Mums forever and a place to rest

Some lovely thoughts on being a mum long term and the need to rest from guest poster and freelance journalist Deborah Dooley who blogs at  

Deborah runs mummy me time retreats which state that they provide  as much chocolate as you possibly need! (sounds VERY good to me!) Over to Deborah…


One of the great tragedies of parenting is that just when you’re getting really good at it you don’t need to do it any more. By the time my three children, now 20, 22 and 29 (surely there must be some kind of terrible mistake – how can I be old enough to have a child of nearly 30?), were ready to fly the nest, I was fairly adept at this mothering lark. And then suddenly, my nurturing skills, refined by years of parenting practice, were virtually redundant. I say virtually because contrary to what is oft supposed by mums with tots, children do not magically become independent when they reach 18 or 21 or whatever your definition of an adult is. What actually happens is that sometimes propelled by times of crisis, and also by times of great happiness, the chicks frequently return to the nest and the mummy hen. (Who in my case is clucking happily, wings ready to enfold and accommodate.) This to my mind, is exactly as it should be. And the other thing is that no matter how old your children are, the parental urge to love and protect remains constant, and their pain is always your pain.

Deborah Dooley - mummy me time

I did however discover an alternative way of channelling said nurturing skills– into the creation of a retreat, in our family home which, following the chicks’ flight, now boasts several spare bedrooms. Retreats for you, as we named our retreat, is a place that provides space, comfort and support, for writers and anyone who needs a bit of TLC – and especially mums. Mummy Me Time, a rather special type of retreat, (the brain child of my lovely daughter, Flo) is all about mummying the mummies, and it seems to work very well.

I’ve always adored being a mum. From the word go, I loved everything about the whole chaotic, giggling, messy, exhausting business. I found spending time with my young children hugely entertaining and amusing, and my most treasured memories are of summer days spent picnicking, chilly winter afternoons snuggling on the sofa by the fire, and those wonderful just after story and just before sleep moments when children come out with unforgettable comments.

‘You sex mummy up at night,’ remarked four year old Charlie one evening, as Bob tucked him into bed. His startled father tried to formulate a suitable reply, but none was needed. Charlie gazed at him sleepily but knowingly. ‘My friend George told me,’ he said firmly, and closed his eyes.

Retreats for you



  1. Sarah Wheatley
    July 14, 2010 / 12:43 pm

    What a a wonderful theme & so true! Funny ending too – made me giggle x

  2. Becky
    July 14, 2010 / 12:44 pm

    I know – the things kids say!

  3. July 15, 2010 / 11:53 am

    Love the opening of this – the fact that just when you get good at mothering you don’t need to do it any more! Know the feeling and it’s good to hear from a longer term mum still in love with being a mum! It’s not often you get to hear from them!

  4. July 15, 2010 / 11:53 pm

    What a fantastic idea. I had a similar experience on weekend away last year, where for once I wasn’t the ‘mummy’ and could be just me for a while. We went into a cafe, and one lady who has five grown-up children went and found out what they had on offer, got the pen and paper out, took all our orders and sorted them out. All I had to do was sit back, drink and eat chocolate cake. Wow.

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