I have discovered the secret to good parenting, although like the answer to weight-loss it is not a solution that is compatible with my life. The answer is time-management and I suppose I have known it all along like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz but it was too tiring to click those damn heels together once let alone three times (have I mentioned my bunions?).
I’ve been struggling lately and have been doing many jobs badly; there’s been a lot of junk food and housework avoidance and while my inner feminist thought fuck it, actual me was fraught and weepy.
I was using downtime to write and use social media and plates were spinning in the air (probably literally). There was and is no structure and as much as I like to consider myself a “fly by the seat of my pants gal” things have to change.
I had this epiphany today as I achieved quite a lot in an hour. The reason for my haste was that after a long day getting the boys hair cuts, a trip to an indoor play area, a visit to my mams and dropping my husband to work; I was locked out! I tried getting in a top window but couldn’t fit and Conall took the opportunity to shout “too many dinners Mam?” A few phone calls later, I had procured a key and at this point we were all starving and I was severely behind on tasks I’d already procrastinated.
I plonked them in front of Netflix and a new cartoon named The Day My Butt Went Psycho which I calculated would gift me a half hour. In this half hour I;
- Unloaded, reloaded the dishwasher
- Realised there were two bags of stinking black potatoes in the vegetable drawer and cleaned it
- Customised a frozen pizza for Conall (added pineapple and corn)
- Unloaded, reloaded dryer
- Put a kiev and chips in the airfryer for the other two
- Put broccoli on to boil
- Peeled and washed 3 carrots as snacks for the boys so they wouldn’t come fridge-picking
- Chopped a ton of veg and put it in the soupmaker
- Threw together their dinners
- Cleaned the kitchen counters
- Put on another wash
- Ran up the stairs and got the bath going
- Lay out fresh pjs
- Closed all the curtains, put on nightlights and turned down the beds
While they were in the bath, I glanced at the clock and could not believe my superhuman ability.
I realised I had 15 minutes grace while they bathed so I put my cape back on and hoovered and mopped downstairs and placed all the bedtime drinks on relevant bedside cabinets.
I was a sweaty mess at this stage but I was not shouty or frantic. I got them all into bed calmly with lots of cuddles and Rian only told me to fuck off once so it was a successful bedtime. I will finish this and may even have time to watch or read something.
I’m not sure this parenting method is sustainable but I’ll give it a go.. it’s circuit training parenting; short spurts of frantic energy and no drugs consumed bar coffee…
It’s the coffee, it just dawned on me. I have never drank coffee in my life until a few weeks ago when my child-minder Rebecca in her parting gift as she left for a year in Australia (the selfish bitch), introduced me to a mocha. She’s perceptive and realised I’d need a lift without her and I’m hooked.
Time management and caffeine are the keys to successful parenting. I need to stop using the quiet moments to flake out and do stuff I like; I have to be on my game… this isn’t school where I can coast along and then turn out great grades by last minute, frantic studying.
I’ve got to be consistent, to be prepared, to make extensive parenting plans involving different coloured pens… and I will, right after I check facebook briefly.