Illustration: Naomi Wilkinson


Fool-proof mum hacks for the real world

It’s not about perfect parenting, it’s about survival, says Robyn Wilder

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By Robyn Wilder on

1) Trick your children into eating nutritious food by hiding a chocolate button in a tub of houmous, giving them a stick of celery, and telling them to go “treasure hunting”.

2) Get them to behave in public by pointing at a random stranger and saying, “...or that man/woman will be very angry with you”.

3) Too sleep-deprived to get motivated for your day, but don’t enjoy drinking coffee or doing cocaine? Simply go on to Twitter, search for #typicalfeminist and read the results for five minutes. Congratulations, your adrenalin has now kicked in.

4) To save time, change the second line of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep to “no”.

5) Does your postman always knock too loudly when you’ve just put the baby down? Next time he comes, whip out a boob and start crying loudly before you open the door. Welcome to the quiet joy of unknocked-on doors and parcels quietly left on doorsteps.

6) Need more sleep? Ask your child what they did yesterday, then take long, restorative naps in the gaps between their words.

7) Save time in the morning by sleeping in yesterday’s make-up. You may, if you wish, tell people that you “just put primer, moisturiser and foundation in a pot and apply it while the kids pick curly kale in the garden”.

8) Save extra time by applying extra make-up before going to sleep the night before.

9) Need a fun personal challenge? See how far you can do this throughout the week before you start to look like Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? My own record is Thursday lunchtime.

10) In a pinch, red crayon makes a bold lip stain.

11) Try this money-saving trick to give your kids exercise and nutrition: go to a supermarket, collect the free kids’ fruit by the door, walk around the supermarket until everyone gets tired and then leave without buying anything.

12) Convince people that you have washed any part of yourself today by dabbing fabric conditioner behind your ears.

13) Keep a red plastic toy phone in your pocket at all times. When your kids push you to the end of your tether, yank it out and ask to speak to Santa with “some very disappointing news”.

Teach your children that the proper response to someone muttering “fucking children” on public transport is to SING LOUDLY FOREVER

14) DID YOU KNOW? Until your kids are old enough to disagree, you can blame 100 per cent of your farts on them.

15) Set an alarm on your phone before baby group so that, if it’s too unbearable, you can pretend to answer it, look panicked, gather your children, then leave.

16) Something to remember when you’re out and about: most emergency child poos will fit in Tupperware.

17) Trapped in a conversation with a competitive mum? Simply pretend to answer the phone, whisper urgently into it, then say, “sorry, that was the palace”, and immediately move the conversation along.

18) This summer, avoid that problematic arms-only tan – and improve your flexibility – by walking on your hands and pushing the buggy with your feet.

19) Rainy-day activity: teach your children how to make you a perfect coffee. Or, to avoid the risk of scalding, a dry martini.

20) There is no shame in putting two nappies on a baby who habitually does blowout poos during naps.

21) Being torn down by judgy parents? Just look confused and say that your baby is several months younger than it is. “Should he not be crawling? I mean he is three weeks old already. Maybe it’s because I work/am a stay-at-home mum/breastfeed/don’t breastfeed/co-sleep/let him watch so much TV.”

22) If someone is staring disapprovingly at you while you breastfeed in public, simply maintain eye contact, then draw your forefinger slowly across your throat and they will look away.

23) In the company of your children, refer to parental chocolate as “coffee broccoli”.

24) Teach your children that the proper response to someone muttering “fucking children” on public transport is to SING LOUDLY FOREVER.

25) Improve your toddler’s motor skills by getting them to tie their own shoelaces. In the meantime (providing you’ve left them in a safe place), you can shower; get your chores done; complete a day’s work; read War And Peace from cover to cover; wither, die, become one with the cosmos and move on to a higher plane of humanity.

26) Or, buy them velcro shoes.

27) Want to get high, but have no drugs or alcohol in the house? Sneak into your sleeping child’s room and – without waking them – bury your face in the nape of their neck. Now take a good whiff. A really deep one. Ah yeah, that’s the stuff. Huffing oxytocin; the real joy of parenting.


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Illustration: Naomi Wilkinson
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Robyn Wilder

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