Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Before you can go anywhere 'things' have to be packed. And when you have children, you have to take an awful lot of 'things'. If you are a Mum then this will be your job because Dads don't do packing. Their holiday preparations involve looking at maps and 'planning the route'. Never mind that you know the simplest most stress free route to your destination your husband will spend hours poring over an ordnance survey map that he bought when he went on a Scout trip in 1982.
The only part of the packing process that Dads get involved with is the loading of the car. And it will happen like this:
Bags in boot of car.
Boot of car won't shut.
Some bags relocated onto seats of car.
Passengers won't fit in car.
Cry of 'Who packed all this crap' will be heard.
Return cry of 'If you weren't so busy playing with your fucking map you could have done the packing' heard.
Bags out of car again.
Passengers in car.
Bags placed around passengers.
Smallest passengers start to cry because they have been in car for nearly an hour.
Dad gets in car, can't find car keys.
Dad gets out of car and swears.
Mum points out that he put keys in boot prior to shoving the luggage in.
Dad asks why she didn't tell him that.
Mum says that she didn't realise that she was supposed to give a running commentary.
Dad gets all luggage out of boot.
Gets in car.
Realises luggage not back in boot.
Puts luggage back in boot.
The holiday has officially started.
This brings me neatly to one of the themes of this post. When you go on holiday your husband will turn into the most annoying man alive. This is because when Dads go on holiday, they 'go on holiday'
On the journey your husband will insist that he knows where he is going, and he will blindly follow his meticulously planned route even when it is patently obvious that he is going the wrong way. When I was a kid we went on a holiday to Cornwall. it took my Dad 11 hours, yes 11 hours, to drive from Birmingham to Cornwall because he had 'a route' and he was a bloke 'on holiday' and it was his God given right to stick to his route on his holiday!
So the chances are that by the time you reach your destination you will already want to beat your husband round the head with a tyre pump.
It will be your job to get the children and the luggage out of the car while your husband surveys his holiday realm. When a husband surveys his holiday realm he will swagger around rubbing his hands intermittently while saying 'Ahhhh'. It will not matter to him that the children are crying, the carefully packed clothes are strewn everywhere and that there is nothing for dinner...he is 'on holiday' and none of that will concern him.
For the next week, or 2, your husband will regress.
He will not be able to:
look after children,
wake up before 9am,
be responsible with money.
He will be able to:
buy a range of plastic objects designed for children to go fishing with...(in his mind he will 'land the big one'),
fall into water,
get covered in mud,
wear surf shorts,
get sunburnt (dads don't do sunscreen on holiday, they believe that they are immune from the effects of the sun)
So, for mothers the annual summer holiday can be a taxing time.
Sometimes people go on holiday with their in-laws. They think that having grandparents along for the ride will make it easier, give them a break. This theory is wrong, incorrect, silly and just plain crazy.
Having the grandparents with you on holiday is the fastest, surest way of tearing a whole family apart. Particularly if it's your husbands parents that you are taking with you.
For a start off, with the in-laws on board your husband will revert fully to his child-like state. He is no longer an adult, he has 2 mummies to look after him! You mother-in-law will reinforce this notion by treating him like a little boy.
After you have struggled with the holiday packing and endured a traumatic journey to your destination and unpacked all your holiday stuff your mother-in-law will look at your husband and say:
"Oh dear, you do look tired, and haven't you got thin...why don't you sit down, we've got everything under control here.."
This will make you feel a bit cross. But do not show any feeling, because if at any point you look tired, annoyed or stressed you will be told to 'get in the holiday spirit.'
Your mother-in-law will be in charge of the kitchen, you might think that this is good when you are on holiday.
Your mother-in-law will ignore anything you say about what your children can/can't eat. And then she will tut whenever your children don't like what she has prepared for them. You will be expected to eat at rigid times and if you have a glass of wine with your dinner she will look at you as if you are one step away from a trip to rehab.
If you try eating out they will shake their heads at the price of meals and complain that everything tastes of garlic.
