B is for Breakfast, which is supposed to be conducted round a table with perfect manners but in reality is spent shouting at the kids to sit down, stop using their fingers to eat cereal and to ask to get down from the table while Milkshake blares in the background.
C is for Cooking something really delicious and healthy but being told "it's s'gusting" even though it was their absolute favourite last week.
D is for Driving and excitedly pointing out emergency vehicles, cranes and trains - even when you're the only one in the car.
E is for Energy – where do they get theirs and where did ours go?
F is for "Oh...flip", an embarrassingly square phrase we use at least 100 times a day because we're not allowed to use the f word until after the watershed.
G is for Going Out. In daylight hours, this takes aeons once you've checked everyone has been to the loo, got their shoes on and their blood sugar levels are not dangerously low thus avoiding tantrums before you're down the street. At night, this takes aeons as you unpeel the children from your calves as they protest at the very cheek of you having a life outside of them.
H is for Holidays. Great in theory but in practice harder work than being at home because the kids are suspicious of the food, there's no CBeebies/Nick Jnr and your paranoid streak increases a million-fold, perceiving DANGER at every pool, beach and public loo.
I is for Imagination. THE essential skill involved in motherhood. Or you are doomed.
J is for "Just Coming". This is a mother's stock phrase when she is asked to help find something or turn a shoebox into a life size rocket. That's because we have four million other things on the go including making tea, trying to arrange dental appointments for some time this century for the whole family on the same afternoon, hanging out the washing and trying to catch the cat to deflea her.
K is for Kinder Eggs. Forget penicillin – these little gems are real life-savers. Whether you're on a train, in a café or at a childless friend's house, the not-enough-chocolate-to-rot-their-teeth and kids-love-the-tiny-gift combo keeps them occupied for enough time to read a paper, drink a coffee or have a chat. So good they should be on prescription.
L is for Love. The pit of the stomach variety which turns you into a woman possessed if anyone so much as looks at your children the wrong way. Can emerge from nowhere in a split second even if they're being little sods.
M is for Mummmmmmmmeeeee. Which is how 'mummy' should be spelled because when your children say it, it's usually all about them.
N is for Neuroses. Each of us has our own particular obsession, from putting factor 100 on their little bodies the second there's a faint ray of sunshine to serving broccoli with everything, even mashed up into spag bol.
O is for Octonauts. Or whatever is their current obsession. The delightfully fickle youth of today will become attached to something random at a moment's notice and demand affiliated comics, toys, sweets and clothes for yonks until they suddenly go off it and you've already bought the Octonauts paper plates, cups, table cloth and party bags and it's their party tomorrow. Aaaargh!
P is for Parents' Rights. There aren't any. Get used to it.
Q is for Quiet. An elusive creature which only ever makes an appearance after 8pm and before 6am unless a) the kids are ill or b) your other half snores.
R is for Racing. Either round the shops, round the house with a Hoover or whatever it is you have to do at lunchtime/while the kids are having tea at your mum's/Daddy is doing bathtime. Also apt if you have a son, because they only respond to doing anything if you turn it into a race.
S is for Sorry. The one word which you drum into your kids over and over again.
T is for Thank You. The other word you drum into your kids over and over again.
U is for Umbilical Cord. It may have been cut years ago but it will always be there even when your children move out.
V is for Vulgar. Particularly if you have boys (including dads), who will pick their nose, burp, fart and make rude noises by putting their hands underneath their armpits and flapping their arms. Usually in company too.
W is for Writing. That first time they manage to trace over your dotted letters and write their name is adorable.
X is for eXercise. We get enough walking up and down the stairs for a new set of clothes after they've spilled Ribena over themselves that we don't want to go to the gym, thank you very much.
Y is for Yes. A word you don't hear very often because children prefer to say 'no' if they listen to you at all. If you get a 'yes', then it's usually because you've mentioned Haribo or a visit to the toy shop.
Z is for Zero as in the thanks you get for being a fantastic mum! But you do get the cuddles.
What not to say to mums
- 'I didn't know you were pregnant again!'
- 'She's beautiful, but doesn't look much like you, does she?'
- 'Are you sure the way he's doing that is normal? I haven't seen other babies do it'
- 'Do you actually work or are you just at home with the kids?'
- 'You must be so busy!'
- 'Is it time for another?'
- 'What a beautiful boy!' (when you have a girl)
- 'You've got that real mumsy look about you now'
- 'If that was my child I'd...'
- 'How much sleep are you getting?'
- 'Don't you worry about what he's eating?'
- 'Poor little thing, does she need a feed?'