Are you a busy parent hoping to make your money go further?? Look no further than these 6 top tips to boost your bank balance :
1 – Start a swear jar. Then, let the kids loose in the living room with that giant box of assorted Lego/Shopkins/Kinder crap (I KNOW you have one!) and invite your extended family round to join the fun. Insist on a ‘no shoes inside’ policy. You’ll be a millionaire by lunch time.
2 – Attempt a world record. Now apparently, they won’t pay you for the achievement itself, but you could be quids in afterwards with sponsorship and personal appearances. How hard can it be? I think we could have a really good crack at ‘most utterances of ‘oh for f*cks sake’ before breakfast’, or maybe ‘most consecutive days that person A manages to walk past the tower of laundry on the stairs before person B gives in and puts it away LIKE THEY ALWAYS SODDING DO’…
3 – Launch your own YouTube channel. But instead of watching overexcited oddbods opening surprise eggs and making slime, record yourself napping, drinking hot drinks WHEN THEY’RE ACTUALLY HOT, and having a shit with the door closed. That’s the kind of aspirational escapism parents need in their life right now…
4 – Capitalise on free days out. What’s Alton Towers got on that glass elevator your kid insists on riding a thousand times a week at Next? Why spend a fortune at the zoo when you can walk around ‘Pets At Home’ for free? Try and avoid making eye contact with staff members though – his badge might say ‘Jeff’ but his face definitely says ‘you serious lady? You pulled this crap last week! Buy a damn rabbit or f*ck off’…
5 – Set up a ‘meal rejection circle’ in your local community. When little Johnny has finished dry-heaving into the bin at the very sight of your ‘hidden vegetables’ pasta bake, pop it round to Sarah next door to save her the trouble of cooking her own bin-fodder before inevitably giving in and whipping out the Dairylea Dunkers. Give it a few weeks and you’ll save an absolute fortune, hours of chopping / swearing at Annabel Karmel AND minimise food wastage. Bargain!
6 – Resell all that stuff nobody wants anymore. And by ‘nobody’ I mean ‘you’ and by ‘stuff’ I mean ‘messy/musical/possessed-by-the-devil Toys-R-Us shite that well-meaning relatives have inadvertently ruined your life with’… #AbsolutelyNoRefunds
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be swimming in dosh in no time! #parentlife
Miss O’s 3rd birthday is fast approaching and she’s desperate for her very own ‘Happy-Birthday-To-You with PRESENTS!!’ (or ‘birthday party’, as it’s known to the rest of us ).
There’s barely enough room to swing a cat in our living room, and in any case I’m reasonably fond of my furniture pre-party-apocalypse, so the time has come to book my very first proper kid’s party!
Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
1 – Start at least a month earlier than I did, as it turns out that 99% of the suitable venues (you know the kind I mean: wipe-down surfaces, areas for the children to repeatedly run into each other and trip over invisible obstacles, a slight whiff of despair) have already been booked up for the entire month of October by parents far more organised than me!
2 – What’s with the crack-of-dawn party slots at these places? I’m sorry, but I can barely cope with my own child at 9am, I’m certainly not letting her join forces with an entire mob of pint-sized mischief-makers at stupid o’clock in the morning…
3 – Ignore your husband when he suggests inviting ‘some of her friends from nursery’. Firstly, at her age, they’re not ‘friends’ so much as people she happens to be playing next to / rivals in the race to get to the slide first / snot buddies. Secondly, I’ve been warned by many a veteran of the birthday scene that once you jump on board the party train, it’s almost impossible to get off – all the children you invited will each have their own party that you in turn must dutifully attend, leading to an endless cycle of awkward Saturday afternoons sipping warm squash and making small talk with strangers whilst inwardly praying that your rampaging toddler (currently sky-high on life/sugar/the cries of that poor doomed little fecker who just tried to touch her favourite cuddly) doesn’t vomit all over the bouncy castle…
4 – Do not Google ‘children’s party decoration ideas’ unless fully prepared to be bombarded by Instagram-worthy zoo tableaus constructed entirely from balloon animals and ornately hand-embroidered bunting strung together with unicorn hairs (may have slightly exaggerated that last one). WHO HAS THE TIME??!!
5 – Similarly, do not under any circumstances ask your toddler what kind of cake they would like, imagining that this will be limited to ‘chocolate’ or ‘whichever best suits your budget/skills/timescale mummy’ (I can dream can’t I? ). They will almost definitely pick that three-tiered Paw Patrol monstrosity complete with fondant canine heroes and ‘surprise’ sweetie filling they saw on YouTube once. She seems to have mistaken me for Mary Berry, or a gazillionaire. Either way, you’re having a giraffe love!
Whatever happened to the simple pleasures of partying on down with Ronald and those shifty-looking hamburgers on legs in your nearest McDonald’s basement, or lobbing a few sausage rolls in your guests’ general direction and hoping for the best??
It’s an interesting concept, trying to quantify love. Personally, I’d steer well clear of all that ‘to the moon and back’ nonsense – there are so many more meaningful declarations that parents can make!
How much do I love you? I would:
-Walk across a thousand fields of Lego.
