How many of you have had conversations that go something like this?
I am going to be a footballer when I grow up.
Er – no you are not. You are going to go to university to get a degree and be a world renowned doctor/scientist/boffin.
I am NOT. I am going to be the next David Beckham.
My eldest child has revealed he has no intention of studying, going to university, getting a proper job or even getting married (yuck! he exclaims at the suggestion).
No, at seven, his mind is totally made up. He’s going to play football.
This is not because footballers are idolised around the world or that they earn bucketloads of cash, drive nice cars and live in big houses. He’s too young to understand the meaning of all that.
No, he wants to be a footballer because he loves the game. Pure and simple.
When my first born was handed to me by the midwife, it was written in the stars that football would feature somewhere or other in his life because we rather like the sport in our house.
But he eats, sleeps and breathes it.
He wears football kits every day. Heck, I even have to stop him putting a football shirt on underneath his school uniform. And non- uniform days always feature, well, football kits.
Sometimes he has been known to wear new kits to bed, he gets up at 5am to watch Match of the Day before anyone else can come down and turn it off and, crikey, he even knows more about the players than my husband (a footballing encyclopedia).
So now he wants to be a footballer. My mother’s instincts are in turmoil. I want him to be happy, but a footballer’s life ain’t rosy and it’s a pretty short-lived career either. But try telling him that.
I remember that I had virtually the same little chat with my own mother over my ambitions. I’m sure mums across the land have too.
When I was little I dreamed of being an actress.
Not for the fame, you understand, but I thought it would be fabulous to dress up, slap some make-up on and be someone else for the day.
My mother wasn’t so sure, she wanted me to get the proper job, probably something like a doctor (I can see my teachers doubled over and hooting with laughter at the thought of that happening.)
So she got her way and, well, I got my way too. And my exams consisted of theatre studies and English and biology.
Quite a contrast but it seemed to appease my mother who thought I had a backup, little realising I was absolutely rubbish at anything scientific.
But I loved the theatre – the smell of the greasepaint, treading the boards, curtain up. I really wanted to be a stage actress.
I would drag mother to watch whatever production I was in, be it the school play or a solo exam piece.
But after several stints on the stage, and a non- speaking part as an extra on a BBC series, it was blindingly obvious I was never going to make it.
And I had a terrible habit of forgetting my lines.
So maybe, just maybe, I’m rather glad I listened to my mum, and that I studied something else as well.
And maybe I can instill into my son that mum always – well nearly – always knows best.