Monday, 15 November 2010

Are you a scary Mummy?

Where my children are concerned I am utterly ineffectual.  I start with "Please", then progress through wheedling and bribery to "I am going to ask you one more time", "I'm going to count to three" and "if you don't I'll..." before invariably reaching boiling point with "WILL YOU JUST DO AS YOU'RE TOLD!".

So I've often wondered what makes a scary Mummy.  We all know them.  I remember my friend H's mother.  She was a wonderful, intelligent, charming woman, and I never once heard her raise her voice, but right into my twenties I was petrified of her.  She had only to walk into a room to have me leaping to my feet volunteering to clear the dishes, take the bin out, scrub her shoes...  At the same time though, I thought she was amazing.  It's a clich√©, but she was firm but fair, and H and her sister were renowned among my parents' friends as being the best behaved children in the Northern Hemisphere.

But I have no idea how she did it.

Or so I thought...

Picture the scene.  6.30 a.m.  Saturday morning. L sharing her room with her friend D.  They have been utterly hyped up, finally falling asleep after the usual series of blandishments and threats at some point after 9 the night before.  They are under strict instructions that they are not allowed out of bed until the sun comes up on L's sun and moon clock.  This is going to happen (perhaps optimistically) at 7.30.

I hear voices.  D needs a wee.  For some reason this necessitates company.

"L, L, wake up, I need a wee".

I am out of bed in micro-seconds.  Finding my dressing gown (D is at an impressionable age after all, and there are some things it's not fair to show a small boy without warning) takes a little longer.  Into the bathroom, where weeing has now become enthusiastic hand-washing:

"WHAT is going on in here?  Back into bed both of you.  I don't want to hear another word until the sun comes up"

Back into bed for me too.  I lie, twitching my ears like a hunted rabbit, for thirty-five minutes.  Not a sound or a squeak.  Perhaps I've got lucky and they've gone back to sleep.  But no.  A word. L's voice. A response:

"L, your mummy said we weren't allowed to talk".

Silence.  Total blessed silence.  For all of the remaining twenty-five minutes.

Unbelieveable.  How did I do that?  It wasn't a one-off either.  That night, and the next, after more pleading and grumpiness of the "time to go to sleep now variety" from B and both of D's parents, I take my turn. One threat of separation and they are both asleep within five minutes.

Fluke? Probably.  It hasn't worked on my girls today after all. But I'll certainly be trying it again.... And if anyone knows what the secret was, let me know.

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Oh, and ps, here's the BMB blog hop. Go and have a look:

8 comments:

  1. I'm only scary before I've had my morning coffee....then my lunchtime Diet Coke....then my cocktail hour G&T...then my bedtime Temazepam ;-)

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  2. I don't know what magic power you have discovered, but harness it, and find ways of passing it on. I bagsy being first.

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  3. No, I'm not scary at all, except when I completely lose it, but fortunately Daddy is quite scary.

    It's rather depressing when your threats are not taken seriously by a 6 year old, and doesn't do a great deal for my self-respect.

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  4. consistancy is the key. No means no and always is said with a reason, yes means yes and any rule is given with a reason. So my daughter tends to listen to me and so do her friends that come. Those that didn't like it didn't come back (I can only think of 2 in 12 years!). It's the Guider in me, oh and my husband says I could knock people down with my don't mess with me look!!!

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  5. I am so scary I scare myself, but never the children!

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  6. I'm told I'm scary at work but haven't yet really managed to make it transfer to home (although am more scary than Daddy... not that that's hard...)

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  7. My son is behaving overly well lately, which made me worry if I was scary. My daughter made me see that I am totally not.

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  8. popped in from blog hop. great blog. There are times when I want to be a scary Mummy and no mean no, but I think herding cats would be easier. I do the "I'm going to count to 3" mostly it works, usually, in company it doesn't.
    I'm a Southern living in the North. I often feel and outsider, there are nuances in the language I just don't use. Childhood holiday destinations everyone's visited except me. When I go home I love the accent and there is something in people's faces that's different, familiar - I can't put my finger on it or explain it. Maybe it's just my imagination. I've been in the North 15 years, I had my son her. I dragged my partner up here. So I guess we are here to stay.

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I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...