If you are holidaying near the coast, fish and chips is a fairly safe bet. However be vigilant for fish bones. Fathers-in-law of a certain age have a habit of getting them stuck in their throats.
Remember though, when you are a parent the holiday isn't about you anymore, it's about your children. And it is only once a year.
So good luck to those of you who are yet to go away. May the force be with you.
Monday, 11 June 2007
However what no one tells you is that when you become a parent you will not have a relaxing holiday for at least the next 20 years.
Lying on a beach, eating exotic cuisine in a cosy little restaurant, lazy days by the pool....never again will you know such joy.
Pre-children, going on holiday involved no planning, it was a case of 'let's go on holiday tomorrow!' Clothes were thrown in bags and the only concession to organisation was to locate the nearest bar for our relaxing first drinks of the trip.
When you have children the planning involved to go on holiday makes the logistics of the moon landing look simple.
First of all you have to choose a location. At 'home' or 'abroad'?
Going abroad involves travel trauma. As soon as you set foot in an airport if you have a child under 5 it will either have a tantrum or diarrhea from the minute you get in the check in queue until the minute you get home 2 weeks later. Plane travel with small children is so traumatic that parents start to believe that driving overland to their destination is feasible.
24 hours locked in a car with screaming children on foreign shores where they drive on the wrong side of the road is a practice that the CIA might consider adopting when they are trying to break prisoners.
Once you have decided on your location you then have to think about accommodation.
Anything labeled 'Family Friendly' will be hideously expensive. There are a few jolly hotels around the country that are totally geared up to families and children. They provide children's activities and babysitting, but to book rooms there you need to make a reservation preferably before you get pregnant and be prepared to re-mortgage your house in order to afford it.
Many people opt for self catering holidays. The idea is that you book a lovely cottage in the country and come and go as you please. Now, if when you were looking around for a house to buy the notion of being miles away from civilisation, with no TV and no central heating filled you with horror please bear that in mind when you book a holiday. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no TV when you have children is Very. Hard. Work. You might have a fantasy of really getting down to some hands on parenting, but the reality is that you will be uncorking the wine before lunchtime in order to drown out the repeated cries of 'I want Cbeebies on'.
Also self catering cottages are seriously expensive too. And getting a reasonably priced self catering cottage in Cornwall during July or August is more difficult than teaching a dog A-Level Spanish.
So, you can't afford a posh hotel, a self catering cottage isn't your scene...what options do you have left?
There are only 2.
In your pre-children days you might have sneered at Butlin's breaks or camping holidays. You might have wondered what kind of person goes on that kind of holiday. Once you have children you understand that you are exactly the kind of person who goes on that kind of holiday. You will watch the Butlins adverts on TV and think 'Wow, that's my kinda place' or you will wander round your local camping shop and think serious thoughts about camping stoves and portable toilets.
Butlins and other holiday parks are great in terms of activities for your children. The only draw back is that they full of other people's children. Other peoples children on holiday, high on excitement and ice cream being as obnoxious as your own children. And other peoples children come with parents. And the parents of other peoples children can soon have you a breaking point.
Camping holidays are great in terms of flexibility and cost. The only draw back is that you living outside and are subject to the vagaries of the weather. And if it rains, no matter how much your tent cost it will always leak. So you will be in a wet tent, surrounded by other wet tents filled with other peoples children and their parents. Nice.
So, you have decided on a location and you have sorted your accommodation. Time for some fun eh?!
In my next guide to going on holiday I will outline why you should never go on holiday with your parents in law, and I shall look at going on holiday can turn your husband into the most annoying human being that you have ever met.
Sunday, 3 June 2007
A slackers guide to choosing a secondary school.
A time will come in our parenting careers when we will have to choose a secondary school for our children.
When we choose a primary school we want teachers who will care about our children, understand their little quirks and an environment where they can be nurtured.
