Ricky Gervais and Mother’s Ruin.

Lockdown is certainly making us adapt to new ways of existence. Parenting by telephone seems the most obvious topic of my discussion…

“Mum, you are posting way too much on Facebook. Remember less is more!”

Wise words from my daughter. I am so used to Hattie and Louis parenting me in person, now that it has to happen over the telephone is really challenging. I miss them both so much and cannot wait until I can hug them again.

So, whilst I’m coming to terms with this new ‘normal’, I’m also having to adapt to this new process with my mum. Parenting her by telephone is virtually impossible! For the last five years, she has been difficult to parent in person, however, it is even more problematic now I have to do it at a distance. On Friday, she phoned me to say that she had been down to town. Down to town?! During a bloody lockdown? Bloody marvellous! It is fair to say that I lost my rag. (She was clever to tell me after the event). It was definitely a premeditated rebellion because when she phoned to tell me, she started with, “Soph, I know you’ll be cross……” Cross was an understatement! What was so important that she couldn’t wait for my daughter or my husband to run an errand for her? She apparently needed ten stamps, this month’s prescription and some cards for birthdays in May. Now she has done it once, I just know she will do it again. I have my sources, of which I am really grateful, so I know that she went into at least four shops. That bloody woman! I know it wasn’t just stamps she was buying. I can put money on the fact that she came home with some chewing gum and dog biscuits for a dog she does not even have!

Shock tactics are the only way to deal with my mum’s dementia at times. She is so rebellious and determined. After the trip to town revelation, I knew the only way to stop her doing it again was to scare her. Telling Mum that she could die if she got COVID-19 was not an easy discussion. It was met with, “Soph, stop worrying, you’re being ridiculous!” My mum is driving me to alcohol! I quickly changed tack and told her that she could receive a fixed penalty for breaking the rules…”Can you defend me, Soph, if that happens?” Bloody give me strength woman!

My mum used to say that raising me made her unshockable… How the tides have turned! It takes me back to when I got my first tattoo. Hoping that Mum would hate it, she told me it was, “actually rather artistic!” That was not the response I was hoping for! It certainly now feels like I am parenting a seventy-nine year old teenager.

Dad is constantly in my thoughts. I know that I am missing vital time with him. The staff at his nursing home are just incredible. After a Skype call to Dad the other day, a member of staff then asked me how I was and gave time to listen to how difficult it was for me to see him on a screen. The staff are dealing with cases of COVID-19 and their residents’ dementia, yet still ask how a family member is, following a call to a relative. I am in awe of this home and its magic, I feel so grateful to have Dad there. Unbelievably grateful.

Ricky Gervais has always been someone I have admired. His scriptwriting is so unique. Watching the new series of ‘After Life’ has had me crying, laughing and then crying some more. He successfully marries pathos with comedy to create compelling viewing. As I sit and watch it with my hubby, I often wonder if it’s a little too close to home. When he goes to visit his dad, I’m just sat in a state of reflection and tears. However, I continue to watch as I know that Ricky Gervais is helping many of us deal with the inevitable.

Right, need to wrap this blog up. Where there’s life, there’s humour. Mum is constantly talking about her Marmite on crackers and how it helps control her type 2 diabetes! The other day I asked her if she’d had her Marmite on crackers?…

“Soph, what is your obsession with Marmite? You’re always talking about it!”

Am I really, Mum, am I really?!



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