lazy

What parent has never heard of Supernanny? What parent hasn’t at some time put her ‘tips’ into practice, I know I have.

She graced our screens with a magic like ability to tame the most persistent of ‘non-listener child’.

She made it look easy.  Persistence was key, I was very persistent and spent many days & nights persistently pissed off that her advice wasn’t working for me.

I stumbled across her website the other day and laughed and read her ‘Top Tips’ aka ‘obvious information’.

Below is a snippet of her ‘Top Tip’. Her advice is in bold the rest is how we roll in the Buck Stops Here house.

For some children “no” can be the default position when asked to do things. Below are some tips to encourage your child’s cooperation.

Give information

“Clothes on the floor don’t dry very quickly” 

Firstly drop the fancy wording ‘default position’.  The above paragraph should read “for some children “no” is the ONLY answer you will get when asking them to clear up their shit.   On a good day you might get a false promise of “in a minute”.

The one thing that we (Supernanny & I) agree on, probably the only thing we agree on, is yes clothes don’t dry on the floor.  The problem is my kids think they do, in fact they believe all clothes wet or dry actually belong on the floor.

I do, as she advises, give lots and lots of information to my kids, my problem is they don’t bloody listen.  I constantly brief them with all the necessary information like “rubbish goes in bins”, “plates don’t belong in your bedroom”, “if you use it put it back” I even let them know how things work such as the dishwasher even what a linen basket is for.

Unfortunately, Supernanny this ‘tip’ doesn’t encourage any co-operation, what-so-ever.  What it does encourage is smart answers and long debates about whose responsibility it is and a million reasons why it’s not theirs.

I question where the responsibility buck stops, my teenage daughter believes 100 percent it’s mine as I’m the parent, the one who chose to have kids.  As with all problems that aren’t mine it’s all about time, the length of time before they become mine.

Supernanny goes on to suggest you need to:

Describe how you feel

“I don’t like hearing whinging”

“It bothers me when I see clothes on the floor”

Again, I can tick the box here.  I always describe how I feel with no problem relaying this to them.  Venting such frustrations in a calm tone and in full view NOT from another room (as championed by Supernanny) usually results in…err…..umm…………..nothing.

So, I’m sorry Supernanny, forgive me, but in this house shouting from other rooms is the norm as I flit through each one dodging discarded items all over the floor.

Repeating ‘information’ in a calm tone whilst fully visible to my kids surprisingly results in jack shit.

So, what have I learnt from this very handy Supernanny tip? In one word nothing.  The hard reality of parenting is basically no one listens.  No, to be fair they do hear me the eye rolling always confirms this.  Just like her TV programmes her ‘parenting’ techniques rarely works.  I repeat, RARELY works.

Her tips/programme are all great in theory or when you are rubbing your pregnant belly dreaming about the parent you will be.

I’ve long forgotten what parent I thought I would be, but I vaguely remember believing joking my kids would never be the boss of me! #deluded.

So I hear you ask what would be my top tip for Supernannys default position ‘No’:   It’s simple when shouting, swearing, empty threats are all done, unplug the wi-fi and let’s see who suddenly starts listening!

Next week – How to get your kids to do the chores.  Scrap that, you can’t.

Might have to rethink next weeks!

camping

There is something enchanting about the idea of a camping holiday: Fresh air, ‘free‘ days, nature, tales around the camp fire, no wi-fi, waking to the sound of birds singing sweetly.

Now not being one to burst anyone’s camping bubble buuuuuutttttttt let’s just say Murphy’s Law is always in effect on a camping trip – what CAN go wrong WILL go wrong,  factor in 4 kids and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Below is a snippet of events leading up to one of our camping trips.  Like the preparation, packing and essentials required its bloody long so are our camping tales.  But fear not, I have kept this post brief!

LETS GO CAMPING – SHIT GREAT IDEA

‘Just think, its a cheap holiday…….once you have all the stuff you can go whenever you like’.  Weirdly I found myself easily persuaded and totally convinced my ‘discovery channel’ loving hubbie would be able to pitch our tent like he was born in the wilderness.  How hard could it be?

Running the idea past the kids it was a resounding yes, they couldn’t wait & I found their excitement catching.

