Mum Hacks – a book to boost your confidence

I remember being pregnant with my first son and stocking up on parenting books. I was going to crack this parenting thing. I read up on all manner of baby and child care, and had plans in place to totally smash any parenting challenge I might possibly face.

I was such an idiot.

There wasn’t a book in the world that could have prepared me for the onslaught of new information, overwhelming responsibility and lack of sleep that came with my first son’s arrival. I was a quivering mess before he was even finished being born, and it got a lot worse before it got better.

I read books on parenting theories. I read books with pictures and diagrams on how to change a nappy or give your baby a bath. I read books on how to schedule every minute of my baby’s day (you know the ones). Seriously, it might make you feel good to read them, but you don’t need them. You will be too tired to care whether you’re doing the nappy right. You will learn by doing. All the diagrams in the world are not going to prepare you for reality.

But one book I wish I had read before I had my children was Mum Hacks by Tanith Carey. When I agreed to review this book, I thought I might find some new tricks of the trade for me to add to my repertoire. And I have found a few (examples to follow in a bit). But where this book really excels is in laying out a blueprint for the sorts of things you actually need to worry about as a mum.

  • How to cater for your kids’ needs in the kitchen while avoiding it looking like a bombsite.
  • How to entertain your kids without getting buried by a toy tsunami.
  • How to get ready in the morning without shouting like a banshee.
  • How to get your kids to do anything without shouting like a banshee.
  • How to vaguely enjoy a holiday with young children.
  • How to keep your house sort of clean with minimum effort.
  • How to keep yourself sane by looking after yourself.

Now, I have to be honest. Some of the tips, to me, felt sort of obvious. For example, buy a good bib and a massive wipeable plastic highchair. Yep, weaning is a messy business – it’s not a secret. But upon reflection, I realise that tips like that are only obvious to me because I’m on my second toddler now. I’ve figured out a lot of stuff already, and often only by trial and error or blind luck. It actually would have been cool to have known some of these tricks beforehand, instead of googling them at 3am while I fed the baby.

So that’s why I’m recommending that this book is best suited to someone new to the entire business of parenting. It offers that sense of control that I was desperately looking for when I was pregnant with my first. It would have helped me think about what things were practical to buy. It would have helped me organise things in my home while I still had time to organise them, making it easier for me to cope with my little whirlwinds when they arrived. It would have given me a clearer sense of what to prioritise in family life and what is less important.

However, there were a few gems in this book even for the seasoned mum. There’s a bunch of really quick ideas for lunchbox contents that I never would have thought about. I now know how to make pretty pinwheel wrap sandwich thingys (although I clearly still don’t know what to call them).

And every mum should know that you can cut up an apple and then hold it together with a rubber band to stop it getting brown! I also liked the quick makeup tips. I’d never even heard of primer, the use of which apparently makes your makeup stay on better and longer.

So if you’re already a seasoned parent, this book might not change your life. But it is a well-written, amusing read that might add a few more tricks to your repertoire. Even better, buy it as a gift for a first time mum-to-be, and save her a bit of early morning googling.

Mum Hacks: Time-saving tips to calm the chaos of family life by Tanith Carey is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. I received a gratis copy of the book for review purposes.

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Parenting skills I didn’t know I needed

I’ve got a little bit of blogger’s block. I’ve been trying to think of something vaguely funny to write to offset some of my serious posts. It occurred to me that there are all sorts of parenting “soft skills” that nobody talks about. Those little things you do all the time when you have kids, but you never ever did before you had kids. Nor did you ever anticipate that you would need to do such things.

parenting-skills

 

  1. Scraping toothpaste off of things (e.g. the sink, my bra, the cat)
  2. Jumping over toddler gates in the middle of the night (because those things are impossible to open when you’re half asleep)
  3. Explaining why you shouldn’t rest your penis on the sink (But why, mummy? I love to put it there!)
  4. Explaining why you shouldn’t put your finger up your bum (You shouldn’t, right?)
  5. Explaining why you shouldn’t put your finger up the cat’s bum (that poor cat)
  6. Defrosting and cooking sausages (the only thing they’re guaranteed to eat)
  7. Cutting teensy tiny nails without drawing blood
  8. Distinguishing poop from chocolate (harder than you might think)
  9. Cleaning crayon off of windows (impossible)
  10. Phonics (those things m-m-m-make no ssss-sense to me)
  11. Extricating back-arching toddlers from narrow behind-the-sofa hiding places
  12. Cleaning up a poonami without smearing it all over the wall
  13. Using a screwdriver to replace musical mobile batteries at 4am
  14. Carrying a handbag, changing bag, shopping and a wriggling toddler at the same time
  15. Carrying tired preschooler up hills at speed to reach toilet in time
  16. Secret kitchen biscuit consumption whilst preparing fruit for children
  17. Never leaving the house without snacks and wet wipes
  18. Not getting stuck when fetching children off playground/soft play equipment
  19. Oceans of patience and self-control
  20. Remembering to get lots of cuddles before they turn into stinky teenagers

Can you relate to any of these? What are your unexpected parenting skills?

Tammymum
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