When it comes to secondary schools none of that matters, we all want results dammit! Because secondary schools are where our little darlings will sit their GCSE's, and if we make the wrong choice we could ruin their whole lives, or even worse expose them to 'the underclass'.
When I was a kid (and yes, I was a kid once!) things were so much simpler. There were no league tables, no SAT's, no OFSTED reports and best of all no choice. You just went to your nearest school.
Obviously there were unofficial rankings. For instance, at my school all the girls wore knee high socks...this was a sign that there was a good chance of us passing our O-Levels. At a nearby school all the girls rolled down their socks and wore stilettoes. This was a sign that they were destined for CSE's and marriage to undesirables.
My parents didn't have to think about secondary schools until I was about 10 years old. Today, if you haven't got a plan for secondary education when you are admitted to the delivery suite you are screwed.
I thought that the hysteria about secondary school was an urban myth perpetuated by The Guardian. I realised the error of my ways when my daughter started at primary school. Even when she was in reception there were agonised conversations about secondary school choices. And by the time she was in year 2 at least 50% of the children in her year were being tutored for the 11+ in the hope of ensuring a grammar school place.
I have known parents who have planned extensive rebuilding work to their houses so that they can rent a house in the catchment area of their choice for the duration. I have also known parents who have planned 5 year gaps between their children so that they can afford to go private when their kids get to 11. I have also known parents who trust to fate and send their children to the local comprehensive. They are normally pointed out in the playground as being very 'brave'.
So, if you have a child approaching secondary school your choices are:
Move to a nice area.
Tutor you children from the age of 5 to get them into your local Grammar School.
Trust to fate, send them to your nearest school.
And if you don't make the right choice the video below shows where they'll end up!
In this final guide to Christmas I am going to talk about shopping. We all have to do it. There is no escape.
You will have to buy a gift for your other half. Men, pay attention. This is a very difficult situation for you. If you spend too much money your wife will assume that you are guilty of something, and you will spend Christmas morning having to provide forensic evidence to prove that you are not having an affair. If you spend too little money your wife will assume that you don't love her any more and you will spend Christmas morning having to provide forensic evidence to prove that you are not having an affair. If you buy her sexy underwear she will assume that you don't find her sexy enough and you will spend Christmas morning having to provide forensic evidence to prove that you are not having an affair. I could go on, but I am sure that you get the picture.
Your children will write a Christmas list in October. Do not make the mistake of being organised and buying their gifts then. By December they will have changed their minds. Resign yourself to the fact that you will be fighting off fuckwits in Argos.
Do not rely on the internet. The internet will not deliver before Christmas, even if you order in January. On the rare occasions that they do deliver before Christmas they will deliver the wrong item to the wrong address. This means that you will have to make drunken phone calls to a call centre. You really don't want to go there. Also your partner will make scathing comments about your shopping skills which will cause a Christmas argument.
In December all shop staff will be miserable. Do not try to make eye contact with them, do not engage them in conversation and do not wish them a Merry Christmas. When they look at you across the checkout they are fantasising about how they would like to beat you senseless with your organic turkey and hand picked parsnips. I can't tell you what they want to do with your sprouts. I would be arrested.
This is the end of my guide, I have to go shopping now.
Merry Christmas slackers!! See you next year!
The time has come in my guide to 'Surviving Christmas the Slack Way' for me to discuss 'Family Gatherings'
Whether you have children or not you will be required to show your face and mingle with with obscure relatives that under any other circumstances you would cross the street to avoid.
Here are some instructions on how to avoid any family flouncing.
Broken an ornament
Pulled over the Christmas tree
Smeared chocolate on an expensive sofa
Pulled another child's hair
If you can manage to avoid a vomiting incident, count yourself lucky.
At any family gathering there will always be Mr and Mrs Perfect and their Perfect children in attendance. They will be very easy to spot:
Mrs Perfect will smell of perfume and not a heady mix of gin, turkey gravy, burnt custard and brandy butter.
They will smugly eschew alcohol and sip mineral water...pah!
Their children will be clean, well mannered and will never have had nits.