In my head idyllic visions bounced around, playing games (without arguing), toasting marshmallows, BBQ’s, warm evenings drink in hand.  I couldn’t deny it camping was looking good.

My excitement nose-dived slightly when I drained our bank account of all funds buying all the ‘camping essentials’ a family would need….and would never use! (note to self..let it go!).

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WHY GO ABROAD?

Forcing myself not to think how it might have been cheaper jetting off somewhere hot, I looked on the bright side (the only bright bit about our trip) now we had all the camping ‘stuff’ we would be able to enjoy cheap, fun holidays for years to come.

I remained positive, after all there is a lot of Britain we have yet to explore.

Convincing myself  I reminded myself:

  • camping will be fun.
  • it will be sooooo cheap.
  • the kids will be full of fresh air.
  • no need to waste money going abroad (clearly deranged at this point!)

Sun-soaked photos like these would be replaced with ‘Camping is fun’ photos.

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THE KRYPTON FACTOR

Squashing things into the car is the norm with us without boasting it’s something we’re pretty good at.  Or so I thought until we decided to move home go camping.

Like an intelligence test from the Krypton factor – how to get 6 people and half your house in a car, it was safe to say we were challenged.  Hours later and with all hands and arses on boot we got it shut, we were ready.

Ignoring yells of “I’m squashed, I can’t see out” we set off.  Seconds after the back wheel left the drive it was  “how long will it take?” all the way only interrupted with sudden bursts of pointless arguments.

I was more pre-occupied with the thought I had forgotten something.

ROOM FOR 6 2

Realising very soon hubbie was no Bear Grylls, we spent hours scratching our heads over pole positioning.  Finally admitting defeat we asked the kids for help, within no time our canvas hotel was up.

I couldn’t help but think how small our ‘6 man’ tent looked,  it was way smaller than I’d imagined.  I wondered how the frigging hell we were all going to fit in the bloody thing.

Clearly, our tent had been modelled on the size of 6 Gingerbread men.

Nestled between other proper looking tents ours looked more like a dressing room.  Thankfully we only had to sleep in it, we were camping so would be living outdoors enjoying the British sun…….ha ha ha how foolish were we!

Any sudden thoughts of sun & enjoyment will only result in the starting pistol firing for the rain to start.

It was dinner in the car and nights huddled round in a smelly canvas hellhole trying to keep dry.  What FUN camping is.

DREAMS ARE ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE REALITY.

ONE MILLION REASONS WHY CAMPING IS SHIT:

  • The campsite will bear no resemblance in any shape or form to the one you have in your head.  You will spend the next week convincing yourself, it’s not too bad, at least you didn’t spend a fortune!
  • A ‘6-man’ tent is NOT for 6 men.
  • Camping is NOT a holiday.
  • Camping with 4 kids = nightmare.
  • The sun will be shining as you leave home with rain hot on its heels.
  • You will have tent envy.
  • Time will be wasted every day searching for that one item you need ie. toothbrush.
  • The showers will stop working the minute you lather your hair with shampoo.
  • Waterproof tent my arse!
  • There is no such thing as a good night’s sleep.  You will go to bed teeth chattering and wake up melting in an inferno.

EVEN MORE REASONS WHY CAMPING IS SHIT:

  • It will rain and you will get wet, VERY wet inside your waterproof tent.
  • You will be more concerned with keeping yourself warm and the tent dry than you will with doing your make up let alone doing your hair.  You will look shit and not care!
  • Wondering why people pitch up to the ‘no electricity’ pitch.
  • Sitting round campfires, playing guitars & toasting marshmallows only happens in the movies.  Our sites NEVER allowed campfires!
  • Who knew nights could be sooooooo long.
  • The kids will love the great outdoors until day 2 , then they will want to do something fun!
  • You will hear ‘things’ at night and remind yourself the Blair Witch project was only a film.
  • Wrapping yourself up like a mummy to an inch of your life praying no bug will squeeze its hairy arse in.
  • You will never run out of things that can go wrong.
  • You will walk around with a fixed campers grin of ‘I love camping’ knowing tomorrow is one day nearer to going home.IMG_2370

THE LIST GOES ON!

