Being a parent has taught me many things, from the basics of dressing a newborn to deep and meaningful stuff like the depth of a mother’s love. But it’s the oh-so-useful skills I have gathered over the past seven and a bit years that I want to share with you today.
1. Spot cleaning – I have become a bit of an expert at spot cleaning. Pre-children , before leaving the house, I used to have a quick look in the mirror to make sure I had no lipstick on my teeth. Now it is to check whether there are any dribbles or blobs on my face or clothes. My shoulders seem to be the best place in the house for children to wipe their runny noses on or burps up milk onto. A quick scrub with a facecloth is usually enough to let me pass as clean enough to leave the house.
2. Creating the illusion of being welldressed – I like to be well -dressed but with children, you can’t always do it. With a bit of creativity though, you can pass as well dressed for short trips like the school run or the grocery shopping. The trick is covering up. A blazer, a scarf, stud earrings and knee-high boots over cleanish jeans is my go-to combo. It doesn’t matter how grubby your top is or whether you have got odd socks on. To the passer by, you look like you’ve got a grip on things.
3. Recognising the poo face – and, for that mattter, the wee wee dance. These are two incredibly important things to look out for in your child, especially once they are out of nappies and very especially if you are in the middle of doing the shopping. The staring, concentrated face of a small child who is avoiding eye contact and the jiggly, hoppy kind of movements of a boy who hates to dance send off alarm signals to me. We high tail it to the nearest loo before there are any accidents.
4. Listening and learning – I find that learning a little bit about Star Wars, Lego Ninjago or whatever my children are currently in to makes listening to their endless stories about it a little easier to bear.
5. Accepting – accepting that neither the house nor the car will be clean for another 15 years or so, accepting that children don’t understand being quiet, accepting that meals out are rushed, accepting help, …Accepting things makes life a little easier. Why try to change them?