Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Flaming sambucas, it's Christmas!

Welcome!  It's been a while since I last wrote.  I hope your parenting skills haven't suffered without my advice to hand.  But fret not for I am here to rescue you, just before you stagger headfirst over the commercial precipice of Christmas.  

Christmas is the time when Cushy Parents excel.  Alcohol on tap? (I've had my mains water supply switched to gin for the festive season.  It's not as expensive as it might seem.)  Hoover-clogging amounts of glitter?  Careless amounts of chocolate?  Lie-ins of such an excessive nature that the police break the front door down?  Tis the season to be jolly for us cushies.  

You don't need me to tell you that Christmas isn't about spending £1,000 on plastic toys that your child is going to slowly feed into the dishwasher until it explodes and your home is wrecked.  Nor is it about trying to see how many flaming sambucas you can drink at midnight mass before someone smells burning (this is a good way to keep your personal grooming costs down, since you won't have any eyebrows or eyelashes left, nor any hair).  (Nor will the person directly behind you, so choose wisely before sitting).

Fire is very dangerous.  If you're worried about your eyebrows, get the children to
 light the sambucas and stand well back, especially after a hair perm. 

There's an easy way to keep your gifts relaxed and commercial-free this year.  Tell your kids you have a rare disease that means you cannot be in contact with plastic.  One of your children will ask why you have had so much plastic surgery then?  Is it because you are addicted to procedures, Mummy, like Charlie's mum?  In response to these allegations, I suggest you pour a glass of 'water' from your newly installed tap and tell the children to be quiet and unwrap their satsumas and library books.  After all, a satsuma was a big deal in the Seventies when we were kids.  And nothing beats the smell of a good library book.  Hopefully the kids won't notice that the books are overdue by five years, and that they will have to pay back a fine at some point - probably when your eyebrows grow back.  I'm not sure what your eyebrows have got to do with it, but I guess the day you stop drinking flaming sambucas at mass and grow up, will be the day to face your responsibilities.  By this point your kids will have left home and you will have the place to yourself and won't flinch every time you start the dishwasher.  If you keep up this awful level of parenting, they may even leave a lot sooner than you think.  

Have a wonderfully cushy Christmas x    

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Look out! It's the phantom Ugg-shredder!

Hello there!  This week I promised a look at toddlers dressed in designer labels.  I've since decided that's it none of my business how people dress their children.  Let's just say that there are a lot of silly people who want their children to value their clothes more than Life Itself.  Good for them.  But if I see their kids in Ralph Lauren, I’m still going to laugh and point. 

But talking of designer items for children...here’s a thought for you this week:

I take my lads to rugby on Saturday mornings.  I enjoy being a spectator, especially if I grab an Americano to get me through (there are lots of large dads there from many nations).  But even more fun, is watching the sideline sisters. 

Every Saturday across the nation, sideline sisters get dragged along to watch their brothers punch other brothers.  The sisters do two things: either kick a ball about listlessly on the sideline, or they read Closer magazine (which is bestowed upon them as a peace offering/bribe).  By the end of the session last week, one of the little Closer readers was crying about Nicole Kidman (I often cry about Nicole Kidman).  The poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.  If a child of mine ever cries over a celebrity, I will drag them to the nearest soup kitchen and tell them to serve the homeless for the day – so they have some proper sad stories to cry over.

I confess, I'm more inclined towards the ball-kickers (so to speak) than the magazine readers.  In fact, I'm transfixed by the ball-kickers.  Do not picture girls utilising their limbs with force and gusto, in a manner that has the Bath rugby players eyeing them for blind-side flanker next season.  No.  These girls stand with their jumper sleeves pulled down over their knuckles, their skinny legs barely able to move because they are shackled by Uggs.  They try to kick the rugby ball in Uggs, but nope - they just can’t get their legs to work.  The Uggs are too padded, floppy, too heavy, too cumbersome.

Course, I blame that huge green turnip that was stood outside the Bagel shop in
New Jersey in 2001 for starting the Ugg craze off in the first place

It’s not just on the sidelines that this is happening.  Oh no.  Little girls in Uggs walk in zombie-like droves around our shopping centres.  Their legs are emaciated in skinny jeans – legs that are made to look thinner by those huge Uggs.  Their feet are so heavy that they scuff their boots along.

