Six Times You Are Not #parentingtheshitoutoflife 

1) When you get pissed on. 

And then you have to put a wash on so you’re punished twice. 

I use the cycle time as a countdown to bedtime #2.59hourstogo


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. 

 

Shit gets real


4) Whenever you get a ‘gentle reminder’ to pay last month’s nursery fees. 

It was an admin error…



5) When you’re on school pick up and the teacher says ‘can I just have a quick word?’

Oh god.  



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?

‘Mum, is it even lunchtime yet?’


6b) When Netlix is passive aggressive about your parenting choices Netflix might judge you, but I never   will. 

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. 

Halloween: a how to guide

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!

Bowled over
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!

We’re coming to get you!

Seven Stages of Making a Mum Friend: guest post

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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?’

  1. 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.

  1. ‘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!

  1. 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.

 

kate pic
Kate (left) playing it cool with her new mum friend.

How to Parent (according to Google images)

Pregnancy 


Well, this looks easy enough. Pregnant women just need to cup their bump and smile a lot. I mean, I guess I didn’t exactly nail this in my pregnancy: I just bemoaned my enormous bump and sweated a lot. I also forgot to stand in front of windows and look at my feet. Shit. I wonder whether I was really pregnant at all?

Childbirth



Well this definitely looks a bit harder but super excited to see men have the option to wear a suit on delivery suite. It kind of seems like women have to birth on their backs whilst men pet them on the head.  

Google also helpfully suggests ‘Graphic’ as a search option and my birth was defo graphic so I probably did it right. Despite the fact I was on all fours, mooing like a cow and screaming at my husband to stop bloody touching me. 

Also, isn’t that a scene from Alien top right? That sets some fairly unhelpful expectations. 

Breastfeeding 


This looks easy peasy: you just put on a white top and laugh. Nice one! 

I wore a grimace and a giant pair of maternity pants whilst I breastfed but then I was crap at breastfeeding so perhaps that was my problem all along. 

Being new parents 


Wowza Google- having a newborn is a real hoot! Maybe they’re all laughing about their decisions to buy white furniture and wear white clothes and, in fact, be predominantly white. How fascinating! I’m off to tug on a white shirt and smile at my husband. And maybe try for a third so this time I can spend the early days giggling rather than weeping and throwing breast pumps at the TV like I did previously. Whoops!
Thanks Google images for showing me the errors of my ways and teaching the next generation of mothers how to excel at the early days of parenting. Where would be without you?!

11 Signs the Summer’s Over

1) You and your beloved are back to TV dinners and sniping about washing up. 

2) You start to like your children a little bit more now you barely see them. 

3) You have to set a reminder on your phone for school pick up. 

Obviously this isn’t a year-round problem.
4) Your knowledge of current affairs is back up to ‘Acceptable’ now you’ve got a commute and some one on one time with Radio Four. 

5) You’ve forgotten your login password, photocopier code and all your work clothes feel tight

6) You’re back in waterproofs and having a blast wrestling under fives in to all-in-ones 

The face says it all.
7)  You know the exact date, time and minute your September pay cheque goes in. 

8) There’s a distinct rise in iPad usage as you need them to pipe down whilst you answer work emails. 

Just how I like them- hypnotised by the light of the iPad
9) Any remnants of tans are flaky, patchy and hidden under jeans. 

10) You’ll bump in to someone you’ve not seen for ages and you WILL have this conversation 

Them: ‘How was your summer!?’

You: ‘Ooh lovely thanks. Kids were a nightmare though. You?’

Them: ‘Good thanks. Seems like a lifetime ago though doesn’t it?’

You: ‘Yeah’

Them: ‘Yeah…’
11) Someone, some where, will ask you about Christmas. 

Where I go in my mind when someone asks me about Christmas

How Cool are YOU? Take this quiz to find out

 

What was the last question you asked yourself?

a) What’s the meaning of life?

b) Do we need more dishwasher tablets?

c) What did I come upstairs for?

 

Which was the last shop you visited?

a) Selfridges

b) One Stop

c) I can’t remember the last time I left the house

 

What was the last song you listened to?

a) A new release from an underground Afro/Cuban band

b) Baby Bum Nursery- Best of

c) My own ringtone when I couldn’t be arsed to answer it

 

Where was your last night out?

a) A private view at a local gallery

b) A quick curry at the local whilst the in-laws babysat

c) 24 hr Tesco for Calpol

 

Where are you going for your next holiday?

a) A detox yoga retreat in Crete

b) Legoland

c) Anywhere with a crèche

 

What’s the most expensive thing you own?

a) My immaculate sports car

b) A Bugaboo

c) Medela breast pump

 

What are your hopes and dreams?

a) Corbyn for prime minister

b) A subscription to Now TV

c) 8 hours of straight sleep

 

ANSWERS:

MOSTLY As

Let’s face it, you’re pretty darn cool. Odds on, your kids old enough to be left alone at home/keep you informed of what’s hot and what’s not.

You may well miss having a bulletproof reason to stay at home and watch shit on TV.

 

MOSTLY BS

You were cool once. Maybe. For a while. In the late ’90s. Chances are you’ve got a couple of under fives, a whopping mortgage and an instagram addiction.

You and your partner talk long in to the night about all the backpacking, raving and spiritual journeys you’ll do together when you retire.

You may well be glad that you don’t have to listen to progressive music and pretend you like it anymore.

MOSTLY CS

You almost certainly have a newborn. You are too tired to even spell cool let alone worry about being it.

You realise you are the member of the coolest club ever- your new family. All else is shit.

#squadgoals #coolgang #toouncoolforhashtags

Disclaimer: I fully appreciate anyone who’s cool would never use the word ‘cool’ but I can’t think of a suitable synonym. I dabbled with ‘fly’ but couldn’t take it seriously. Hip? Happening? On trend? 

God, I’m old. And uncool.  

 

Nostalgia

I always think I feel a cold sneer of disdain for my home county, the home county of Kent. But tonight I drove from my childhood home to a wedding of a school friend across the Weald. 

I drove the routes my mum took me on when she was teaching me to drive. I sang along to Pearl Jam as I zipped past oast houses and black-beamed wonky cottages and dog-leg turned through narrow high-streets and I remembered as I drove. 

I remembered school bus journeys and house parties and long summer evenings and GCSE exams and cider nights out and bunking the train and living for friendships and how it all feels like a different person who is still the absolute essence of me. 

And when I got there, it was like a bit of that old me woke up again. I chatted to women who I hadn’t seen since we were teens on the seafront. I gossiped with friends who I never see but still feel I know. 

And I barn danced. I stripped that willow and do-si’d that do. 

I didn’t take any photos tonight but if I had you’d see me, hair flying, face grinning, feet tangling and me spinning and spinning and spinning until you couldn’t tell if it was me or the teen I once was.