what not to write

I haven’t quite finished writing how i got here part 2 yet – but, when I eventually do, it will show you the bizarre path which led me to my position as the editor of a parenting magazine in a regional area. But let’s just say that the road to this desk has been paved with rejections, as well as lots of writing about what it means to be a parent.

As a Web Child blogger for almost 18 months I had to pull something out of my hat on deadline every week – and it ALWAYS had to be about parenting. Never was I allowed to post about random stuff – the great refuge that is available to other bloggers. And many weeks it was as torturous as trying to strap a tantrum-chucking toddler into a car seat. In my time I wrote posts of varying degrees of mundanity. Very occasionally I would write something that I thought wasn’t half bad – some of these latter ones will make their way to this blog.

Nowadays, as part of my job, I also read lots of other stuff about parenting. Some of it is fantabulous (and my blogroll contains a few writers who tickle my fancy) and some of it is, well, not.

Last week I may have written one of those pieces myself. I wrote an article which I tweeted about ad nauseum titled In Defence of Helicopter Parents. I submitted it to another publication, to an editor who shall only be known as Big Ed. Big Ed sent it back to me with the gentlest of emails which, despite his best intentions was still a rejection. I was left to ponder two possibilities – either helicopter parenting is actually indefensible or… I can’t write. As a long time debater and wannabe lawyer I believe nearly all positions are defensible. Which left only one option.

Smarting from the sting of rejection I determined that I would blow Big Ed’s socks off. I wanted to write a great piece but found that all I could muster was a string of hackneyed and unoriginal sentiments. I had lost my writing mojo. I  decided that, if I couldn’t write something good I would at least prove that I knew what not-so-good writing was. I called out to my tweeps for the biggest parenting cliches and set to work. The result is below.

Turns out that writing this piece was incredibly liberating – it allowed me to specifically pinpoint what I don’t want to write. I took my red pen immediately to the ‘serious’ article I was working on and it benefited enormously. I’m going to pin it to my wall as a reminder of what not to write.

And, if you feel bad because you have ever thought/written about any of these things just remember that cliches only become cliches because they are usually so incredibly true. It’s just that, as writers it is beholden on us to find ways around them.

Also feel comforted by the fact that most of the cliches here I have used in the past – and probably will use again. But please call me out if you catch me cliche-ing around my blog.

(btw: grammar, punctuation and spelling are incredibly important to me. Exclamation points should be used with caution. None of this applies to Twitter)

Motherhood – The Greatest Gift of All

As a mum, I have found that parenting is the hardest job in the world, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Another thing I have learned is that education is one of the most impotent things for a child, which is why I was so excited when my daughter started school last year.

I was worried that she might be upset but on her first day it was mummy who needed tissues as I watched my little one skip happily off to her teacher without looking back. It made me think back to the day she was born and how happy I was. While my body had changed I was amazed by what it could do – I now wear my stretch marks proudly as the scars of what I went through to create my child.

I wanted to be a part of my daughter’s school life so I volunteered to do reading with her class. I was amazed at how advanced she was compared with her class mates. This let me know that all the work I had done with the Baby Einstein and flash cards was definitely worth it. It’s hard being a stay at home mum but watching my child advance to the next stage on the readers before anyone else made it all worthwhile.

My husband agrees that we have made the right choice for me to stay-at-home. ‘We are her first teacher’s’ he said one night as we laid in bed, worrying about our daughter. I agreed and looked into his eyes and saw my daughters eye’s looking back at me. I imagined the day he would walk her down the isle and knew that there would be tear’s that day too. As we spooned that night I thanked my lucky stars that I had found such a good man, a hands on-dad and my best-friend as well.

I agree wholeheartedly with my husband about being our daughters first teacher’s but lately I have started wondering if really, its kid’s who teach their parent’s. One day after school my daughter came home and asked, “Mummy, why is the sky blue?” I looked at her in dis-belief. “Youve been here before,” I thought, to myself. And each day their came a different question, “Do cats laugh?”, “Can puppies smile?” “Where do babies come from?” I was amazed at the way this little one’s brain was developing at such a speed and the uniqueness of her myriad of questions. Children help keep you young and listening to her questions made me realise that.

Of course we believe that education is not just about school so our daughter takes ballet and art classes along with her swimming lessons. One day – after watching Dora the Explorer on TV – she said “Hola Mummy.” I nearly dropped the baking tray full of biscuits I was holding – and knew then and there we had to enroll her in Spanish classes. I believe in giving kids every chance to reach their full potential.

And yes, life is busy for us, and ok so my husband has had to work back a lot lately and there have been a lot of hang-up calls (which, funnily enough, only I seem to get) but, at the end of the day when I look at my childs’ sleeping face I know that nothing else matters and my life will never be the same because it’s all worth it!!

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5 Comments

Filed under parenting, twitter, writing

5 responses to “what not to write

  1. Priscilla

    Well that made me feel nauseated. You’re a great teacher Jayne, I’m learning.

  2. Still giggling!!!!! hehehe
    I loved ‘I nearly dropped the baking tray full of biscuits I was holding’ that was a clincher for me.
    I think this is the first time I’ve read your blog. Most enjoyable indeedy.

  3. Well, that was just terr-if-ic!!!!

    Cliched? Really? I didn’t notice.

    Anyway, I’m off to kiss my angels goodnight. No doubt they are dreaming of ways to change the world some day and solve world hunger.

    Yes. The sacrifices are worth it. Indeedy-do!!!!

  4. Pingback: the best pr in town « the best of all possible worlds

  5. ha! cracked me up. Totally grouse 🙂

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