How to drive a mother crazy

Begin with location. Choose your family home, which is normally your mum’s office several hours a day. Remember, this works best on people who are trying to earn a living while you are home.

Location selected, make sure that you are right in plain view, then choose a topic so mind-numbingly inane that there is no way that any mother with an IQ higher than a bagel could possibly stand the stupidity of it.

After that, remember the keys are repetition, volume and persistence.

Example :

Sam is trying to walk between the coffee table and the chesterfield, but Amanda, sitting on the chesterfield, has her feet on the coffee table – thus blocking Samantha’s way. A fight begins that lasts for 10 minutes and consists of the following:

*Sam – “Move your legs”

Amanda – “No. Step over”

Sam – “No. Move your legs.”

Amanda – “No. Step over”

Sam – “Why should I step over when you can move your legs?”

Amanda – “Why should I move my legs when you can step over?”

Repeat from * until your mother is provoked into screeching horrible things about the children in her office. Do not be satisfied with mere anger, watch for the throbbing vein in her forehead that signals that she is absolutely deranged. While she is screaming, look at her like only a crazy person would be bothered by bickering like this and frown at her like you are vaguely concerned about her well being. If she looks like she’s getting a grip, roll your eyes. When she finally collapses, clutching her laptop to her chest, whimpering about something to do with a deadline that she needs to meet to pay for “your sorry arse”…

….ask what’s for dinner.

Gifts for knitters? Why not.

Amy took a class with the goddess Lizbeth Upitis a while back, and she’s got an autographed copy of Latvian mittens that she’ll be sending to the generous tricoteuse Christina T.

Alice has a copy of “The Knitters handy guide to yarn requirements” that she’ll be mailing out to Becca U.

Dean has these beautiful handmade knitting needles


They are lovely. I really like the wee ones, I think they would make good hair pins as well as knitting needles. Indigo S. and Alia O. , tell us how you like them, will you?

Finally today, Ellen (who works in a bookstore, which I think could be the only job that might be as good as working in a yarn shop) donated two copies of the bookbookbook, which I’ll be happy to sign and mail on to Stephanie H. and Elizabeth B. and match with two more books, to go to Leanne C. and Wendy C.


Tomorrow, more presents, more fighting and…er. I don’t know what.

Maybe a little lie down.

71 thoughts on “How to drive a mother crazy

  1. Oof…now I understand the weeks and weeks at Girl Scout camp one I hit my teenage years. My mother was simply trying to stay sane in a house with 2 teenage girls. Good Luck!

  2. Ah, that brings back so many memories of my teenage years… My brother and I would find some small thing to annoy a parent – and keep at it for hours. Fun times…
    Of course, I am approximately 7 years away from experiencing this myself…

  3. This sounds exactly like my sister and I about 10 years ago. We never got along until she moved across the country for college. Now we get along great ๐Ÿ™‚ (Hi Jennifer!)
    There is hope just hang in there and remember that they are never too old to be sent to their rooms (or you can go to yours).

  4. School’s just got out for you. My kids have been home for nearly a month now and have aproximately 7 weeks to go. (Not that I’m counting!)

  5. Yeah. That sounds about right. Throw in a couple of toddlers fighting over toys at various intervals and you have my day..
    Now when she asked what was for dinner, I would have said.. I dunno what are you making? Since you have so much time on your hands that you can take ten minutes deciding who will move their legs which way, and I have a deadline to meet!!!!!

  6. Hi,
    Were you in my house to see this ??? My kids are the same way – and they wonder why in the animal kingdom some mothers eat their young ! I tell ya it is going to be a longggg summer ! Have ordered your book finally and I am scouting out a place to hide so I can read in peace .
    Kim O

  7. OMG, now multiply that times 5 and you have my house. Rolling on the floor laughing. Thank you for always showing me the humor in things.

  8. Now I know what I was missing, growing up as an only child, tag-team efforts to drive my mom crazy. Yet, even an only child can drive a mother crazy — ask mine! I promise she has stories, and would be more than happy to share.

  9. My hubby and my two young ones spent about 6 hours in a car together yesterday afternoon. Imagine a similar conversation to the one your offspring indulged in that invloved “he’s looking out my window” and “she’s breathing on me”. Now imagine that the only way to escape is to throw yourself from a moving vehicle… I wish you sweet relief soon. How many days until school is back in session? I have 42. Believe me I’m counting. At least I don’t work at home.

  10. My mother has taken to this routine the minute she goes home “I’m tired, leave me alone, find your own d*mn food, I’m not making it for you, make sure you don’t kill eachother” this is the first thirty seconds, My brother however only hears “I’m tired, sit on me, all 175 lbs of you, ask me a gazillion times what I’M making for dinner and THEN go bug the crap out of your sisters”
    It makes my uterus just cringe when I hear horror stories like this.

