It’s taken nearly 10 weeks and 18 years of parenting for me to perfect this little go-to guide for all the parents out there.
It could also be handy for the would-be parents who are currently wondering if they can cope with the huge responsibility of bringing an infant into this big bad world. It will provide you will all the details you need to prove you will do it better.
It’s a go-to, must have bible on the rules of lockdown, your bible on how to cope – and I would even go as far as to say it’s something you may want to print and keep with you at all times to refer to when worried about your own parenting skills.
It’s the forgotten chapter in the parenting manual. It’s like BBC Bitesize for Parents.
Today your new normal beGINs.
It’s my gift to you. Sit down, grab a gin (preferably a bottle and a straw), read and learn***.
The rules of parenting lockdown. And mainly parenting life.
1. This is top of the pops. In the all-time greatest hits of lessons in parenting life. Mums (I know there’s super-hero dads out there, but you know mums feel all of the guilt). You only need to create, fumble together and produce one meal a day. One. None of this feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner nonsense. I mean meal planning, what the actual feck is that in a normal house.
Of course, in my house, I am hashtag blessed because my precious moppets who are now 14 years and 18 years have turned into vampires during lockdown and don’t appear until lunchtime so breakfast is so pre-lockdown. And lunch, frankly they can get their own. Fend for themselves.
One meal a day. The other meals are grab and go. If you’re hungry, find something to scavenge. Forage in the kitchen. Find something to eat. The five second rule no longer applies. Don’t ask me. Don’t expect me to provide. There’s the kitchen kids – go for your life.
Of course this could mean that your 14yo is surviving on dried cereal and the 18yo is mainly just eating pasta bake on repeat, but they’re not starving.
Okay okay, this rule probably shouldn’t apply to the first eight years of life, but I reckon from the age of eight, smalls can get their own breakfast. Hell I’ve just read a book where a six year old got abandoned in a swamp and fended and fished for herself for years.**
In fact the greatest lesson you can teach your smalls during this lockdown schiz is to cook and then cook for you while you taste, offer constructive criticism and drink all of the wine.
This is very important during holiday time – do not give in. In fact you probably need to eat in secret so no-one knows you may/could be/are preparing food.
2. It’s not just lockdown – as a parent you will mainly spend your day moving between wanting to kill everyone and ‘oh I can cope with this’ and sometimes ‘this is the best thing ever; look at my cute little gorgeous moppets’.
3. Forced Family Time Fun – it’s not. It’s rarely fun. It’s mainly spending hours cajoling everyone in the house into forced togetherness so you can tick that ‘perfect parenting’ box. And then when you get everyone together on a bike ride, on a walk, in the car you mainly spend the entire time bickering, moaning or saying things like; ‘I don’t know why I bother’ ‘put your phone away,’ or ‘stuff this I’m having a glass of wine tonight’ usually followed by everyone storming off from each other and maintaining a respectable 2m from every member of your household as you’re possibly about to kill each other. However (and the key to this rule) as soon as you see anyone else that may know your mum’s brother long lost auntie****, you all come together in some unwritten law of flawless family fun and laugh and joke showing the rest of the world how great it is that you can all be together and how much you are cherishing all of this togetherness. I also highly recommend instagramming your togetherness moment before you all start bickering so you can prove how together you all are. Hashtag blessed.
4. Build an Escape Tunnel. Maybe not an actual tunnel under the house all the way to your friends’ gardens (although I am considering this) – but find an escape hatch. Somewhere you can hide and rock and drink all of the wine. Never ever think that the loo could be an escape hatch. Children (and also sometimes husbands) no matter what their age will sense when you are hiding in the loo and start shouting, asking, pleading and needing all of the things.
5. Always be the calm one. The one that exudes parenting perfection. Don’t react. Breathe. Inhale. Count to ten.
CROCK OF SH*T. Shouty parents rock. All of the shouting. All of the shouting every day from morning through to midnight when you mayrip the PlayStation out of the wall and threaten to burn it. All parents learn very quickly that it doesn’t matter how nicely and quietly you ask your precious moppets something you have to go nuclear to get it done. And the absolute gem of being a shouty parent….when you then go white anger calm; everyone is very very afraid.
These pesky kids are having all the home-schooling fun; all of the love and bedtime stories from Tom Hardy; all of the meals and parents on tap.
It stops now.
It’s time to think about you…. the parents: the never-ending Biff and Chip stories of torture, the phonics of fear and the improper fractions all leading to fractious parenting.
Today it ends. Today you have the rule book for your future. From today you can future proof your parenting.*
Anyway, I’m off to have some forced family fun with my precious moppets. Hashtag Blessed.
*if you want to be a terrible parent like what I am
**might have been a fiction novel – but who needs to know that.
***and possibly ignore as you know I’m not actually an expert with any actual qualifications
****whilst maintaining the appropriate distance obvs