Tag Archives: kids

My House Is Empty – Song Of Praise

I’m not saying I dislike my family, or resent them being here.

I’m just saying that there’s a moment, when I close the door behind them, that feels like this:

by Julie Duffy (c) 2015

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Creative Commons License: Attribution, NonCommercial, ShareAlike

My House Is Empty
(to the trad. tune Bunessan, a.k.a. ‘Morning Has Broken’)

(with alternate lyrics for work-outside-the-home parents)

My house is empty!
My house is empty!
I’ll be the only one here all day.
No one to say “no!”;
Ask me a question…
I can do everything my own way.

Yes, there is cleaning.
Yes, there is laundry.
Yes, there are errands that I must run, (alt: Yes, there’s a day job and I must run,)
But there is no one
To interrupt me (alt. Here to detain me);
I am in charge of when they get done (alt. I am in charge of what I get done)

No one will bicker.
No one will rampage.
No one will knock on my bathroom door.
After my six hour (alt. eight hour)
Mental vacation
I can be pleased to see them once more.

You say I’ll miss this
When my nest’s empty,
“Never forget these days are a gift.”
I will endeavour
To count my blessings
As 3pm brings my second shift (alt. As 6 pm brings my second shift)

You may also like: The Parents’ School Morning Lament

The Parents’ School Morning Lament

Sometimes you just have to write a thing down, so here, in all it’s audio glory, is my Parents’ School Morning Lament, recorded and mixed for you, this morning.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 12.14.06 PM

Sound familiar? Leave me a comment!


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You may also like: My House Is Empty – A Song Of Praise

Life Skills List

Here are some things I will teach my kids before they leave home (preferably in the pre-teen years). What would you add?

How To:
Sew on a button
Sew a hem
Repair a tear in cloth
Use a sewing machine
Iron a shirt, t-shirt and trousers
Fold their laundry
Sort and wash their laundry
Bake bread
Bake a cake
Make a white sauce
Roast a joint of beef
Make fish & chips
Rehydrate and cook beans
Grow vegetables from seed
Transplant a store-bought plant
Three or four different knots
Paint a wall
Sharpen a knife
Basic car maintenance
Write a thank you note
Use a soldering iron

They’ve had a shot at some of this stuff so far, but maybe we need to design an actual course with a checklist on Pinterest and everything :)

What would you add?

Spoiled — A Rant

When I was a kid (back in the dim, dark days of the 1970s) a birthday party was the highlight of the social calendar.

There weren’t very many of them, certainly not one for every child in the class, and I don’t think they started before age 7 or 8, or whatever age parents then thought kids could be trusted to be left without one-to-one supervision.

The girls donned floor-length party gowns (mine, I think, was green and velveteen) and bows in our hair, and the boys wore smart shirts and possibly ties, certainly real trousers and shiny shoes. Then we sat cross-legged on the floor and played Pass the Parcel, or were blindfolded for Pin The Tail on the Donkey, or Blind Man’s Buff. All very Victorian and charming. Then there were little triangular sandwiches made from white bread (crusts off, hoorah!), filled with salmon paste or egg mayonnaise. There might be fizzy drinks and paper straws (straws? It MUST be a special occasion!). A round birthday cake encased in a paper fringe, with the appropriate number of candles on top rounded things out. There was usually jelly and ice cream to eat while the cake was cut, wrapped in a napkin and stuffed into your party bag to take home, where you would whine to be allowed to eat it, be told ‘It’s nearly dinner time!” and when you did eventually get it, you’d spend most of your time sucking the icign out of the soggy napkin. The party bag might even have been attached to a helium filled balloon, if the hosts had gone all-out.

It was heady stuff and only death or German Measles could stop you getting to a Birthday Party.

My eldest is turning six this week. We invited a few of the children from his class over to our house for a party. We don’t have a huge house so it wasn’t the whole class, just his favourite few. I’m a little nervous, but not about the prospect of having a house full of children: no, I’m nervous that they might all be too busy to come.

