Posts Tagged ‘school run’

14 Types of Parent You’ll Probably Meet At Your Child’s School

In the eight years we’ve been in the school system, we’ve seen a lot of transition due to the frequent arrival/departure of expats.

My kids have made and said goodbye to a lot of friends and obviously I have met many different types of parent over the years.  People are people are people. Despite the myriad nationalities and cultures of people whose children attend school,

I think it’s fairly safe to say parents tend to fall into certain types or groups and to be fair, these types can be spotted all throughout life. 

In fact, I read somewhere that writing something like this is similar to writing horoscopes: most people are bound to fit into at least one of the categories.  Well so be it. The fact is, I have ‘spotted’ all these types of parent at some point or another over the years. It goes without saying, I’m one/a few of the:

14 Types of Parent You'll Meet at School

 

1. The Interrogator

Asks more questions in a one hour orientation meeting than most kids ask in an entire academic year. If the Spanish Inquisition were around today, this parent could ‘out question’ them. You can actually hear the teacher’s eyes roll back in his/her sockets as he or she is continually interrupted or asked questions about topics that have already been covered or were in the introductory letter that was sent out for crying out loud.

This is the teacher, not the parent!

2. Mr and Mrs Nice

Just arrived and genuinely lovely people. They both exude warmth and are always smiling even when they’re having a bad day. In fact, one wonders if these two ever have a bad day. They also seem to have bags of time on their hands as they are often seen dropping off and picking up together. Every kid wants a playdate with their kid…every mum wants a coffee date with the mum and every dad wants to play golf with the dad.

happy family smiths

 

3. The My-Kid My-Kid My-Kid Parent

Can you provide more PE lessons a week for the sporty children? Will you provide extra homework for the advanced students or more activities for the ones who need extra stimulation?

Good grief, for reals?! Don’t get me wrong. I can see they are all actually quite valid questions in a way. But the My Kid My Kid parent does not ask these to genuinely acquire useful information. Nope. It’s mainly to drive it home to the rest of us parents that their child is the leader of the pack. Let’s face it, they could just have a quiet word with the teacher about that, n’est-ce pas?

This parent will often trample over other parents’ kids to get theirs ahead in life because apparently playing fair is for losers. Whether it’s practically knocking another parent out of the way to get to the front of the queue for after-school activities enrolment (alright knocking just sounded good) or sneakily grabbing the last slot at that popular party venue they heard two others discussing at the school gates, there is nothing the My Kid My Kid parent won’t do to get their child ahead. Beware, this parent’s mission is to raise masters of the universe and heaven help you if you attempt to get in their way (and by get in the way I mean simply do right by your own child).

 

4. Ice Queen / King

Looks right past you when you attempt to smile or say hello. They will never know who you are despite both of you having kids in the same class (for the last four years). No prizes for guessing they haven’t the faintest idea who your kid is either.

 

5. Too Cool for School

Happy to make an effort chatting to people at the gates, this parent is friendly but has long given up on getting close to anyone after being burned a few times. Feels like it’s all rather hard work mixing with the melé. Some may think them a bit aloof but this parent has simply learned the art of self preservation by avoiding the cliques and making most of their friends outside school.

 

6. The Old Timer

Typical characteristics are friendly, approachable and helpful for the genuine good of the school and not for any personal agenda. This parent has been around the block a few times with kids of various ages at the school. There is no smug ‘Been There Done That Got the Tshirt’ aura emanating from this one. They are just a genuine good egg.

 

7. The Calculated Networker

Beware of this charmer. First name: Uber. Last name: Popular. An absolute pro at schmoozing their way into mutually beneficial circles. Knows everyone with five minutes of arriving and has sized everyone up (wealth, partner’s job and useable connections). Cleverly ‘recruits’ best friends for their kids as well as a BFF they know inside out (despite only just having met) and wouldn’t you just know it…their spouses are best buds too! Moves onto the next posting, new country and deftly does the same all over again at the next school.

 

8. The ‘Wait…I Have Kids?!’ Parent (MIA)

Rarely to be seen as they usually send their child on the school bus or with the nanny so you never get a chance to get to know them. They’re never at sports day or concerts. The nanny is though. They don’t help with homework. Another member of staff does that. Playdates? The nanny’s there… And then you find out it’s not because the MIA parent is a busy working mum or dad. Rumour has it they just don’t like the erm parenting part of parenting. Ouch.

 

9. The Non Participator

Wouldn’t mind offering the odd day here and there for school trip attendance or reading assistance but has enough trouble fitting in mother/household duties never mind fitting in all that malarkey too! Ahem.

me arms folded

Hmmmm….who’s this then?

 

10. The Frazzled One

Looks permanently stressed even when not stressed and actually having a good day (yep I’m looking at my shoes right now). Totally struggles Monday to Friday to get anything constructive done beyond grocery shopping and occasionally hoovering the house and genuinely wonders how on earth other mums help out so much at school and get stuff done in the the six hours between drop off and pick up (or seem to…). Often late. (Much looking at one’s shoes right now…)

Not to be confused with:

11. The Frightened Deer

Looks more worried than their own kids the first day (week…month…term) of school. Extremely quiet and hardly anyone knows their name nor they anybody else’s. It’s like they are there but not there. Literally looks like an animal caught in headlights, the poor deer, I mean dear.