  • Limiting your drinks after dark for fear of waking up needing the toilet.
  • There’s more chance of inserting your housekey in a door in the pitch black whilst completely rat-arsed first time then you will finding the zipper at night to get out of the tent for the toilet.
  • You will spend hours in the prison queue just so you can wash your plates and cups while the person behind mimics the clock from Countdown!
  • Dinner will become a concoction of anything goes.   Thank god for King Size Pot Noodles.
  • You will ‘nap’ on a plump, inflated mattress and wake up on the hard ground, mattress deflated rolling around like a weeble wobble trying to get up.
  • You will suffer with a bad back.
  • Your kids will wake up desperate for a wee, your husband will be unable to open the zipper so will get cross, turn green, let out a roar and rip the tent apart to get out (oh just my husband then!).
  • You will go home early (or maybe that’s just us!)
  • Bin tent on way out.

The final straw in the canvas tents arse was when rolling up the tent to go home in torrential rain: We had forgotten to remove the car keys from within!    

After enduring it twice, we all agreed with no argument that we would not be camping again, EVER.  

It would be back to looking for passports, long queues, carousels and planes.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Ahh summer, what’s not to love, sunny days, warm evenings, yet its bittersweet for me.  The up side is time off work, no school runs, lie ins, washing on the line, sunglasses (an instant fix for makeup free face), the aroma of freshly cut grass and a Mr Whippy 99.

As the words ‘I can’t stand this heat’ fall from my dry cracking lips, people either agree or react with utter disbelief: “What? How can you not like this weather? What’s wrong with you?”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t HATE summer, just some things about it.  So, if you are one of those who love everything about summer please stop reading now,  you’ll only think I’m a whingy ‘ole mare.

If, like me, you are not one of those people then high five my friend please read on.

ITS ALL ABOUT THE CHECK-IN

As much as I love the nice weather, I do enjoy being indoors.  Summer hols are a time when, some days I simply just want to spend the day at home in my pjs, snacking and reading poetry……okay so I lie about the poetry, but recorded episodes of Nashville aren’t going to watch themselves.

Don’t get me wrong I love getting out, just not every single bloody day of the holiday.  It only takes a minute on Facebook to make you feel a bad parent because you aren’t out educating your kids and having fun?  Not sitting at home licking the Ben and Jerry’s tub clean!

Facebook is awash with people, everywhere showing us all where they are by ‘checking in’:

Betty is in Dull enjoying the history of luggage carousels………..and the kids are just loving it!

Mine all  practically have to be bribed to venture out anywhere with us, let alone visit some ‘cultural’ spot somewhere to spend a few hours ‘having fun’.

And then there is the embarassment for my teenage son, being seen in public with his parents, which is usually enough to put him off coming anywhere with us if it’s within a 5 mile radius of home.  Further afield is okay.

I tend to be choosy with my ‘check in’s’ and tagging my teenage kids in is NOT PERMITTED, this will result in threats to unfriend.

My summer hols FB page might read something like this:

  • Monday ‘check in’  Sharon is in her dining room, tweeting & ignoring her kids’.
  • Tuesday ‘check in’ ‘Sharon is at the beach, having fun convincing her kids they too are having fun.  Staged photos to follow.
  • Wednesday ‘check in’ sharon is educating her kids on the history of Chinese Culture at Wok You Like.

MY KIDS CAN’T SLEEP

Anything that interferes with Bedtimes is a bloody nightmare.  With school out for summer bedtimes are later, factor in nights of 100-degree humidity and four kids, there will be shit loads more whinging than normal.

Constant reshuffling of fans, ‘this fan is useless’, ‘that’s not my fan’, ‘I’m toooooo hotttttttt’ not enough sockets and crap positioning of the ones we have is another addition to the list of ‘reasons not to go to sleep’.

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending all this ‘extra’ time with my kids but I miss school nights, bedtimes are earlier and I get to spend uninterrupted time with my laptop hubbie.

IMG_2183BOOB SWEAT & HUMID HAIR

Boob sweat is uncomfortable and frizzy hair is not an attractive look.  Good hair days are very much dependent on weather conditions, which never seem to suit my mane.

