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:
HERE ARE SOME THINGS WE'VE DONE:
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.
THIS IS WHAT MY KIDS THINK WE'VE DONE:
1. Not been out.
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.