A Modern Family…

The Holland family are back to full strength over Christmas with Tom and Harry back from the States and Sam back from Gleneagles. And due to various circumstances, all back to their parents’ house. The Old Folks Home as they might call it.

Like an old school Christmas then and great fun but for the family life glitches that quickly present themselves and my age and dinosaur credentials are laid bare.

The most apparent change to our household is just how much the doorbell rings. A doorbell ringing used to be a time of excitement. Who can that be?

Not any longer.

Our house is like a hub address for deliveries – and mostly it seems with food, even though we do have a kitchen and one which is fully stocked.

“Who wants a sandwich?” Harry might ask, reaching for his phone.

“What are you doing. We have bread.” I protest. “And ham. Cheese…”

“Yeah, but do we have cray fish and rocket?”

As humans we are programmed to lament technology and so-called progress – and at the risk of playing to this stereotype, let me firmly state that food delivery apps are not progress. They are not a force for good. Deliveroo with their margins of up to 40% closed down my local Chinese takeaway – and the idea of zombie kitchens in industrial estates cooking our ‘favourite’ restaurants food doesn’t strike me as great places to work. Nor being the bloke freezing his ass off on a bicycle with a picnic hamper strapped to his back.

McDonalds now delivering food feels particularly wrong to me – fast food even more convenient with their irksome radio ads complete with smug whistling sign off. The Drive-Through always struck me as lazy and anti-human by cutting out interacting with other humans. Not to mention the short stroll from the car and having to push open a door which at least requires some energy and might create some room for the calorific disaster that is the Big Mac.

And now these burgers come to our homes complete with the mountain of paper and card packaging that I am charged with disposing of.

Clothing of youngsters is equally irksome. Basically, hoodies – sweat shirts in my day. Leisurewear. Trousers and tops all made from the same type of material. A dense and heavy cotton with a velour interior. No doubt, very comfortable until laundering is factored in. Environmentally aware, I enjoy the notion of air drying clothes wherever possible. We even have a ceiling drying rack to take advantage of warm air rising. But a standard ‘youff’ hoodie takes about two weeks to dry using this method and our tumble dryer can only handle so many items. And so my boys have converted my house in to an obstacle course of damp velour.

Just getting to the front door in time has become a challenge and perhaps I shouldn’t bother because it is bound to be some bloke in a crash helmet holding up a paper bag or box of future ill-health.

Sports are a problem with masses of football matches being watched on TV channels I don’t subscribe to. Secretly I hope they’ve accessed these illegally but I fear my next next direct debit to my provider and the likelihood of me ever being able to cancel this provision. Accessed with a click but cancelled only via a two hour phone call to Mumbai.

Golf clubs are also a problem. I keep mine at the side of the house but with the very cold weather, the boys have struck on the idea of bringing theirs inside – kinder on the hands if the shafts are not cold and more likely to play well. Reasonable logic, but surely even poor shots will be impossible if the owner of the congested house finally snaps and does the same to their clubs.

Slippers have been in very short supply. I have written in Takes on Life about my need to coat my feet in wool – and because our dog, Tessa loves a slipper as much as me, I need to run at least three pairs at any one time. Sufficient for me but woefully inadequate with a full house. It is well worth getting up early to lay claim to a pair and then not venturing out all day – and whilst others are still slumbering, also to take advantage worth of chargers and re-charging opportunities.

Nikki is lucky in this regard. Her slippers are too small to be of any interest to anyone else, so she only has Tessa to be mindful of. But her charging requirements surpass everyone in the house.

Of a certain age now – and dare-I-say-it – mid-change, her sleep is under assault, such that she now takes various men to bed with her each night. Podcasts I mean and lots of them. Getting in to bed has become a military operation. Phone and Air pods, on-hand, CHECK. All fully charged, CHECK…

Further glitches…

TV’s and entire rooms commandeered and designated for exclusive gaming. Milk and tea bags running low. Our porch has more shoes than the entrance to a bouncy castle. Beer bottles poke out of places where they shouldn’t and our broadband appears not to be broad enough…

But hey ho – family life, right?.

And very soon, our boys are about to leave again. Three of them anyway.

And I can watch what I want and where. I won’t panic opening the fridge. Things will be less frenetic. The doorbell will cease and I will never have cold feet again, nor stub a toe on a golf bag.