When the sun is shining and I am indoor perfecting my hair, I always forget when humidity is at 70 percent+ it will play havoc with my hair.

All my hard work is undone the minute my foot makes contact with the outside world. By the time this summer chick reaches work and recoils in horror when catching myself in the mirror, my hair is a frizzy mess, my non-smudge mascara has totally smudged and I’m rocking the boiled lobster look.

WHAT THE HELL TO WEAR

All around mums rock the ‘out of a magazine’ look with not a bead of sweat dripping.  Whereas me, I look like I just left the gym after a gruelling session and I don’t even go to the gym.

I love jeans but always feel like the one person who wears them to the cries of ‘how can you wear them jeans in this weather”?

I cannot tell you how it feels if I do see someone else wearing jeans, I literally have to resist the urge to hi-five them.

Will I wear a dress? in which case I either brave it or a) subject the world to my transparent legs b) chance fake tan o un-prepped legs can’t be arsed with the prep work or c) fake it with natural tan tights?  Jeans it is then!

No matter what I wear, I either seem too have to many layers or not enough layers.  And when the heatwave hits I’m a sucker for rushing out to buy some ultra-cool strappy tops prompting the sudden end of the heatwave.

God only knows where the tops I bought last year go.  I know I have some as they pop up on ‘on this day’ last year posts on Facebook.

IT-DONT-WORK-ODRANT

24-hour antiperspirant, ‘no white mark’ = my arse.

SEASON OF SHAVING

IMG_2185Having enjoyed the winter off from shaving my legs its now back to this weekly ritual and finding tiny bits of tissue everywhere that have fallen of my legs,

I can no longer get away with just shaving the bit around my ankle, its all or nothing.  Not forgetting the one little patch of hair you didn’t see until you are out in public.

Can we all have a moment here for my poor hubbie who also suffers throughout summer with shaving.  The poor man ends up constantly ripping his face to bits, his words, because again I have used his razor leaving it blunts #dramatic.

DRIVING

One thing I hate most about driving and one my husband thinks I have a fear off, is Petrol Stations.  He believes I have a fear of filling the car with petrol.

Other things I hate about driving is:

  • Summer driving.
  • Getting into a car after its been sat, locked up in direct sunlight all day.
  • Sticking to the seats and back of knee sweat.
  • Putting the air conditioning on then obsessing over fuel consumption so switching it back off.
  • Opening the windows to let the warm air in.
  • Feeling the need to turn my ‘uncool’ music down at the traffic lights.

SUNCREAM APPLICATION

Let’s be honest, what parent enjoys putting sun cream on their kids?  I HATE it, whinging kids who don’t sit still is no fun.  Go within a millimetre of their eye area with the suncream and they react like you are about to poke them in the eye with a stick.

And then there is always the miniscule amount that makes it into their eye bringing any further application to an abrupt end.

Its up there with being the worst thing about summer for me.  School mornings are fraught enough without adding sun cream into the equation.  The worst thing of all is, I dont always send them into school with it on!  To my shame I admit:

  • I convince myself they are not outside long enough for it to matter.
  • It would have worn off before play time anyway!
  • er….err..um…mmm…actually I have no other excuse.

 THINGS THAT FLY

IMG_2190Our house is like a holiday destination for anything with wings.  Its a time when I literally become obsessed with windows, doors and lights being on or open.

At night blood curdling screams of ‘muuuuuuuuuummmmmmm there’s a wasp/man eating fly in my room’ can be heard throughout the neighbourhood and I’m up and down more times than a fiddlers elbow ridding their rooms of all winged intruders.

It’s a time when I battle with my conscience of: do I just squat it? Guide it out the window? or hunt down the fly spray and choke myself and the ozone layer depleting it?

It always leads me to reiterate the following, loudly.

  1. who let that bloody fly in?
  2. hurry up and shut that door before anything else gets in.
  3. ffs who left the bloody light on.
  4. who left the door open?
  5. what have i told you about leaving the light on?

THEME PARKS

Longer than you ever thought possible queues, whingy kids, blink and its over rides = tortuous enough said.

Anyone with me on this? Anyone………?