Deer Caught in Headlights

 

12. Queen Bee

Ah…there is nothing, N-O-T-H-I-N-G let me tell you that this woman (yep it’s usually a female) is not involved in. Every school event, reading day, library help, school trip, concert, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g…they are right there at the forefront. Unlike the Seasoned Old Timer (who has no ego-driven reasons for helping out and simply wants to do their bit for the betterment of their child’s school) Queen Bee sees herself as crucial to the smooth running of the entire establishment. Don’t you know the entire school would fall apart without her?! Woe betide anyone who tries to ‘steal the show’…you know, by just trying to do their bit too.

 

 

13. Not-My-Kid Not-My-Kid Parent

Extremely competitive, this parent cannot/will not even entertain the thought that their precious little cherub could possibly intimidate their way throughout the school day or indeed entire school life. It doesn’t matter How. Many. Times. this parent is contacted by the school regarding their child’s behaviour (which clearly violates the school’s official code of conduct) it will always be the other child’s fault. (Funnily enough, this parent will not hesitate to wave the same code of conduct in the Head’s face when it suits them.)

competitive-parents

 

14. The Go With The Floooooow One

And finally, the one I’d love to be. They are neither the tiger parent you wish really became extinct like the animal that gave its name nor the frazzled one; they’re just über calm and laid back. They are neither popular nor unpopular; they are just happy with their circle. They’re neither over-involved nor totally detached; they just do enough. Zen. All the way. And just look at those happy kids.

On a serious note, we parents come in all shapes, flavours and colours. The one thing we’re definitely (hopefully?) united in is our love for our kids…yep, even those Queen Bees without whom the whole operation probably wouldn’t run as smoothly!

All gifs courtesy of http://www.giphy.com

You might also like the fabulous 9 Different Types of Parents at the Playground by the hugely talented Talya of Motherhood The Real Deal.

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Why This Mum Is NOT Cool With Back To School!

All These Cartoons About Mothers Overjoyed at the Kids Going Back to School.

Why THIS Mum Isn't Cool With Back To School

Call me a jumbo dumbo but WHY is everyone so excited?!  Granted, my kids have driven me bonkers in other ways this summer (leaving their underwear ALL over the house, never switching a single fan off after leaving a room and hardly ever remembering their sunglasses or sunhats in this intense Mediterranean heat) BUT I’m still not filled with glee at them going back to school.

If you’ve read my post about the Exhausted School Mother you’ll have a pretty good idea of:

Why I’m Dreading the New School Year.

In the space of just one week of the first term last year, I managed to:
– mistake day two of the cycle for day one
– dressed K in P.E. clothes when they didn’t have P.E.
– dropped them off late twice
– left K’s folder at home twice
– forgot to listen to Dreamy D read his book
– didn’t get round to buying the mini whiteboard requested by his teacher
– and ‘overlooked’ the twelve – yes TWELVE (that’s what you get for having so many kids) – forms that needed completing and signing.

In fairness, the latter was sort of intentional: I ‘overlooked’ them until I had a sufficient supply of wine to help me cope with completing the whole damned lot. But let me explain:

Why I’m Not Putting up the Bunting to Celebrate The Start of Another Academic Year in:

back-to-school-featured

 

1) INSTEAD OF LYING IN TIL LATE O’CLOCK enjoying the peace because MDK creep downstairs quietly and get their own breakfast and then switch on the TV (yes my kids do this because they know Mummy would love to raiser her kids on zero screen time but #LetsHaveAGoodLaughAboutThatOne)

I NOW HAVE TO GET UP EARLY AND FACE THE DAY. Anyone who’s ever met me will know I have never coped well with this and cannot gel with the “I’ll sleep when I die” motto because when I’m dead I won’t have the satisfaction of waking up and looking back at a great night’s sleep because I will be dead…

You KNOW I”m right (unless you’re up half the night with your kids in which case, sorry, sleep when you’re dead).

2) INSTEAD OF YELLING AT THEM FOR not being able to pack a single swimming essential or beach item the entire school holidays despite practically living on the beach every long hot Maltese summer

I AM NOW YELLING AT THEM FOR not being able to put their reading book/homework/school folder/lunch box – in fact anything – in their bags despite two of them having attended school for several years. “Ooh I wonder where they get that from then Prabs…” Stop it. “You know yelling doesn’t achieve anything right Prabs?” I said stop it.

3) IN PLACE OF ENDLESSLY RUNNING AROUND the pool/beach searching for their swimming goggles, flip flops etc after a day of swimming,

I WILL BE ENDLESSLY GOING BACK THROUGH THE SCHOOL GATES every afternoon to go up to the classroom (ha! classroom x 3) just as everyone else is trying to come through the gates the other way, to try and find water bottles, hats, clothing etc

4) I HAVE SWAPPED TWO MONTHS OF SINKING INTO A SUN LOUNGER after mentally high-fiving myself for my kickass organisation because I’ve packed everything we need for a Summer’s day out [see 28 Reasons],

FOR NINE MONTHS OF SINKING INTO DESPAIR having actually high-fived the teacher because I’ve remembered everything from sports gear to school trip money to art class clothes, only for her to say “You remembered his library book right?” following it up with “Oh bless…shall I move in with you to help, love?”