(I’d wonder why I’m the ONLY fecker around here who ever seems to be tidying those bricks of Beelzebub away, but I’d do it just the same).
-Watch a thousand episodes of Paw Patrol.
(Actually, I’m pretty sure we did that on Monday – make that 2,000 episodes…)
-Research a thousand different ‘sure-fire’ remedies for chicken pox.
(creams, mousse, gels, bicarbonate of soda, oat baths – hell, if someone had told me that Limboing naked in the moonlight singing ‘Uptown Girl’ would reduce her itching, I’d have given it a good crack).
-Brave a thousand soft play sessions.
(We’d have to remortgage though; they’re freaking extortionate in the summer holidays! And I’m sorry, but if one more SUSPICIOUSLY TALL Have-a-go-Harry in the under 5’s area tries to take me out with a plastic ball, sh*t is going to go down…)
-Drive a thousand miles to recover your favourite cuddly.
(Cumulatively, I think we’re pretty close to that target – that bloomin’ dog disappears more regularly than the residents of Midsomer Murders…)
-Play a thousand rounds of your favourite game.
(You know, the one that only they know the rules for, which becomes especially long-winded JUST before bedtime, and only they are allowed to win).
-Spend a thousand hours Googling ‘what’s the name of the purple train from Thomas The Tank Engine?’
(Because she saw her in a magazine once, has been asking for it for her birthday ever since, and I still haven’t got a scooby doo who this evasive little f*cker is – answers on a postcard please!)
-Cook a thousand variations of ‘hidden veggie’ pasta sauce, which will no doubt end up hidden in the bin.
(Because ONE DAY she will learn to love it – Annabel Karmel said so!!)
-Trudge upstairs for the thousandth time to solve the latest sleep-evading emergency.
(“I need more milk/a wee/my dog/my dummy/a story/a hero/a miracle/a dollar, dollar, dollar is what I need – hey-hey”, and so on).
Hmmm, I may have already done 99% of the above – I guess that doing things a thousand times is more of a reality than a grand gesture when you have kids…
Einstein said that the definition of insanity ‘is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ I think that could also be the definition of parenthood . But we keep doing them, day in, day out, the fun stuff and the not-so-fun stuff (even when we’re mere seconds away from completely losing our rag and declaring wine o’clock), because that thing we’re doing AGAIN is the thing that makes you smile, or helps you grow, or keeps you safe.
Question – is anyone else having that ‘should we have another?’ internal debate and thinking ‘shouldn’t I just KNOW???’
(FYI – I’m referring to children rather than say, biscuits, where of course the answer would be ‘absolutely – finish the packet before anyone else notices’)
But seriously, is there some kind of ‘time for number two!’ alarm that just kicks in one day? Everyone else seems so sure; ‘Oh, we always knew we wanted more’ or ‘nope, we’re one and done!’… is it weird to be so indecisive?
On the one hand, I always imagined having more than one – I’m from a big family myself and always pictured two kids running around the garden, splashing each other in the pool on summer holidays, opening their presents side by side on Christmas Day (yes, I know this is the rose-tinted version where I have conveniently edited out one screaming because the other looked at her funny/sat in her space/breathed too loudly…just let me dream ). BUT – there’s no hiding from the fact that I found that first year of motherhood incredibly tough physically, mentally and emotionally; would it be easier the second time around, or would it break me? And then there’s the logistics of it all – it takes two of us running around like headless chickens all day to negotiate the whole ‘getting ready/work/nursery/chores/meals/pick-ups/drop-offs/tantrums/bath/more-tantrums/bedtime/PLEASE go to bed/bedtime-take-two/thank f*ck, she’s finally asleep’ obstacle course that is our daily life…how does that even work when there’s double trouble? It must be like herding cats…
And it’s not that Miss O isn’t enough, she’s ace (a bit of an arse sometimes, but overall, I’m giving her a pretty high mark). But I worry that she might be lonely as an only child, or that it might be harder for her when we’re older and there’s nobody to share the load. But then again, it’s not like buying an extra rabbit at ‘Pets At Home’ so the other one has company is it? She has a gaggle of cousins, lots of peer interaction at nursery, play groups etc, so she’s certainly not lacking in that department at the moment…
But then AGAIN, again, they say that you never regret the things you do, only the things you don’t. And I don’t feel ready to say that all these amazing ‘firsts’ we’re experiencing with Miss O will be the lasts, the onlys. And yet, I don’t get that yearning ‘my family isn’t complete’ feeling that so many other mums talk about. I know that life as a three would still be lovely, and in no way lesser, just different.
And THEN, even if we DID decide to crack on, I’m acutely aware that it’s not as simple as that, we may not even be able to have another – Mother Nature can be a bit of a twunt that way. And that’s not even going into the whole other question of ‘when?’, at which point you start bringing age gaps and house size and financials and maternity leave etc. etc. into the equation…eek!
God I hope that Domino’s delivers to this fence I seem to be firmly wedged on!
So, guys and gals, in a very meandering kind of way, I’m asking you (but I do appreciate that there are many situations in which the choice is made for you), did you just know? Am I overthinking this? Or were you/are you as indecisive as I am??