When the stress and strain of parenting gets too much, when you’ve yelled at he kids for the tenth time this hour, endured one of your child’s public tantrums at the supermarket in front of an army of tutting old ladies and Yummy Mummy and her Perfect Children (all eight of them) have just dropped in for tea, pick up ‘The Fish Finger Years’ by Fiona Gibson and remember You Are Not Alone.
The book is rather like those precious moments when you and an old friend crack open a bottle of wine and start to talk about how your life really is, rather than maintaining the usual façade of calm.
You friend regales you stories of the embarrassing things their kids have said, evil tricks they have learnt at school, disastrous trips to restaurants, tears in Ikea and holidays best forgotten.
She admits that the relief of getting the kids into childcare and getting a few hours away from them in the office slightly outweighs the guilt of leaving them, and you confess that you were actually looking forward to them starting school.
You share tips on how to avoid the mountain of toys taking over the whole house, how to cope using public transport with three children and a buggy and where to go out for the day that the kids will actually enjoy.
Finally, as the end of the bottle approaches, you talk about just how much your relationship with your other half has changed since you had kids, you nod in agreement, and wonder if you will ever have more than two minutes with your partner without being interrupted and actually have enough energy to do more than slump on the sofa in front of the TV.
The book is a warm, sympathetic and most of all entertaining look at the reality of parenting, which includes much truly useful advice based on the author’s personal experience and that of her many contributors.