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Sorry but my kids bore me to death!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous in Parenting' started by Shal, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Shal

    Shal Senior IL'ite

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    Dear friends,

    I read this article on dailymail.co.uk (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=397672&in_page_id=1879)
    and was kind of shocked when I read it! I don't have children yet, but I guess mothers here may want to say something abt this. Read on and share your views...

    It's the start of the summer holidays, when millions of mothers despair at how to entertain their children for the next six weeks. What none of them dare say is that they would rather their children were still at school or, frankly, anywhere else. Helen Kirwan-Taylor, a 42-year-old writer, lives in Notting Hill, West London, with her businessman husband Charles and their sons Constantin, 12, and Ivan, ten. Here, she argues provocatively that modern women must not be enslaved by their children.
    The lies started when my eldest son was less than ten months old.
    Invitations to attend a child's birthday party or, worse, a singalong session were met with the same refrain: 'I would love to but I just can't spare the time.'
    The nanny was dispatched in my place, and almost always returned complaining that my son had been singled out for pitiful stares by the other mothers.
    I confess that I was probably ogling the merchandise at Harvey Nichols or having my highlights done instead. Of course I love my children as much as any mother, but the truth is I found such events so boring that I made up any excuse.
    I can't say which activity I dreaded more: playing Pass The Parcel at parties with a child who permanently crawled away from the action towards the priceless knick-knacks, or listening to the other mothers go on about such excitements as teething and potty-training. Mind-numbing!
    To be honest, I spent much of the early years of my children's lives in a workaholic frenzy because the thought of spending time with them was more stressful than any journalistic assignment I could imagine.
    Kids are supposed to be fulfilling, life-changing, life-enhancing fun: why was my attitude towards them so different?
    While all my girlfriends were dropping important careers and occupying their afternoons with cake baking, I was begging the nanny to stay on, at least until she had read my two a bedtime story. What kind of mother hates reading bedtime stories? A bad mother, that's who, and a mother who is bored rigid by her children.
    I know this is one of the last taboos of modern society. To admit that you, a mother of the new millennium, don't find your offspring thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable at all times is a state of affairs very few women are prepared to admit. We feel ashamed, and unfit to be mothers.
    It's as though motherhood is an exclusive private club and everybody is a member except for us few. But then, kids have become careers, often the Last Career, for millions of women who have previously trained for years to enter professional fields of business. Consequently, few of those women will admit that they made a bad, or — worse — a boring career move to motherhood.
    My children have got used to my disappearing to the gym when they're doing their prep (how boring to learn something you never wanted to learn in the first place).
    They know better than to expect me to sit through a cricket match, and they've completely given up on expecting me to spend school holidays taking them to museums or enjoying the latest cinema block-boster alongside them. (I spent two hours texting friends throughout a screening of Pirates Of The Caribbean the other day).
    Am I a lazy, superficial person because I don't enjoy packing up their sports kit, or making their lunch, or sitting through coffee mornings with other mothers discussing how Mr Science (I can't remember most of the teachers' names) said such and such to Little Johnny and should we all complain to the headmaster.
    At this point in the conversation, my mind drifts to thoughts of my own lunch and which shoes I plan to wear with what skirt.
    The other mothers tease me for my inability to know anything about school life. But since when did masterminding 20 school runs a week become an accomplishment? Getting a First at college was an accomplishment.
    The trouble for a mother like me is that not being completely and utterly enthralled with, dedicated to and obsessed with one's children is a secret guarded, if not until death, then until someone else confesses first. When I mentioned this article to my friend Catherine Fairweather, travel editor of Harpers & Queen, the relief on her face was instant.
    For years she's listened to her friends proselytising on the sublime act of mothering. 'But no one ever told me how boring it is,' she moaned.
    When I brought it up at lunch yesterday, my friend June, a stay-at-home mother of three young children, admitted that 'children are mind-numbingly boring' and the act of being with them all day and night is responsible for many mental breakdowns. 'Looking after children makes women depressed,' she concluded.
    All those glossy magazine spreads showing celebrity mothers looking serene at home with their children serve only to make women feel inadequate. What the pictures don't show is the monotony, loneliness and relentless domesticity that goes with child-rearing.
    They don't show the tantrums, the food spills and the ten aborted attempts at putting on shoes. They don't show the husband legging it to the pub so he doesn't have to change a nappy, either.
    Research tells us that mothers drink the most when they have young children. Is that because talking to anyone under the age of ten requires some sort of lobotomy?
    Arabella Cant, an art director with two young children, admits that she considered jumping off a bridge in the early stages of her career in motherhood. 'Bringing up children is among the most boring and exhausting things you can do,' she says.
    Her solution was to avoid subjugating her own life to that of her chil-dren's. 'I'm certainly not traipsing around museums or sitting on the floor doing Lego if that's what you mean by being at home,' she explains. 'I'm loving it, but my children fit into my life and not the other way around.
    'I have friends who spend their lives driving their children to and from activities, but I don't want to spend my life on the North Circular'.
    Those of us who are not thoroughly 'child-centric', meaning we don't put our children's guitar practice before our own ambitions, are made to feel guilty. We're not meant to have an adult life — at least, not one that doesn't include them.
    Many of my friends — fortysomething, university-educated professionals who swore that they would be normal parents — make it a policy now that 'our kids go where we go'. They drag their three-year-olds to dinner parties where the youngsters end up in front of a video all night. (I have seen children having tantrums in front of guests, and rather than send the children to their rooms, the parents send their guests home.)
    So how have we reached this point where so many intelligent women are subverting their own needs and desires to that of their children?
    Much of our current obsession with parenting has to do with the cult of child sychology. 'Parents in the Fifties were led to believe that if they weren't with their children, the children would be disadvantaged,' says psychologist Eva Lloyd. 'It started this ridiculous "kids first" culture. We live in an age when parenting is all about martyrdom.'