Their children will not be the ones rolling around on the floor fighting over a paper hat.
Mr Perfect will not be the idiot telling the offensive joke that kills all conversation for the next half an hour.... that honour will go to your husband.
You will have the urge to twat the smug bastards in the face. Please fight that urge. No one wants to spend Christmas in the cells. It's just not worth it.
For some couples Christmas is not the season of goodwill. For these couples Christmas is the time to have a big falling out. It is likely that you will encounter one such couple at a family gathering. They will be easy to spot. One, or both, of them will be knocking back the booze faster than Oliver Reed and George Best having a drinking competition at a free bar, they will only speak to each other through gritted teeth and they will make sarky remarks about each other to anyone who will listen. They can really kill a party atmosphere and all conversational topics are off limits. No matter how innocuous the subject matter might be, it will provide one part of the happy couple with ammunition to have a dig at their significant other. There is nothing that you can do, apart from locking away the wine and having the number of your local police station on speed dial should things turn nasty.
If you are the 'unhappy couple' mentioned above, for the love of God please just stay at home.
If you are visiting your in-laws please remember that the volume of alcohol consumed amplifies the annoyance factor of 'relatives by marriage'. You will have to play second fiddle to your significant other while they get fussed over by their family. You will not be fed, watered or allowed to rest. Please don't drink too much wine and tell them all to get lost. Just grin and bear it and remember that one day you will have a say in what nursing home they go into.
I hope that this guide has provided you with the appropriate tools to have a harmonious Yuletide......and remember, Christmas only comes once a year.
Last time we looked at the role of booze and school during the season of goodwill. Today we will be looking at visiting Santa. I know, I know, I promised to examine the joys of shopping and family gatherings... but hey, I didn't want to peak too soon.
When you have children they will believe in Santa. And it's a fact that most husbands believe in Santa too... I mean how else do all those presents get bought and wrapped?
So every year you will have to go on a trip to say 'Hi' to the big red guy. Sounds fun? Sounds easy? Yeah, right!!
Your child's faith in Santa depends on this annual visit. Get it wrong and you will have ruined their whole childhood. Yes, ruined their whole childhood.
I have compiled a few tips and tricks that should help you all.
All elves and helpers at the Santa extravaganza are miserable fuckers. While you are struggling with a screaming child/children and trying to fold a pushchair they will look on with a disdainful smirk. Moments like that are the reason they go to work.
All Santa's Grottos are totally child unfriendly. They are full of sharp things, chokey things, electric shocky things... and they are dark. If you can make your way to Santa without injury, you are doing good.
Be discerning in your choice of Santa. Remember, you will be judged by other parents on the Santa that you choose. My mother took my sister to see Santa at Harrods. She is still dining out on it twenty years later. And my sister is an Oxford graduate... so, do you see how important this Santa thing is?
It might sound like jolly middle class fun to go with your in-laws and assorted offspring on a Severn Valley Santa Express. It isn't. Essentially you are trapped with your in-laws and lots of screaming children on a cold train in the middle of nowhere. If you are very lucky someone might come round with a trolley full of booze. Just ignore your mother-in-laws *lip curl* as you self medicate with brandy.
When you finally get your audience with the big red guy ( after travelling, queuing, getting cold, getting wet and scaring your children) your children will be mute. Even though they will have been wittering on since the crack of dawn about what they would like for Christmas they will be totally silent. Enjoy it, savour the moment. You will not know quiet like it for another year.
Your audience with Santa will be over in approximately two and a half minutes. Santa doesn't like to chat. And he doesn't think it's funny if you ask to sit on his knee and then giggle like a schoolgirl.
Santa will give your child a gift to take home. This gift will be unsuitable, unhealthy, possibly sticky and downright dangerous. Your child will be sobbing within 5 minutes of opening it. I did hear of one poor family being given umbrellas by Santa. Within five minutes of arriving home there were several poked-eye incidents as a result of frantic umbrella opening and closing.
