Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

The Christmas Rush! December 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Christmas chocolate barkPardon my absence, it’s been a busy time in Man-Child world, and to be honest, not much super exciting has been happening (or I don’t feel I can share specifics of certain events just now)!!  As I literally hurl myself towards the end of the year, with an almost 3 week break in sight (love those public holidays that stretch things out), it’s a crazy time for working parents.

To name just a few of the things on my plate:

  • The rush to the end of the work year – why do we all decide everything has to be done BEFORE Christmas?  Some of it is self-imposed deadlines and some the demands of seasonal businesses that kick off again in January.
  • When I worked in ad agencies years ago, why did so many clients call new business pitches the week before Christmas?  Because they are either complete bastards or couldn’t wait to get it off their desk and onto someone else’s for the break.  Plus with a performance review coming they could declare they had pitched the business before the year was out!!!
  • The end of the school year – in our case, TAFE course ending (help son with job-hunting), end of year 11, start of the rowing season (rowing cocktail parties and season opening events), primary school concerts and family picnics, dance concerts, basketball season break ups – the list goes on.
  • Christmas shopping – in our house, it seems Mother Claus bears the bulk of the workload, whilst Father Claus is relegated to ensuring a good supply of alcohol throughout the entire festive season!  The co-ordination of presents, including those from Santa, group presents, work presents, family presents, KK presents and teacher’s presents (don’t forget the cleaner) is EXHAUSTING, requiring a constantly evolving list of suggestions, additions and revisions.
  • Teacher’s presents – coming home from a long day at work to create the wonderful hand-made sweet treats for the teachers (sports teacher, class teacher, language teacher, piano teacher), with lovely hand-made cards by Sister of a Man-Child.
  • Santa videos – grabbing a spare 30 mins at night to create the wonderful, unique and mega-exciting message from Santa for your 10 year old who still believes! Truly magical to behold.
  • Christmas parties – being an all or nothing girl, these are either fully embraced or completely avoided (resulting in an acceptable list of outings on the calendar).
  • Friends’ catch-ups – the first hint of Christmas renders us all momentarily insane, and we suddenly decide that the friends that we somehow haven’t had a chance to catch up with all year we must finally see in the few remaining weeks to the end of the year.  And ex-colleague reunions are also the perfect annual event, best held at Christmas when everyone flies in for the summer holidays.
  • Just to ensure all working mothers are tipped completely over the edge, the inbox overflows with festive messages from every blog or website you have ever visited in your life, not to mention the daily 12 days of Christmas emails from every online retail site you have ever even thought about (I swear, Google is now so clever, you don’t need to type anything, they actually KNOW what you are thinking of searching for)!!
  • Add to that social media (which I admit I love), with more channels and more messages and more Christmas insanity and more fun than you can poke a stick at, and I think I’m as full as a TURDUCKEN*!! (If you don’t know what a Turducken is, just Google it peeps).

So, with less than two weeks to go, I am attempting to breathe deeply (not hyperventilate) and get across the line in one piece.  As I learned at a recent “stress” workshop (or rather how to avoid it), they told us it’s not “something” or “someone” that causes us stress, it’s actually we that choose to take it on.  Hold that thought – just as I am trying to!  Do you think practice will make perfect?

Promise another post before Christmas.

Here’s my previous musings from last year about the JOY of Christmas (seriously).


Mother of a Man-Child: Mother’s Day Musings May 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

mothers dayMother’s Day has been and gone for another year.  Unfortunately both my hubby and me are without our mothers now, something you can’t help but recall with sadness on this day.  Fortunately however, being a mother means I also get to be the centre of the day’s events at home (well almost).

For the Men-Children, Mothers Day is clearly an event to be missed.  Both of them made plans to go out on Saturday night, and to stay over at a mates, until both Mother of a Man-Child and Father of a Man-Child pointed out that since it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, it would be nice for them to be at home.  Moreover which other Mother wants to wake up to my men-children on Mother’s Day I ask you?

My daughter on the other hand had been living in anticipation of Mother’s Day for an entire week.  Of course there’s the special presents to make at school, and the cards to craft.  Not to mention the breakfast-in-bed planning to do with Dad.  Oh, and an acrostic poem to write.  My daughter was one of a select few to have her effort published in the school newsletter for everyone to read.  I’ve included it below for your amusement – I just love the bit about me getting angry!!!

Kind and loving she is caring and careful. I love my Mum.

Every day she says good night, she cooks us dinner and she helps the family with so much stuff.

Lots of things my mum does. She lets me have friends over, she plays games with me.  My mum is SUPER!

Little times, big times, hard times, easy times. I don’t care if mum gets angry at me.  I will still always love her.

You know my mum is the Best in the whole WORLD!

Such was my daughter’s excitement that she couldn’t actually wait until Sunday to give me one of my presents.  So I got the homemade heart-shaped lavender soap as an early present on Saturday, which took pride of place in the bathroom.  It’s quite “rustic” but seems to do the job.  🙂

In keeping with the boys’ level of engagement around all things Mother’s Day, I actually bought my own Mother’s Day card and asked them to write in it.  Is that sad or what?  Thankfully Sister of a Man-Child wasn’t satisfied until they had each written in it.  And to be honest, what they each wrote warmed the cockles of my heart.

