Because Mummy Said So...

For almost twenty years, I’ve made a living writing romcoms and raunchy bonkbusters. It’s a glamorous, elegant existence in which I waft around in designer togs being creative, sometimes reclining on a chaise longue with a tray of Turkish Delight until the muse grabs me. That’s when I lift my diamanté-studded fountain pen and scribe a few thousand words with carefree abandon. 

Okay, that’s all lies – apart from the bit about writing romcoms and raunchy bonkbusters. And the Turkish Delight. 

The truth is that over the last two decades, I’ve penned over twenty books while submerged in the bio-hazardous, sports-obsessed, biscuit-bribing life of bringing up two boys. I’m about as far removed from glamour and elegance as it’s possible to be. My jeans have non-trendy holes. I’m usually in a Guns and Roses T-shirt I bought in 1986. I haven’t seen my make-up bag for weeks. And in the early years, almost every chapter I wrote was to the soundtrack of “Mum, he’s hidden the biscuits again and he won’t give me them back!” 

There were dramas, disasters, mortifying moments, chaotic holidays, epic fails, and eight bouts of chickenpox. There were also laughs. Loads of them. 

That’s why I’m hugely thankful that during this time I also wrote a weekly newspaper column documenting the highs, lows and embarrassing moments of family life, stories that now feature in Because Mummy Said So. 

There was the time that a meeting with a Hollywood producer was scuppered by a wee boy and a superhero pants protest. There was the rainy day in Florida when I came close to pinging a Power Ranger’s Lycra. And there were so many holiday mishaps that we started checking out the locations of really nice hospitals and booking a fortnight all-inclusive nearby. 

I wrote my first weekly newspaper column when my boys were three and almost two. My last one ran in the same month as my eldest, then aged 16, left home. I can’t possibly comment on whether he had to prise my hands from his ankles. Or whether he loved the tracking device he got for Christmas. 

Because Mummy Said So is the story of our lives, but it covers milestones that every parent will recognise. The first day at school. Those tear-jerking nativity plays. The worries of giving them independence. The chaotic Christmas dinners. The school sports days that evoked eye-rolling disdain for those mums that turned up dressed like they were about to take part in an Olympic 100m final. 

That last one might just be me. 

I have many hopes for Because Mummy Said So. I hope that parents of older children read it and laugh, not just at my tales, but at the memories it throws up of their own family life. I hope parents of younger kids dip into it between school runs and homework supervision, and see from my experiences that it really doesn’t matter if it all goes wrong because no-one is perfect. 
I hope that my boys still speak to me after they’ve read it and that there are enough laughs in there to make them forgive me for the embarrassing confessions.

And I hope they’ll realise that there are some great lessons to be had from their childhood:

It’s possible to pen at least five novels in a sports centre car park. 

Cup cake bribery should be a national sport. 

And mamma is always right. Unless she’s wrong, stressed, harassed, chaotic, sleep-deprived, worried, fretting, panicking, being over-protective, over-cautious, over-dramatic or stubborn. 

In which case, my sons, remember that there are no limits to the healing powers of Turkish Delight.