Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ten rules for an Urban London Househusband

The lovely Heather over at recently asked me to give 10 bits of advice to a woman moving to my part of the world. Living where I live is not just geography, it’s a state of mind baby, so here we go.

1. You need to learn to juggle. Not that ‘I can make a packed lunch whilst applying eyeliner and talking to my friend on the phone’ housewife type juggling, I mean the real ‘3 balls/socks/fish throwing in the air’ type juggling. It will instantly calm a bunch or unruly five year olds, especially if you set light to the socks whilst you do it.

2. Always know where the nearest pub is to any park you may visit, or worst case scenario an off-license. Nothing inspires drinking more than an hour at a park playground, and you don’t want to waste precious drinking minutes looking for a child friendly pub afterwards. By child friendly I mean it needs to have an outside bit, nothing special just somewhere to sit. The only good thing that has come from the Government’s smoking ban is that there are now loads of places to sit outside. Just make sure you empty the ashtrays first as my lot will eat anything.

3. Always make sure you have spare batteries kept in two separate places. In site A you have fresh new batteries for all the TV/DVD/Wii gadgets, nothing causes more panic than when the third parent gets stuck on Cash in the Attic or something else involving orange old people. In site B you keep all the old dead batteries. My lot have long since sussed out that when a toy stops working, it isn’t broken, it just needs new batteries. This way you can put the dead batteries in their annoyingly loud toy guitar (thanks Uncle Daniel, be expecting Anthrax from us this year) in front of them, and then claim that it must be broken. Peace and quiet restored.

4. Never, and I cannot stress this enough, ever come along to a play date at my house without beer or wine. You will not be welcome and your children will be locked in the rabbit hutch on their own, as opposed to the cupboard under the stairs with the rest of the children.

5. Make sure you own at least 5 T-shirts. Apparently the Mums at the school gates are quite observant and will notice when you wear your favourite iPope t-shirt, especially if your child goes to a Catholic school like mine.

6. Make sure you have a Smartphone to entertain yourself at the school gates. All the yummy mummys won’t be talking to you, so you need to entertain yourself somehow. iPhone says ‘in touch with the kids, fun and down to earth’. Blackberry says ‘desperate to get back to work and boring’.

7. If you see a Yummy Mummy looking like she needs to get somewhere else fast, avoid eye contact at all costs. You are not responsible enough to look after your own children, what on earth makes you think you could look after young Tarquin, even if it is for only five minutes. It is a well known fact that middle class children break easier than working class feral ones.

8. Make sure your house has a big empty wooden box, IKEA do a good sized one. This will save your bacon when you have been playing on the Xbox all day instead of cleaning up. Approximately 30 minutes before your spouse’s arrival from work, hold a lollypop per child and tell them to throw all their toys in the box, and themselves too if they are looking too grubby, before they can have it. This will enable you to play at least 2 more death matches, and the sugar rush should kick in just before the Wife walks in the door. This will make her appreciate what you have to put up with even more, and will also put off any boring work story as she will not be able to shout over the kids.

9. Encourage your children enjoy watching football from a very early age. There is nothing more upsetting than a child’s tears when you push them out of the way and turn the Toy Story DVD off because the Arsenal v Liverpool game is about to start. And yes dear, the pre match build up is important. And no dear, they couldn’t have just watched the last ten minutes of the film, I need to know the line-ups.

10. Always lower yourself to the children’s height. A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child. This will also lessen the chance of a slipped disc or a kick in the gonads, and you think childbirth hurt, pah.

So there you go, my ten rules to live by, stick by them and you may just make it out of this god forsaken hellhole alive.


Emma said...

ok.. I'm wanting to move to your part of the world!! Wine at playdates.. Can we be best friends?

Debra Snider said...

"It is a well known fact that middle class children break easier than working class feral ones?" Jamie, you are priceless. Wonderfully entertaining post.

Lindsey said...

