There has been some discussion in the news lately about campaigners wanting certain airlines to lay on child-free flights.
This is particularly called for on business flights and long-haul routes, where passengers surveyed gave their main irritation as rowdy and unruly kids.
If certain child-free flights were not offered, a family zone has been suggested, to keep youngsters separate from the rest of the passengers.
Some might expect me to be outraged. And I can understand how many parents would be, to have their little ones maligned by unsympathetic travellers.
But let me turn this on its head.
I don’t particularly enjoy judgemental holidaymakers glaring at me when my tired toddler cries, wriggles or needs me to get up and change his nappy mid-flight.
I insist on good behaviour from my boys, and always travel short-haul, armed with a ton of toys, books and puzzles to keep them amused.
But children are children, and they don’t have an off button.
Perhaps life would be easier if I could sit among other sympathetic, frazzled parents. Or suggest to the intolerant few that they should have booked an adult-only flight,
On one trip, as we were getting off the ‘plane to start our holiday, a woman actually said to me “I’ll watch out for you on the way home, and make sure I’m not sitting near you”.
She was smiling at me as she said this, as if she was doing me a favour. With an attitude like that, perhaps she was.
My sons had been guilty of nothing more than falling asleep – then waking up grumpy and crying.
In reality, airlines realise that giving in to these campaigners’ demands would alienate a huge section of their customer-base, and drastically reduce their revenue.
So it seems those without children, or old enough for their offspring to have flown the nest, are just going to have to put up with us families with little ones.
But instead of tutting and shaking their heads, or complaining loudly, perhaps they should remember what they are asking from our children – manners and good behaviour – and set an example by displaying some themselves.
While having dinner with a mummy friend recently, we discussed the countless books on parenting, and how there’s nothing on the market which actually reveals the brutal truth.
“I had such a romantic view of motherhood in my first pregnancy,” she said.
“I would have appreciated something that didn’t sugar-coat it, and told me what it would really be like.”
Personally, I think the human race continues to multiply because mums-to-be hold on to a mixture of blissful ignorance and an attitude of “my baby will not be like that” when told horror stories from other women.
But if I was to write the brutal truth, here are the pearls of wisdom I’d pass on to mums of the future:
1. No matter how much you love him/her, you won’t feel constantly joyful at the sound of his voice – especially at 4am
2. Motherhood won’t turn you into a 1950s housewife, content with baking cakes, knitting exquisite bootees and knocking up a three-course meal from scratch – unless you were like this before
3. The mothers who claim their children slept through the night immediately, took to solid foods without a fuss and sat patiently in the trolley on shopping trips are lying (do their nappies smell of lavender as well?!!)
4. Your best IS good enough. No child was ever harmed by a mother who couldn’t breastfeed, who left the hoovering for a couple of days, and who spent the day in her pyjamas. Your baby needs love – after that, you do what you can
5. If he/she is not hungry or in pain, letting your baby cry for 10 minutes while you take a shower / make a coffee / regain your sanity won’t do any damage
What pearls of wisdom would you offer an expectant mum? We’d love to hear your tips or stories
So it seems the nation is captivated by Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.
Channel Four is pulling in a record seven million viewers, fascinated by the travellers’ way of life.
And here at MummyCentral HQ, we are equally transfixed by the over-the-top dresses and lavish marriage ceremonies which the girls spend their young lives planning and working towards.
Holy Communions are seen as the dress rehearsal for the wedding day, with many six-year-olds ordering lavish Katie Price-style gowns to wear for these occasions.
But while every little girl wants to play princesses, it seems to us that spray tans, mascara and pouting red lips are a step too far.
Which is why we love this dress available from www.mysticalfairies.co.uk which allows little girls to indulge their imaginations – but remain little girls.
This would also be a fantastic outfit for a little girl in a wedding party – as long as the bride doesn’t want all of the attention.
Whatever your stance on the latest football debacles, we at MC HQ found this hilarious explanation of the offside rule, adapted for women in a language we can all understand:
“You’re in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till. Behind the shop assistant on the till is a pair of shoes which you have seen and which you must have.
The ‘opposing’ female shopper in front of you has seen them also and is eyeing them with desire. Both of you have forgotten your purses.
It would be totally rude to push in front of the first woman if you had no money to pay for the shoes. The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.
Your friend is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees your dilemma. She prepares to throw her purse to you.
If she does so, you can catch the purse, then walk round the other shopper and buy the shoes. At a pinch she could throw the purse ahead of the other shopper and, whilst it is in flight you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes.
Always remembering that until the purse had actually been thrown, it would be plain wrong to be forward of the other shopper.”
Now if we can just find a way of explaining housework to our dear men in a language THEY could understand.
After all, if they can so easily grasp the offside rule, how hard is it to maneouvre the dirty washing into the laundry basket?
As well as being a romantic occasion between a couple (if you have the time or energy for romance) it becomes a chance for parent and child to show their affection.
A great way to get kids involved is by making love bugs together, to give to Mum or Dad – or even grandparents.
What you’ll need:
- A toilet roll tube
- A sheet of pink card
- Purple crepe paper / paint
- Two pipe cleaners
- Decorate heart stickers / foam pieces
- A felt tip pen
- Cover the toilet roll tube with purple paper, or paint it
- Cut two large hearts out of the piece of card
- Attach with tape or glue to either side of the body
- Draw a face on the top of the tube
- Stick two pipe cleaners on the head to make antennae
- Write a Valentine message such as “You make my heart flutter” or “From your little love bug” on one of the wings
Simple, and a great way to include your children in the February 14th tradition.