But quickly I will miss them again. I will ask if they have called and I will wonder if they are okay…

And other things will continue on as per… like Nikki ignoring me because she has her ears in and is listening to another pod cast.

Whether it is 2020 or 2021, as I say, just family life continued…


Happy 2021 to all my readers. Wherever you are in the world, best wishes for the year ahead. This blog runs every Sunday, although for the first time in thirty years, I set out effectively unemployed – and so this blog will depend on having something worthwhile to write about. Let’s see…




29 thoughts on “A Modern Family…

    • Karen says:

      As of mom of two young men, lI emphasize with you and your wife. Why do we hasten their departure from under our roof whereafter we quickly dream of their safe return and the chaos that they bring? We humans are wired so bizarrely! Great blog.

    • Diana says:

      I confess that I found your “insightful” writings through your famous child, but readily seek it out every Sunday. This one was a hit and felt the need to share as I have adult children now. Christmas was spent with them both along with my daughters three rambunctious daughters (10, 7 and 4). Needless to say there were tense moments. At one point my son felt the need to gather us all for a family photo in front of the Christmas tree. My son had the law test iPhone and Apple Watch so he could connect the two and set us up for photo. Not easy with three bickering children. After the photo was shot the four year old announced that she wanted to take a photo of us with her new “very advanced” camera for a toddler, but with all young people she knew how it worked. We stood waiting for the shot as she gave us our instructions hearing her click through various filters. Finally the photo clicked and when we all looked she had put a “circus tent” filter around the image. Could not have been a more fitting analogy to our holiday together.

      • Sabine says:

        I am not a adult and i liked it what you wrote, not because your boys are amazing actors, dancer, chef/cook, photographer and many more.
        I liked it because it was interesting how an adult thinks of that what is going on in their house.
        I don’t know you in person but i wish you and your family the best. Happy New Year!
        From Sabine
        ( i am from austria EU, that is why my english is so bad)

  1. Márcia Malaquias says:

    God, this house must be a mess, I hope the shoes are not stinking mas but this is the life that is worth a lot and we should not exchange it for anything in this world (fame, money and success none of this has any value if we don’t have one Family) God keep blessing your Family, I will also miss seeing Tom and Harry at home, but someone has to work
    Happy New Year ❤️

  2. Márcia Malaquias says:

    God, this house must be a mess, I hope the shoes are not stinking, but this is the life that is worth a lot and we should not exchange it for anything in this world (fame, money and success none of this has any value if we don’t have a Family ) God keep blessing your Family, I will also miss seeing Tom and Harry at home, but someone has to work
    Happy New Year ❤️

  3. Sharon says:

    Happy new year to you and your family. Always nice to read how annoying us adult kids can be to their parents. Also always happy to read that you, the parents, miss us nonetheless. The love flows both ways! Written by a 25 year old kid from Belgium

  4. Andréa says:

    Great post – had me nodding the whole way through it.
    I feel like you just described my house!!
    The knocks on our door are Amazon packages, as deliveroo and just eat haven’t yet infiltrated my village. No doubt they will soon.
    Always great to have the family together, but everyone needs their own space. The conversations shift from “great to have you home,” to “when are you leaving!”
    Do dogs have some biological love of slippers and socks, because mine has destroyed every slipper I had.
    Your posts have become one of the only ways I can tell what day it is!
    Happy new year to you and your family

  5. Rach W says:

    Sounds utterly barmy Dom! But so so fab that the whole family have been able to be together for a bit. Bliss, but bonkers bliss. Happy new year to you all – enjoy the silence when it comes!

  6. Kate says:

    Happy New Year! 🙂
    I think I understand the feeling. Though I’m on the young side… 😉
    I just came back from my parents house. I could tell that no matter how much they complain they’re really happy that at least one of their girls was back home for a few days. Especially that I was cleaning and doing the wash-up… 😀
    And now I’m back to my flat. On my own again, in silence and peace. And I already miss my parents and their company…
    Circle of life… 😉
    Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your blog so much!
    Have a lovely Sunday and great time with your family.
    All the love, K.

