Mummy Bingo

Obviously, just a normal, quiet day can be Groundhog Day when you’ve got little ones. You’re most likely so achingly sleep deprived you’d seriously consider selling a kidney for a peaceful few hours in bed, yet instead you’ve got to make do with cold cups of tea and coffee and a few too many chocolate biscuits shoved in your face when little eyes aren’t watching you.

On the mummy win to mummy fail chart, you know, the one in your head, you’ll fluctuate wildly, zig-zagging all over the page. To your kids, you can go from the heady heights of a superhero, cape and all to officially the worst person in the universe, in a matter of moments. Especially if those moments include broccoli. Yet those days don’t go particularly right, they don’t go very wrong either.

However, when you’re fully immersed in the madness that is parenthood, you begin to fear those days. Those days are the ones where everything goes so horribly wrong, by the end of it you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or perhaps an ugly amalgamation of the two. Those days, absolutely everything possible goes spectacularly wrong, simultaneously.

These are the days the grocery delivery arrives, just as your child has decided to tear all their clothes off and wear the cat as a large furry hat – at a jaunty angle. Just as you’re hauling questionably bagged produce, the cat tries to make a bid for freedom from your child’s head, scratches them and darts out the front door, your enraged, naked mini me in pursuit.

Those days are the ones your child tries to brush their teeth with your fancy facial serum, or clean the toilet with your favourite perfume. Those days invariably end in someone crying like a jibbering wreck in the corner, if not both of you.

So I’ve invented Mummy Bingo (you’re welcome btw) – a score sheet of everything that can go wrong, and if you tick them all off during one of those desperately trying days, you win a cruise, lifetime supply of massages and chocolate or maybe even a sainthood.

Rather than numbers on my Mummy Bingo score card, there will be things such as…

Didn’t shower – again. Cake for breakfast. Child attempted to abseil up curtains. Broke a vase / priceless family heirloom / favourite mug. Poo on carpet. Child got carried away playing Angry Birds and threw your phone to the opposite side of the room. Cat sick. Unexpected visit from mother in law. Toilet blocked. Fish fingers for dinner. Ran out of coffee / wine / sanity. Had a weep while hiding in the airing cupboard / bathroom / under a large cushion

Etc etc.

What do you reckon? I’m on to something, right? However, while my amazing idea is in it’s conception stage, you may want to play some free bingo a little less wayward, with more chance of ya know, actually winning.

 

A great place to start is Bingo Extra, a fun place to play bingo and slowly unwind and switch off after one of those days once finally your little tearaway is tucked up in bed. Finally.

 

Only problem with my idea is I suppose they’ll need a fearless official adjudicator if they are going to reward with actual sainthoods. Sorry, I’ve just go to dab out Failed idea of how to find fame and fortune on my score card…

Top 5 Tips for Glamour Home Décor

Fixing up a home to keep it glamorous-looking can sound expensive. When you see a home’s interior in chic décor, you would instantly think money. Unknowingly, there are so many ways to make a home look luxurious and glamorous without really spending way too much. The elements used to style the home must complement the over-all design, not clash with it. Luckily, we need not have to have a million bucks in order to make our home look posh.

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  • Make it look larger. Small spaces can look cramped but you can do something about it. Hang mirrors that function to reflect light and give an illusion of more space. Invest in mirrors with gold or brass frames to add more bling to an area. You can even find old pieces in the flea market and just have it refurbished.
  • Let it bloom. Fresh flowers around the home adds instant charm and an air of glam. They brighten up the room with their array of colors and even provide a pleasant perfume. When arranged nicely in a lovely statement vase, it instantly boosts the mood in a space. Drop by your local flower shop for a bunch of your favorite flowers.
  • Invest in statement furniture. You don’t have to fill up every nook and cranny to make it look like an A-lister’s home. One or two quality furniture pieces can work wonders. Mohd offers glamorous and contemporary design items with original and beautiful designs. You can also check out the Mooi collection for ideas on sofas, chairs, tables, and even lighting fixtures.
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  • Use jewel-toned pieces. Covering your windows in jewel-toned curtains will give a look of richness. Throw pillows can be made with shiny and rich-colored fabric in jewel tones and arranged in the living room area. This will make the place look comfortable and trendy. Ask your mercer for fabrics and colors that go well together if you are in doubt.
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  • Play with sophistication. Decorating a bedroom in just one color is an easy way to make it look stylish. Invest on a monochromatic color palette. Bed covers, rugs, curtains, chair covers in the same or almost similar hue will look fabulous! Most home décor shops sell pieces that come in sets or you can look around for items that can be paired together.

