Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just Point Your Finger and Laugh

by Christine Wells

Lately, I've come to a conclusion that is both slightly depressing and rather freeing.

I am one of those mothers who make all the other mothers feel good.

I am the mother who arrives at school, wild-haired and sans makeup, carrying a rigid 3 year old who is still screaming because he didn't get into the car first; simultaneously trying to calm her anxious 7 year old because we're a little later than usual and he won't have the privilege of turning on the class computers.

I am the mother who forgets her camera on sports days and begs a friend to snap her child, who sends her son in uniform when it's one of those 'wear orange for an obscure cause' days. Who looks vague when people mention tuckshop, Parents and Friends' Association and slings a money at any fundraising initiative rather than commit to actually spending the time. Because she knows she'll either mess it up or forget entirely.

My name is Christine Wells and I am a writer on a deadline.

Not sure if you all have experienced something similar to the kind of haze that falls over a writer when she's in the writing zone, but it is an awesome and frightening thing. I can lose track of time, forget all but the most crucial responsibilities. When I'm in that phase where my creative brain seems to take up all the space in my head it is very hard to shift gears into Mommy mode.

Take Easter, for example. The note that told parents we had to make an Easter bonnet so that our children could participate in the junior school Easter parade didn't find its way home to me. I knew about the parade of course, but last year, the kids made their hats in school.

Arrived on the day before Good Friday (early because of those dang computers) and waited outside the classroom for the teacher. The horror when all those boys and girls started streaming up the stairs with their fancy hats on and here was my poor 7year old with not a feather, curly pipe cleaner or painted egg to his name.

"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME????" I wailed. My son looked at me with his gorgeous big eyes as if I'd run mad. "Oh, yeah," he said.

"Never fear," said I. "I'll go home now and make one." He shrugged a little. "OK."

That resulted in what has to be the fastest craft activity in the history of the universe. After raiding the local newsagent for supplies, I had an extravaganza of a hat ready and raced back to the school to deliver it. Then I went home and cried. Everyone knows this kind of thing scars a child for life!!


But when regaling the other mothers with my incompetence later in the day, I realized that I perform a very useful and important function in our little community. When someone else is mortified by some glaring omission they've made, all they have to do is look at me.

And then they feel better.

You might imagine, then, that it's with great relish that I write heroes and heroines who are far more competent than I could ever be. In SWEETEST LITTLE SIN, Lady Louisa Brooke is a crack shot and a keen horsewoman. When she's asked to spy for her country, she's unschooled and makes mistakes but she learns quickly and has bucketloads of courage, especially when protecting her loved ones.

Lady Louisa doesn't forget what time her secret assignations are or leave her pistol in her other reticule when the going gets dangerous. I bet she'd make a mean Easter bonnet, too.

The ruthless and dangerous Marquis of Jardine is frighteningly competent. He has uncanny omniscience and cunning, which makes it a challenge to deceive him, as Louisa is intent on doing. But he has one vulnerability, and that's his love for one steely-eyed blonde.

So here's my question to you, readers. Who are your favourite gutsy, competent heroes and heroines? Any funny motherhood stories to tell? C'mon, share the humiliation. At least you'll make everyone else feel better!

Last month, I offered a prize of Sweetest Little Sin, which will be delievered to the winner as soon as they reach my hot little hands! The winner is: Deb!!!!

This month, I'm doing something a little different. Louisa and Jardine first come onto the scene in an earlier book, THE DANGEROUS DUKE, so today I'm offering three signed copies of THE DANGEROUS DUKE to three lucky commenters. Be sure to let me know if you want a copy, as I know a lot of you have already read it. Good luck!


Virginia said...

Come to me my Golden one!

Christine Wells said...

Woohoo, Virginia got the bird! Congratulations!

Virginia said...

Your not a bad mother Christine! As far as the note getting home from school that's the boy in him! Boys don't care about those kinds of things hats and stuff is the least of their worries! My boy didn't want to bother with such things as that! Most of those things they made in school! In first grade the made stick horse's so they could run the KY Derby around the track in the park and yes I was the mother with no camera with me to take a photo of my son running his little paper horse around the track!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, thanks, Virginia! That does make me feel better. I'm always forgetting my camera. And I know what you mean about boys. The girls seem so much more switched on about these things! I find out most things that go on from the mother of one of the little girls in my son's class.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

Hi Christine,
I know you're not a terrible mom. I don't have any motherhood stories to share. Scully from The X-Files is one of my favorite heroines. She definitely competent and knows how to take care of herself and has saved her partner many times. Good luck with the deadline. I would love to win an autographed copy of The Dangerous Duke.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jane, thanks for reminding me of Scully. She was almost superhumanly competent, wasn't she? I didn't see too many episodes but I liked that she was the pragmatic one in that partnership! Thanks for commenting. I'll put you in the draw.

Helen said...

Well done Virginia have fun with him

What a great post don't you love it when the kids forget to bring a note home from school LOL and then the Mum looks bad for not getting what ever had to be done done.

I have turned up at lots of sports carnivals etc without my camera you are not the only one. As I am not a writer but an avid reader I have burnt dinner before and had to throw the pots away because I got caught up reading a book the house smelt of burnt food for days and my kids who were between the ages of 4 and 10 thought this was the best thing to happen because I had to send hubby out to buy fish and chips for dinner instead of the healthy dinner I was preparing LOL they still remeber that day and make comments about it.

I think that most of the heros and heroines that I have read have been really compentent although I do love to read about clumsy heroines (makes me feel normal LOL) at times where the hero saves the day LOL.

BTW I am soo looking forward to reading Sweetest Little Sin not long to go now and I have an autographed copy of the Dangerous Duke (fantastic book) so don't add me.

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

Hi Helen!!! So lovely to chat with you again. I've been sadly absent from the blog lately.

