Onesies and Crocs – Don’t Judge.


Daughters 3 and 4 bouncing in onesie heaven

I have an aversion to onesies, not that I’m judging. Some of my lovely readers may well pop one on after they’ve done the school run. Hell, they may do the school run in it (see blog: Mamas in Pyjamas), but personally, they aren’t my bag. 

Back in the Middle Ages, my sister had one. I hated it even way back then, with its prudish zip that went up to her neck. She was a teenager goddamn it, and I felt she should have been letting it all hang out – I was! She loved that cosy onesie and no amount of sibling ribbing could unzip her. 

Fast forward 30 years and the bloody things are back to haunt me. I don’t think big sister has one of the current trend but her kids do, my kids do, I’ll bet your kids do. I see them all coming out of swimming lessons in them on a Friday night: a stream of onesies – is there a collective noun for that yet? There’s surely enough people wearing them to warrant their own word. They look like a crowd of little furry animals: hoods up with ears, but school shoes spoil the look and what do you do if your onesie has built in feet? Well, I know what you do because my kids have them. Put the bin outside please. I can’t, I’m in my onesie. Put the big crocs on then. Built in feet are no barrier to chores in our house. No excuse has gone unturned. Do your washing up. I’m already upstairs. Walk. Put your clothes away. I’ll miss the train. So? Clean the skid marks. I’m meeting facetime friend in 2 minutes. And? 

FullSizeRender Daughter 4 and dog 2 both with ears

Back to onesies and CROCS. Now I mention those hideous beasts I feel they need their own sound bite. Never was a more ugly shoe ever invented. Ask my two best buds about crocs and they will explode like Mount Vesuvius. Number 1 New Zealand friend refuses to let her hubby wear them. Partner wears his into the office in our garage over his slippers, but usually forgets to take off his crocs. It’s a look that will never get into Vogue. It’s a dreadful look. Number 1 friend works in said office – she’s never impressed. Dog 2 chewed up partner’s first pair of crocs and I’m still pretty sure that Number 1 friend fed them to him.

Crocs n slippers  Partner de la mode (not)

Now, I did begin this by saying that I wouldn’t judge…but I am going to end it with a judgement: if there is one thing worse than onesies, onesies with in built feet, onesies with crocs and crocs with slippers: IT’S MEN IN ONESIES. All I’m going to say on that matter is that it’s wrong, just so very wrong. Judgement Day has come.

Here is the link to the video daughters 3 and 4 made to support this blog:



I wrote this when I had no children. Little did I know I will experience this amazing transformation so many times!


Any second now – I could become a woman
Mum told me.
It happens in a flash
One minute you’re an ordinary kid
And the next thing
Before you know it
You’re one of them.

I don’t know why it happens so quickly
Without warning
There could be kid’s things left to do
Games unplayed
Toys untouched
But I know that it could happen
Any second now.

When Mum first told me
I waited for it
I told my friends that I couldn’t come out to play
I missed Guides
But the woman never came.
Or if she did –
I didn’t notice.

Mum didn’t say exactly how I’d know
That this amazing thing had happened
I’m worried – I could be walking around for years
Thinking I was a kid
When I wasn’t.
And it could happen
Any second now.

Now I’ve given up waiting.
One of my friends told me
That she became a woman two weeks ago
I don’t believe her – she still looks the same
Women don’t have plaits
Drink milkshakes
Or blow raspberries.

By MadHouseMum©


Vibrating Tampons – now you’re talking!

Lovely Jubbly Jugs, but Sometimes Life Sucks

MHM Life Sucks

Jamie Oliver has had it in the JUGular this week, for talking about breastfeeding. This is just one of the tweets I’ve seen:

“Lovely jubbly jugs wiv bootiful nipples. Bish bash bosh, lug of milk. Get stuck in, littl’un. Pukka!” – Jamie Oliver, breastfeeding expert

The trouble for Jamie is that he’s like Marmite: you either love him or hate him. He has been on the tweet defensive, saying that he is not starting a Breastfeeding Campaign and his comments were merely relating to his work in nutrition. I think it highlighted a really good point that yes, we know that breastfeeding is probably best for the baby. However, it is not always possible to breastfeed and if it doesn’t work out then don’t sweat it. I breastfed daughter 1 for 6 months, daughter 2 for 4, daughter 3 for less and daughter 4 for less again. Did I feel guilty about the later crew getting less of the boob? No. They all seem relatively normal and daughter 4 has the loudest voice – fueled on more booby juice it could have been even louder – I shudder to think.

