One of the things as a mother I worry about is “Do I do enough with or for my kids?” which is REALLY ironic because I also worry (sometimes in equal measure) “Are they spoilt?” When I look back on my childhood I have no complaints, I don't feel like I missed out on anything...well apart from a deluxe Barbie dream house, still foaming about that Santa but its mostly happy memories. However when I look at my kids life now, which I realise is no fault except my own, no offence parentals but it was crap in comparison! I’m only 30 but it feels like light years ago and kids have it so much better now. So why do I always feel guilty?! It could be part that it is now rammed down our throats that we will be scarring our children for life if we don’t spend all our time sculpting their new born minds. Gone are the days of simply accompanying your parents on their day getting housework done and being grateful for a play date with juice and biscuits. I love doing things with my boys but just not ALL the time and spending their nap time doing housework. Yet I’ve done it all with my boys, even before they were born I did antenatal class’s to ensure I wasn’t wrecking their life’s before they were born! To be fair these were very useful, I met one of my best friends there and have made some other friends for life, and this is the key most important thing of doing these classes’s to meet people going through the same thing. However some of them not so good, baby swimming lessons?! can’t sit up but let’s go swimming, baby massage although very nice your baby either cry’s or falls asleep, baby sign language...Archie learnt to talk before he would even do the simplest sign for “more” and I could go on and on of the other ways I have wasted money on the shame train. I now know all this but I still feel guilty and I’m still at it, just in another age group!?
I don't mean to be rude about my own childhood and I'm sure most people I know it was a similar story because that's the way it was then. For one toys were not cheap, there was no Poundland, B and M bargains etc and you only got toys on your birthday or Christmas; when you only got one big present and if you were lucky a few more little ones. One Christmas we got a SNES (in truth I think it was more for my Dad) but we thought we were Kings and that was years of entertainment, no upgrades or new games. Birthday Party's were at your house, a few friends, dairylea sandwich's, chocolate crispies and maybe a party bag. There weren't any soft plays either...well apart from Dickens; ahh remember the excitement if you’re Dad needed paint or something DIY, it meant a trip to their ball pool. I also only learnt how to ride a bike because a "big" girl who lived up the street called Haley taught me when I was 7 by taking my stabilisers off and plunging me down the back alley. I didn't have skin on my knees for about 3 months, you know the scabs that look like knee pads?... but that's how I learnt. A day out usually meant a walk into Shields and then humping the food shopping back from "Prestos" and then a game called sorting out the clean socks. I remember a rare trip to the beach a mile away, aged 6 we walked there with a picnic and all the clobber not a complaint, well my Mam couldn’t drive then, never mind have two cars; unheard of. It was an amazing day until I was given a £1 coin to get some Ice Lolly's from the van...I believe there was some discussion about not losing it, "be careful" as that was it etc. I hadn’t even made it half way when I dropped the £1 into the sand, it instantly vanished. I dug and dug, raked the sand through my fingers but it was gone and THAT was it no ice lolly’s.
I personally couldn't even swim until I was 8 when lessons started with the school, we went swimming now and then but it was always a massive treat. There weren’t many parks about either...or trips to them but for Christmas our Dad built us a small climbing frame with a tyre swing, it was immense and although now wouldn’t pass ANY safety laws every kid on the street was at our house constantly. I didn't go on an aeroplane until I was 10 and that was only on a prop plane to London which had so much turbulence I was sick in one of those revolting paper bags...infact maybe THATS why I don't like flying. People often ask me “who taught you to bake” but in truth no one. My Mams and Grandmas are good cooks but we never did huge baking sessions, just sitting on the bench watching was a luxury. We always had nice family holidays but when I say family, I mean we visited them in various parts of the country. I did get abroad for the first time when I was 11 to France... we drove the whole way for 24hrs and stayed in a Eurocamp tent for 2 weeks; honestly the best holidays ever though. I’m sure there are loads more great things I can’t remember but it doesn’t matter because I wouldn’t change any of it but despite this I am always thinking “What can I do with the kids today? Not “Here’s some mixed up lego, I’m cracking on with the ironing now, instead of doing it when you’re in bed and then I can relax!”
My kids have so many toys they are spread over 3 rooms, infact I think they have more than my old nursery. A Tipee, scooters, bikes, a million figures, pirate ships, 2 boxes of fancy dress I could go on and on, I try not to feel too guilty for this as 1. its mostly all our relatives who spoil them the year round and 2. it is literally the only way I can get a shower. The worst thing is if I don't tidy the toys up they literally won’t play with them because they can’t see them...I can hear my dad’s voice now "Pick it up or its in the bin" I'm blushing as I sort Lego by colour for them. Archie age 3 could swim and ride a bike without stabilisers, I can only take 20% of the credit for this as apart from doing “Babie swimming lessons” (which Archie hated after 4 lessons) the husband has been so dedicated taking him most weeks, while I catch up on the housework piling up....because I have tried to spend every waking moment WITH my child! Archie and Oscar have been abroad more times than some adults and combined have been to the USA 11 times! I let Archie cook with me once and now he thinks he’s Jamie Oliver, most meals are now accompanied with “Can I help?”...I totally see why my parents didn’t let me help, it’s truly hell and yet here I am about to have a stroke making cookies and Spaghetti Bolognese with one child who can’t even talk?! Arts and crafts were something you did at school for me, with one of your dads shirts on but most rainy days it’s like Art attack in our house, pasta pictures, stickers, face painting....crayoning the walls and eating glitter. I would like to point out now that I also have 2 BOYS! not little girls who this is heaven and they like to sit quietly doing it with maybe a nail painting session after. It pure torture I don't know why I do it sometimes but I'm powered on by guilt. Weekly Toddler groups, Music Class, days out to a Farm or Fire station or the beach in all weathers and obviously we drive nearly everywhere. My kids complain about walking upstairs to brush their teeth never mind to the park or supermarket; another tantrum/migraine inducing decision. I can't even discuss the cost of birthday party's now or the crazy things I have done for them...anyone seen my Batman Cake Tutorial! Today I spent £30 at soft play YES £30! Now Oscar is over 1 you have to pay for him so 2 kids, 3 lunch's a few drinks and snacks GONE! We don't always spend this much but we go at least 1-2 times a week to different ones, again I make my excuses that boys need to burn off energy and what can you do when its pouring of rain most of the time? The worse thing is this only kills a few hours and now my eldest Archie has started to ask "What are we doing now?!" So now we need a morning and an afternoon activity or "something fun today"! I have thus far resisted the urge to say "I did nothing when I was your age"...it’s only a matter of time.
Right I've got to go, I'm looking into ice skating lessons and seeing what we can do for Halloween....someone stop meeeee!
Me and my brother WE survived!
My version of this week!
Literally Blood, Sweat and Tears!