If I have learnt one thing since becoming a parent it is that I am great at handing out advice. This surprises me as I am exceptionally bad at asking for advice and even worse at receiving unsolicited advice (ask my husband). I suppose that I am just a repressed (“Not that repressed!” I can hear my husband snort) know-it-all!
And yet, I just want to help, I want to take the struggle out of your life, remove the hurdles and make you wonder, hey that works why didn’t I try that sooner.
So really I am the worst of two worlds a know-it-all-do-gooder.
Well, whatever. If blogging is good for anything it is good for getting things off your chest and if I don’t unburden myself of these tips I will start prowling the local parks to offer my unwanted guidance to poor unsuspecting parents.
Believe me, it’s better this way.
Tip 1: Get a massive scarf
Bear with me here, I am not dishing out fashion tips, but a huge scarf has been a saviour on more than one occasion. Make sure it is garishily patterned and colourful so any stains will go unnoticed.
Said neck apparel has many basic functions:
Sun shade to cover a buggy
Wipe for damp slides, swings or any manner of play park equipment
Spare clothes (simply wrap child/yourself)
Towel for wet/mucky hands
Make shift nappy (in extreme circumstances only)
It can also be used to keep your neck warm on chilly days!
Tip 2: Make the fruit bowl your friend
If I had a penny for the number fo times my children
whine ask me ‘Mummy what can I have to eat?’ then I would be typing this on a beach in the Maldives. My kids are veritable snack-aholics. And as any mum knows snacks should be quick to prepare, mess-free and easy to eat. To stop my children from bothering me …ahem, to encourage my children to be independent I have put a gargantuan fruit platter on the kitchen table in easy reach of small hands. Then when they are feeling peckish (and it’s almost tea-time) I can point them in the direction of the fruit bowl.
Obviously this doesn’t work every time and you may still need to
see to your children’s demands provide other snacks. But at the very least you can feel smug in the knowledge that you have offered an apple or a banana nine hundred times and at the very worst you will end up with a fruit bowl full of half eaten pears and a sofa covered with apple cores.
Tip 3: Only attempt to tidy when the kids are not around
This tip has saved my sanity. When the twins were tiny it was easy to clear up around their little immobile beings. Now they are rumbling, tumbing three-year olds it is a whole different ball game (metaphorically and literally). From hard experience of feeling like that Greek guy pushing a rock up a hill* I have learnt that once you get to the top of the tidying mountain you’re back at the bottom staring at a room full of half-done jigsaws, lego, naked Barbies etc etc.
My answer – never attempt any form of tidying while the kids are still playing (here I am not counting washing up, changing the beds or dusting). Seriously, no one is as concerned about the state of your house as you are. It does help if you declutter and you can follow some more of my smug know-it-all advice for that here.
Practise (and it does take some practise if you are used to have a neat ordered house) turning a blind eye and ignoring the chaos. If you are refilling the toy box or sorting the train track from the Duplo at midday then more fool you. You will be repeating that very same chore at 7.15 and you know it.
Tip 4: Pick your Battles
I suppose the next two tips are all about being easy on yourself as a parent. If you have read any of my previous posts (please do!) you will know that I strongly believe that we have over-complicated parenting but the simple truth is that to be a good parent every minute of every hour of every day takes a considerable effort.
You simply can not be a the top of your game all the time. So I would suggest that you let somethings slide. Of course I am not saying that you should not discipline your child or that you shouldn’t be vigilant over their safety but constantly trying to keep up this parenting lark is hard going. So don’t beat yourself up if you ignore a minor fight (it’s character building in the long run) or using bribes and threats to get results. In fact I whole-heartedly endorse a two-pronged attack of threats and treats. Keep the kids of balance and you will ultimately be triumphant in this game of moans.
Tip 5: There’s nothing wrong with taking the easy option
There seems to be a modern-day myth (well, at least for my children’s sake I hope it is a myth) that there is such a thing as lazy parenting…haha I was woken up at 5 o’clock this morning and had to watch 4 episodes of Numberjacks** through my eyelids. Some days lazy parenting is the only option. Sometimes surviving the day seems like an insurmountable task.
Every parent has lazy days/guilty days/days which are a struggle and a grind. And on these days (and on all other days in between) there is no harm in taking the easy option. As far as I am aware no child has been traumatized by occasionally having Macdonald’s for lunch, watching 4 hours of TV (remember I woke up at 5am people, that only takes us up to Bing at 9.15!) or for being told off a little to harshly by a parent at the end of their tether.
If your child refuses to eat homemade lentil burgers then I suggest you stop serving them to him. You are simply setting yourself up for disappointment and failure, probably dished up with a side order of guilt. Why? Take it easy on yourself and your child and take the less demanding route. Which is probably fish fingers.
And if it helps alleviate the guilt remember that you did offer him an apple two minutes ago.
Can you add anymore tips to our list? Please let us know below.
**Never heard of Numberjacks. I suggest you either google it or wake up at 4.45 and turn on the Tiny Pop channel. It’ll mess with your head.