Thursday, January 31, 2013

Slapdash parenting.

So I've been writing this blog for a while now. A few months.  In case you hadn't realised the main THEME of the whole blog is Slapdashery, or "Near enough is good enough", and in my loveable, endearing, cheeky and adorable way, I gently mock myself and my parenting for the amusement of all.

And frankly the public can't get enough of it. And by public, I mean my Mum. Hi Mum!

For a more detailed treatise on Slapdashery and Self-Deprecation please see this post or the guest post I did for Redcliffe Style.

But on a more SERIOUS note, sometimes I do feel a bit down.  I worry quite a lot about my parenting and feel inadequate.  I also worry about my own identity, and my own personal faults and flaws.  I wonder, what is my gift, my particular talent? I sometime feel like I'm not much good at anything.

I look at Instagram and crafty mummy blogs and feel like a big losery poo head, who is lazy and losery and pooey.  I feel jealous of them. I feel like I should be sewing and crafting, organising the house, and planting an organic vegetable garden, whilst commuting to my part time job and GIVING IT MY ALL and then I try to, and I get all stressed and upset because I find it so hard.  And then I get cross. And then just want to have a lie down and watch Game of Thrones on DVD (that's a whole other blog post yet to come people, stay tuned) whilst drinking a gin and tonic and fanning myself with a squashed origami crane.

The thing is this, I think.

I absolutely, truly believe that everyone is different.  You've just got to do shit your own way.  If you are a crafty old fox, then craft away.  If you are a green thumb, then dig the shit out of that garden.  If you can't relax unless your underwear is colour coordinated, then knock yourself out, you are awesome.  If you are like me ie. easily stressed out, anxious, and critical of yourself, then LOOK AWAY FROM THE TALENTED PEOPLE NOW and just  DO IT YOUR OWN WAY.

I read this article from Mrs Woog of Woogsworld fame on the Hoopla website and it made me think long and hard about all this "comparisonitis" that sometimes does my head in.

Another article that speaks to me and my natural tendency to worry and fuss is
"How to be an idle parent", by Tom Hodgkinson.  Dude has written a whole book on the topic. Haven't read it but the article is the shizz.

Also my friend JJ sent me this once when I was a bit down in the dumps.  Also excellent reading.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I that think the best thing to do is recognise your limitations people! If you are constantly full of energy, positive and have natural talent, then ignore me, because I am not.

But if you feel stressed, a bit over stretched, a bit devoid of talent, a bit uncreative, I'm about to do what I never thought I would.

And that is GIVE YOU SOME PARENTING TIPS!

I said in my "How to be a Slapdash Mama" post that "lowering your standards is the new black".  I am not joking.  The only way I can ever feel relaxed and actually live in the moment, like all those freaking memes are telling me to, is to CUT ALL OF THE CORNERS and only do what I want to do.

Well, I try anyway.

So, here we go.

MAKING FOOD FUN!

See this cup of water? SO BORING! If I presented this to P frankly she'd chuck it in my face, and be right to do so. Nobody should be forced to drink such a boring drink, it's a human rights abuse.
Now, see THIS drink!? See what I've done here? I've taken a straw and shoved it into the cup of water. INSTANT PARTY! P thinks this is the bees knees.
And if I'm really feeling crazy, not only will I shove a straw in, but I will also put some ICE CUBES in there.  I am actually not kidding when I say P goes crazy for this shit.  They enjoy simple pleasures, your three year olds.

Give this totes boring plate of eats to a jaded three year old and feel their wroth!

But shove it into a fancy lunchbox, and you've got yourself a CLEVER and INTERESTING SNACK PACK. Clever, no? Easy, yes!

BIRTHDAY CAKES

OK, I actually like baking.  But basically if you do not like baking, just buy a cake already.  As Mrs Woog said, kids don't care where it comes from, cake is cake.

So working on the assumption that I already like baking and making cakes that taste yummy, I also know that I do not like having to assemble things or dick about with fiddly shit.

Basically I make the same cake every year. As did my mother for me.


P's 1st bday cake. Melt and mix butter cake recipe.  In a big heart shaped tin.  With pink icing.  Bob's your uncle.

I did it again for P's 2nd birthday. Here's the photo of the 1st birthday cake again, I couldn't find one from her 2nd. But picture this one. With pale yellow icing. And marshmallow daisies. EASY AS SHIT.  
I did it again for Baby B's christening, but I also seem to have cut corners with photo taking cos I can't locate one of that either.  It was a heart shape. With white icing.  Boo-yah!

I do admit to sometimes mixing it up with a rainbow layer cake.  BUT it's the SAME RECIPE. And it is freaking easy.