I always feel the same way when I spot an Ugg Child.  I want to run up to them with a giant pair of scissors and set the child’s feet free.  Go my child – run, breathe, kick leaves, jump in puddles, inhale life!!!

Of course, not only do I not own a giant pair of scissors, but some parents might object to my cutting up their child’s shoes.  Perhaps I should wait until they go somewhere where they need to remove their footwear, like a bowling alley.  Then I can creep through with my father’s shears and quietly snip snip snip.

So next time you see an Ugg Child - and you will - preferably at a bowling alley, please think of me.  And pop a pair of shears in your bag, in case the opportunity strikes. 

Until next time, my friends.....

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Lily-Beth-Lulu-Lilo-Leyla-Lilypad Floppy Pants

Welcome back!  This week I promised a look at the thorny issue of Daughter Protection.  Why is this thorny?  Because due to those silly fairy tales about thorns, long hair, poison and frogs, we are much more precious with our daughters than our sons, who are doing well if they get an uh what huh? Yeah see yourself out love in the morning.  But I generalise.  There are millions of Pushy Parents who can molly coddle a son as well as a daughter any day.  I have a friend who dresses her son only in mohair.  Poor kid.  Every time he sits near a radiator, he frizzes.

Saturday mornings at the park are fun.  Everywhere there are dads stood, legs astride, guarding their princess who is tottering about head to toe in pink fluff.  As she climbs the frame, so the dad twitches, ready to swoop should she falter.  The tension mounts when my two lads come along, attacking the apparatus with their hearty limbs.  The dad is quivering now.  Should those bloody yobs so much as touch his little Leyloo-Lilo (there are a lot of strange names out there beginning with L these days - don't dare get it wrong.  The parents get cross).  I feel like telling him his pink fluff is more likely to harm my boys when she topples from a height above them.  Has he ever tried to scale a climbing frame in Barbie heels, wearing a tiara?

My friend told me recently that her 5-year-old daughter sits at gym class in her shorts with her legs flopped open in front of the other parents.  So my friend always slaps her daughter's legs and tells her to 'pop her legs together'.  Jeez.  She is only 5.  Give the kid a break.  Or just get on with it and have her incarcerated in a tower.  Ever heard anyone tell their son to slap his legs together?  Nope.  Thought not.

Walk fast Lily-Beth-Lulu-Lilo-Leyla-Lilypad Floppy Pants,
there's a boy over there and he's not wearing mohair.

Daughter Protection is pointless.  Unless you are going to treat boys the same way.  Otherwise there are all these horrid boys running wild out there with their legs open and their limbs sprawled everywhere, and the daughters, as pink fluff, will become quickly damaged.  So either we just let our daughters get on with it and risk their lives with these awful boys, or we just dress them all in mohair and leave them to wilt in the sun together.

Hmmm.  Maybe there's a middle ground somewhere.  I'll have to have a think on it some more.

Next week, I'll be looking at: saving up for a pair of Converse trainers and then spotted a brand new pair on a 18 month-old git?  Annoying, eh?


Friday, 28 September 2012

Eagles and shears

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend my best friend's wedding in Spain and was honoured to do a reading during the ceremony.  When I was first asked to do a reading, my instinct was to say no.  But one thing I've learnt is that when your instinct is no, that's when you should say yes.  So stood there on the day with a microphone in my hand and a 101 expectant eyes upon me (there was a strange local at the back) my hand began to shake and I broke out into a sweat.  It wasn't pretty, but I did it.  And afterwards I felt proud of myself.  

So where does this silly story fit in with modern parenting?  Well, the point is that I'm a risk-taker.  I was raised with little regard to street cred or decency.  I wore my brother's hand-me down corduroy trousers.  My mum used a basin to cut my hair - still does when I can't get an appointment at the salon.  In fact, no word of a lie - when my fringe grew too long in my teenage years, my dad cut my hair with a pair of garden shears.  I was taught to swim by being thrown headfirst into the icy Atlantic by my father somewhere just off the coast of the Isles of Scilly.  If only 6 miles of dense seaweed could talk.  

