Let’s be Hank: on caring less what people think

A few weeks ago I met a bloke who works on a construction site near Finley’s nursery.

Actually I didn’t really “meet” him, so much as just happened to walk by with the pram, which he thought was a fair enough reason to whistle at me.  I scuffled away uncomfortably, with the awkward mutual understanding that was inspecting my rear end as I did so. Ugh. Normally, I would want to hate this guy. Who whistles?? And at people with prams?? But I don’t hate this guy; I have actually begun to respect him.

And here is why:

This fella, let’s call him Hank (because I’ve created a persona for him, and he is very much a Hank), is working on a four story Victorian home which is so large that it could easily be converted into six flats. It is a daunting project.  I see him twice a day, and never with any other tradesmen… is he working on it alone? I want to know what the deal is.

You may wonder why I have taken particular interest in this project, and him, when he is a creepy mam-with-pram whistler. Why care? Why notice? I’ll tell you why. Because whilst Hank is working, he is SINGING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS, and dancing too.  It’s infectious!!

Without fail, every day at 8:30am drop off and 4:30pm pick up, he is there: twirling about the scaffolding and usually in the same clothes, with teeny pop blasting. He is singing, more like YELLING the words to Rihanna and throwing a bit of hip action in for good measure.

I always keep a safe distance and avoid all eye contact (because if I didn’t, I’m sure Hank would consider me to be “asking for it”), but this morning in the pouring rain, when he was scrambling for the words for “Gangnam style”, I felt like running into the middle of the street and doing the horsey dance.

I love that he doesn’t alter his urges when there are onlookers; He attacks his work with vigor, and despite the miserable British summer so far, he is capable of literally singing in the rain.

If I were a little bit more like Hank, I would wear more flowy dresses with trainers, and less padded bras.  I would stand by my parenting decisions and let Finley walk around the doctor’s surgery barefoot, because that is how he prefers it and truthfully I don’t see a problem with it. If I were like Hank, I would go for “skips” instead of runs, and do sit-ups in the middle of the park when I felt like it, irrespective of how many people were having picnics. I would almost certainly swear more, and yet I wouldn’t hold back from requesting that others didn’t do so in front of my son. Those would be my choices, and I would firmly stand by them.


Being an adult and a mother is hard enough. It is a great shame that us mums so often break our natural flow and succumb to the pressure to do things “the right way”.  Being our unedited selves may not always be the popular option; it might weird people out and rid us of a couple of the 587 friends we have on Facebook, but WHO NEEDS THEM when you’ve got yourself and the first-class few who accept you just as you are.

Today my goal was to find an opportunity to follow my instincts and disregard judgment. What resulted was my cousin and I dancing like batshit crazy teenagers in the MANGO fitting rooms in matching jumpsuits (because our Canadian family had asked for a video of us saying hello from England… and it kind of snowballed from there! The video is on Instagram, for any lovers of bad dancing and booty dropping). I haven’t laughed that much in ages.

I believe the best bits of parenting advice going around are those which encourage us to follow our instincts.  If I could humbly add to this advice, my contribution would be this:

Let’s be ourselves. And on particularly great days, let’s be Hank. ♥


Many thanks to the converse trainer which held the video camera so snugly, and the poor woman getting changed next to us who said nothing at all.



2 thoughts on “Let’s be Hank: on caring less what people think

  1. El says:

    I love much about this post but let’s not be like hank who is actually sexually abusing you, making you feel uncomfortable and breaking the law. Why is it we have to put up with that shit while he gets to dance in the rain??!


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