I hope that this guide will help you to have a happy Christmas. If you would like to thank me you can leave me a glass of gin under your Christmas tree.
This is the first in a series of modules designed to guide you through the season of good will. If you pay attention to this course you should be able to navigate the festive season without getting arrested or visiting a divorce lawyer. Today I am discussing the significance of schools and booze.
You child's school will have a Christmas Fair. You will be required to either send in items to be sold or make cakes for the cake stall. There is no easy option here. If you send in 'an item' you are admitting that you can't be arsed to bake a cake. You will be labeled as a lazy parent and social services will be alerted. You will be shunned in the playground. Forever.
If you do decide to go down the cake route remember that you are entering an arena more competitive and dangerous than the one that Russell Crowe graced in Gladiator. A simple Victoria Sandwich will not suffice. Three-tier festive cakes and gingerbread houses are the order of the day. When you take your creation into school please do not put it in a Tupperware container. Staging is everything. You should glide in, looking glamorous, with a silver platter balanced on one hand and your creation sitting on it gently covered with a bright, white Egyptian cotton tea-towel. The other mummies do not need need to know that you have been awake all night begging the bastard icing to set. They also don't need to know that you fed your children hundreds and thousands and marzipan for breakfast.
The chances are that your child's school will organise a nativity play. It will not be a nativity play as you know it. There will be a cast of thousands to ensure that every child is included. This is nonsense, everyone knows that the only parts that matter are Mary and Joseph. If your child is lucky enough to bag a starring role you can heave a sigh of relief. It is a fact that all Marys and Josephs go on to be popular, well balanced and successful. The rest of you are screwed.
You will be required to buy presents for your child's teacher. I don't know why, but it is just the done thing. A word of advice, teachers don't want cute handmade gifts created by your child. They don't want mugs or ties with smutty comments printed on them. They just want booze and lots of it.
Alcohol will be your friend over the festive season. It will dull the pain of the demands placed on you by school, shopping, over excited children and family gatherings. However you must be careful to avoid some of the common pitfalls caused by self medicating with alcohol over the season of good will.
How much is too much?
It is difficult to define a quantity, but here are some signs that you should never ignore:
You want to tell your mother in law that she is still a fine looking woman.
You have an urge to kiss your boss.
You think that climbing onto your roof and pretending to be Santa is a good idea.
Lambrusco tastes nice.
You consider buying a Cliff Richard CD.
If any of the above happen, step away from your drink. You really don't want to take any chances.
When someone you love has too much to drink.
At some point over the festive period your significant other will have too much to drink. This situation requires careful handling. Here are some pointers for you:
When they stumble in late at night don't make eye contact. If you do they will engage you in an hour long drunken conversation about all the amusing things they said and did during their evening out. The funny thing is that it won't be amusing at all.
If they vomit, clear it up yourself. That way you have the moral high ground. Milk it for all it's worth.
I hope that this guide has been useful. Watch out for Part 2. I shall be discussing the joys of shopping and family gatherings.
Peace and love to all.
This guide is designed to iron out the relationship 'issues' that can sometimes crop up after slackers are blessed with children. Todays guide is aimed at men and it concentrates on two areas that men struggle with. Sex and Communication.
If you haven't got a dinkle, read this article and then pass it on to someone who has. It's your duty.
Let's assume something unlikely. You both have sufficient energy and desire to fancy a bit of 'hows your father' at the same time. The very minute that you are both enjoying it your child will either begin screaming or will make an alarming chokey noise. One of you will deal with the screaming/choking child. The other will fall asleep.
Men, a word of advice for you. When sleep is at a premium don't get the hump if an 'early night' is just that.... an early night. You see, when you haven't slept for several months you just don't really feel like donning your nipple tassles and corset.
Men, another word of advice. Foreplay.... it's not all about sexual gymnastics. Simple things like doing some washing, changing a nappy and finding your own clothes will drive your wife wild with desire.
Communication is very important in a relationship. This is something that men can sometimes find difficult.