  2. Shal

    Shal Senior IL'ite

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    Psychiatrist Dr Alvin Rosenfeld, author of The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding The Hyper-Parenting Trap, adds: 'To be a good parent today, you have to sacrifice a lot.
    'When the current generation of mothers was young, children were simply appendages.
    'Our parents would never cancel an adult activity to get us to a soccer game. They would often not show up for our games or school plays, and, as a consequence, they never witnessed our great triumphs or were there to comfort us in our humiliations. As a result, our generation said we would do it differently.'
    So it is drummed into mothers that if we find our children stressful or dull, it's because there's something wrong with us (but not dads, of course, who have a ready-made excuse for being out of the house all day because they 'have to go to work').
    And yet many women have spent years studying and then working so that we would not have to do a job as menial as full-time motherhood. I consider spending up to 30 hours a week sitting behind the wheel of a 4x4, dropping children off at play centres or school, to be a less-than-satisfactory reward for all those years of sweat.
    Besides, in my view, making a child your career is a dangerous move because your marriage and sense of self can be sacrificed in the process.
    Psychotherapist Kati St Clair has listened to the frustrations of scores of mothers. 'Women now feel great pressure to enjoy their children at all times,' she says. 'The truth is, a lot of it is plain tedium. It's very unlikely that a mother doesn't love her child, but it can be very dull. Still, it takes a brave woman to admit that.'
    All us bored mothers can take comfort from the fact that our children may yet turn out to be more balanced than those who are love-bombed from the day they are born.
    Research increasingly shows that child-centred parenting is creating a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently.
    'Their demand for external support is enormous,' says Kati St Clair. 'They enter the real world totally ill-prepared. You damage a child just as much by giving them extreme attention as you do by ignoring them altogether. Both are forms of abuse.'
    Child experts are increasingly begging parents to let their kids be.
    'Parents think they can design their children by feeding them a diet of Mozart — well they can't,' says Dr Rosenfeld.
    Sometimes, apparently, the best thing parents can do for their children is to let them be bored.
    This, of course, makes mothers like me — who love their children but refuse to cater to their every whim — feel vindicated. By sticking to our guns, we have unwittingly created children who can do things like make up stories (very few kids can any more).
    Because I have categorically said: 'I am not a waitress, a driver or a cleaner,' my children have learned to put away their plates and tidy up their rooms. They've become brilliant planners, often inviting their friends to come for the weekend (because I've forgotten to bother).
    Frankly, as long as you've fed them, sheltered them and told them they are loved, children will be fine. Mine are — at the risk of sounding smug — well-adjusted, creative children who respect the concept of work. They also accept my limitations.
    They stopped asking me to take them to the park (how tedious) years ago. But now when I try to entertain them and say: 'Why don't we get out the Monopoly board?' they simply look at me woefully and sigh: 'Don't bother, Mum, you'll just get bored.'
    How right they are.
  3. jayachitra

    jayachitra New IL'ite

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    Kids bore me .............

