Slummy Single Mummy
Jo Middleton is a freelance writer and mother of two girls, aged 17 and 10, who enjoy relentlessly winding each other up in high-pitched voices. Jo writes the award-winning blog Slummy Single Mummy and likes to escape from real life with wine, biscuits and TV reruns of Miss Marple mysteries.
I physically recoil; the venom in her voice is so powerful.
“Dinner is going to be in ten minutes,” I say, in my most soothing voice – the sort you might use if trapped in a small downstairs bathroom with a bear that had just been poked with a very pointy stick, “so I don’t think you’re going to waste away without a packet of hula hoops. Now go and wash your hands.”
She makes a sort of guttural growling noise and stomps off upstairs, trying hard to make her tiny feet as loud as possible on the stairs.
“And don’t stamp!” I call after her, knowing it’s like giving the bear another poke, but unable to control the frustration that’s tightening my shoulders and bubbling in my chest.
“I’m only walking,” she says, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “like you told me to remember?”
It’s at moments like this that I despair. I am literally speechless, with nothing to say to this normally sweet, thoughtful girl who for just a few minutes, at intervals throughout the day, turns into a tinier, slightly more vicious version of Hannah Montana.
What is it that happens to our children for these brief moments? What makes them so angry with the world?
I decide to blame nature rather than nurture on this occasion, head back to the kitchen, and reach for the hula hoops. It is ten minutes till dinner after all. You don’t want me to starve do you?
For more from Jo Middleton go to www.slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com
Daily tip from the lady archive
"DEEPLY-ROOTED is the idea that men are indifferent to dress, while the ladies, God bless them, think of nothing else"The Lady, With Prejudice, 8th January, 1942