Don’t you just love being made to feel inadequate? Not on purpose because it usually never is, it’s just being made to feel you’re not quite up to it because your own insecurities tell you so. Which is even worse in a way because at least if someone purposely tried to make you feel bad you could give them a telling off (in your head obviously because you’d never actually tell people what you really thought of them – like – to their face.)
So one of the playground mums announces that she never lets her children (note – plural) watch TV in the afternoons or evenings. TV – she said – was only allowed in the mornings whilst they were having breakfast because it allowed everyone to wake up in their own time.
Well whoop de do was my first thought. Good for you, your kids are clearly never coming over to ours for tea because TV features quite prominently between 5 and 6 o’clock. That one hour of TV lets me make dinner, empty the dishwasher (which I usually do only when I absolutely have to because there is something I find deeply depressing about emptying the dishwasher) and crucially it allows me to drink a glass of wine and pour another.
Now, I can multitask with the best of them (watch TV, read a trashy magazine, eat chocolate and drink alcohol). But clearly this woman is some sort of Stepford wife, not only can she run a household but she can mentally stimulate three children without the aid of TV as a babysitter or as a source of factual information. So then I tried to cheer myself up by being realistic – my four year old has more questions than I have the answers to and sometimes those answers are just better explained by Nina and the Neurons.
I used to think I was really maternal, then I had my own children and reality suddenly kicked in. The lovely images of raising children, baking bread and making cupcakes with pretty coloured icing, kicking up autumn leaves and collecting conkers and pine cones to make into some miscellaneous thing – it didn’t matter what because the theory is that it’s all about utilising ‘natures gifts’.
Ha! Well that was soon replaced by the complexities of juggling two children who like to argue over who holds the cheese in a supermarket to never having enough hours to make proper cupcakes for birthdays – my icing is always watery and so the hundreds and thousands slowly dribble off the edge of the cakes like they are crying…pooling into sugary, gooey puddles of misery. Collecting conkers and pine cones? Well, yes they still do that but only to make missiles to aim at each other’s heads.
So I marvel at any parent who can occupy any child for any length of time without any TV. And whilst I marvel, I’ll pour myself another glass of wine.