Rules The Roost

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I was recently asked by a man who works at my gym whether Miss Rose “Rules The Roost”.

I laughed and said yes she does.

He then suggested that it’s because if she’s happy, I’m happy, so letting her run things is the best way to keep a happy house.

Beside him stood a pregnant colleague. Glaring. Judging.

It came up because Miss Rose had not wanted to do much swimming, so we hadn’t been in the pool for very long. I take her nearly every day and sometimes she loves it and swims around on her woggle beautifully for ages. Other times she’s just not interested, and I don’t force her. I love it, and I want her to love it, but I don’t force the issue. Some days she just wants to stand under the shower, so we stand under the shower.

Should I force her? I don’t think so. If I want her to enjoy it then making it something she has to suffer through is not the way to go. Making it something she can get pleasure out of her in own way is. She loves going to the pool and if she’s happy, I don’t really mind what is making her happy. If it is being under the shower, at least she’s happy and associates being at the pool with happiness.

However, I know it is generally seen that she is in charge. Not just in the swimming pool.

The pregnant colleague doesn’t like me. Does not approve of my parenting style. The fact I am happy to crawl around on the floor with her because it makes her laugh is childish. Running around giggling and throwing her about is immature. Letting her decide if she wants to eat, if she wants to swim, where she wants to go, is weak parenting.

Of course, it’s her first baby she’s pregnant with so perhaps she will change her tune when her little darling arrives and doesn’t conform to the high standards she expects other people’s children to obey.

In some ways Miss Rose does rule. We structure days around her and her needs. I take her to places she will enjoy, have music or TV shows on that she likes, and buy food she eats. We have meals at times that suit her, and do activities she enjoys. If she’s tired we don’t go out. If she’s got a lot of energy we run around chasing pigeons. Her life is, in many ways, completely in charge of my life.

However, I’m the boss. She does not get away with naughty behaviour. Her tantrums are not rewarded with things she is tantrumming to get. If I need to do something she does not want me to do, she is enclosed behind a stair gate and not pandered to, because some things are more important than what she wants me to do.

It is a balance. It is a balance I have reached that I am comfortable with and that works for us. I’m not obsessively strict, but equally so I have rules and structure. I could be more strict and in some ways I probably should be. For a lot of families my fluid style of parenting would just not work. But that, surely, is irrelevant. Because for us it does work.

The man who suggested Miss Rose is the boss said it with affection, we know him quite well and he is very kind to her. It wasn’t said in a judgmental tone but with amusement.

The pregnant colleague?

I’m pretty sure that she will parent in a way that some people won’t approve of. I’m pretty sure she will get judgement face, criticism, people talking about how she raises her baby behind her back. I’m pretty sure one day she will learn that it’s not up to other people, and if you’re doing what works for you that is what matters most.

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!



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