Bah, skip the wine and/or beer and bring out the liquor and cocktails for a wonderfully fun playdate.

Heather said...

love the ipope t-shirt! And loved this post, very well done that man. So when can i come round to play? promise to bring plenty of wine.

Posh Totty said...

Love the dead battery in noisy toys idea, wish I had of thought of that one sooner, thanks that will come in very handy I am sure :O)

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

HA Love it! I too have two piles of batteries, although due to far too much wine at playdates etc, neither one actually possess any batteries to make the third parent work in an emergency.

Loving the iPope T-shirt.

The Dotterel said...

You know, there are several pubs round here with parks conveniently in the beer garden. Saves a lot of time.

Rachel Nixon said...

Hilarious- can't believe I've wasted 7 years of child rearing not realising the potential of the lolly-bribe, brilliant!

PhotoPuddle said...

I'm with Emma - wine at playdates! Can I come too?

Russ said...

#8, words to live by! I have done it, it works.

Cate P said...

You run a Pisspots Playdate franchise too? I started mine in 1992. I'm now poorer, but too drunk to care.

Suzy said...

Thanks for the laughs :)
The box idea is implemented here too - it's a safe bet any missing socks or worn school shirts have landed there - if necessary these can be pulled out at run-out-of-clothes end of week & if they don't look or smell too bad, can be worn again ;)
Wish they had wine near my playgrounds... :(

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

There's so much great material in this post I don't know what to comment on. I don't know why but when the family are looking for spare batteries my husband always looks at me....

New Mummy said...


goonerjamie said...

Emma - Bring Jack Daniels and it's a deal.
Debra - Why thank you, I'm pretty certain it's true.
Lindsey - It's Margarita time.
Heather - If you're bringing wine then how about right now?
Posh Totty - You're welcome.
Very Bored - Oh dear, send hubby out to get some more.

goonerjamie said...

Dotterel - You lucky beggar.
Rachel - It never fails.
PhotoPuddle - Inded you can.
Russ - All the clever ones do it.
Cate - An excellent condition to be in.
Suzy - That's why God invented Fabreeze.
Trish - Mmmm, can't think why.
New Mummy - Cheers hon (blush)

Nene said...

Like Debra I adore the line with the breakable middle-class children. Ha ha.
The battery trick I've been using for years. Wouldn't have survived without it.

Humdrum Mum said...

Love the comment about the phones! And gotta get Mr Humdrum that t shirt. We are iWhores in this house ... V funny post. -HMx

Whimsical Wife said...

Ohhh I loved this - especially the quantity of alcohol potential involved :)

Hot Cross Mum said...

Oh no you di'n't.

Cracking advice. Now, if all those daft, child-rearing nonsense books had lists like this, we'd all be in a much better place.

In Ireland we just drink Guinness all day so nobody knows what the heck is going on.

vegemitevix said...

Those were the days, made some great househusband friends at the youngest's swimming lessons and playdates. Don't worry it's not a gender thing - the yummy mummy shun me too at the school gate. I have my smartphone 'force' to protect me though. Very funny!! Have you read the others in the series, - tribal wives in Britain, in Catalonia, on holiday (LondonCityMum) and of course in Lapland..

London City Mum said...

Lower yourself to child height?

That's when I split the seams of my pants BEFORE I head into the office.


Brilliant as always.


Being Me said...

Why did I never think of a massive box to shove everything in (including grubby child if necessary)??? I could look like I've done something each day.

You are a genius.

clareybabble said...

I think we all want to come to a play date at yours!
We do the same with batteries, although S is starting to get wise to it (he already knows how to change batteries himself).

If I Could Escape . . . said...

That's brilliant! Especially love the empty box advice. Nice one!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post! Was a long-time advocate of the lolly-ploy when the kids were younger.

Play dates with wine? Welcome to my world.

Cate :-)

themommydaddy said...

My God I wish I'd written this post. Every one is true and a keeper.