Parenting: it’s like tiptoeing over a Lego-scattered minefield. You can’t take two steps without unintentionally exploding a rage-bomb because you asked for weaning recipes or used a wet wipe or swore in front of your newborn. If parenting could be summed up in an emoji, it would be 😡. Which is why my favourite is 🙄
From the get-go sleep is a controversial topic. There are two hot spots of controversy: Competitive Sleeping and The Pursuit of Sleep.
There’s always one self-satisfied twit who titters with false modestly about how ‘lucky’ they are that their DD sleeps through til 8am. They are usually oblivious to the shell-shocked, shaky wrecks of exhaustion who are absent-mindedly pouring salt in to their coffees. They tend to have bouncy hair and smell of expensive lotions and you half want to be them/half want to flick them. (NB- if this a new ‘mum friend’ you’ve made from NCT/Baby Sign then DUMP THEM. You do not need this kind of negativity in your life).
Or there’s the other kind. The ‘in it to win it’ type. You may be ragged with exhaustion- too tired to even blink without falling asleep- but you will not be as tired as them. Ever. Ev.Er. You had two hours sleep? They had one. You were up at 4.30? Lucky you! (NB- as above)
I don’t mean to pit parents against each other. I don’t want to reduce women, mothers, dads and men down to two types but I do want to be clear. Neither reaction is appropriate.
The next time a parent says they are exhausted and haven’t slept for three weeks the only correct answer is this: ‘That’s shit’.
It’s brief enough to show solidarity but brusque enough to avoid tears. Also worth avoiding is any physical contact such as a sympathetic arm rub as they will either burst in to tears or fall asleep on you.
Altogether now: ‘That’s shit’
Pursuit of Sleep
Who hasn’t raised their eyes to the heavens at 3am and promised a range of empty vows in exchange for a good night’s sleep? Who hasn’t gone to bed thought ‘tonight they will sleep because I bought The Big Issue and let the vendor keep the change’? Who hasn’t tried any of the following and then despaired because they didn’t work after one night’s half-arsed attempt:
-the wake to sleep method
-the shush to sleep method
-the night feed ‘top up’
-the Gro Clock
-the commando crawl exit technique
-the no cry sleep solution
Or any number of methods that you’ve found during a 4.15am Google search.
Any method you choose will inevitably result in your child being either a serial killer or having mum issues.
Controlled crying? SOMEONE CALL SOCIAL SERVICES
Co-sleeping? SOMEONE CALL FREUD
There is no right method for getting a kid to go to sleep and stay in its bastard bed until morning. So just lie. Tell everyone your darling child sleeps through from 6-8 and give off a general impression that they’re maybe just not doing it right whilst you slap on some spendy hand cream and fouff your hair – oh wait…
Much like Brexit or gun control, parenting is a controversial topic that demands commenting on by angry unqualified people. As a hard-nosed journalist (splutter), it is my duty to stick an oar in on a variety of profound issues which I will do in a new, weekly series called Parenting Controversies.
Starting big this week with…
The Gym Kit on the School Run
People just lurrrve to comment on what women should or shouldn’t wear and recently I’ve heard a load of gumpf on how wrong it is for women to wear their workout gear to the school gates.
Anyone else feel like this is horse dung?!
The rub seems to be that either you’re a smug show off or a slovenly sweaty slut who hasn’t showered. I am 100% both of these things so perhaps that’s why I do, regularly, wear my Nikes for the AM drop off.
The school run is tough enough- politically, logistically, emotionally- so I would say that army fatigues are probably the best thing to wear. Lots of pockets for snacks and bribes, the ability to camoflague yourself in a holly bush should you hear the words ‘bake sale’ or ‘raffle donations’ etc. Ideal!
As this is yet to catch on (it will: you read it here first), I wear the next most practical get-up: my gym kit.
Shock! Horror! Outrage! Judgement!
I do it because running to the beat the bell is my warm up and then I come home, chuck the toddler in front of CBeebies (judgement overdrive!) and do a workout at home.
The idea that I would bother going from PJs to jeans to PE kit to shower to jeans is utterly proposterous- who has time to be that inefficient?! So, for now, I will flaunt the judgments of others, clad my lumps n bumps in Lycra and wobble my bits to the school gates with pride: women should be proud of their sisters in sports bras because there’s no shame in being fit, strong, and time-efficient.
So, are we settled? Women can wear whatever the bollocks they like on the school run or wherever else they are going, right? Ball gown, hijab, miniskirt, make up, power suit, pyjamas or PE kit- who gives a fig!
Any other parenting minefields you can think of? Leave in the comments any other explosive topics!
We have a zero-sugar policy all year round and the boys have only asked for charitable donations this Christmas so I think we’ve established I’m a better parent than you. However, the run up to Christmas is not an excuse to let standards slip.
But because of our gluten-, wheat-, E number-, additives- and toxin-free diet, we have to think outside the (Smartie) box when it comes to advent.
Our little angelmuffins don’t need an elf’s watchful eye to ensure their already immaculate behaviour so DH and I created our unique concept, Health on a Shelf.
Instead of a cheeky elf, each morning our children skip downstairs to find the new and hilarious places fruit is hiding in our home.
My DH and I have a great time thinking of inventive places to prop a peach or conceal a kiwi.
We just love seeing their happy faces shine in disbelief and their eyes twinkle with the magic of Christmas.
It’s super easy and a great way to get children to enjoy one of their recommended eighteen a day: not that my kids need any persuading!