Tag Archives: skills

Things Other People Do That Impress Me

“That don’t impress me much!” sang Shania Twain, in her irritating 90s hit, of the same name. Well, I’m no Shania Twain (thank goodness) but I must admit, impressing me is a bit of a hit and miss affair too. You could win a gold medal at the Olympics for the High Jump and I’d forget your name (unless you lived next door to me, or something). On the other hand, you could do one of the following things and I’d be open-mouthed with admiration:

1) Being An Expert. I’m hugely impressed when somebody is an actual “expert” on something, even if it is just something useless like Star Wars. In fact especially if it is something useless, for some reason. I like it when people have the attention span to apply themselves to things and to remember stuff. I sit entranced when people start reeling off loads of facts, because I have a terrible memory myself and a mind that roves around looking for something else to be distracted by all the time.

2) Being Tidy. How do people DO that? I long to live in a stark white minimalist void…Or even just to have “a place for everything and everything in its place” but somehow I can’t pull it off. I mean I DO have a place for everything but that place is called “right next to where I am, when I want to put it down”. And the other place is called “the floor”.

3) Being Hospitable. It’s great when people say “Come round now if you like! We’ll open a bottle of wine and rustle up a meal!”. I’m SO stunned that they can do that. Despite the fact that any of my friends are welcome to come to my house IN AN EMERGENCY (even an emotional one), people are very unlikely to be invited otherwise. Sometimes I blame the untidiness but I think I might do the untidy thing on purpose in fact… To keep them away and to give me an excuse NOT to invite them. I’m warmly and lovingly sociable away from home but if you visit I’ll probably be uneasy and counting the minutes until you leave. Seriously, I’m horrible. You probably won’t get offered more than one cup of tea either – I just forget.

4) Being Able To Mend Things. Actually I AM pretty good at mending things myself… But people who can mend big things like cars impress the hell out of me. Mostly because they are men. Heh.

5) Using Cling-Film, Without Swearing. How on EARTH do people manage to do this? When I use cling-film, it refuses to “cling” to anything but itself. It won’t tear, so I have to develop a third hand, to hold scissors (which don’t work anyway). It comes off the roll in a strip that isn’t the entire width and then gets narrower and narrower, leaving an increasing amount behind, in a diagonal. By the time I have finished, the roll is f*cked, my nerves are shattered and the food is protected by some kind of tattered, baggy imitation of what cling-film ought to be.

6) Playing FPS games, on Xbox. Aren’t people who can do this, clever? Many, many times my son has demonstrated this ability to me – but try as I might, I am totally incapable of controlling my character in a “First Person Shooter” game. I hold my gun and try to walk – but before I know it, I’m aiming at the sky and rotating slowly, until one of my son’s friends sneaks up and shoots me. Poor Brandon, “Stop teabagging my Mum!” is a cry no child should ever have to utter.

7) Being Quiet. How the Hell do quiet people keep quiet? I never stop talking, I have an opinion on everything and I crack jokes and I drive people mad. I’d love to SHUT UP for the sake of those around me but it isn’t any fun, so it isn’t going to happen. I’m really impressed by people who keep their own counsel though and I’m sure that they are cleverer than me.

8) Being Able To Cook. I love it when somebody can create delicious, hearty food and share it with others. Such skill. My meals however come in three types, “Cooked in the microwave, straight from the freezer”, What shall we order?” and “OMFG what IS this?!”. I can fry bacon and eggs though.

9) Looking After House-Plants. I look in awe when people have homes full of beautiful plants. Plants tremble at the mention of my name. Any plant that enters my home should start living every day as thought it were its last.  

10) Looking Good In Charity Shop (Thrift Store?) Clothes. “I got it for fifty pence!” says my friend, when I admire her trendy little cardigan, “isn’t it unique?!”. Yes, it IS. But when I buy clothes in the Oxfam Shop, I look like a crazed cat-lady, a refugee, a throwback to the 80s, or a tall old-age pensioner. What I’m trying to say is, I look like I’m wearing a 50p cardigan.

What impresses you, that YOU can’t or don’t do?