Oh, I had to nod in agreement at burning dinner because you've been wrapped up in a book. I'm lucky that my husband likes his dinner a little charred:)

I do hope you enjoy SWEETEST LITTLE SIN. I'm anxious about it because so many readers wanted Louisa and Jardine's story after THE DANGEROUS DUKE.

Deb said...

Ooh, thank you, Christine! I look forward to reading SLS! To what email should I send my address?

I can sometimes be "that kind of mother", too. Girl Scout cookies--yeah, who bought 25 boxes to give her kid an even 50? Point at me. (That doesn't compete with the mother who took her order to work and sold 400 boxes for her kid, which really isn't fair, IMO.

I have to make notes and post them everywhere except to my forehead. Did you know a little note pinned upside down on your shirt sometimes works? All you have to do is look down and read. I've done it, LOL!

I'm always the mother without a camera, too.

Barbara Monajem said...

LOL. I'm glad I didn't start writing seriously until my kids were grown up. I forgot to pick my daughter up once, and I didn't even have that excuse!

My heroines are always gutsier than I am, and they can always do things I can't. Hurray for vicarious competence!

Off the top of my hat.... hmm. One of my favorite gutsy heroines is in The Spymaster's Lady.

Laney4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laney4 said...

Excellent blog today. Have enjoyed reading all the comments.
Unfortunately, I am Fifty and Forgetful. My kids are in their early twenties now, so it was awhile back when these things occurred. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but I DO remember the awful feeling(s) I had. I remember feeling like the ground had just gobbled me up, my face turned bright bright red and I'm sure my blood pressure went way up, I felt faint, and I couldn't think straight. And it all occurred in the space of about five seconds after the realization. This happens way too often in my life, but I'm happy to report that it doesn't happen as often now that I and my kids are old. Whew! Lovely benefit, I guess....
Today I lose my keys, glasses, purse, shoes, etc. and hold up everyone until I find them, but I don't have the embarrassment, etc. Ahhh, life is grand!
OOPS! Here is an excellent example of my forgetfulness. I forgot to say I'd love to win your book, Christine!

Kirsten said...

Christine, you need to come hang out with me. I'll make you feel much much better!!

The biggest difference between you and me? I wouldn't have gone back home and made the Easter bonnet. I would have driven off to work and sobbed at my desk for a while. Then I would have blamed the child for not telling me. :-)

But you want speecifics...okay, a month or two ago, I walked the kids and the dog to school.

I walked back alone, happily typing away on my Blackberry.

Yep, I left the dog tied up outside at school. In the rain. (In my defense, it was only drizzling. I also fried my BB that morning by typing on it in the rain, but that's another story!) The dog barked and barked outside my daughter's classroom window until they sent her to go call me and pick him up.

Others? Oh man. It's a long list. But I'm off to catch a plane this morning, so I'll have to review all these horrors to myself on the long plane ride!

Renee said...

Oh, Christine! You just made my day. Not because you're a bad mother, but because I thought I was the only one (like that) out there. I wish I had the excuse of deadlines weighing in. I guess it might be a writer thing.

I'd love to win a copy.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have already read it of course but it isn't signed!

No, you are not a bad mother, you are mother stretched to the limits at times. I don't consider myself a bad mother and I have forgotten, was late for and completely spaced several things in my children's lifetimes. St. Patrick's day was a biggie for me, there be Irish in our blood and I forgot the St. Patrick's sock hop. Have you ever tried to color a pair of socks with green crayon???

Kirsten said...

Oh Dianna, that's fantastic! I can imagine that was a bit of a project! LOL.

Kirsten said...

BTW, I think this book will be Christine's best ever. I mean, how could it not, with Jardine and Louisa in it? :-)

Kirsten said...

Hi Christine,
I'm (sadly) not a mother but I don't think that forgetting stuff or "messing up" sometimes makes you a bad one. You're human after all & they say that raising children is the hardest job in the world so I doubt there are many perfect parents out there.

Heroines that I really liked and found gutsy are: Denise MacGregor from Jeaniene Frost's First drop of Crimson. & Georgie Escott from Elizabeth Boyle's One night of Passion.

I would love to read your book THE DANGEROUS DUKE!

jo robertson said...

Christine! Hilarious post and a great laugh for my foggy Sunday morning brain.

Congratulations, Virginia!

The no-camera part of your story really resonates with me, Christine. I'm still the person who NEVER remembers the camera, no matter how important the celebration is. Thank goodness my sons-in-law are much better at that sort of thing.

jo robertson said...

Helen, that's too funny that you get caught up in reading and burn dinner.

Christine, I can't wait for SLS to release, too. This story is super!

jo robertson said...

Deb, what a brilliant idea -- pinning the note upside down on your shirt! I never would've thought of that. Man, that really would've helped me 20 years ago LOL.

gamistress66 said...

You're a not a bad mom -- kids need ammo for teasing mom when they grow up, you're merely trying do your best to see they have a good selection to pick from. ;)

My fave hero/heroine is often from the book I just finished. I know, I'm fickle, but otherwise there is just too many to pick from.

Haven't read any of your books yet, but looking them up they sound like the type I'd enjoy. I'll be keeping a lookout at the store for your new one. Would love a chance to win a copy The Dangerous Duke.

Thanks for the smile today.

jo robertson said...

I have so many bad-mom moments they should be entered in the Book of Guiness.

The worst was losing my 4 year old daughter. Well, not losing her so much as leaving her behind at church.

We'd just moved to a new city and it was a brand-new church and, in my defense, there was a lot of stuff going on with 6 kids, ages 2 through 10. The church was about 20 miles from our house and afterward we drove home where I started preparing dinner when the doorbell rang.

When I opened it, there stood my 4 yo Kennan with a strange woman who lived in the cul-de-sac a few houses down. "Are you missing someone?" the woman asked snidely.

Holy sh*t!

The sad part was no one had noticed that Kennan wasn't among us until she showed up on our doorstep.

Poor Kennan, I don't know if she's quite forgiven me for that.

misskallie2000 said...

