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My Best Friends – Parenting and Raising Children

Best friends and parenting

My best friends are shambolic.  They admit that their children don’t sleep at night and even when they do they are up at 5 am ready to start the day.  Their mornings are not very organised or efficient, in fact, they are chaotic and noisy.  It is a scramble to get everyone dressed, fed and ready to face the day and a whole lot of shouting takes place.  Sometimes not everyone is fed (usually Mummy) or even particularly well dressed.

My best friends have naughty children that don’t listen the first time they are asked to do something or even the third time.  They throw tantrums in public places and their clothes are never clean.  When Mummy and Daddy need them to be quiet they are loud and when it would really be nice if they would prove to Grandma that they really do know their ABC and not just the entire repertoire of CBeebies’ theme tunes, they are mute.

My best friends know they shouldn’t eat that Penguin biscuit that the children wanted for their packed lunch box tomorrow but it has been a bad morning and that biscuit will really take the edge off things so that a happier Mummy arrives at the school gate and in fact, that is a good thing.  They know they really should practice what they preach to their children and eat nothing but celery and fruit and heaven knows it would be nice to shift those last few post-baby pounds. They know so well that they have even bought all the diet books and signed up for all the websites but they can wait until the time is right – surely?


My best friends reassure me every day that the fact that occasionally children get taken to McDonald’s is not a mortal sin and social services won’t be calling immediately afterward to interrogate me as to my motivation for such actions.  In fact, it is highly possible that the presence of fast food in their diet will not result in GCSE failure and a bleak dismal future on the dole.  They counteract every relative’s ‘tut’ by reminding me that all children have their moments and not every parent has the answer.  We do our best and nobody praises us for it but occasionally an ‘I love you Mummy’ or an invitation to cuddle from two little arms lifted up comes our way and all is right with the world again.  We know why we do this parenting deep down and it is truly worth it.

My best friends work really hard juggling commuting, offices, unsympathetic bosses, deadlines and schedules only to come home and have to do it all over again for the family.  The washing waits patiently for them to return from work or a day out with the kids and never goes away.  The washing has no respect for a busy day, a holiday or even a weekend and even if they do manage to get round to sticking it in the machine, the chances of it being folded or god forbid ironed, are minimal.  What’s wrong with creases anyway?  My best friends look gorgeous whatever they are wearing.

My best friends feel down in the dumps and teary.  They have good and bad days but they are not afraid to admit that they couldn’t breastfeed very well if at all, they did have post natal depression and had to take tablets to get through it and they most certainly get PMT that brings them to the brink of disaster every month.

All parents feel guilty.  Guilt because we don’t play with the children enough, guilt because we don’t focus on our relationships enough (let’s face it nobody is having regular sex nowadays no matter what lies they print in all the magazines), guilt because we go to work and guilt because we don’t.  Do we avoid getting the paint and glue out even though the children beg us to ‘create’ because it makes soooo much mess and surely that’s what playgroup is for?  Besides, we reason, our children have flea-like attention spans so as soon as we have set up a table of creativity rivaling the best Blue Peter episodes they flit off to play Lego or run in the garden! How many of us have found ourselves finishing off their ‘masterpieces’ and wondering what the hell we were doing aged forty-something playing with glitter and used up toilet roll tubes?  I went to university and got a degree in Printing and Packaging Technology for this?!?!

My best friends’ kids can’t swim (well some of them) and they don’t all ride their bikes without stabilisers.  They still think my children are great and point out their ‘unique’ talents whenever they can.  They understand that the reason my children are on reins like badly trained puppies or strapped tightly into pushchairs on a regular basis is that they are a danger to themselves and not because I have over-bearing Victorian tendencies.  They also reassure me that it is not weird or over-reactionary to think about Madeleine McCann every time you leave the house and you happen to lose sight of your little cherub for a nano-second and for it to feel like an hour.

My best friends worry about what food they need to have in to cater for my fussy eater rather than telling me how their children will ‘eat everything and you get what you are given’ in their house. They don’t always cook nouvelle cuisine recipes for their darling family and the food is not always on the table when Daddy arrives home.  The lawn doesn’t get mowed that often and nobody really cares if there is a layer of dust around Granny’s picture frame so thick you can most definitely write your name in it.  When we go to each other’s houses we know to look at things from a distance in order to achieve the true beauty of the place.

My best friends are ‘one piece of paper away from disaster’ and so am I.  This is why I love them.  I met my best friends through the NCT.

What are your best friends like?

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Charlotte Young (3 Posts)

Charlotte Young is mum to Ben aged 7 and Phoebe aged 3 (going on 16). Her son ignores her and her daughter drives her to distraction but generally calm is restored happily every night at about 8pm! When she is not editing her local NCT newsletter and trying her hand at amateur writing, she is fighting local developers to save her beautiful Essex countryside. Charlotte is trying to qualify as a piano teacher in a desperate attempt to achieve the impossible - having it all. Charlotte used to work in printing and may well do again if she can't pass these latest piano exams.


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