On Sunday I did get breakfast in bed along with Sister of a Man-Child naturally, and a kiss and hug from Man-Child I.  Man-Child II went the hug but resisted the kiss.  Clearly at 15 that just grosses him out I gather?  Oh well, small steps.  Somehow I then ended up going to see a kid’s movie with my daughter (I did point out the irony of this to her on Mother’s Day) and then we watched the men-children play footy.  All in all an enjoyable day.

When I asked the boys where my present was from them their instant retort was “But you don’t give us enough pocket-money”!!  My response: “Gee boys, I’m sure you could have guilted Dad into giving you money to buy a present for me.  And apart from that, you could always have offered to cook dinner for me!”

In the words of my daughter “It really is kids day every day Mummy isn’t it?”


Mother of a man-child: Etiquette – a thing of the past? May 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 4:00 pm
Tags: , ,

It was interesting to see the recent article about the rise of “finishing school” classes for modern-day kids.  Apparently some of them are so lacking in old-fashioned manners they are being taught it by professionals.  One would hope that we can impart such lessons to our own children by example, but alas it may be I need to send my boys to finishing school also.

Take for example their approach to present giving.  My boys have been brought up always taking a birthday present with them when they went to parties as youngsters.  But suddenly as teenagers, all memory of this simple but meaningful tradition seems to have been erased.  On some occasions, I have enquired about whether a present is appropriate and been told CASH is the preferred choice, as the birthday girl/boy is looking forward to having $1500 cash to spend after their party (meanwhile their parents have probably spent $5000 to throw the party).  Call me old-fashioned but I am not a fan of this approach.

The alternative is that they/we will buy a present (normally after some initial prompting).  One evening Man-Child had indeed organised to purchase a very nice bracelet for a friend.  As we walked out the door I asked where it was – I kid you not he had it on his wrist!!!!  I explained that it might be a little nicer if it was gift wrapped, and a personal card was written to his friend for the occasion.  That way it would look like the thoughtful present that it was, rather than some second-hand bauble he’d found lying around.

The etiquette of gift giving extends to weekends away with friends.  I am a reflection of my parents, and was brought up to believe that you should never go empty-handed when you stay with another family.  So I will always ensure my boys take some food, either snacks/drinks for the kids, or maybe some chocolates for the parents.  Even better if it’s something home-made, but in this day and age I think we’re all more forgiving.   I was therefore mortified one day to see Man-Child arrive home with the soft drink and chips I had provided to him, half-eaten/drunk and still in his bag.  When I asked why the host hadn’t been given them, he looked at me blankly.  It had not even occurred to him to present them to his host – he just assumed it was for the boys to enjoy as they saw fit.  You will be pleased to know we have now completed the lesson on gift giving,  so hopefully my boys will be a little wiser in future.


Happy Birthday….loaded! March 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 11:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

Today we celebrated the 14th birthday of our twin boys, Man-Child and Teen-Child.  My husband made the generous offer of getting up early this morning to cook them a bang up brekky on the BBQ, before they headed off to school.  Of course he indulged also.  After school they caught up with their mates and hung about, and then their grandfather shouted them out to dinner.  All in all a pretty nice day.

What is incredibly scary is to look back at photos of one year ago and see the baby-faced pre-pubescent boys that were my children, and now look at the little men in front of me.  I kid you not in one year I really believe that they have each grown at least 6 inches, and their feet have grown 3 sizes.  Whilst the shoes have been replaced in rapid succession, fortunately as they have get taller, they have been able to wear the same size clothes for some time, because whilst they go up they don’t normally go out – in fact one of ours got thinner over the last 12 months as he lost his “baby-fat”.  So not surprisingly at the end of the cricket season there were many gangly teenage boys with unfashionably short cricket pants – I for one was completely sympathetic to the mothers who refused to replace them so late in the season – they can make do until next season.

In these days of social media, it wasn’t surprising to see the constant stream of birthday messages for the boys on their Facebook pages.  I admit it was quite nice to recently receive so many public Happy Birthday messages from friends across the globe myself.  It’s definitely good for the ego and really does reflect the core “social” aspect of Facebook and other similar sites.

One of our boys (Man-Child) had mentioned in passing that his best mate had bought him a present for his birthday.  I thought at the time how sweet that he would actually buy a gift even though they were not having an “official” celebration with friends.  You can imagine my surprise today when Man-Child came home from school with $80 cash – a gift of $50 from a very generous friend, and another gift of $30 from another generous friend.  Quite frankly we were more than a little gob-smacked, and actually somewhat embarrassed.  As we discussed the fortunes of our son, he made it very clear that of course he would reciprocate with similar sums of money when the same friends had their birthdays.  So i naturally enquired if he thought we should be funding that generosity or him?  His response:  “If you won’t pay for it I’ll just take it out of my bank account!”  (said like a spoiled child indeed).  Our position is this – at a stretch, if our son feels so strongly about giving his best friend a present, then we might buy a $20-30 present for him (which is the normal budget for birthday parties).  But under no circumstances would we feel obligated to match the generosity of his parents, and nor in fact do I think they would expect it.

Unfortunately (and clearly he has a lot to learn) Man-Child was mortified at our response, and the fact we were such “tight-arses” (some terms don’t alter after all :)).  Without sounding moralistic, if our son’s friend had used his own money to save up and give his mate a present, I would have been delighted.  But when he’s throwing around mum and dad’s money, and our son expects the same, I wonder what values we are teaching them?

I’m not sure my son will understand what we’re talking about in the near term;  it seems it’s only when you are very young (too young to understand), or as you get older (and more mature) that you realise your friends don’t value you for material possessions.   Such is the journey of life (and wealth)!