Then there are the ice cream tantrums - the tantrum because they want one, the tantrum because you bought the wrong one, and the tantrum when they inevitably drop it on the floor 45 seconds later. It’s enough to make you want to impale yourself on a Flake.
Of course, there are lots of magical moments too. Whole mornings spent in pyjamas because there’s no rushing out the door to school. Sandy cuddles and salty kisses. Not feeling guilty about drinking rosé at lunchtime. Those dreamy afternoons when none of you can face the heat, or yet another trip to the park, so you just draw the curtains and watch CBeebies for three hours, and everyone’s happy.
But the fact is, summer is also a prime time for parenting fails. Trying to get through August can make you feel like you’re in an extra long episode of The Apprentice, being tasked with one impossible mission after another. How do you keep a three-year old entertained for two hours while you wait for your delayed plane to leave the runway, when your bag contains only an old Volvic bottle, four broken crayons, and a dirty sock? What do you do with twin six-year olds on a wet Tuesday, when you’ve run out of ideas by 9.15am?
It’s enough to make you long for Sir Alan to fire you, so you can run away from it all with your wheely suitcase in a black cab.
And if you’re the parent of a toddler, you have to suffer being told on a daily basis how you should be potty training your child, because it’s the summer, so they can run around in the nude, and somehow magically work out how to use the toilet. This is not the reality. For most of us potty training involves endless begging, bribing with a hundredweight of chocolate buttons, and accepting the fact kids like to save up all their wee for the minute they are strapped into their car seat.
Some of our favourite Scummy Mummy Confessions shared by our audience members involve potty training. There’s the mum whose daughter needed a poo on a train where there were no toilets - “So I let her do it in my friend’s Tupperware box. My friend forgot, and it was in her handbag for a week.”
Or how about this fond memory: “While visiting a bathroom showroom one day, our son wandered off and reappeared a few minutes later. We asked where he’d been, and he told us he’d gone to have a poo, pointing at one of the display loos. We ran away.”
So how do you survive potty training? Well, our top tip is to get a reward chart. Not for the kids, but yourself. If you can get through a day without saying, “Do you need a wee wee?” more than a hundred times, give yourself a gold star. Or even better, a glass of wine. Cleaning the potty within four hours of use deserves a G&T. And if you manage to convince your colleague that stain on your trousers is actually chocolate, pour yourself a pint of prosecco.
Fitted rubber sheets are your friend - layer them on, so if you need to rip one off in the middle of the night there’s a clean one underneath, ready to go. Invest in a load of cheap pants so you don’t feel guilty about chucking them away. And give in to the temptation to use Haribo and Smarties as rewards - this is only a phase, it won’t last forever.
If your child is a fan of Bing on CBeebies, like ours, you might also want to check out the new Fisher Price Toilet Train Bing toy. Bing announces when he needs to go to the loo, and your mission is to sit him on his little plastic toilet before it’s too late. You should find it’s a real hit with your family thanks to kids’ endless fascination with pee and toilet noises. Even Ellie’s husband thinks it’s hilarious.
Acamar Films, the producers of Bing, have kindly sponsored this blog post, and they’re also organising a very special competition that we’re launching this week. We want to find the humour in those moments that might otherwise tip us parents over the edge. So tell us about your current parenting ‘challenges’ whether that’s a summer holiday fail, potty training-related or otherwise. Just share a photo that demonstrates your parenting fail on Instagram, include the tags @scummymummies, @BingBunny, #WhatWouldFlopDo, and tag two friends who might want to join in.
The winner (as judged by the Scummy Mummies) will receive a special visit from Bing and Flop to their nursery or preschool, together with some fabulous Bing goodies.
We’ll announce the winning #WhatWouldFlopDo post on 15 August. Visit http://bit.ly/2ttJX15
for full terms and conditions. Good luck everyone!