  7. Lorraine says:

    How lovely but chaotic the house sounds Dom but also how nice that the boys came home for Christmas. Family time is so important. I’m with Nikki on the wonderful sleeping patterns (or not) I too keep some reading/podcasts for during the night too. You’ll miss the boys when they leave but you can breathe in the knowledge that they are still happy to come home. Wishing you, Nikki and all the family a very happy new year Dom

  8. Mashaal Awan says:

    The entire time I was reading this, I was laughing but also knew deep down you are so happy to have the family together, and a new year doesn’t change family life!
    I remember visiting my grandparents in Pakistan years ago, it felt so alien that McDonalds delivered there and now almost every restaurant does because of this blinking pandemic people don’t take seriously…
    Anyway haha, hope you all had the best time together over the holidays xx

  9. Mia says:

    Thank you for this. It was a refreshing read. I can definitely relate to big family stay ins during the holidays. I really enjoyed reading this! Looking forward to next Sunday’s.

  10. Isabella Benz says:

    The accuracy of this description of “family life” is as startling as it is comforting. The older we “kids” get in this house, the smaller we find it. The mud room remains a constant wasteland of sandals and sweatshirts, and sticky notes on plastic containers have become a regular accessory. But with it all, and especially now, the chaos is welcomed with outstretched arms because, well, family is family.
    I hope you all are enjoying each other’s company while your elder sons are in time. Wishing this year brings you all the very best and then some.

  11. Annette Brown says:

    Being part of “four boys chaos club” – you could just as easily have been writing about the Browns and the shenanigans here. You have made me laugh out loud as usual – thank you. Happy new year to you all xx

  12. ANGELA MARIA says:

    Adorei. É assim mesmo… esse 2020 foi um sufoco com as criancas em casa. Mas se tudo voltar ao normalvesse ano eu sentirei falta.

  13. Anna says:

    I want to write a few words …Since I was a little girl I was the one who took care of my family, I just want to say that I would have liked to have a father like you. Nice to have a place to come back called home. Good job. Anna

  14. Rachel Conrad says:

    I really enjoyed this week’s blog!
    I totally get the frustration for the lack of human interaction when it comes to eating these days. Even when you go inside a McDonalds, they’re like, “Okay, just order on that device right behind you.”
    I thought the blog was especially funny this week, talking about modern families, and a good way to ring in the New Year!
    Looking forward to next week’s blog? or whenever you suppose you’ll post again!

  15. Sara says:

    Oh, as the parent of one teenage and one almost teenage girl, I so relate to the hoodies issue! And they have so many of them – which are worn for half an hour and then declared dirty and left on the floor of the landing, “the wash pile” for me to relocate to the laundry basket. I feel your pain Dom.
    Happy new year to you and yours – I look forward to reading about all of their exploits in 2021.

  16. Sydnee says:

    First sorry I’m a day late, and Happy New Year, I can understand a little bit of that and anymore then I already have I might snap to. I’m with you on the ordering in part that would drive me batty after the third time of it happening, and as of the milk and tea, I wonder if you think they should help replenish it but I know that thought may have crossed your mind very faint but you would never act on it. It’s nice hearing about the Homestead, my sister is the same way with the earbuds, always watching something,lol. I think we all have to get used to being ignored on one end or the other,lol

  17. Paul J. G. says:

    I just came across your blog again after suddenly realizing I was missing something to read a few days. I know I’m a little late to this conversation, but it struck up thoughts in my head that I feel I need to let out up here.

    I’m a 49 year old father of two sons, ages 23 (Ryan) and 26 (Zack). Zack moved out ten years ago right after high school and never gave up adulting. Ryan still lives at home, but I am still loving it each and every day.

    When Zack moved out and more than 7 hours away, I went through the Empty Nest Syndrome worse than my wife. Of course watching them graduate from high school ripped my heart to shreds, I was always the Dad who thought his kids would be home for years afterwards.

    Now that you only have one out of the four at home at any given time, how did you as “Dad” handle it? Especially with, Tom traveling around the world for work? My son lived seven hours away and our nerves were destroyed. I can’t imagine what you and Nikki must be going through with him?

    I’ve heard countless times, parents saying, “I can’t wait for my kids to move out.” That pisses me off just with the thought of ever even thinking that way about my kids, never mind ever saying that to them.

    How was YOUR transition from a house full to one within just a few years? As a father, I would give anything to have a five plus bedroom house with attached apartments for my kids to live in with their families. I hate the quiet and the boredom. When we gather for the holidays, it’s always a great time of just spending it as a family of four.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *