The Alternative Guide to Parenting

Being a mother of four is not always easy, but it has taught me a few things.

Being a mother of four is not always easy, but it has taught me a few things.

I would like to share those things with other Mums and Dads all over the planet, out of concern for our welfare. It's just too much isn't it? We're all In-Over-Our-Heads. On days my baby hasn't slept I could be Mildred bloody Hubble for all I know. This advice is inclusive for all, no judgement, no labels, except when the OCD has kicked in then everything is labelled, socks, knickers, partner, baby... anyway enough of my issues:

1. You Don't Need a Nappy Bag

You don't need that expensive nappy bag..I told you reading this would be life changing - None of us need extra baggage of any form. What exactly is all that stuff you are carrying around anyway, ruining the tyre pressure on your Buggaboo? Put the nappy in your pocket, and some wipes in the other - Done, and done.

Same goes for stretch mark cream, but I don't need to tell you that do I? I do? It doesn't work. Sorry. If you want something to fix you, try yoga.


2. How to Throw The Perfect Birthday Party

Buy a fucking cake and invite some kids over.

Your welcome.

3. Having Help is Helpful

One thing I've noticed about U.K Mums after being a Mum both here and in the U.S, is that U.K Mums pride themselves on not having any help. Even if they are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and can't remember their own name, it doesn't matter; 'I clean my own house', I do it myself, no one cleans my house' - Yes, but you look like shit and your name is not Topsy.

'We haven't been out since the baby was born' is another U.K badge of honour. Another indian takeaway and a box set on Saturday night. No thanks. This is only fun if one is heavily medicated. I'll tell you a secret: In New York at least, Mums are delegating. Everything. Every Mama and their Boston terrier has a Doula, a night nurse, a nanny, a maid, a manicurist, a therapist, a personal nose wiper. Help, help, more help, what's wrong with some help people?

I don't have any help by the way - Cant afford it.

4. Getting up Early to Fit in Work Before Your Children Wake up.

No-one does that really, do they? I'd like to meet someone who does. Actually, no I wouldn't.

5. Don't Worry if Your Child Doesn't Have Any Friends

When my twins were tiny, I once heard a Mum in New York say; 'I don't have much luck making friends with other Mums. I either like the child, but don't like the parent, or I like the parent but I don't like the child.' ' 'What a bitch!', I thought. But seriously, once you've experienced either of these scenarios, whether your opinion, or worse, someones opinion of you and your child - you might consider yourself lucky if your child doesn't become Besties with anyone too soon.

Think about it, you won't have to put up with bullies or other irritations (kids or parents, usually parents), or endure endless kids birthday parties at 6am on a Saturday morning. And below seven, your child won't really notice.

7. How to Keep Your House Clean (if you don't have help)

Make a huge bonfire in your garden and chuck 85% of your stuff on it. It's called minimalism, and it works.

8. The Naughty Step is Pointless.

Demanding your child should sit on a 'naughty' step and think about just how naughty they are, and just how naughty they could be if they really tried, is really just a good opportunity for them to think up newer and better ways to be naughty. Try it. Sit on your own naughty step you Charles Dickens-esque, Super Nanny fan, and think about how horrible you are. Now see if you feel like a nice person when you get up. Hate yourself? Told you so. Try something more interesting like a Retrospective Walk? I can recommend a Mindfulness step for some peace and quiet.

Dear Mothers,

I hope that reading this advice has helped you in a deep and profound way, that is my truest intention...when I'm sober.

And remember, naughty steps are for husbands, mother-inlaws, and if he's peed in the kitchen, maybe the dog - ONLY.

Yours sincerely,

Mildre....Anne Marshall

If you have a burning issue and in a moment of madness you wish to contact me, please do get in touch. Either that or go to Boots..:

'Damn The Housework' illustration by Hannah Clark