 

Starting Child Care: Tips for Your Toddler

When you’re ready to send your toddler off to child care for the day so that you and your spouse can work, it can be a difficult transition for both you and your child. But with the following tips, you can make the entire process easier on everyone.

Determine If You’ll Use a Child Care Centre or Hire a Professional for In-House Care

One of the biggest decisions that you’ll make when it comes to child care for your toddler is whether you’ll search for a child care centre that you’ll drop your daughter or son off to every day, or if you’ll hire a nanny or au pair from a resource like aufini.com.

There are perks and drawbacks associated with each of these choices, and you need to take all of them into consideration. For example, it may be a matter of price, or it may be a matter of your child feeling more comfortable in familiar surroundings. You and your spouse will also need to decide if you feel okay with having someone living and/or working in your home.

In the event that you decide to go with a child care centre, be sure to visit it with your toddler several times. Spend a little bit of time exploring it with your son or daughter, let your child meet the teacher and any assistants there, and let him or her see the toys as well. This will ease the transition when the first day arrives.

Prepare Your Child for What’s Ahead

If your child is used to always having you around, you need to prepare him or her for the changes that lie ahead. This is the key to your toddler’s success with the transition, so start as early on as possible by describing where he or she will spend the day from now on, who will be caring for him or her, and all the fun that can be had. And, of course, reassure your child that you’ll be right there every day to pick him or her up in the afternoon.

The Right Steps for the First Day

When the first day of child care arrives, follow the tips below to ensure the greatest level of success and the least amount of tears and anxiety:

  • Stay organised so you don’t need to rush and make your toddler anxious, confused, or frightened.
  • Have your toddler take a favourite blanket or toy to the child care centre so that he or she will have something familiar close by.
  • Make it a point to get there early and give your toddler a chance to settle in.
  • Make sure that you aren’t feeling nervous. Try to hide any uneasy feelings you’re experiencing so they don’t transfer to your child.
  • Once your child settles in, help him or her find a fun activity to enjoy.
  • When it’s time for you to leave, be confident and calm, saying goodbye and reassuring your child that you’ll be back in a few hours. Don’t leave without your child knowing, as this could increase fear and anxiety.

Now that you know a few of the best ways to keep your toddler happy and at ease when starting child care, you can rest easy too.

Holidays-ageddon

We’re just halfway through the summer holidays. That’s just three weeks. HOW HAS IT ONLY BEEN THREE WEEKS? In that time we’ve had a violent sickness bug stampede through the house, my kid’s been stung by a wasp, he’s gone to bed at 10pm and still had the sheer audacity to get up at 5.30am and to top it off, he’s called me a twat.

So all and all, we’re doing alright, yeah?

I reckon parents fall into two groups when it comes to the school holidays and half-term. Unless you home educate – in which case I need the number of your therapist.

On one hand we have the relaxed and calm lot, rejoicing the lack of early alarms, packed lunches and ironing – “Every day is an adventure!” they’ll tell you wistfully, while you wonder if you even have the appropriate footwear to conquer anything vaguely adventurey or outdoorsy. “I can’t wait for all the lie-ins!” they’ll cry happily.

Lie-ins? Eh? If we’re talking about anything past 7am – then I think we need to see other people.

Then we have the second group, quivering and nervous and oozing with self denial about what we’re going to face in the next few weeks, and how are we gonna do it, where routine and everything we know that’s safe flies straight out of the window.

I mean, come on, they must be knackered right? They have to be. Surely they could do with at least one pyjama day with a side order of Disney films and way too many baked goods? Alas no, before you’ve even got to the good bit with the singing lobster – the little blighter has ripped off his pyjamas, adorned them on his head in a makeshift turban leaving him completely starkers and is attempting his escape from a window.

This is the moment when you realise that you’re no longer enough. The second it dawns on you that this feral creature you helped to make needs other children, lots of land, big open spaces and padded stuff to fling himself from and no amount of craft projects, park visits or baking days will tame that for very long at all.

