Picture: Robin Weaver @robertweaverphotographer
Shrove Tuesday is here again and I am struck with the age old dilemma - 'Do I fake it?'
As I nipped to the local garage this morning to buy overpriced lemon, eggs and caster sugar I found myself being lured, like Eve, by this:
Upon my return home I was met with hostility and mistrust by my children. Am sure even Nik muttered 'Bet Nigella never fakes it'.
So pancakes ... fake or bake? A bit like parenting. It takes three of four before before you get them right.
I have been a parent for 19 years.
It only seems like yesterday that I was standing beside the swimming pool with mascara running down my hot cheeks after trying to get my baby Edward 'into' swimming. It was a total fail. He screamed for his life - his little hands clawing up my neck. As I took my traumatised baby to the changing room I was distracted by loud knocking on the glass window of the cafe that looked onto the pool. Lucky me - my last class stood there gurning at me with their slim and beautiful new teacher whilst I felt every hair on my unshaven knees, chin and bikini line stand on end with embarrassment.
Just like pancakes there are many recipes and top tips for parenting online.
Here are my favourites:
1. Women preparing for maternity – put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for nine months. After nine months, take of 10% of the beans.
2. Discover how the nights feel – walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approx. 8-12lb. At 10pm put the bag down. Set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again with the bag until 1am. Put the alarm on for 3am. As you can’t get to sleep, get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2.45am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
3. Practice dressing a small child – first buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this – all morning.
4. Forget the sports car and buy a people carrier. Do not hope that it will stay pristine. To get prepared buy a chocolate ice cream, dip it in sand and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Take a family pack of cheesy balls or selection of puff pastry sausage rolls and smash them onto the back seats and footwell. Run a rake along both sides of the car. Perfect.
5. Practice feeding times – hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Corn Flakes and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon pretending to be an aeroplane making sure that most falls on the floor. You are not ready to feed a twelve month old baby.
Whether you are a hot mess or parenting guru parenting is best done with all the help you can get. As therapist Alfred Adler said, "Fake it until you make it". Having support and friends is also paramount.
Speaking of great friends. I have just received this on What's App.
Now I think I can do that!