Relevance Deprivation, Politics and Parenting #NaBloPoMo

Australia is buzzing with the news today that former prime minister (x2), Kevin Rudd has resigned from both the parliament and politics.

Kevin Rudd, who was deposed as Prime Minister in 2010 from within his own party by Julia Gillard, recently lead the Labor party to an election loss. Essentially, Kevin Rudd was reinstalled as Labor leader and Prime Minister six weeks before the election to mitigate the election carnage that was a sure thing if the party was led by Julia Gillard.  Labor came out of the election with the inevitable loss, but surprisingly performed better than most expected in Western Sydney and Queensland. And they attribute this success to Mr Rudd’s campaigning and leadership.

Mr Rudd, had quite the reputation of being a controlling narcissistic perfectionist. Whilst he could turn on the charm when he had to, the Government was often paralysed by Mr Rudd’s inability to make a decision and his cabinet members often surprised by Mr Rudd’s failure to consult them. Certainly, Mr Rudd’s concession speech on election night looked more like a victory speech and contained not an ounce of humility. I will say no more other than I am glad he is going.

There is some great commentary coming out of the Australian press on his leaving. This morning I heard a reporter ask a Labor strategist whether Mr Rudd was going to suffer relevance deprivation now that he was stepping out of the lime light. Relevance deprivation for a reputed narcissist should truly be a fate worse than losing an election. The strategist replied that this was unlikely given that the international stage loved Mr Rudd and no doubt he would find a gig somewhere which put him back on the international stage.

I love this expression “relevance deprivation” and it is the first time I have heard it.

It got me to thinking that relevance deprivation is the perfect expression to also describe what we are going through as parents of keep calm and regain relevanceteenagers. Now that “separation” has begun, our opinions and advice no longer have the same gravitas to our teens. On many days it feels we are fighting for relevance beyond the provision of a roof, internet connection and home cooked meals. We have been voted out and our views automatically discounted simply because of where they are sourced.

In short, I very much feel relevance challenged.

I have absolutely no issue with my children seeking opinions and advice from others. In fact, I think its vital that they have trusted confidants beyond their parents they can turn to discuss things and gain different perspectives. I also don’t believe that as parents and in the absence of a critical situation we are automatically entitled to give our teens unsolicited opinions on their lives.

But it sure would be nice to be asked every now and again.

I sincerely believe that some of what we discuss does get though even though the teens would rather not show or acknowledge this. The situation will right itself eventually, provided that we retain respect for each other during the process. It is up to us parents to lead the way on this and make sure we don’t deprive ourselves of a place of relevance in our teens’ life. We need to let go and not fight it and embrace the future and our teens for all they are worth.

In other words, keep calm and regain relevance.

How Much Is A Child’s Year Really Worth? #NaBloPoMo

More on the parenting teens theme today given this is what is taking up most of my head space at the moment.

At this time of life when asked my age, I often jokingly answer in dog years. This not only paves the way for further discussion, but also serves as an ice breaker and a youth elixir of sorts. My recent parenting teens experiences leads me to question whether 18 years of a child’s life today has the same equivalency as 18 years of a child’ life, say growing up in the 50s, 70s or 80s. Or is it like dog years and equivalent to something less so that ageing in the new millennium like the value of money is decreasing in effectiveness over time?

I met a wonderful woman today in my Zumba class who also happens to be the mother of two boys. Her boys are older than mine, adult clockaged 19 and 22. We were of course sweatily comparing parenting experiences, have just shaken our wobbly bits on the dance floor for the last hour during class. She was exclaiming how both of her boys were now just starting down the tertiary education road after having travelled for a while and taken bridging courses to gain entry into university in this country. She was very proud of her boys going down this road, as she herself had not done so and wished that she had. Anecdotally she advised that most of her sons’ cohorts had also not started university straight after finishing school, but had chosen to travel, work or taken a gap year.

In the ehemm…three decades (or 4 or so dog years) since I was 18, there seems to have been a shift in how an 18 year old sees the world. We often hear that life for children is more complicated today – faster paced, more competitive and just more. There is no doubt the information age has brought with it an array of options for an 18 year old that were not available to us at that age, or not as easily accessible. For example, many 18 year olds place a premium on seeing the world and are more well travelled than most adults. Through those travelling experiences, the world of living, working and loving in a foreign land is now a reality for our 18 year olds.

