Monday, 29 October 2012

Real Parents

I want to start a magazine. I want to call it ‘Real Parents’, and its manifesto will go something like this:

Idealist Parents feed their children perfectly balanced diets featuring home-cooked delights made with organic, environmentally-friendly ingredients, added vitamins and fish oils, and wouldn’t know a MacDonalds from a Pizza Hut.

Real Parents know that frozen chicken nuggets are an essential timesaver, fast food is a good bribery tool, the occasional bit of sugar won’t kill them, and sweetcorn fritters cover one of their 5 a day – does that count for apple pie too?

Idealist Parents think television should never, ever be shown to under 5s, and will only allow older children to watch highly educational programmes that they have thoroughly vetted. They only have television for the news and the occasional documentary anyway.

Real Parents know that if it wasn’t for CBeebies, no housework would ever get done. And how would they switch off in the evening without Eastenders?

Idealist Parents only allow their children to play with traditional toys hand-carved by disadvantaged Aboriginal people from sustainable wood.

Real Parents find themselves queuing at 5am on Christmas Eve to purchase the latest ‘must have’ gadget, frequently lose their children in the mountain of soft toys, and think they are probably keeping the plastics industry afloat single handed.

Idealist Parents spend their free time taking walks in the bracing country air with their children and collecting autumnal foliage which they will later make into an impressive collage during their carefully scheduled craft activities.

Real Parents don’t know what free time is. Possibly the three and a half minutes between getting the packed lunches ready for the following day and falling into bed?

Idealist Parents do their shopping as a family at the organic market.

Real Parents drag their bedraggled children around Tesco whilst simultaneously worrying if the bus will be full because of the rain and saying things like “Yes, I will buy you the latest Transformer, but please stop pulling Sophie’s hair!”

Idealist Parents read Tolstoy to their unborn children, play Wagner in the car, and enrol their progeny in cello lessons and Latin classes before they are out of nappies.

Real Parents can recite Mr Men books by heart, play ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ on loop, and give their kids a saucepan and a wooden spoon to exercise their musical talents.

(Note: Jai has no problem with Idealist Parents. She just isn’t one.)

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