If using the shears makes your child's fringe look wonky, a tastefully sequinned
hat will draw the  eye away from the problem area
But perversely, these days I silently (can't quite bring myself to say it out loud) thank my dad.  Because not being treated like a princess is the best thing you can do for your daughters (and your sons, come to think of it.)

If we wrap our children up and smother them, they will grow up to be the sort of people who say no.  Now, I know we were taught by Grange Hill to just say no, but not everything is about drugs, you sordid lot.  The point is that we want to raise a generation of 'yes'-ers: people who rise to the occasion, take risks, seize the day. 

Therefore this week at the Cushy Parent, I'm advising the following: 

 1) kid can't swim?  Save money on expensive one-to-one lessons at the local spa - chuck them in the sea, preferably on a cold day.  If they don't have a stroke or seize up with cramp, they may have a crack at being an Olympic athlete in the future so bear that in mind.

2) Kid moaning about their hair?  Tell them they're lucky that their dad isn't a gardener.  And that you don't own any bowls.

So that's it from me.  Next week we'll be taking this issue a little further by exploring the intriguing subject of Daughter Protection.  Or in other words: how to dress your daughter head to toe in pink and guard her at the local park as though she is pink fluff that will blow away when the wind turns.

Until then, take care - not in a clingy overprotective way though.  And just say yes.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Skammy fout flah pooff

Welcome back to the Cushy Parent!  Hoorah!  After a summer of lying around in the vapid 'sun', the kids are back at school and from the moment I entered the playground my fingers began to itch with the desire to write about what I find there.  Boy do we have a lot to catch up on!

Author's note: Some people may believe that I think I'm God, judging people in this way.  But there are lots of silly parents around and I simply have to tell you about them.  Don't shoot the messenger.

So talking of silly parents, my brother and I went to London on the weekend.  We do this annually not because we don't have any friends, but because we like to spend time together.  (At least, I hope that's what it is.  Come to think of it, my brother was wearing a rather odd anorak.)  The reason for this sibling affection is that we grew up in the Seventies in a small backwater called Midsomer Norton (I wasn't really born in Stratford-upon-Avon next to Shakespeare's cottage, as I claimed on my author's bio).  We were kept in the dark in the spare room, whilst my mum decorated the house.  She liked to keep everything nice.  We didn't see anyone but each other for twenty-two years, at which point my brother realised that his legs had grown too long for the box room, so he moved out.  

During our confinement, my brother and I developed a unique mini culture with our own language, a fictitious cast of friends, and an elaborate system of banging on pipes to each other when we had been separated into different rooms.  One bang meant shut the hell up it's your fault that I pushed you through the window into the blizzard and Dad had to board the glass up with the snow driving into his beard.  And two bangs meant get lost you fat head, because of you I'm missing Hong Kong Phooey.  Or in our private language: skammy fout flah pooff.  

So how does this relate to our modern playground?  It doesn't.  On the first day of school, parents and children exchanged frenzied hugs and kisses, raving about all the amazing play dates their children had enjoyed over the holidays, whilst my son stood there alone (in his anorak) wondering why no one was talking to him. 

The shock of the matter is that I didn't arrange a single play date with his school friends over the summer.  Not one.  If my son had asked me, I would have obliged.  But he didn't mention it.  He wanted to just hang out with his younger brother.  And because it's now the noughties and not the seventies, I let them out of the spare room on Saturdays.

Christ, you let them out of the box room for how long?  What were you thinking?

Does this mean that my son is going to be a serial killer because he isn't networking his way through junior school?  Is he going to be a weirdo because I'm not engineering his friendships for him and sticking my oar in?  Is he going to be an anorak-wearing loner that goes to London once a year with his brother for the rest of his life?

Hope so.

See you soon!

Cath has written a great book called The Mood Ring.

Check it out Amazon and then you can read it and ignore your kids.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Eeyore Aura

Welcome back to the Cushy Parent.   This week I said I'd talk to you a little bit about magic.  Magic is a trick that you can miss if you're not careful.