  11. I believe a chesterfield is what might also be called a sofa or couch.
    Is that the Boring Baby Blanket we see forming the background of the pictures there? It is looking rather lovely…

  12. Then there is the offspring chattering endlessly at you about some TV show or some friend that you don’t know from Adam……it goes on and on and….you get the drift. Summer, when will you end?!

  13. My middle child is off across the country at a Girl Scout camp at Sea World in San Diego this week. It has been awfully quiet without her to annoy her brother or sister and we miss her. I must try to remember this when she comes home on Friday…

  14. Sorry we’re not closer and I can’t take one of them off your hands to help with my pair. Thankfully mine aren’t to that level yet, but one is sporting a bitemark thanks to their own flavor of argument.

  15. Okay, this is my first time writing you so I hate to be writing to beg but I am going crazy going through your blog trying to find out if you have said whether or not you’re going to post the baby blanket pattern. Is this a possibility? Please?

  16. Aw, stop it! Now I miss my brother! Our favorite game was to repeat the rhyming scheme over and over from The Princess Bride and laugh ourselves silly. Wait, did I say *was*? We still do it! And we’re both well over 21…
    Anybody want a peanut?!

  17. Ah, Stephanie, you are going to have such a FUN summer! I send you my sympathies, but I don’t know how much weight they’ll carry, since I am only mother to a four year old dog, but . . . still . . . I remember being a teenager and do occasionally apologize to my Mom for it. (At which time she’ll grudgingly admit my sister and I weren’t THAT bad . . . I mean, we were home on time, didn’t drink or smoke, had decent friends–and if I was blaring music from my stereo, it was the Beatles, and what self-respecting parent in the 1980s could object to that?

  18. Please remind me in September when my child is back home, climbing up my back to try to grapple the top of my head like some kind of deranged tree-frog while I am trying to make a writing deadline, that I said this: I miss my kid ๐Ÿ™
    (My sister and I inflicted the exact same tagteam hell on my mother, I’m sure of it. Right down to drawing a line down the middle of the floor and daring each other to cross it. We like each other now. My mother still has that odd twitchy vein in her forehead, though…)

  19. Well, I believe their work is done and they can be best friends again by supper. Perfect. Maybe your mistake was *trying* to work – it’s summer doncha know! Maybe you should just knit a bit instead.

  20. The BBB (boring baby blanket not to be confused with book book book) looks like it’s coming along nicely.
    My two oldest went at it for twenty minutes about the correct pronunciation of ‘forte’ then proceeded to into a shouting match regarding the correct way to determine the winner of a game of Monopoly. It was about this time that I remembered that the toilet needed cleaning and that my son was just the man for the job. There was also a cat box just begging to be scooped by my daughter. They suddenly remembered all these things that they had to do … elsewhere.
    Hang in there.

  21. And yet, amidst the chaos and ridiculii, it is a special kind of wonderful to have the kind of long moments that allow for simple arguments and relaxed, meandering conversations – made all the more wonderful because they are with our children and there are no homework assignments, school nights, practice this & practice that, scheduling nightmares. Call me crazy but the countdown I’m doing isn’t a happy one.

  22. That sounds like my younger brother and I ten years ago ๐Ÿ™‚ We used to fight a whole lot even though we were 6.5 years apart….
    You are such a wonderful person doing so much… ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good one Stephanie!

  23. Beverly, Steph did say she’d post the pattern, when she’s done. There’s a very similar stitch pattern in Walker’s first Treasury; when I get home I’ll dig out the page reference for you.

  24. They’re just helping to get you in condition for… for…
    they’re helping you. I’m sure of it. Not sure exactly how to explain it to you, but I’m sure they’re helping you.

  25. I was just talking to my sister-in-law and catching up on her kids. The 19 year old is in Alaska on a fishing boat, and was just accepted at the University of Istanbul. The 17 year old was in France but changed plans to a school in Boston. She is not sure when or for how long she will see their faces again. I got off the phone and settled an argument over something no one really wanted, and gave all 4 a kiss…just because I could. This goes soooooo fast!!!

  26. At one time in my life, I thought parents who sent their children off to boarding schools were terrible, horrible people who shouldn’t have been allowed to have children. Then my first child hit 13 and suddenly boarding school seemed like a humane solution. Couldn’t afford it and probably wouldn’t have done it if I could have. But it was a fantasy that sustained me during many days.

  27. Yes, I have the same conditions at my house. I do bookkeeping from my home office. The biggest arguments always happen when I’m in the middle of reconciling a huge bank account that refuses to cooperate. Or when a client calls. I’ve decided that school is a little slice of heaven…for me!