But does having all these options mean that the timeline for 18 year olds have been pushed out? Is 23 the new 18 and is 18 the new 15, but with drinking, voting and driving rights thrown in (note in Australia the legal drinking age is 18)? At what point should a person get down and get serious about their life path instead of behaving like human flotsam and jetsam? And is this really necessary now anyway given that home affordability no longer seems a reality for most 18 year olds and there is no guarantee of employment after university graduation?

Am I creating a rod for my own back by insisting that my children study ahead of playing computer games and that they strive towards something other than just living for today?

life path signageI certainly don’t believe that the life path I chose is necessarily the best one for my children. We are all unique and each person should be free to choose their own path. But I can’t help thinking that perhaps we are asking our children to make their choice before they are properly equipped to do so. Are these decisions that should be postponed until my children are 21 or 22 after they have acquired a bit of life experience? Life experience that had they grown up in the 50s, 70s or 80s they would more likely have had by now?

I still have more questions than answers at this point, but I can’t help thinking that it just a different world with different challenges to when I was 18.

They say you can’t put an old head on young shoulders, but maybe it’s possible to put some old shoulders under a young head to offer support and guidance pending launch time.

Any feedback you wish to provide on these issues will be most gratefully received.

Being Accosted Never Smelt So Sweet

Where does time go? I’ve turned around and its been a whole month since I last blogged.

In all fairness I have been thinking about blogs to write, flirting with poignant topics relevant to all of us battling a life crisis sandwich. For the uninitiated (and that would be most of you because I just made

picture from

picture from

this up), a life crisis sandwich is the meal that comes from that special place where mid-life crisis meets teenage angst. And this past month has been spent dealing with that special place.  I am not sure whether in this house, the adults have regressed or the teens have progressed, but whatever the case we are all dealing with change and questions. I think God must truly have a wicked sense of humour to coincide my offspring’s teenage years when they are questioning the meaning of life and their own existence with the very point at which their parents are doing the same. Two thumbs up there. May we all survive this test to reach what comes after the life crisis sandwich, namely the post apocalyptic fudge brownie.

At this stage, the fudge brownie remains just off into the distance. I can see it, sort of, if I squint long and hard enough and can almost smell it. Only a few more bites of the life crisis sandwich to go. My commiseration to all of you also experiencing the joys of the life crisis sandwich. I hope you now know you are not alone.

This gives you an idea of what I have been up to in the last month and why I haven’t blogged. Also good manners, because I would never blog with my mouth full, even if it’s just a no calorie life crisis sandwich.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying I really wanted my first post back to be poignant, but instead, dear readers, you are going to get this.

Over the past few months I have been accosted in my own home on several occasions. Not only me, but other members of my family have been similarly accosted. Every time it happens we reinforce that we need to be wary, keep our guard up and not let it take us by surprise. And we fail every time.

I see it perched up high on the picture rail or sometimes, just to keep us guessing, sitting on the side board. Watching, waiting, ready to pounce. Light blinking, nozzle pointed, waiting to expel its deadly gas. The minute a body comes into view, nay even before that, the minute the air pressure changes to indicate a moving being, it aims, shoots and scores. A menace to all unsuspecting wanderers, its activities are not confined to nocturnal maneuvers. Night or day, it is on high alert waiting for its next victim. With a pfft and a click you know you have been hit even before the odour reaches you. Its stated aim is to release air freshener, but this is just propaganda. Its real objective is to startle the living daylights out of you, especially at night.

This little device is the SWAT team of odour prevention. There is no shield thick enough, no night vision strong enough to defeat it. You would think it would be a fair fight, six feet of human vs one foot of motion sensor air freshener, but this fight is neither fair nor foul. In fact it takes place in a haze of Lilly of the Valley and with an innocent demeanor. Flying below the radar, it infiltrated my home without my permission, having snuck into the Itallian Stallion’s bag.

Lilly of the valleyBut I’m now onto this trespasser. After being accosted at 3.30am the other night, I have decided to deactivate the little bastard. Indeed, at 3.30am with a stuffy nose and a throbbing head to have a useless invention for the “genteel” accost me on a headache tablet mercy dash is entirely beyond the pale.  Clearly, there is much use for a fine spray of Lilly of the Valley with a head cold (not).

And lest you think my stealth skills are substandard, my strapping sons have also been accosted from on high. Like a swooping magpie protecting its nest in Spring, the air freshener rains on their heads at the first hint of movement. Perhaps this is not a bad thing with teenage boys, but I’d hate to have them invite their friends over only to be sprayed. That would make them feel real welcome.

