As we head into the second week of our six-week sentence of full-time parenting, what have we learned so far?
1. Your child will be content to watch TV/play computer games for plenty of time until the precise moment you nip outside for a quick fag at which point they will immediately appear to declare how close to death they are due to hunger/boredom/ANOTHER nose-bleed as they attempt to sit on your knee in order to inhale maximum levels of deathly smoke/parental guilt and also drench you in blood. Remember: it’s all about making memories.
2. Seven year olds are perfectly capable of sitting on a garden step and weeping sadly with a load of kitchen roll stuffed up against their bleeding nose while you finish your fag/Facebook post. Remember: happy parent = happy child.
3. Posting endless links to songs on Facebook which feel incredibly relevant to your uniquely painful personal circumstances and will only be listened to by perhaps one other person is a totally acceptable way to spend the day while you attempt to keep your child alive. This is called multi-tasking.
4. For the duration of the holidays, your decisions about what makes for appropriate TV viewing for your child can be abandoned. Love Island depicts young people who very much want to love each other, especially in a bed and filmed in night vision, which is lovely. Also: Police Interceptors will afford you two-straight hours of YouTubing as your child learns the importance of always having valid car insurance and of trying not to drive whilst hopelessly spangled on skunk. Crucial life lessons.
5. Your loo is your haven. (We’ve spoken about this before). It is perfectly acceptable to spend upwards of two hours per day in there. The added bonus being that your child will consider you to be unwell, which means you must also loll on the sofa while they cane the MAOAMS.
6. MAOAMS and Chewits are perfectly acceptable summer holiday breakfasting items.*
7. Ditto Lucozade.**
8. If considering getting together with other parents, ensure you don’t make the mistake of including those who are relishing this time with their offspring. They will want to drag you into child-centred activities like woodland walks and bike rides. You need to find the tired parents who will bring custard creams, wotsits and wine to your house and help you consume them behind the bathroom door while the kids bleed.
9. You must not, under any circumstances, make plans which are to take place at some future time. This includes rashly agreeing in the morning to take them to a soft play centre in the afternoon. Lord knows how you’ll be feeling by then, depending on how much time you’ve spent on YouTube listening to THAT song. Much better to be in the in the moment, like at 9pm when you decide that everyone needs a nutritional hot meal so you head for MacDonald’s drive-thru. This is called ‘living for now.’ This is mindfulness. Embrace it.
10. There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING more therapeutic than spending hours destroying vast swathes of forest on Minecraft. Once the land is levelled you can begin to build a house. Deciding the proportions, layout and colours of this house will be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life and you won’t give a nasty nose-bleed how pathetic that sounds. Also, whilst building, you and your child will natter away and make each other laugh and steal cuddles and tickles and kisses. This will get you through. This will remind you that you are good enough. Also: there will definitely be a song about it, the finding of which will see your evening sorted.
*May also be served for lunch and dinner.
And finally, today is National Orgasm Day. I hope I don’t need to remind you that it is not acceptable to celebrate this whilst parenting. Unless you’re on a loo-break, obvs. But not if you’re in there with another parent scoffing wotsits and wine. Unless they’re a parent you fancy. But not if they’re married to your best friend. Oh, sod it. It’s the summer. Do whatever works, right?