Having children brings a whole new perspective to what would have previously been run of the mill, mundane activities. When you add up to three children in the mix, what would have been previously day to day tasks that you wouldn’t have thought twice about completing suddenly become monumental achievements of Olympic proportions! I get to the end of some of these tasks and ponder why there is no podium for me to climb on to and no one putting a laurel leaf crown on my head and a medal around my neck!
Imagine the top ten countdown music from Sunday afternoon radio playing in the background and read on…
- Making it round the supermarket.
Previously something to be done in 5 minutes on your way home from work; now a trip which requires all the planning of a trip to the summit of Everest, the patience of a saint and probably a stiff drink on your return to home. If we make it round with none of the 4 of us in tears and a full head count by the end that counts as a win! Possible casualties of the success will however include spending 50% more than you would have done child free, caving in and buying crap/magazines (which they only want for the plastic shit on the front!) and having more refined sugar in your trolley than a Cadburys factory. You will also have a selection of food which they absolutely insist they love and must have only to get home and find that they have developed an absolute hatred of in the ten minute car journey from Tesco to home!
2. Emptying the Washing Basket.
Pre kids we’d wait till the weekend to make sure we had adequately saved up enough dirty washing to warrant putting a load in! Now, our house oozes dirty washing from every pore and we come home to angry letters from the washing machine, threatening to go on strike if it doesn’t get longer than 10 minutes off! I once achieved washing Nirvana… not one single piece of dirty washing left in a basket, no washing in the machine or tumble drier and everything ironed and put away. It was that much of a miracle that I actually marked the date- 17th of January 2017! It was a perfect storm of laundering! I don’t expect it to happen again anytime soon!
3. Getting in the car.
Pre children… pick up handbag, lock door, open car, drive!
Post children… Begin gathering belongings 30 minutes before leaving the house. Pack changing bag with a change of clothes and range of baby paraphernalia. Ask children to put shoes and coats on and have a wee. Repeat this request eleventy billion times. Negotiate with middle child which coat/cardigan/jacket is the least weather inappropriate! Agree that she can just get in the car wearing whatever the hell she wants and pack all possible alternatives in the car that she may change her mind to when you get there. Put baby in car seat- try to zone out the screaming that this brings and do the only thing that possibly soothes screaming- repeatedly sing the 1981 Joe Dolce hit ‘Shaddup you face!’ Put all three children in the car. Get children out of the car to go and get the toy that they’ve just remembered they absolutely must have even though they haven’t played with it for 6 months and its broken! Put children back in the car. Get oldest child back out as middle child has snuck two toys in and he can’t possibly be expected to manage with only one. Strap children back in the car- ‘Shaddup you face’ has now reached worryingly high levels of pitch. Lock front door and sit in the drivers seat and wonder whether this pain in your chest is what a heart attack feels like. Put car in reverse. Back off the drive. Slam on brakes and get a minimum of one child back out of the car as they now need a wee! Try really really hard not to swear!
4. Eating out.
When we sit down in a restaurant or pub, I always start proceedings by asking if we can make this the day where no one knocks their drink over and we have to do the walk of shame to get ‘blue roll’ from the bar! This day has never come!
5. Sitting at the Dining room table!
Previously, we would pick up our plates, select a chair and sit down. Now we have to run the gauntlet of the complex seating plan that the children have in their heads! There is usually very strict criteria, for example we need to have a ‘boys side and a girls side’ or a ‘grown-ups side and a children’s side’ but you can absolutely guarantee that both children will not have the same criteria on any given day! Throw in a baby in a high chair who everyone must sit next to and you’re left with trying to organise a complex seating arrangement that belongs on the Krypton-factor! God forbid we have guests for dinner; the possible variations on seating become so complex we need an algorithm to ascertain which chair it’s safe to place your derriere on!
6. Blowing your nose.
It is no longer about blowing your own nose… oh no! There is a new challenge in town! Tiny babies cannot blow their noses or adequately cough which leads to a build-up of snot! The single biggest and most satisfying achievement you get as a parent is to manage to extract bogies from the nose of a snuffly snotty newborn using a bogey sucking extraction device!! Particularly when the snottiness is causing sleeplessness!
7. Completing a conversation
We sometimes stupidly mistake a pause in noise from the children to begin a conversation about something of moderate importance. This pause in noise is in fact just a recharge period where they are thinking of a million different questions to interrupt you with. For example ‘how big is the world? Where do babies come from? How did Ted get out of your tummy mummy? (I muttered something about a special tunnel!!) Why is the sky blue? Etc. Etc. Etc. Or, they urgently need to tell you about a life altering event in their life (the time they went down the curly slide at the swimming pool for example) in step by step minute details! We usually remind them patiently that mummy and daddy are talking and to wait one minute before finally giving up about 3% through a conversation and muttering ‘FFS’ under our breath. We last completed a conversation in 2013, a week before George started talking!
8. Going to the toilet (*Overshare alert*)
We recently took the kids to a trampoline park and a friend was concerned at my capacity to jump so shortly after giving birth… but turns out my pelvic floor has never been stronger and let me tell you why! It is actually impossible to have a wee when at home with 3 small children so my options are either a pelvic floor of steel or pissing myself on a regular basis! I choose the first option! The second you even think about needing a wee, they sense your weakness and instantly start demanding stuff, fighting or vigorously rowing boats with the baby which definitely needs adult supervision! If you decide to sod it all and brave a quick one, you will inevitably end up with an audience and have to field questions like ‘why is your tummy still so fat mummy?’ Limited fluid intake and a core of iron are the only way!
9. Cleaning the house.
Trying to clean your house while there are children in it is tantamount to sweeping up leaves from your drive while you’re in the middle of an Autumnal hurricane!! If you try to clean one room, they will use their energy to mess up another while your eye is off the ball!! This was George’s old bedroom after they’d been playing ‘hotels’ while I cleaned the kitchen! I was lulled into believing they were playing nicely by the harmonious noises coming from upstairs… turns out they are much more cooperative when doing something I disapprove of!!
10. Eating a hot meal.
Putting meals on a plate is usually the cue for the children to need an million different things. By the time you have cut their food up, taking care to make sure you’ve cut it into the correct sized and shaped pieces, given them the appropriate drinks, condiments, cutlery and place at the table (see point 5) your own meal is not only cold but has actually grown mould and bacteria not yet discovered by science!
With the Olympics being every 4 years I’m proposing the Parent Olympics to sit halfway between the gaps. Events would include time trial morning school runs, obstacle courses making it through a floor full of lego and weight lifting changing bags and car seats!
What are your ultimate parenting achievements? And what event would you pin your medal hopes on at the Parenting Olympics?! 🎖