Here are some tips for 'The Dads' on post partum female body language.
You will see this quite often. Pretty much as a response to everything you say ever again. It's not a come hither look. What it means is this: 'Everything you say is wrong. Until you can give birth your opinion on any subject counts for nothing.'
You had better get used to *the eyebrow*
The fixed grin.
This is a progression of *the eyebrow*. It means that you have ignored *the eyebrow* and continued speaking. *The grin* actually means: 'If you don't shut the fuck up, I am going to kill you and no court in the land will convict me. I haven't slept for 2 years and I don't give a shit about your car/job/cold.'
Hopefully you won't see *the grin* too often.
The death stare.
This only comes out in public. In public women won't do *the eyebrow* or *the grin*. They know that other women will spot it. And they want other women to know that you both have the perfect post-child relationship.
However, if you:
Speak to or smile at anyone younger/slimmer/childfree,
Make a joke about childbirth,
Make a joke about the state of the house,
Imply that your life is not totally perfect.
The death stare will come out. If you see a *death stare* be scared. As soon as you arrive home you will get it in the neck. If you are clever you will never see a *death stare*
The bedside manner.
If you are foolish enough to get ill, take note. Should you take to your bed and wake from your fevered slumbers to find your wife standing over you with a pillow, she is not thinking of your comfort. She is planning to smother you. Illness is annoying. You are not allowed to get ill.
If this guide has helped to save just one relationship I will be happy. If you have any questions on this course I will be more than happy to advise you to call Relate.
School days might be the best days of your childrens lives, but for you, dear parent, they will be shit.
I have written a short guide outlining the many facets of school life.
If you are lucky your child might get taught by an attractive teacher. It will make no difference to their education but you will feel less like running into the school and killing them when they refuse to see that your little darling is a genius.
You will see your childs teacher at parents evening. Please do not think that the teacher wants to spend half an hour discussing your child. They do not want to hear about how you used cloth nappies and breastfed until your child was 4. And they do not want hear about interesting articles that you read in The Guardian. At parents evenings teachers are merely killing time until they can leave and escape to the boozer.
Engaging teachers in long conversations in the playground before school, or popping in to see them at the end of the school day, will not endear you to them. Instead of thinking that you are *the best parent in the world* they will be on the phone to their lawyer asking about restraining orders.
Other Peoples Children.
I have to warn you that they will pick a friend who is common and a bad influence. All the middle class virtues that you have tried to instill into your child will be undone. No longer will they be content with a box of raisins and an educational toy. They will demand a Playstation and a 'belly button' piercing.
Parties will no longer be jolly, middle class affairs. Other peoples children will invite your child to all manner of downmarket venues. Your child might have to mix with people who have never been to university. I'm sorry, but this is true.
Other Childrens Parents.
Most of your time at school will be spent with other childrens parents. There is a complex social hierarchy in the playground (Think American teen movies) and it is vital that you get in to the correct group as soon as possible.
Here is a breakdown of the social groups that are found in the school playground.
Common parents are easy to spot. After the first week of school they will never set foot in the playground again. They will stand by the school gates smoking and petting their dangerous dogs. They will all have tattoos and dress inappropriately
The Yummys are always aged between 30 and 45. They don't need to work and they spend their days lunching, playing tennis and shopping. They will live in the nicest houses that are closest to the school, yet they will all drive to school in very big cars. They all have blonde hair and wear white clothes. Their children will have that healthy glow that comes from 4 foreign holidays a year.
Working mummys all look stressed. They tend to keep to themselves because they think that they are not *proper mummys* To compensate for this they will throw the most lavish birthday parties and their children will always wear *very expensive clothes*.
Earth mummys always look ugly. Any sense of style, fun or self was thrown out with the placenta in the delivery room. School will be difficult for them and their children because their children are all special. If you invite their child to your house they will come too. And they will judge you and make you aware that you are neglectful because you stopped pureeing your childs food before your child hit two.
