Thursday 30 August 2012

How Much Fun Does A Kid Possibly Need?

I was flicking through my diary earlier today and realised that for the past six weeks we've been pretty busy. My kids, in fact, have had an awesome time and, even though I'll never admit it, it's not been too bad for me either. But in my children's minds what they think we've done compared to the reality of what we've actually done is completely different. I'll give you an example:

1. Been to the Olympics, in the actual Olympic stadium and even seen Team GB compete.
2. Holidayed in Norfolk. Twice. And spent a weekend in London.
3. Walked in woods, paddled in streams, had picnics, played with friends.
4. Lollies x 1000.

1. Not been out.
2. Nothing.
3. Feck all.
4. Not enough lollies.

In fact at one point after spending the day at Kew Gardens having fantastic fun they deemed it "the worst summer holiday ever" because I wouldn't go on a boat. Today after going to the cinema and stuffing ourselves silly on popcorn my daughter complained that "We've only been out once today." Last week they said they were "bored" - it was 7.53am.

I was discussing this with a friend earlier who has a similar experience and it dawned on me that it's entirely my fault. My children's expectations are HUGE and INSATIABLE basically because I have set the bar too high. And it's a bar that doesn't even serve gin for me.

The thing is, we don't own an X-box, Playstation, Wii and we have a dog that needs walking. So we have to go out every day. Which is a great excuse because if we stay home the kids invariably start to kill each other and there's only so many times I can lock myself in the downstairs loo pretending to be doing a poo. We, as a family, suffer badly from Cabin Fever so between the hours of 7am and 7pm we have to go out. A lot. And this going out is made even easier by doing stuff that I know the kids will enjoy and even better if I have a mate with kids to talk to.

Even more, I like to give the kids experiences. I want them to go to different places and enjoy doing various things. It's the one parenting thing I'm good at and damn it I'm going to exploit that because everything else I do is pretty shit. But there in lies the problem. THEY GET TOO MUCH.

I'll admit it - THEY ARE SPOILT. Not in a get-everything-they-want way. The only electronic stuff they have is a shared iPad and we don't actually have many toys. They are spoilt with FUN. Which would be fine if they appreciated it, but they don't and yet I keep on giving. I can't help it. I want these years to be enriched and I worry about being The Grinch Who Stole Childhood. I can't even count the amount of times I've threatened to give them a day of nothing but I won't carry it through because a day of nothing would mean me moving gin o'clock to 8am.

I've spent years of child benefit in these six weeks. I'll have to hide the credit card statement. But at least it's money spent on them for once - there are no new clothes hiding in my wardrobe. The entire school holiday has been done in last summer's frocks. So surely I should be the one complaining?

Let me have your thoughts. Don't bother commenting to tell me they're spoilt feckers because I know that. Also don't comment on my last season's clothes. Actually don't send comments. Send money please. And gin. And new appreciative, grateful children.


  1. can i move in so you can take me on fun outings. i promise to be grateful. im sorry im too old for you to claim child benifits for on the plus side i am 27 and old enough to drink gin with. what you say can i can i can i????

    all joking aside i think its wonderful what your doing with your children. they may not seem appreciative now but when there older and sat round the house on a sunday they will all share stories about the brilliant summers you gave them and thats something to be proud of hun xxx

  2. Money and gin huh, ya, that won't happen. Nice thought though. :-)

  3. I can only laugh, and pour us a mental gin :) xxx

  4. :-)
    Sitting here with a three day old baby attached to breast thinking to myself. I want to be just like you! I hope I can be a good mummy and give my daughter an amazing childhood with lots of outdoorsy play. Can't wait.

  5. My children's summer memories will be "how mum avoided all other playground mums"

  6. I know exactly how you feel! The more I do for the 4yo she then repays me by being a little shit most of the time! I feel guilty if I sit down & dare drink a cup of tea without giving them one on one eye contact & my undivided attention - god forbid I drink a HOT cup

  7. I like this blog, although Emily is only 2, I now don't feel too bad about sitting her in front of cbeebies sometimes/a lot, as you have made me realise it's to make her appreciate the fun things when they do eventually happen. It's for her own good! Phew!

  8. Ask them what their ideal summer activities would be. It might be an eye-opener.

    Mine (15, 11) are basically happiest hanging out with their friends either playing on the XBox or doing other stuff outside, and going on holiday with me to do as much visiting of military places, castles, other hands-on places, the Science Museum, London in general, the cinema, and train rides (preferably steam).

