They Fuck You Up

I bought Oliver James’s Book They Fuck You Up as a resource that I would hope comfort me during this parenting gig that was thrust upon me with no notice.

Neither of my boys were planned. I had no interest in becoming a mother in my late 20’s as I was too busy trying to be important at work. Since the birth of my last, I have been a CONTRACEPTIVE NINJA.

Turns out Oliver’s Book is about how your parents fuck you up! And about how you raise your kids in the first six years determines the sort of person they grow up to be. I read it when my youngest was 6. (insert line about horse, gate and bolting here)

It includes tips and hints on how to raise lovely people, and teaches you to look back on your own childhood.

I had a happy childhood. My parents separated when I was 6 and Mum raised us well. I wanted a horse and wanted to go to Pony Club, as did my sister so Mum spent ever second Sunday pleading with 2 obstinate ponies to get onto a horse float, by herself.

I doubt I would do that. I had to talk both of my kids out of joining band because the commitment on my behalf would be too great.

She raised 3 kids, ferrying us to plenty of activities all the while running her own small business and trying to have a snippet of a social life. I have sweet memories of her and her mates sitting on the front verandah of a Friday night, drinking Lindeman’s Boxed Riesling while we all ran amok.

Mum did a great job and I am forever thankful to her. It is a special type of woman who can handle this parenting gig on their own.

But as much as I look at the ways that I might have already fucked up my kids, in return, they have done their fair share as well.

Take the past few days…..

  • Someone slept walked into my bedroom and mistook the corner for the latrine in the middle of the night. 
  • Someone cracked the password to the iTunes account and tallied up $680.00 worth of Littlest Petshop Apps.
  • Someone shoved all the clean and folded washing under their bed. (I used to do this, so this is hereditary.)
  • Someone’s dobbing has gotten so far out of control that they now have to give me $1 from their piggy bank before they are allowed to spew forth their accusations. 
  • Someone has decided that they are too old for public displays of affection.
  • Someone said something under their breath one time too many, causing me to completely lose my shit.
A few minutes after Harry entered the world, my oldest sister Mrs Ryan said something that will stay with me forever.

“This is the single most best and worst thing you have ever done..”


At the time I remember being horrified but as the years flew past, I started to see her point. It is fucking hard.

And they fuck you up.

But there is a fair chance you are reciprocating. Once you make peace with that fact then you can move forward and raise your kids  without as much guilt.

Better still replace the guilt with extra love and know that you are doing a great job, fuck ups or not.

Do you ever wonder if you are fucking up your kids?
Does it worry you?
How was your childhood?

This post is dedicated to all the kick-ass solo parents.