I will never forget the night I was putting my daughter in bed and she ask me when I was going to make the cupcakes? What cup cakes?
I have to take them to school tomorrow. Oh my gosh, NO. 8PM, live in country (72')no stores open all night..I was tempted to leave the house but my husband was in Thiland for 3 mos and I was the only adult. Darn it...Worked full day, bottle fed calfs, fed horses, etc. now cupcakes. Thankfully I had flour, eggs and sugar so I did get them baked and iced. That was the most horrid of my childrens oopsss.

I would love to win.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

denise said...

I would love to have a copy of your book.
I hate to admit it, but I have forgotten to pick my daughter up at preschool on more than one occasion.
Is that bad?

Louisa Cornell said...

Yay Virginia! The GR needs a whole flock of Mommy's to keep up with him!

Christine, thanks for the good laugh this morning. You poor thing! I am firmly convinced that children MAKE their Mommy a little nuts. Therefore any incompetence on the Mommy's part is strictly the kid's fault!

All of my children have four legs and fur, but that doesn't mean I don't get accused of being a bad dog or cat mommy at times. For the most part because my chihuahua, Frodo, is the worst dog on the planet and his feline brothers Tigger and Pooh come in a close second.

How many 12 pound dogs do you know who have been banned from numerous vet clinics for bad behavior? Frodo has bitten more vets and vet attendants than any dog I know. He really is horribly behaved. I sit in the waiting room with him as he growls and barks as if possessed at every living creature in the room - human, canine and feline. And all the while these other animal parents look at me as if to say "You are a terrible dog parent! Why can't you make him behave?"

Tigger and Pooh (weighing in at 17 and 19 pounds) once reduced two large,male, American football playing vet attendants to tears when they were asked to retrieve my two darlings from their cages at the vets after they had been neutered. (The cats, not the vet attendants.) I'm not certain what happened but I did hear cats hissing and yowling, women screaming, these two young men cursing and when they finally came out with my two babies in their carriers these two strapping me had tears in their eyes.

And don't get me started on my current vet's complaints about the abundant girth of my three male cats and my basset/beagle cross.

I loved the competence of Jessica in Lord of Scoundrels. The men in her life were a real challenge and yet she managed her brother and Dain with equal aplomb.

I already have my lovely copy of The Dangerous Duke which has been read and reread and I can't WAIT for this next one! I WOULD, however, love a signed coverflat of the next one to add to my collection. I have signed coverflats of both Scandal's Daughter and The Dangerous Duke hanging in my writing studio as inspiration!

catslady said...

After seeing some of those hats, it reminds me of science fairs. Everyone knows that the smartest fathers win arghh. I liked the idea of the kids making their own hats. At least it's a fair playing field for all.

I'm still getting grief from my 25 year old because I didn't let her sign up for some singing festival. In my defense my daughter hated singing, she wasn't taking it the next year like a lot, transportation for late night rehearsals was impossible and most of all, I didn't have a clue it was such a big deal. I will hear about it for the rest of my life roflmao.

Minna said...

Who are your favourite gutsy, competent heroes and heroines?
Well, Eve Dallas and Roarke sort of come to mind.

J. Karjalainen - Sankarit (Heroes)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Virginia, he likes you, methinks!

Christine, I kinda laughed and kinda winced at your post. Reminded me of that saying, if you can't be an example, be a warning. Which I definitely think is true of me! By the way, I've seen you in action and I think you're a WONDERFUL mother!!! Seriously!

Oh, competent heroes - you write some of the best. Still remember the Duke of Lyle suspending a cohort of the bad guy by his ankles over the heroine's balcony and still managing to have a witty and sexy conversation with Kate. Yum! My house is on one level so we'd have to dig a hole before that could happen but I still would love to see it! And Jardine and Louisa are so cool - they're like the Avengers!

Hmm, competent heroes. Well, of course there's Francis Crawford of Lymond who seemed to be able to do EVERYTHING! He was slightly superhuman. And there's the wonderful Sebastian St. Cyr from the C.S. Harris series. He has a syndrome that gives him super hearing and lets him see in the dark. And he's as smart as a whip. Love him! If ever anyone dumps a dead Regency prostitute on my (very low) doorstep, I want SSC on the case. Hmm, and perhaps I can then lock him in the garage until he forgets the women in his life and starts to think of MEEEEE!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, man, I'm loving the stories! Keep 'em up. I'm not a mother - no child would have been safe with me! I'm utterly absent minded and I tend to go off into my own little world. My children would have been playing in traffic!

Linda said...

Hi Christine-- You are not a bad mother!! Your story is similar to what just about every mother goes through at some point. I once woke up to my 8yr old son crying that the tooth fairy didn't show. I almost died right there--life gets too busy some times but I had a good story as to why and went with it. One thing about kids--they forget quickly!! I'm sure the Easter bonnet was great and special cuz it came when everyone else's had already been seen. I would love to win an autographed copy of the Dangerous Duke!! Love your work!!

asor yadla said...

my heroine for me is my mom. she's been a teacher for 45 years now, and still teaching though she can easily retire now and just enjoy life. she also taught us the value of reading. i love my mom! when i was a child, i used to get jealous of her students but now, whenever a former student approaches her and still remembers her and they would often tell my mom that she's their favorite teacher, it just warms my heart <3<3<3

sheila said...

Hi Christine- kids are crazy and they drive all us moms nuts. Sunday mornings were always bad- screaming at everyone to hurry up and eat, brush your teeth and hair, get dressed..everyone yelling at everyone else so we could get to Sunday School and church and look like the perfect family.
Please I want to win a book...please please????

Nikki said...