    1. Mine are much younger. They're 9, 7 and 3. Their ideal would be "Go to the moon" probably!

    2. Sign them up? lol

    3. SO long as kids get an ice cream every day in the holidays, do as exactly as they want and you allow them to play freely, most are happy.

      To keep parents happy you will require patience of a saint (no need for castle) and request that your children do chores before they get a daily treat/outing whilst you put your feet up and rest, as you say with gin/wine whatever comes to hand!

  9. Oh how I related to this post. Our summer has probably mirrored your own and several others here. We have been out every day pretty much. I also love spending time with mates with children as it means I get some time not having to a) be a clown b) pretend to own Willy Wonkers Chocolate Factory c) be a referee d)be the bank of Mum and other things I can't of at 9am in the morning whilst Katie is hollering at me and Daddy wants me to dry his hair (yes you read that last bit correctly). I've seen enough soft play to drive any mum to 8am gin o'clock due to all the rain!! Would I change it for the world? Not on your life!!

  10. I have only been home for a week and a half this entire summer and the kids announced to me 'they were bored' AND 'I never give them anything'. I realised they were spoilt brats with no appreciation and did not appreciate the experiences they are getting, so I'm going to cancel birthday parties for the next year (usually cost an arm and a leg), so they can truly appreciate what it is like to not be spoilt - oh and treats - lol.

  11. I love this post! You sound like me, a right old gallivanter (sp?). My kids have a habit of saying, when we are doing said fun thing, "what are we doing tomorrow?" So I spout off about living in the now, enjoy the moment...blah blah blah. Nutty mum alert. "But what arrrrrrrrrrrre we doing tomorrow?"

  12. I'm coming to live with u! Will bring Bombay sapphire. U r creating amazing memories for ur children and the experiences are immensely beneficial. U r being an awesome mum even if they don't sound like they appreciate it at the min. Sure they do really :). Mine had one day at a farm this week which ended with me getting a migraine and throwing up all the way home. Think they are glad to stay in today lol

  13. Lol - the closest I get to gin fridays now is drinking diet coke out of a wine glass... sigh

  14. Time to send my boys round to you for unlimited fun.

  15. Wow, you're doing brilliant stuff... we do tend to go out every day but only down to the park or the river - other than that I mostly sit on my arse on the computer/playing the guitar while they watch TV/build train tracks. I'm not good at the going out and doing exciting things stuff... but at that whole 'benign neglect' thing, I rock!!! Oh well *cracks open the Hendricks and passes you a glass* (because mums need the good stuff)

  16. Blooming heck wish you had been my Mother lol x

  17. No wonder you haven't been tweeting much! You have been so busy. We too went to the Olympics and I am currently on holiday in Norfolk but no doubt when my boys go back to school they will tell their mates they did nothing on holiday.

    I won't join you in gin o'clock however if you have wine, I'm on my way

    Enjoy the last few days of the holidays and back to normal soon!


  18. Great post! Summer holidays well done I think.

    Mine are spoilt by living next to the beach. They think it is their garden cos we don't have one. Which was our "ethos" when we bought the house but this summer I have needed a windbreak, tent, sleeping bag and hip flask so they can have beach time.

  19. They do have incredibly short memories, don't they ;)

  20. Anoop Singh-Best31 August 2012 at 10:26

    Same as mine then! First time ever my boys don't want to go back to school. I said it was my fault for letting them do practically whatever they wanted almost all the time and shouldn't let them be so spoilt and they agreed...
    My answer, not to let them have so much freedom in future, and THEY AGREED!!!!

  21. I have read this so many times when I am having a "can't wait for these ungrateful feelers to go back to school x x thank u x x

  22. Oh fuck, I threw a right wobbly with my four year old last weekend and refused to speak to her again for the rest of the day (how fabulously petulant I am). We'd done a pile of fab things that weekend and my wobbly came as we left the cinema and she moaned because I wouldn't buy her a poxy bag of sweets. I soooo lost it - shouted, cried. The whole nine yards. You give them 100 things but they always want 101.

    And, get this, I came so close to shouting the unforgivable quip, "I've given up my life for you!". And I just know that at some point or other I really am going to say it. Christ, I actually feel guilty in advance.

  23. Sounds like the best way to spoil them, my mum (and dad when not at work) did the same for my sister and I. We weren't spoilt with material things, mainly as they couldnt afford them, but were taken to the park, days out, swimming and holidays in the UK and it's those times I remember...not the toys that I probably begged for and now can't remember.
    And now I'm a (new) parent I realise that those fun things prob cost more than we realised at the time and makes me more grateful.
    Have a feeling kids appreciation won't happen for a good few years yet! But better late than never hey?!