So the time has come to reclaim my corridors. No more Lilly of the Valley, not more pfft that goes bump in the night. I’m reclaiming my right of peaceful passage without a treaty of surrender.

One last pfft for man, one giant leap for mankind (at least those in this house).

Have you ever been accosted by a device in your own home? Is there any device that you would really like to banish?

air freshener


A Letter to My Son On Entering University: The Journey Continues

By far and away my most popular post has been about the letter I wrote to my son on his final school year retreat.

Titled, A Letter To My Son: Reflections On A Journey it contained my thoughts and messages to my 17-year-old son as he was about to face the toughest academic year of his young life. Each day the post is read many times. It seems many of us parents are looking for inspiration about what to say to our teenage children, particularly on reaching high school graduation. My readers for this post come from all over the world and the issue seems to transcend geographic borders.

So in keeping with this theme, I am posting my next letter to my son who thankfully survived his last year of high school and just this week started university.

Uni grads

As parents, we often feel that the wisdom we try to impart goes unheeded. But I have a small, sneaking suspicion that when we turn our backs and when the going gets a little tough it is our voice that our offspring recalls, our words that are headed and our example that he follows. So in that vein, here is some of my Curtain Raising Wisdom. You never know, when my children are in their thirties and are parents themselves they might even acknowledge that I made some sense.

And so to the letter:

Dear J,

Without preamble or fanfare, let me say I am proud of you. You are now a high school graduate and a university freshman and at the start of what truly is a great adventure.

You will have heard a lot of people say that the university years are the best of your life. And they are right… to a point.

Much awaits you at university, it now all lies at your feet and ahead of you. Step carefully, son of mine as there will be many a siren call to tempt you from your path. You are now an adult of drinking age [note to US readers, the legal drinking age here in Australia is 18], and you will, for the first time, be surrounded in your academic endeavours by members of the opposite sex. Enjoy their presence and learn from them. Learn from their organisation, enterprise and their studiousness. Learn the subtle interplay between male and female, but always remember to practice respect and equality and above all, safe pleasure.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Mix with the rest of the university population as this is your chance to make life long friendships from a wide circle. Trust me, friendships don’t get deeper than if you have sweated together at 3.00am the night before an assignment is due and neither of you has a clue what the question means. Make friends with people who are studying towards degrees other than your own, pick their brains, let them pick yours, ask questions, think broadly and enjoy the quest to find the answers.

At university no-one takes attendance. Whether you attend lectures and tutorials is up to you. However, as usual with freedom comes responsibility and your own destiny now lies more in your hands. Remember when your high school teachers told you what to read, how to answer a question, where to find resources and reminded you that assessments were due? All that has now stopped and it is up to you to work out what needs to happen and how to get to the end goal. It may be hard at first, but persevere, because this is where you will learn the essential life skills of initiative, self-reliance and resilience.

Enjoy the freedom of having time to work whilst studying, but do not be lured by the false promise of immediate and easy cash. Working is great and offers you a lot of freedom, but do not be lured by the instant gratification of what appears to be easy independence. You will earn more money than you have ever had, but keep your eye on the bigger goal.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

You are laying foundations and foundations need to be strong and solid. They take time to build and time to settle. It really is true when they say nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Perhaps if my words don’t resonate then the words of 50 Cent from the 50th Law might:


Your father and I believe in you and trust that you have the right tools to see you through the next four years. Go after some of the shiny, shiny distractions, but never forget why you are at University and never forget your dream. Shiny looks even better once you have taken care of business.

Enjoy this time and enjoy all that is to come. It is a parent’s biggest joy to see their offspring fly.

Did you have some great memories of Univserity/College? Do you remember your University/College days? Did you divert from the acadmeic path only to come back to it again in later life?

When Graduation Feels Right: Congratulations Class Of 2012

The parenting journey is littered with stages and milestones that mark the passage of time and the getting of wisdom. Some of these milestones also represent significant gateways that irrevocably empower the individual and change the family dynamic. Our little family passed through one such gateway earlier this week, the one called high school graduation.

Two days ago we celebrated the Valedictorian Day of my eldest son, Future Baseball Star. It was a day filled with school tradition, of saying farewell to youth and a clearly defined path and embracing seniority and the responsibility that comes with empowerment for making decisions about the future. A day of hope and laughter, filled with promise and belonging.

The decision of where to send your child to high school is a weighty one. In this town it is usually decided and acted on at birth at which time your child becomes a name on a waiting list. We didn’t go down that road, largely because I wanted to choose a school that would match my child’s needs and personality and to make that call I needed something more to guide me than a bunch of foetal cells. In this town, the choice of high school is a favourite dinner party conversation topic and securing a place in a good high school is a competitive business.

