Enjoy the good moments, which can be fleeting (if plentiful). Emma is often at her happiest first thing in the morning and I try to make the most of sitting across from this delightful face at the breakfast table.
Be flexible. Maybe you had your heart set on a Fun Activity, or a Necessary Chore, but got waylaid by a tantrum or illness or the weather. Here’s Emma playing her first game of Pooh Sticks at the Cotter. We were trying to go to Tidbinbilla but she had a meltdown in the car on the way so we stopped at the Cotter instead and had a great time. It is almost never worth sticking to the original plan in these circumstances as everyone will be miserable.
Play with water. From the outdoor tap, from the bathroom tap, from the kitchen sink. Supply non-breakable containers (and keep towels handy). Enjoy a free hour. Try not to think about the environmental impact.
Don’t own such fancy furniture that you can’t bear to see dogs or cereal on it.
Occasionally “forget” your feminist parenting philosophy and buy your child ridiculous Disney princess themed toys, because you would have loved them when you were little, and they will too.
Take photos of cute things they do so you can remember them later when they have broken curfew again and told you they hate you. Like when they put their toys to bed and read them a bedtime story.
Unstructured play time with water and toys is good, but so are petting zoos with friends.
Spend 5 minutes setting up a fun activity and then enjoy at least 3 minutes of peace and quiet until they get sick of it.
Have a treat. Pray for a sugar coma, not a sugar high. Remember all the vegies you served at lunch which did not get eaten, but were served which almost counts.
And finish with a bedtime story, which makes up for all the not-so-pleasant moments you’ve had in between your water play and petting zoo and craft activities.