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“Ignore the noise.” A mum of 2 shares her Five Golden Rules for parenting.

Ampol Foodary
Thanks to our brand partner, Ampol Foodary

Mamamia's Five Golden Rules series takes a look into the lives of Australian families. From parents of toddlers to parents of teenagers, the series asks parents to share their golden parenting rules, including the rules for their kids, and rules to just get through each day. 

This week, a mother of 2 shares her Five Golden Rules for parenting. 

My name is Amy. I'm a mum of two little ones – Arlo is 3-and-a-half, and Archie is 21 months. Together with my wife Lucy, we are raising our boys in Sydney. 

How we live, in the location that we are, it can feel very fast-paced.

Now, like any parent, we don’t have all the answers. When it comes to our parenting careers, we often are figuring it out quite literally as we go. 

What I can say is we have Five Golden Rules we live by to keep our family's wheels turning, and I don't quite know how our long days and short weeks would run without them.

These are my Five Golden Rules for parenting.

1. When there's the option, make life easier on yourself.

Life with kids is hard. Understatement.

It has been 3-and-a-half years since Lucy and I enjoyed a hot meal, finished a cup of coffee or each of us even had a shower uninterrupted. 

 So where possible, we like to make life as easy and efficient as possible. When something is giving off too-hard basket vibes, we search to find a better option to make it easier on ourselves as parents.

We recently bought a new home and when choosing the location our criteria was close to shops, amenities and schools. Convenience is key for us. 

I've really learnt as a parent, don’t underestimate the convenience of the humble petrol station.

We have Ampol Foodary literally three blocks away from us. I've only just realised you don't have to leave your car to pay for your petrol?! This should be a PSA to all parents, if you're wanting a quicker petrol run or have kids in the back. Pump, pay on the Ampol App, and I'm on my way without leaving the car. Genius.

In the spirit of making life easier on ourselves, we can grab a good quality coffee, bread, milk, eggs or other quick essentials at Ampol Foodary in amongst busy work and daycare days, and the boys love taking their pocket money to choose a small treat on our days together, or if I'm taking our eldest to a movie and we're choosing treats before the cinemas. 

During the working week, we're often rushing out the door to drop the kids to daycare on our way into the office. Do I have time at home to make coffee, or prep my own satisfying lunch to take to work? Absolutely not. Do I feel guilt about that? Always. But not anymore. 

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Ampol Foodary on the way to the office has minimised the mental load and swapped in a new morning ritual. An uninterrupted cup of quality hot coffee, and a freshly-made, tasty sandwich secured for lunch... well, it’s heaven. 

2. Coffee. Or anything really that gets you through.

You might think I am joking but coffee is mandatory in our house. 

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it is coffee or some other food or beverage you really enjoy, but the crux of this rule is really about making sure you have the things near that make you feel good, and help you just get through. 

That hour, that day or that month.

For me most days, it's the pit-stops at Ampol Foodary that literally keep me going.

All of us give so much of ourselves to our family, our loved ones, and our children that we sometimes forget to take those small moments of joy, quiet and 'indulgence', just for us. 

You don't even have to share it.

3. Let the kids battle it out.

As a mum of two boys, you can *imagine* the energy levels in our home. 

Basically from dawn to dusk we are all-systems go, go, go. 

One minute the boys are best friends playing happily and quietly... the next minute our home is erupting. We have come to realise that for the most part, it's got to be okay to just let the boys 'battle it out'. They're going to bicker, no matter how many times I intervene, redirect or referee. 

So, I take a step back and let them negotiate, argue, have a tug-of-war over one tiny red toy car (when we have 50 other cars) that they both want at exactly the same time. 

I figure, if it saves my mental load, and helps them flex and strengthen these life skills they're learning... maybe eventually a switch will flick and they will lose interest? And neither will want the car? Fingers crossed. 

(If that fails, offer them snacks. Snacks are always a good distraction.)

Image: Supplied.

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4. Stay in your lane.

This must be my wife's favourite saying. 

As a parent, people feel it's socially acceptable to offer unsolicited advice about everything, all the time. Sound familiar?

With so much “noise” around parenting, we consciously choose to stay in our lane: this golden rule we live by is to only worry about specific things that directly impact our family and things we can control. 

As two busy working mums we do not have the energy or capacity to worry beyond these things. This is a 'you do you' safe space, and a rule to back yourself as a parent!

Image: Supplied.

5. Laugh often. Even in a storm.

You honestly can’t take this parenting gig too seriously otherwise you'll lose your marbles. 

There are days where Lucy and I look at each other and think, 'how on earth did that happen?' or 'how did we find ourselves in this position?' 

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And we just have to laugh.

One time, Arlo hid a 2L bottle of milk under our bed and we had no idea. 

And the time Archie emptied my purse into the toilet bowl.

Probably my favourite time when we got married on a public holiday in the city, and we forgot to pack nappies for Arlo. No pharmacy or supermarket was open, or had any nappies in stock. Our reception lunch was in a 5 star restaurant and we had to create a makeshift cloth nappy... using one of the restaurants napkins (I am not kidding). 

The staff were so kind and thankfully, found it so funny. Initially I thought, we would be in the depths of a sh*t storm (quite literally), but we were resourceful and found a temporary solution. 

The rule is to always laugh our way through it, if we can. It's make for a much less stressful time.

Image: Supplied.

As I am getting older, and my boys are growing up so quickly, I realise every day they are only going to be this little once. A last unofficial rule here for myself it make every effort for me to enjoy it. 

Anything that is going to save time and be the most convenient in my life, I am going to embrace.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Ampol Foodary
When you're on the road, it's the stops that help you travel far and wide. Like the ones at Ampol Foodary. There's truck stops, hunger-struck stops and little pick-me-up stops. There's lunch on the go, Monday's going slow and chocolates running low stops. There's snack stops, kickback stops and getting the day back on track stops. And there's milk and bread, butter and eggs and stretching out the legs stops. When you need to keep going, Ampol Foodary is worth a stop.