A response to ‘A letter to my ten year old son’

Published October 24, 2015 by joannabolouri

So, the Guardian published a letter written by a mum to her ten year old son. It seems that the son is acting up and she wants to explain why he should respect her because of all the awesome things she has done for him. It is however, the most passive-aggressive thing, I’ve ever read. I decided to make some changes.


This morning we fell out because I asked you to tidy up after yourself and you spoke to me in a very rude and aggressive manner. When I said that you couldn’t speak to me that way because I am your mother, you seemed to feel I didn’t really deserve your respect. It hit me that perhaps you aren’t aware why you should show your mother respect. So I thought I’d take the time to explain.

This morning I asked you to tidy up after yourself and you spoke to me like I’d just farted directly into your earhole.  As I am your mother, let me explain why you shouldn’t speak to me like a dickhead.

I carried you for 42 weeks. You were late. I had contractions every day for a week. I didn’t sleep for the last three months and felt violently ill for the first three months. In between I just got fat and lost any chance of looking good in a bikini again.

I basically carried you for an entire year and now all I have to show for it is a fucked up figure and a pile of bikinis I occasionally try on while silently cursing you.

You stayed in longer than normal because of FUCKING BIOLOGY.

I didn’t mind because I’d have you.

I’m not a terrible mother.

I went through labour without pain relief because I wanted you to come out as naturally as possible – for your benefit. When you were born, I asked for the midwife to leave your umbilical cord attached to me for as long as possible so that you could get all of the precious stem cells that travel along it.

I could have had gas and air, meth, a c-section, and then thrown you to the wolves but I didn’t.

It was uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind because I wanted you healthy.

You’re alive because of me. Remember that.

I left hospital the same day because your brother was at home and he needed me to look after him too. I then entered a phase all new parents know – months of very little sleep. Every time you cried in the night, I would get up and feed you from breasts that felt like they were going to explode and with sharp, shooting pains as you suckled.

I had to look after two children and that really wasn’t fair on me. Then I had to feed you via my nipples and it fucking hurt. I GAVE UP SLEEP AND EVERYTHING.

I didn’t mind because I knew breastfeeding was better for you.

I could have used bottles you little shit but I didn’t.

When you were three weeks old, you and I spent a week in the high dependency unit because you had an unexplained virus. I had to listen to you scream as they did a lumbar puncture and watched as you lay there weak and pale and tiny, not daring to sleep in case something happened to you.

You fell ill but somehow I still managed to make it about me.

You recovered and grew. In each phase of your life, I helped you. I helped you learn to sit and walk and eat solid food. I spent hours making homemade purees because I thought they would be best for you. I cleaned the floors when you chucked them away. I taught you how to use a potty and then a toilet (a fun job) and spent years washing trousers that you decided to pee in regardless.


I didn’t mind because I was watching you grow.

I had to do this or social services would have got involved.

I’d cut up your spelling sheets and hide the words around the house to make spelling more fun. I listened to you play guitar (and nag you to play it) even though I have a million other things to be getting on with. I try to help when it’s exam time by encouraging you to revise and offering to quiz you. I help you set goals and try to help you understand what you can do if things aren’t going right, even though you can lose your temper with me as a result.

Sometimes being a parent is really fucking boring. I had better things to do (approximately 1 million) than listen to you play that fucking guitar and help you with your homework.

I don’t mind because I want you to get a good education and develop an ability to solve problems.

I did mind. I fucking hate maths.

I have had daily arguments with you about cleaning your teeth, eating your vegetables, nice table manners, picking up after yourself, having a reasonable bedtime and being kind to your brother. I have set rules about age-inappropriate games and films, cut your screen time and regularly drag you outdoors even though you’re fighting me every step of the way and it would be easier for me to give in.

Sometimes you didn’t do what you were told and wanted to be a prick to your brother.  I gave you boundaries and you acted like a fucking child about it.

I don’t mind because I want you to grow into a healthy, decent human being.

I don’t want to visit you in jail.

I have spent almost every Sunday of the last seven years standing on the side of a football or rugby pitch, supporting you and your brother as you play the sports you love.

You ruined Sunday.

I don’t mind because I want you to have the opportunities to find your thing.

Pick something indoors and solitary next time.

I gave up working full-time in a career that could pay me treble what I currently earn, so that I could be there for you after school and during holidays, even though during those times you don’t want to be with me. It has been very difficult and lonely setting up and running a business while looking after children, and you sometimes get angry with me for working.

I don’t mind because it means I’ve been there for you.

I could have been loaded and spending those holidays somewhere warm –  IN A FUCKING BIKINI.

I have done these things, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for 10 years. A lot of it is very, very tedious, repetitive and dull.

I didn’t sign up for this shit.

I don’t mind because I made you – I wanted you and now I want the best for you.

And my Sundays back.

I don’t expect or want you to feel in any way guilty about all I have done for you. I have had the privilege and joy of having you as my son. That is my payment. I just want you to know that everything I do, I do with your best interests at heart.

You have at least another eight years with me, Sunshine. Think on.

So when I ask you not to speak to me in a certain way and to show me some respect, this is why. It’s not what I’ve done for you. It’s what I want for you that is deserving of respect. Never forget that.

I put food on the fucking table and I haven’t killed you or anyone else yet. Be thankful.

I love you.

Mum x




2 comments on “A response to ‘A letter to my ten year old son’

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