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How To Make a Grown Woman Cry

In case you ever feel the need to make a grown woman cry, in a rather undignified, mascara down the face kind of way here are few steps you could follow.  Can’t fail.

1. Send her on a lovely holiday with her husband and two gorgeous children and let them have lots of fun splashing about in a pool, playing i-spy (who knew it could be so much fun?), eating ice creams and generally (and as our American friends might say) reconnecting.

2. Bring her home and give her two more days with her girls, and make sure the girls behave beautifully, with hardly any tears and lots of laughter, conversations about the speed of Usain Bolt vs. a Peregrin Falcon or perhaps even an Ostrich (as Eliza told me, those creatures are faster than Bolt and therefore Bolt is actually ‘not very fast Mummy’.)

So far so good. No tears yet.

3. On the morning of her return to work make sure that her eldest daughter says this:

“Mummy why don’t you stay at home and look after us and Daddy can just work? Some Mummys do that you know.”

4. Then send her to work. A few tears might escape on the train but that’s mainly because she’s feeling sentimental. Fill her head with some lovely memories.

It’s all okay so far.

5. Bring her home. Have her walk through the door to her youngest daughter’s beautiful smile and a lovely cuddle. Her heart soars.

6. She walks into the living room, her eldest daughter is peaceful in the arms of her nanny.  She doesn’t register her mother’s return, no spontaneous cuddle, no knocking her over with her welcoming hug.

Then later when she puts her to bed have her daughter say:

“Mummy, do you leave us everyday because you don’t like us?”

And when she says that no of course she doesn’t have her daughter say:

“But it hurts my feelings Mummy and makes me very sad.”

7. At this point she will struggle to contain her tears as she reads “Mr Wolf’s Pancakes” for the 500th time, then she’ll stroke her daughter’s head until she is asleep at which point she’ll let the tears flow freely.

She’ll think about what goes through her little girl’s head as she falls asleep and if she, as a mother, is doing the best she can do for her beautiful girls. She’ll decide she probably isn’t and the tears will flow on.

And frankly if that doesn’t work?

Whack her with a sodding great tax bill because she’s too inept to fill out her tax return correctly.

That’ll definitely do it.



  1. Ah I’m sorry, thats tough but having been on both sides of the fence (SAHM and working) I can assure you – we can never win. When I stayed at home the girls moaned about not having enough money for days out, branded foods, every toy on the Tv etc…they’re never happy. But she will thank you one day for being a brilliant role model..chin up and have a nap, sleep makes everything seem better x

  2. Oh dear, that ‘working mum guilt’ is terrible isn’t it? I’m thankful my daughter hasn’t said things like that yet but, when I returned to work following maternity leave, she (and I) found it very difficult and we would both end up crying in each other’s arms. Even now, six months on, she won’t let me leave her bedside until she’s fallen asleep, like she needs that reassurance I’m not going to go away. I hate it and wish I could be at home with her and her brother more. It’s so hard because children don’t understand that you might need to work to help keep a roof over their heads, they just want to spend time with you. At least it sounds like the time you have with them is quality time and that’s important. Oh yes, and tax bills suck too of course!

    • Yes I just have to keep remembering that the time we do have is pretty good, and I’m lucky that on the whole I enjoy my job too. It’s always going to tough being a working mum, actually just being a mum really! Thanks for sharing your experience, it always helps to know there are many more like me out there. x

  3. Well, thanks for making me blub like a baby! After a difficult morning talking about just that topic (work, guilt, financial pressures, edible children), I read this and just bawled. It’s good to know others are in the same boat, but doesn’t help an awful lot. Sadly I think resignation is the way forward! I mean, being resigned to the fact that our children can’t understand why we leave them, but know we love them even when they push those guilt buttons, accepting that part of needing to work is sense of self an sanity as well as financial and resigning ourselves to the fact that balance is a media-myth or the preserve of the lucky few. Good luck to you. It sounds from all your posts like your time with your girls is just wonderful, so makes up for the tough times hopefully!

  4. Oh and tax bill, bummer.

  5. It’s reassuring to know that other’s find the decision difficult too. I’m not due to go back for another 5 months, but I’m still undecided. I’m trying not to think about it until closer to the time, it’s such a dilemma! Oh and of course the ridiculous childcare costs will be a huge factor in the decision making!

  6. I’ve sobbed, this is such a heartfelt post and one that resonates with every working mum out there. I’m so sorry that she said those things, even as unintentionally hurtful as they were. Big hug.

  7. Big big hug for you.
    That your children tell you this, and that you listen is what matters.

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