Now and again people talk about being a parent as having the best job in the world. They might be telling big fat fibs, but that's not really the point of this article.
Being a parent isn't just one single career; to be a good mum or dad you need to be several jobs all at once, and sometimes all at the same time. For example:
"Draw me a dinosaur driving a spaceship," demands your son, and suddenly you find yourself with a sticky biro in your hand whilst trying to remember what you learned in art class at school. And you're if your artwork isn't good enough, you'll be made to do it again.
Whether it's kissing grazed knees, sucking bruised fingertips or looking for a plaster big enough to cover a forehead cut, you quite often find yourself assuming the role of doctor when you're a parent. Joking apart, though: it's a good idea to learn the basics of first aid; you never know when it might come in handy, and could save your child's life.
There will be times when you'll walk into a room, all the kids are screaming at you and blaming each other for something, and you need to work out what the hell just happened and who is to blame. Think CSI mixed with a living version of Cluedo. Who made their sister cry? The four year-old with the plastic sword in the kitchen? The seven year-old with the erratic dance moves in the living room?
Whether it's fish fingers and chips, a mini pizza, or you've had a real rush of blood to the head and gone for a freshly prepared organic vegetable delight, you're going to need to scrub up on your culinary skills. And then be prepared to scrape it all into the bin when your child refuses to eat.
When they're toddlers you drive them to parties. When they're schoolkids you drive them to football practice or ballet classes. When they're teenagers you're driving them over to their latest crush's house. At least taxi drivers get paid.
There will be times when your child's self-confidence has taken a knock. Whether they're being picked on at school, or just having a down day, it's your job to pick them back up, dust them off and give them a self-esteem boost.
Whether it's wiping bums or hoovering the carpet after they've spilt glitter everywhere, you basically have to follow your child around all day to clean up after them, to at least try and limit the destruction they leave in their wake.
You might think you're only teaching your children when you're helping with maths homework, or excitedly telling them some trivia which only you're interested in. But the fact is, you're constantly teaching your child in the way you act, speak and behave.
You pull funny faces to make them smile, you dance with them in the kitchen, you wrestle on the living room floor. In the car you play eye spy or sing songs, and in the park you're constantly having to push them on the swings. And sometimes – if you just can't be bothered – you stick them in front of the TV.
Let's face it. You're really just their servant.
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