Tag Archives: Parenting

Dear Tess Morgan, re. your son’s tattoo

Dear Tess Morgan,

Yesterday I read your reaction to your son’s tattoo and was frankly gobsmacked at your reaction which will probably destroy any relationship you and your son have.

  • Has your son killed anyone?
  • Has your son raped anyone?
  • Has your son abused anyone?
  • Has your son got a woman pregnant and not taken responsibility?
  • Has your son forced a woman into an abortion against her will?
  • Has your son committed a crime?
  • Has your son deliberately coldly and maliciously hurt anybody else either physically or mentally?
  • Or is your son David Cameron?



The way you write about your feelings towards your child and his bodily autonomy as an adult to chose what he does to his body with fully informed consent is shocking.  I’m glad you realise that your feelings are “OTT” “completely unreasonable“, “absurd” and you “get angry with myself” for feeling like that (your words) but your son has not “taken a meat cleaver to my apron strings”, your actions and response to his tattoo will be the meat cleaver in this relationship.  Your son sounds a very reasonable and wise young man, I was particularly impressed with him saying  “I think you need to re-examine your prejudices.” and “I’m upset that you’re upset. But I’m not going to apologise.”.  

I would be proud of a son like that, one that is not afraid to challenge unreasonable prejudice in those that he loves and one that is empathetic to others feelings but has courage of convictions not to plead forgiveness for appeasement purposes when he has done nothing wrong.

I was trying really hard to think what my girls would have to do to create the level of upset your son has done in you, and pretty much it is what I listed above, but even then they may one day find themselves killing someone in self defence or to protect their own children then I still wouldn’t consider their actions to be “A meat cleaver to the apron strings“.  No matter what I will always be their mother and always love them, and even if they turn into bad people doing heinous actions I would still love the children they were and although I may have to reconsider a relationship with them if they turned into immoral evil adults I suspect this is an unlikely scenario.  I also appreciate that sometimes “bad things” happen without malicious intent, I am not going to get angry at my girls for making mistakes with bad consequences if they never meant to hurt anyone, unfortunately life isn’t always black and white or good and evil, just lots of people trying to muddle along as best they can and do things that make them happy.

A tattoo has made your son happy- deal with it.

However lets also examine what you mean by “meat cleaver to the apron strings“, what you actually mean by that is control of your son, not love of your son. Your love of your children should never change however old they get, but although you say “I know you can’t control what your children do” and pretend that you don’t want to this is not reflected in the tone of your whole piece, and I find this very sad.

You will lose your son if you cannot get past this and let him be an adult on his own terms, and what a stupid thing to throw away 21years of a relationship over.  I’m presuming you grew this man in your womb, gave birth to him, fed him, changed him, winded him, helped him walk, protected him when he was hurt, but he is no longer attached to the umbilical cord and you are no longer needed.  You need to let go, you need to stop being so controlling.

This is about so much more than a tattoo now thanks to your completely unreasonable reactions and I hope you and your son can get past this and salvage some sort of a relationship.

Yours Sincerely


My tattoo which I got when I was 18 which, as expected, I now kind of regret but it reminds me of a crazy fun time of my life and I won’t get it removed. My parents hated my tattoo and didn’t find out about it until it was 5 years old, when they saw it they just groaned and said “oh I wish you hadn’t” and then said no more about it and our relationship was completely unchanged as a result. How it should be.




Dear Body Image of 5 Year Old Me.

Dear Body Image of 5 year old me,

So I already wrote to my 15 year old body image, but since the news broke that many 5 year olds have poor body image it made me reflect on my own body image aged 5.

As a birthday present my grandma had bought me two new swimming costumes, a royal blue one with florescent trim and a red and white striped bikini pretty similar to this one but with red frills and pants instead of shorts.

I was totally in love with both my new swimming costumes but I especially loved my bikini, it felt so grown up to have an actual bikini. I knew my mum didn’t approve, she didn’t think little girls should wear bikini’s, but the top was a crop top rather than a bra like one. I was five I didn’t have breasts I needed to hide, but now I am a mum myself I understand more about her reservations about girls and bikini’s.

Anyhow I wore it swimming for the first time and my overriding memory of that day was being embarrassed about having my stomach on show.  I thought I was too fat to wear a bikini, and I kept trying to cover my stomach up.

