1. There is no situation that could not be improved by the involvement of a hot water bottle. A long car journey, a late evening trip to the movies, a stomach ache that just won’t quit – my mum’s got an HWB for every occasion.
2. A handbag should enable you to address any need that you, your friends, family or casual passers-by could identify. Got a headache? Worry not, she’s got her pouch of tablets. Need to freshen up? Well, would you like a Tic Tac or a Polo? Fancy a snack? Well, sure, but not before you’ve had a wash. You can choose between either hand sanitiser or wipes, which are stored in the specially purchased cleaning products purse. Turn your nose up if you like but if you want to eat you’re going to have to WASH THOSE HANDS.
3. When I’m not wearing mascara, I look unwell. If I had a pound for every time mum’s asked me “Are you ill or have you just not put your make up on yet?” then maybe I’d be able to afford to have my eyelashes permanently tinted and save us all a lot of trouble.
4. She may not always be able to hear what I’m saying to her when we’re sat next to each other, but she can hear me opening the fridge door from ANYWHERE.
5. Related: when we went to Japan last year, I bought my mum a small battery operated walrus that goes in the fridge and shouts something in Japanese every time the door is opened (presumably “Remember to close the fridge door!” or “That cheese has got to last all week, you know!”) It’s true, there really is such a thing as a perfect gift.
6. Greetings card occasions can creep up on you. But that isn’t a problem in our house, oh no. My mum has a special file that she keeps permanently topped up with all available types of cards to ensure that all possible greetings needs are met. Whether your friends have just had triplets or your neighbour is celebrating the completion of a new conservatory, my mum has got the card for you. She’s even offered to source cards for herself on a number of occasions but we have to draw the line somewhere.
7. Hands down, nobody’s washing smells better. Nobody’s.
8. Related: it might say ‘hand wash only’ on the label, but the exception to that rule is ‘mum wash’. I don’t know how she does it; I just know that I have so much confidence in her washing abilities that I’m pretty sure that even I would survive a spin in her machine.
9. Yogurts with the best sell-by date are always at the back of the shelf in the supermarket. Some things are worth getting a cold arm for.
10. That if my mum, my auntie and I are in the same room, the odds of being called by the correct name are extremely low.
11. That, no, I don’t need to leave the water running whilst I clean my teeth and, yes, I do care a lot more about wasting money now that I am responsible for the bills.
12. On a cold day, if one must leave the house, one should do so in jeans with tights underneath. No bug in no rug has ever felt so snug.
13. Come hell or high water, this woman will get her five-a-day. My mum can eat kiwis in a moving vehicle, apples in bed and bananas whilst cleaning the bathroom. Nothing gets between my mum and her fruit.
14. Little treats are the best. If my mum knows you like something, whether it’s a particular type of sweets or a brand of chocolate or, in my husband’s case, as much fudge as you can possible get your hands on, she will make sure she sends you off with some every time you see her. My treats bag also often includes a box of dishwasher tablets, which makes me happier than it probably should.
15. Receiving a hand written note from someone you love is one of the best things in the world. When I was at school on my birthday, my mum would slip a little note in my lunchbox to say ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ even though she’d obviously already said it to me that morning. I’d look forward to it every year. Similarly, if she ever left us alone in the house during the school holidays, she’d leave a note in the kitchen saying ‘Lunch in fridge please don’t make mess love mum x’ which I also enjoyed.
16. That the greatest thing you can do for another person is to never let them doubt for a single second that they are loved. I can only hope to nail this skill as well as she has.