Recently, I helped out on a school excursion around town.  On our way back, we passed the River Avon.  Large white frothy deposits were floating in the water.  "What are those?" asked Lily, one of the six-year-olds in my charge.  "See those trees up on the hill?" I replied.   "Giants live there.  When they get bored, they throw clouds down into the water."  Lily froze in horror - not at the prospect of the giants but that I had told such an outrageous lie.  "Don't you believe in giants?" I asked.  "Nope," Lily said.  "Goblins?"  "Nope."  "Angels?"  "Nope."  "Witches?"  "Nope."  "Fairies?"  "Yes," she said.  Ah.  "But that's the only thing," she added hurriedly. (So those over-priced fairy costumes and parties have paid off).

I was rather quiet as I digested this alarming information.   Others joined in our conversation.  Lily wasn't the only six-year-old who didn't believe in magic; she was firmly in the majority.  As we halted at the school gates, I said, "Next you'll be telling me you don't believe in Father Christmas."  There was a silence as the little group that had amassed around me thought about my question.  "Well," said one of the boys, who possesses what I can only describe as an Eeyore Aura, "my brother didn't believe in him for ages but then he met him so he said he must be true."

"Now listen up," I said, "if you don't believe in the giants they will come down from the hills and stomp all over the school."

"So?" said Lily.

Now this is what I call the Eeyore Aura.  Our children today are living under a cloud of gloomy reality.  They don't believe in things unless they see them - because they see absolutely everything.  There is no awe any more.  They know all the sad workings of life and the mundane details of family life.  Their parents talk to them as equals, forgetting that this little mind next to them would rather think about whether centipedes really do wear tiny boots.  Instead they hear about how stressed their mums are, how they need to pick up Alfie from tennis club later, get their contraceptive pill from the clinic, meet Janine for a skinny latte at 2pm and feed the chickens their new diet to make them produce more eggs with creamy porous shells.  There is too much detail.  Not enough abstract.

My mum's inside talking to Auntie Marge
about having a coil fitted.

Children are born to be abstract.  My son once wrote me a letter.  It simply said: Dear Mummy, I love you.  Did you know that hummingbirds can change colour in light.

Why don't we drop the details and bring back the awe into our children's lives.  We want more awe, not the Eeyore aura.  (It's rather cumbersome catch phrase, I'll admit).

Next time at the Cushy Parent: how to have a marvellous summer holiday with the children.  Waiting for the pun?  Thought I was being sarcastic?  Tsush.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Case of the Incredible Growing Jumper

Welcome back.  This week I promised you a peek at the lost property cupboard.  I know you don't want to deal with it, but it does need addressing.  At this time of year, with all those end of term sports days and school shows, it's easy to lose your child's clothes and become muddled.  My advice is: put their name inside their garments.

The lost property cupboard is one thing that hasn't changed since our own school days.  It is always in a dimly lit area and everything in it is smelly and limp. Even the most colourful clothes take on a sea-sick pallor once they fall into the hopeless pit of Lost Property.  L.P. tends to be located somewhere unpleasant: outside the visitor's toilet or in the sick bay, or matron's room where headlice needles and ointments are kept.

At any given point at infant school, you will hear the cries of some poor child being dragged off to the L.P.  Their fate is sealed.  Punching and kicking, their soiled pants are going to be replaced with school pants: grey, baggy, elastic hanging out, last worn by a troll - the utter humiliation.  It's worse when you know who wore them yesterday.

In order to spare your child this agony, it's absolutely essential that you send them off to school dehydrated.   It doesn't matter if their lips are chapped.  They'll understand once you explain.

The effect of the school pants is instantly alienating.

Despite my efforts to label my children's clothes, my son recently came home with a very tight jumper on.  The next day, I scanned the playground.  It didn't take me long to find what I was looking for.  There, sat inside one of the wooden play huts on his own, was a little boy in the reception class, staring at his jumper sleeves.  The sleeves were astonishingly long.  He flopped them about, transfixed, marvelling at his secret.  Look at that.  Wow.   How did that happen? My sleeves have grown overnight.  They have grown, they have actually grown!