I am in the same boat, Christine! I'm always the mother with the screaming toddler who somehow got a hold of the pepper shaker in the two seconds I took my eyes off him and is now sneezing uncontrollably. Those perfectly coiffed mothers with well behaved children make me gag anyway :)

I lose myself in romance novels, especially historicals (because the heroines just seem more gutsy to me) so that I can live in the mind of a person I'd like to be for just a little while. I can see the faults in the characters and how they help and hurt and develop throughout the novel, if only I had such clear vision in real life!

My idol is Claire Fraser from the Outlander series (and not just because I lust after her big handsome Sottish husband!) just because she deals with everything the fates send her way and comes through with a clear sense of who she is and her place in the world, whether it's the 18th 20th century.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

*chorus from the crowd in the room of other writer/mothers* Hellllllooo, Christine! *from Sponsor* Just so you know, Christine, there is NO 12-step program for this problem. We just meet to keep each other relatively sane. Seriously. And remember sanity is relative at ALL times, and varies from writer/mom to writer/mom given the time of the school year to the approach of deadline. *winsome smile*

Grins. Can't you just see this support group, Christine? You and I could be the leaders. I'm ALWAYS forgetting this stuff, especially the "wear your favorite team jersey" day and "wear red to support healthy mom's day" and that tripe.

As you can tell, I'm also so fond of it. Snork.

I do remember the camera, most of the time, but all my oldest wants is me to BE there. He could give a fig about the hat, or the jersey or whatever. He's all chuffed right now because I'm doing Career Day tomorrow at his school and my slots "sold out" in short order. He thinks this is a high degree of cool.

It freaks me out, mostly. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Forgot to say, Congrats, Virginia!!! :>

Kim in Hawaii said...

Thanks for the humorous post! I certainly have a few motherhood stories! My mantra at my children’s schools is “I have more money than time; can I write you a check?” Actually, I am a full time domestic engineer (stay at home mom) so I do have the time. But the schools tend to have sufficient volunteers, so I give my time with other organizations on base that need help. My favorite place (with the least volunteers) is the thrift shops that are a staple of military bases. Sometimes I forget the time and arrive late at school for afternoon dismissal! And my children often complain that I have given away their favorite toy/shirt/book to the Thrift Shop (even if they have not touched it for a year). They also think I am the Wicked Witch when I ask them to volunteer on Furlough Fridays (Hawaii has closed schools for 17 days this year due to budget constraints). Then again, my children also think it’s a treat to buy something from the Thrift Shop that costs me significantly less than a retail store!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Helen, I LOL about burning dinner. I have done that when I was single, when I got married, and to this day. I've cooked while reading, gotten in the shower reading and nearly let the water run cold before putting the book down, and been honked at at stoplights and at Carpool because I was reading.

Yep. I get that whoooollle scenario! LOL. Go you, sister!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Barbara M said: My heroines are always gutsier than I am, and they can always do things I can't. Hurray for vicarious competence!

Yippeee! I agree, Barbara, hurray for vicarious competence. Hey, BTW, Barbara, great blog the other day. Very competent. Heehee. Seriously, a good day in the Lair with you as our guest.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Dianna said: Have you ever tried to color a pair of socks with green crayon???

Oh, my. Snork. No. Snork. Sorry. Snork.

Oh, the visual....Snork!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

GAMistress said: You're a not a bad mom -- kids need ammo for teasing mom when they grow up, you're merely trying do your best to see they have a good selection to pick from. ;)

Ohhhhh! What a lovely thought. You mean I've actually HELPED my children with this? Oh, goody. Since, like Christine and Kirsten, I have several incidents from which to choose, they'll be in good teasing form when they're older. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nikki said: Those perfectly coiffed mothers with well behaved children make me gag anyway :)

Snork. Nikki, I've decided they look perfect because they all have Nannies and their children will grow up to go into therapy because of it.

Or maybe that's just how I justify getting my kids to school with 1.2 seconds to spare before the tardy bell rings. Grins.

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, Virginia is right. It is sooooooo a boy thing. I have two of them and one is a senior and I still have issues getting him to give me important notes from school.

As far as the camera, well, I've done that too. Usually my husband remembers it. I don't.

You will survive and your kids will think you were a great mom. They really don't sweat the little things that we do. We put far too much pressure on ourselves.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congrats on the rooster!

Christine, you've described me, and I'm not even on deadline. My brain seems scattered at times, and half of it is always in the alternate universe of imagination.

I love the photo on the blog!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Deb! Please send your addy to christine AT christine-wells Dot com. Thank you!! I do hope you enjoy SLS:)

Love the story about the cookies. I do that with raffle tickets all the time. Snork! I can just see myself walking around like a human noticeboard with all the things I have to remember. Great idea! Or remember when you were at school and used to write things on your hand?

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Barbara, I love THE SPYMASTER'S LADY! The third book in the series is coming soon. I can't wait!

It really is madness to try to write with small children around, but then writing is a kind of madness, isn't it? I feel like the last 7 years have been a kind of writer's bootcamp. I survived! And nothing is going to be as hard as that was (fingers crossed!)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Laney! Oh, you described my feelings exactly! I really do try to put it in perspective--most of these things don't matter in the broad scheme of life, but at that moment, you just wish you could die, don't you?

Great to hear you're over the embarrassment! I'll put you in the draw, thanks for commenting!

Christine Wells said...

Inara, you know, when Mr. 7 just said 'okay' as if he didn't care, I nearly did just drive home, because it WAS my work day. I'd moved heaven and earth to get those kids out the door early to their respective kindy and school because I knew I had to come back again for that darn parade and I needed the time in betwee to write. By the time I'd done the 40 minute round trip home and back to school and calmed down, my day was nearly shot. I am GLAD to know you would have done as I nearly did. It's the curse of the stay-at-home that we have more of a choice of how we spend the time, and the guilt really does your head in.

Love the dog story. Oh, that's priceless. You poor thing! I could very easily do that myself.

Christine Wells said...

Renee, I don't even think it's necessarily a writer thing. I'm sure pregnancy made me a ton more forgetful and vague and I never quite lost that. But certainly, any time your crative brain takes over is the time to worry!

