For the love of my family, these are my final words

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Love is in the air.

Or so we are led to believe at this time of year.

Maybe your doormat is piled high with cards, or your tables are groaning under the weight of red roses.

Perhaps your teeth are under a sugar attack from the ton of chocolates your loved one has given you today.

And who can deny that such outward pouring of emotions is appreciated?

But if you have small children, then often romance comes second on the list, after getting the laundry done, making packed lunches and finding a monkey outfit at 11pm the day before it’s required for the school assembly.

With children in the house, romance is often sidelined for other types of ‘love’.

Love for the warmth of the family, love for the sweet things that children do and say and love for that moment when the children are all in bed and you can relax with a large glass of wine.

I have been writing this column for more than two-and-a-half years now and this is my last one.

I have decided to stop partly because I have less time to write but also because as the children get older it becomes more difficult to find appropriate things to write about.

A few years ago a writer, Julie Myerson, began a column in The Guardian about family life with teenagers.

The columns were raw with the ups and downs of their middle-class lives.

She wrote it anonymously, changing the names of the children to protect them.

But as time moved on, her oldest son turned to cannabis and Myerson openly wrote about the effect it had on the rest of the family, and the influence it had on the younger children.

Still believing that her family’s identity was hidden, her columns were full of the arguments, expletives and general hideousness that you can imagine occurred.

The column was a huge success and what had meant to be a dozen or so pieces, turned into a two-year stint.

Her children, she believed, were still in the dark as to the fact that their mother was writing so openly about them.

But then their friends had started to notice the similarities between the columns and the real lives of the Myerson children.

Following the publication of a book about her oldest son’s drug addiction, Myerson reluctantly admitted that she had been the author of the columns.

Her children felt betrayed.

I have always been open with my children about this column.

I asked their permission before I started writing it, and especially since I knew that their friends were reading it, I have been particularly careful about what I write.

It is one thing to write candidly about family life, another to reveal every tantrum, personal problem, or embarrassing slip up.

However, maybe in the death throes of this column I can spill the beans on the time one of my children vomited profusely in the ball pit of a soft play area.

Or the fact that one of them used to talk animatedly to my foot (which I had to wiggle appreciatively and respond in a comedy voice).

But I still love them.