6 worst habits of tired parents

As parents, we’re mostly aware of how it’s supposed to work: Wash, clothe and feed the kid. Then make sure he goes to bed at a reasonable time. The books which so glibly suggest that we spend our time trimming gherkins into amusing dinosaur shapes for lunch boxes forget that we’re quite often too exhausted to even open a jar of gherkins. That’s when we let the cucumber-hearts and smiley pizza faces get nudged to the back of the list of priorities. Sure, we know the imaginary “good parent” rules, but we also know how to keep ourselves sane. Here are our secrets:

  • Ever run out of clothes, and created “inside-out day”? A tummy bug or a couple of days in the rain can mean your laundry has overwhelmed you, so your kid has nothing left to wear except the clothes he has on (or that odd knitted jumpsuit granny made once). One solution is Inside-out Day. Simply turn the clothes inside out to hide the yoghurt stains and carry on…
  • Anti-cookbook meals: The cookbooks suggest salmon soufflé with finely chopped celery and an amusing pavlova as a dessert. Even if you could cook that, it would take 4 hours, and your kid would end up demanding a piece of cheddar instead. Skip being chained to your stove by whipping out a few crackers and chopping up some cheese. As long as this doesn’t happen every day for a month, your kid won’t get scurvy.
  • Bathtime is supposed to be fun-time, but, when you’re knackered, the reality is 45 minutes of begging your child to get into a bath, and then 45 minutes begging your child to get out. Compare that to five minutes of yelling as you wipe him down with a damp cloth and skip bathtime for a day. That’s buying you a welcome hour and 25 minutes.
  • Credit card love: Yes, many parents spend hours, if not days, finding creative crafty ideas on Pinterest to prepare the best birthday party EVER for their little princess, but, if you don’t have the time or energy, a quick trip to the shops will also make a very special birthday party, complete with instant party snacks. You may have to pay it off over five years, but you’ll pat yourself on the back later.
  • Wine o’ clock is supposed to happen after you’ve read The Cat in the Hat 10 times in a row and there are cute breathy snores coming from your child, but, quite frankly, your child’s bedtime often coincides with yours, as you’re too tired to stare at another episode of CSI. If you want a glass of “me-time”, you may need to introduce it earlier during "us-time". Just make sure you eat, first, or you’ll fall asleep and your child will be free to recreate the Jurassic Park stompathon all over the house.
  • You know you may have overdone the DVD player when your kid goes to playschool and comes home with a picture of a purple dinosaur labelled “Dad”, but many of us rely on cartoon parents to help us get things done. The payback comes when you find yourself humming the theme tune while in a meeting with your accountant.
Of course, I’d never do any of these, and I’m sure you wouldn’t, either.

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