    Hahahahahahahaha. I read with interest this story and I am here to give my two cents worth. I recently became a mother so I know how and what it is to be a mother. Prior to me becoming a mother I had the pleasure (or is it?) to take care on an on and off basis my nephew and niece when they were babies few years ago.

    The author of the article has the right to speak her mind and it interests me how candid and honest she is . However what I do beg to differ is the term 'boring'. You see we willingly and knowingly decided to become mothers and hence it is our responsibility to bring up our children. However bringing up our children does not stop at providing food and shelter. We need to nurture them and mold them into positive individuals. Spending time with them and showing interest in their activities will build thier confidence and self esteem and most importantly it will show them that we are there for them.

    Yes certain things like watching cartoons, reading story books and going for kids parties may not be our cup of tea but we need to remember we are doing this for 'THEM". We can't leave it to the nanny to do things that mothers are suppose to do. It is a different story if you are working mom but if you are a stay at home mom then we should spend time with our children whenever possible.

    I know it won't be easy ( I have seen my sister go through this with no complains. She too gave up her career to raise her kids) I too have put my career on hold to be with my son. I work from home now and I am glad that I have a mother in law who is a true gem who takes care of my son when I work.

    We should think why we decided to become mothers in the first place and for those who are contemplating to have babies think first if this is what you really want. Having the baby is the easy part. Bringing them up is the challenge. Mothers should always remember that all the little things that we do for them when they are growing up is what will carry them into a well adjusted and all rounded adult. Look at it this way - The good news is they will not be kids forever!!

    1 person likes this.
  4. Laxmi

    Laxmi Administrator Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    Today's Mothers

    Hi all,

    Yes I was shocked to a certain extent on reading the title. My view is that today's mothers are lot more impatient than the mothers of yesteryears. I do get irritated when my kids throw tantrum and in trying situations which needs smooth talking and cajolling. This is basically becos we are more occupied with other things. In the previous decade the mothers have no exposure to the outside world so they have all the time in the world for their babies. But the women of present generation has lot to think about - her career, her private space, her timeouts, her entertainment (apart from the family outings). so I guess with stressed out lifestyle they tend to show it on the kids.

    But still I enjoy watching cartoons and kids movies with my kids. I love them as it is a refresh on my chidhood memories. Also I do sit with them when they engage in painting and coloring just to observe them which gives me lot more pleasure than any other entertainments.

    The lady in this article should have thought well ahead to plan her family. If career is far more important to her then she should not have decided to have kids. No use complaining about it when you can't come out of it. Better make best use of the situation.
  5. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    this really is an intereting article. I take it as another side of the coin. We always take mothers for granted. Please, I am a very devoted mother. But I want to share some thoughts which I have seeen around me here in India.Western people asking for personal time, career, separate outings etc is nothing new. Their culture is such, they bring up their children to be independent and in old age do not expect their children to take care of them. They too bring up their children well and want their children to be well placed etc. But for them there is a limit.
    But, we Indians are a family bunch mostly. Most of us have grew up their extended families and enjoy our relatives. We want to be there for our children always. We love them to distraction and many times spoil them. And also, emotionally we are dependent on our children in the old age.
    That was the scene till sometime back.
    Now I see that many mothers, working or stay at home, have the attitude of the lady in the article. They do not want to do much for their children, but want all the credit for themselves. And they expect their children to spend time with them in their old age. This is not fair.
    Only when you have done your duty, you can expect something in return. While I was employed, one of my collegues advised another girl not to extend the leave and join before the baby starts recognising her. Otherwise, it will be difficult, she said. Providing food and schooling and other basic needs are only to be done for the children. No need for the emotional bondage. Two new mothers were planning to go to a movie after a departmental test, they did not want to go home earlier because the baby will get used to such things and will expect the mother to be there always. If this is the trend,then why should we cry ourselves hoarse about the mushrooming of old age homes in our country and also of children neglecting their parents in old age?
    The lady says that her children are very independent and are smart. They will also become indifferent to her talents and they will never say "Mom, I missed you". I want to ask, don't you want to be missed by your loved ones? Or just go from this world unnoticed ?
    I defenitely want to be missed.
    With warm wishes,
    1 person likes this.

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