I explained the mishap to the little boy's mum, who was very nice and hadn't noticed that her son had someone else's jumper on.  Then she frowned at him and said, "Hmm, your arms do seem very long today, Harry..."  I'm not sure that she had been listening to me.

The point is - if you thought that magic didn't lurk in lost property, you were wrong.  Magic is everywhere - even in jumper mix-ups.  

Next time we will look in more detail at how to bring the magic back into your children's lives - without having the emergency services on standby.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Front seat Archie

Welcome back to the Cushy Parent.  On the eve of the Wimbledon final, we're going to take a quick look at sport psychology.

We all remember our Inspirational Fathers of the Seventies, who stood legs straddled on the sideline, a pipe in one hand and a fist in the other.  On the pitch, their offspring shivered in the drizzle, their miserable faces specked with dirt, their knees bloody from the winter pitch. Leave me alone, the kids thought.  I'd rather be at home watching Fingerbobs, even if the mouse is a grey paper cone and the seagull a white ping-pong ball.  "Come on you stupid tossers!" the fathers shouted.  "Pass the frigging ball, you morons!  What are you - a bunch of frigging girls?" Girls? No. Absolutely not.  Although my sister is back home at the moment in the warm watching Fingerbobs...

In the old days Dads wore tight shorts pulled up rather high

Back in the glory days of swearing and sexism, the Pushy Parent ruled the sporting world. It's no surprise that they still rule, but it's all much cleaner these days.  Today's Pushy Parent speaks a foreign dialogue.  I have had to go home and look up some of this stuff, you know. 
To help other cushy parents, I have put together a little glossary that might be of use:

Get pumped. Take your brother's bicycle pump, put it in your mouth - ensuring that there is a tight seal - and inflate your body until you are buoyant enough to bounce through the opposition.

Get psyched. Consult your horoscope. If it says Mars is going to clash with Uranus, it might be best to not stand near the chocolate machine in the sports hall lobby.

Front seat. I really don't know what this means. But the father at our local club shouts it a lot to his little boy.  Poor Archie isn't the nitty gritty tenacious sort.  He is a bit of an aimless child - happy playing his own imaginary game.  Whilst his father shouts "front seat Archie" he also does a funny signal to Archie with his hands.  I've yet to be able to interpret the symbolism, but I think it might be something do with aircraft marshalling.  Because as the dad shouts "front seat" with increasing exacerbation, so Archie whizzes around the pitch with his arms outstretched, his mouth simulating the rumble of an aeroplane, his face full of daydream bliss.

Archie isn't going to play for England.  He probably isn't even going to take a front seat.

Whatever that means.

Next time: how to make sure that your child's school wear is properly labelled, so that you never have to endure the smelly lost property box again.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Teenage kicks

Hello again. This week you will find me in the most upbeat of moods, due to a remarkable turning of tables. A U.S. report has just concluded that we should be actively seeking rows with our teenage offspring. Hooray and double hooray.

It's always amusing when a child misbehaves in public and the pushy parent responds by hissing reprimands or biting their tongue (their own tongue, not the child’s, silly) – anything rather than shout. This is because any pushy parent worth her weight in Mars bars knows that you should adopt a calm tone with your child at all times. Even when they are about to get run over.

The anti-anger clause means that many mums nowadays display symptoms of suppressed aggression. This accounts for their erratic driving and fetish for sports gear. Presumably these mums go straight to the gym after school drop off and kick the nearest punch bag. I can’t think of any other reason for wearing lycra that tight. Or any kind of gym wear really, aside from the fact that if worn correctly – i.e. loosely – it can be easier to run to the toilet in after a keg of beer.

Back to the report. Scientists at the University of Virginia observed 13-year-olds arguing with their mums. 3 years later the teenagers who had displayed confidence and logic during their arguments were less likely to become drug addicts or alcoholics. Now, I’m not sure about this. Some of the finest literary minds to walk this earth were alcoholics and opium users. I don’t think that debating prowess and clever word play secures you a life free from addiction. I’m not sure about the logic bit either. “So this white stuff is going to make my nose fall off? Okay, I'll leave it."