I was ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD and somehow I had already been warped into thinking my tummy should be flat and I must be skinny.  Where the hell did I get that idea from!? Remembering that makes me so sad.  I was a normal healthy 5 year old girl. I wasn’t skinny but I definitely wasn’t fat or overweight, I just had a normal child’s tummy.  It worries me how I must have received these messages that girls must be slim from such an early age.

I suspect partly it was my family and my relationship with my mum and her own relationship with her weight and food, partly my peers- at that time my best friend was Becky- she was slim and beautiful and everyone always commented on her looks.  I don’t think it can have been the media too much- I wasn’t allowed to watch that much telly and my mum never really had women’s magazines, but maybe it was also the billboards, the adverts, thin obsessed society that seeped into my consciousness and invaded my self esteem?

Whatever it was, I never want my girls to feel how I felt that day at the swimming pool (I don’t think I ever wore that swimming costume again), but I feel powerless to stop them feeling like that. What can I do as a mum to make them confident in their own bodies?  I hope my own reasonably happy in own skin body image will help (it took a lot of work and I didn’t get there until I was in my twenties), for example I never ever diet, and I am not particularly obsessed with my weight (although I am aware I eat too much cake at the minute and when I stop breastfeeding I may need to reign it in a bit) as I do think mothers own body image has a massive impact on how daughters perceive their own body image.

On the other hand I worry about Oddler’s diet- she has always been in the 99.9th centile and she eats a lot.  At the minute we try not to worry too much about it, we encourage fruit and veg but are not too fussed if she doesn’t eat them, I really don’t want to get into food being a battleground as it was with my own parents.  Also as my diet isn’t optimum so I can’t really force stuff on my kids that I tend to avoid if I can (I really need to work on that whole role modelling lark!).  We do encourage activity and as she grows up she is a normal healthy two year old on the big side but not overweight for her age. She is exactly like me and I can see she is going to have my build and I can see already the differences in her sister- her baby sister is always going to be a skinny one (like her dad) and I wonder how this will be for them both growing up, especially in the teenage years. I think we just keep doing what we are doing on that front and hope for the best.

One thing important for me to do for their body image is to curb my critical tongue, I inherited it from my mother and I can often come out with a negative instead of a positive.  I know the effect it had on me growing up and I don’t want to have the same effect on my girls. I’m hoping my own experiences will help me not make the same mistakes my parents did, but I also know I am likely to make other mistakes  (plus Philip Larkin had a point), and ultimately I do know my parents love(d*) me and wanted what was best for me, just as I do for my girls.

So dear 5year old body image- the memory of you makes me so sad- as does my 15 year old body image, however ultimately I am cheered that as a 30 year old woman I am pretty happy in my own skin. I am never going to be a skinny minnie, I am never going to have a flat stomach and I’m always going to have my childbearing hips and proportionate build, but that’s okay because I am happy and healthy (could be healthier admittedly) exactly how I am.  So now I just need to work on my girls being at the point I am now without going through the same body image blips I did! Is that even possible?

Raising girls with good self esteem- it’s a minefield innit! Help!

Lots of Love


*P.S Love(d) because my Dad died recently but I know he loved me, I know my alive Mum still loves me.  I have no idea of the correct grammar in such cases!

Dear Consent

Dear Consent,

Have been musing on you a lot lately in lots of different ways. Partly because of the Mumsnet- we believe you campaign and teaching my girls about consent, and partly because in the world of internet and sharing information- how much information is actually yours to share and should your family be consenting participants in anything you share about them online?

I have really been pondering about how I teach my tiny girls about consent. I realised that sometimes I ask Oddler for a kiss or a cuddle and she says “No!” in that charming emphatic toddler way of hers and I used to do it anyway because I love kissing and cuddling her, she either giggles or tries to run away. But I’ve decided I need to stop doing this because she isn’t consenting and she does need to start gaining autonomy over her body and to who she let’s kiss or cuddle her. Likewise I plan on never making her kiss relatives goodbye etc if she doesn’t want to. It is important to me she learns from a young age that No really does mean No and nobody should do anything you don’t want to your body without your consent.  So now I ask her for a cuddle or a kiss, if she says no that’s okay and other times she comes to ask me for a kiss or a cuddle and that’s awesome but more usually its daddy she wants as she is a total daddy’s girl- *sobs*. Same should go for tickling- tickling kids can be hilarious- their hysterical delighted laughs can cheer anyone up on the bleakest day but sometimes when they are giggling and shouting “No!” they really mean the No- so I think it is important to check in with her with lots of tickling breaks- usually in seconds she is is “again again again” but if she isn’t then time to stop the tickle wars.

