Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

January 6, 2010

Stop. Look. Listen.

Yes, we all know this is the golden rule of road crossing and, if you're of a certain age, will remember this message being drummed into you as a child by such characters as Tufty the Squirrel (anyone with me there?) and the Green Cross Code man (who was actually David Prowse who was actually the body - if not the voice - of Darth Vader). Anyway, I digress.....

This post is nothing to do with crossing the road or paying attention to traffic. It is to do with paying attention to children. My children. You see, when it comes to crossing the road, I apply the 'Stop. Look. Listen.' rule every time. When it comes to paying attention to my children though, I am completely crap. I hardly ever stop. I occasionally look. I sometimes listen. But very, very rarely do I do all three at the same time.

"Mummy, come and look at this", they cry or "Mummy, watch me", or "Mummy, look what I can do", proudly wanting to show me their latest colouring in, funny walk, ability to count on their fingers, hold their knife, open their own yoghurt, do a tumble - whatever it may be. And I, as ever rushing against the clock to do seventeen things before the eighteenth thing needs doing, respond with a "Hmmm. Yes, that's nice love. Well done", or a vacant "Yes that's great. Be careful though", without even looking at the thing they are so desparately keen to show me. And for this, I am a crappy mum and a bad person and I apologise.

I'm not setting any resolutions this new year because I'll just get annoyed about denying myself things I want, or trying to summon up the willpower to start things I don't want to do. What I am going to do though is to really try to apply the Green Cross Code in my home. From now on, I won't fob the children off with a bland response or a pretend look or with paint by numbers praise. I will really Stop. I will really Look. I will really Listen.

If it's good enough for Darth Vader, it's good enough for me. And, above all else, I owe it to my children.



  1. I am guilty of this too and may well steal this NY resolution! My boy doesn't talk yet so I don't have him clamouring for me to listen to him, but I could probably stop and look a lot more instead of taking advantage of the fact he is playing by himself to start dinner or do the washing up. Happy new year, and thanks for making me think x

  2. What a fantastic thing to do. I think we are all guilty of this at times. I too do they are fine I am going to make the most of this!!

  3. Name one mother (Angelina Jolie included) who doesn't do this. I think you're right though - we must try harder! (That said, they are fairly demanding creatures....)

  4. I miss the Green Cross Code man, and also Superman telling me not to smoke, although that didn't work out too well.

  5. Good for you. You're totally right, attention is one of the biggest things children crave - and not divided attention, but proper attention. Many's the time I've had the phone disconnected by a little finger pressing a button! Ooh and by the way, Dave Prowse was my cousin's gym instructor AND we saw him signing autographs in San Francisco a few years ago, how bizarre is that?

  6. I suspect I am not the only person stealing this NY resolution off you. Love your post, once again!

  7. Awwwww, what a sweet post!! You are a great writer. Just found you on mammydiaries' site. You rock. Looking forward to reading more from you. Come visit me sometime too if you want.

  8. PS Following you now!!! HAve a great weekend.

  9. Love this post and how true! I intend to do the same ... stop, look and listen to my guys!

    PS Is it just me or does that green cross code man look hot?


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