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Other things that you’ll no doubt encounter over holidays-ageddon:

The day you need to wait around the entire day for a delivery – the elusive 8am – 6pm slot will leave you in a false sense of security that you’ll be able to get out at some point, all the way until it arrives at precisely 5.59pm. Or worse, NOT AT FUCKING ALL.  By which point the kids will have made it their sole priority for you to go completely grey by bedtime, you’ll have shamefully wondered if it’d be really bad if you just locked them outside for a bit, just a little bit and had a mini cry in the airing cupboard under the guise of finally sorting the laundry out.

Two: The relatives are coming! Did you know you can translate “summer holidays” back to an old Norse saying which means “Family will descend on home and cause great discomfort / self-loathing and lust for murder.” It’s true, y’know. Brace yourself for arguments with the other half, a home that smells of a sickening mixture of bleach, freshly cut flowers and potent fear all while your children hate you even more than usual as you’ve hidden their collection of rocks / Kinder Egg toys / dead leaves and brushed their hair too vigorously and told them strictly not to sing Baby Got Back near your mother in law.

And thirdly: Get down with the sickness. “Mummy? Mummy, I think I’m going to be si-” 48 hours of every plausible surface including you, the cat, and OH GOD DON’T GET THE CARPET! covered in projectile vomit. And worse. Simultaneously. You’ll mop their sweat soaked brows with cold flannels. You’ll boil wash every known item of clothing and bedding. You won’t even care too much when they miss the bucket and puke straight over you. The flipside is when you inevitably catch the noro-bastard a few days later. “Can we go to the park today, mum?” asked earnestly while you whimper and crawl up the stairs desperately trying not to shit yourself. Again.

You wait, kiddo. You just wait until your first hangover, I’ll get you back.

However you’re getting through the summer holidays, I salute you – it ain’t easy, that’s for sure. I can guarantee I’ll be the first mum at the school gates on the 3rd, pleading with them to take us back. That we’ve changed and we promise to never be later than 8.40am and we’ll do the reading book every single night, I swear.

No More, No Less

A bittersweet realisation struck me the other day. On our return from a long, hot day at the beach, our skin turned freshly pink from the sun, sand smuggled in every orifice imaginable and a happy, exhausted kid bursting with stories about the first crab he ever caught and OMG THE ICE CREAM and and and… All while covered in dirt from digging around in the mudflats and his hair full of saltwater.

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I realised I was content.

I realised I was enjoying being this dude’s mum and spending time with him.

And there’s not many occasions I can say that’s actually happened.

Obvs it should’ve been a happy moment, but with the addition of the notorious Mum Guilt™ and Parental Doubt©, instead it was tinged with a generous dollop of  “I’m so shit. I’ve ruined his childhood,” and “Fuck, I better start saving for his therapy.”

Thing is, I reckon it’s still an unsaid thing, finding parenting a chore, something a lot of us cover up with self deprecating quips about needing to neck the gin / wine / any alcoholic beverage to hand (delete as appropriate) and hiding in the toilet with the door locked, armed with our phones and stolen Freddos and Smarties. Truth is I don’t really drink, and the last time I locked myself in the bog, the kid shat on the carpet outside the bathroom before I could hide away my contraband wrappers, wipe away the tear stains and allow him entry because ya know, sometimes 30 seconds warning of MUMMY I NEED A POO HELP IT’S COMING, ain’t enough.

What I mean is, we jokingly skirt around the issue, dance around it while the reality nips at our toes and we try not to let the pain reflect in our faces or the exhaustion show around our eyes, when all we want to do is collapse and weep for help.

I’ve been stuck in that seemingly never-ending cycle of wanting nothing more than to go back to bed before I’ve even properly begun the day, of feeling panicked and trapped, my heart racing, my head swimming with fear every time I’m cornered to play with my kid. Of having to physically force myself out the front door for every school run, every birthday party and outing, sweating, short of breath and shaking. Plus all the innocuous day-to-day parental tasks and required emotions and energy that simply feel impossible and out of reach, for the majority of my six years as a mum.

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It’s only now, after more than six years, that I can look back on a day and think “That was a good day.” Even with the house decimated and my kid’s parting shot when he goes to bed is “‘Night, OLD LADY,” while he tries to wipe his bogies on me.

It was a good day.

No more, no less.

And it’s enough just as it is, because it’s been such a long time coming.

Some Great Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe and Healthy in The Sun

As parents, we love the summer months, and the freedom it gives our kids to play outside. No matter how much fun your kids will have in your home, there is something special about playing outdoors. There is obviously a problem with playing outside, and that is the danger from the sun’s rays. So, even though I want my kids to be playing in the sunshine, I also need to protect them from harm. Here are a few ways that I balance the fun outside and the safety I require for my kids.