Joan said...


I'm putting a batch of Joanie's chocolate chip cookies into the mail NOW. By the time they reach you in Australia, they'll be ready for the day your sweet child forgets you need to make sweets for the class.

You are a GREAT mother and a GREAT author and I can't wait for SWEETEST LITTLE SIN!

Tawny said...

Oh Christine, your post had me crying, I was laughing so hard :-)

My list of bad mom deeds is endless. The worst are the ones where I forget an 'event' (tooth falling out, Easter egg hunt, etc) and end up making the older child distract the younger child while I try and fix or hide or in some way correct my oops.

I'm so excited about Sweetest Little Sin. I love a gutsy, fun heroine and am really looking forward to reading Lady Louisa's adventure

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Dianna, what a classic! Green crayon on socks! Reminds me of my many attempts to put my kids' names on various items as they are walking in the door at school/kindy. As a monther, you need to be permanently armed with a sharpie in every colour.

Annie West said...

Oh Christine, I read your post and nodded all the way. I got to the Easter hat parade and almost shed a tear too. Been there, done that, not for hat parades but other things where notes just didn't get home and I was left feeling like the world's worst mother, despite all the other times I'd put in hours doing all and more a mum could do.

I have a theory that schools are in a conspiracy to drive parents insane or test their organisational skills to the limit with all the various excursions, extra activities, in class projects, special events and visiting roadshows than consistently require $6.60 (no change provided) or $12.75 and a signed noted (plus a medical permission slip to say the kids can sit in the school hall) or a green t shirt (must be plain, no logos) or stripes, or food (no sugar) or balsa wood or whatever it is you just can't get your hands on at 9pm on a Sunday night.

Take heart, Christine. I've no doubt you're doing wonderfully with your boys. And as for the writing - let me say I just cannot wait to get my hands on your next release. Your brand of intense, passionate, intelligent historical romance, with believable characters locked in an emotional ride is just wonderful!

Forget the hair and makeup for school. Just go and write!

Christine Wells said...

Aw, Kirsten, thanks mate! What a lovely thing to say. I hope SLS lives up to expectations!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kirsten! (wow, that was a bit confusing, I had to look twice to realize you're not our Bandita Kirsten!)

Thanks so much for the words of comfort. I think you can tell yourself later that you're only human but in the moment, you're THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD! You're right, though, we're all human.

Oh, One Night of Passion is one of my favourite of Eliz Boyle's. I also love Stealing the Bride. That was a great series!

Christine Wells said...

Jo, I have really bad luck with cameras, as Fo can attest to! I lost one in D.C. last year (my dh's to make it worse!) and I never really trust myself with them, which is why it's easy to forget it when I go to some event or other. Usually I'm focused on getting the boys ready and out the door and completely forget to get a record of the event. The cell phone photos really aren't quite as good!

Christine Wells said...

Jo, I meant to say that with the number of children you had, I can't imagine how you remembered your own name! I would have been catatonic.

Thanks so much for the snaps on SLS. I hope you enjoy it!

Christine Wells said...

gamistress, what a novel way of looking at it! Yes, I am giving us all something to laugh about later. Good one!

Oh, lovely, I will put you in the draw for THE DANGEROUS DUKE. Always great to suck in a new reader.LOL

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Jo! You poor thing. And isn't it awful when you get someone snide like that? I wish mothers didn't judge each other so much. Honestly, I think you're a saint!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Misskallie! Oh, no, the cupcakes!! I remember reading a book called I Don't Know How She Does It where the mother was supposed to provide something for a bake sale and she bought the pies and attacked them a bit with a fork to 'distress' them and make them look home made. I never understood that until now. You're in the draw!

Christine Wells said...

Denise, I am the last person to judge you! You're going in the draw. thanks for commenting!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Louisa! Loved the stories of your troublesome furry children! We had a mastiff great Dane cross who never bit any person but used to finish any fight a smaller dog started. It was horrible, and we had to stay away from dog parks when other dogs were there. Poor Alex! She always got the blame because she was big.

I only have 2 coverflats of SLS, unfortunately. I'll see what I can do!

Christine Wells said...

Catslady, I really object to the way parents do their children's home projects for them these days. I never asked for my parents' help when I went through school.

Hmm, I think your 25 yo needs to get over the singing festival! Your defense sounds like a very valid one to me.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Minna--Eve and Roarke are classic competent characters, aren't they? And they complement each other so well. I think JD Robb is so smart to make each of them look strong without compromising the other's strength.

Christine Wells said...

Giggling at your post, Anna! Thank you for the compliments -- I love the thought of Jardine and Louisa being like The Avengers!

Love St. Cyr, too and I am yet to read the wonderful Francis Crawford. I must do that. I've been saying that for years!

And thanks for the vote of confidence about my mothering skills. I appreciate it! Most of the time I feel like a failure.

Natalie Hatch said...

Christine I am soo there with you on the bad mother thing. I feel that way every day. I am sure somewhere out there is a superwoman managing to keep her house clean, her laundry done and ironed and put away, at the same time as giving her family nutritious meals that they all eat without complaint. This woman also runs several organisations, is chairwoman of a couple of charities, and has long, well manicured fingernails that never chip.
Good on her. I'll stick to being the frazzled lady with chewed fingernails, kids who turn their noses up at everything bar weetbix, and has a house that sometimes looks like a war zone.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Linda, love the tooth fairy story! I had a near run with the Easter bunny this time. Easter really isn't my thing! Thanks, I'll put you in the draw for TDD!

Christine Wells said...

Asor, that is a wonderful story. Yes, I can see that you might get jealous of your mother's students. It sounds like she's a great lady. Imagine having to organize your own children as well as a class full of them! Thanks for commenting.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Sheila, I often think our neighbours must wonder about all the yelling that goes on in our house:) Love the contrast between that and the perfect churchgoing family! LOL I'll put you in the draw.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Nikki, I love the story about the pepper! That would definitely happen to me.

