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Category: Parenting

Letting go

Audio version


I know you want what’s best for me,
Pass my exams, earn my degree,
Get a job, pay my student loan,
Fall in love, buy a home.

I know you want me to succeed,
But what does that look like,
For not you,
But me?

Maybe I’ll run away to a zoo,
Go to New York, dye my hair blue,
Or work in a bar, kicking out drunks,
Shave my head, become a monk.

Maybe I’ll play guitar in a band,
Lie on a beach, dig my toes in the sand.
The point is I guess, I have no idea,
Of how I’ll turn out, or even where.

I ‘get’ why you might want it all mapped out,
Tick all the boxes, leave no room for doubt,
But I’m not one of those kids, who knows their path,
Not driven towards any ‘God given’ task.

However, I do know, wherever I land,
I’ll have tried the hardest I possibly can.
I’ll make dumb mistakes, one or ten,
And probably make some all over again.

But they’ll be my mistakes,
My lessons learned,
My stormy seas,
And tides to turn.

I’ll try not to be too stupid of course,
Remember the advice and wisdom you taught,
Keep my head straight and follow my heart,
Be grateful for your wonderful start.

Now you can let go, dismiss the guard,
Relax the reins, I’m taking charge,
I probably won’t choose what you want me to do,
But however it goes,
I’ll always love you.

Don’t feel sad in my empty room,
Who knows, I could be back in it soon!
As I step into my adult shoes,
Just have faith in me
And love me too.

© Lisa Nimmo 08/06/16


Footy Dad

Audio version


Dad comes to watch my football,
Every Saturday,
He says he wants to help my game,
Improve the way I play.

He paces up and down the line,
“Go faster, go harder” he growls,
I struggle through the muddy grass,
Afraid I’ll let him down.

He stamps his feet and screams aloud,
“For God sake, take the shot!”
Mum’s mortified, on the side,
Again, Dad’s lost the plot.

I wish I were a better player,
Like my other football friends,
Whose Dads smile and cheer and clap their hands,
And hug them at the end.

On the way home I am silent,
As Dad offers his advice,
Blocking out the words I’ve heard,
More than once or twice.

“Next week” he says “we’ll warm up more,
That’ll help to fire you up,
We’ll practice more drills to hone your skills,
And get aggressive, be more tough.”

“Actually Dad” I whisper,
Almost too afraid to speak,
“I think I’ll play a better game,
If Mum takes me next week.”

He glares in the rearview mirror,
“What do you mean?” He’s getting wired,
“It means as far as football goes,
I’m sorry Dad, but you’re fired!”

© Lisa Nimmo 08/06/16


Audio version


The ritual starts at 3pm,
She bursts through the door, home from war,
Of battles fought with ‘so called’ friends.

How dare they bruise my young girls heart,
With arrowed words, like poisoned darts,
For simply trying to do her best,
Win the race, pass the test.

Don’t talk to Bex, they snigger and snort,
She thinks she’s too good, at art and sport,
Don’t let that flower grow too tall,

Let’s cut her down and watch her fall.

Poppies must be kept at bay,
Except of course on Anzac day,
From Turkish coves to playground swings,
And thirteen-year-old suffering,
On battle or the soccer field,
The daggers hurt, the dread is real.

At home she cries, I bathe her wounds,
With a cameo cream and love to the moon,
What shall I do Mum? she asks me straight,
If I don’t make the team, will they stop, go away?

I pause for a bit, to avoid disgrace,
I’d like her to punch them in the face,
Poppies are meant to grow strong and tall,
Not hunker down, behind school walls,
They should reach for the glorious warmth of the sun,
Through battles fought, to battles won.

It’s up to you I reply to Bex,
Knowing I should be, politically correct,
You could be less, than you want to be,
And give those girls their victory,
Or you can win everything, be proud, have a ball,
Succeed with grace, and fuck them all.

© Lisa Nimmo 2017

Laugh your face off in one minute

Laugh your face off in one minute

Last week I sent a txt to my teenage daughter and (even though she was probably in maths at the time) she replied immediately.

“Mum did you really just send me a txt with OMG in it”
“Yeah, so?”
“You’re soooo funny”
“Why?” (confused emoji)
“My friends are all laughing so hard (lol emoji)”
“Why? What’s so funny!”
No reply

Clearly I’m a few steps behind in the latest txt speak and I’m not the only one in our family on the receiving end of teenage mockery. My husband’s usual quips and one-liners have recently become ‘Dad jokes’. Admittedly (and I’m sure he agrees) they’re not always what you’d call ‘award-winning material’, but we’ve still laughed. Now it seems, our kids have moved on from laughing with us, to at us.

However there’s one game we’ve played since they were small that still gets us all laughing together, and at no one’s expense. Afterwards we feel energised, uplifted and we head out into the world with huge smiles on our faces.

If you haven’t played it before, get the clan or your workmates together and give it a go – you won’t regret it.

