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Help! I've turned into my mother

Lesley S Smith
14 March 2012
Sweet Smelling Flowers
Sweet Smelling Flowers

Remembering life as an 8 year old, I vividly recall my mother turning to me and bellowing, "If you make faces like that, one day the wind will change, and you'll face will stay like that."

Fast forward 30 years and my eldest made a screwed up face over the dinner choices, so I duly trotted out with the phrase "if you make faces like that...."

And what about 'Wee Willie Winkie', whose name has been taken in vain for generations to get little boys and girls to bed? I copied that too.

When my boys first arrived, it felt like the world was on my shoulders. Going from zero children one day, to three toddlers the next was a shock. Running around like a headless chicken, I had the welcome help of my mother, who also regaled me with "inspirational words" about approaching motherhood.

I know that if I ever become a Grandma, I am likely to be guilty of the same pearls of wisdom.


The washing bin overflowed after being up at 4 am with a teething toddler, lots of sniffly noses causing angst and much crying. Dishes in abundance in the sink called my name, and I tried to ignore muddy footprints the dog kindly left on the floor.

Hearing the doorbell, I raced three toddlers and a dog to get there first, only to find that the door was open and Grandma's key in the lock. I caught one toddler by the back of the shirt as he tried to fly out the door.

A huge pile of bags was being amassed on the bottom step and the boys scrambled to get to them first. Getting red around the gills, I shut the dog in the lounge and tried to put two slippery babies into a playpen.

My mother, smelling sweetly of fresh flowers, flounced into the house and decided to take over. Tutting at the state of the kitchen floor, she eyed up the pile of laundry in front of the washing machine and got stuck in.

When she left with two black bags of my washing, she said that I needed to get myself more of a routine in place. I secretly thanked my giddy aunt that the washing would get done, and totally ignored the rest of the housework.


"Ready made food is for lazy besoms," is what my mother taught me. I completely agree, but it does deserve a mention. As a huge advocate of fresh food at all times, my mother is convinced that processed food is the root of all evil.

Making fresh food all the time is neither practical nor affordable these days, so on days that she is around, I cook mince & tatties or have a pot of soup on, and when she isn't around, we have chicken nuggets with oven chips. The kids are sworn to secrecy.


"You need a cot net to stop the cat sleeping on the babies." I could see the sense of this, but hey, we had doors, so we were cool.

Bags of "stuff" arrived not long after the kids. A steriliser, babies bottles, and strangely, despite her distaste of ready-made food, Farley's Rusks and a tub of formula. The steriliser never saw the light of day, and neither did the formula. My kids were old enough for proper milk and could use sippy cups, so the bottles were occasionally brought out during visits as props in the kitchen sink.


"You're not coming out with me dressed like that." If I have heard this once, I have heard it a thousand times. The advice from my mother is usually pretty sensible, and I can understand why she would object to going out to a messy playpark in old clothes, but I can't see the point in wearing good clothes to go clambering up walls, climbing frames, and roll in the mud.

The apple never falls far from the tree and I could kick myself when I hear my mouth uttering the same sentiment when I am trying to get my kids ready for an outing.


When my kids arrived, I had no experience, and was keen to learn lessons from my mother. I duly called her every time a temperature went up, and she showed me how to sponge down an overheated babe without distressing him.

My boys dote on their Grandmother, and show her every pimple, blemish and bruise. Grandma frequently gets serious, looks up her symptom checker and orders a visit to the GP. I duly oblige, and frequently get furrowed brows from the GP and walk out to scathing looks from staff at bothering them with things so trivial.

I wouldn't be without her for the world.

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