I want to tell you a story about my Mum.

**trigger warning: parental death**

She was the most amazing woman. We were the house that everyone would gather in. Our tiny house, smaller than the not very big house I live in now. It would be full of people coming for dinner, staying for a few weeks if they were in need. And trust me they weren’t coming for her cooking. I have strong memories of gagging on her chewy beef casseroles, or eating Findus crispy pancakes slightly burnt. They really came for the welcoming nature she created in our house, for her love of a good gossip and the way she encouraged everyone to make themselves at home.

“Would you like a drink? The fridge is here, help yourself.’

My friends loved to ask her the sex questions they couldn’t ask their own mums, “Alison, can you really get thrush in your mouth?’. I guess this is not strictly a sex question but I’m pretty sure my friend Vicky thought it was when she asked it.

I loved to spend time with my mum as a teenager. I’d often forgo a sleepover in favour of hanging out with her in front of the TV. Having deep conversations, during which she would tell me that I was too intelligent for her, that her lack of education meant she couldn’t keep up with me. She may not have been as educated as me, but I have no doubt she was absolutely as intelligent.

What did my mum think of herself? Did she see the wonder everyone else did? Did she find a job or a life that lit her up?

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Ray Dodd
The stories we tell...

I’ve spent the afternoon trying but failing to be effective. I’ve been trying to write a blog post, I’ve flitted from subject to subject trying to find inspiration and each time I’ve come up dry. I’ve written and deleted about 5 different paragraphs. Topics from body confidence, mum guilt, and expectations of ourselves have all come and gone from my brain to my fingers only to be erased. I’ve been for a walk to try and find inspiration, I've spoken a blog into my phone only to listen back to it on my return and decided it wasn't right. But each time I’ve not found it. I’ve been left still looking.

The result? In my frustration I started to tell myself a story. That I had not been effective today. That I hadn’t got anything done in my child free time. The panic started to rise. I’m busy tomorrow and the next day, when will I be child free again to write a post? It could be days. What a waste of those oh so holy of things, a day to myself.

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Ray Dodd