Admit it – throughout the year, clothes shopping has largely been reserved for your ever-growing children. Consequently, your own ‘wardrobe’ is a variety of tatty tops and stained jeans that never actually get hung, on constant rotation between your body, the washing machine and the laundry basket. Time to splash that (overdraft) cash in Zara!
Jan’s top tip: Keep the receipt for taking back that misjudged strapless top because you forgot your breasts now need scaffolding. Remember also, to insist like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption that the Sudocrem smeared all over it, was already there.
SHROVE TUESDAY, 9th
Who doesn’t love a pancake? And it’s always nice to have a day in the year when you can have a break from the pretence of deliberating on what to give the kids for tea – before dishing up, as was always the plan, fish fingers and Smiley Faces for the third day in a row.
Feb’s top tip: Buy ingredients for making batches of delicious, golden pancakes from virtuous scratch. Then buy packets of scotch pancakes and Findus Crispy Pancakes for when that virtuous absurdity goes tits up.
MOTHER’S DAY, 6th
Ah, our national day of worship. Harvesters and Toby Carveries up and down the land are packed full of mums and grans gingerly poking the salad bar, chewing laboriously, sometimes for days, on over-cooked steak. In all our M&S finery, chastising misbehaving children and squabbling with our other halves for parking miles away when we’re wearing heels – we wouldn’t have it any other way…
March’s top tip: Look surprised and grateful when your other half hands you hastily-bought daffs and a box of Milk Tray from the Esso garage. Try not to twat him when he says, as he does each year for cheap laughs: “Every day is fucking Mother’s Day in this house…”
APRIL FOOL’S DAY, 1st
Forget whoopee cushions and puerile prank calls – that shit is for kids and pubescent lads in fraternity films. Get in on the larks with some serious April Fooling. Maybe hide your husband’s car keys when he’s very late for work? Perhaps ask your mother-in-law to foot a £200 Dyno-Rod bill claiming she blocked the loo with a massive dump? Fun, right?
April’s top tip: Pretend you’ve forgotten how to speak English for the day. Then meet every question and demand from the family, as Manuel in Fawlty Towers might, with an imploring: “Que? Errr, I know notheeeng.” Keep at it until everyone is exhausted and on the brink of tears.
ENGLISH WINE WEEK, 28th MAY – 5th JUNE
OK, the kids drive you to drink most days but this national week legitimises it. To show your true appreciation of the gorgeous, glorious, magnificent stuff (English and otherwise), maybe don’t just neck it like a gobshite on a hen night? Swill it around the glass and remark on what ‘lovely legs’ it has. Sniff it deeply and muse on its ‘woody-yet-plum’ aroma. And then after a most agreeable first delicate sip – neck it like a gobshite on a hen night.
May’s top tip: Clear out the wine aisles of Tesco like it’s the LA riots and if anyone dare question you, wordlessly gesture to the child squawking in the trolley seat, direct them to the #wineweek trending on Twitter and resume ransacking. They’ll understand this is a holy week for mums.
NATIONAL KISSING DAY, 19th
Every nappy change, ouchie, smile, break of wind – pretty much everything a baby does – is deemed by a doting parent reason enough to plant several thousand kisses on those gorgeous chops. But we know we’re on borrowed time. Soon there will be door-slamming, indifferent grunts and angry words. This day acts as a useful reminder to cram in those kisses before a pair of hostile eyes peering below an armoured fringe, stare back at us.
June’s top tip: Plaster masses of puckered, slobbery smackers on your children’s cherubby cheeks before those inevitable wounding words hit: “Gerroff me, Mum. You are SO embarrassing.” *Big, hammy body-wracking sobs*
INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP DAY, 30th
There’s nothing like a mate who can make you laugh until a little bit of wee comes out. These days, childbirth is most likely responsible for our problems with incontinency, but we must never forget the friends who had us pissing our pants first…
July’s top tip: Sort a night out with some of your bestest, oldest mates and spend the evening reminiscing about regretful shags and the time you were thrown out of Studios by the lapels for sneaking Bacardi in a Volvic bottle.
BANK HOLIDAY, 29th
The last long weekend of summer is an occasion that for some reason just needs marking. It doesn’t matter if it’s pissing down, we’re British and we’ll do our country proud by sitting outdoors in squelchy flip flops, eating soggy hot dogs, drinking rain-diluted beer, if it kills us. It’s what happy family memories are made of and the UK is built on – shit weather, processed meat and a load of moaning.
Aug’s top tip: Plan a lovely, lavish, quintessentially British, family picnic with handmade pork pies, homemade lemonade, those cute individual Victoria Sponges – the works. Then, when you remember you have kids and barely have enough time to scratch your arse, scrap that ridiculous idea and hit McDonald’s instead. Just remember to sit outside and shiver stoically.
BACK TO SCHOOL!
People home with their kids during those long summer weeks should get some sort of government-sponsored, wine-filled, kid-free retreat afterwards. Whole days have been lost to locating missing shoes, shouting for endless fights to stop and demanding unsuccessfully that stuff be left alone. In the absence of such a retreat, we have to make do with time enough to go to the loo (and wash our hands), the return of the TV remote and stuff finally being left alone – which, to be fair, are very good reasons to rejoice.
Sept’s top tip: Celebrate the end of incessant CBeebies by putting the kettle on, dishing up an obscene amount of cake and settling in front of This Morning, to marvel at how Holly Willoughby’s hair shines like a beacon of hope in the sea of shit daytime telly… *sigh*
NATIONAL CAKE WEEK, 3rd – 9th
Without a doubt, cake is to a mum what a set of Allen keys is to a grandad – necessary, comforting and slightly defining to our roles in life. Alright it conforms to all sorts of terrible stereotypes but let’s be honest, sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason. Whether we’re baking it, eating it or watching it on telly, mums love cake. Fact.
Oct’s top tip: Inhale the entire contents of Greggs but this time, don’t hide the evidence. Be out and proud with your loafy lardiness – you are celebrating a beautiful creation that has helped take the edge off many daylight hours, before drinking wine is deemed socially acceptable.
NATIONAL STRESS AWARENESS DAY, 2nd
Charitable awareness days are great for trilling, ‘it’s all in a good cause’, in order to piss people off. But the real beauty of this particular day, is that you can go on strike (in the name of charidee of course), and call it a sponsored lie down. Raising cash for slumping on your arse? Everyone’s a winner! Genius!
Nov’s top tip: Lie flat on your kitchen floor like a one-woman picket line. Scream ‘scab!’, every time anyone asks you when tea is or if they can pour themselves a glass of water. Then rattle a collection tin in their face before resuming your picket-line position for the rest of the day.
CHRISTMAS DAY, 25th
Well, it couldn’t be any other day in December really, could it? Forget the masses of shopping, hours of cooking, lost ends of Sellotape and children fighting over the last Strawberry Delight in the Quality Street tub. It’s a day of being, quite simply, with people you love. And that is worth celebrating even if you don’t believe in the baby Jesus.
Dec’s top tip: Compile your New Year resolution list early. Vow to drink more wine, eat more cake and laugh more with a mate who makes you piss your pants. Vow to stress less, regret less and care less. Because life is lush, you marvellous mum.