Seriously…this actually has happened!

5) INSTEAD OF REALISING I’VE HARDLY GOT ANY FOOD IN THE HOUSE but it’s no biggie cos I can jolly well give them pancakes if I want to (or another bowl of cereal)

I NOW HAVE TO GET MY SHIT TOGETHER AKA actually planning lunches and snacks…oh God the planning…it just kills me.

6) RATHER THAN JUST ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF MDK relaxing, playing, not getting in my hair at all and being super low maintenance housemates

I WILL BE SPENDING FIVE DAYS a week ferrying them around the island to tennis, football, swimming and choir (well alright, not quite ‘around the island’…more like within a one mile radius..but FIVE days MAN!).

7) AND DON’T GET ME STARTED on all the time spent trawling through every computer I’ve owned trying to find old photos for some project or another, spending my mornings running around buying items for various school productions and my evenings gritting my teeth doing internet research to help them create – oh hang on, help me create on their behalf – presentations.

8) AND DEFINITELY DON’T GET ME STARTED on…cue Pyscho’s shower scene music……MATHS HOMEWORK HELL!

9) BUT WORST OF ALL, THERE IS MY OWN TOTAL BEWILDERMENT OVER HOW LITTLE I GET DONE DURING THE DAY now that Cheeky K is finally at big school with her siblings.

I honestly struggle to the point of depression over not being able to find enough days or hours in the week to fit in the housework, school run, blogging, after-school activities and (dare I say it) some exercise…and I’m a stay at home mum for goodness sake! What’s my excuse?! Working mothers have it far worse; alright the blog is my work and I take it seriously but it’s not the same as having an actual job with an employer and official working hours and all that jazz.

 

I Can Feel a Blog Post Coming on About Trying to Manage it all.

It will be very short post and will consist mainly of me crying all over the computer and typing “Just. Can’t.” and possibly ending with a plea for free chocolate.

So no, dear reader, I am not shouting Hooray at going back to school. (Well silently mouthing it at the thought of going for a coffee alone I admit…)

Can you relate?  If so, what’s the bit you dread most about the school year?

 

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First Case of Exhausted Mother Reported As School Year Ends

end of school year mum

 

A mother of three is being treated for exhaustion as the school year draws to a close. Our Daily Fail undercover reporter (posing as a stressed father with Man Flu) managed to obtain a copy of the hospital admissions form containing Mrs Prabulous’s own reasons for seeking help. It makes for sorry reading. Amongst her sins were:

– Failing to RSVP to birthday party invites

– Telling her youngest there were no more spaces at an after-school activity because she “couldn’t bear to spend one more minute in the effing car to get there”

– Failing to check homework folders since May April

– Hardly ever remembering ‘”that fricking library book”.

Even worse, the pint-sized British Asian mother who lives in a four bedroom house by the sea in Malta (this is the Daily Fail remember…we love to throw in totally irrelevant shit like that and pretend it’s real journalism) confessed that her biggest crime of the school year was feeling actual relief when her eldest went down with a suspected case of chicken pox forcing the whole family to miss a school event. She confessed:

“I nearly did a jig in the middle of the lounge upon realising that I was off the hook having to make entire trays of tandoori chicken for the British table at the biggest event of the school year. Wrong. Attitude.”

A senior consultant at the clinic that deals mainly in treating Syndrome of The Underachieving Chronically Knackered Yelling (SUCKY) Mother said “This is not an isolated case. We’ve actually seen a sharp rise in this sort of case over the last few weeks. It’s not unusual for stressed out mothers to be admitted complaining of lunch box boredom, school project frustration, PTA exhaustion and utter dread over ‘that stupid new maths long division method’. However, if I’m honest, this is the most severe case we’ve treated so far.

“Mrs Prabulous is not just suffering from run of the mill fatigue. Upon closer analysis, we noticed serious symptoms of general disorganisation and apathy. When interviewed upon her arrival, she admitted she:

– has considered giving her kids a packet of crackers and a jar of nutella between them and “just letting them fight it out in the playground” as she was tired of coming up with lunches that all three would finish.

– was the last parent to pay for end of year teachers’ gifts

– resorted to using her five year-old’s Hello Kitty markers to write the children’s names on clothing as she never got round to ordering name labels. Ever.

– got the school start date wrong once leading her kids to miss the first two days of term.”

Mothers at her children’s school have been shocked by the developments. “We always knew she wasn’t the most organised or involved of mothers but this is a shock” said one who did not wish to be named.

The Daily Fail’s special investigations unit has learned that the clinic was full of mothers repeatedly asking “Is it wine o’f*ckingclock yet?”, clutching crumpled unsigned class trip forms and muttering something about waiting for the bell to ring on the last day of term and collapsing at the finish line.

Doctors have identified the condition suffered by Mrs Prabulous.

It is called Sheer Relief.

It is often replaced by another disorder 48 hours later:

Omg-they’re-home-for-two-months-itis

 

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What It’s Like Inside the Brain of a Mother

what-its-like-inside-the-brain-of-a-mother

Wow they’re really quiet. Are they still alive? I’d better go check on them. I’ll check in a minute. Just after I’ve had two more minutes sleep. Better not get into a deep sleep. Yep that’s done it. Can’t sleep now. So much to do. House is such a mess. Boy do I need a cleaning lady…preferably one who doesn’t throw saucepans like that looney tunes one…nice saucepan it was too. Ucch, what’s the point? She’d just clean around the mess. The mess would still be there taunting me…’go ahead Prabs…do your best…you can never get rid of me’.  So sick of doing all the cleaning myself…okay there’s no ‘all’…if I did it ‘all’ the house wouldn’t be such a state.

