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There are few things funnier than watching The Mom re-acclimatise herself to living on her own. As myself and my siblings have been moving in and out of her house for a number of years now, we’re all sort of getting the hang of it. Initially, I’m bombarded with emails because The Mom’s no longer used to being solo in the house, and therefore needs to chat. But once she’s got her stride back, she’s fiercely protective about what it is she gets up to, now that there’s no one there to judge or keep tabs on her behaviour.

The funniest thing is that she thinks the rest of us have no idea what she’s up to, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The other funny thing is that she thinks she doesn’t do these things when we’re all around.

Look, I get it. I’ve had flatmates until fairly recently, and it’s a good thing, living with other people, for the most part. Because you can’t indulge yourself quite the way you might normally, if left to your own devices. You might not feel that you could reasonably, say, spend all day Saturday in your underwear eating peanut butter from the jar and binge-watching TV. Well, at first. At first you wouldn’t do that because you wouldn’t want whoever you’re living with to think you’re a lazy nutjob with no ambition. But. Once you’ve settled in a bit, and get to know each other, there’s a moment when you realise – if you’re lucky – that you like to do similar gross things – the sort of things you’d do with the blinds shut. You know, like sitting up eating a bucket of chicken when you’ve had a bit too much to drink, or eating a family-sized chocolate bar over the course of an evening in front of the TV. That kind of thing.

Since The Mom’s mostly not lived on her own, she gets more of a thrill from doing these kinds of things. And her version of what I wouldn’t do if other people were about is pretty tame. Eating dinner in bed in front of the TV counts as a full night of entertainment in some quarters. It’s really not even that far off of Netflix and chill, frankly.

And the rest of us all know about The Mom’s rather poor eating habits when she’s on her own. But we’re not really ones to talk: I know for a fact that L’il Sis will eat the crumbs from a bag of corn chips with a tin of beans and some sad lettuce and call it taco salad. And after being away on a long, exhausting shoot, Crazy D is well-known to come home, draw the curtains, and binge watch box sets whilst catching up on his beer consumption. I’d say I’m known to do some terribly things when on my own, but I don’t have a lot of filters and mostly what I get up to on my own is the same thing I do with my family around. Though, I don’t tend to fall asleep on the sofa so much – but that’s due to fear of being woken up more than anything.

But, we let The Mom think she’s getting away with something because she enjoys that kind of thing. It lets her feel like a teenager run wild, and since she never did that when she was one, it seems only fair to let her have at it now.

So when she suggests, half-jokingly that we eat popcorn and ice cream for dinner when I’m home in August, I’ll pretend to be shocked. When she retreats to her nest for dinner and some time with CNN, I’ll pretend to be appalled. It’s all for the greater good, really.

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