The report also suggests that placid children are more likely to agree to take drugs than argumentative teenagers. This seems a bit of a no-brainer. Like saying that sadists become traffic wardens, lazy people become testers at Bedworld, and ginger people will one day shave all their hair off.

However, I'm not going to split hairs - not even ginger ones - because it is owing to this marvelous report that pushy parents everywhere will now be having humdingers with their teenagers to hone their debating skills. It will certainly make the school run more interesting.

Some mums have promoted violence at home to such an extent
that their teenagers have run off to join the army just to get some peace

So what to make of all this nonsense? Well, it seems to me that if pushy parents are going to start shouting, then us cushy parents should do...nothing. Yes, that’s right. Forget the report. Just carry on as usual. Blissfully unaware of reports and protocol.

Not an argument in the air for miles. Just the gentle sound of a cork popping.


Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring, available at Amazon.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Herbal brushing and circus mirrors

Welcome back.  Today we're looking at the new report, Reflections upon body image, which suggests that girls as young as 5 worry about how they look.  (Apparently boys don't give a hoot about it).  Whilst this is a serious subject and not to be scoffed at - pardon the pun -  we can simplify the issue by breaking it down into 3 separate areas.

Peer pressure.  A reporter interviewed a 104-year-old man.  "So what do you think is the best thing about being 104?"  "No peer pressure," he replied.  Quite the reverse is true for our 5-year-old, who has peer pressure cornering her in the playground.  Well, I can only say one thing: fat friends.  Many a grown woman has used this tactic to great effect.  If thin people start hanging round your child, ask in a loud voice 'who wants a doughnut?'  This scatters thinnies faster than throwing a stone at pigeons.  Author's note: I do not encourage throwing stones at pigeons.  Please do not try this at home.

It's a well known fact that having unattractive friends
makes children more psychologically balanced

2) The media.  Got trashy magazines lying around, full of air-brushed women?  Replace air-brushing with herbal-brushing - a new technique taking schools by storm.  Simply take a paintbrush, some paint and various herbal essences - I find organic is best.  Next, disfigure that gorgeous magazine model.  Give her big thighs, warts, a tash and some bogies.  The herbal essences are released as you paint, counteracting any feelings of hostility - thus creating a calm, therapeutic experience.  This is the sort of pastime you can enjoy with your children and on your own.  I find nothing more refreshing when the children are in bed than snuggling up with a glass of Claret, a magazine and a pot of rosemary paint.  You can also take this pastime outdoors to enjoy the fresh air - disfiguring billboards and posters.  Perfect.  

3) Your home.  This bit is common sense.  If you stand in front of the mirror, holding your stomach and sobbing why oh why oh why, your child will eventually pick up on this.  So always lock the door first and invest in some sound-proofing.

It's important to remain calm when discussing food and body images with your child.  If you find this impossible, then there is one more trick you can employ.  It's a little drastic, but it works like a charm.  Simply remove all the mirrors in your home and replace them with magic distorting ones.  (NB: make sure you check the order carefully before purchasing.  A friend of mine bought the wrong ones and her child kept screaming at night about her huge forehead and mile long shoes.)  You want the ones that make your child look wonderfully slim, if a little stretched.

So this brings me to the end of our look at body images.  I hope you have found this blog informative and that your child will feel proud of their body for the rest of their lives.  Until they have kids.  And then God Help Them.


Next time at the cushy parent: how to have a really great row with your teenager, without resorting to violence.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pscyhedelic cake and ragged ropes

Welcome back to the cushy parent.  As promised, today I'm going to give some advice on how to throw a rubbish children's party.  

Modern parents think that parties are all about the venue - that they have to hire an auditorium and pay for a professional in a leotard to perform tricks with a spinning ball.  Don't fall into this silly trap.  It's costly and you're setting yourself up for a fall.  If you think meagre at the start, no one will be disappointed. 

