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.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 26-Jun-13 09:56:22

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.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 26-Jun-13 10:02:18

my youngest in in Y6 now - I have been a SAHM (mostly) but don't go to every sports day - sometimes life gets in the way - just because
you are not working does not mean you do not have important things to do -

I am sitting here - sports day started 20 min ago...... I'm waiting for my aunt to finish in the bath so I can help her get out and get dressed - why should I hurry her one pleasurable time of the day to see our school's "non-competitive" round of over hurdle under hurdle team events.... I would not come later - she is incontinent and likes to freshen up when she gets up in the morning..... I could not come earlier because of the school run.. there is no-one else...

I will pop along in half an hour and take a wander round -if things pan out that way....

redskyatnight Wed 26-Jun-13 10:04:58

I think it depends.
This year DH and I agreed that he would go to DS's sports day and I would go to DD's. We both cleared our work diaries.
DS's sports day was rained off.
DH had v. important work meeting clash with revised time. I shuffled my work meetings so I could go. Second date also rained off.

DH is away for reserve reserve date, and I can't shuffle my work diary that day at such short notice, so no one will now be going to DS's sports day. Talking to other parents, basically all but the SAHPs have similar issues. I think DS is appreciative that we tried to get to his sports day, I'm not sure he woudl appreciate "I was a bit tired" (unless real health reason) as an excuse. Particularly as if you are a SAHP/work part time presumably the reason for this is that you CAN get to children's school events?

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 10:06:57

I refuse to go to sports day. Absolutely point blank. I will go to any number of bloody concerts etc - although not if they clash with my own, which they've been known to do - school plays, yadda yadda yadda, but not sports day. It makes me feel quite ill.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 26-Jun-13 10:07:03

It depends how important it is to your child. I personally never enjoyed sports day and can't remember if my parents were there. I agree you shouldn't sacrifice your health for your children. I'm sure you know your children best and therefore made the right decision. YANBU.

But sports day isn't exactly taxing, it's just about turning up and supporting them by being there.

We had sports day a couple of weeks ago. It started 30 minutes after I got home from my third consecutive night shift from hell, so I put my dark glasses on and stood there like a zombie for an hour and a half while ds did his races. Dashed home and crawled into bed for an hour then went back for the KS2 session. God knows I miss enough school events because of work, without not going because I was tired!

Crowler Wed 26-Jun-13 10:10:48

I think you should go to sports day if you can.

Your kids understand if you CAN'T go, but they also understand you making a DECISION to not go.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 10:14:00

I know my dcs want me there, not because they want me but because all their friends have some family there so they feel they are missing out if one of us isn't there hmm

And most parents are coming because they feel they ought to, it's sooo important for their dcs etc... creating a never ending circle of expectations.

But there is something there about teaching children about what is important. Is sports day really that important? is a question to discuss with your dcs.
And about the importance of other people in the family, not just the children. ie sometimes, your needs will take precedence to theirs.

OP, if you were really really tired and needed some sleep then go for the sleep. Children do need to learn that their parents health is important too.
If you booked your afternoon, told the dcs you were coming and then decided not to, then I would be more confused
If the issue is that you actually couldn't be bothered (something I could understand), then I think it needs to be tackled in a different way. Such as talking with your dc 1-to see whether it is actually important for him/her, 2- to discuss the importance of your own needs too and 3- to evaluate if actually there isn't a middle ground (eg Daddy can go to sports day instead!, no sports day but will be there for all the swimming competitions etc...). Ie you can't have it all!

Lionessy Wed 26-Jun-13 10:14:05

Well I missed my Yr6 DSs school christmas production last year (they had very small parts) which has been the 1st ever time in my 16 years of parenting I have missed any school stuff like parents evenings, sports day, plays, assemblies etc. They noticed and they still bring it up now. They said I was the only parent who did not go (although DH did hmm).

I missed it as I had been suffering from severe panic attacks which make me feel like I am either going to pass out (embarrassment) or lose control of myself (major embarrassment) in front of everybody. I had bad one during a school assembly a few months before and in the end, had to flee the hall pretending I felt sick. It was horrendous and I just could not face going to the Christmas production as I was worried the same thing would happen. I am getting better now thank god!

YABU - kids need someone there to cheer them on, clap them whatever. They need to know their parents, grandparents etc are there for THEM. These events are not held every week. They are just several times a year. It's part and parcel of having DC and feeling tired just does not cut it. DC should always come first. I attended a full day sports day a few years back when 8 months pregnant with SPD in 30c heat on my own as DH could not get time off. I could not have not gone. I could not have had no one cheering on my DC.

Sorry! I can't remember my mother attending any of my school events btw and it sucked.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:16:39

Yes, children understand if mum makes a decision not to go.
But, what do you think they will assume from it? That mummy doesn't love them? I think that's absurd. If mummy loves them they know it. Not prioritising them over yourself all the time doesn't mean that you don't love them
Loving them is seeing to it that they have what they need to grow up into good unadulterated. And, loving them is loving them. They can feel it in your hugs and kisses.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 10:18:39

mrsminiverscharlady, Can I ask what was the point of you going?
What my dcs really appreciate is the fact I can talk to them about what has happened, I can make comments and they can see me watching them with interest. They want to share what they are proud of as well as their struggles.

