This much I know

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum - Credit: Archant

Those of you who read The Observer magazine will be familiar with the weekly feature called ‘This Much I Know’.

For those of you who don’t, it’s a piece where they have a mixture of people from celebrities to teachers to bin men who set out a list of what they’ve learnt over the years and wax lyrical about their observations and experiences. Fascinating people share their thoughts with the reader.

For example, a little while ago Tom Conti (Actor, 69) shared delights such as “My temper manifests itself when I can’t find something”.

What he didn’t mention was that he actually met me once when he came to teach a class at my old drama group. It was super amusing because he chose me and the boyfriend I had literally just dumped to act out a scene from Romeo & Juliet.

A pair of star-crushed lovers, if you like. It was riveting stuff – for the audience. For us thespians – just plain awkward.


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Anyways, I thought I’d give it a go, because I think being middle-aged and menopausal, I’ve got a few things to share:

This Much I Know – Claire Smith (Stay at home sucker, 43)

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• I have always known that I wanted three children. What I didn’t know was that it would bring out emotions and behaviours in me that I didn’t even know I possessed. I have never felt such anger, frustration, irritation, anxiety and love before I became a mother. It’s like a whole new side of my personality has emerged.

• Not working is a disappointment. It’s not all leisure time and lunches. Staying at home is partly the stuff that can cause nervous breakdowns. It’s loss of own income, loss of adult conversation, loss of confidence and, often, loss of identity.

• I think that parenting gurus talk a load of rubbish. I yearn for a parenting manual that tells it like it is. That explains you will go off sex, argue with your other half, cry over children refusing to eat the dinner you’ve just spent two hours preparing and spend half your life picking up little shoes and clothes.

• Arts and crafts were surely invented by a man with no children. Or Mr Dyson. Because, really, what other reason do you have to hoover?

• There is such a thing as the menstrual cycle and mantrums. Don’t tell me that I am moody and hormonal every 28 days or so when I have been plotting on a graph and can tell you that my husband has his own little man period going. Usually at the weekends.

• My children are growing up (I think) to be strong individuals. But I could do with less attitude and backchat. However, always teach sarcasm, it’s a superpower. My 9 year old is already using sarcasm instead of fists to fight back and he does it with humour. Unfortunately, I am usually on the receiving end of these sarcastic blows.

• Sometimes my kids misbehave in public and I get embarrassed. But that’s okay. Because when they’re teenagers I’ll return the favour and they can use all the sarcasm they like.

• If you think your day is going well, do not take the kids out for dinner. Nothing else will make your day go more horribly wrong.

• “If I didn’t see it, then it didn’t happen.” Otherwise known as Ostrich Parenting.

• I cannot take alcohol anymore. I am inebriated after two gin & tonics. But nothing quite sobers you up than a child who is mucking about in bed and won’t go to sleep. Also, hangovers with children are 300 times worse.

• I don’t believe my kids will be professional sportspeople, actors or popstars. I believe this is a good thing. Of course I will support any dreams they have but I’ll be truthful with them if they show no talent. There’s nothing worse than those kids on X Factor who honestly think they can sing because their family has told them so. My kids will probably need therapy in the future, but this will be down to my mistakes, not my lies.

• On occasion I wonder what my life would have been like if I didn’t have children. And, on occasion, it’s really really good.

• Some celebrity parents p*** me off. Images of those mums looking fabulous two days after giving birth only exist to make us regular mums feel like crap.

• Sometimes I flick the Vs at my kids when they’re not looking. And it makes me feel better.

• I do not find all new-born babies gorgeous.

Claire Smith stars in her own life until the 8th of Forever.

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