I managed to shoe-horn A’s party into a weekend in between two other birthday party weekends from his class, but I still wasn’t sure if people would come. So far I’ve only heard from a few people: one kid can’t come because he has a football (American) game. One can’t come because she has a skating lesson. Our favourite family friends might not make it because their son has a basketball playoff match.

Did I mention that these kids are six?

I know people who spend two hours two nights a week sitting by the pool at the Y while their eight year olds trains for the swimming team. I know six year olds who are on three or four sports teams (American football, baseball, basketball, soccer or icehockey). They also go to Karate classes. Then there’s the Cub Scouts and Brownies.

My children go to swimming lessons once a week (if I remember to take them) and the little one has a knock-about ‘sport’ class one morning a week when he’s not at pre-school and I think that’s extravagant! We play board games and video games and maybe they watch a little too much TV on Saturday mornings. We probably spend a bit too much time in toy stores. We kick a ball around the garden and try to learn to get along. We read. We make up stories. I’m grateful that I can’t imagine my eldest volunteering to do anything that would take him away from his toys yet, if ever.

And I just can’t believe that we’re wrong: that we’re somehow putting our kids at a disadvantage because they don’t yet know how to dribble and pass and be a “team player”. I don’t believe that having extra-curricular activities to run to every day after school and every weekend does much for a six year old’s health or disposition. I worry about what it does to the family dynamic when the parents have no time for themselves and become slaves to their children’s schedules. I wonder when these children have time to think and to dream and to become curious. I secretly suspect that they don’t. I strongly suspect that this constant stimulation shuts down their brains and breeds incurious adults who need to be busy but never really question anything and swallow whatever the ad-makers put on the mass media brain-suckling-tube. I foresee a hideous, dystopian future — a brave new world, if you will — all caused and created by childhood over-scheduling. (I have also been accused of over-thinking things.)

Or maybe I’m just ticked because I’m scared no-one will turn up for my boy’s party!,

Seeing Is Believing

Kev: G, did you go to Picture People today and get your photograph taken?
G, aged 3: Were you there?
K: No, but I saw your pictures.
G: Did you use your long eyes to see them?

Working Mother

Well, that went well.

I’ve been shaking the virtual network to see if I could dislodge any writing work now that the boys are both out at school at least part of the time.

This morning I had my first business call in several years, all scheduled and ready to go.

Then G woke up looking pale.

I took him to school along with A, and hesitated outside the door before deciding he was probably just tired (even though my instinct said “no, he’s sick”), and shoved him in the door.

As I was explaining to the teacher that he was pale and she should call me if she needed me, she said,

“Actually, one of my parent-helpers for the trip to the library just dropped out. Can you come?”

Almost any other morning I could have done it (let’s face it, the Monday morning Pilates is nice, but I could skip it). Cursing the timing I excused myself and jogged home (well, speed-walked).

So my call came; we did the preliminary catching up and had just started on the business at hand when my cell phone started bleating. I knew, of course, straight away. I didn’t even have to check the number to know it was the school.

I had to cut off the business call and go and fetch my retching wretch.

We’ve reschedule for Friday morning and luckily for me my business friend is a father to young kids and probably understands.

Getting actual work done is fine. If G had waited another three quarters of an hour to hurl I could have used this time, while he’s sleeping it off) to do actual work. It’s just the phone calls and meetings that are the tricky part.

Somewhere a hardline conservative is shaking their head and saying, that’s what she gets for trying to divide her attention.

‘Scuse me while I pop my shoes off and get back into the kitchen.


(Happily, I think G is going to recover.)

The Mom Song

I brought you Bohemian Rhapsody and now I bring you The William Tell Overture. Kind of:

The Mom Song by Anita Renfroe (buy a copy of the song here to support a hard-working funny lady!)

I haven’t used all these lines on my children yet, but only because they are small. I have had most of them used on me in the past, though, and I expect to use them myself many time. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Bob would be proud.

(I’m sure there are all sorts of copyright issues with the posting of a video of a part of a show that features a copyrighted performance of a classic work, but I’m pleading ignorance. I just wish the YouTube user had posted the comedian’s name.)