Twenty Things I Want My Children To Know

Because it’s tough being a kid…

1. School

Boy working at school

I know you think school is boring, but trust me, it’s infinitely better than processing 30 invoices on a piece of software that crashes every 20 minutes. And, it’s definitely better than worrying about how you are going to pay for a mortgage.

2. Pudding

Girl eating a rainbow cake in a cafe

A pudding after every meal is not healthy. You might be able to get away with it now, but there’s going to come a point when your metabolism slows down and a single crumb of cake will instantly lead to ten pounds of weight gain. So, enjoy your pudding whilst you can. Savour every mouthful.

3. Vegetables

Boy with a plate of vegetables that he doesn't like

The world will not end if you try a mouthful of cabbage.

4. Careers

Children dressed in business attire having a meeting

It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to be when you’re a grown up. I’m 38 and I still don’t know what I want to be.

5. Chores

Child helping Mum to wash up

I know that emptying the dishwasher and peeling carrots are not the most exciting things in the world. But one day, when you’re in your own home and trying to impress a girl or boy, you will be thankful that I taught you how to cook and clean up.

6. Birthday Parties

Children at a birthday party

Relish every single birthday party you have and make the most of the presents that you get. When you’re a grown up, you only get to have a party if your age has a 0 after it, otherwise people will think you’re weird, and most people will just hand over a card with no gift. Also, there are no party bags when you’re a grown up, nor are there any opportunities to win a prize in pass the parcel. And, jelly is only ever served as part of a trifle. Basically, grown up birthday parties suck.

7. Sheep Talk

Sheep peeking out of a fence

I’m sorry, but I lied when I told you I could talk to sheep. It was funny that you believed me at the time, but it’s been 18 months now and to be honest it’s getting tiring trying to find a new way of saying “Baa” when you ask me to translate something for you.

8. Sun Cream

Boy with suncream on his back

Yes I agree, having sun cream applied is not pleasant. It’s even less pleasant for me as I have to stop you wriggling and smearing it over my clothes whilst I put it on you. But you’ll thank me for it when you’re 40 and still wrinkle and melanoma free.

9. Friendships

Group of children smiling

Cherish those friends you have. They won’t care if you mess up every now and again, and if they do, they’ll forgive you really easily. Friendships with an adult are much more complicated and rifts can’t be mended by simply shaking hands and singing the Make Friends song.

10. You Can Say No

Child using hand to tell someone to stop

I’ll never force you to kiss Grandad goodbye. You own your body and it’s up to you what you do with it (though I’ll be miffed if you get those ridiculous piercings that lead to massive holes in your ear lobes. No, they don’t look cool). You have the right to say no to someone touching you, no matter how benign their intentions are.

11. Bedtime

Young girl lying on her bed with a pillow

I know it’s hard to believe, but you can go to sleep without that one last drink and that one more trip to the toilet. You don’t need me to adjust your blankets, and it’s really not necessary to call me every time a cuddly toy goes out of your reach, since both your legs and arms work perfectly well.

12. Google Home

Close up shot of Google Home Mini Speaker

karenroach /

Mummy has something called a Spotify Premium account. This means that you can ask Google Home to play almost any song and it will do so. This means that you don’t have to ask it to play the same three songs over, and over, and over, and over again. Especially when one of them is Let It Go.

13. Splinters

Mother Comforting Her Son After He Injured His Hand

I’m pretty certain that no one has ever died from having a splinter in their finger. Nor has anyone has ever died from having a plaster removed. That tiny scab on your knee is also harmless and is not an excuse for you to avoid a bath.

14. Grown-Ups

Woman shrugging, looking confused

You probably think that all grown-ups always have all the answers, but the truth is, we’re all just winging it and rely on Google for the difficult stuff. None of us actually knows what we’re doing, not even the Prime Minister.

15. Gifts

Girl opening a present

At some point, your elderly relatives will give you a gift that you really don’t want or need. In my case, it was golfing trousers when I was 12. Be gracious to them anyway. They love you and have the best intentions.

16. Honesty Isn’t Always The Best Policy

Woman crossing her fingers behind her back, telling lies

This one is tricky, but even though I tell you that you shouldn’t tell lies, sometimes it’s actually OK to lie. Like when Nana asks if you liked the book she sent you, even though it was about dinosaurs and you stopped liking dinosaurs when you were five and are now a whopping six years old. Or like when the dentist asks Mummy if she ever lets you have sweets and she says “no of course not.”

17. Worries

Boy looking sad

Things always seem scary before they happen. You might be scared about starting school or going to the dentist, but I promise that it won’t be as bad as you think it will. After it’s over you will realise that your worries were unnecessary. And one day, when you have to deal with grown-up stuff like bills and adult relationships, you’ll long for the days when your only worry was whether or not your new teacher was a nice person.

18. Shoes

Pair Of Brand New Black Leather Shoe For Children

You need your shoes on to leave the house in the morning. You go to school five days a week and we always leave at the same time. It therefore shouldn’t be a surprise to you when I tell you that you need to put your shoes on. And I really shouldn’t need to tell you 36 times before you actually put them on. Just saying.

19. Homework

Boy doing homework with textbook

I actually agree with you that homework sucks when you’re in primary school. There’s no benefit to making a 7-year-old do maths sums every evening when they’re tired and cranky. I’m pretty sure your future successes in life won’t be affected if you don’t answer what 5 x 3 is for the fifth time this week. But we live in a system with rules that we have to abide by, and homework is just one of those things you have to accept. Sorry.

20. Love

Happy Family Lying Of Floor Together At Home.

You are loved more than you can possibly imagine. To me, you are perfect. I will never stop loving you. I might get cross when you don’t listen, and shout when you hurt other people, but I will still love you. I might get disappointed with your choices when you are older, but I will still love you. So, remember, when you have grown up, moved hundreds of miles away, and have children of your own, during those moments when life seems acutely unfair and unbearable, there is someone who will always love you, no matter what.