Here's some stuff that you think I'd have worked out by now. I'm not sure if it's reassuring to other, newer parents, or just scares them about their own future, but today I felt the need to confess that after ten and half years of parenting five very different children, I have never managed to work out....
...how to cook a meal (I could actually just put a fullstop there, but I’ll carry on...) without having a small person hanging on me or crying at me or destroying something that they shouldn’t have been playing with that I sacrificed to them for the sake of a few moments of quiet.
...how to tidy up properly while the kids are in the house without getting REALLY stressed out at them or using the TV to make them zone out while I work around them. I usually settle for untidy-but-nice-to-be-with mummy over grumpy-but-tidy mummy, and as a result we live in happy chaos.
...how to remember everything we need every time we go out. I feel like I bring a kitchen sink with me wherever I go, but I inevitably forget the obvious things like tissues, or a change of clothes for a toilet-training child, or drinks on a hot day, or coats on a rainy day, or cash for a place that doesn’t take cards.
...how to get anywhere on time AND clear up behind us on the way out. It can only be one or the other.
...who sat in which seat in the car last time we went somewhere and whose turn it is to sit in the front/middle/back this time. If I cared about it as passionately as the kids do, I’d make a laminated rota to make all our lives simpler. But I just don’t.
...remembering to really actually check the appearance of every child before we arrive at our destination. I’m usually so happy to have got them all where we are going that only as we enter the door do I realise that someone has jam on his face, someone else has yesterday’s dirty t-shirt on again, another has shoes on the wrong feet, and the toddler has no shoes on at all due to the quickfire motion I used to wrestle her into the car after she tried to escape from the house in the wrong direction.
...how to say no to a child who wants to be read to.