The "Real" Top 10 List - Things all Mom and Dads Need! By Naomi Perks

Not the regular top 10 that will see you your local toy store and baby centre. No, this is the REAL top 10 list of things you actually need.

1. smart phone - preferably an iphone, but any that have a big screen will work - this is not so you can text, email and facebook until your heart's content (well, ok, maybe it is) but it also works as a GREAT flashlight for middle of the night feeds, nappy changes and temperature checks. Apps also serve as a great distraction when you're out and about. Cost = priceless!

2. wine and/or chocolate - I lump these together as some people don't drink and others don't like chocolate. and for those, like me, that like both, it is safer to save one for after 6pm (you decide ;-)...OK, so those days when you it's not even 7:30 am and there's already been three meltdowns (2 of them yours), there is nothing like sinking your teeth into an exquisite piece of dark chocolate (or really, any kind of chocolate will do). And once it's 5:30pm and those meltdowns have not stopped and you are covered in snot, poop, food and some unknown substances, there really is nothing like sitting down with a glass of wine. Truly, every mother's best friend!

3. facebook/twitter accounts: face it - you're not going to be going out like you used to. At least with FB and twitter you can still keep your finger on the pulse and see all the events that your single/married without children friends are doing. And of course, they can look at all the pictures you post of your gorgeous kids (or not)

4. a good therapist - seriously - you're going to need it. I don't know too many men/woman that can take the constant erosion of self and thoughts of self-doubt that comes with being a parent. And I don't have a mother to add to those levels! I love my kids more than anything else in this world, and for the most part they're pretty good, but good lord, they wear me down. Having an impartial, objective person to talk/vent to is absolutely priceless. Because face it, there's only so much whining your friends/partners will take. Hire a professional.

5. Make friends with the local teenagers. You are going to need a battery of babysitters. Trust me, even your parents will get sick of looking after your kids at some point.

6. A cleaner - again, the cost = priceless. You will spend more time at home than you ever thought possible and the mess that will be created will be beyond your wildest dreams. My bathrooms smell like urinals - and my son actually pees in the toilet. Yet still, my bathrooms smell...While I'm not exactly sure why this is, after a visit from the cleaning fairy the smell is gone (at least for a day or two). It really pays to have someone come, at least once a month, to clean every corner of your house, from top to bottom, all at once. It's a great feeling to walk into that house.

7. Put your child's name on wait lists for daycare. I know, you don't want to go back to work. All you want to do is gaze into the eyes of your beautiful child and be there for every teeny tiny little change or developmental milestone. And of course, no one could do as good of a job raising your child as you. I know. But you know, there will be days that you will want to go back to work. Trust me. There may even be weeks and months that you have that feeling.

If you don't have your kids on a wait list, it becomes really hard for you to go back to work. But if you have done all the research, have them on a wait list for *the best* care centre, going back to work is always an option. And of course, you can always turn that spot down should they call and you really and truly don't want to go back to work, or have just one day a week where you can go pee by yourself. It's always good to have options. Just sayin'.

8. A good hairdresser. I mean a really good hairdresser that you trust. Preferably one that works long hours. You will have days when you have been spit up on, pooped on, bit, kicked, used as a kleenex and poked and prodded. There will be days when you will barely recognize yourself in the mirror for the puffy eyes and blotchy skin. There will be days when you clothes, yes, even your fat clothes, won't fit right. Those are the kind of days when you need to get your hair done. Get it cut, coloured, styled. It really doesn't matter. Just being out of the house--without anyone tugging at your pant leg or screaming in your ear--and being pampered is the best thing in the world. And really, who doesn't feel better about themselves after visiting the hair salon?!

9. A gym membership at a gym with a creche. I don't care if you hate going to the gym. I don't care if you don't even know what to do at a gym. It DOESN'T matter. Gym's with creches are your best friend. Especially if you find one with a steam room and sauna. It doesn't matter *where* in the gym you are, you just have to be in the building.

Heck, you can spend the whole time at the gym's juice bar reading a book or sleeping in the locker room. You'll usually have at least a whole hour to yourself and the cost is usually minimal. Worse case scenario you may even get in shape, or at least counter some of the calories from the wine and chocolate ;-)

10. The Entertainment Book
- and USE it. I know the books are only $60 and are bought to support your local insert-good-cause-here and usually end up collecting dust or are used as a door stop. I say use it as an excuse to go to the hairdresser, call up that local teenager and go out for a lovely night out with your partner. It's amazing how much better food tastes when someone else cooks it and cleans up after you.

What do you think should be part of the "Real" Top Ten List?

Bio of the writer:

Naomi Perks
of the Blog "Maybe Tomorrow I'll be a Better Mother"
I'm a mother of a 'certain' age of two beautiful young children, Little Mr. Man & Little Miss. I'm a fledgling freelance writer and lover of all things quirky and tasty (not necessarily together). My blog is a tongue in cheek take on motherhood. A place where, if you've had a bad day and think you're a failure as a Mother, you will find comfort. You're not alone.