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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...

Homework Hater!

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 05 February 2015
I (bloody) hate homework. Am I even allowed to say aloud something so anti-establishment, let alone type on a screen? Apologies if I've offended, but it's the bane of my afternoons and, quite frankly, absolutely shouldn't be. Sometimes I wonder what I would rather do – eat dirt? hand wash a jumper? or peel vegetables? And they ALL win – hands down. Because homework is evil and boring and not the way I want to spend the end of the day with my tired children.

Tonight's evilness was a perfect example. Our homework hour was spent doing a Science reading comprehension about sources of hydration, a French word search and some tricky Maths problems. A couple of doors were slammed and pencils thrown and, only once we'd all had a big bowl of spag bol, had the tension subsided.

I remember once, at those infamous school gates, hearing talk of that school which doesn't give their pupils any homework. Only lightly requested to read a book and relax once home from school, this genius institution immediately shone the light in my eyes. How very innovative, utterly forward thinking, I thought to myself.

Of course, real people in the real world do work after office hours but these underage minors have all that to look forward to and should really be allowed to play a game, discuss the trials and tribulations of their day and read 'that book'.

Oh well... maybe... one day. Until then, we'd better run through those ludicrous spelling words.

The Smalls log on

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 01 May 2014
This week I have received more ‘I love you’ messages than ever before.

In case you are thinking the worst or wondering if He might have swallowed a romance manual whole, I can explain…

You see, after much pester-power (and even more resisting on our part), the Smalls are each proud owners of an email address. The excitement is no less than immense. Homework must be completed before they rush to the computer to check for any new messages and feverishly draft away their kooky news updates. PING! Off fly their amusing messages – either to me or to their quicker-to-respond grandparents.

Despite being quite sweet, I do find this new activity a little sobering. Let’s face it, we’re all slaves to our in-box. Obsessive checking for any new messages and feeling compelled to reply within minutes, life, as these little people know it, is well and truly over.

Of course, they see email correspondence as properly glamorous. They lust after this other world where an iPhone is simply an extension of your hand. Gone are the days when any of us even wonder what the postman might deliver in the way of handwritten correspondence. He’s simply Amazon’s carrier pigeon now.

As I search (online – of course) for this year’s summer holiday destination, I’m quite tempted to find somewhere completely disconnected. The idea of no Wi-Fi, TV and maybe even lacking in constant electricity is really appealing. By then it will be the digital detox my Smalls need.


You can read more musings from Emma at www.lifeofyablon.com

Half term half baked

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 20 February 2014
One of my Smalls (aged 9) is half way through her half term break. I say ‘break’ because that’s what I thought it was. But, as far as I can work out, she’s mixing any relaxation with some hard core work. Yes, WORK. Science exam revision, a Beethoven written project, a poem to be learnt, music theory papers to be completed and some good old fashioned piano practice. And I’m left wondered if the 9 year old (one of life’s true grafters) deserves a REAL break?

Which leads me to my question: which skills do these kids actually need? I mean, what do they really need to know under the age of 10? How to speak Mandarin? Which materials make effective thermal insulators? How many flats B flat minor has? I suspect not.

While I’m mildly interested in the temperature of the hottest part of the sun (16,000,000 degrees Celsius, if you’re wondering), I’d rather give this traditional curriculum learning a miss. At least for the week. Instead, I’m fantasizing about teaching her the following:

1. how to read a map of London
2. how to draw happy, quirkily-dressed people
3. a little Brit history – maybe a king or queen from years gone by
4. a mean bolognaise which includes more than 4 vegetables
5. how to change a plug

It would certainly feel a whole lot more fun, less pressurized and might leave her better refreshed for next week’s exams. But I fear that by doing so, I will let her down. And so we dive back into electrical conductors…


You can read more musings from Emma at www.lifeofyablon.com.

Am I a bad Mummy?

Posted by Slummy single mummy
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on Monday, 19 November 2012
I sometimes wonder if I might not be the greatest Mummy in the world.

I try my best, but I’m easily distracted, have a terrible memory, and sometimes just forget that there are things that mummies are supposed to do.

The problem has been eased significantly by moving Belle to a school with no school uniform, (because of a house move, not just laziness), but despite no longer having that weekly Sunday evening panic attack, racing against time to get uniform dry on radiators, I still find myself rather lacking.

Monday mornings are particularly bad. This Monday, making Belle’s packed lunch, (a job I loathe), it occurred to me that I didn’t know where her lunchbox actually was. I looked in the cupboards, around the kitchen, but to no avail. I eventually found her schoolbag in the downstairs toilet and there it was, three day old sandwich crusts and all.

I felt bad and hoped nobody was looking. Isn’t this something a Good Mummy would deal with on a Friday afternoon? I rummaged in her bag, and pulled out a scrunched up letter, requesting cake donations for the previous Friday, and a set of maths homework. I felt worse. I looked over my shoulder guiltily, even though I knew no one was there. Checking for letters and homework is definitely something a Good Mummy does regularly.

Ah well, at least this way I give her a new excuse. “No Sir, the dog didn’t eat my homework, I just have a hopeless mother.”

We can’t all be perfect can we?


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