…you score a parent and child parking space.
Get some great family photos, but make sure you’re not in any of them.
Spend forty minutes in a play park despite it being 160oC.
Build a complicated castle/deep hole on the beach.
Eat chips with everything and ice cream after everything.
Whilst on beaches, glance enviously at the bare breasts of your European counterparts.
Last but not least you must drunkenly consider investing in a time share or sailing the Med for a year or similar.
1) When you get pissed on.
And then you have to put a wash on so you’re punished twice.
2) When you forget it’s non-school uniform day/World Book Day/bake sale
They may have sent a reminder letter, email and message in the sky but you can’t be expected to remember everything.
3) When you tell your five year old you’ve run out of ReadyBrek and he says ‘for fuck’s sake’ under his breath.
Must’ve heard it at school.
4) Whenever you get a ‘gentle reminder’ to pay last month’s nursery fees.
5) When you’re on school pick up and the teacher says ‘can I just have a quick word?’
6a) When they’re in the bath by 3.45pm
Because when they’re in their pjs it’s ok to let them watch telly til bed. Right?
Any others that I’ve missed? Leave in the comments your Parent of the Year moments so I can feel reassured I’m not the only one not winning it but winging it.
Last year was the first time we had celebrated Halloween and we were going hard [then] going home. Here’s a guide for you and your loved ones this ‘ween.
1) Google costume ideas
Key words: ‘cheap’ and ‘low input’. Realise all that controlled crying and puréed foods that parenting forums told you would make your child a serial killer was excellent prep for Google images suggestions for boys’ costumes:
Search for girls’ costume ideas in the hope it will provide inspiration for how to make a pumpkin outfit from a pillow case. Mostly it shows you how to make a seven year old girl look like a fresher on the pull:
2) Let the kids choose
Put a pile of clothes from World Book Day/unused handmedowns and let the kids rustle something up. William dressed in a vampire outfit because he thought it made him look ‘smart’. It did. It made him look like a car salesman circa ’92. Alex squeezed in to some fire hazard we found in the fancy dress box. Done!
3) Hit the streets
Always worth warning the neighbours that you’re coming. We expect ours to perform a convincing ‘gosh what a terrifying shock’ performance when we knock so I like to give them 24 hours to rehearse/buy sweets from One Stop. When we went knocking, William got his holidays all in a muddle and gave out hot fistfuls of melted chocolate coins with a hearty call of ‘merry Halloween!’ to our bemused/tolerant neighbours.
4) Home by 6
‘Is it the middle of the night, mummy?!’
‘Yes. That’s why it’s so dark! Off to bed my little vampire’
‘Mummy, what’s a vampire?’
5) Lights out
No one wants to lay eyes on an under-30 once their own children are asleep. Once our kids are sparko on a Halloween eve, the Wig Wearer and I like to turn the lights off at the front of the house and pretend we’re not in: who’s being tricked now, suckers!
Kate Rowe is one helluva wonderful woman. We met when she was doing teacher training at our school (she’s a darned good teacher BTW) and we have been friends since. It’s hard to explain the seventy different ways this woman is ace, but one shining example is that the night before Alex’s ear op she popped over with her young baby on her hip and a freshly baked cake. This cake was double fudge chocolate, professionally iced, bloody delicious and had an ‘A’ on top. I was extremely touched. Alex was extremely happy! Kate’s a darned good baker, too.
So here she is, in the early throws of motherhood, making me laugh as always and being good at another thing: writing hilariously about making mum friends.
The Seven Stages of Making a Mum Friend
- Join a baby group.
Honestly they do help. It gets you out of the house, forces you to brush your hair and allows you to breathe air shared with other humans who are bigger than a cat. There are some awesome ones out there too and many of them are offered for free by your local Children’s Centre.
- Seek out the mum who has the same outlook as you.
For me it was the other mum who was rolling her eyes and fumbling the baby sign language to ‘Say Hello to the Sun’. Our eyes met across the play mat with a mutual appreciation to the ridiculousness of where our lives had led us.
- Sit next to new mum at next class, but play it cool.
Babies provide a brilliant opportunity for conversation. Everyone loves talking about their baby. Slowly introduce personal detail about your life, I have found that mothers-in-law can be a great topic!
- Ask new mum for a casual after class lunch.
Practise how you will ask all week, trying out different variations on your long-suffering husband. Throughout the class have nervous butterflies, waiting for the ideal opportunity to ask, in a super causal voice, ‘So how about lunch next week after the class?’
- Carefully select lunch spot.
Pick somewhere close by, with enough other people to make an cheerful atmosphere that can cover any awkward gaps in conversation.
- ‘Mum, I think she wants to be my friend!’
Ring your mum to celebrate the fact that there were no pauses, that you talked for three hours and that you both didn’t realise the time. Bonus: you can both celebrate that you didn’t get tickets despite going over the parking meter by an hour, even more in common!
- The Facebook add.
Find them on Facebook and add with a baby question as an excuse. Now it’s Facebook official, you’ve done it. You have made a new mum friend! Pretty much guaranteed your babies will get married and you’ll probably end up being family now.