I lose my shit approximately 12.5 times a day, if not more. These tantrums range from mini-mummy-meltdowns to full blown "Arthur Fowler" moments. I know when I'm going to blow as I normally give myself a good talking to five seconds just before, and then the shouting/tears/swearing under my breath (totally out loud) starts. I have no helpful advice regarding parenting whatsoever, but when it comes to losing my shit I am now becoming a bit of an expert (yes, I do realise I sound like Daddy Pig - same belly too).
Due to me losing the plot so regularly, I have now devised a few tactics to help me see through the red mist and keep my cool. So for all those parents regularly muttering FFS under their breath, whilst day dreaming of wine and down time, these top nine tips are for you...
- FIND A GOOD BABYSITTER - an hour here or there without the kids just isn't enough. Every parent needs some proper time away to remember who you were before you became mum or dad (aka get pissed). In short, finding a good babysitter is the BEST thing I ever did - a life saver
- SLEEP - What (nearly) every mum and dad dreams about. A long, comfy, decent night's kip. My kids have always been terrible sleepers. So for some time I have hit the hay at least once a week at around 7.30pm when the kids go to bed. It sucks that I have to lose an evening, but the benefits of getting that extra few hours of slumber far outweigh a night in front of the box, usually flicking through Facebook and someone else's holiday snaps (wild, I know!)
- PERSONAL SPACE - If my daughter could spend her day nose-to-nose to me, telling me about the daily going ons of her imaginary children Eddie and Lucca, she would. Whilst this is, of course, lovely, and the kind of thing I will miss desperately when she's 18 and ignoring me, it can sometimes get a little bit much. For this reason I spend quite a bit of time hiding in the toilet. Every parent needs their own time out
- READ A BOOK WITH YOUR KIDS - I know when my kids are going nuts it's normally because they're trying to get my attention. On a bad day following a bad night, this can escalate into a full scale shit storm on both sides. If I begin to feel my blood boil and I have time to sit down for ten minutes, we read a book together. The kids calm down, we have a cuddle and unless my boy goes for a hair pull or face pinch, the cuteness normally reminds me why I love being a parent. Warmth and fuzziness all round
- VENT - Whatever you do, don't keep the anger in. Of course I don't advocate raging at the kids, but if there is someone else to have a moan to, DO IT. My mummy mates and I bloody LOVE a good moan and I am also very fond of an angry text message to the husband. Not so good for marital relations, but it certainly makes me feel better
- PUT THE PHONE DOWN - On a big shouty day I often look at my phone WAY too often, trying to distract myself with work or worse, social media. It does nothing to improve my mood, often making me more cranky. The best thing to do? Switch the phone off for a couple of hours (if you can) and go out to the park or somewhere fun together
- GIVE YOUR KIDS A COMPLIMENT - Like most parents (I tell myself), I am forever telling my kids to stop doing what they're doing. "STOP hitting your sister," "STOP moaning," "STOP sticking your fingers up my nose." And they get pretty fed up. On the flip side, my kids LOVE a compliment - who doesn't? If you feel yourself getting in a funk, and your threeanger's face is resembling a slapped monkeys butt, tell them something nice. Remember how they were kind to their sibling earlier. They'll love it and you'll feel better for it too
- TREAT YOURSELF - Ever since I had my kids, I have been on a quest to lose my baby weight and get back to some semblance of my pre-kid self. BUT I have always indulged in a takeaway once a week, because every parent deserves a treat. Mine happens to be greasy pre-prepared food, but it could be a Pilates class, a nice face cream, booze, a good book, whatever! Before kids, I used to be lucky enough to have lunch out (at work), go for dinner with friends a few times a week, go to the cinema regularly. Now a trip to the dentist without the kids feels like a reward for good behaviour. So allow yourself that special something every now and then, it's food for the soul (and in my case my hips)
- DANCE IT OUT - when all else fails, "Shake It Off." There isn't a bad mood that can't be shifted by a good old boogie round the kitchen. Your kids will think you're mental, but who cares, they do anyway!