In a bid to become a proper blogger, I recently joined some blogging groups on social media so I could swan about within them and pretend like I knew what I was doing. In reality, I do not. I just like to write. And have done since I was a seven-year-old chubber.
Anyway, being a part of these groups means I get to find out about blogging challenges. And as anybody who read my 30 Days of Yoga or the Ramadan Kindness Calendar will tell you, I'm a girl who likes a challenge.
So I was chuffed when Mrs J at the Typical Mummy UK Family Blog summoned me to write my version of a Parenting A-Z. Originally started by Yule Times, I practically jumped at it, sensing it could have some honest-to-god comedic potential. As well as some cathartic prospects. Obvs.
So here goes . . .
A is for AFTER-BLOODY-SCHOOL-CLUBS
Once upon a time I swore I would not be one of those parents that filled their kids' every waking hour with activities. Hah. Famous last words. I am clearly a sucker for my Lads' need to play guitar and drums / swim / dick about in drama class / chase a football around a freezing cold field / learn every song from every musical EVER. On a weeknight I am literally a taxi driver. And a skint one at that.
B is for BOREDOM
Because of the entry for 'A', if my Lads do ever dare to utter the phrase 'I'm bored', I jump on it like a fly on shit. "Bored my darlings? Wonderful! Amazing things happen when you're bored! Agatha Christie wrote all her books because she was bored you know!" You can imagine how much they love me for this.
C is for CULTURE
My Turkish hubby and I not only continue to navigate our way through the already gruelling terrain that is parenthood, but we do it with our individual cultures twisted together in the most hap-hazard of ways. Not once have we had a clue what we are doing. But hopefully, in the end, our Lads not only get beautiful olive skin and swishy dark hair, but also amazing food, two languages, fascinating traditions and a way to develop their own rich and decent moral code.
D is for DECEPTION
We've all done it. We don't know what happened to the last custard cream. The Despicable Me DVD is lost forever. There is no money left to pay for ice cream. Carrots really do make you see in the dark. And the lies I have told my Lads about Santa have literally rolled off my tongue with alarming precision and grace. Where did I get this skill from? Oh wait, that would be my own parents, wouldn't it?
E is for EMBARRASSMENT
Once I left behind the earlier stage of parenting, I honestly thought I might stop wanting to crawl into a dark corner as a result of my children's behaviour. How wrong I was. Because, among other things, being told you have wiry hairs growing out of your chin whilst trying to enjoy a latte with other mums at soft play, is what we all want to hear, isn't it? (Don't worry, I have, like, a MILLION embarrassing photos of them for their 18th birthday parties)
F is for FORTNITE
Or 'Fucking Fortnite' as it is often called in a frustrated whisper by me and / or the hubby (particularly gratifying when said in unison - you've got to get your kicks where you can). Both of my Lads disappeared into a Fortnite fog for a while - becoming obsessed with new seasons and dodgy 'dance' moves and exclusive skins and bloody-buggery battle passes that cost ACTUAL MONEY. It seems they have finally emerged more or less unscathed and are now more interested in their millions of after-school clubs, thank god.
G is for GIGGLES
At the risk of sounding cliched, there is literally NOBODY on this planet who can make me giggle like my Lads can. It's all part of the miraculous gift of parenthood that one minute I want to forever shun them in an expletive-ridden-Jeremy-Kyle-type-way, and the next be rolling about on the floor because one of them said their Uncle's face was 'constipating'. NB: You had to be there.
H is for HOMEWORK
Oh the joys of homework. I will NEVER forget the paper boat shape Big Lad was charged with cutting out when he was six years old. Never have I wanted to grab a pair of scissors out of a child's hands more than on that awful, screaming, tear-sodden morning. So now, when I am supposed to gently support my children through sculpting Roman coins and fashioning parrot costumes and deciphering algebraic formulas, I just remember the paper boat and all is well. Ish.
I is for IDENTITY
Before I had kids I thought that having babies would complete me. This was, of course, utter shite. I did not feel complete. I felt tired, useless, inadequate and had no idea who I was anymore. I had to build my identity back up over a period of years (two bouts of post-natal depression didn't help). Luckily, I had two incredible young souls to show me the way - with giggles and tears and mystery and honesty, they have shown me that I am capable of so much more than I realised. And that I was complete all along.
J is for JUDGEMENT
Since becoming a parent I have learned that judgement gets flung at you from all angles. Whether it's tight-lipped pensioners in Asda, a stuck-up GP with too many opinions on dummies, or a haggle of online mums who really ought to know better - there will always be somebody to tell you you're doing it all wrong. My advice? Don't take it on board. And while we're on the subject, be careful of judging other parents too - most of us are in the 'doing-the-best-we-can' club.