Mom Wisdom from "Tom Kitten"
Beatrix Potter’s “Tom Kitten” is almost a manual on how moms can be their own worst enemy and, sometimes, just set themselves up for frustration. Here are the seven things I learnt about this in the pages of this delightful book, which is just as fun today as when it was written.


Here are the seven truisms that jumped out at me about my own parenting.


Kids will play when left to their own devices – and it’s always messy

The first thing that hit me squarely between the eyes was the lesson from the three small kittens happily playing on the step. Left to their own devices, children will play together and entertain themselves. But – and it is a big but – there is always some mess involved. In this case, the kittens were playing in the dust.


Me, I’ll take that for a good outcome. It beats finger paint or mud hands down.



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 We all wish to show our “perfect life” to our friends

So Mrs Tabitha Twitchit took her children inside, scrubbed them up and dressed them in the most preposterous and uncomfortable clothes. Yes clothes – for kittens.


But before you shake your head in disbelief, ask yourself if you do any differently. I know for myself that I don’t dress my daughter up in pinafores, but I do like her to be clean and look nice if we are having friends over.


Which, of course, is why we all try and curate our Facebook posts to show exactly the kind of life we wish we had, rather than the relentless reality of parenting….


Do you get your children out of the way while you finish your preparations?

Once her children are spotless and dressed, Mrs Tabitha Twitchit ushers them out the front door – to get them out of the way while she makes hot, buttered toast for her friends’ tea.

Are you shouting “no!” at the page. I wanted to, until I realized that I do this too. If I need to have some space and time alone to focus on what I’m doing, I send my children out or let them watch TV. Anything just to give me some peace and quiet – and sometimes I get a similar result.


I am often silly enough to ask my children to do something that is unlikely – like staying clean

I almost laughed out loud when Mommy cat instructs her children to stay clean. As if…until I realized that I often do this type of completely self-defeating thing too. I ask (or tell) my children to do something that is highly unlikely. Then I sit back and wonder how it all went so badly wrong.

Of course, it’s not always self-evident, because sometimes there is something (or someone) in the mix that complicates things.


There is always an unknown factor that will make things worse

In this case, it was the puddleducks and their attachment to the children’s now dirty and ruined hats and clothes. Did you laugh out loud at the thought of a duck putting on a kitten’s clothes?


I did.


Being cross with kids doing what kids do

The sixth thing that I related to in this book was the realization that Mrs Tabitha Twitchit’s anger (and don’t you love the “I am affronted”?) was perhaps misplaced. Perhaps her children could have stayed clean and dressed if they had really wanted to.


But they didn’t want to – they had been forced into this ludicrous position in the first place. And so the outcome was entirely predictable if she had just stopped and thought about what was most likely to happen. But she didn’t.


Lying to friends to hide the truth of badly behaved children

I smiled before I said “ouch” as I realized the last truism this book contains about my parenting. I sometimes lie to my friends (although I like to think they’re white lies) to hide my own shortcomings as a mom.


Yes of course I remembered to pack a spare outfit in my son’s school bag.

No I never let them watch “extra” TV.

My children always tidy up when they’ve finished playing with their toys.

Etc, etc, etc.


What about you? Do you see some of your own flaws in Mrs Tabitha Twitchit?


And if you would like to buy this book (whether for yourself or your child), here is a handy Amazon link to help you.