to wonder if putting our children first is always wise?

(460 Posts)
KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 09:37:25

I like to start a discussion I in the morning and then go to work so I have something to pop in on during the day. grin

Ok, the other day I felt guilty because I was physically exhausted and so blew off sports day in order to rest before a busy evening ferrying kids about.

I felt guilty because I felt like it's wrong not to suffer any inconvenience or discomfort for even the most trivial of my children's pleasure. I "should" suck it up and stand around in the cold watching races just so my kids see me there. But, why? How is it really good for an exhausted mother with aching feet to do this? Isn't it better for mum to be rested and happy at tea time?

Obviously, some things are so important that you carry on, regardless. I didn't cancel a client in order to rest: the money is important to the family. And, if the event had been something truly important, then it would be a different matter. I would stand cold and aching if it was truly important to the child's well being.

I see a lot of threads on here from exhausted, miserable mums who are burnt out and resentful about their lives. Is some of that due to prioritising the family over their own well being?

CaptainSweatPants Wed 26-Jun-13 09:39:49

Oh gawd I'll probably sound like a bitch
But sports day is about 7 times in your child's life
Can't you just suck it up ?
If you're not at work I'd have gone tbh

I agree that life shouldnt always revolve around kids.

But for me, sports day is an important thing to be at.

But "putting your children first" isn't simply about doing everything they want, when they want it, every time. It's about seeing the bigger picture and doing what is the best for them in the long run. That can be anything, from being a SAHM rather than a working mum, being a working mum rather than a SAHM, breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Being there every time they turn round or giving them breathing space? It all depends on what you are trying to achieve.

You can't be there for every single thing they do at school and they need to learn that the world does not revolve around them!!

I try and go to most of the stuff DS does but sometimes I don't go because I have something else on I think is more important. DS understands this, he knows it doesn't mean I love him any less but that's just life.

pictish Wed 26-Jun-13 09:42:46

I always want to sack off sports day, but I don't because it's only once a year (thank fuck).

I don't think a child is going to be scarred forever if mum doesn't show up though - many parents work and are not available anyway!

But yes, I would have gone to Sports Day even though I hate them with a vengeance!

CaptainSweatPants Wed 26-Jun-13 09:44:54

Exactly, it's one thing to miss sports day because you can't get the time off because of work

It's another to miss it because you're tired

I don't think you did anything wrong really

I agree that there are far too many mums out there disregarding their own physical and mental wellbeing

If your kids were devastated you weren't there, well, that would be bad, but were they bothered?

I remember sports day a couple of years ago.....i booked the day off work as did my friend as we were going to go but it was cancelled due to rain!! We were given the option of collecting the kids from school early but the sun came out so we left the kids at school and played yahtzi in the garden!!! My DS was disgusted with me (in a lighthearted way) but me and my friend had a fab afternoon smile

I agree Just it is more than saying yes all the time and it is about the bigger picture.

I sometimes see parents who literally give themselves up though, they devote themselves to their kids and forget that they too are a person, with a right to a life.

Children should come first, always be considered, and their needs should be met, but that doesnt mean they are the be all and end all.

coldwater1 Wed 26-Jun-13 09:47:25

I would never miss Sports Day, my children get so excited about it. I worked the night before, got home at 10.30pm, was exhausted yesterday and legs/feet were aching, not helped by being pregnant but i still went to Sports Day. It was an all day event too but i knew my children would want me there and i also wanted to be there!

Dragonwoman Wed 26-Jun-13 09:48:27

I think it depends on whether the event is important to your child. If your child is a sporting star and it is the thing they do best then I think it would be sad to miss it. If your child doesn't care about sports day or moans about doing it then it's less important that you're there. I am not sporty, came last in most races and I can't recall whether my mum came to sports day or not. I just wasn't interested on sport. It didn't matter to me whether she was there because I didn't see sports day as important.

But in a way, why is work an okay excuse to miss it, but not exhaustion?

Given how many families have the dad working and the mum not, it seems to give dad a pass to miss everything while the mum just has to suck it up.

If work is the only reason to miss anything then SAHMs are kind of screwed, aren't they.

