#1 *Use a screen as a babysitter*
I was never going to let my kid vegetate in front of the TV/tablet when there was all sorts of educational activities we could joyfully be doing together, oh no. Instead our days would be filled with baking, crafts and inspirational chats! No need to use the telly box as a substitute babysitter when you’ve got this parenting shit down….
Well let me tell you right now that I very quickly discovered that a screen is at times, lots of times, a mother’s best friend and I live in fear of a power cut/flat phone or Ipad battery taking my best friend away from me when I really need it.
Lets just say my three year old is more likely to be found watching episodes of Mr Maker crafting some bollocks out of a toilet roll and pipe cleaners (he doesn’t actually craft bollocks, that potentially could be considered inappropriate) than crafting at the kitchen table. She can throw paint and glue crap around at Playgroup, that’s what I pay ’em for. Well, that and three hours peace and quiet.
I have swiftly learnt that Youtube can be an absolute life saver when you’re sensing an imminent shit fit at a family pub lunch; that Bing, although he is a whiny little twat most of the time, is actually quite educational; and that Peppa Pig may be a bossy little arsehole but she sure as hell knows how to keep my toddler entertained whilst I eat/shit/shower and that makes her alright with me.
Just remember it’s all about balance, however. It’s important to have balance, and I’ve found that an empty pint glass does the job when you’re trying to get your phone to stay standing up so your kid can watch other kids opening crap on Youtube whilst you finish your ‘Spoons Scampi and Chips in peace 👍
#2 *Take my kid to Macdonald’s*
Oh no, I was never gonna take my kid to that overcrowded, processed crap churning, teenager and Weekend Dad hosting fast food chain. Nope. She would never find out about it’s strangely hypnotic powers and so would never ask to go there. Simples.
Nowadays, Midge Bean seems to be aware of where every branch of Maccies within a 5 mile radius of our house is located, and gleefully yells ‘Donalds’s! Lets go to Donald’s for chips and red sauce!” every time we pass in the car.
I think one of mine and Welshy’s most spectacular parenting communication fails so far has to be the day we inadvertently took Midge Bean to Macdonalds TWICE, as we’d each been looking after her separately over different meal times and so both her Mum and Dad managed to feed her greasy fries and ketchup for lunch and dinner, and only discovered this fact whilst debriefing the day some time later. Of course the child didn’t let slip to either of us about her multiple visits to the Golden Arches, she was too busy living her best life.
#3 *Feed my kids crap food*
Oh yes, as well as avoiding ‘ol Maccy D’s, I was going to ensure that the food I served was always nutritional and full of goodness.
Well, that was before I realised that when your kid is going through a ‘fussy eating’ phase and seemingly trying to starve themselves for the hell of it, you will literally cave into any food related demand in order to not see them waste away, or worse, get you up in the night cuz they’re hungry.
Gone are the smug days of watching your newly weaned little cherub happily gnawing on some broccoli whilst you exclaim to anyone in ear shot “Yes, she’s such a good eater!”
Instead, I find myself yelling to Midge Bean to get herself a slice of plastic cheese out the fridge to tide her over whilst I’m feeding her baby brother and she’s hungry for her lunch, broccoli is nothing but a distant memory and chocolate before breakfast is sometimes an absolute necessity to get through the day.
#4 *Swear in front of the kids*
I was never going to let my impressionable offspring overhear my bad language, and I fucking try not to, I swear.
But sometimes the old road rage gets the better of you and you just have to call the chav in the Honda Civic who just cut you up at the island the twat that he is, at which point the angel in the car seat behind you makes a mental note to repeat what you said and maybe the accompanying hand gesture if you’re really lucky, when chatting with Brenda from next door later that day.
I overheard Midge Bean instructing one of her Teletubby dolls to “Get over there, you little bugger” the other day. I chuckled and noted that it could have been a lot worse. It did get worse the following week when she shouted it across the pub. She was talking to the dog, not a member of public. Cuz that makes it better, obvs.