Claire Fraser is amazing, isn't she? I think that's part of what makes those books so special--you really do believe she'd survive in a much harsher time because she has so much stamina, skill and fortitude. Great answer!

Becke Davis said...

Hi Christine - Boy, talk about the good old bad old days. I remember when my kids were little and I was writing garden books. The only way I got everything done was by eliminating one small thing from my schedule: sleep. It's a little easier when the kids get older (but not much!).

I've read all your books, including - woot! - the new one, so don't count me in the contest. I've loved all your books; I'd ask when to expect the next one but after reading this blog I think it would be safer not to bring up another deadline!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Jeanne how utterly awesome that you're selling out your slots at your boy's school! I know you're going to be fabo! You're a great speaker and those kids are all going to want to be writers when you're finished with them.

I knew you'd understand about this strange phenomenon.*G* I'd form a support group as long as no one wanted me to be treasurer!LOL Treasurer is just the worst job on the planet as far as I'm concerned (which is why Donna is a goddess!) I'd rather stick hot needles in my eyes than do accounts!

But yes, I am always there at whatever event is happening for my kids, so I count that as a big plus in my favour. It was a decision I made to be home with kids and writing allows me to do that. I feel then, that there has to be a little give and take and I try not to feel too guilty about the time and brain cells the writing does take away.

Good luck with your talks! Knock 'em dead!

At least... you're not doing the body disposal talk, right???

Christine Wells said...

Kim, I think you're wonderful to volunteer like that! Can totally identify with trying to give old toys and clothes away. I have some packed in boxes now and they keep mysteriously growing legs and walking! Need to get them out of the house!

Wow, schools were closed due to budget constraints? That's awful! I really hope things improve over there. It seems like education should be the last thing to suffer from a bad economy.

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, good grab!

Christine, my dear, you are by no means alone. I resigned myself to being a Bad Mother many, many years ago. If you think you can embarrass yourself and your child a lot in 7 years, imagine how many more times you can do it in 24!!

For instance: Picture high school graduation ceremony in a large school district. All graduation ceremonies take place in a single venue (a convention center) on a strictly monitored timetable. I think there were 15 or 16 high schools then (this was 6 years ago) and they had four graduations a day over 4 days.

We were told over and over to get in, get out, and not to linger. You came in the front and exited at the back so they could usher in the new group. We had reservations for dinner after the ceremony and were to meet my son, his girlfriend, and her parents there. I could not locate my son in the massive crowd, so we eventually decided to head to the restaurant where we knew we would see him.

He and the others arrived about 30 minutes after we did. I asked what took them so long and he said, "Where did you guys go? I was looking everywhere for you. We were taking pictures out in the courtyard. Well, at least Laura's parents got some pictures of us..."

I died a thousand deaths. How did all the other parents know their job was to mill about until their graduate hunted them down and they got to use every bit of film they owned taking what would no doubt be priceless pictures? I have no clue! But I like to think that some of them botched it up with the first child and learned a valuable - painful - lesson. I certainly did!

Now that we have 24 high schools in the county, they have split the graduation ceremonies up across several different venues. Hopefully our NEXT high school graduation (next year), will be completely different and I will get loads of pictures of my daughter in her cap and gown, with her friends and our family.

I still won't have any of my son, though. *sigh*

Don't you all feel better now? *g*

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, you have the loveliest young men. So polite and funny and active. I adore them! So it must be true that all these tiny lapses (yeah, I mean c'mon wear orange for HARMONY day??? Gimme a break!) -- they don't mean much in the scheme of things!

Christine Wells said...

Aw, thanks, Christie! I know my boy hasn't a clue what's going on so I do try to find out from the other mothers. I actually had a conversation with one of them about it but she didn't mention the make your hat at home thing. Never mind, I know it will all come out in the wash!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Nancy, well you know I must admit I am scatterbrained even when not on deadline. It's just that I'm always much worse when it comes to crunch time and I'm living in the book.

Yeah, actually, she looks a lot better than I normally do!

Daz said...

Hi Christine, I do not have any motherhood stories to share. However, when it comes to my heroes and heroines, I like my heroes strong and not afraid of feeling and my heroines competent. I would love a signed copy of your book. D.

Helene Young said...

Christine, hysterical! I laughed all the way through your post! I don't have kids, but every time I stay with my sister I see the same mayhem - neither of her kids seem scarred so I'm sure yours will be fine too! (Always think of Eddie and Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous...)

I have a girlfriend who picked up her small boys from school, heard two doors slam and drove off. Got home to discover the older lad incoherent with suppressed laughter in the back seat. His little brother was still back at school having only managed to throw his bag in before the door shut...

As to feisty heroines? Liz Carlyle in Deadline or Kris Kennedy in Dark Country.

Looking forward to reading Sweetest Little Sin!!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Joanie, that's so sweet of you! You KNOW how I love your cookies! I would probably eat them all and never give them to my little one to take to school.

Thanks so much for the vote of confidence! I hope you like SLS!

Christine Wells said...

Tawny, I knew you'd feel my pain! I managed to stage an Easter egg hiding exercise in full view of my 7 yo this time without him even realizing I was doing it! Yes, motherhood is definitely not for the faint of heart!

Thank you for the kind words about SLS!

Christine Wells said...

Nat, come on, you have twins! That would turn any mother a bit frazzled. Add to that, you're a writer, so you know, what hope do you have, really?

And quite honestly, perfection is not what I aspire to. I'd just like to be a leetle more organized sometimes!

Christine Wells said...

Hiya, Becke!! You know, since my younger boy started sleeping through the night, I've been indulging in the luxury of a good night's sleep a lot more and therefore allowing fewer hours in which to get myself organized. But I do find that lack of sleep makes me even more hopeless than normal. It's a toss-up, isn't it? I wish I was like Napoleon or whoever, who only needed a couple of hours sleep a night!