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‘Make sure you put the towels back when you’ve finished’ –  a simple request, you would think, yet oddly its a request my four cherubs have trouble in remembering!

Our House

The weird thing is that even though we all live under the same roof, use the same rooms and even walk the same internal floors, none of them ever even notice towels on floors…..more so their wet towels on any available floor space.

My tolerance to ‘things left on the floor’ over the years has dwindled considerably to the point I am now sadly, slightly obsessed with it.  Even with my constant complaining, loudly, about their lazy I’ll-do-later attitude, it makes no difference it merely falls on deaf ears, the same ears that never hear any ‘non-monetary parental requests’.

No matter how many times I ask them, remind them or just tell them in a loud voice, where the towels drop they stay, until such time where I can stand it no more, so either I pick them up or my hubbie does.

If I question them about their ‘fear’ of putting anything them back,  they start firing off one of the following lazy arse excuses:

  • I forgot.
  • That’s not my towel.
  • Well I didn’t use that one.
  • I didn’t hear you.
  • I’ve put it back.

Strangely, they have no problem in getting out clean, fluffy towels to join an already sufficient supply that awaits them.

Magic Towel

We even have a ‘magic’ towel,  the choice of my teenage daughter for wrapping her freshly washed locks in.

This ‘magic’ towel can remain steadfast on her head, duly following her round as she steps over any discarded items on the floor, when unbeknown to her, it will just simply disappear.

I know she is unaware of this phenomena as she never asks if anyone has seen her missing towel!  It just lays in a crumpled, heap waiting until such time when it will manifest itself, seen only by parental eyes!

So, it goes a bit like this in our house

After he’s (my teenage son) finished in the bathroom I usually give him, because I am a fair mum, ample time to dress, before checking he has put the towels back.  No prizes for guessing what the answer is!

Bubbling with towel frustration I burst into his room to remind him, loudly – “errr towels! don’t forget to pick ‘em up and put them back.”

With a slight pause and the look of a long-suffering parent, he shakes his head  – ‘I’ll do it (in a minute – see below), I need to finish this first’ whilst waving his finger in the direction of a random school book, clearly intended to give the impression he’s about to start his (homework – see below).

So to give him the benefit of the doubt, I leave reminding him of his towel duty.

‘Yes. Now can you get out my room?’

A couple of hours later he wanders in to the front room throwing himself on the sofa.

‘you alright mum?’ –

‘have you picked up your towels’ I reply.

‘not yet, but I will, stop going on – ‘

‘okay, but you said that about three hours ago and you still haven’t done it’.

Resisting the urge to echo ‘towel…now….ffs do it’ I just sit quietly chewing it over, until he interrupts my thoughts –

‘night, see you in the morning’ and as quick as he drops a towel, he’s gone.

Hot on his heels, I dash off to the bathroom where the floor is littered with……crumpled wet towels and (discarded clothes – see below).

Unable to contain myself, I storm into his room yelling

‘you didn’t pick up the towels!’

‘oh my god are you serious, you have actually burst into my room to shout at me about towels?’

Suddenly feeling all defensive and like a scolded child I remain adamant –

‘Well I’m not picking them up, they can wait there until you get up in the morning’, I lie

‘alright, chill out Mum!”.

Nodding mutely, I retreat back out, to the bathroom where I pick up the towels and………put them back.

Next morning, unsurprisingly there is no mention of towels.  He merely saunters in to the bathroom, without a care in the world, to wash and brush his teeth before wiping his mouth and throwing down another towel!

And so begins another day.

*Sigh*  I wonder if they have changed the toilet roll? brought their cups back to the kitchen? even put their empty wrappers in the bin? but then again how often do miracles happen!

Anyone else??

Reference

  • Homework          –              A task to be completed in haste on way to school NOT at home.
  • Yes, I Will            –              No I won’t.
  • In a minute         –              Not any time soon
  • Discarded Clothes –          Non exclusive – will belong to members of the family (usually under the age of 16)

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With my youngest now 10, it really does seem life is passing by so quickly.  Most annoyingly, can be the extra time now spent filling in online forms, not only is it a bore but it takes so much longer now as I have to scroll further and further down the list to find my year of birth!

