Wednesday 7 October 2009


Most of the time I bumble around in this stay-at-home mum existence, just moving from one day to the next, rarely taking the time to sit and evaluate what's going in our lives. But sometimes - as now, when I find myself envying a friend who is shortly returning to work - I take a closer look at the alternative that I'm currently living. I know why I'm doing it; I won't bore you with that here, and I believe it's the right thing for us. But we can't all be 100% confident all of the time about our choices (can you tell my hormones are getting a bit antsy right now?), and on those darker days I find myself wondering; am I making enough of a difference to my Boys' lives by being here? Is it worth it?

In short, am I doing a good enough job?

When my sons look back on their childhoods, will they remember happy times, a mother collecting them from school, reading them stories, helping with homework, showing them how to make shadow puppets with a cut-out shark and piece of kitchen towel, and helping them locate that vitally important toy / blanket / Power Ranger magazine?

Or will they remember only the back of me, turned away from them as I stack the dishwasher, hang up the laundry, write a shopping list, tap away on the keyboard, and try to have a grown-up conversation on the mobile?

Will they remember the 5 times I ask them to do something in a calm and reasonable way? Or will they remember the 6th, when I lose it and raise my voice?

Will they remember the laughs around the breakfast table, the discussions of which words rhyme, and my finding a myriad of them that work with 'pooh'? Or will they remember the panicked racing out the door to make school on time, the forgotten folders and the uncleaned shoes?

I'm a rational person. I look back on my childhood and it's mainly the happy times that come to mind. I know that it wasn't all picture post-card, and yet that's what I remember.

So I'm going to hope that history repeats itself and that my boys have similarly sunny memories. I will square my shoulders, carry on (for now, at least), send my friend my most heartfelt congratulations (the lucky bitch), and get on with it.

Onwards and upwards...


  1. They will remember the good times. My four kids are all adult now and that is what they talk about! me too when I look back to my own childhood. Just give them lots of good times and that is what will stick. I would certainly remember if my mum had helped me with lots of words that rhyme with pooh! Sounds like you are doing a great job.

  2. I am sure they will remember the happy times. That is what I remember about my childhood, too. Sure, they'll have a dim recall of the times you told them off, but the other stuff will sink in deeper.

    We have those discussions about rhyming too! And I caused major hysterics yesterday by pointing out that Bottom starts with a B.

  3. I think you get them to write the good stuff down, just in case ;-)

  4. No one can tell - but when I look back on my own childhood it was pretty cool and I don't actually rem,ember a time when Mum was partic horrid except of course when she sang in teh middle of he street to get me embarrassed but there again she still does that!"

  5. Unless you're really mean and unreasonable, they'll remember the good times. You're a pretty normal human being, so I wouldn't worry about a thing. Kids know when they deserve to be yelled at. It's when you do it out of meanness that it hurts and sticks in their memory.

  6. I ask myself the same questions every few weeks, it seems. And I too sometimes get jealous of mothers going back to work, so I can empathise completely.

  7. I don't leave that kind of thing to chance. I'm always telling my kids "do you remember when...?" and describing past events in rosy glowing terms, packaging them nicely for those little memory banks.

    And I don't really recognise that other stuff you write about (shouting at them, losing patience, trying to have adult phone cnversations...)

    Aaaargh, does the ironic tone of voice come over ok in this comment?

    Am seriously impressed with the shadow puppets, by the way.

  8. Sorry. You said 'raise my voice'. I said 'shout'.

    Must be projection.

  9. Thanks Elizabeth. And pooh is actually quite easy, compared to bottom, or... (sorry).

    NVG - so glad it's not just me!

    SPD, aha! I KNEW there was a reason to encourage them to learn to read and write! (Just as long as they don't discover this blog, that is).

    TW - oops! I do that. (Although mainly to my sis - the boys are too young to care about that. Yet.)

    Thanks Irene.

    Amity, I suppose the grass is always greener.

    Iota, yes, the ironic tone does come over - although I have chosen to view the shadow puppets remark as a compliment, obviously. (And the incident was less impressive than it sounds - but aren't they always?)

  10. They will remember the good stuff and they will know how much they were loved. And that will carry them through life. Relax. You're doing great!

  11. I'm beginning to understand why my Mum used to get so upset when I would always recount the same memory of my childhood when she got furious with me and my best friend Sarah because we decided to paint our outdoor playhouse with (I thought) rather good Cabbage Patch Kid pictures.... We had to wash it off, then my brother slipped in the water and twisted his foot (only he was faking it, I know) and we got shouted at again!

    I guess I should have picked some other memories too....

  12. Love this post - my thoughts entirely - but seriously, even though we wonder it, of course they'll remember the good things. My Mother had serious mental health issues when we were growing up and spent some time in hospital, but despite a lot of hideous times I always look back on my childhood with amazingly fond memories because despite everything, never once did she make me feel unloved. And as long as you love your children (which I know you do), then they will know that and remember that. Fret not xx

  13. I'm very hormonal too just now, and struggling with exactly the same questions. Let's both hope for the best.

  14. Don't for a minute think that you wouldn't get frustrated and raise your voice if you were trying to throw getting out to work into the mix as well. Or be running late to get them to school.

    I know what you mean, though. Will my kids, when grown, be appreciative that I'm here when they come in the door from school? Or disappointed in me for not having a career?

    I have many doubts too - then I get a day when my 10 yr old comes in the door, then bursts into tears. "I had a bad day", and I am so glad I was right there when she needed me. Alternatively, when she can bang in the door on a high, and babble to me about her day. Never mind her memories - those are the ones I will cherish.
    [Damn, now I've made myself cry. Bloody hormones here too I think.]

  15. They will remember the good things far more than the times you project your voice. If 'that' bothered them they would be less likely to repeat the actions that cause said projections! My boys are glad I was at home (albeit looking after other children as well) for them and do have very fond memories of their childhood. So they tell me anyway . . .

  16. your scrumptious boys are having a great time! I think children love the fact Mum is just there.

  17. I've decided to bake chocolate muffins for all your commenting readers today,'re all so emotional!
    It's the change in the season that's doing it.

  18. You so often post exactly what I'm thinking.

    But I think we do the best we can. As long as we keep trying then it'll all turn out alright. Obviously they will hate us and say we have ruined their lives at some point, but when they have kids of their own, they'll understand.

    Poo is a great word for rhymes. Burp is a bit more tricky, but the slurp burp combo is a winner in this household.

  19. Thanks RS!

    BwB - now I come to think of it, my dad gets cross about us talking about that sort of thing too. Hmm - time to think up some other stories for Christmas lunch, perhaps?

    Thanks MT. That felt like a hug...

    MWA - pass me the oil of evening primrose, please?

    Tracey, do you think that the pair of us need to get out more...?

    Sharon, you're right of course!

    Frog, you've put your finger on something there; chocolate muffins all round please!

    Brit - slurp burp? I like it - shall make a note...

  20. Enjoy the break Potty, works a bore right now, full of cut backs and overworking those remaining - where are all the perks I keep saying! It will be much more fun to return once the economy has rebounded.


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