Best get up. I wonder how many seconds of solitary bum on seat time I’ll get before the first one appears at the door. I could just play dead. Not that it ever works. They still call my name clearly not realising I’m unable to answer in my fake dead state. We really need to replace this bathroom mirror. Holy crap, is that a wrinkle?! It’s that Paddington frown a mate told me I had. It’s causing wrinkles. I never even realised Paddington frowned. He’s just a cute bear who loves marmalade isn’t he? Oh we’re out of marmalade. Must get some. Must get a lot of things. I really want that mummy organiser chalk board thing I saw online. At least I’d use mine unlike my kids and that enormous chalk board I spent frigging ages painting onto that wall in their playroom. So glad I passed up on watching the entire Sex and the City box set and opted for losing hours of my life wrestling with masking tape and blackboard paint instead.

What on earth are they fighting about now? Sure isn’t which one of them uses the chalk board the most. Wait, what I was thinking about? Oh yes, if only I could have one of those naturally smiley faces. What do they say? A smile uses fewer facial muscles than a frown. Wow if that’s true, then my face sure does get a daily work out. How did that mum at school manage that perma-smile? The one who said she pulls up in the car park and ‘puts her smile on’ before getting out to fetch the kids. I tried that for a week and everyone kept asking if I was feeling alright. I must have looked constipated.  Hang in there. Only 12 more hours til their bedtime. I can do this. They’re good kids. What the hell is M screaming for now? Honestly, I don’t know where she gets it from…

Please God let this be the one morning where they brush their teeth and get dressed and make their beds without acting like it’s the first time they’ve ever had to get ready in the morning. Sick of yelling 300 times before even leaving the house. Actually I’m a bit calmer than that. 200 times. That’s right K, the least messy eater, you pick today – the day after I washed the floor – to throw the cereal all over the breakfast bar and floor and completely miss your mouth darling.

Oh no, the lunch boxes…I’m losing the will to live. Why do kids need to eat anyway? Can’t believe I used to get the lunches done in the evening before I’d even put the kids to bed…who the hell was that Prabs? Why does Hubster have to be away for work again? It’s so inconvenient. Doesn’t he know it really hampers the timely preparation of the lunchboxes now that he’s unwittingly taken over with that? Nothing in the cupboard. Nothing in the fridge. What am I going to give them? How does that women have the energy to run a daily blog dedicated to lunch box ideas when I can’t even dedicate the energy to making one freaking lunch box?

How is it possible to take SO long to get shoes on one’s feet? I should just put them to bed with their shoes on at night. I swear it would be less hassle. Jeez what has she got in this school bag? A ton of crap but barely a school book; it’s just a kids’ garbage unit on straps.

Right what’s the plan for today? In other words, what is the path of least fannying about and most productivity? Food shopping, cleaning, blog, cooking dinner, drinking cappuccinos? Let me just check my emails. Can’t I just hire someone to do that for me? Seriously, 5 email accounts, My poor brain can’t stay on top of it. I’m sure someone’s going to knock on the door with some kind of legal summons ordering me to immediately look at all 3490 of my unread emails. Right, that’s emails (kinda), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, some other blogs done. Okay, got to get on with morning errands. Wow, it’s lunchtime. Better eat something then.

No way! It’s time to go get them already?  So it’s 10 out of 10 for fannying about….aaaand a big fat zero for productivity. No wait, 3 points for blogging. Oh for goodness sake, who on earth gives themselves points?! But they should have a reward chart for mothers.

Homework. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see it. But I did see it. Crap. Here we go. Another two hours of my life wasted. I suddenly feel the urge to go paint another chalk board somewhere. My brain just isn’t wired for homework help.

I still haven’t replied to that birthday party invite. Where’s her number? Crap, I threw the invite in the recycling bag. Of all the weeks to actually put the recycling bag out on time, I had to choose this one. I need to peel these potatoes and boil them; the oven’s already been on for ages. Ooh I should offer to make that choc dessert for that drinks party next week. Let me just quickly message her before I forget. No, I’d better do the potatoes. How important is it to RSVP to that birthday party? Oh crappimingus, I forgot to get back to my friend about meeting up – especially as her hubby’s away. Boy do I know what it’s like to be a work widow; could never go back to it again… Changing every nappy, doing every lunch box, cooking every meal, washing every dish, doing every school run, fixing every broken down thing, helping on every bit of homework, coping with every lonely weekend while everyone else has their family one… Wow the kitchen sure is hot…oh the oven’s on…oh damn, the potatoes! Haven’t peeled them yet.

Need to make a floral head dress for that party. It’s a Swedish thing. Man, do I have to? I really don’t ‘make’ stuff, apart from a big deal out of nothing…and the occasional cake. And I can’t wear a garden on my head. Can’t I just play the Indian card and say we don’t do stuff like that? Sodding potatoes are over boiled. I need to book the babysitter for the night of that drinks party. I can’t book her again for the following night for the Midsummer’s party though. Can’t we just superglue the kids to their beds and leave them home alone? No, bad idea. What’s wrong with me.