Some kids really want their parents at events, others don't mind, so it depends on your child.

My DD is in a SN school and the children work really hard to achieve and sports and plays, are a time for them to shine.

I know many parents who just don't bother coming (i know them etc) and i think that is unreasonable, especially when you hear the children say that they wished their parents could of watched them.

It seems to come as surprise to some parents that having a child means that they have to get their arses to schools/places where they would rather not be.

Dragonwoman Wed 26-Jun-13 09:51:58

I think as long as you do the stuff that you and your children see as important you don't need to run yourself ragged to do everything, even if some of the stuff you miss seems important to other people. It's all about priorities.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 26-Jun-13 09:52:19

It's not good to try to make the whole universe revolve around your kids but it's about knowing when it's important to put them first.

To me, this does actually include things like plays, sports days and so on. Events where it matters to a child that their parent is there to see them, be proud of them, cheer them on. I think for those things, it's important to prioritise your child.

But in day to day life, it's important to strike a balance. It's not healthy to make each and every waking moment about your child. Apart from anything else, the rest of the world won't worship them and you're setting them up for a huge fall!

HappyDoll Wed 26-Jun-13 09:53:17

YABU...sports day is an important shared experience. A chance to get into the school, show an interest in their life and let the kids show off a bit. They will have been gearing up to that event at school and preparing for weeks. It's better to take an interest in their lives and then make an easy option for tea...they won't remember the odd time you resorted to beans on toast but they will remember that feeling of looking for you in the sea of faces only to discover you couldn't be bothered.
I couldn't agree more that family life shouldn't revolve solely around the kids, but is an afternoon watching your kids run races really going to 'burn you out'?

Chunderella Wed 26-Jun-13 09:54:13

Yanbu to think that. The family is a unit comprised of several individuals and one has to do what's best for the family as a whole. Nobody should have a trump card. With regards to sports day, I think it depends on the importance to the child. Some would want a parent there, some truly wouldn't give a fuck. If it was particularly important to the DC, I'd have gone if at all possible.

TigerSwallowTail Wed 26-Jun-13 09:54:18

I agree that children shouldn't grow up thinking they are the centre of the universe and life revolves around them, but if I was off on sports day I'd still have went along. I had to waddle a half hour walk to ds's school a few weeks ago for sports day, I was overdue with dd and had spd but it was important to DS and it's only once a year.

Depends on how important it is to the child. I hated my mum going to sports day as I was rubbish at it. If it really is important then it is only once a year.

However I agree with you in theory, sometimes you should put your own needs first, as long as that doesn't have a negative impact on the child.

Bumbez Wed 26-Jun-13 09:58:36

Neither of my dds were bothered about me attending sports day, I explained I had a lot to do but would come if they wanted me to. They both said don't worry mummy we don't mind. It was yesterday and they weren't bothered.

The school is actually having a closing ceremony this Thursday after a sporting week which I will go to.

They're older now year 5 year 3 so I suppose are growing up and realising that I can't come to every school event - and there are quite a lot if them!

bunnybing Wed 26-Jun-13 09:59:06

Katy, YANBU - I'm not going to sports day either, Well, I'm going to a little bit at the end, but not all of.

If it were a proper competitive sports day and my kids were sporty (they aren't really) I might make the effort, but I go to plenty of their other things (concerts /plays /open evenings etc). I just don't see sports day as that big a deal and besides, it's bloody boring.

But not if it's the third time that sports day has been rescheduled due to rain wink! I remember the problems of desperately trying to book time off work and then it being rescheduled again and again, until the one time I didn't bother - it went ahead! angry
I do think that the majority of children would prefer it if their parents were there, even those who know they are going to come last. If anything, they are the ones who need the support. The ones who come first will always get a cheer!

JazzDalek Wed 26-Jun-13 10:01:38

I'm with HappyDoll

It's once a year, and being there, if you possibly can, is good for them, I think. I went to my DS's sports day yesterday and it was packed out. Lots of kids had both parents there (highish unemployment area) and there were a fair few grandparents too. My DS only had me, and by God I'm glad I went. Would have been crap for the poor little dude to look up and see all these people smiling and cheering and none for him.

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