These are the parents who will be on all the committees. Need a cake baked? A stall manned? A meeting minute-ed? Never fear, an arse licker is here!! They think that the teachers all love them.... they don't. Normally arse lickers burn out and are on prozac by the time their child reaches secondary school.
If you are lucky you might meet one or two. Don't hold your breath though.
I hope that this guide has been helpful.
One thing that parenting books and forums don't tell you about is how to juggle children and hangovers.
Jobs? Yep. Relationships? Yep. Hangovers? Hell no!
This is because one of the unwritten rules of parenting is 'Thou shalt not enjoy yourself'
However, it is very likely that at some point in your parenting career you will have a hangover. This short course should help you. There will be an exam, so please take notes.
Being woken up by noisy children at the crack of dawn is soul destroying at the best of times. When you have a hangover it is much, much worse. Get up straight away. Please do not lie there thinking that they might go back to sleep. You are deluding yourself.
Once you are out of bed and have staggered downstairs with your children multi-tasking is your friend. If you can learn how to make tea, open a packet of biscuits and turn on the cbeebies simultaneously then your lot in life will be much easier. No one will ever know that you have given your children biscuits for breakfast *just this once* so don't beat yourself up about it.
Show no weakness. If your children spot that you are flagging, you are doomed. Put on a happy face. No one needs to know that you are dying on the inside.
Be vigilant. Don't let your hangover stop you dressing, tidying up and performing various other functions. A suprise visit from your 'in-laws' is bad enough. But when you are in your dressing gown, the house is a tip and you have a hangover the stealth in-law visit is traumatic. One twitch of your mother in-laws eyebrow will let you know that all her suspicions about you have been confirmed.
There are certain things that you should never do when you have a hangover:
Help out at school,
Go to a Wacky Warehouse (or any other soft play type place),
Assemble complicated toys,
Attend a 3 hour long dance festival. (That story merits a blog of it's own!)
I hope that this short course has been useful.
And remember, a hangover shared is a hangover halved. So if you are planning on going out on the lash, give me a shout!
During my time as a parent I have discovered that for many people 'mumming' is the hardest job in the world.
This is not true. With just a few handy tips and tricks 'mumming' is actually a piece of piss.
Here are the basics:
Do not plan anything *ever*. If you plan anything you are ensuring that your child/children will be ill. If the event you were planning was for your own enjoyment the illness will involve vomit, and lots of it. This is a scientific fact. If you don't believe me, I'm sure that I can provide an equation.
Only wear clothes that are black, brown or grey. You will never need to worry about stains again. And crumpled is cool, remember that.
If you are a woman and you are out and about with your children you become invisible to men. So you don't need to waste time making an effort to look pretty. If you are a man and you are out with your children, all women will assume that you are divorced, or even better, widowed. You are fair game and therefore must make an effort.
If you want to watch something interesting on the TV your child/ren will develop insomnia. You will never watch anything good until your children leave home. When that time comes you will be of an age where 'Gardeners World' gets your rocks off. Thus, you will *never* watch anything good again.
Unless newsworthy events are covered on Newsround or Blue Peter, you will have no knowledge of current affairs. If you are with people who are not *blessed* with children, you will have no idea what they are talking about. Just smile and nod, smile and nod... it will carry you a long way.
Learn how to lie. If you are with a group of parents who all breast feed and grow their own organic vegetables, just pretend that you do too. They don't need to know that you live on take-away meals and SMA. If they quiz you about the Nestle boycott, just agree with them. They will never know that you have a multipack of kit-kats and a fuck off jar of Nescafe in your kitchen. It's not worth alienating other adults over something silly like principles.
The time that your children wake up in the morning is inversely proportional to the volume of alcohol consumed the night before. What I am trying to tell you here is, the more you drink the less sleep your children will seem to need.
School is your friend. Parents sob on the first day of school out of sheer bloody relief. Anyone who says different is either deranged or lying.
Once you have assimilated the basics you will be ready to move on to the advanced material.
Watch this space.