Please tell me I’ve got butter for the potatoes. Need to get that laundry in. It’s been on the line for 2 days. Going to get bitten by mosquitoes doing it though which is why it’s been on the line for 2 days. What am I going to do with these potatoes? They’re falling apart. Is it bad I’m giving them packet fish? The filling did look good and they’re so quick and easy to make. Definitely no E numbers or additives. It’s not THAT bad is it? Let me recheck the ingredients. Shit. Vegetable oil. They don’t say if it’s hydrogenated or not. Which means it blooming well is. Heaven help me, I’m slowly poisoning my family. Well actually Hubster doesn’t care.  So correction: I’m slowly poisoning myself and the kids. Just don’t know what to feed them anymore. Don’t feed them dairy cos of a hundred different reasons. Don’t give them meat cos of a hundred other reasons. Careful with fruit and veg and pesticides. Eat carbs but avoid gluten. If the food doesn’t kill you, the stress of what to feed them will. My brain hurts.

OMG that form the school sent home…eight drinks to choose from for the end of year school trip and seven of them were fizzy! Jamie Oliver would have a seizure. Ooh I must try that chicken recipe he did on TV the other night. 15 minute meals my eye. The man’s a liar. I’m a liar…Can’t believe I told that woman I was a former driving instructor just to shut her up when she drove towards me the wrong way down that street. Need to stop doing that. Told that argumentative unhelpful shop assistant I was a trading standards official too. Honestly, who does that kind of thing? (Well…there was that friend who posed as a police officer more than once…) Oh that’s just great: I wrecked the potatoes. How does anyone wreck potatoes? Bet Jamie wouldn’t. Man, I need a glass of wine. Only 2 more hours til their bedtime. Hang in there. Wait, where are they? They’re really quiet. I hope they’re still alive. I’d better go check on them. I’ll check in a minute. Just after had two sips of wine.

I Don’t Know How She Does It. No really, I don’t know HOW she does it!

This one’s for all the amazing mothers out there!

i-dont-know-how-she-does-it

A while ago, I had one of those busier than normal weeks. You know, where you wonder why everything has to happen at the same blooming time. Cheeky K and Dreamy D had birthdays 3 days apart…annoyingly this happens every year…beats me…;)  so I spent the week eyeball deep in baking, sleepovers and parties. You know how it goes. In the midst of this, I made my first ever appearance on radio (can you appear on radio?) and finally after much procrastination, launched this blog.  And frankly it was as much as I could handle.

It also led me to think ‘How do all those other mothers do it? You know the ones: they’re at your kids’ school or you’ve known them since you all met at antenatal classes or you bumped into them at playgroup or you met them at a birthday party or…holy Henry you’re ONE OF THEM! They work, they fundraise, they organise school events, arrange elaborate parties for their kids, chauffeur their charges from one activity to another and still find time to hit the gym and have a social life. Oh and did I mention? They’re usually reeealllly nice people too. Dammit. I swear, they’re everywhere.

Take my friend D for example. PLEASE, someone take her and shake some laziness and mediocrity into her. The woman is a machine. She works as a fitness coach, she has run marathons, she raises money for Inspire etc, she does tonnes of stuff with her two kids, she rustles up healthy meals for her familia and fits in a packed social life. (And there’s no under-achieving hubby ‘balancing things out’ in the background; he’s  an ultra-marathoner/Ironman type. Someone punch me in the face now.) Yet despite this jam-packed lifestyle, she still manages to get to bed by 10pm. Ah…maybe that’s the secret…but I’m sure if I did as much as her, I’d never even make it to bed.  I’d either fall asleep on the stairs trying to get there or wouldn’t have time to sleep in the first place.

Seriously, I’d love to say I only know a few uber-mothers like this just for my own self esteem (and Sliema Sexy aka Marilyn Munroe, don’t tell me off for that last bit). But no…the list just goes on and on and bloody ON. The world is full of them! These super mamas who fit several lives into one life and get more done in one day than I get done in a month.  Honestly, I practically high-five myself if I just make it to two supermarkets in one morning.  Actually, practically NOTHING. I do high five myself when that happens.

Then there’s my sis M.E.  She had to go back to work far too soon after the birth of her first child. It broke her heart. She had to put in 12 hour+ days producing conferences while trying to juggle everything including the shock of new motherhood (with a baby who also had health problems). When she found out she was pregnant a second time, she was up to her eyeballs pulling 3am sleeps because not only was she was working long days in an absurdly stressful job but she was also putting together a business by night! Add to that, going abroad for work and you have to wonder how the heck she still squeezed in time to  bake, do crafts and take her son to activities! There is some help from our mum when possible but she’s not nearby.  So it’s my sis and her hubby and the temporary relief provided by school/daycare as is the case for millions for parents worldwide. And yes her husband also wears XXL super hero pants. No, not because he’s big; but because his fatherly dedication is.

But this post isn’t about the amazing dads out there (sorry, fellas, I’m sure I’ll get round you at some point). It’s about the amazing mothers. Yay!

