Nadia Emek

Written by Nadia Emek

Nadia Emek is a classroom assistant at a secondary school in Edinburgh. She is married with 2 teenage children and a cat called Oliver. She loves to go swimming, walking, and enjoys photography. Yet she finds nothing better than spending time in her kitchen, cooking for her family and friends, and chatting round an old worn, but much loved, kitchen table. Ooh, if only that table could talk...


“Honestly………….all you have to do is plug the flippin’ machine in mother!”  said my rather irate and tired daughter as she flounced out of the kitchen to do something far more important than plug in the pannini machine to make her snack.

How I laughed! “Really? That’s all I have to do? Really?” Having just lugged three full shopping bags up a flight of stairs from visiting two supermarkets – straight after work (as I can never get what I want from one and so have to journey between two), and then putting the shopping away into a kitchen which did not resemble the same room I had left earlier in the morning. The work tops were full of plates, cups, crumbs, the sink full of pots and Nutella covered knives. Having unpacked the bags, I then started to empty the washing machine, made a  start on the items to wash in the sink, opened the dishwasher, still full of clean dishes, then started to take down the dry washing from the pulley which could stay there forever if I did not empty the thing.  In between starting preparing the evening meal, taking out the plates from the clean and rather full dish washer and putting the dishes away I noticed that I was crunching on something on the kitchen floor – and so it required to be hovered. I filled the dish washer and hung up the wet washing. Dinner –“Where was I with that…………….?”  So having prepared and put the dinner on to I fed the poor cat who was lying with his legs in the air! Distributed the dry washing amongst the  ‘guests’ rooms , then having to fight my way to the back of the cupboard to get to the hoover over bags and shoes. Hoover out I noticed that there was tumble weed in the hall and the lounge (we have wooden floors throughout the house) so requiring more rooms to be hovered. Dinner was ready; it then required to be served.  In walked my eldest having holed herself up in her inner sanctum to utter the words, “Did you not put the pannini maker on?……Seriously mother that’s all you had to do!”

Now, I understand that it’s my duty to play housekeeper to my children when they are small, and that they are our responsibility from the moment you are handed the wee pink bundle at the hospital with their wee crumpled face looking back at you and you think “Sorry,  did you just say take it home?”  It is the scariest and toughest job you will ever do, as well as the most amazing and rewarding.  It’s a tough job.  I now look at people who have toddlers going through the ‘terrible twosomes’ and think, “Hey matey, you’ve never had it so good!” Wait until they get to teenage years and then it really starts.  I know I will not have all the answers and that I can sound like an overbearing, controlling hysterical mother; however no-one ever gives you the heads-up to just how tough being a parent can be or hands you an instruction manual. If they came with a ‘care tag’ it would have been metres long.  At least when they are wee you can barter with them, giving them a choice of two things that you would like them to take/do and fool them into thinking they had made the choice. Yes, I used treats and TV time as a bartering tool to get them to ‘comply’, took away Bonnie Bear – an uglier bear you’d never see, however our daughter loved him and still does! He now lives somewhere in her room. It would have been disastrous if we left home without Bonnie, and so it was also a marvellous aid to helping us achieve our goal! Cruel?  Not really -  just a joker card we used from time to time to be used when all other options had been exhausted. Our youngest seemed a little more laid back having had his elder sister to train him.  The first child is used as a ‘trial and error’ after which we then became ‘experts’ once the second child arrived!  Of course it’s right for them to have an opinion and air their views, even if I have  to bite my tongue if I disagree, it’s us as parents who are having to adjust the settings; and it’s hard sometimes.

I have washed, cooked, cared for them for the past 18 years and now they are ready to go ‘solo’.  What am I supposed to do?  What will be my new role now they are ready to head off into the big bad world? To be honest, I think I’m suffering from ‘empty nesting’ and they are both still at home! It’s normal for them to not need us, to be there for them just as much, and can fend for themselves, however we often find ourselves on a Friday night looking at each, having waited for years to have ‘quality adult time’ saying, “What do you want to do?”   Now we have all this time together we’re not sure what to do with it.  I think it crept up on us much sooner than we thought and now we are totally unprepared to ‘go mad’ with all this free time.  Really, this is what we bring our children up to do, go off and explore the world.  Should we not be praising ourselves for having two beautiful talented, grounded children who we hope have all the tools to prepare themselves for adulthood? Rather than fretting about what has been and what lies ahead of us, we should be looking forward to watching our children become young rounded adults?  Is this what they call a mid-life crisis?  If so I get it now, I understand why people feel the need to re-invent themselves as they ‘cap’ of parenthood is removed and stumble into a new phase in their life.

I’m always going to be a mum, but I see I’ll have to change my ideas about that role as my kids change. Nobody told me it would be like this!


Tomato Sauce

With Meaty Meatballs


Couple of tins of tomatoes or a large jar of pasta

Squirt of tomato puree





Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Dried chilli


250g mince

Squirt of tomato puree

Grated small onion

Chopped parsley

1 egg

Salt and pepper

Handful of breadcrumbs

Parmesan cheese grated (optional)

Olive oil for frying

Pasta –anything from spaghetti or a penne


  • To make the sauce, chop the onions and gently fry in a good glug of olive oil until translucent and then add the garlic.
  •  Cook for a minute or so.
  •   Add the tomatoes, puree herbs and season. (This is where you would add the chilli if using)
  • Let this simmer for about 15 mins or so.
  • To make the meatballs, simply add all the ingredients to the mince and mix well, and then roll into little balls.
  •  Fry in a little olive oil for about 10 mins or so until completely cooked.
  • Put the water on to boil with lots of salt for the pasta.   Once into a rolling boil add the pasta and cook as instructed on packet.
  • Add the sauce to the pasta once drained and top with the meatballs.
  • (You could either add the meatballs to your sauce or pop them on the top of the pasta once you have added the sauce.)
  • Grate extra parmesan cheese on top
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