#5 *Use bribery to get them to do something/not do something*
I mean, there’s surely no need to resort to these tactics to get your kid to do something you need to do, right? Surely getting down on their level and having a calm and reasonable conversation will do the trick? WRONG. Sometimes there’s nothing else for it but to hiss in their tiny little ear “Look, if you just stay quiet for 5 minutes and let Mummy discuss her stress incontinence with the nice doctor, I’ll buy you some Playdoh and a bloody Kinder Egg!” and hope for the best. You can also flip it on it’s head and threaten ‘no Playdoh’ and ‘no Kinder Egg’, if friendly blackmail is more your thing. No judgement here.
#6 *Let them stay up until they pass out because I can’t be arsed to fight them about bed time*
I was certain I would firmly master and employ the art of a strict bedtime routine, and naturally that went to shit fairly early on. Sometimes, when you just know that the ensuing meltdown at the suggestion of bedtime or numerous trips up and down the stairs for apparently much needed cuddles, stories, drinks of water or fetching of multiple bastard cuddly toys is absolutely not worth missing Strictly for, it’s quite frankly easier to let them eventually fall asleep on the sofa at 9pm and get Daddy to carry them upstairs to their bed when they are unconsious enough to not resist. The phrase “pick your battles” is never more relevant than times like these. Yes, they may have beaten you this time, and yes, you may have made a rod for your own back blah blah blah, but at least you are currently drinking your wine and demolishing your Vienetta in relative peace, albeit with a knackered but hopefully subdued little person taking up a weirdly disproportionate amount of your sofa space.
#7 *Allow my kid to have a tantrum in public*
I will admit that years ago, when I used to swan around Tesco footloose and child free (which I now realise is basically a holiday), I’d hear/see a kid having an epic meltdown in the aisles whilst their parent stood helplessly by, and think “But is there REALLY nothing you can do about it though? You REALLY can’t solve this by implementing some calm and effective parenting techniques?” Then I’d skip along to the underwear aisle to buy myself some perfectly fitting Judgey Pants and get on with my naive little life.
Nowadays, I’m more likely to be seen giving a solemn nod of solidarity to that helpless parent as I scuttle by with my kids, thinking nothing other than “Thank fuck its not mine, right now” and practically jogging round the rest of the supermarket to get the shopping done before the situation drastically changes.
Basically, if they’re gonna blow, they’re gonna blow, and there’s not a fat lot that can be done about it, apart from maybe to employ tactics similar to those mentioned in #5
#8 *Lose my shit*
With every good intention, reality tends to pop up to give you a slap in the chops, and believing that you will be able to stay completely in control 100% of the time will do nothing but ensure that slap comes a little bit quicker and stings a little bit more.
Now let me be clear for any muppets in the back with their finger hovering over the Social Services referral button, when I talk about losing your shit, I do not refer to physically or otherwise harming your child in any way, and if you are finding yourself dangerously close to doing so, please seek help as soon as possible.
However, lets get real and admit that even the most Buddha-like of parenting angels will sometimes feel like they are about to lose their shit when they’re faced with a toddler who can sense their weakness after a night of being kept up with a new born whose sole purpose seems to be based around trying to destroy you through lack of sleep and bleeding nipples. At this point I would advise that you do try your best not to leave the cat to supervise them whilst you emigrate, at least wait till Daddy gets home.
Failing that, crack open the wine. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
#9 *Get overly sentimental about my kids*
I used to be incredulous about those parents who spoke of crying at the school gates or university dorms as they waved their crotch spawn off into the big wide world. I used to think I’d be the one who yelled gleefully “SEE YA!” whilst running off to my Spa day or to convert their room into a yoga studio or some other frivolous nonsense. Now, I am relatively certain that I will be the first in line to acquire a completely invasive but immeasurably reassuring micro chip tracking system to enable me to know where they are and what they are doing at all times. They shall live with me forever, or at least within a 5 mile radius. If they don’t, I shall up and move to follow them wherever they go like an annoying mum-shaped fart.
The Welshy and I both blarted at Midge Bean’s first ballet show recently. It was fucking awesome.
#10 *Breastfeed whilst on the loo*
*What are the things you said you’d never do as a parent but now most DEFINITELY do?*