Mary-Jane Duncan is raising her girls to be strong, independent, kind women – even when the eldest turns 17 and suddenly doesn’t like cake.
I decided long ago I want our kids to grow into adults who think for themselves, act independently and stand by their choices. Just maybe not in my house whilst I’m raising them.
Gone are the days of girls taking home economics while the boys have fun setting things on fire in woodwork. High school PE still seems to have a necessary gender divide BUT it no longer determines that only lads get to play rugby and basketball and the lassies play netball or hockey.
Have you ever played hockey on a freezing cold, miserably damp Scottish Saturday morning on a ‘blaze’ pitch? Nothing short of brutal. You spend your afternoon trying to defrost your thighs with a hair dryer and soothing the razor sharp blaze cuts all over any exposed area of your limbs.
‘Bracing’ they called it. I imagine these days it would be described in court as more of an assault.
Anyway. Strong, independent, kind women. Let’s aim for that shall we? Well, that was the plan. The goal. Our aim before lockdown basically broke us.
Right at the beginning I was determined that lockdown was to be used to teach them how to cook favourite dishes from scratch (not just heat up), bake (I may have one or two recipes I could pass on) and look after the house.
Not in a Stepford wife way, but so once they leave I’m not having to spend precious visits cleaning the bathroom or degreasing the oven (Sorry Mum).
I. Was. Determined. Needless to say I admit defeat. I may have mentioned the mister has worked consistently throughout lock down due to his job.
So as I’m teaching them how to meal plan and budget (oh how I laughed) a text message arrives from their Dad.
Now he is a LOVELY bloke and I clearly adore him but every so often I might be tempted to pull a Homer Simpson and throttle him. How am I supposed to focus three adolescent daughters on the important tasks in hand while he texts to say he’s set up the Disney Channel for them.
Absolutely NOTHING to do with the Star Wars nonsense on there, no no, definitely for the girls – hmm.
My uphill battle has now had the gradient steepened, cheers big man! After ranting slightly I was asked to calm down. NEVER in the history of ‘calming down’ has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down. This is possibly more true for me that anyone I’ve known in my 44 years.
The plus side was managing a nap during the third, straight Little Mermaid film of the day. The first two had given me time to plan for Biggest Kid’s 17th birthday. I cannot even being to comprehend how we got here and all in one piece.
How one of my offspring is to be unleashed onto the roads. I spend a LOT of my time in the car taking her to and from work. I’ve now given up trying to make her word perfect on back catalogues of work by Fleetwood Mac and instead turn down the music long enough to screech things like ‘don’t do this in your test’.
It’s quickly decided her dad will take her out.
Balloons? Check. Chamois ordered? Check. Cake decided upon? What do you mean you don’t like cake??!
When did that happen? Insert more Disney channel sized hysteria here. Eldest kid has decided after 16 years of cakes she ‘no longer likes it’. Am I to make a salad? No, you can’t have a birthday ‘lasagne’! Brownie slab it is. Phew!
Once I recover from the revelation my first born has turned her back on what is almost a religion in my world I remember I can do those.
The mister and I were both busy on her birthday so unfortunately absent when she woke up. I felt it pertinent to remind her how loved she is so set up her presents, cards and balloons alongside a note telling her not to touch them till we got home. Cruel? Absolutely!
So happiest of days to you, Eldest Bairn. One more year till you have to hand your room back but for now can we please have a lift to the pub when it finally opens?