Of course it should be mother’s day every day of the year. After all we mothers are never off duty. We never stop thinking about our children, or doing things for them, whether they’re 5 or 25 (or even 55).  For most of us, Mothering Sunday is a day of appreciation. There will be breakfast in bed, gifts and cards, extra cuddles and kisses. And lots of lots of love.

But it’s important to remember those mums for whom today will be like every other day. Perhaps they are separated from their children. Not in contact. Perhaps they gave them up for adoption and do not know where they are.

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It’s dark and quiet. The usual for 5am on a Saturday morning. I’m supposed to sleep in a little later than this at the weekend. But not today. I peer around the curtains. No sign of yesterday’s snow returning. Good. I have an early morning road trip to organise. First coffee, shower, clothes, war paint and I’m ready to prise reluctant offspring apart from their duvets.

The inky blue skies begin to pale as we shiver our way out to the car and I tie the wheelchair down with icy fingers.


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So smacking has been banned in Ireland. And I approve. It wasn’t part of my parenting plan: it just made me angry and resentful as a child, and I agree with all the other arguments against it too. But I know parent who do smack, and who believe that it is their right , and that sometimes it is the only thing that works. I wonder what they will do now. I suspect many will continue, just not in public.

I also suspect that most of the people who support the smacking ban have no experience of children who behave in ways that push their parents beyond their limits.

That includes another taboo topic – children who are sometimes violent. The Irish charity Parentline has reported an increase in child on parent violence in recent years, but there is little coverage and even less being done to help families in this situation.

Smacking is NOT the answer to this problem either. At least in my opinion.


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7 things my mother taught me

I’ve been thinking about my Mum again, perhaps because Mother’s Day was last Sunday in Ireland and the UK, but there were other reasons too: sad news about other people’s parents and friends, and the screening of a new version of the Cornish historical drama Poldark, that I couldn’t bring myself to watch, because I watched the original series with my Mum in the long ago 1970s. She sadly died before this blog was born, though we’d been losing her one memory at a time for a number of years, and while the grief was knife-sharp at first, it has faded over time to a dull ache. But now and again something happens that makes it flare up and catch me unawares.

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Motherhood is an odd experience: we all go into it without professional training, and all the manuals say different things.  And of course every child is different, so getting it right is often more a matter of luck than anything else.  It’s no wonder that motherhood can be a confusing place.  Add special needs into the mix and things get really complicated.

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Going unplugged

Have you ever unplugged everything?  Or just felt like it?  Obviously not the fridge or the washing machine, I’m talking about the telly and the consoles and the broadband.

I would love to do that, I really would.

Perhaps you dream of hazy summer days playing cricket in the garden and chilly winter nights gathered around the Monopoly board by the fire.  And d’you know what?  That was my childhood.

But it’s not my children’s childhood.

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