Widening that out- she often doesn’t want to wipe her face, brush her teeth or have a bath, and sometimes we do force her do those things, (mainly because we don’t want nursery to call social services on our neglectful parenting!)  but we do try to get her agree to it as much as possible (top tip- Snuggle Bunny Puppet is a master teeth brusher where Mummy simply isn’t allowed).  I guess the key is to try and get the balance between her having autonomy over her body but also her being kept healthy and safe and recognising that at 2 years old she simply will sometimes have to do some things she doesn’t consent too, but where ever possible to encourage her to go along with the necessary course of action!

Also in terms of information and photos I share about my girls I am worried about consent issues there.  I have written a few letters in which my girls may be embarrassed when older that I told the internet that! However I would never ever publish anything to deliberately shame or embarrass my girls- I am so proud of them but sometimes they do say or do things that are worth sharing and celebrating, because they are so wonderfully daft and funny, and I do hope they see it like that and if they ever asked me to take anything down because they didn’t want it on the blog I would do it (with good reason obviously).  One tip from a tweeter was to always ask “Is it okay to tell people that?” and Oddler is almost able to understand that and as she and her sister grow up I definitely think that is the course of action I will take (I would also like to run things past LordCurd but he has decided he has utterly no interest in my blog but if a furore is created about something I say he will probably notice and ask me to take it down two weeks later (uh oh- license to fuck up!)).

I don’t want to censor my blog too much as I want to record these funny things as they happen so we can have something to look back on and smile about as they get older.  I would share them with people in real life too but obviously the internet is potentially a much wider audience, however I love writing my letters about important things in my life and my family is a huge part of that. It’s a bit of a dilemma I think I shall maintain this blog being fairly anonymous. Granted a fair few readers who I really am (not Ann Widecombe as I claimed to a tweeter this week)– but they are generally also real life friends and the sort of people I would talk to anyway about Oddler or Omble’s embarrassing moments.  But as Oddler and Omble are fairly anonymous to you the rest of you it is unlikely they will ever be outed as the “girl who once called her vulva- Buddha or wasn’t quite ready for potty training” etc etc. but just in case re. that happening I have decided to limit photos of the girls on this blog from now on.  They both already look so different from any existing pictures on the blog (and have removed one or two), so my sort of rule of thumb now is to try to only publish photos on my blog of the toddler where her face is obscured- as she is more readily identifiable, and probably do the same with the baby when she is a bit older (as lets face it all babies look the same anyway) ;).  Twitter is slightly different as photo tweets don’t last forever (I have a habit of regularly deleting all my tweets), and as the girls get a bit older they can tell me which photos or information they are okay with me sharing and hopefully all will be fine.

So dear Consent- is there anything else I should think about?

Your’s (but only if you want me 😉 )


Dear Law of the BabySod

Dear Law of the BabySod

I am writing to check if the following articles are correct in your legislature:

Article 1: “sleep when the baby sleeps” is a fallacy for the second you are finally drifting off they WILL wake up.

Article 2: You shall change their nappy.  They shall immediately do one of those poomageddons  requiring a complete change. And a Bath.

Article 3: Following this complete change, they will then vomit. Most of it will end on you so you will then also need to change.but you mop off the tiny bit of spew on them as you can’t be arsed to change them again.

Article 4: You will spend 2 hours trying to get them to go the fuck to sleep. This means they have not eaten in two hours and are therefore hungry again – so you have to start the feed, wind, nappy change, try and get to sleep cycle all over again.

Article 5: finally finally after hours of trying- you will get them to sleep. At which point they will do another shit in their sleep.  You then have a dilemma on whether or not to change their nappy again at the minute it’s no dilemma-she stays in it until she next wakes.

Article 6:  You have muslins draped all over the house on every surface. There will never ever be one handy within reach when you need one.

Article 7: No matter what you sit down to eat the previously calm and contented baby will start crying. Without fail.

Article 8: Article 7 also applies for trying to have sex with your husband.

Article 9: You shall sit down to feed them. You shall then realise you are hungry/thirsty/need a wee/can’t reach the remote.

Article 10: Whatever it is you want them to do- take a dummy, sleep, stop crying, let up the burp- they will completely and utterly steadfastly resist, only to do it when you have given up trying.

Personally I think these laws are in need of complete overhaul.  In fact I might start a petition.

