An Open Letter To My Son

Pen
This picture really doesn’t add anything does it?

Every now and then there is a spate of open letters in the media and at the moment it seems if we’re not writing to Jeremy Hunt we’re writing to our kids. It’s not like Jeremy Hunt will ever read his, you can’t appeal to someone’s better side if they don’t have one, but as I’m not a junior doctor and I don’t really know any (unless you count a four-year-old in fancy dress), I’ve decided I’m going to pen one of the open letter to your kids sort, because I haven’t done one before and I think it’s what good mothers are meant to do nowadays. I’m a terrible mum, I don’t blog about my kids half as much as I used to. Sure, they are just in the other room, and I could just go through and speak to them, but I don’t want to cut out the middle man, especially if the middle man is hundreds of potential anonymous readers.

My inspiration is a couple of open letters to kids which have dominated social media recently. The first is the passive aggressive, ‘Letter to my 10-year-old son’, from a poor mum who probably just wanted to highlight how the role of mothers is often taken for granted, but ended up sounding like she just wanted her pelvic floor back. The second is Caitlin Moran’s funny, charming advice to her daughter in case she (Moran) dies prematurely. In both cases, but for different reasons, I do hope the kids in question don’t actually read their letters. So here we go, half heartfelt-advice and half passive-aggressive bitterness. Here’s a fun game- see if you can spot the difference.

Dear Son

  1. Care about other people – You don’t have to dedicate your life to charity work, or tirelessly campaign for the poor and weak. Just don’t throw litter, don’t cheat or lie, pay your taxes and try to do the decent thing. It matters if someone suffers from your actions even if that someone isn’t directly related to you.

  2. Tidy your room. Do you think I went through the pain of childbirth to pick up your socks?

  3. Don’t confuse manners with deference. Always try to be polite, but remember that regardless of how senior someone is, or what they’ve achieved, no one earns the right to be a twat.

  4. However when you forget to say thank you to me, remember that I surrendered my pert breasts and nice bras to suckle your ungrateful little face.

  5. Genuine facts are rare. If someone says to you ‘It’s a fact that….’ they are almost always going to follow it up with some subjective opinionated bullshit. And that’s a fact. Also if you turn out to be the sort of person who approaches conversations as competitions rather than experiences then stay away from social media, and also conversations.

  6. If you don’t want me to rip open my shirt and rub your face in my caesarean scar in front of all your friends, then answer me when I’m talking to you.

  7. Perfect is boring. Perfect is not a target.

  8. Given that I gave up my career to stay at home and take care of you, the least you can do is eat your f*cking peas.

  9. Grow Stuff – whether it’s an allotment or a window box. There’s some commitment and a bit of responsibility, but you’ll get far more out of it than you put in.

  10. Remember that every time you dump your dirty football kit on the floor, it just reminds me that stretch marks don’t wash out.

  11. Don’t risk your health or wellbeing to impress others. When mates encourage you to get so drunk you’re sick, drag you into a fight or harass you into accepting a dare they aren’t doing it to give you the opportunity to prove you’re a legend. They are doing it to show off that they can make this idiot do anything. Also girls who are attracted to bad boys are always an absolute nightmare. Be nice and happy and safe.

  12. The reason I nag you to do your homework is because I love you and I want you to do well. Otherwise all my hard work and sacrifice will have meant nothing and that will be your fault, AND my fault. But mostly your fault.

  13.  Don’t try to be a victim when you’re not. You are a white, middle class, male born in a first world country. 99% of the time, you’re fine.

Love Mum

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