Mentally, I still feel 18.   When I drop my eldest ones off at school, the same school I went to, I swear it feels like I only just left.

Boringly for the kids, I love telling them this time and time again, along with ‘do you know when I was here…blah blah blah….’ to which they mainly say nothing, because, they are ignoring me!

However, occasionally they do like to pass comment about how I don’t act my age.  For once, their negative feedback is greatly received.

Of course, there are physical signs my ‘age’ is starting to show.  Some mornings when I look in the mirror, always with a squint for some reason!  there always seems to be a stray eyelash on my face.  Alas, the reality is a stomach falling out of arse moment when it becomes clear, that’s no eyelash, it’s  a line and it isn’t going anywhere!

The arrival of these unwanted residents,  has resulted in a dedicated box for all my newly purchased wonder creams.  It boasts a plentiful supply of poly-fillers, up lifters, instant face lift, revive tired eyes & anti-wrinkle creams.

With their shiny, lure me in packaging, and huge price tag, I am hopeful they will work.  Can’t imagine why they wouldn’t after all they cost shit loads eh…..!!!

I prefer to go for the ones that are flying off the shelves, clearly that is validation it works? Although, my hubbie doesn’t share in my 40+ wisdom, he chips in with comments off media hype, blah blah, blah money, sense and women like me!

So, with shovel in hand, on it goes and I stand back to admire my instant glowing, youthful skin.  I find this look is best achieved with smokier, dustier mirrors, it works for me.

*Warning DON’T use these mirrors to apply your make up!  I wouldn’t want someone’s ‘over-caked- appearance on my conscience*

Creams aside, the truth is, good skin is all about the genes we inherit.  No amount of expensive or cheap creams will change that.  At 72 my mum has fantastic skin and I hope and pray the Gene-genie doesn’t pass me by on this one.

God knows I’ve inherited a load of unwanted ones so far, such as split nails, fine hair, gallstones, dry eyes to name but a few, so please Gene-genie don’t deny me!

Anyway, it got me thinking about how my life, or more so, my body has changed in the last 16 years since becoming ‘Muuuuummmmmmmmm’ to my four little darlings!

One significant sign of my 40ish years, is my back.  To be honest I thought back pain was something only my dad and husband moaned about, excessively.  Yet here I am suffering.  It only take a few hours digging my garden, which I loathe completely, for my back to be bloody killing me.

Even kneeling to weed is an ordeal.  Going down isn’t too bad it’s the getting back up again, that can only happen in stages, and I can’t seem to do any of this without letting out groans with every manoeuvre!

Nursing a achy back got me thinking to other signs that show I am now a forty something female, a few of them being:

  • I feel on trend when my daughter wears my top and update my FB status accordingly!
  • Feeling happy when my weather app tells me its sunny so I can get the bedding washed and dried outdoors on my washing line……ahh love the smell of fresh bedding.
  • Tena’s are a handbag necessity.
  • Feeling quite happy when plans are sometimes cancelled – pjs all the way!
  • Ignoring the update message on my I-Phone, I like it the way it is.
  • My weekly OK mag has long been ditched for Woman & Home, such a more interesting read!
  • The garden centre is no longer boring.
  • Chin hairs.
  • Remembering when I had a flat stomach and wondering why I ever complained about it!
  • I get excited about a new cleaning product, hunting it down in the supermarket!
  • Loving girl’s nights in, no preparation of ‘going out’ face required.
  • I only go to Topshop now to buy scraps of material for my daughter.
  • I love a discount voucher.
  • A good hoover is very important.
  • When I can’t help but comment on how young all the secondary school teachers are.
  • Wondering if my pension scheme is adequate.
  • Applying the filter to every selfie!
  • Making it a life goal to have an empty linen basket if only for an hour.
  • I sound just like my mum!
  • Having to just ‘sit down’ more often.

So yeah, these snippets make me think, I’m not actually that young any more. However, I’m not really complaining as it’s not such a bad thing, or so I keep telling myself.

One thing about hitting my 40+ years is that I am much more confident and comfortable with my lot, albeit chin hairs, facial lines and aching bones, but hey you know what they say, life begins at 40!