Yours Sincerely


P.S And I today I see Article 11- needs reviewing. You need to go out in 20mins. They decided to take over an hour to feed when normally it takes 20mins. ARGH!


Dear Wine O’Clock

Dear Wine O’Clock,

Counting. Down. The. Seconds.

Thirstily yours


P.S Mine is a New Zealand White sod the food miles preferably Oyster Bay

Dear “This too shall pass”

Dear “This too shall pass”,

Please hurry the fuck up and pass.

Yours sincerely


Dear Random Passers by

Dear Random Passers by,

So after yesterday’s shoppers ranty letter, today has transformed my outlook. I love the lady in the charity shop who complimented me on my beautiful girls then told me how impressed she was I was up and dressed let alone out and about!

I also chuffed with the old lady at the doctors who chatted to Oddler and me and acknowledged I had my hands full at minute and when Oddler started to go into a naughty toddler meltdown and I managed her out of it just as Omble started screaming too, she gave me a “great job -I’m impressed” smile.

So dear passer by when you see a frazzled parent of small children out and about remember just a few words or gestures can make an enormous amount of difference to how they feel.


Dear Mum

Dear Mum,

Read this the other day:
By the time a woman realises her mother was right, she has a daughter who thinks she is wrong”

So very very true. I think we get on so so much better now I’m a mum myself and I finally understand!

I love you mum, you and Dad did an awesome job bringing us up, after all I’m ace and a credit to you 😉 so I do hope Oddler and Omble will be credits to me too.

Happy Mother’s Day

Lots of love

Dear Oddler I’m Sorry

Dear Oddler,

I’m so so sorry that I smacked you on Wednesday. I always swore I wouldn’t be one of those parents using brute force to manage the behaviour of someone so much smaller than myself. That just isn’t right.

I was so tired after your sister had kept me up all night and sad because we’d had a rubbish time at a new Playgroup I tried to get us out of the house. You insisted on climbing into the carseat by yourself and as this is usually fine once you started climbing up I went round to clip you your sister in on the other side, except you climbed down again and started to run off in the carpark. I had to leave your sister balanced precariously and run and grab you and try and put you into the carseat, which of course caused a major tantrum and you were kicking, pinching, biting and wriggling so much I couldn’t get you strapped in, your sister was screaming, you were screaming and I was shouting and I’m so sorry that in that split second I momentarily lost it and smacked your leg- not with full force I hasten to add but enough to make you look at me with betrayed hurt and shock as you cried. I cried too.

I got you strapped in and apologised to you and tried to explain. We had a kiss and a cuddle and I think you have forgiven me as you said in your charmingly cute way “thankyou mummy” when we got out of the car at home (before trying to run off down the street again- sigh)

I know you are just a tiny demanding forcefully determined and independent toddler figuring out the world and I know I need to figure out other ways of managing your behaviour rather than resorting to a smack. With hindsight I should have closed the car door on you so you were safe and gone round to strap your screaming and precariously balanced sister in – giving you the time and space to calm down and to sit in your carseat yourself (your issue is everything at the minute is “no! Oddler do it” and a tantrum if we try to help, before sometimes a small voiced “mummy help”) but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anyhow I love you so so much and I promise to work really hard on it not happening again but if you wouldn’t mind hurrying up through the truly terrible two’s that would be lovely.


Dear Gina Ford

Dear Gina Ford,

I am writing to thank you. For you serve to be the best “will I get on with you?” parenting friend test ever. It’s really quite simple:- when I meet a new prospective parent friend, those that used your methods, I usually can’t stand, those that thought *insert something offensive here* but not really incase I get sued about your methods then invariably I will get on with. Easy peasy parenting wheat from parenting chaff sorting.

Now lots of stuff in media about your latest book. Haven’t read it but from the sounds of the furore doesn’t seem to be much of the really important focus on communication and finding ways of maintaining intimacy. Which is actually far far more important than any fumble in a postnatal Mumble.

Plus why all the focus on “penis in vagina” sex? In general that has always annoyed me. Sex can and should be should be so much more than that. Though you can’t be blamed solely for that- that’s a societal issue.

Thought I might offer an alternate perspective- You might find more new parents than you think actually want to have sex but are blocked by a tiny person with needs more important than their own (an evolutionary baby survival adaptation to prevent the littlest family member being usurped by an even littler member in 9months!?), and suggestions on what to do in that situation might end up being a bestseller. In fact if you are too busy, I might write it myself. 😉

Yours Sincerely