Take the kids - as many as possible because chaos keeps them occupied - down to the local field with a huge ragged skipping rope (it doesn't have to be ragged, but these things tend to be worn out from overuse - tying the kids to the stairs, hanging them from trees etc.)  Order the children to skip, whilst you find a comfortable tree stump to relax on.  Don't worry if it's a cold day.  The kids will skip faster to keep warm.  And you can take a hip flask.

In the old days, children's parties revolved around
an old rope and a tree stump

If you get bored watching the rope go round, sneak back home leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the children to follow.  If you're tired, lead the trail to the door of your neighbour and shoot off home for a cuppa.  After several hours the parents will arrive to collect their kids, only to find that you don't have any children at your house.  You can then ask the neighbour to sort out all the mess whilst you go run a bath.

At this point, I normally find that someone gets testy 
about the lack of games and party bags to take home.  If you feel bad about this, tell the children that the game is to find their treats in the kitchen.  Hopefully they'll head for the fruit bowl (seeing as the cupboards are empty) and they'll clear out those rancid satsumas.

Whilst the bath runs, you just have time to whip out the homemade cake and slice it.  Surprised?  Did you think that 
baking was the domain of the pushy parent?  Is it heck.  Pushy parents wouldn't risk some hellish psychedelically-iced creation.  No.  I take a huge pride in producing something on the day that has the children backing away in horror.  Then when everyone leaves, I scoff the cake.

Next year when I give the invitations out, everyone will be mysteriously out of the country and unable to attend.  So it'll be just me and the kids, and our neon dinosaur cake.  
Now that's what I call a perfect party.
See you again soon.
Love Cath

Next time at the cushy parent: how to improve your fat child's self-worth by installing funny distorted mirrors around the house to make them look thin, if a little stretched.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring, available to buy at Amazon.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cinzano and semolina

I'm astounded.  The Internet is saturated with blogs about how to be a wonderful parent, but nowhere does it tell you how to be a rubbish one - the most valuable advice of all.  If you want your children to have a sound perspective upon their place in the world (i.e. there are lots of us - wait your turn) then you have to forget pushy and become cushy.

This week the media was outraged by David Cameron leaving his kid at the pub.  I interviewed a mother from the Seventies in response to this who yawned and said, "I left my son in the frozen peas section of Gateway one half term.  When I saw him again his hair had grown and he had frostbite, but was otherwise unharmed."

I was raised in the Seventies.  Back then, our mums looked like this.  
Mums from the Seventies
looked 85-years-old
when they were only 40 

They wore clothes for comfort and enjoyed Cinzano of an afternoon.
  We were the generation that waited for the TV to warm up and our semolina to cool down.

Modern parenting - by the time your children reach school age - is ridiculously competitive.  I say the human race has advanced enough.  It's time to turn back the clock, to regress.   It’s time to unleash the cush in you and give the push, the push.

So what is a cushy parent?  You are a cushy parent if you:

1) are prone to putting your child in the garden whilst you watch Bergerac.  When you do finally look outside, your child has dug a 2-foot hole in the lawn with a cake server.

2) smile during school assembly when the
prize for best miniature Olympic stadium goes to Billy Bucked Teeth because of his solar lighting (the other infants were foolish enough to opt for electricity).  Afterwards, you praise your tearful child for their naive effort - a couple toilet rolls stuck to a tea tray.

3) say things to your child like, "No I'm not going to organise a play date.  Pick your own damned friends, will you?"

It's almost impossible to tell from external appearances exactly who is pushy and who is cushy.  I've had many a friend profess to being a slob, only for them to sneak home to read their child Proust.  

It’s so hard to tell who is a pushy parent.  Most people look normal enough…. 
It's time for us cushy parents to be counted.  Make yourselves known to me.  Tell me your parenting stories of negligence and early Alzheimers.  There will be no more shame - no more rushing home to binge eat Sara Lee cakes before they are totally defrosted.  

Don't be depressed by the perfection around you.  Come join me here at the cushy parent's blog.  Have a laugh, relax, look your age and remember our motto: cushy not pushy!

See you soon,

Next time at the cushy parent blog: How to throw a really rubbish birthday party for kids and still respect yourself in the morning.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.  Available at Amazon.