My brother made the most ridiculous comment the other day (well I thought it was ridiculous anyway). As we sat in my car on the way home from a trip out I pulled over in a most inconvenient place and asked him to run into the shop and buy some toilet roll. He stared at me as though I was crazy and shouted, No way! I was baffled and asked why not (just to mention my brother is 30yrs old) and he said ‘in case people think I am dying for a shit’. I found it quiet hilarious at the time, firing several questions at him in an attempt to explore this strange issue surrounding buying toilet rolls. I found out he has Never Ever bought toilet roll in his whole life and never will, furthermore he was deadly serious and offended about the suggestion. Apparently a friend saw him buying toilet roll for our mum when he was younger and said things like ‘are you gonna poo yourself’. I explained that was years ago and kids say things like that, however this comment must have devastated him and manifested into a future fear of buying toilet roll. I still laugh every single time a recall him saying that, it’s so funny.
Moreover I began to think about how small childhood incidents can cause lasting effects in adulthood. I began feeling slightly fearful and found myself constantly saying stuff like ‘oh no, don’t say things like that to her’, in relation to my daughters. For example my mum was becoming frustrated because my daughter was refusing to get out of the bath so playfully stated ‘ hurry up or you will be sucked down the plug hole’, at which point I arrived at full speed with ‘oh no don’t say that to her’. My family have become really careful not to say the ‘wrong thing’ because my fears include the fear that my daughters will become fearful or anxious about something they have said and this might manifest into something that resembles the toilet roll incident in adulthood.
So what do you think? Should we be super careful about what we say to children? We cannot stop outside comments so how do we deal with these situations? Or are they part of character building in which we should just stay out of it?
I have been parenting for a long time now, (I feel I have been a mother far longer than the single me ever existed) I love my children greatly but I still quarrel with myself about whether I am a good mother; I’ve worked in parenting assessment units observing ‘adequate parenting’ and advising parents on government standards in relation to such things as every child matters. However I still grapple with what my friend once termed as ‘bad mother syndrome’, which refers to me and a few other women he knows occasionally feeling ‘bad’ or ‘guilty’ about our parenting ability and choices.
I am a single parent, however I am aware that women who are married or cohabiting can often feel like single parents in their relationships and as a result experience some of the same issues described below. My dilemmas are; Do I work? Do I stay at home? Do I work part time? Do I focus on my parenting or push for a big career? My experience of working full time with a five year old and eleven year old has left me feeling sooooo guilty. I feel guilty when I am at work feeling that I should be home and guilty when I am at home and feeling I should be at work. I work 9-5 shifts and find that once they are collected from an inadequate childcare provider (like an overcrowded after school club or childminder that refuses to give them enough to drink or snack on because she hates her job and only wants the money) I am shovelling a half-hearted dinner down my children’s necks before my little one falls to sleep, or resorting to the familiar sound of ‘shall we just have McDonalds’, yuk! This consequently makes me feel even guiltier for feeding my kids crap which leads to ‘bad mother syndrome’ kicking in.
My house becomes a permanent s..t whole because I am too tired to do house work or I have to do reading books and home work (my daughter is in grammar school and has tones of it) clothes and washing pile up and everything descends into chaos. I find my weekends are spent trying to catch up on house work and paperwork and that the phrase ‘me time’ becomes a bad rumour. I also miss my kids and feel cheated out of being a mother and spending time with my children and knowing them properly.
I have found part time work a bit better in the past, however the downfall is money. Tax credits hardly boost your wage and even though I had more time with the children I had less money. So what should the sacrifice be? My friend suggested she doesn’t feel pressured to work full time, she doesn’t care what people think of her choices. She gets her full rent paid as she earns a low wage and is able to keep her wages and receive some tax credits. She believes problems occur when you don’t know your kids and don’t have time to listen and nurture them. She states that people should do what’s best for them and working part time is good for her. She doesn’t have ‘bad mother syndrome’ (she has never worked full time and does not plan to anytime soon). However I have heard some people of the opinion that a good mother is somebody who earns enough money to support her family and show their children hard work ethics and not being at home a lot is a sacrifice we just have to make.
So what do you do? What would be ideal for you? Work or stay home? I would really like to hear your opinions, do you think stay at home mums are scroungers?
Jane x x