The 10 commandments of British mums

If I have to read another smug piece about Chinese tiger mums or French children never throwing their food, then I'm going to have to take very drastic action: I shall pour myself a glass of wine and have a right laugh about it.

For this is the essence of Brit Mum parenting, a much-maligned approach which actually makes me really proud.

Yes, it's a lackadaisical ethos but that's because we Brit Mums possess an astonishing amount of ingenuity and last minute recovery skills, with a generous side of resourcefulness.

You can sum up it up in one phrase: "Oh, we've run out of food, shall we just take the kids to the pub for tea?"

For the benefit of our international audience who may sneer at our fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants mothering, being a Brit Mum isn't something you slide into. Oh no, it's a movement rigid with rules, honed over time, moulded by the experience of those who went before us.

Don't believe me? Well, here are the 10 Commandments of Brit Mums...


1. Thou Shalt Be Sarcastic. If we don't get a 'please' or a 'thank you', we'll do our very best embarrassing imitation of Harry Enfield's Kevin The Teenager to force some manners out of our kids.


2. Thou Shalt Employ Threats. Not physically, obviously.

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Just the type relating to your child's worst fears; if you don't behave, I'm going to kiss you at the school gate or I'll get Dad to do some dancing when your friends are over.

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3. Thou Shalt Resort To Cunning. Know your child's Achilles Heel and you can control your children without having to resort to underhand tactics like discipline. If they love playing on the iPad, take it away.


4. And Bribery. We Brit Mums know when to pick our battles. If there's a full-scale tantrum going on, there is no point shouting back. Far better to whisper "sweeeeeeets" in their ear and see how quickly they back down.


5. Plus Hiding. In other cultures, this means teaching your children to stand on their own feet. Our method is far sneakier. We switch the telly on, shove the kids in front of it, then slip away into the bathroom where we lock the door and collect our thoughts over a cuppa.


6. Thou Shalt Fall Back On Freezer Cuisine. So what if our kids make vomit noises when presented with cauliflower and don't eat asparagus? And what's wrong with fish fingers and chips? For goodness sakes, that's why we buy Omega 3 Fishy Shapes and make secret veg sauce for pasta. It makes us feel good knowing we've got one over our children.


7. Thou Shalt Encourage Daddy Time. We like nothing more than getting dad involved in parenting too. Which is why we encourage lots of weekend sporting activities and clubs so he can bond with the kids while we catch up with the soaps on Sky Plus.


8. Thou Shalt Think of Others. Selfless to the max, Brit Mums will always remember to invite the grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents and anyone else who our kids like to the house in the hope they'll take them to the park or offer an impromptu sleepover at theirs.


9. Thou Shalt Support Your Sisters. For example, if you're round your friend's house for tea, the kids are trashing upstairs and you two are finishing off their pizza crusts and her husband walks in, you will shake your head in anger if he asks: "Busy day, then?"
What kind of a question is that? At least he had a lunch hour.


10. Embracing spirituality. Every evening Brit Mums give thanks in a spiritual ceremony involving Sauv Blanc and crisps.

  • Laura Kemp's first book Mums Like Us, published by Arrow at £6.99, is out February 28. Until then, there's 25% off if you go to www.rbooks.co.uk/mumslikeus and add it to your basket, using the promo code MUMSLIKEUS before you make your purchase.
You can follow her on Twitter @laurajanekemp.

Tongue-in-cheek, but does this ring true for you?