And whilst I may not be an uber-mama, I would just like to say that the other day, I did a big grocery shop, completed several laundry loads, tackled the growing mess on two of our terraces, did some cleaning, worked on the blog, did the usual  3 school runs, made waffles for afterschool  tea, did homework duty, made a fab photo-worthy fisherman’s pie for supper, found time to catch 15 minutes of sofa time hugs with the babies and a cup of tea and even got  them to bed on time. GO TEAM PRABS!  ActualIy, I thought the real me had been abducted by aliens and was reclining on a sofa being fed grapes by minions in an alternative universe while this uber-organised impostor got busy running a tight ship in my house back on planet earth.  Okay, so I may not have worked out a solution for the third world debt crisis but THIS was a very successful day for me!

Anyway, the point is, that’s not my typical day. My typical day? Well, it usually goes something like this:

– Crawl out of bed at not-early-enough o’clock, SO not ready to face the day.
– Endure the hell known as the morning routine which I guess most mothers can relate to where you literally sound like a broken record endlessly repeating the same set of requests and instructions (which FYI you’ll be repeating when they’re 18).
– Waste time hunting for the house key or the car key or my brain (or various combinations of all three).
– Accuse the four year-old of hiding the missing keys. “Prabs, why don’t you have a specific storage place for your keys?” I hear you say. We do. Thanks for asking. What’s your point?
– Find the keys.
– Apologise to four year old.
– By some miracle, get us all out the door for the school run (it IS a miracle which I aim to describe in anatomic detail in a future post).
– Drive like a mother****** (I mean drive like a mother) arriving at school, tyres smoking Starsky and Hutch stylie.
– Open my door, not before catching a horrified glimpse in the rearview mirror of breakfast still smeared on cheeks and unbrushed birds’ nest hair (and that’s just me).
– Drop off M and D, head to the second school and drop off Cheeky K and then finally drop off hubster at work.

That’s the most productive part of the day.  Then it usually goes downhill, a bit like this scene from a couple of months ago:

After drop off, I went food shopping and got home to discover one of the grocery bags was missing and had to drive back, finding it in the supermarket carpark (that’s nothing; I once had to go all the way back to the airport to try to find a baby buggy that I’d managed to forget (see 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama).

Of course this was on the same day where I skipped packed lunches in order to take them pizza later (a plan which doesn’t always work out too well as described here). I’d lost so much time with the ‘bag recovery mission’ that I barely had time to do anything before it was time to leave again to go drop off the pizza and their rainwear. So how did I wisely use my time? Yep, by running around like a lunatic trying to find my keys for the bazillionth time in blind panic; they get a measly 15 minutes to eat their lunch at my kids’ school so delivering it even a couple of minutes late is bad news.

I finally found the keys in the wrong bowl and pulled them out with a huge sigh of relief. Crap…they were just the house keys…still no car key.  ‘No problem. I’ll call it’, I thought to myself (you know the way you call your cellphone from the landline when you misplace it and DON’T tell me you never do that). I then spent what felt like an age trying to figure out why my key wasn’t ringing in response to my call. No, I didn’t make that up. I really called my key from my home phone.

Then I realised I a) have clearly had way too many kids so b) have way too few brain cells left and c) I seriously need a voice-activated Prabsmobile, no damned key required.

Eventually, with the lunch bell already having rung at school and me still stuck at home (actually shouting obscenities at myself in mind-bending frustration), I called my lovely friend Baker Lady who thank God lives around the corner from me and who generously (translation: insanely) let me borrow her car. Seriously, I wouldn’t let me borrow my own car given this track record of scattiness.

I climbed in, looked round to make sure there was a car seat I could use for Cheeky K only to find the back seats down and a ton of unmoveable stuff in the back, said my prayers about driving someone else’s car in the rain and decided not to worry just yet about where I was going to put K. One mercy dash to school in the pouring rain later (not even gonna say what time I dropped off the pizza), it was time to head to the nursery to fetch my youngest (whose face was a picture when she noticed a lovely 4×4 instead of mummy’s heap of metal).

I crawled along dodging the ‘pools’ that form on the roads here when it rains, weather which seems to bring out the most excellent driving skills among the people of this island. Honestly, it’s like all that other dumb-ass driving they do (stuff you wouldn’t even believe) is just a rehearsal. You know the expression ‘to save something for a rainy day’? Well here, they save their really bat-shit crazy driving for a rainy day.

Anyway, where was I headed? To the car hire people to fetch the spare key AGAIN.  I tell you, it’s a good thing we drive a hire car here instead of our own because there would be nobody to bail us out if we (I mean I) lost the key to ours. I’ve done it so many times that I’m surprised they don’t just lock the door and hide under their desks when they see me coming. I’m not even going to try to describe the look on the manager’s face when I suggested I keep the spare to avoid me having to go to their office each time I misplace the original.

Finally, most of my day wasted, I drove a nerve-wracking drive home (tense partly due to the thought that I may have to stump up a daft amount of money for a replacement key if I didn’t find the original and partly due to the number of geniuses overtaking on bends or pulling out suddenly from side roads IN THE RAIN. I honestly don’t remember how many times I reversed down narrow roads to let drivers through, all of whom can grip a steering wheel with one hand and yet none of whom can use the other hand to effing thank someone who reverses all the way down a road IN THE RAIN for them. Mind you, it is hard to thank another driver when your ‘free’ hand is busy holding a phone isn’t it?

