Thursday 19 April 2012

Getting Off My Arse

A conversation with my mother the other day got my mind working overtime and set a fire under my Parental Guilt bonfire. Without going into detail, the brief exchange left me with knots in my stomach:
A) Because she made me feel bad.
B) Because I don't ever want to make my children feel like that.

On top of this, somebody asked me how often I read to my children. And you know what, I used to all the time - before it got a bit painful (see and before we bought an iPad. I don't hardly read to them at all now.

Cue volcanic explosion of parental guilt.

But let's get things straight. I'm no Kirsty Allsopp of a mother, one of those women born to parent. I am neither willing nor able to build a replica of Big Ben out of an egg box and yogurt pots. But in light of recent events, I've decided to make more of an effort to do more interesting stuff with the children, to stop shouting as much and to just have fun. Especially because my son has to write "News" and I once noticed that he often writes the same thing week in week out. My daughter tells everybody everything and most often it's lies. She tells her friends that I bake, paint, make her clothes and never tell her off. Well, no need to tell her friends the truth, but I suppose I could make the fiction a bit more fact.

So hence my epiphany. If I can just get off this sofa and do stuff with them then my son won't always write "Watched TV, played Angry Birds" and my daughter won't have to lie.

But it's all very well having an epiphany. It's the afterwards that is really really hard. Because you actually have to do something about it and I'm forgetting what kind of a lazy arse person I am. Parental guilt only really lasts about a day before you think "Oh feck it" and slip back into your old ways.

It's been going okay though. I've been reading to them and I've only thrown the book across the room twice. I've been playing shops. My Psycho Mum voice has been filed away for the time being. Hell, we even went to the park.

It's not making Big Ben, but it's something.


  1. God I so understand. I love my children, I really really do but spending time doing things with them drives me nuts. I don't mind arts & crafts but my 3 year old has the attention span of a puppy so that only lasts 30 seconds and takes 30minutes to clear up. At least they give me a good excuse to make (and eat) cakes.
    I make myself go out with them at least once a day otherwise they would just watch TV all day whilst I Twittered, blogged and facebooked. I don't think we are bad people it's just our education didn't prepare us for motherhood tedium and despite popular thinking being female doesn't mean we automatically have the maternal gene.

  2. I so feel you! My son is 16 now and we have nothing in common, but the little bit we do have in common I try to make it fun and interesting. I realize I have less than 2 years before he is off to college. (YAY!)

    I figure my little bit should count for something.

  3. I sometimes wonder if people who seem to revel in it are a) lying through their teeth or b) a bit simple.

  4. Fantastic post, Claire. I identify.

    But really - is Big Ben so hard? I once had to make an Uluru (Ayer's Rock) out of papier mache. My other Australian options are the Sydney Opera House or the Sydney Harbour bridge. No way known.

  5. I don't know how old your children are, but sometimes simple things keep them amused! Pots and pans, a wooden spoon and some pasta shapes used to work for mine! You can then use the pasta shapes and stick them on paper and paint them. Hey presto you've covered art and music in one session. Potato printing, peel the potatoes first, then you've covered cooking and art.
    The possibilities are endless. Sheets and duvet covers pegged to their beds to form tents kept mine amused for the whole summer holidays one year.
    OK, I need to get out more. You'll be pleased to know I do nothing with mine now apart from remind them to put their phones on charge.
    Take care

  6. I always feel I haven't played with mine. I'm looking fwd to that post re conversations with your mother!

  7. Oh God, it's so HARD getting off one's oversized arse...
    Well done to you for making the effort.
    I loathe "crafting" with kids with a passion. After the last half term holiday, my 6 year old had to writewrit about what she had done with her family, and told her teacher she couldn't because she hadn't done anything. (To be fair, I was ill all week. But oh the shame...)

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  9. Sorry, that was me.
    My oldest is 19 so I have a lot of experience of trying to dodge doing kid things. (I still have an 8 year old.) What I wish I had done however, is just to give in to it. Whenever I did something with them I was always in a rush to get it over with (I know that sounds bad), and my approach should have been that "it's killing time". I have a friend with small children and even when she gets stuck in traffic, if the kids aren't complaining, her attitude is "Well it's better than us all being stuck in the house".
    One thing I wish I had done more of with them is cooking and baking. Apart from teaching then a life skill, it can kill hours and hours of time AND has results. Pity I'm not a great cook really.
    (BTW, Twitter works. I followed their suggestion on the side bar, and here I am!)

  10. That is very strange! I posted a blog today called 'the secret of a great reading' Think it must have been fate, was inspired by another parent who hated reading to her kids.

    It is all about how to make story time fun so you can be a true Smug Mum!!!!

    Hope it is helpful and not preachy!! Tell me what you think...

  11. Oh my word I can so relate to this! My life is completely driven by guilt....I am so unfit to be a Mum at times lol! You're lucky btw, I think my daughter tells her friends, I'm grumpy, shout a lot and spend most of my time on the computer lol!

  12. Funny just the other day I decided to answer "no" for a change when my kids asked if I was busy. Within the hour I'd sent my son too play in his room because of him speaking rudely, and nothing to do with the fact I wanted to finish my post before the idea slipped away!