The thing to remember about mummy is that she loves you very much, so you can try a selection or indeed all of these sanity-eroding activities and – once she’s regained her composure – she will still love you. She may be stressed. She may be exhausted. She may howl at the moon and drink heavily. But – and this is the important thing – she will still love you.
- Loiter aimlessly in the mornings. Mummy feels an obligation to get you to school on time, and it’s your job to challenge her compulsion. Top challenges to her obsession with timeliness include: staring vacantly into space when you should be eating your breakfast; and playing hide and seek with your sibling instead of getting dressed. Why not further spice things up by waiting until you’re half way to school and then announcing that you’ve left your bag at home?
- Never ever put laundry in the basket. Unless, of course, you have just tried something on, but decided not to wear it. In that case, you should always put it in the basket. A fun way to create extra laundry is to have friends over for a play date then get them to try on all your clothes and do the same. I mean, if mummy didn’t have laundry, she would literally have nothing to do all day.
- Never eat vegetables. In fact, carefully pore through every plate of food looking for anything green and, when you find something, immediately declare the entire meal unfit for human consumption. If mummy wants you to eat even one of your five-a-day, she needs to get much more inventive than carelessly chopping a few vegetables into your spaghetti Bolognese.
- Behave like the perfect child at other people’s houses. Tidy up. Eat all your vegetables. Tell your friend’s parents how much you love school. Mummy will be completely baffled by reports of your good behaviour, but unable to tell other parents that you are actually a complete horror.
- Never do anything the first time mummy asks. I mean, if she’s only asked once, how do you know she’s serious? Wait till she’s really yelling and then take the high ground by telling her you were about to do it, but because she’s shouting you’re not going to. This might also be a good time to remind her that she should be using her inside voice.
- No matter how foul you have been to mummy, become an absolute angel as soon as daddy gets home. This will undermine the credibility of everything mummy says about you, whilst giving daddy an excellent opportunity to share his parenting wisdom. Mummy loves hearing from daddy how her parenting could be improved.
- Start a fight with your sibling for no reason. The best time to do this is in the car, as that is when mummy is least able to figure out who started it and deal with it appropriately. Mummy will be trapped in a sort of double jeopardy: she wants to turn round and conduct the Spanish Inquisition, but she doesn’t want to take her eye off the road and veer headlong into the oncoming traffic. Honestly, next time you’re bored on a journey, just quietly lean over and give your sibling a quick pinch, then sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
- Save the best to last. When you think mummy really can’t take any more, when she has completely lost it and looks like she may never get it back, tearfully throw your arms round her and tell her you love her. She will (almost certainly) forgive you (eventually) because, like I said at the start, mummy loves you very much. And now you have laid the groundwork for starting it all again tomorrow…