Looks good but is EASY. But if the idea stresses you out, DON'T DO IT! ALSO if you want to bake a huge crazy Women's Weekly cake book recipe, go ahead, I think that is awesome. DO WHAT YOU FEEL!

I went a bit off-theme for P's third birthday and did the layer cake again instead of the heart. But the layers were pink this time.  CRAZY I KNOW!


 I could go on at length.  Perhaps I'll make this a series too. Slapdash Parenting?  I'll think about it.

Do you cut corners? Or are you energetic and positive with colour coordinated undies? Does the idea of origami with toddlers bring you out in a cold sweat?  It's a rich tapestry my friends, with room for all!

Linking up with Flog your Blog Friday again.  I know, no button. Maybe I'll work it out this weekend.







40 comments:

  1. Dear Miss Articulate,
    How ironic that you should write about not knowing what you are good at, when writing is indeed one thing you are very very good at. To slightly misquote Stephen Fry: Language is a strange thing, but she is your mistress! And you have managed your life such that you do for a job just what you are good at!
    And judging by those wonderful littlies, your parenting's not too bad either! Whatever you are doing with your slapdashery, keep it up. Those wonderful, happy kids prove your theories! You have hit the nail on the head, by the way. I can honestly say that the best and most useful parenting advice I was ever given - life changing in fact - was that I only had to be a "just good enough" mother. That is all we have to be: just good enough.

    Perhaps the best thing to do - and, of course, such a hard thing to do - is just stop thinking so much!

    Thanks for writing Slapdash! I just love it! Reading it always leaves me feeling good!

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    1. Yes, just good enough, exactly! Thanks R.
      But we all know what I'm really good at is having a long chat and nobody's gonna pay me to do that, mores the pity!!!

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  2. Your slapdashery is an inspiration. It'll be cheese on toast for my kids for dinner tomorrow night.;-)

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  3. I don't have kids, but you have my sympathy for all the crap and tedium it involves. But you got 2 lovely little monkeys in exchange! I think anybody with kids should do slapdash whenever possible, just to save their sanity! But everyone has their own standards so just doing whatever the hell keeps you happy and sane is enough.

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    1. I love being a mum but the tedium associated is what everyone hates.
      Do what you feel! No one has to do the same as everyone else. I'm talking to myself here more than anything.

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  4. Love the pics of the cup straw and ice! Will certainly be giving that one a go. As for feeling glum about what you are good at I say stop looking at pinterest! I have just given up watching better homes and the like as it just makes me feel depressed about my own home. Focus on what you are good at and don't be misled by the gifts of others. Love your work k xxoo

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    1. K I never even got into pinterest, am staying away for mental health! You are so right about focusing on what we do well xx

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  5. You are enormously hard on yourself Sarah! Frankly, I find it refreshing that you are a Mum with no pretence- a rare breed. I don't recall our mothers comparing their crafting/interior design/stylist/*insert other enviable skill here* prowess all over the internet, and yet they seem ti have managed just fine. I sure your kids would rather

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  6. (cont-damn you i-phone) a Mummy who has a slightly messy house but more quality time for them. You are doing a FINE job! Missed you at work this week. A xx

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    1. Thanks A! I think if you love crafting and interior designing and whatever then GO FOR IT and feel free to talk about it and show others how to do it, but I just think if you find certain things stressful there is actually no reason to do them! Only do stuff you like! Other than the absolute essentials like feeding, changing, loving blah blah. Some people like surfing, others are frightened of sand. Like me. Does that make sense? I hope so. I hate working from home cos I can't talk to my friends! See you next week! Weather permitting!

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    2. Yes, see you next week :) And just putting it out there.....there had better be an appearance of a certain Jigsaw blazer soon or it won't be pretty. PS, Peg sends her love. She's spending the weekend at my place, she quite likes the old hat vibe it has going on.

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  7. There's not a thing in the world wrong with slapdashery!! I've been on partial bedrest for 3 weeks now, and having hosted a 4th birthday party in that time, I've found it to be a mother's biggest ally.
    Thanks so much for your fantastic post. Found you via FYBF

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    1. Bed rest! Holy moly I hope you outsourced the hell out of that party Tara! Thanks for commenting x

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  8. OH God, you make me laugh!
    Love this post!!
    I'm totally with you...I never do more than I have to and always take the easy road! ;)

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  9. Sing it sister! I salute you!!! You are the Queen of Slapdashery and I am the Queen of Laziness. We should get our majestic butts together and combine forces, it would be epic!

