FAMILY RULES (or so they say)

I’ve recently seen wall canvases showcasing “Family Rules”. All very worthy and admirable. “Use kind words. Take turns. Say sorry if you’re wrong…”

So, in the spirit of togetherness and family bonding (and contract law), I’ve created some for the Boy Band:


What are your own family rules? What works for you?



I wonder if three-year-old Justin Bieber ever spat his strawberry-flavoured medicine across the room?

This is on my mind because, as a Mumager, I’m concerned my boys may go off the rails like so many young stars before them, and start smoking/ingesting/injecting mind-altering substances. I’m hoping that given the way they take (or rather, don’t take) their medicines now, they’ll also refuse harder drugs in the future. (I imagine the Biebs opened his mouth wide and said, “More please, Mama!”)

Here’s what medicine-taking looks like in our household:

Option 1: I try the up-front, honest approach. “Here, son. You’re not well. Now, this medicine doesn’t taste great, but you can have a gummy bear afterwards.” Lips clamp shut so tightly that a 2-metre lever wielded by Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t prise them apart.

If I were the kind of mum who keeps score, that would be: Boy Band 1-0 Mumagermedicine boy band

Option 2: I try the sneaky approach. “Would you like this yummy blackcurrant juice. It will cool you down and you’ll feel so much better.” Trusting eyes gaze at me with appreciation. One sip later, and the eyes snap wide open while the bonds of trust snap wide apart. “YUCK!!! DISGUSTING!!! What is this, Mum?!!”. The lips snap shut, the offending juice is spat out in the way that John Wayne spits snake venom from a wound, and for weeks afterwards, every sweet drink I offer is sniffed at suspiciously.

Boy Band 2-0 Mumager

(Ha! I’m even sneakier than you think, boys. I give crushed up de-worming tablets in cheesy baked beans. You weren’t expecting that, were you?)

The scores creeps up: Boy Band 2-1 Mumager

Option 3: I call in the Roadie. “Your son won’t take his medicine. Pin him down and squirt it in him, Papa.” The Roadie sweats it out, the eyes of distrust are focused on him, and I get to be the good guy who gives hugs and gummy bears afterwards.

I score the equaliser (Roadie gets the assist): Boy Band 2-2 Mumager

Option 4: The preferred method for Lead Vocal. “Mum, can you put some medicine up my bum?” “Really, son? Really? You won’t take this teeny, tiny, yummy, strawberry-flavoured spoonful of goodness?” Nope, this child would rather have a small torpedo inserted where the sun don’t shine.

Dang it! If I have to use latex gloves and a pot of Vaseline, there’s no way that’s a win for me. Then again, it’s hardly a moment of glory for Lead Vocal either. Let’s settle for an honourable draw: Boy Band 2-2 Mumagermedicine 2 boy band

With Air Guitar and Lead Vocal, we felt so confident that they wouldn’t pop any pills voluntarily, we never even had a locked medicine cabinet. However, Drummer Boy is a big fan of M&Ms, so we’ve now got the pills and potions under lock and key in case he thinks they’re sweeties. If anyone is going to go off the rails at a future Pharm party, it’ll be him.

And as for the socks in the title? Well, they are there because my boys won’t be getting up to any hanky-panky. They may, however, take an interest in darning socks. How rock ‘n’ roll would that be?


labels boy bandAs a mum, I’m always looking for labels for my children – by which, I mean those iron-on / stick-on / sew-on type that give me about a 20% chance of getting back that expensive Sigg water bottle that my eldest son deliberately (I’m sure it’s deliberately – maybe accidentally the first five times, but subsequent times must be deliberate, right?) leaves on the bus or beach or bench.

As a mum, I can’t help but give my children labels as their personalities and character traits develop. The eldest is The Slapdash One. The Bright One. The Lazy One. Unfortunately, I may have mentioned the last epithet once or twice in the presence of this too-too-clever child (okay, I confess, I berated him bitterly and loudly for his lazy-ass ways). Now, he wears the Lazy Label with pride. He owns it. I ask him to tidy: “But, Mum, I’m too lazy, remember?”. I ask him if he wants to go for a bike ride rather than a spin round a Mario Galaxy: “Nah, can’t be bothered. You know I’m lazy, right?”

And as a Mumager, I’m now going to label my boys in the context of this blog.

Taking it from the top, Boy 1 (The Lazy One) will henceforth be known as Lead Vocal. Do not take this as any indication of the sweet harmonies of his voice. He sings like a strangled cat. But he deserves this name as his personal volume control button seems to be broken. This child doesn’t know how to whisper. He talks loudly ALL THE TIME (or so my frayed nerves believe). And yes, he talks over the top of his three younger brothers – he’s an interrupter, a contradictor, a naysayer. (More labels? Sue me for the therapy costs, son!)

Boy 2 –  in real life, he is The Sensitive One, The Sweet One, The Sweet-toothed One – in blog-life, he shall now be known as Air Guitar. He doesn’t have the confidence to take the leading vocal role, but he’s a great wingman for his older brother. And there’s also a nod to his fantastic imagination. He’s never held a guitar in his life, but that won’t stop him acting it out. I love the world in his head.

Boy 3 – The Cheeky One, The Showman, but best known and loved as Wreck-it Ralph. He can just look at a new toy (or one of my prized possessions) and it breaks. But he’s always “weally sowwy”. So, that’s all right then. But, in this boy band of the future, this special child will be Drummer Boy. Nothing he likes better than banging and bashing (usually things that shouldn’t be banged and bashed) – add in a dash of that showmanship – he will be in his element behind an indestructible drum kit.

Boy 4 – The Little One, The Young One… what more can I say? At only 18-months-old, he hasn’t shown us his true colours yet. We’re not sure what his ultimate label will be. For the purposes of this blog, he will be the Michael Jackson of the group (circa 1970-something, before the weirdness began). He will be The Cute One. Any girl would be lucky to have a poster of this heartthrob on her wall.

I am, of course, the self-anointed Mumager of the still-developing boy band. And as for the proud father of this houseful of testosterone, let’s call him The Roadie. We will let him come on this trip with us, but he may find he has to do a bit of heavy lifting – and keep the fans at bay. Especially those girls who are going to want to run off with The Cute One.


How come if you have four boys, helpful friends (or weird strangers you stand next to in the supermarket checkout queue) suggest “A couple more and you’ll have a football team!”? Are these people mathematically challenged? That would be seven more boys – not two! (And, common sense tells me that nine more boys would result in a stronger squad; any decent football team would need a couple of substitutes given the likelihood of injuries, boy-flu and vomiting bugs – believe me, we have our fair share of those setbacks even with our mini-squad of four.)

But I have NEVER heard anyone suggest to a mum of four girls, “A few more and you’ll have a netball team!”. And that really wouldn’t require much effort on that (lazy-ass) mum’s part. Surely she can squeeze out three more girls for the mild amusement of those helpful friends (or weird strangers)?

I long ago discounted the football team idea. Can you imagine the laundry? And besides, I’ve seen how my first three play football. We’d only ever make it to the local leagues and there’s no money in that. (My fourth, however, at the ripe old age of 18 months, has a great left foot on him – now, if I could just clone him…)

So, being a smart lady, I have decided to steer my boys in the direction of fame and fortune from an early age. You are reading here about the NEXT BIG THING! Move over One Direction! (Or Take That! if you are from my century.) I am going to mould these young men into the world’s most popular boy band. And I will be their Momager. (Only I’m British, so I’ll be a Mumager – which sounds even more stupid.)

One small point – my boys have inherited their father’s inability to hit a true note.

But on the plus side, they ARE good-looking.

And there’s always Autotune.