1. Annabel Karmel is a chancer. This can take a while to figure out. And it’s most likely not her real name either, which is actually Mabel Sidebottom. You’re secretly impressed with her entrepreneurial spirit and set about depleting your remaining brain-cells in an attempt to identify a gap in the market. The best you can come up with is The Rock-A-Bye Baby™. An electronic rocking frame type thingiemejig for a Moses basket to slot into. Think walking exercise machine only smaller. We’re just at the prototype stage. Catch me on The Apprentice…
2. You wonder if all children’s TV presenters are on cocaine. Especially that Katy Ashworth. You fight the urge to want to punch her and eventually change channel to suppress your violet tendencies.
3. A great many Parents talk to each other in a virulent strain of English, which has its roots in regular English, but with lots of exclamation marks attached. Sometimes you find yourself doing the same and are ashamed afterwards.
4. Homeschooling doesn’t seem that ludicrous an idea after all.
5. Early onset educationalism (an irrational fear of mainstream education) can begin as early as when the child is one year old. This includes dreading the inevitable school-gate grimaces and small-talk, and knowing in your heart your child’s teacher doesn’t ‘get’ her/him. And imagining the teacher as a dodgy photo-fit of all the teachers you despised from your own school-days combined with the hair-styles of all the head girls, who probably went on to become teachers.
6. The above may lead you to remember your embarrassing crush on your former Geography teacher and to blush at the evidence that confirms she probably had a fair idea. This may or may not detonate other unresolved mysteries surrounding former crushes. But you know he/she/they knew full well. This kills you but reminds you that you are human. And relieved they all live hundreds of miles away.
7. There is a third party that comes between you and your partner. This is a deadly entity that is apparently inescapable and present at all times whether you recognise it or not: Mammy Guilt. “Like all working mothers” is probably the most generalised statement uttered in these territories. Rather than become exasperated, it’s best to exploit it by giving yourself permission to moan about work more than your partner. And despair aloud about how he is spared it along with PMS, sagging breasts, and the tyranny of having to select coordinated clothes for the child in the mornings.
8. Soft play centre. I wish I’d thought of that first. Look at the fortune I’d be making.
9. The first time you respond to your child’s query of “What are you doing, Mummy?” with “Coping with the world of parenting”, it’s probably time to leave the soft play centre and not return for at least a month.
9. One parenting website is pretty much the same as any other. The emphasis is all on the ‘practical’ advice. Great. What can parents do to tackle discrimination in education against those who are not baptised, for example? Ah now, that’s a bit too practical to be talking about….
10. A parenting site. Why didn’t I think of that. Think of the fortune I’d be making now.
11. Ah now, being a parent of one child isn’t really being a parent at all now, is it? Sure look how easy it is, eh? Eh?
12. As an older parent of one child, you start to think school won’t be too bad. There’s a chance you’ll meet other parents with children the same age as yours, even if it is their 55th child. But hey, at least they might remember what an LP was. And get your woeful Kenny Everett impersonation.
13. Everyone’s just doing their best.
14. ‘Doing our best’ is also a euphemism for ‘I don’t want to talk about parenting right now’.
15. Having a ‘Baby on Board’ sign on the car window automatically gives other drivers the right to make a negative value judgement on the driver. It’s harsh, but fair.
16. Ella’s food pouches. Why didn’t I think of that?