Day 13

I’m very conscious of not wanting these posts to remind anyone of those vomitous ‘my-perfect-life’ Instagram accounts. So I’m going to start off with some of the less great things that happened today.

I had a set to with my darling 12 year old daughter. In public. She wanted to go round to the house of a girl we don’t know, on her own, to an unspecified address. You can imagine the script.

You’re only going if I take you.
You don’t love me. You don’t want me to be happy. Why aren’t you like the cool parents?
OK, who’s got cool parents?
X, Y and Z
Fine. When you come home you can start packing.

I spent ages making blinis (yeast and everything) to go with the tube of salmon ‘caviar’ I brought back from Sweden.

They looked perfect but tasted awful and the family hated the whole thing.

It was a day of such shimmering beauty it gave me angst I couldn’t carpe it enough unless I went on a 20 mile hike, or danced round a May pole, neither of which I did. I wasted it doing stupid chores, arguing with my daughter in the sunshine and making horrible food.

So, now on to the good bits:
When I collected my daughter from the friend’s house she said sorry in such a genuine, sincere way I forgot it all.

We snuggled on the sofa and watched Bad Education together, complicitly because it is a bit rude and daddy would not approve. We laughed so much we fell off the sofa.

It was impossible to tell where the sky ended and the glassy sea began.

A neighbour knocked on the door and volunteered to help with the campaign we are fighting to protect an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in our town. He’s a big and real retired lawyer.

I made an apple pie I would happily serve to Bill Granger.

11 thoughts on “Day 13

  1. You are a fine writer and this blog is your writing at its finest. When you write about really normal everyday things it is truly
    wonderful. It is reminding me of your old Good Weekend column (which I still miss) I LOVE your new blog & feel excited when the
    next snippet appears in my in box. Thank you. x


  2. Dear Maggie,
    Loving this new blog sick (As FF would say). I am so over the instagram posts on ‘things’ be it the latest ‘it’ bag green smoothie or tricky yoga pose! Life is not about what we have its what gives us meaning an purpose for our whole lives or just for this moment.
    Ahh daughters. Mine was a relatively late bloomer for these requestsshe went to a school where most of parents seemed to think anything goes and couldn’t wait for their kids to ‘grow up’. . But we held our line albeit negotiating some of the ‘rules’ as she matured. She turned out quite amazing if I do say so myself. She left school and went to the UK on her Gap year to nanny/parent 3 little kids; travelled the world and is about to graduate from Uni with a passion for her chosen career. She tells us regularly how grateful she is that we weren’t the ‘cool’ parents and our way parenting was just fine!
    Kate Bx


    • Wow Kate – this is really really great to hear. I’d love to know more…. I need all the help I can get! How strict were you? I monitor her Facebook and all her phone messages. She’s 12! I am quite appalled by the language other kids use and the things they casually reference. What were your rules? Would really love some ad x


      • Hi Maggie,
        We were pretty strict. No parties unless parents there that I knew well right up to when she was 16. We also used to say we would breathalyse her (we never did) and she never had too much to drink.
        Lots more I could say about the whole scene at her school but I don really want to identify publicly where seh went to school.
        You can back channel ne on my email if you want any more tips.


      • Thanks Kate – the breathalysing threat is brilliant. I’m going to buy some on line to BRANDISH! As Jane’s piece said, it’s not just the risks and the legality – it’s the effect on the developing brain x


    • Oh and I forgot to say – thanks for very nice comment. I love Instagram when it’s funny and interesting, showing me shots of places and things I haven’t seen, it can be a joy, but the ‘product placement’ aspect is so disappointing. I have some arty friends who post such interesting things, giving insight into the way they see the world – quirky stuff they notice walking about. It’s quite a privilege to see inside their heads. Of course you can just unfollow the people who do the other stuff, but I have a morbid fascination with it!


  3. I really appreciate your honesty- those perfect intagrams and blogs can make one feel quite inferior if taken at face value.

    My youngest is now 19 and we were never ‘cool’ even though we were young parents. We have great relationships all 3 (and their friends and partners) and they have turned into perfectly independent, confident adults despite us feeling, at times, as if we were over protective. Follow your gut when it comes to parenting – i work in mental health and clients never say their parents cared too much.

    People like boundaries and teenagers do too, despite their protestations.


    • Thanks so much for this. It’s interesting what you say about boundaries – there have been times when I’ve been firm, taking the mobile phone away for eg, and I can almost see her relief at not having to fight any more. x


  4. Hi Maggie,
    I love all your blogs too – I think you would make the best Friend. This one has inspired me to write a list of the positives in my day (not blogging, just on Notes on my ipad!). Not only does it stop me from sinking into the negatives in a difficult time, as I am wont (sp?) to do, but it’s good exercise for my “challenged” memory!
    As for teenage daughters – Yikes! I’ve had 3 magnificent humans, and by the third, I’d learnt that they don’t really hate me at all! You have what sounds like a lovely relationship with Peggy, and She will one day appreciate your boundaries. I think its ok to ask for time to consider some of the things they ask to do, and to give your reasons for your response. Don’t make your first response “No”, but you have to be comfortable with your answer. Try to resist the initial gnashing of teeth & hissing, and I can assure you that not “everybody else in the world except for them” is going to the party/sleepover. We always spoke to the parents/hosts to get the vibe, and drove the girls and their friends to & from. Part of your role, after all, is to help shield your most precious “belonging” from some of the bad stuff that you know is out there. There’s some mistakes that no-one wants to learn from.
    Enjoy her though. Mine have all gone and I miss them terribly – drama and all!


    • Thanks so much for this, Lou. Your advice not just to say that first harsh NO is very good. We have a rule that we have to have met the girl, seen the house (not in a snobby way, but just to get the vibe, as you say). On a few occasion when we’ve relaxed these guidelines we’ve wished we hadn’t. I think the whole sleepover thing is very stupid – they get so tired – but it’s hard to fight it. She has several friends we absolutely adore, know and like the parents, have mutual friends, have been to the homes – all the helpful markers – so currently we are trying to keep it to those families and not complicate issues for everyone xxx


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