This article in The Telegraph, written by Victoria Young, talks about the difficulties women can face when they try to breastfeed. It makes for an interesting read and a good alternative to tweets from or about Jamie:

Concept Man

A friend posted this on facebook, as the best birthday card she had received and I thought it goes rather well with a poem that I wrote at Uni. What would your concept man/woman be able to do? Happily sleep on the wet patch, for example (keep it clean! Actually, nah!)


Concept Man

I like men –
As a concept.

Who can hoover the lawn
On a lonely Sunday
And practice DIY.

It’s the truth
That scares me.

Sundays spent alone
Staring at the Flymo

Banging a nail
Into the wall
And pretending
That it’s his head.

I’m Still Not Sure

Image result for teenagers arguing humour

I was thinking about how assured teenagers are in front of their parents about certain things and how, faced with this person who insists they are right, it can be almost intimidating to a parent. Teenagers can make us feel very unsure about our stance on things. Sometimes I think that I am sure about something and then faced with a teenager telling me I’m wrong, I find myself questioning where I stand. I usually end up sure that I’m still right, but I am left wondering a little. I find this one of the most difficult parts of being a parent to teenagers, particularly with step children, as you over analyse everything. When my daughters were small, I found it easy to have the final word. Now, I am not always sure what that final word should be. So, this poem is for anyone who may sometimes feel the same. 

Still not sure

Look at my thigh gap, she says.
I look, at what I’m not sure,
but she is sure it is good.
I am still not sure. 

Let’s take a selfie, she says.
Another? Why? I’m not sure,
but she is sure it is needed.
I am still not sure. 

She’s wearing make up to school.
Lots of make up. I’m not sure,
but she is sure that she isn’t beautiful without.
I am still not sure. 

She wants to be on Facebook.
She’s 12 years old. I’m not sure.
but she is sure because all her friends are on Facebook.
I am still not sure. 

Her skirt length, her cropped top,
Her bra straps on display. I’m not sure.
but she is sure because it’s the fashion.
I am still not sure. 

Her insisting, her protesting,
Her arguing the toss. I’m not sure.
but she is sure because she knows best.
I am still not sure.


Holy Foreskin, it’s Radio 4!

jesus, omg

I turned on radio 4 this morning and this is what greeted me: “a piece of Jesus’ foreskin is in this museum.” Omg, I thought to myself – Jesus had a penis! I’d never thought about it before. He seemed too ethereal to actually have a nob. In fact, just writing this, I’m feeling as if I need to go to confession: I’m sorry father. I have sinned. I have imagined Jesus with a penis. A beard and a penis. When I got home I googled what I’d heard, as it struck me as rather a bold thing to say on radio 4 at 9am and there it was in Wikipedia: The Holy Prepuce, or Holy Foreskin – it even gives the Latin and the entire history of this intimate part of Jesus, along with details of the arguments between churches over the years, as to who has the real relic – I’m not sure he’d be happy with it being called that. 

Jesus is a man who formed an important part of my childhood – that is from when mum ‘found’ religion, one holiday in the Lake District and from then on, it was Sunday School every week. Before that it was: get yourself to the Salvation Army, I want a couple of hours off on a Sunday. I got quite into the whole Sally Ann vibe and asked if I could go to the next level in the organisation and get a tambourine. Mum and Dad then accused me of only wanting to play the tambourine so that I could wear the uniform and it all petered out after that. 

So, back to Jesus and hearing that snippet on the radio this morning. The programme was, in fact nothing to do with Jesus, it was a programme about Ireland’s troubled political history and the nob comment was entirely incidental. It did, however, get me thinking about how, when we grow up with an important person in our lives, we have a certain image of them and they can take on this mythical aura. This happens with celebrities and the royal family, when of course as we know, even the Queen farts. This also happens with our parents, who, for example, ‘never have sex’, (in the case of parents of young children, of course this is true), but no child wants to see their parents in this light and nor should they. Which is why I am going to pretend that I turned on the radio this morning and heard: “Jesus, the chap with the beard, is still the same old Son of God that he always was,” and let’s leave it at that.

Daughter 4 read my blog out loud. I’ve seen Jesus’ willy, she said. Where? I asked, surprised. In church, she replied, he was on the cross. Can I have cheese on my pasta? Well there you go, I thought to myself. Children just take everything in their stride.

Homework Hell: the Daily Grind

Homework – that hot potato. Where do I start? It’s a big subject: complex and controversial. So I’ll start with the voice of some else. Someone whose comment I read on Facebook and who pretty much sums it up for me: “she’s 6…surely after a whole day at school her time would be better spent climbing a tree…or swimming at the beach…or lying on her back imagining that she’s a flying fucking snail?”

