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10 ways to … reward yourself for being an awesome parent

PUBLISHED: 16:40 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:52 10 May 2018

Simon Hooper and daughters Picture: Philippa James Photography - www.philippajamesphotography.com

Simon Hooper and daughters Picture: Philippa James Photography - www.philippajamesphotography.com

Philippa James Photography

Tips and treats, from evenings out to making memories

1 Fathers of Daughters

Go to the Father of Daughters evening with social media phenomenon Simon Hooper. Father-of-four Simon will be sharing his life as a dad of four girls at Open, Norwich. It’s the latest event from We Got This (sometimes!) which was set up by Norwich mum Emma Victor-Smith. She said: “Most of us love a bit of honest parenting to make us feel better and Simon is the insta-king of that.” He will be sharing anecdotes from his life as dad to 10-year-old Anya, seven-year-old Marnie, and two-year-old identical twins Ottilie and Delilah, (and husband of midwife, social media star and author of How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out, Clemmie Hooper.) Hear Simon on why he began documenting family life, and on modern fatherhood, equality, paternity leave, and his new book Forever Outnumbered, at Open on Tuesday, May 22. Tickets £15 from wegotthisco.com

2 Mums Like Me

Melanie Duffield has launched a club for mums. She worked in events before having her two daughters (now aged two and four) and is planning a series of events with a focus on treating and inspiring mums.

The latest is an evening of cocktails and canapés, with special guest, Bury St Edmunds businesswoman and mum Charlotte Boulton, of jewellery company Stanley and Maud. “I will be chatting to Charlotte about starting a business whilst on maternity leave, growing her business with a young family at her feet and the highs and lows of motherhood,” said Melanie. “The evening will be a mum only event, giving mums an excuse to get out of the house and enjoy a few cocktails and some great company.” Melanie, of Red Lodge, said she wanted to create events which were different from traditional toddler groups, with the focus on mums making lasting friendships. The concept came to her during her last maternity leave when she said she had a brilliant support group and wanted to bring fellow mums together to offer a similar network and opportunity to socialise in style, with and without babies.

Meet Melanie and Charlotte at Bourgee Restaurant, Bury St Edmunds, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, May 22. Tickets, £21.50, including cocktails or soft drinks and canapés, from eventbrite.co.uk facebook.com/mumslikemeevents

3 Read something that isn’t instructions for a car seat or the ingredients of a babyfood pouch.

Enjoy a book that doesn’t star Peppa Pig or a wicked stepmother. Try Whistle in the Dark, the new book by Emma Healey. The bestselling Norwich novelist (and mum of a toddler) won the Costa First Novel Award with Elizabeth is Missing and is back with a book focusing on a mum and her teenage daughter. Lana disappears for four days. When she returns her family is, at first, delighted. But where has she been and why is she bruised and bleeding and afraid of the dark? bit.ly/2ItZmck

4 Watch a feel-good film and feel even more good as you support a good cause too.

An open-air screening of Grease at Finborough school, Stowmarket, on Saturday May 12 is in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. Fancy dress encouraged, refreshments available, or bring a picnic. Gates open 6.30pm and the film begins at sunset. Tickets, £12 from each.org.uk

5 Chill at a festival.

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival runs until May 27, with loads of events including circus, music, dance, drama, film, talks and family fun. Pick something for yourself, and something for the whole family. The free Garden Party in Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, on May 19 and 20 includes plays, puppets, illusions, circus and even crash-landed aliens. nnfestival.org.uk

6 Retire, or at least give up.

Give up some chores. I don’t iron. I don’t even expect my husband (who sometimes does iron) to iron my stuff. Years ago I noticed that if I left things in the ironing pile for long enough the creases had been pressed away by the sheer weight of the clothing above. Now I simply fold or hang and have created more time to wonder who should do the dusting, vacuuming, clean the bathroom…

7 Go to the beach (where there is nothing to dust or vacuum and it is compulsory to eat chips and ice-cream.) You can even take the children to enhance your paddling and playing fun.

8 We Got This (Sometimes) has two more events for parents planned – a one-off screening of the film Embrace, on June 4, following body image activist Taryn Brumfitt, and The Strong Girls Club with Gemma of Mutha.Hood on June 12, both in Norwich. Gemma will be talking about

maternal mental health, business and motherhood at the Last Pub Standing, King Street. Tickets £19 including a glass of fizz and cheese board nibbles, with 10pc of profits donated to Get Me Out of These Four Walls, a Norfolk charity for mums with post natal depression. wegotthisco.com

9 A little bit of performance parenting goes a long way (if you mention it often enough.)

Do something parenty with the children – whether it’s baking or bark rubbing, craft or crabbing. Take pictures and keep bringing it up in conversation. In years to come it should be misremembered as a regular thing.

10 Write down some of the funny stuff they say. And the sweet stuff. Don’t just mean to write it down, actually write it down. That’s the only way I know that when my son was three he asked: “When you buy something, why does the lady say numbers?” Fifteen years later he’s studying economics. Other gems from the boy aged three include: “You are amazing and kind and cute and I love you mummy,” and, when his granddad asked whether our car had televisions, “We have a new car, not new parents.”

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