We chose the boys’ high school because it felt right. Not because it was close, not because there was a family connection but because it’s student body comprised boys from all over Sydney and from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. It felt right.

The traditions in which we participated on Valedictorian Day felt right.

The farewell song sung by the graduating year 12 class to the rest of the school at the Valedictorian assembly felt right. The engaging farewell speech given by the Head Prefect felt right. The announcement by the year 12 leadership of their year 11 successors and the symbolic handing over of their seats to the newly elected leaders felt right.

The farewell tunnel formed by the student body down which the boys of the graduating class marched to the beat of drums felt right. Watching the year 12 boys making their way through the tunnel whilst they embraced those teachers and mentors that impacted positively on their lives and shook the hands of the boys whose memories they wished to preserve felt right. Seeing little brother playfully punch his big graduating brother in the stomach at the start of the tunnel walk felt right.

Attending the boys’ final school chapel service at which the year 12 Head Prefect passed on a symbolic candle to a year 7 boy felt right. Certain year 12 boys each presenting to the school a symbol representing the areas of academic learning, pastoral care, community giving and co-curricular activities felt right. Hearing the year 12 boys shouting and clapping their way through their final war cry felt right. Sharing a valedictory lunch with our sons and watching them make the passing from “New Boy” to “New Old Boy” felt right.

Being forever part of the “New Boy” community and cheering on the black and white feels right. Being the mother of a high school graduate feels right. Delighting in the fact that I will have 50% less grey socks to fold and white shirts to iron feels right. Watching my child blossom and grow feels right. Handing my child the keys to controlling his destiny feels right. Supporting my son in the lead up to his final exams starting in three short weeks feels right.

Future Baseball Star reaching this milestone has created a new family dynamic. We now have a child with one foot firmly in the adult world and this is cause for celebration. Our stewardship as parents now enters a new phase and it feels right.

Congratulations to all of the boys who are part of the class of 2012, we honour your graduating achievement. It is now time for that last sprint to the final exams and to the destiny that you have worked towards for the past seventeen years, but more particularly during the last thirteen of them. You were the starting class of 2000 and reaching year 12 in 2012 is only fitting and feels right.

Good luck in the exams ahead!

Image courtesy of

Do you have any graduating day memories? If you have children who have graduated how did you feel about them passing that milestone? Please share.

7 Blue Ribbon Events of the Parenteen Olympics

Here’s the first post from the she shed. I haven’t actually found a she shed, but if I had, this is the post I would write.

We are almost at the start of the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games and what a two weeks it has been. Such skill, stamina and athleticism – and that’s just from the spectators – what time is it again? Australia has now managed to scrape together five six gold medals as our swim team went MIA. Hard lesson learned for said swim team, namely that social media, hubris and swimming don’t mix. Ouch!

The Olympics have however inspired me to look around and recognise skill, stamina and athleticism in my everyday life. So, let’s light the cauldron, release the peace doves, sing “Hey Jude” and celebrate the 7 blue ribbon events of the Parenteen Olympics!

Event 1 – Synchronised Finding: parents compete to find their teen’s missing items whilst tackling various obstacle courses such as teen rooms, drawers and wardrobes, dirty clothes piles and pockets. Five points for each item found. Bonus points are awarded for really small items and those which have not seen the light of day for at least two weeks. Triple bonus points are awarded for essential items that are required to be found in the five minutes before the teen rushes out the door.

Event 2 – Rhythmic Gum Snapping: teens compete to scare the living crap out of their parents by loudly popping gum at random times. Bonus points are awarded for pops  sounding like cars backfiring made at critical times during television shows their parents are watching in the same room.

Event 3 – Pantry/Fridge Hockey: teens compete to rearrange their parent’s pantry/fridge in the usually useless quest to find something to eat and in the hope that by staring at the items long enough they might change into something inspiring. Each of the  panel of five international judges gives a score out of 10 for the following categories:

    • most vacant stare and bored stance
    • most number of trips to the pantry/fridge in a sixty minute time span
    • most number of items moved each trip
    • loudest whine of “there is nothing to eat”

Points are awarded for each item of food actually removed from the fridge or pantry and there is an increased degree of difficulty for foods that have to be heated, peeled or spread.

