, in anticipation of the impending arrival of our next unsuspecting victim, I’ve dusted the bedroom and crossed my fingers that we can make this one a winner.

I'm having a moment

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on Thursday, 23 October 2014
Excuse me, I’m having a moment. A ‘where am I going? ‘what’s next?’  ‘how old is middle-age?’ type of moment.  Yesterday I blew out the candles, Lady Y’s perfectly chocolate birthday cake has already been polished off and I’m that inevitable year older (than 42).  So here I am left having some sort of moment.

On a morbid mission, I found myself turning to Google questioning: life expectancy for women in the UK and the search engine (which practically sang happy birthday to me yesterday…) today spat out some awful age younger than my very sprightly parents.  Wikipedia was no better, informing me that ‘middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age.’  Now, no one can honestly persuade me that I’m still in young adulthood.  Surely that time passes when your tiny toddlers don’t sleep and, to be honest, anyone who partied their way through ‘young adulthood’ will know that that morning after feeling signifies when this period of your life is well and truly over.

As I dug further, I found that various attempts had been made to define middle age for all those having a moment.  Is this because we are all desperate to fight its onslaught?  Or would all those 60 year olds KILL to be middle aged again?

One particular source advised that we should divide our predicted life span into thirds.  But I’m not sure that this is the answer.  From what I can remember, the first third was spent wanting to grow up.  The second I spent clearly oblivious that I had indeed grown up.  And the third… oh dear… is absolutely why I am now having this moment…

What scares you?

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on Thursday, 16 October 2014
What scares you?  I’ve decided that the oddest things scare me.  Losing my house keys, forgetting to pick up the Smalls from school and a packed-up washing machine are up there in my fear list.  But the eblola virus?  I’m just not sure that this is quite keeping me awake at night.

Someone sneezed in the Post Office queue this morning and within seconds a Daily Mail-purist granny in front of me began her ‘West African we’re all going to die’ rant.  But she’s not the only one.  Many a mum has questioned my thoughts on the killer virus and we even got a letter from the headmistress detailing Mini’s school protocol.

Of course, it’s not pleasant. It’s beyond hideous and it is dangerous too. But is it close enough to actually scare me?  It seems that the Boston Emirates passengers are not necessarily contaminated and so this news story is likely to be yet another (thank god) false alarm.  So, my views here are simple – let’s not over-hype the epidemic.  Health professionals and scientists are doing all they can to work out how to control and cure the virus and, while they do, perhaps don’t book that family holiday to Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, there’s a HUGE spider in my downstairs toilet…

Curriculum vitae

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on Wednesday, 08 October 2014
A momentous occasion, my lovely readers. As, after more than a decade, I just wrote my curriculum vitae.  So, what does that tell you?  Well, let’s start at the beginning.  Oh hang on, I couldn’t actually remember the beginning of my career, it’s so long ago.  Besides, twenty years ago I was transcribing from a Dictaphone and I don’t really need anyone to know THAT.

Mini is away this week and with only Small at home, I’m spying on the future.  A couple of years away from latch-key-kids, I reckon I’m entirely entitled to a future career... Perhaps even one which is office-based.  All those years ago, I gave it all up for nappies and dribble so god knows I’ve been patient enough for this.

But I’m finding it hard to assess my options with a number of ideas (some of which are clearly ludicrous) and long-term dreams floating around my head.  It’s a struggle to lay down newly-acquired skills onto one piece of sectioned A4 paper.  So today I’m wondering how many other mums are in the same boat? Secondary school children I presume implies less hands on parenting is required, but just how redundant should we feel?  In reality, how appealing are ‘returners’ to the corporate work force?  And should we take a job beneath our skill set just to wedge that foot back in the door?

As is the way with this parenting lark, an embarrassing number of unanswered questions, but at least the C.V. is now written should anyone ask for it… 

Set them free

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 02 October 2014
I’ve spent the whole of this week fussing over a suitcase when I’m not even going anywhere fun. In fact, I’m not going anywhere at all. It’s Mini who’s running off into the sunset. My just-10-year-old is off for her first EVER residential school trip and the planning, labeling, instructions and finally the packing… is in itself full to the brim of emotional adrenalin.

On one hand, she is half dying to slip out of the house unaccompanied (no piano practice, homework etc) but, on the other hand, she is half dreading having to fend for herself with no mug-of-a-mum running up and down the stairs kissing her good night and tending to her every whim.

For me, this is all about a change. I’m dying to see the change this trip will bring about. Week on week, it’s hard to see our children grow up as they are right in front of our beady eyes. However, next week’s metamorphosis will be hidden from me until a beyond-exhausted slightly-smelly creature is delivered back to the ranch. And then, once she has caught up on sleep and baths, the change will be uncovered and my girl will be that little bit bigger with a sprinkling of social independence.

Of course I will miss the blonde bombshell - my sensible, conscientious, reasonably bossy child who has more sense (sometimes) than her own mother. But I do fully embrace her temporary departure as she steps into the outside world without her parents. It’s the only way for these kids to work out who they really are.


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