  28. I remember those days so well – wait, what am I saying – the “kids” are 26 and 24 now and it still happens whenever they’re in the same room for more than 10 minutes.
    Once when we were in the car and they were playing the “drive Mom crazy” game, I was laughing so hard that my shoulders were shaking but of course I had to let them think they’d made me cry with their behaviour. It didn’t take long before they figured out that I was actually laughing. They still talk about that and try to make me “cry” again.

  29. Hmmm………the sounds from your house sound like the sounds from my house. Too bad we couldn’t just ship them all to their own private island, eh? LOL

  30. I ‘survived’ raising two boys (now 22 & 20) who fought from the time they were in their terrible 2’s until the day they moved out (of course, they called it ‘discussing’, but it sure looked…and sounded…like fighting to me!) One thing I learned is that you can diffuse their bickering by simply walking into the room, giving each of them a huge sloppy kiss and then walking out. They are so dumbfounded that they stop fighting (at least for the two minutes it takes to get over their shock). Good luck and my sympathies are with you!

  31. Have you ever noticed that children are conspicuously absent on the list of migraine triggers?

  32. I got the wrong impression about what your post would be about. Thought it would be the adult version of How To Drive A Mother Crazy. That’s a whole other story. Have to unpack my guilt trip bags I think. Pardon me, little one has decided to add new levels to how to drive a mother crazy, young version, by climbing in my lap, moving the mouse (uncontrolled scrolling anyone?), and now laying all over my lap. Then she gets all sweet and you gotta love it. I’m driving my own mother crazy by not sending an updated pic of the baby as I type…

  33. You know what’s great about summer vacation when you have school-age children? Don’t have to get up so early in the morning! Mine don’t do such a bad job of entertaining themselves (half of the time at least!), especially since I moved the computer into my bedroom where they can’t go, and therefore can’t fight over it. Of course the time that they choose to fight is when I am trying to knit lace! September will be “THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR…” because: all three of my kids will be in school and I will have the house to myself for a few hours a day for the first time in many, many years! (Laughs madly!!!)

  34. I understand- I just want to hide in the goat field some days!!! The worst thing is though, if I could get them away for a bit, I’d miss them dreadfully. What are we poor mommies to do?? And mine aren’t even old enough to let me knit or spin…

  35. I love the * … * repeat. I didn’t even notice that knit repeats were so ingrained that I thought you were blogging in English and not knitspeak.

  36. Which one of these has an IQ closest to that of a bagel: Yogi Bear or a Grizzly bear or Barely There President Bush, a mother home with multiple kids and an agenda of her own. Riiiiiiiiiight.

  37. my mom and dad used to do that from two different rooms.
    *shut up!
    no, i don’t have to shut up *
    but to their glory they repeated anniversaries, at least 45 of them untill my Mother passed on.
    gosh i miss that
    i’m just catching up with ya Steph after being off line about two weeks.
    is it too late to ask what heel that is on your Feather and Fan sox? the pair you inspried me to make went off to my GodSister and she was delighted. (me too) i’m working on a second pair for my DD and i’m also wondering, since i’musing Kroy that i’ve had for years, what is the diff between old and new kroy?
    marie in florida

  38. Heh-heh, now I know what you were talking about. All right, so we helped EACH OTHER from committing hara-kiri on our respective laptops. I’m remarkably zen this evening. Stay tuned for coming attractions tomorrow. If you see fireworks, or a Phoenix rising from the east, it might just be me.

  39. What a lovely backdrop to your post today, what a lovely, lovely blankie! I’m holding my breath for the pattern!
    Kids are so great.

  40. Just wanted to let you know that your book has now also found a happy home in Belgium!! I got it yesterday through Amazon and I already started reading a little :D. I whish I could somehow have it signed, or at least a signature on a card or so, but I don’t think we’ll be meeting any time soon.
    Oh, and it’s not to long ago that my sisters and I were acting like that. I swear, it was horror, but some day it’ll be all done! ๐Ÿ˜€

  41. Just thought I’d let you know I’ve been given your wonderful book by a fellow knitblogger from Sweden. May I say that, much like all true superstars, it looks smaller in real life?
    I cannot put it down, which is not doing wonders for my looks. Your writing kept me up well past 2 AM last night. The bags, the headache, it’s totally worth it. Thanks!

  42. My sympathies on the barely-clinging-to-your-sanity thing. My 15- and 9-year-old boys are practitioners of the drive-mom-over-the-edge voodoo, as well!
    As for the BBB pattern, it looks very similar to one I saw this weekend in the Debbie Macomber “Knitting Along With” book that complements “The Shop on Blossom Street.” Coincidence?