The Laughing Game
Players required: 2 or more (must be fully committed)
Time required: 1 minute

How to play:

  1. Players stand facing each other, or in a circle facing inwards
  2. Appoint a timekeeper and set the timer to go off in one minute
  3. The timekeepers starts the clock and says ‘Go!’
  4. All players must immediately begin fake laughing as hard as they possibly can and they must not stop for the entire minute. This requires commitment, and a willingness to look rather foolish. There will be an initial few seconds of discomfort but players must push through this initial stage, forcing out the fake laughter. Do whatever’s required – shake your belly and pretend to be Santa, slap your hands on your knees or your neighbour’s back, drop and roll around on the floor, go as hard as you possibly can for the full minute duration until the timer calls ‘Stop’.
  5. After the first awkward seconds you will notice a shift, where the fake laughing starts to become real. Everyone (yourself included) will look so ridiculous you simply won’t be able to help it. But, don’t allow this genuine laughter to slow you down, keep forcing the belly laughter until the full minute is up.

The result
When the game is over you’ll feel a total energy shift in the room and everyone around you will be grinning from ear to ear, looking alive and invigorated. (In our house, the only one left looking a little startled is the dog!)

Life can get pretty serious sometimes and the health and wellbeing benefits of laughter are undisputed – reduction in stress, lowering of blood pressure, boost to immune function and an increased sense of energy.

I hope you give The Laughing Game a go, and that it gets your kids (and maybe even your workmates) laughing with you rather than at you.


Until next time,

Lisa x


Have you given The Laughing Game a try? If so, I’d love to hear how it went. Enter your comment below (you don’t need to enter your name and email address details – just ignore those fields if you prefer.) Or, you can email me your feedback here.

Lisa Nimmo is an author, speaker and mum of two teenagers, based in Wellington New Zealand. If you’d like to know more visit lisanimmo.com

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Who the heck am I?

Couch-dwelling, pizza-eating mum fights back!

I vividly remember the day, seven years ago, when I walked into my son Ollie’s classroom and saw something shocking, that made me rethink the type of mother (and person) I wanted to be.

He was six at the time and dragged me excitedly through the scattered chairs and desks toward his latest masterpiece—a brightly painted stick figure portrait of his Dad.

“Wow Ollie” I said, admiring Chris’ giant orange head and long spindly arms with amusement. Underneath the painting was a neatly typed caption that read:

“My Dad loves football, playing the piano, Star Wars and drawing cool pictures.”

“Well done buddy,” I praised. “You’ve captured Dad really well.”

“Thanks! And look Mum, here’s yours!” he beamed, proudly gesturing to a bright yellow stick figure with black hair, bright red lips and huge blue eyes (my eyes are actually brown, but never mind).

“Gosh, don’t I look glamorous!” I said happily. Then my gaze fell to the caption underneath. As I read the words, staring at myself through my son’s eyes, I was dumbfounded:

“My Mum works for money, lies on the couch and eats pizza.”

I let the words sink in. Really? I don’t even like pizza! And when do I ever have time to lie on the bloody couch!

“Do you love it Mum?” he asked, his aquamarine eyes searching for approval.

“Oh yes!” I faked, wondering what his teacher had thought when she typed those words, and how many other teachers and parents had seen it.

I hugged my boy, kissed his pink cheeks and bolted home feeling mortified. How could he know so much about his father and so little about me?

Throughout eight years of motherhood I’d given my kids everything I had, but amidst all of that loving, nurturing and machine-like juggling of work and family commitments, I’d shared nothing of the real me. In my son’s eyes I was the money making, couch dwelling, pizza eater. He and my daughter Becky had no clue who I was as a person. And in truth, neither did I.

I realised, by becoming a mother I’d gained two children and lost myself.

That was when I started to write – and over time writing became my way back—an outlet to amuse, inspire and re-discover who I am.

Over the following years I made an effort to ensure my kids got to see the real me. When I wasn’t working or hanging out with them, I was writing, making art for the walls, jogging with my friends or pottering in the garden. I felt that if I could model for them an authentic, balanced life then one day they’d go out into the world and create their own.

Well, that was the plan anyway…

Fast forward seven years and I’m curious about whether the effort I’ve made to share more of myself has given Ollie and Becky, now 13 and 14, a better understanding of me than the ‘couch dwelling pizza eater.’  So the other day I decided to ask them:

Me:  “If someone asked you to describe your mum (a.k.a. me), what would you say? What’s my personality like? What interests do I have? How do I like to spend my time?”

Here’s how they replied:

Becky:  “I really don’t think anyone cares enough to ask that question, Mum.”
Ollie:   “You like sitting on the couch and eating pizza … same as always.”

The moral of the story? If you choose to add a little more balance to your life, make sure you do it for yourself, not your kids. Chances are they probably won’t even notice or care! Eventually, when they leave home we’ll be left with whatever life we created for ourselves when we chose to be something other than their parent. So go for it!

Until next time,

Lisa x


Lisa Nimmo is an author, speaker and mum of two teenagers, based in Wellington New Zealand. If you’d like to know more visit lisanimmo.com

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