Thanks so much for your praise of my books. Truth is, I don't know when the next one will be released--some time next year, I guess, but I'll keep you posted!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Caren, that's exactly what would happen to me. Only I'd probably get the wrong restaurant, too and miss seeing my baby altogether! Honestly, when I look back, I think I had the perfect mother. She always knew what was going to happen and where to be. i never realized it would be that hard! Of course, my mother is the networker to beat all networkers, so she would absolutely find out if she didn't know what had to be done! Good luck with next graduation!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Daz! Sounds like a perfect match of hero and heroine to me:)

You're in the draw!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Helene, how hilarious! Love the story of the car driving off without the kid!

Yes, isn't Liz Carlyle fantastic? I've read all those books and the feeling that a real "M" wrote them makes them fascinating reading. And Kris K in Dark Country reminds me a lot of Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers. I like a heroine who can be tough but also has a vulnerable side.

Hope you enjoy SLS!

PinkPeony said...

I loved your hat story! I don't have kids but I can certainly appreciate what moms go through. I think of my mom and how she worked full-time, still managed to put dinner on the table every night, sew my clothes and keep a perfect house. I know my mom loved us but she was more "tough" love than nurturing. Bloodied knees and scrapes were met with comments like, "Why are you so clumsy? Stop crying and go get the Bactine. You're going to live."

Gutsy heroine: Lillian Gilbreth..the mother of twelve in Cheaper By The Dozen, which was based on a true story. She was widowed with twelve kids and still able to build a career of her own.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jen! Wow about your mother. She sounds like she had the mothering thing whipped! Tough love is not such a bad thing, I think! As long as she's there with the sympathy when you really need it.

Mother of 12 and still built her own career? What an amazing woman. That sort of thing just passes my comprehension.

Trish Morey said...

Oh Christine, I so relate to writer's brain! I got a call from the Principal once - "Are you coming to collect your children?" I was an hour late for school pick up. ooooher. Nice one mum. But no wonder it was so lovely and quiet and conducive to writing:-)

Laurie said...

LOL. Wonderful post and one most mothers can relate to (no matter how perfect they seem). I have to admit I'm a dreamer and a bit forgetful, as my daughter loved to remind me. That is before she forgot to bring her daughter's towel to preschool on swim day. My granddaughter was the only child not allowed to swim. I heard all about it when I went to pick up the little darling.

But regardless, you're doing what you love and that makes a happy mom, which is so much more important than a robotic one, don't you think?

My favorite gutsy heroine has to be Amelia Peabody from the series written by Elizabeth Peters. She is indeed a gutsy and competent heroine *except* in the motherhood department. Makes the rest of us look like mothers of the year!

No need to put me in the draw. I have my own copy of The Dangerous Duke. Loved it!

Christine Wells said...

Haha, Trish! Boy, can I identify with that one. It's something I am very likely to do. When you're in the zone, the time flies, doesn't it?

Lovely to see you here, btw.

Christine Wells said...

Laurie, the missing towel is the kind of thing I have nightmares about! And really, I don't think it's fair to punish small children like that because obviously it's not their fault they don't have a towel. That's a bit mean!

You wrote: But regardless, you're doing what you love and that makes a happy mom, which is so much more important than a robotic one, don't you think?

You know, I really do believe that, as self-serving as it is for me to say it. I think when they're older, my kids will appreciate that I have my own interests and don't want to live vicariously through them. Thanks so much -- very glad you loved The Dangerous Duke!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Christine said: At least... you're not doing the body disposal talk, right???

ROFLMAO!!! Snork. No. But the kids would probably get a kick out of it, being bloodthirsty little 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

Heehee. Just the thought...

In this case though, its just a talk for "career day" about being a writer.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PinkPeony said: "Stop crying and go get the Bactine. You're going to live."

Oh, man, Pink, you made me homesick with this one. Snork. It sounds JUST like my Mama. That and "You'll eat it and like it or you'll do without."

*eye roll* How come I can't say this to my kids without feeling like an ogre?

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, right after I mentioned body disposal I thought, yeah that would be RIGHT up their little alleys!

As for feeling like an ogre, someone wrote a book called something like "I'm Your Mother Not Your Friend". I think there's something in that, but I really can't bear for my boys to go hungry. And the elder one is so fussy! He would starve if I took that attitude.

PinkPeony said...

Jeanne said...Oh, man, Pink, you made me homesick with this one. Snork. It sounds JUST like my Mama...

My mom is still the same. Last year, my sister called to say dad collapsed from loss of blood due to a bleeding ulcer, but he must be okay cause she could hear my mom telling him the next time it happened, she'd let him bleed out. How nice.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Needless to say my daughter wasn't happy with me for not being able to pull green socks out of my backside. WITH NO WARNING. I was not happy with her because I had NO WARNING this was coming up. Why do they tell you at midnight the night before?? I should have been in bed two hours before, she was in bed but got up to tell me she needed green socks. I didn't even have any food coloring in the house.

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

I would love to win!

No mother stories here, I am not one, but I do recall my own dear mother, I was like 5, driving her crazy, she sent me to my room, then discovered she forgot to give me lunch, the door whips open and she tosses a banana on the bed, 'Here's your lunch!'

Of course, through the years, the banana has become a deadly weapon, hurling through the air toward me like some impaling sword. We still laugh about it. She's a great mom! LOL!

Susan Sey said...

Oh, Christine, you know that I once brought my child to a birthday party the DAY BEFORE THE PARTY, right? I am SO in your boat when it comes to incompetent mothering. My kids are going to tell stories about me one day. "Oh yeah? Well when I was a kid, MY mother..."

It'll be awful. But at least when they have kids of their own they can be assured they'll do better than I did. :-)

Christine Wells said...

Jen, you made me snork coffee through my nose! Let him bleed out. I shouldn't laugh!

Christine Wells said...

