This is not a book about parenting. There are already 1.3 billion of those, and the main thrust is, ‘don't be a shit parent; be a good parent.'
Anyway, kids raise themselves on YouTube, hair gel and Snapchat. They’re just fine.
Instead, this is a book about us. You and me. The parents. In the Middle Years. When our babies have become teenagers, and everything goes a bit...tits down.
This is the book I wish someone had written for me year ago. It would have saved me a LOT of stress, so cheers for that. I wish someone had told me that all of the things I’ve lived through in these Middle Years are quite normal, I’m not a monumental fuck-up of a human being and I will still be allowed into a bar after the age of 45 without an escort from social services.
I wrote it because as I entered the crusty elbow-skin of midlife, listening to my children’s doors slamming and watching my sex appeal turn into a Blue Peter crisis fund, I thought…
WHAT THE HECK IS THIS??
Who are these moody zit-incubators in my house, Facetiming each other at dinner and staying up later than me? Who keeps nicking my flippin’ eye-liner? Why am I saying all the things to my children that I hated my mum saying to me? Why can’t I remember any GCSE maths? Why is nothing even vaguely as I expected it would be at this stage in my life? Why did nobody warn me? And.. what the bloody hell has happened to the skin above my knees?
Is any of this normal??
Following a comprehensive rummage through the Rotting Salad Drawer of Midlife Parenting™ I have discovered that this is entirely normal. Despite what we were told, our problems don’t go away when our children learn to wipe their own bums and bring girlfriends home; they just become different.
Instead of nappies and sleepless nights we juggle A-level options and puberty; relationship breakdowns and unfathomable sadness; teenage eye-rolls and 3-hour queues for the bathroom; career catastrophes and a creeping, deepening sense of loss as the little people we’ve been trying to get a break from for fifteen years suddenly start to pull away from us, and we realise we miss them terribly, and…
Jesus, is that CHIN HAIR??
Everybody goes through this. And yet nobody talks about it. Which is weird. Because IT IS NOT JUST YOU. IT IS ALL OF US.
This, my friend, is golden information. If they could make watches or dental fillings out of it, they would.
Thus, this book is the opposite of a sickly how-to guide to happiness, sexual fulfilment and Steely Buttocks (which, incidentally, is the name of my band.)
I could write that, but I’d have to stab my eyeballs with tweezers. Instead, it says,
‘Come here. Sit down. You are among friends. I, too, have yesterday’s pants on my bedroom floor, four crumbed granola bars in my bag and a receipt in my pocket that I’d rather my parter didn’t see. And I feel confused and sad sometimes. And it’s all OK.’
Part diary through my own Lifeshambles, and part tasty morsels of highly amusing and (possibly) helpful notes about the Middle Years, you should see it as a box of Valium, a night out with friends, and a good shag in an airing cupboard. (Without shelving.)
So come! Let us stagger on together and laugh heartily at all the things nothing but surgery and excessive masturbation can cure.
When we’re done, come and see me in the Home. Visiting hours are 2-4pm.
Please bring grapes, and porn.
I thank you.
These extracts were supposed to be short.
Turns out I’m really bad at short extracts. So here are some long ones, to give you a flavour of the book. No really, it’s my pleasure.
If you like it, and want more, all you have to do is pledge.
It’s like shopping, only…IN THE FUTURE.
With added fun.
I AM A TEENAGER’S WORST PARENT
There are 87 million Great Ironies of parenting. And that’s just the letter A.
Number 7398 of the Great Ironies is that the worst people to parent teenagers are the parents of teenagers.
Someone really should have thought that one through when designing the whole Life Arc thing. It’s inexcusably poor.
We can’t possibly be of any use to our children at this stage of their lives, because our own are in such a bloody mess we can barely get dressed without having a major existential crisis.
As a result, we make a god-awful pig’s ear of the whole thing.
It’s OK. It’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s just important to know this. It’s not you, it’s…..you.
And them. And all of it.
Right, OK, so . . .
About last year.
Thing is, last year was a bit . . . pants.
When I say a 'bit' pants, I mean it was all of the hugest bloomers ever made, worn by Bridget Jones in a fat-suit.
It was UTTER HUGE PANTS.
And so was much of the year before.
If you'd like to read about the pants, you are free to do so via the link below.. That way I don't have to write…
The cheeky Lifeshambles flyer is on a journey to....wherever the heck it ends up.
Here starts a series of pictures of its (hopefully) short life from idea to flyer to BOOK!
If you want a Lifeshambles flyer, let me know.
I only have 20,000 of them, but I'm prepared to share them with you.
Then we can do that thing they used to do in OK Magazine (or possibly still do, I'm not sure…
I decided to shoot a spanking new video for Lifeshambles.
So off I went to London to shoot it in a setting that's more 'me' and more relaxed - outside.
Within thirty seconds I realised why nobody should ever try to shoot a video in London outside. . .
Basically we laughed. And swore. Non stop. For an hour.
It was all VERY professional.
Here are the bloopers*:
Ooooh, hello my lovely Shed Friends.
I’ve missed you.
Lifeshambles continued its Global tour of… a very small patch of the globe, with a visit to the Off the Shelf Writing Festival in Sheffield, which it turns out is not the same as Leicester.
This trip was for my Part 2 of the big Writing Motherhood series organized by Carolyn Jess-Cooke, (below, left, next to the…
I wrote this blog today, in the hope of inspiring any writers out there who are sitting at home, writing and writing, and struggling to get a book published, and feeling down about the Whole Damned Thing....to get out there, take control and DO IT.
This is just my story, of how I came to Unbound. There are thousands like it.
So if YOU want to be published, and you have a book in you that…
Authors all have their own routine, and their own way of working, or 'not working' as it usually spelled.
Some get up at 6am, write for 3 hours, polish off 3000 words and spend the rest of the day looking smug.
We hate these people.
Others faff about all morning in their pyjamas, drink tea, read the paper, think about writing, go out, come back, think some more about writing, read…
It's always somewhat terrifying to stand - or in this case sit - in front of an audience and read from one's own book.
It feels like getting undressed very slowly under a glaring spotlight and being forced to do a can-can, and hoping nobody throws up or leaves the room.
And this is especially true if the book is supposed to be FUNNY.
Because if there is no sound of laughter, it's the…
Lifeshambles went live on Saturday, and launched at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Basically this is the MOST EXCITING THING EVER, except for re-sealable bags of couscous.
I did the world's first reading from Lifeshambles, and at least five people laughed out loud. Some even lolled, but I woke them up eventually.
In true Lifeshambles style I dropped all of my notes on the toilet…
These people are helping to fund Lifeshambles.