I’ve seen a few people mention on Twitter recently this idea that we only have 18 precious summers with our children, and how important it is to treasure them.

I have two issues with this.

Firstly, what the bejesus?? Everyone knows that the summer holidays are the WORST thing about being a parent, especially a single parent of primary school aged children.

Let’s do some maths shall we? There are THIRTEEN weeks of school holidays over the course of a year, not including INSET days. In a standard job you normally have around six weeks of paid holiday.

13 – 6 = 7.

SEVEN weeks where you have to come up with some kind of interesting, affordable childcare solution. Seven weeks where you have to try to convince your nervous nine year old that their very favourite thing to do is to spend a week with strangers in an unfamiliar location, putting on a short play or learning basic tennis skills.

Take it from me, that is NOT easy.

If you don’t work, or during the time that you do have off, you’re not let off the hook. Apparently it’s not enough any more just to tell children that ‘only boring people get bored’ and shoo them into the garden to makes dens. You’re meant to provide structured, wholesome activities or collaborate on Pinterest worthy crafts, because without supervision they become screen bandits, unable to entertain themselves for more than five minutes.

18 precious summers

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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I was on Twitter this morning (for a change) and I saw a tweet from Women’s Hour advertising one of their shows:

‘New Late Night Woman’s Hour pod out now! We’re talking Upskirting, Abortion, whether it’s OK to call a woman Feisty (clue: no) and self-care…’

Now first of all obviously my senses were assaulted by all of the capital letters, because you know how I feel about those. BBC, what is the matter with you??

But then I read it again because since when are we not allowed to call a woman feisty? To me it feels like a positive word. It reminds me of the Shakespeare quote – ‘though she be but little she is fierce.’

I looked up the definition to check I wasn’t missing something:

can I call a woman fesity

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Today I had an intriguing email. It was titled ‘looking for a single mummy.’ It was from a man, I can only presume, who introduced himself as Henry.

Hey, am Henry from Africa, Nigeria to be presided. Am 25 of age and am really looking for care and support from any single mummy around for a son to take care of. I saw your email online so I decided that I let you know that someone is interested in your caring. Thank you for audience, I hope for a positive reply. Thank You.

Well. I had only been thinking to myself just this morning how I didn’t feel like I quite had enough to think about, so this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

Hi Henry,

Thanks so much for thinking of me for this role! Just to clarify – exactly what tasks would I be expected to perform? I’m assuming cooking and washing up as a given, but I should warn you that I’m not very good at ironing. Should I start practising or could you do without that?

Would I need to move to Nigeria or would you live here?

I eagerly await your reply.

Jo

P.S. When you say you preside in Nigeria, does that mean you are president?

I didn’t need to be eager for long, Henry was quick to respond. View Post

This week I got a cold sore.

SUCH FUN!

I made a special trip to Wilko for cold sore cream because of this:

overpriced branded medication

Yep, that’s two IDENTICAL cold sore creams as far as I can see. The Wilko own brand is £1. The branded version is £5. That’s FIVE TIMES the price. (Note that the Zovirax version doesn’t have a price per 1kg – perhaps it wouldn’t fit on the tag?)

There is no obvious difference between them, they both contain the same amount of the same active ingredient and they both do the same job.

So WHY??

Overpriced branded medication is something that has always wound me up. It just feels wrong on so many levels. Not only is it a total rip off generally, but it feels like you’re being ripped off when you feel at your most vulnerable. (Me going shopping with Belle when she is sad.)

Looking at the myriad different examples on the shelf it’s hard to believe that it even EXISTS as an industry. It’s so obviously just the same product sold in ridiculously over the top packaging, and yet people MUST be falling for it, or there wouldn’t be a market. It makes me cross to think of all of these big brands chuckling to themselves while innocent people are coughing and spluttering over their remedies.

Picture yourself with a bad cold. You’re trying to get through the day, you’re not thinking straight, you just want anything that might make you feel better, so when you see words like MAX STRENGTH you’re in. View Post

This morning I went on the radio to talk about sex robots.

Okay, so I didn’t go on deliberately to talk about that – it was one of those weekend ‘talk about fun things in the news’ shows, but I always like to see what I can get away with on live radio, especially first thing in the morning.

In case you’re interested, sex robots are going to be a new ‘thing’. Everyone is going to have one. You heard it here first.

Anyway, one of the things I DIDN’T get time to talk about was a feature in one of the weekend supplements about parenting mistakes. It was a whole long list of things that most of us probably do at some point or another, thinking we are doing the right thing, but which apparently aren’t doing anybody any favours. Stuff like following older teens on social media, making ‘quality time’ for our kids, and worrying about exam results.

(I don’t do any of these, mainly out of sheer laziness, so I felt pretty good about myself.)

One of the things the article talked about was bedrooms, and I know this is an issue that splits a lot of parents of teenagers. Should you make your teenager keep their bedroom tidy or should it be their own space where they can do as they please?

should you make teenagers tidy their bedrooms

NB: unrealistic

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A couple of weeks ago this picture popped up on my Instagram feed:

A post shared by Madelaine (@fromxthextower) on

I looked at it, scrolled on a bit, and then went back and looked at it some more. (It’s from a woman called Maddie by the way, who writes a really thought provoking blog here.)

I thought about it for a little while and started to feel a bit sad and cross all at once. Why it is that we have come to equate love with pain? Why do so many people feel that love without turbulence is somehow less worthy, less REAL? View Post