I consider myself a fairly average mum that works part-time, which few mums seem to do these days; I have a husband and 2 children, as I'm not yet sure how to get the 0.4 of a child required to exactly meet the average; I eat out and order takeaway more than I think I should and beat myself up about it*; I wash and iron everyone's clothes before my own; I rarely go out with girlfriends; manage a professional manicure about once a year; have opted out of salon colouring and have a strong relationship with Nice N Easy which I will love forever as long as it continues to lie to the world about my hair colour which is clearly brunette and not white at all! And I spend far to much time watching rubbish TV, albeit on Sky+ which cuts out the ads and saves me money but means I have no idea what innovations are hitting the highstreet.
So, with that in mind, here's a much longer list than I originally intended of the things that make my crazy normal life a little easier at the moment and will hopefully help you.
1. Fork out for School dinners. The children get a hot meal for £2 a day which I could never emulate. And I can pick them up and be 'picnic mum' at tea time, not concerned with meat and veg, only with cold sausages, cheese and crackers, dippy egg and beans on toast. My daughter is testing me this week and wanting to try packed lunches. It's taken me until 9pm to get them to bed and then make appropriate lunches for tomorrow. Usually I've done the ironing by then which is still sitting there grumbling at me... grrrrr.
2. Always have the following either in your bag or easily accessible in the car: plasters, germolene, a sticker/activity/colouring book, crayons, drinks, snacks, spare nappies (even if the kids are out of them, they are the best at absorbing any large spills quickly!), wipes (whatever age they are), a couple of nappy bags (good for rubbish which gravitates towards mum, if nothing else), a spare outfit per child including socks and pants** (you'll thank me when you need it).
3. Children don't tend to like doing tasks that they 'have' to do, like teeth brushing. I have recently invented the "Teeth Monster" in our house. Tell them he's lurking and that they need to brush their teeth quick and that you'll help. Do some little growls, play acting, whilst brushing, then just as you are finishing their teech say, "Quick! I can hear him! I'll go and look! and pop out of the bathroom. Then immediately come back in with arms in, what I like to call the 'T-Rex position', with fingers clawing, and say "I'm the Teeth Monster! I'm coming to eat up everyone with mucky teeth!" look at their teeth and immediately look disappointed...."oh, that's not fair! I'm hungry but you have lovely clean teeth so I can't eat you! My tummy's grumbling... Is there anyone else?" In our house the children normally get away but then the Teeth Monster finds my hubby (or vice versa) and says "Hurray, you have Very mucky teeth" and tries to eat their arm, which the children find hilarious and enjoy fighting off the monster! My children actually ask me to brush their teeth now instead of running away!
4. Invest in an in car DVD player with 2 monitors for the backseats. Ours was £50 from Curry's Clearance Store and worth every penny during the 8 hour drive to France on holiday.
5. Save TV time until 4pm. The children are tired and hungry by this time, so if limiting TV absolutely limit it to this time slot to enable you to cook in relative ease.
6. Invest in Sky+ if you ever want to watch programmes of your own again. Unless you have a much better memory than me and can manage to set the VHS/DVD recorder regularly.
7. And one final tip for very new mothers; don't panic if all you feel like doing is crying during the first few months of looking after your first child. The culture shock alone is enough to throw anyone off kilter, and if you throw in crazy hormones and lack of sleep you have to expect that you won't be at your best. It'll get easier and more fun as time goes by and as you begin to find ways of managing this new life. I have cried buckets in my time, literally over spilt milk. Don't worry about it, that's one aspect of child rearing that's most definitely a given!
And that'll do for now. Let me know if it was helpful, boring, rubbish, funny etc.... and I'll try better next time!
* not literally of course, mentally. No need to write in.
** that's knickers if you're in America. Trousers are trousers in the UK. Knickers are pants!