    I seriously do the least amount of work and stuff around the house that I can get away with. There are some days when I look around and think man I need to get my shit together and clean this house, but then I lie down or fire up the laptop till the urge passes and all is right with the world again.

    If you look closely on my Instagram feed you'll notice all the crap in the background of all my pics. I rely on the cuteness of Mia to distract people. And just to prove my well-earned title of Queen of Laziness, my Christmas tree is still up. Yep, that's right, Feb 1st and I'm still rocking the tree! And that's not the worst its ever been, a few years ago I was that person that still had the icicle lights hanging on the front of the house in October!

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    1. Kylz the TREE is still up!!?? You are indeed the queen! That is just hilarious. Do what you feel my friend!

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  10. Amen. I learned between the Big Sister and the Little Sister that some days, near enough IS good enough.
    While we're confessing our Mummy shortcomings, allow me to add how much I dislike going to the park and that one day this week my kids had pasta and frozen peas for dinner. Yep, the peas were still frozen. All hail slapdashery!

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    1. Do what you feel! Thanks for visiting me Cooker and a Looker. I loved your post today x

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  11. Oh sweetie, you are a mama after my own heart! I have exactly the same parenting style. If you ever have a slapdashery linky, I'll be able to fill it to the brim ;) Renée from Née Say x

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    1. Maybe I should!?! Anyway thanks for visiting Renee :-)

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  12. So true...I am guilty of the crafty crap...but have gone feral of late and thrown it all away, and must admit I'm a happier mummy...I was always pissed off at the kids cutting into my crafty time...go figure...then the guilts at sitting at a sewing machine or playing with cardboard rather than playing with the kids would eat me alive! There's no perfect solution and how you "mama" today may change tomorrow, just roll with it and enjoy what you do when you do it. It's called unconditional love for a reason, and whether it's a colored straw in a cup, or sewing a dress made from vintage fabric sourced from Granny's old underpants, they'll think you're awesome! (just to clarify, I haven't ever done the vintage underpants thing...purely to get my point across...honest)

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    1. If it makes you happy to go crafting crazy with the sprogs, do it! If not, don't! I wish I could actually take my own advice! Vintage undies dress sounds AWESOME you totally should make it.

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  13. Corner cutting? Heck yes... been doing it for 18+ years since Master 18 decided to hang out with me.
    It's fun! The other 7 kids all seem to love it too. :)
    Well done. And Hi to your mum. ;)

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    1. Excellent to hear. I'll pass on your regards to my Mum aka Slapdash Nanny.

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  14. I gotta tell yah Sarah, we are very similar, I don't cook, craft, knit, create, bake, shake etc. I just battle through each day and am grateful for my medicinal compound once 5pm hits! You are not alone girl, there are a few of us out there. I'm a newbie too and all I did for my first two months was moan and bitch and it felt BLOODY FANTASTIC! Emily x

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    1. Ha! I don't think it should be quite the battle it is sometimes, but if I lower my expectations of what I can achieve I feel better about the day.

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  15. I don't know about slapdash parenting because if that is what is slapdash - clearly there is nothing wrong with it because it is pretty much what we did and K turns 21 this year and is still alive. Not because of our slapdash parenting but in spite of our slapdash parenting !!!! And just a little bit of luck at making it past her 10th birthday !!
    Have the best weekend !
    Me
    #FYBF visitor

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    1. ha! Thanks for commenting. Good to hear the slapdashery worked out for you! Gives me faith in the ideology.

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  16. Wow! This is a really good post. I enjoyed reading it very much. I also love your creative ideas especially with the water and the cake--those were pretty amazing! Anyway, thanks for sharing your useful tips and inspiring words! :)

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    1. Um, thanks! Twas tongue in cheek though...

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  17. Great blog! I am a fellow slapdasherer... sometimes I worry about it and feel guilty, but most of the time I am just so happy to make parenting just that tiny bit easier! Love your work :)

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  18. I am so with you, I pretty much suck on most fronts :) I personally aspire to doing the least amount of work for the biggest gain. I haven't got the energy or inclination for anything else!
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

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    1. I hear you Becc. do what you like to do or feel is necessary for your sanity!

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  19. Love Slapdashery! Rarely will you see mess in the background of my photos- why? b/c I have pushed the mess to the side, out of view from the prying lens of the camera... Or sometimes I just photoshop mess out. I enjoy craft and cooking- but I make mess along the way- maybe I should take some photos from behind the scenes :)

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    1. I like cooking especially but sometimes a can of baked beans is all you can be bothered with. Yes do some behindbthe scenes action H!

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  20. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)gmail.com

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Vent your spleen! You know you want to.

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