There was a traumatic closure in our house during the school holidays. Not traumatic for me, but for my kids. I dared to closed the Mum Café.  It can only be described as a major mum-mutiny.

And you know what? It turned out pretty good for everyone. Let me tell you about it…

It all started on an apparently normal school holiday Tuesday. I didn’t realise that I was running a Mum Café, mainly because during the school term my kids somehow survive on three meals plus two snacks a day. And yet in school holidays, this food supply is apparently no longer adequate. Commence non-stop snacking. And non-stop requests for special orders at the Mum Café.

Those three little words were being repeated over and over and over again; Mum I’m hungry (side note: answering with Hi Hungry, I’m Mum is apparently not in the slightest bit amusing. And this from an audience who think knock-knock jokes are hilarious. Go figure!) Anyway, so the Mum I’m hungry routine was in full flight.

At one point I think I had served more than ten snacks. To just two humans. And it wasn’t even lunch time yet. I was beginning to feel like some unpaid, under-appreciated chef at an open all day café with only two a*rsehole customers. Two serves of noodles for the lounge. One apple sliced to the bedroom. Toast with melted cheese to the craft table. It was like room service in a hotel. But without the kids wearing bathrobes and plying me with generous tips.

And then I had one of those mum moments of great clarity: kids who can successfully feed themselves all day at school are capable of getting themselves a snack. Bloody hell. #gamechanger

So I closed the Mum Café.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not starving my children. I’m just not serving them snacks anymore. My decision was made in the spirit of the Ann Landers saying, It is not what you do for your children but what you teach them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings…” Or put more simply my version of the same, “There’s no servants in this house so get your own damn snacks!”

How did I do it? Well, it was easy! There is now a special self-help shelf in our fridge. It’s filled with lots of fruit, favourite veggies, cheese sticks and yoghurts. And do you know what I’ve found? My kids are perfectly capable of getting their own snacks. They can choose what they want to eat whenever they want it.

And the result? My kids eat when they are genuinely hungry. Because who would waste the effort getting their own snack if they didn’t really want it right? They also miraculously now eat a lot less snacks. It’s somehow less fun when you have to stop what you’re doing to go get a snack yourself. Kid logic right?

Closing the Mum Café is a win for my kids’ independence and for my sanity. I don’t have to get snacks anymore. And I don’t have to hear a single Mum I’m hungry. Because that’s not my problem anymore. The only snacks I need to worry about are my own.

Which reminds me, I’m hungry. Kids, someone bring Mum a snack!


I love my three country kids - and all things writing! Like most mums, I wear lots of hats - writer, children's author, organisational psychologist and the pairer of the odd socks!


  1. No food allowed in the bedrooms here unless they are sick and have to stay in their bed/bedroom. A know a lot of other families who have that rule too, long before my kids were born. Crumbs, leftover bit of food and some drinks encourage ants. One of the boys took a bottle of fruit drink in his room and forgot about it. I had to trace the ants back to the cause. We had “treats” in the fridge and discovered that one of the girls was taking far more than her share and stashing some to eat later. leaving very little or none for the others. What the kids didn’t know was that packs on non-refrigerated food in different places had colour marks on them. There was some for the little ones too small to open the cupboard. If you’re silly enough to hide the wrappers behind your bed you are going to get caught more especially when the disappear while the little one is asleep in her cot with her door shut to keep the older ones out. They know I will hear the bedroom door open

    • I might add one climbed up on cupboard shelves to reach those for the little ones

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