  43. Do kids take classes in driving us crazy or are they just born with this ability???

  44. Don’t fret – only ___ days until school starts! :o) We live in the country, so if any of my 3 boys, ages 5, 7 & 8 1/2 decide that they’re going to pull any of those shananagans, I send them outside of just pick them up and throw them into the wading pool! LOL

  45. OMG Stephanie, our kids are related…or at the very least members of some strange adolescent cult bent upon driving all mothers of the world right over the edge.
    At our house a typical conversation goes:
    Devon “Stop looking at me”
    Danica “Make me”
    Devon “Stop looking at me”
    Danica “It’s a free country”
    Devon “Stop looking at me”
    Danica “Your nuts”
    Devon “Mom, she won’t stop looking at me”
    Danica “I’m not looking at her”
    Me “Stop it, stop it, stop it! Danica, stop staring at your sister, you know those death rays from your eyes will scar her face”.
    Both girls “She’s lost it. Death rays? Why do we have to have a mother who is nuts?”

  46. If I had a million dollars
    (If I had a million dollars)
    I’d buy you furniture for your house
    (Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
    –Barenaked Ladies
    I think I might actually give it to MSF…

  47. An only child can do it to you, too. Every time I leave the room she is in, she urgently needs something exceedingly trivial and calls for me. It’s gotten so bad the African Grey parrot now constantly calls for me too: “Maaaaaaaaa-meeeeeeeeee!” Anybody know any good parrot stew recipes?

  48. I’ve been reading your blog for a while Stephanie but only felt compelled to respond today:
    As a stay-at-home mom with 2 kids aged 11 and 2 (and believe or not they still fight when there is a 9 year age difference), I can appreciate how the mind-numbing stupidity and boredom of domestic life can bring a woman to the brink; however, reality has totally taken me by the throat these days: 3 moms of girls in my son’s grade 6 class were diagnosed with cancer this past school year. One passed away on Monday. That means her two children are going to go through their teens without their loving and attentive mother. My heart breaks for her and her kids; I lived through a complete childhood with no mother and it was a very unhappy one. The other two moms are in treatment and for one, the prognosis is very poor. She is a single parent of 3 beautiful children.
    Let us all remember to be grateful that we are here and well, and will not miss our children’s lives. Squabbles and all.

  49. I hear ya on the inane squabbles. We have 14, 12 and 10. I just keep trying to visualize the future, when they are the parents and we are the grandparents and they are here with their kids for Thanksgiving or Christmas and we all stand around in the kitchen, laughing and drinking wine, remembering, “that’s my popsicle” “no, it’s mine”, “no, I bought it with my own money yesterday” “no you didn’t”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. Our son tells us similar stories about our grandsons.
    Because we lived through similar scenes, during his childhood, we tell him it’s PAYBACK!!

  51. there, there, have a cuppa and put your feet up. even if it is for the merest fraction of a moment. i shipped one of mine off to grandma boot camp for a week and strangely enough miss the noise and chaos of the constant fighting in the background.

  52. Actually I kinda wish I had two who could have that kind of squabble.
    About the blanket pattern: it looks a lot like a pattern that Barbara Walker calls Lace Check in her first Treasury. It’s on page 191 of my edition.

  53. I have 4 teenaged sons in my house and one 8 year old high maintenance, high strung 8 year old daughter. Fighting say, yes been there done that too many times to count. Some mothers never scream obscenities, the rest of us are merely human and react accordingly when deliberately provoked. Even with teenagers, each day offers new possibilities for tongue biting and attempting to breathe deeply and remain calm.

  54. I have 4 teenaged sons in my house and one high maintenance, high strung 8 year old daughter. Fighting say, yes been there done that too many times to count. Some mothers never scream obscenities, the rest of us are merely human and react accordingly when deliberately provoked. Even with teenagers, each day offers new possibilities for tongue biting and attempting to breathe deeply and remain calm.

  55. Thanks so much for photographing the knitting needles against your gorgeous blanket — they look better than I ever imagined — and I’m proud to be part of the TSF effort

  56. I think it only right that you use– * * repeat from until — talking about things other than knitting. It’s funny and I can see many times to use it in regular daily life. And only knitters would find it really funny and know exactly what it is and what it means. Thanks for the laugh.

  57. I can appreciate your comments about your children but I would like to challenge all of you who have complained to think about how you might ache relentlessly to hear it all again if they were taken from you by a drunk driver. Go to them this minute and hug them for all of the mothers who will never hug their babies again.

  58. Have my children been visiting your house? This sounds very, very familiar. And, I thought that I was the only one who lived with this scenario.

  59. please forgive a country girl for asking such a stupid quistion, and I think that you’ll be able to humor me considering my growing up where people walk down the asphalt barefoot cause there’s no sidewalks and they go into the store with their 44 DD’s totally unleashed. But what is a chesterfield?

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