Having children really messes with your head. Suddenly, not only are you responsible for the health, well-being and very survival of another human being, but you are fully aware that your own life would cease to be worth living if anything bad ever happened to them.
But being a parent is a constant guessing game. None of us know how things will work out. We can never predict what events – good or bad – await us round the corner. All we can do is prepare the best we can for every eventuality, and hope for the best!
But it is that preparing for every eventuality that can really send you crazy, because how can you ever predict what eventuality you are planning for? I wonder if you are like me… Are you an OCD parent? Let me explain;
I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried my hardest to successfully pack a bag for a family day out, only to find I’ve spent so long thinking outside the box for the random items I may need, that I’ve forgotten something essential, like money, or worse still, baby wipes!
Fed up of feeling like a failure, I started to make reusable lists: a list of things we need at the beach; a list for trips to restaurants; a list of things to keep in the car.
And I started packing bags. LOTS of bags.
Do you ever wonder how those alpha-mums do it? Their house is always clean and tidy, even when you turn up unannounced; they always look stylish, even when rushing from school to work and back again; they never seem to forget a non-uniform day…
Well, the first thing to note is that no-one is perfect – you might just be seeing them through rose-tinted glasses. The second important realisation is that everyone has different circumstances and differing priorities.
While one may shudder at the thought of cleaning their floors less than twice a day – and may have a cleaner to take at least one of those shifts! – another may prefer (or need) to spend her time working. So try not to judge others by your standards, or vice versa.
However, if you want to know a few tips and tricks for at least looking like you have it all under control, here are 5 tips that every mum should know, ones that I’ve learnt along the way:
- Invest in a great coat and boots – they make school-run chic appear effortless, and can cover a multitude of sins underneath (I work from home; most of my clothes have paint on. But my coat is FAB). (More…)
As a new parent, you have a clean slate. You can create your ideals of parenting, discuss them at length with you partner and friends, watch and deliberate over other parents’ ways of doing things, and look forward to your perfect life with your perfect children.
And then your children start to develop personalities of their own and you realise that they are in fact people in their own right with thoughts, feelings and behaviours all their own. And suddenly the perfect picture you created in your mind starts to morph into something else. Something that is not under your control.
Do you have the perfect family?
At first, you find yourself wondering why your family doesn’t look like the one in the Boden catalogue, despite all your plans to always dress your children in matching-yet-effortless outfits that would be equally at home on a boat or at a garden party.
You wonder if other people shout as much as you do, or if their children just comply. You wonder if you should change your parenting style – you wonder what your parenting style is!
Shadow Public Health Minister Diane Abbott recently warned that the UK was headed for a “masculinity crisis”. In a speech to the Demos thinktank in May, the MP spoke about the family unit, the rising pressures of unemployment and the economic downturn and the increasing isolation felt by men and boys in the UK.
The speech raises the question – among others – of who in the UK boys have look up to as a positive role model and is this the reason for such a masculinity crisis?
With ever more reality shows and their associated ‘stars’ infiltrating our TV and computer screens, and celebrities getting married and divorced faster than you can say ‘paparazzi’, it’s hard to think of a strong role model who stands for family values, long-term commitment and a healthy way of life.
Hard, but not impossible! Look no further than David Beckham.
Even if you’re not a football fan (as I am not), you can’t help but like Becks. A family man who has had an illustrious 21 years at the top of his career, before giving it all up to spend more time with his kids.
Healthy, humble, committed and stylish – there’s something for everyone to aspire to!
Having children can really test your knowledge of the world around you. Suddenly, previously ‘friendly’ places such as the local playground are fraught with potential death-traps, and you find hidden dangers in places you thought you had under your complete control.
A surprisingly dangerous place for your little ones can be your own home. Here’s 5 child home safety tips for you to consider.
You can feel a false sense of security in your own environment, which in itself can lead to complacency. While most of us spent time fixing squashy corners to all of our furniture, shoving fake plastic plugs into sockets and fitting gates to every step and doorway as soon as our little ones could so much as roll over, how many of us thought of moving the bathroom lock up out of reach until after they had locked themselves in?
Even more potentially dangerous is the upstairs windows – kids can climb onto windowsills before you can say Peter Pan, and a small window with only one handle can be opened in a flash if it’s not kept locked. Do you leave your bathroom window open most days?