I dropped the car back at Baker Lady’s house and then walked home with Cheeky K both of us getting wet in the rain, only to find my own key in the very bag I didn’t bother looking in as there was ‘no way the key would be there’.  By now, I literally had one hour left to eat and do jobs before heading out to fetch M and D.

Now, we get to the bit where I honestly considered lying about what I managed to do next. I collected them both, got back in my car and started off down the road. No sooner had I turned the corner from the school than the car ground to a halt. I had three hungry kids in the car, was in the middle of a quiet residential road where I knew nobody and couldn’t call hubster for help as he was thousands of miles away on a work trip.

Why did it grind to a halt?  Yep…you’ve guessed. No petrol left in the tank.

I could describe the look on the face of the car hire company manager when he turned up…I honestly think he wanted to strangle me…but I think I’ve said enough. My work is done here.

So, long story long, if you ever see me, feel free to think “I don’t know how she does it. No really, I don’t know HOW she does it!” Then cross the road and quickly walk away from me before you catch scattybrainitis.

You can also read this at:

snotallaboutyou

 

Friday Frolics

Monday Morning Mama

mondays

Short but not sweet.

Let’s see: the entire kitchen bin contents fell out on the floor this morning and the time needed to a salvage job meant we were late for school AGAIN.

The locking system on the car has gone beyond beserk to the point where I nearly got locked out of the car earlier.

I forgot to go food shopping after pilates. HOW can I forget that? Oh yeah, my brain and every part of me was mush after pilates so it’s a miracle I made it back to my car never mind the grocery store.

I’ve walked back into a house that is such a mess that Health and Safety might turn up and I’m seriously considering knocking on a neighbour’s door (hell I don’t care if I don’t know them all that well) and asking if I can just spend the day in their house instead.

The whole place still stinks of kitchen bin but I don’t have the upper body strength required to scrub, mop and disinfect because of that damned pilates class. Honestly my arms are shaking.

Oh and it’s raining. Knew I should have taken those clothes off the line.

Coping tools required for this situation: a stick of dynamite, a huge cappuccinno and a chick flick.

What’s not to like about Monday?

Girls’ Night Do’s and Don’ts (aka My Christmas Boobs Revealed)

Cynthia could not wait to show off her baubles at the Christmas party

Cynthia could not wait to show off her baubles at the Christmas party

I had a quite a big night out a while ago with friends. I’d rather not go into too much detail right now for the sake of discretion; actually, discretion nothing…I’m just terrified my mum will read this.  In brief, getting rather friendly with a tequila bottle, apologising to a door after bumping into it and almost falling into a toilet bowl, featured somewhere in the proceedings…but maybe I simply imagined that.

Anyway, let’s just say I learned a few lessons on what to avoid the next time I go out…Christmas boobs you see…ah!  To be honest, I probably won’t need to remember them myself because I swore that I’d never go out again after that night (she said before remembering the 12 Pubs of Christmas pub crawl is coming up).  So I thought I’d distil them into a sort of do’s and don’ts guide for your mums’ night out and/or office Christmas party, now that the festive season is upon us.  Consider this guide a sort of pre-Christmas gift from me to you.  And er, if you’ve already had your big do, then I’m sorry I didn’t get this to you earlier.

Christmas Party Do’s and Don’ts:

1. DO make sure you line your stomach properly beforehand.  Start drinking milk at least 3 days before to prepare your body for the carnage you intend to inflict on it. If you’d prefer to be able to look the other parents in the face the next day at the school gates or you’re chasing a promotion at work, best leave the self-infliction of carnage to someone else and stick to soda water eh?

2. DON’T dress inappropriately.  That dress – you know the one I mean – which has been looking at you tantalisingly from the back of the wardrobe may just have to stay there a while longer.  Nobody wants to see your baubles.  Save that for the privacy of your own home when Santa’s due. The dads I know who read this blog: please ignore bauble remark.

3. If you’re the first to arrive and you have a history of never being on time for anything – not even the birth of your own children – for pity’s sake, DO make sure you’re in the right place before giving the manager a pasting for having no record of the booking.

4. For the over 30’s amongst you, DON’T fist-pump the air, after caning the Jagermeisters all night, glaring triumphantly at those 30-something lightweights who’ll probably flake around midnight while you, the hardcore 40-somethings carry on til the early hours. For my 30-something friends (er that’ll be everyone in the dedication at the end then), apologies for the lightweight comment. Don’t shoot the messenger.

5. If you realise you are actually pretty far gone and need to sober up, DO make sure you have a clear plan for making it back to the bar to order water without falling over. (Don’t ask me what kind of a plan or how you should execute it. I just thought that sounded like a sensible thing to suggest.  So I suggested it.)

6. DON’T climb onto the ‘stage’ or tables or cavort over-suggestively on the dance floor… a little bit of suggestibility (what kind of a rubbish noun is that anyway?) is fine but anymore is just so 90’s.

7. DO take advantage of this occasion to talk to that mother or colleague you’ve never really  got to know that well but please:

8. DON’T end up telling them that you love them when you just met them five minutes ago.

9. DO relax and let your hair down. You’ve earned it after a term of after-school activities, homework, PTA events, the school run, birthday parties, housework, commuting, 12 hour days at the office etc but:

10. DON’T relax too much or you’ll end up shouting the lyrics to Blurred Lines – or even worse Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody – in the face of a total stranger…shudder.