Event 4 – Laundry Hamper Basketball: teens compete to throw dirty laundry into the hamper much like conventional basketball. There is a three-point line and points are deducted if any item from a flying bundle lands next to the hamper or if the laundry hamper is broken after a particularly forceful slam dunk.

Event 5 – Teenage Habitat Hurdles: parents compete to retrieve selected items  such as used drinking glasses and gum wrappers from their teen’s room battling obstacle courses made of piles clothes, paper and general “stuff”. This is a timed event and the quickest out the door wins. Points are deducted for touching any of the piles, cleaning up or for failing to make it out of the room altogether.

Event 6 – Bathroom Use Marathon: teens compete to spend as much time in the bathroom as possible during peak times with the object of causing maximum inconvenience to other family members. Teens will be judged on the length of their shower (the longer the better), the amount of product applied to their body (shampoo deodorant, gel or makeup or preferably all four for maximum degree of difficulty points) and poses/stances made before the mirror. Scores are awarded out of ten by a panel of judges much like gymnastics.

Event 7 – Electronic Gadget Decathlon: teens compete for the ultimate Parenteen Olympics event in which the winner is the athlete who uses  the highest number of electronic gadgets at the same time. Permitted gadgets include televisions, laptops, I-Pads, smart phones and gaming consoles. Simultaneous use must be sustained for at least one continuous minute. Hernia prevention belts  may be worn.

Let’s celebrate our inner athlete and enjoy our pride of place on the winner’s podium. Medals are awarded on the earlier of the teen turning 21 or moving out of home.

Have you been in training for the Parenteen Olympics? Do you have a favourite event? Are you or do you know a champion of any of the events?

Award ribbon image and image of sporting figures courtesy of

Herding Teenagers? Unlocking The Secrets Of The Mo Code

School holidays.

Two seemingly innocuous words. School is a means of delivering education and education means empowerment. Holidays are fun, free, relaxed and something to look forward to.  School holidays are therefore an opportunity for fun, free, relaxed empowerment, right?

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If you are a mother of teenagers, like me, you’re now reading this sporting an all knowing grin. That grin that says you know otherwise, that years of experience has taught you that all the relaxing, fun and empowerment are on the kids’ side of the ledger and that you will be secretly applauding the day school resumes and your life returns to the track called S-A-N-I-T-Y. We never speak of this publicly of course, except to our closest confidants lest we be judged as anything less than wonderful parents. But tap into the roots of maternal realism and you will discover a world of secret code, secret handshakes and stories you won’t find in What To Expect When You Are Expecting.  This is called the Mo Code.

After three weeks of mid year break, my teens are back at school. This three-week break was a little different to past holiday breaks for several reasons. My 17 year old, Future Baseball Star, was eight short weeks away from “Trials” which is the last big exam event/ practice run before the real deal starting in late October. My 13 year old, Geek God in Training, just entered “manhood”, a significant event which we have celebrated in the past by embarking on a coming-of-age trip. As a family, we needed time together before the Teens scatter to the wind of their own lives. So, it was with much hope and determination that I herded the Teens and the Italian Stallion together for a five day road trip.

After you have attempted to herd cats teenagers a few times, you begin to learn the anatomy of the herding experience and as a community service to all of you would be mothers or mothers of teenage boys  in training, I present to you the following extract from the Mo Code. Please treat this with the reverence and confidentiality deserving of a rare glimpse into the secrets of the Code. For all you experienced mothers of teens or adults, treat this as reinforcement and part of the duty to support each other in this most arduous part of the parenting journey.

Herding Teens 101

    1. Once you have decided on the activity for which herding is required, give your teens the two weeks to go early warning signal. This allows time for your teens to process the information (this will take about four days) and for them to feel that they have issued you with the required number of complaints about said activity.
    2. Ignore said complaints or only deal with them by way of witty rejoinder. Never try to reason with your teens or state that contrary to their beliefs, your chosen activity will be fun, entertaining and memorable. Never show doubt or fear. Teens can sniff both a mile away.

    3.  During the lead up to the activity, eat and sleep well. You will need your strength.

    4. Invite your teens to research the place or activity beforehand and to suggest any things they might like to do. They will ignore this opportunity, but it is important that you issue the invitation.

    5. Subtly remind your teens to arrange or rearrange their schedules so that you have the required time available for the chosen activity. The key here is subtlety – you wouldn’t want them to miss anything really important to them, would you?

    6. Sporadically drop into conversation some of the detail of the activity you plan, but do not respond to the complaints or if you do, use only the strategy in B above. Teens do not like complete surprises.