Dianna, I would like to think that when they reach a certain age, it becomes THEIR problem that they didn't tell you what they needed. Maybe a good lesson for next time!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Karyn/Drew, oh, the banana story is priceless!! Love it!

I'm so familiar with getting so mad I do something quite ludicrous and that makes me even madder when my kids are laughing at me. Sigh. At least we can laugh about these things later.

Christine Wells said...

Snork! Susan, yes I did that, too. But I was thinking, at least we turned up the day before the party and not the day after, right? I'm going for the silver lining here.

So with you on the stories that will come out later. My mother was perfect--I don't think she missed a beat--and it's only now that I wonder how on earth she managed it! She made motherhood look easy.

Cassondra said...

Oh, Christine, what a wonderful blog!

I'm sorry I'm late to the party today, but I had to say that you're not a terrible mother at all. I would be the worst mother in the universe. Deadline or not. All my children have fur or feathers, and it's a good thing. I'd scar a human child to the point of insanity.

And you know, I bet your little boy's teacher is a woman, isn't she? I think a male teacher would not come up with something like making silly Easter Bonnets to wear on Good Friday. I just can't see a guy coming up with this idea.

Seriously. The person who came up with this idea has too much time on her hands.

So grab yourself by the buns and stop worrying.

That said, we are all just a wee bit too busy, aren't we? And deadlines don't help. I get this way with any project in which I'm deeply invested. Books,or any creative projects, are the absolute worst. But if you don't live in that world, you can't get it done--or at least you can't get it done very well.

I'm not sure how one approaches balancing all of that. As to heroes and heroines--I'm the party pooper and can't answer the question correctly because I like those who have just as much trouble as I do. The more realistic ones. The ones who have bad hair days and go to the market with smudges of paint on their faces.

I think it makes me feel a little better about myself if I know I'm not the only one. The imperfect ones are the ones I remember the most.

Jennifer Crusie writes great heroines who can't quite get it together. I loved the heroine in Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Match Me if you Can who tried so hard to make her interview with the shark sports agent and ended up rumpled, dirty, sweaty and unkempt. I'd be like that girl. My kid would be the one wearing the same shirt two days in a row because I forgot to do laundry.

It's just the way it is.

Barbie moms who have everything perfect--I just want to smack them.

Christine Wells said...

Cassondra wrote: if you don't live in that world, you can't get it done--or at least you can't get it done very well.

Yes, I know exactly what you mean! I know women these days often joke that they need a wife, but I always think of those people who can give all of themselves to the creative process while someone else takes care of the rest of their life and it makes me very envious. But then again, I wouldn't want to be an absentee mother, so I don't really know where that leaves me. Maybe I just have to 'create in the middle of things', as Eric Maisel says we have to do.

Actually, I LOVED the heroine in Match Me if You Can. Totally agree, we don't want heroines to be totally perfect.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Christine said: Maybe I just have to 'create in the middle of things', as Eric Maisel says we have to do.

Exactly. And the great irony is, if I have too much quiet, or too much time on my hands, I'm not nearly as creative. Go figure. :>

Julia Smith said...

Woo hoo - Louisa and Jardine!!!

Here is my favorite De-Motivator, which may give you a chuckle on forgotten-Easter-hat days:


Nancy said...

PinkPeony, I teach Cheaper by the Dozen. I think Lillian Gilbreth is way cool!

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, I can write in all kinds of circumstances, but I do find that total quiet works wonders for my creativity! Sometimes when dh goes away, I ship my kids off to their gran's and it's such bliss, I can't begin to describe it! But few and far between so you have to learn to adapt!

Christine Wells said...

Hiya Julia! Great to see you here. Oh, I had a huge laugh at that Mistakes plaque!! Exactly, my friend! That's what I'm talking about;)

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, the sheer act of birthing that many babies has me in awe. Bringing them up and having a career? Mindblowing!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Christine said: I do find that total quiet works wonders for my creativity!

Grins. Believe it or not, I write best in the middle of a crowded, noisy Starbucks. I can tune it out, but still be in the middle of all that people energy.

Oh, the wonders of being an extroverted writer.

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, I can write well anywhere there's no one bugging me:) Noise doesn't worry me at all. It's people with expectations that keep me from getting into the zone!

flchen1 said...

Christine, just wanted to say hi, and hey, you're definitely not a bad mother! I'm not admitting to being the bottom of the barrel either (though my kids will claim otherwise--don't listen to them ;)) but I actually nudge my kids away from participating in some group things because the practices would inconvenience yours truly. Whoops--did I actually admit that? (If they reeeeaaally wanted to play soccer or be in the school play, I'm sure we would work something out. Maybe.) Anyway, I truly admire heroes and heroines who are wonderfully competent, whether they're super crafty and good with homemaking skills or not. Hey, we can't all be good at everything, and as I used to console myself in school as I bemoaned my near-failing test scores, I'm helping to anchor the curve!

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

Nikki said...

And definitely put me in the drawing for a book please! :)

Vanessa Barneveld said...

What a hilarious post, Christine! But I'm sure you really are a fabulous mother.

I'm not a mum, but I do have plenty of humiliating stories still haunting me from childhood.

Christina said...

LOL Christine! This post did make me laugh. My son never remembers to hand me notes from school until after the event (or I find them in his shorts pocket as I'm about to wash them). Already this month I've missed *two* medical appointments for him - for his dental one I hauled him out of bed on the first day of the Easter holidays, only to discover I was running a day behind and the appt was, in fact, the previous morning!

Christina Phillips said...

Hmm, OK. That last comment was from me but apparently I was logged into my other email account!

Laurie said...

Mothering story

My husband and I have 4 children we hated taking them to Chucky Cheeses, McDonald's playground, Hardees ect. So we gave the grandparents money to take them and to indulge them.
It was a win win situation because the grandparents got to spend the day doing something the kids enjoyed and we had a day off from parenting.

I'd love to read your book Christine!