When my kids were aged 4, 5, 7 and 9, my ex and I took them out of school (the 4 year old was just due to start in reception) and took them on a trip around the world for 7 months. The teachers didn’t bat an eye lid. In fact, we had to badger them to give us guidance on what work to cover while we were away and even then, the only help they gave us was telling us to keep up their reading and maths. 7 months out of school and the teachers weren’t concerned. Far from it. They knew that the life experiences gained, far outweighed any concerns that they would fall behind. Guess what? They didn’t fall behind and I can assure you that we didn’t do a huge amount of formal home schooling. They didn’t fall behind, because what they were learning was more than just the sum of ticking those all important boxes and we weren’t given any boxes to tick. 

If children are to benefit from homework, it has to be relevant. It has to add something to what they are doing at school. It shouldn’t be finishing off work that there wasn’t time to complete in the classroom. What more does a primary school kid need to know or to do or to learn or to say about a subject or a topic, that can’t be covered in school the next day and the day after that. 

When children don’t HAVE to do something, they WANT to do it. Yes, kids are hard wired to be contrary. Throw away that reading record and they will want to read again. Give them time after school and they will want to fill it and they will fill it with things that will open their eyes and expand their minds: kicking a football, playing in the park, a play date, even sitting and watching some telly will bring them benefits. I think you could even argue that being bored will ultimately do them more good than doing a page of sums. 

My daughters’ primary school tried various homework strategies over the years. The final one I had to deal with was: the homework grid. Add an ‘n’ in there and make that ‘grind’. It was a complete nonsense. The student has to pick three activities from a grid to complete in a term. The stipulation is that one activity has to be creative, one has to involve research and writing and one can be a relevant outing. On the one hand it creates more freedom: the child has weeks to do it. In reality it is left until the final weekend, because, funnily enough, a 6 year old can’t manage her own time and then the onus is on the parent to get it done. It piles the pressure onto already stressed out parents and creates a situation where the child’s freedom is yet again compromised. Helicopter parents who have time to hover over their children, realise that, as well as being brilliant at every other subject, mummy and daddy are amazing artists too. Meanwhile, parents who let their children do their own homework have to put up with their kids’ efforts looking like a bag of shit in comparison. 

Frequently homework was returned without feedback or comment. When you have watched your child work hard at something, this is frustrating to say the least. It got to a point with this, where I drew my own conclusion that it is no longer considered pc to give feedback – the most important thing is that the evidence is there, for the teacher to show the inspector to tick the box. No! The most important thing is to see evidence that the teacher cares for that child as an individual. I am not blaming the teachers, I am blaming the system. 

Kids are naturally creative and resourceful creatures, who, given the freedom and space will happily achieve and accomplish some amazing things. Primary school age children should be given the time to just ‘be’, before the enforced education of secondary school. They should be given the time just to imagine that they are that ‘flying fucking snail’, or whatever else they want to be. 

The Rigmarole and Ritual of the Rotten Reading Records

When my kids were really little, they all loved reading. Daughter 1 would often be found with her little torch under her duvet reading Horrid Henry and it was a similar picture for all the others. Reading was fun, spontaneous, on their terms: their choice of books, their time. Then came school and the dreaded reading record and slowly, but surely, their enthusiasm for reading dwindled. The reading record: a bigger passion killer than granny pants. I literally watched my kids’ love of the written word slide on a slippery, downward slope. Watching the crap that my otherwise creative and intelligent children were writing in these odious paperback booklets, made me want tear them up. The final straw came when I saw that daughter 1, the most avid reader of all of them, had written her latest entry, one letter per box, thus filling up almost an entire book with one analysis. 

Just imagine, settling into bed with your favourite book in the evening. You are tired because it’s near the end of the day, but it’s a real page turner and you are desperate to find out what happens next. You are then taken to another cliff hanger, which you decide to leave for the following night. You close your book, feeling contented and excited at the same time…and then you have to write about it. You are supposed to be analysing character and plot, use of language and why the author chose to write it in a particular way…but you simply can’t be bothered. So you just scribble down what happened, because it fills the box that you have to fill and your teacher will be happy – not ecstatically so, but appeased. You have to do this night after night for years. You are given targets to reach and deadlines to follow and now all those wonderful page turning books have become burden after burden. 

The reading record mimics the lot of the teachers who have to mark them. Teaching is fun, exhilarating and challenging, but once it has to be shoved into boxes and analysed to death – literally – it becomes a chore and a burden. Education needs to find liberation: from the reading record to the mountains of pointless paperwork teachers are required to complete. Only then will children be able to grow into free thinkers, taught by teachers who are free to teach. 


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