    7. Issue the one week to go early warning signal. For details, see A above.

    8. Reassure your teens that any hotel or place where you will stay has electricity and a WIFI connection. Trust me, you can’t fight this one. It’s better to go with it and make sure you spend time away from the hotel or place.

    9. Have your teens pack their clothes etc. But do a quick check before you leave or you might end up with two T-shirts, three gadget chargers and one pair of boxers for a five day stay in winter! Have said teen take any necessary remedial packing action.

    10. Keep up the good cheer, positivity and unflinching witty rejoinders… you’re almost there!

    11. Pack any personal provisions you need to see you through the “Cacophony Of Complaints”. This is the first hour after you embark on your chosen activity where your teens will escalate their complaints to a crescendo and eventually come to realise there is no turning back. It is critical at this point you adhere to point B  above and also that you drop a few fart jokes (as opposed to actual farts) here and there. Deflection/distraction –  works for teens as well as it does for toddlers, only the level of (non) sophistication changes.  As for provisions, I suggest, as a minimum, an I-Pod, chocolate, chewing gum, reviews and info on the latest teen movies, games and bands and a water pistol.

    12. Playfully engage with your teenagers for the next couple of hours, humorously lamenting with them about how much being away from their usual routine does actually suck. Reminding them about world poverty at this point is not a good tactic, although reminding them about similar suckiness their mates had to endure at the hands of their parents seems to work.

    13. Herding completed. You are now free to go about the business of making happy family memories.

Image from

There it is, the thirteen steps to herding success from the Mo Code.  Successful herding will give you immense satisfaction and wonderful anecdotes.  Trust me, I know…I’m a professional.

Have you ever had to convince a less than supportive group to come along with you somewhere? Do you have any great herding stories? Any refinements to my extract from the Mo Code?

Does Your Kitchen Suck?

Actually, my kitchen doesn’t suck all that much except for that long agonising pause between the menfolk creating culinary magic and cleaning up the utensil carnage that follows.  Its the time when our family kitchen becomes the dreaded black hole, sucking up all the household manpower to return it to it’s natural state.

“My Kitchen Sucks” is the name given by my early teen son to a current television show airing here called “My Kitchen Rules” or “MKR” for short. MKR is ostensibly a cooking show in which teams of two fight it out in various tests and challenges to display their culinary skills. Every so often two teams have to take part in a sudden death cook-off in which one of the teams is eliminated. At those times, the show gets very intense, even more intense than some of the dishes that are created.  MKR has been airing four nights a week for the past month or so and its ratings are soaring.

For all sort of reasons, MKR is riveting.  The factors pulling me in to watch it night after night are, in order:

  • the mix of personalities appearing on the show
  • the incredibly hot French accent of Manu Fieldel, a French chef and judge on the show
  • the interaction of the said personalities both within teams and between teams
  • Manu’s French accent
  • the tactics  and brown-nosing to which some contestants resort to stay in the game
  • then there is of course, Manu’s French accent
  • the food
  • did I mention Manu’s French accent?

In short, the show is a fascinating study in human and not so human behaviour.  I generally don’t watch much television, so the fact that I religiously make an effort to watch MKR four times a week is eye opening!

Our family has taken to watching the show together, because it airs in prime time. When I say watching the show, I mean that all family members are in the one room and look to be facing the operating television set.  I am assured by the teenage members of my household that having a computer screen and a keyboard between them and the television screen only enhances their concentration and enjoyment of watching the show.

My Kitchen Rules

My Kitchen Rules (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the minutes before the show commences, the family gathers and assumes their positions. Its at this time the teenagers start their cacophony of complaints which I am tempted to set to music – it’s just so lyrical. “Are you really going to watch My Kitchen Sucks, again?”, “You don’t understand, NO-ONE at school watches it” and the ever present “Can’t we watch something else?” To which I dutifully respond “ Yes”, ”hmmm” and “no”.

Recently, I unexpectedly had to spend a night away from home. I thought this would provide much needed relief to my long suffering teens by presenting the opportunity for an MKR-free zone.  The circumstances were such that I could still watch the show that night and as I did I wondered what the teens would be instead watching during their emancipation. The show ended at 8.30pm. By 8.35pm, I had a text from my eldest teen “Mum, T and C got eliminated from MKR…. did you watch it?” The irony in those few words and the timing were delicious.

And my take away (no pun intended) from this incident?  First, opportunities for bonding arise in the most unexpected and sweetest of ways and second, I never met a French accent I didn’t like.

Bon Apettit  dear readers!