Sunscreen

This is always the starting point. As more information on the harmful effects of the sun’s rays becomes available, protection from them becomes increasingly important. Brush up on the terminology on the sun screen bottles, always buy sunscreen specifically for children, and make sure it is waterproof if they are going anywhere near water. Another thing to remember is that applying sunscreen once a day is useless for kids who are likely to be outside for hours, probably sweating the screen off every hour or two; so I keep topping up the sunscreen they have on throughout the day.

Water

If I set up a paddling pool in my garden for the kids to splash around in, I am always aware of where the sun is, and set up a large parasol to keep my kids in the shade. Never forget that water will intensify the effect of the sun’s rays and will reflect it back onto your children too. I use the parasol as I can move it around the paddling pool as the sun moves, but can remove it when it is not in use. If you have a permanent pool, it is worth considering a retractable cover; or a simple cover you can pull overhead; after all, you may want to swim in the rain too.

Permanent Shade

Make sure that you have an area where the kids can settle and play that is not in direct sunlight. If they are having an outside picnic, or playing with a sand table, this is best done in a shady area. It is easy enough to build an area of prefabricated steel and cover it with tinted Perspex or plastic sheeting, the steel can be made to measure at Cannonsteelsltd.co.uk, and the sheeting can be bought at any builder’s yard. The cost is small, and the structure will stop direct light, but allow the illusion of being in the sunshine. Other alternatives such as an arbour or gazebo are possible, but I like my kids to sit in the shade, not shadow.

Water (again)

This is the drinking kind, not the swimming kind. Kids will dehydrate in the sun, even if they are sitting down to read a book; so I make sure you know the signs to look for, and that there is always water available. They can have access to other drinks too, but there is always water. I find that the kids will drink much more water if it is cold, so I set up an urn full of iced water that is always on tap. I will also make sure that I make them have a water break every 30 minutes max, and reduce that if they are running around.

Playing in the sun is a healthy thing as long as you pay attention to the dangers that can accompany it. Protect your child from the harmful rays of the sun and sunburn, make sure they are drinking enough water, and that they take breaks from direct sunlight every so often. They can then enjoy a fun-filled day playing outdoors with their mates or you. Don’t forget, you are allowed to enjoy the sunshine too.

 

Encouraging Your Children to Become Entrepreneurs

It is natural for a child to start asking questions about their parents’ work and what it entails. This is a great opportunity for a parent to not only bond with their child but also start teaching them about how the business world works and how wonderful it can be to take charge of their own career.

It can seem premature to talk about encouraging children to become entrepreneurs, but the creativity, ambition, and innovation needed to carve out a successful corporate niche are all instilled during these formative years. Whilst it is never a good idea to push a child too hard too early, championing the desire to achieve is a great way to raise intelligent and forward-thinking children.

These tips and tricks will teach parents how to encourage their children to become entrepreneurs in a way that is nurturing, caring and ultimately successful.

Use the word “no” sparingly

This can be a difficult step to take with children, particularly if they are headstrong and curious, but if a child wants to have a go at something new and the parent knows that there will be no serious consequences if they fail, the parent should let them take the risk. As all good entrepreneurs know, risk is an essential part of success, and learning when to take chances and how to deal with failure is much easier when one is young and has a robust support network to fall back on.

Never treat girls differently

The world can be a very tough place out there for a woman, but the most successful ladies on the planet did not get to where they are now by letting people tell them what they can and cannot do. The best possible thing that a parent can do for a daughter these days is to teach her that she can achieve anything and everything that her brothers, father, uncles, and friends can. It is a good idea to use successful female entrepreneurs as inspiring examples, to show what is possible. One such example is Jennifer Douglas Abubakar. Jennifer is a lawyer and the founder of the Gede Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping those afflicted with HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Start financial learning early

As soon as children are old enough to start learning about the fundamentals of how money works, parents should supplement the learning that they will be naturally gathering as a result of contact with peers and teachers with their own basic education. For example, a parent could explain to them what a salary is, who receives one, and why this happens – the role of the individual in this process should be made particularly clear because it is important for them to understand that they are in control of their future.

For kids to grow up with a real sense of wonder at everything that they could potentially achieve, parents need to first let them know that success requires hard work, drive and determination.

 

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