My Daughter, the Entrepreneur

And 20 years later she’s starting her own business…

A letter – well, an e-mail obviously – arrives from the Beloved Daughter. She’s resigned from the corporate world before she’s even joined it. Fed up with the job search, with losing out to interns who’ll work for nothing, she’s starting her own business. Social media management for small companies. And she wants some advice.

“Er…” I said when she rang.

“Come on, Dad, you’re always on about those business blogs you write.”

“Let me think about it,” I said, playing for time.

Two days later I sent her a letter…

Congratulations. I always knew you’d do this one day. I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. But you want advice, so here goes… [Read more…]

The Christmas List Goes Missing

The Christmas List goes Missing

Come on, Tom. Help us out…

In the olden days it was simple. And I must be getting old because I find that particular phrase tripping off my lips all too frequently these days.

But it was, damn it.

“What do you want for Christmas, Tom?” we’d ask as November waved goodbye.

“I’ll send you a list,” he’d say. And a few days later, said list would drop into our inboxes.

“Can you understand it?” my wife traditionally asked.

“Well, I can understand one of the games. And I can understand it costs a lot. But basically, no.”

We didn’t have a hope. It was full of F1 technical details, go faster stripes for computers and various devices that would consolidate his hold over our home internet. It was also full of links. [Read more…]

Walking Out

Walking Out

No caption required…

As my Granny would have said, he’s ‘walking out.’

A delightful phrase – which doesn’t mean that our youngest son is leaving home. It does mean that he has a girlfriend.

And ‘walking out’ is exactly what he’s doing.

“I’m just going for a walk.”

“I’m just popping out for an hour.”

“Just going into town. Can you give me a lift?”

We smile and say “that’s fine” and maybe we reach for the car keys. And then we have a talk with him… [Read more…]

First World Problems

First World Problems

Another appalling first world problem: the eggs should have been on the toast…

It can only be a matter of time. I’ll hear the sirens any minute. Social services must be on their way by now. Ben will be taken into care.

We’ll be filed under ‘failed parents.’ And quite right too.

What have we done? Two things. Sit down, because the scale of our neglect will horrify you.

Number one, the internet has been off for three days. Our early-Victorian router has been diagnosed as the problem. A new one is in the post. Until then we’re back in the Dark Ages (or, in my case, sneaking off to the office at six in the morning.)

That alone would be bad enough. The shame our son will have suffered at college…

But we’ve compounded the felony. We’ve run out of coffee pods. [Read more…]

Keeping Secrets

Keeping Secrets

Could he possibly keep a secret from his Dad…

“I’m going out for a walk.”

“What? On a Tuesday night?”

“Why not?”

“Well where are you going?”

“Just out.”

“Are you meeting someone?”

No reply. Ben’s face is so blank he clearly has a future as a poker player.

“How long are you going to be?”

At which point my son shrugged, smiled and walked out: keeping his secrets…

And quite right too.

A virtual pal of mine wrote a blog post the other week. It was about secrets: specifically, about teaching his two boys that “we don’t have secrets in our house.”  Spot on: sound parenting. But his children are six and three. Add ten years and that rule needs to be flying through the window. [Read more…]

Empty Nest Alert

Empty Nest Alert

Here we go again…

“I’ve had acknowledgements from Exeter and Edinburgh, Dad.”

“That’s great, Ben,” I say, outwardly smiling.

But inside I’m a mix of emotions. Pleasure, panic, relief, sadness.

Twelve hours ago our youngest son pressed ‘send.’ And that was that. His university application was hurled into cyberspace.

Clearly it’s landed safely. At least in Exeter and Edinburgh. And I’m pleased for him. Ben’s ready to go. He’s ready for the next step, ready to leave home.

But does he need to be quite so far from home?

“What about York?”

“Much too close.” [Read more…]

Your Son is Two: 4 Things you Need to Do

So cute. Maybe it's not too late to have some more...

So cute. Maybe it’s not too late to have some more…

Rachel – a virtual pal of mine – wrote a blog post last week. 10 Things being a Parent has Taught me. Respect for my mum, makes you a better person, discover patience you never knew you had… And, of course, 3am no longer means alcohol.

Nope, it means vomit trickling down your back and a knacker-whacking from your lovely wife.

“You’ve woken me up.”

“I’m frozen. I thought cuddling you would – ”

“Well it won’t. Go and freeze in the spare room.”

Rachel’s son is two. As my eldest is now 22, I thought I might offer a little advice. Just in case she thinks she’s got this parenting lark licked. Four things you need to do now your son is two… [Read more…]

My Inspiration is Leaving…

Inspiration packed and ready to go...

Inspiration packed and ready to go…

What is it with other people’s children? Why do they grow up so much faster than yours?

“What’s Maisie now?” you say to a friend you haven’t seen for a while – as you feel remarkably smug at remembering the child’s name. “She must be nearly ready to start school.”

“She’s eight.”

“Oh…”

It’s the same with pregnancies. Jane’s pregnancies lasted for about two years. Everyone else is pregnant for three months.

“How’s Claire doing? The baby must be due in a couple of months?”

“Leo’s six months. He’s just started crawling.”

“Oh…”

So I wasn’t going to make that mistake when I ‘talked’ to my pal, Frankie – talked meaning Facebook’ed, obviously. [Read more…]

Back to School No More

3 for 2? It doesn't matter any more...

3 for 2? It doesn’t matter any more…

‘Back to School.’ Three words in a shop window that used to utterly depress me.

Now, I rather like them – in the same way I’ll like it in the afterlife when Beelzebub tells me he’s going to roast someone else for the next half hour.

Sure, Ben’s going back to college on Tuesday, but so what? He goes in jeans, t-shirt and a hoodie. Uniform? You must be joking – that’s only for the girls, jeans with ripped knees clearly being mandatory.

Tom’s now a grown up and Jessica’s heading back to Sheffield – via a short detour to a music festival in the Isle of Wight. Meanwhile, the shops are ablaze with window stickers – and several social media pals are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Not that I was always so relaxed… [Read more…]

One of my Children is a Grown Up!

Dan - Yr 4When I started writing these weekly ramblings about my children Tom was nine: in Year 4 at school. I’m not sure when the photo was taken – my wife would know – but he looked something like that.

Three years later there was a Grand Prix on TV – goodness knows why as I had no interest in the sport – and Tom wandered in. He started to watch and became fascinated: not by the race or the drivers but by the technicalities – specifically the aerodynamics.

The first time he started talking about it I scuttled off to ask Google for help. Tom was just beginning to suspect that his Dad didn’t know everything about everything. I preferred to delay the confirmation for a few more months…

Then he disappeared to his bedroom. And a few months later they called us into school. “Tom’s falling behind in Physics.” [Read more…]