11. DO hold the jokes about Santa’s sack and bastard turkeys. Mum, that second bit was for you 🙂

12. DON’T run around taking pics of all the fake ‘girls’ out that night, with a view to instagramming them later.  It’s poor form and frankly you’d run out of time, there’d be oh so many there. On second thought, just take pics of all the real ones…far less time-consuming.

13. DO try to mentally register the faces of at least a handful of the random people you chat to/dance with. Call me old-fashioned but I think it makes life so much easier (when they inevitably friend you the next day on FB), if you can actually remember who the hell they are.  This is particularly relevant if you ignored point 8.

14. If you end up staying at a friend’s house, DON’T leave your clothing in the kitchen/hallway necessitating a mad dash to try to retrieve them in the morning before your friend’s partner and/or children wake up. And:

15. DO make sure there are no witnesses as you lay your head on your friend’s kitchen counter, waiting for the kettle to boil the following morning.  Why? Because moaning “Oh God I could die…why is the kettle making sooo much noise?” while your friend’s kids look on confused and slightly scared, may seriously affect your ability to look them in the face at the playground next time.

16. DON’T wear rubbish makeup. It needs to be proper badass Ninja makeup that stays. Because believe me, if you end up doing the walk of shame from your friend’s house to a café the following morning, it’s good to be able to ask for that double espresso without eye makeup and lip gloss remnants smudged all over your face. (Who are you kidding? You know won’t have cleansed your face before you went to bed because you went to bed an hour before you got up.)  The dads I know who read this blog, why did you read that part?

17. If you plan on drinking your entire body weight in booze then DO make sure you know exactly how you’re getting home.  I’m dead serious.

 

For the lovely and always fun N.C., J.C., L.C., I.J.,T.K., K.L., K.T. and S.W.

Merry Christmas ladies.

 

 

Honey I Forgot To Feed The Kids (things celebrity mums don’t do)

You know you haven't got this parenting thing right when you shriek "**** I FORGOT THEIR SCHOOL LUNCHES!". Celebrity mums just don’t have days like this.

You know  you haven’t got this parenting thing right

when you decide not to send them homemade lunches today, in favour of buying them hot pizzas at lunchtime.  And then later you sit in your favourite cafe writing a post called 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama  mentally patting yourself on the back for spending quality time with your youngest (when in actual fact she’s occupying herself with jigsaw puzzles, colouring for three hours and sipping babyccinos while you work on your blog).

And then you head off late to the grocery store

and as you’re salivating over the baked goods section and putting doughnuts into a bag as an afternoon treat for the kids, you shriek “**** I FORGOT THEIR LUNCHES!” so you grab some sorry-looking pizza slices from the bakery but you can’t call the kids’  teachers to let them know you’re on your way because you left your phone at home that morning (again) and you feel sick to your stomach at the thought of your other two kids sitting at school wondering where the hell their stay-at-home-mum is while everyone around them eats food lovingly prepared by proper mums, some of whom work and who don’t forget their kids’ lunch.

So you end up flying around the store like a lunatic

literally throwing stuff into the trolley at breakneck speed with your three year-old in the front seat firing nonsensical questions at you and then you line up at the ‘under 10 items checkout’, realise you have 11 items, line up at the correct checkout, literally throw everything onto the belt at breakneck speed like a lunatic, throw it all into shopping bags, run to the car, get to school way after they’ve all gone back in after lunch, endure hurt looks from your kids and faintly disgusted looks from their teachers and learn that some of the teachers scrambled around for food for your son who was crying.

Afterwards, you rush home and throw the food into the freezer

and fridge, grab your phone, nuts and chocolate (yep I really did say you grab your phone, nuts and chocolate), head off an hour late to your amazing baker friend for her help in grinding them up for a dessert that you promised to make for a fundraiser the next day because you bust your own food processor the week before when you made the same dessert.

Then your husband (who never questions your parenting)

calls you and questions your parenting…and you feel so deflated at your rubbish mothering skills that you end up gratefully accepting your friend’s invite to stay for lunch when you should really be heading home to put your toddler down for her nap and hang out that laundry load.  And later when you’re going to school to get the kids, you think how celebrity mums like

Angelina, Gwyneth and Victoria just don’t have days like this

(how would they when they have an entire army of childcare and domestic employees helping them fake the image of  the hands-on-mum?) and you get to school so late that your kids have gone back into the school building…and then you get your husband from work and he drops you back at your baker friend’s house but turns up again a bit later because on his way back to work he discovered you’d left your phone in the car.  Then you go home, finally prepare dinner, get the kids fed and get everyone upstairs for bedtime but as you’re bathing them, you think

“Oh crap, I don’t have eggs or sugar for the dessert”

and you realise the local store will close before you’ve finished bathing the youngest.  So your eldest has to change back out of her pyjamas and run to the store to buy some and as she’s leaving the house, she discovers the house keys in the front door and it’s at that point that you realise how fitting it is that you wrote 10 Signs Of The Scatty Mama just that morning…

…and that you need to borrow one of those employees from Angelina, Gwyneth or Victoria…