I have just returned from a summer holiday day out to a local wildlife park. In my mind a “quick run around and a picnic” with my three little darlings would be the ideal way to pass a few hours. No TV, no iPad, no arguments – just wholesome fun!
On arrival however, reality smacked me in the face, like a hot, dusty, screaming kipper. The car park was jam packed with oversized cars (mine included), which made parking a real joy. There were queues to get in, queues to get out, crowds of people in front of every enclosure trying to spot the hidden animals, and many, many hot, tired children demanding ice creams and a trip to the gift shop.
To add to the fun I had one pushchair, which neither of my younger children stayed in for long, a toddler on reins, a three year old in a princess dress and an 8 year old who literally sprinted around the place with me yelling behind him, ”WAIT FOR US!!”
I now have tea…phew! Cold beer in the fridge. C’mon bedtime!
As we collapsed in a heap and turned on the magical TV box I was confronted with a pristine, toned and honed Olympic athlete. I have loved watching the Olympics this year (whilst slumped on the sofa with a bar of chocolate and a large glass of wine). I am amazed at the range of sports and the unbelievable feats that the human body can achieve.
I dream of having the self-discipline to train daily and sculpt my body into a well-oiled, contoured, high performance machine. I look at some of the female competitors and all I can think is “their body is a temple and I bet their pelvic floor muscle is as taut as a cheese wire.” My body, on the other hand, is more of a bouncy castle with a pelvic floor as taut as a cheese string. This bothers me for a brief moment, but then I eat a slice pizza and a wedge of garlic bread and move on!
However, I do not see myself as inferior to these athletes. Yes they can run fast, they can bounce on a trampoline without the need for a tena lady, dive from 10 meters and cartwheel, but can they make it all the way round the hot dusty zoo with a three year old on their hip and a toddler on reins whilst pushing a pushchair and chasing an 8 year old? I’d like to see them try!
I have decided to start a campaign for an Olympic games for parents. I have mentioned before the stamina and skill that is required in everyday parenting and I think it’s about time we received some recognition for this!
I have compiled a list of suitable ‘sports’ for athletes to compete in and I’m sure this could snowball into something really big! So take your pick and sign up now!
We start our Parent Olympics with a spot of wrestling. The art of getting a small, “strong willed” child into a car seat, buggy, clothes, a sleeping bag or anywhere else they do not wish to be. The child will undoubtedly be ‘planking’ throughout this sporting activity whilst the parent deploys every tactic under the sun to entice the child to get in the car, before the wrestling match develops.
The commentary would go something like this:
BOB: “Here, comes Lisa Smith for team GB. She’s has quite a lot of practice at this sport, and should be able to get that toddler in the car with no problem.”
TOM: “Yes, that’s right Bob. She is a highly experienced mum of two. I was talking to her just before this match and she gleefully recalled the time in her life before children, where the only thing she had to wrestle with were her own thoughts on which shoes looked best with the outfit she was wearing to work.”
BOB: “Ha ha! Happy days”
TOM: “She’s now deploying a packet of chocolate buttons to try and get young Benjamin into that car seat. He’s not looking very pleased.”
BOB: “No, he’s not budging.”
TOM: “She goes in for the tackle. Grabbing Benjamin firmly and lifting him into the car. Benjamin is now beautifully performing his plank routine.”
BOB: “That’s a good move there from Benjamin. But Lisa’s not having any of it. She wedges him into that seat and straps him in faster than lightening, despite the screams and protests of her young opponent.”
TOM: “And she emerges victorious. Red and sweaty, but triumphant nonetheless.”
BOB: “Well done Lisa. A medal will surely be coming your way.”
Next up is extreme washing up. This sport involves the multi-tasking skill of an octopus and the brain capacity of Stephen Hawking. Each participant must first be completely exhausted after a long, hard day with their children and then must complete a mountain of washing up whilst simultaneously doing all of the following:
- Repeatedly catching the toddler and removing him from the windowsill and bathroom.
- Going through the 8 times table to help with homework.
- Answering random questions that all start with “why?”
- Drawing a picture of Princess Elsa… NOT Anna!
- And singing along and dancing to Lionel Richie’s “Dancing on the ceiling” (The toddler loves to Woooo at that song!)
Following extreme washing up, is plate drying Jenga. This is a sport that my husband already excels at. It involves stacking all of the washing up precariously on the draining board. The rules state that you are not allowed to dry anything and put it away, every item MUST be within the draining board boundaries, and if it all falls down you lose buster!
For those of us who prefer a more gentle and relaxing sport I will provide Bikram ironing. This is a test of endurance of extremes. Forget Bikram Yoga, this is where it’s at! All competitors will be required to remain in a meditative state whilst working their way through a week’s worth of ironing from my home. (In some cases this has actually taken a week!) They will be required to sweat away their troubles, breathe in the steam and relax…Ahhhhh! “Oh bugger I burnt another T-shirt!”
And finally after all this parenting prowess it’s time to dive into the paddling pool! This event involves several activities, which are all to be completed with a crying pre-schooler attached to their legs.
First participant must blow up all three rings on the pool, griping the valve in their teeth and using only the air from their worn out lungs. Next athletes must carry bowls of water (at the correct temperature) from the sink to the pool. Too hot or too cold and you’re out!
Finally they must ensure they have all towels, hats, sun cream and swimming attire before they are allowed to put their offspring in the water (for the two minutes that they want to play in it!)
*** Please note, all pool water MUST be clear. Any green discolouration will not be tolerated. And Yellow water is a No No! ****
I have also considered these events for future Parent Olympics:
- The Supermarket Dash
- Pushchair folding
- Toddler herding – a bit like one man and his dog, but minus the dog!
- Extreme nappy changing – as demonstrated beautifully in the video by The Unmumsy Mum
So, if you have made it to the end of another fun filled, 17 hour day that has required herculean effort. If you have now got the little darlings to bed and have managed to find a glass of wine and a sofa and if you are bracing yourself to do it all again tomorrow, then you, my friend, win a Gold medal!