Confessions of a neglectful mother

“You’re NOT doing meditation Mum, you’re actually sleeping!!!” Oh no, I’ve been sussed. I am so, indisputably, regrettably, NOT a morning person. My partner is on a business trip this week and has left me in charge.

Never before have my children been so terrified. You see, while I am sufficiently credible as a parent (after 10.30am) , my morning routine is based on the little-known parenting philosophy known as Benign Neglect.

Let me share my typical morning routine – you may wish to get out your notebook mes cheres!

Now imagine if you will, the setting for this bucolic scene – my beautiful bedroom converted into a ramshackle shanty town as I have cleverly moved Finn and Dylan’s mattresses to the floor next to my bed to avoid having to trek to their bedrooms in the morning. The whole room is strewn with soft toys, cups of tea and random articles of clothing including a pair of pants belonging to Finn’s classmate’s sister.

7.15 a.m. – Alarm goes off. Finn and Dylan wake up and run off to the kitchen to find the most responsible person who’s awake (Sean) and get him to fix them breakfast.

7.16 a.m. – Dylan runs into the bedroom. “Mama, there’s no more milk!” “Dylan, milk sucks. Drink some juice. “

7.18 a.m. – Finn runs into the bedroom. “Mama, why are you still sleeping?” “I’m meditating.” “Is meditating sleeping Mama?” “Something like that Finn.”

7.19 a.m. – Dylan pops in and announces – “Mama, there’s no more juice!” “Dylan, juice sucks. Get one of your brothers to make you a Berocca cocktail”


7.20 a.m. – Sean shouts from the kitchen – “Muuumm, are you awaaakeeee????”

7.25 a.m. – Finn & Dylan jump onto the bed. “Mama, go put on your makecup!” “Ok darlings… Mama is just finishing my meditation visualisation thing…”.

7.28 a.m. – I feel tiny gentle strokes on my face and open my eyes to find Dylan rubbing my cheek as if performing ministrations for a very elderly person, whispering “Por Mama, Poooor Mama” in a slightly patronising manner . “OK OK Dylan I’m getting up!!!” Drag myself out of bed and get started on my 28 step morning abolition routine. Step 1 – Lymphatic drainage facial massage.

7.30 a.m. – Sean sticks his head around the door. “Muuum, I’m walking to the bus stop!” “NOOOO DON’T LEAVE ME WITH THE… I mean have a great day honey!”

7.45 a.m. – Dylan comes in to dress me. “Mama, put on your brawr! I will choose your clothes for you!” Lays out an outfit worthy of Tradies Night at Frankston Disco.

8.00 a.m. – Breakfast of avocado, tortilla chips & salsa while Finn & Dylan quiz me suspiciously on whether I’ve packed their lunch boxes and brief me on what things I have to sign for class.

8.15 a.m. – “Come on Mama! We have to go to school! ” Accusatory looks and pointing at the door. Mama slinks off to bathroom to perform last minute search for missing phone.

8.25 a.m. – Kids are in car with Finn beeping the horn. We drive to school with the music blasting at 200 decibels to cheer me up and to drown out any arguments going on in the backseat.


This week my iPhone is at the D section of my playlist, which, very appropriately, consists of the following songs -

1.) Don’t Panic - Coldplay
2.) Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna
3.) Don’t Wanna Go Home – Jason Derulo
4.) Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
5.) Dosed - Red Hot Chilli Peppers

It’s pretty much a spot-on soundtrack to my morning.

Now let me tell you, we’ve gotten to school every morning pretty much on time, with zero nagging from me.

Which goes to show that a little bit of judicious neglect can foster the most amazing independence! And didn’t my therapist Volker tell me that frustration tolerance was the best skill I can teach my kids?

Thank you kids. Take a bow! Have two Berocca tablets! Don’t go drinking them at one sitting now!


The Benignly Neglectful Mother

Crystal Leahy is a retired banker, ex-head hunter, equities portfolio manager, freelance writer, charitable trust director, aspiring photographer and wife to high-maintenance banker-turned-poet Mark Leahy and mother to baby girl Dylan, toddler Finn and step-son Sean.

Her favourite activities are photography, reading, writing, pontificating, playing the piano, cooking, fine dining, travel, the arts, on-line shopping, 'zeitgeisting' and investing.

And sleeping. Lots.

You can read more about Crystal at