The Skills Of Motherhood

I wrote this a long time ago, in another place… The 25 Skills Every Mother Needs:

1) Lying convincingly: An absolute MUST, this skill has multiple applications, from protecting your child’s innocence ( “Mummy was helping Daddy to mend the zip on his trousers”) to just getting your own way without a fuss (“All toy shops close at two o’clock, it’s the law”).

2) Doing homework in a way that sounds like a really clever child: God bless computers, now at least you don’t have to do the handwriting to match.

3) Changing a pooey nappy (diaper) anywhere: On a bus, at the opera, in a supermarket …Always carry the equipment and an absolute conviction that you are allowed to “do that here”. Develop speed.

4) Psychiatry: It’s really important to listen to your child and to help them to see that most worries have a practical solution. Don’t blow off their concerns but don’t make the child a wuss either… For instance, a bullied child doesn’t need lessons in self-esteem as much as they need lessons in boxing. Or running.

5) Medical Diagnosis/Care: This takes experience (it helps if you are a hypochondriac, or a medical professional). Actually, asking your own Mother for help/advice is good. It might be her one chance to be something other than an interfering old bag.

6) Making home-made Play-Doh: Google the recipe.

7) Having a silent orgasm: Nobody wants the kids to wake up in time to damage themselves mentally forever AND to watch the clean-up operation that nobody does in films. Convey your pleasure by pulling a series of grateful faces and grabbing the sheets with your fists.

8) Opening your bowels, wiping your bottom, washing your hands and being out of the bathroom in 30 seconds: Another “must learn” skill…Unless you want your child to watch you crapping, or to be out there setting fire to the cat.

9) Effective bribery: Know what they want and use this skill sparingly for best effect.

10) Talking in riddles (to other adults): Nothing is more fun than talking “over your child’s head”. Make eye contact with the other adult and use the most surreal method of telling them stuff you don’t want your kid to know.

11) Reading stories whilst secretly leaving out half the pages: Bedtimes would be so much later without it but bright kids do tend to catch on. “There once was a very hungry caterpillar, who turned into a beautiful butterfly. The end.”.

12) Checking the history of your child’s internet usage: Someone has to do it but be prepared to be shocked. My child had been watching a short art movie called “Hardcore Detention” for instance. Hmmm.

13) Teaching the facts of life, whilst not spoiling your child’s image of you as being a virgin: “How did you get ME then? By doing THAT with Daddy?!”…”No darling, I bought you in a shop and frankly I wish I gone for a more expensive baby now.” Is what I said.

14) Eating half chewed/sucked sweets (candy): Men can’t do it. Thing is, toddlers decide they don’t want to finish whatever is in their mouths at the most inopportune moments and you don’t always have a tissue.

15) Making vegetables seem like a treat: “Leave those if you like, Mummy wants to eat them anyway”.

16) Reading stories in various accents and voices: Kids don’t know your accents are crap and never be afraid to change what they say either. I’ve almost made my kids VOMIT with laughter by making lovely little characters, um, less polite than normal.

17) Not laughing when your child is being naughty in a really funny way: I can’t do this.

18) Humiliating your child in front of his/her friends: I’m brilliant at this though.

19) Making sure your teenage child has condoms, whilst simultaneously conveying that you don’t want them to have sex: “There are condoms in this drawer for anyone who needs them. I haven’t counted them either” and then FROWN.

20) Giving praise without adding some pressure: DO say “This painting is wonderful!” DON’T add “If you really practice you might be a famous artist! I could have done that but I was TOO LAZY!”.

21) Cleaning your child with spit: And a hankie.

22) Learning about/watching popular kids’ TV shows: Helps you to communicate with your child. Also, you’ll thank yourself if later in life you get a boyfriend 20+ years younger than you, as it means you can chat to him about them too.

23) Choosing, buying and wrapping a present, plus choosing a card AND getting a child to write it, all in transit to another child’s party, located 15 mins from your house: Need I say more. I’m afraid I have had a LOT of practice at this.

24) Being the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas: Awww. It isn’t hard.

25) Dealing with tantrums: Walk away and don’t look back. They’ll soon come running. Or refer to number 9).