If you were coming back home from a night shift, did you really watch them? Were able to appreciate what was going on? Did you enjoy it?

because I know I would have enjoyed it, and I would also not have really being there, watching with interest. I would only have been there in body which imho defeats the point of coming iyswim?

Lovelygoldboots Wed 26-Jun-13 10:19:02

Yanbu, you clearly weren't feeling 100%. Why be a martyr? You rested, so you were ready for the next onslaught of stuff to do. I would have done the same.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 10:20:04

Ah, and we're back to the martyred school of parenting again....

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:20:58

In my kids cases, sports day isn't a big deal. If it were truly important to them, then I think that would have made a difference.

It's not really about sports day. Just the idea that the kid's pleasure comes before all else. Frankly, even if the kids are disappointed about sports day, if they are loved and cared for, it won't hurt them to be disappointed. It may even be better for them than a mum who always feels she must "suck it up."

Crowler Wed 26-Jun-13 10:24:33

Sports day comes around only once a year. It doesn't take a martyr to make a reasonable effort to get to them.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 10:27:52

It does if you're totally wiped.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:27:55

*crowler *it's not just sports day. That's just one little possible example.

A mum who feels obligated to limp I in and stand on aching feet over something that is probably pretty insignificant to the kids in the big picture is possibly a mum who martyrs herself on a regular basis.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 10:28:12

It may even be better for them than a mum who always feels she must "suck it up."

YY to that.
but you also need to add the fact you need to TELL your dcs when you are unwell. You need to be able to tell them about your own struggles and the fact you have to make choices.

So I have been extremely tired for a long time. I started by not saying anything to the dcs, carried on like usual. For them hearing me saying 'I am tired' didn't have any meaning. It also meant that when I was saying 'Oh no I don't really want to do X <<Insert name of a long walk up a hill>>' I was just a killjoy.
Then I realized that I had to be more up front and I explained to them what it meant for me to be tired (eg climbing said hill would mean me finding very very hard to do anything else for the next 2 days). They learnt and learnt to appreciate others (and my) struggles. They've become more compassionate and I certainly do not have any more 'guilt trip' about me not being able to do said trip.
And tbh, that guilt was probably more mine than theirs anyway....

TroublesomeEx Wed 26-Jun-13 10:28:16

I don't put my children first above all else.

I used to, but I realised that actually it's important for them to recognise that I have my own life and my own needs too.

I still prioritise them, but that doesn't mean they always come first (although they do the majority of the time).

I'm talking my daughter might miss a birthday party if I can't get someone to take her and I'm performing in a concert rather than I didn't take her because I wanted a lie in or to watch the Coronation Street omnibus though!

TroublesomeEx Wed 26-Jun-13 10:29:31

Then I realized that I had to be more up front and I explained to them what it meant for me to be tired (eg climbing said hill would mean me finding very very hard to do anything else for the next 2 days). They learnt and learnt to appreciate others (and my) struggles. They've become more compassionate and I certainly do not have any more 'guilt trip' about me not being able to do said trip.

I completely agree with this. Especially the being appreciative and compassionate bit.

Lionessy Wed 26-Jun-13 10:31:19

I don't think it's anything to do with being a martyr or to do with putting DCs pleasure before your own. It's to do with your DC not being the only one without a parent there showing they care about what they are doing at school. It's not particularly hard is it. There is normally a bit of notice given.

I personally hate going to stuff like this but my DC look out for me and I will not 'disappoint' them. It is not necessary. They may well experience disappointments in life but that does not have to be one of them. If that makes me a martyr then fine. It's only for a few short years that you have to attend these things unless you have 4 DC like me.

IamMrsElf Wed 26-Jun-13 10:33:07

YANBU. Parents feel guilty all the time about so much and we should all be able to have some time - whenever we need it - to make sure we can keep going.

A life completely devoted to your children will feel pretty empty when they leave the nest.

Crowler Wed 26-Jun-13 10:34:21

I understand katy/motherinferior but I am distinguishing between obsessively putting your children first in every circumstance vs making the important highlight events.

I think it's very good to tell your kids you simply can't do something because it's no good for you, and on a regular basis.

frumpet Wed 26-Jun-13 10:34:47

My parents never came to any of my sports days and i can honestly say i didnt care . I wasnt a natural athlete and tbh , at primary school , sports day is just a bunch of children having a laugh , unless i missed the 500m egg and spoon race in the Olympics ?

I have been to all the ones i could attend with my own children , they are a truly hideous experience and i am fairly sure my being there didnt suddenly cause my daughters head mutate into a shape more suitable for the bean bag on the head race !

Chunderella Wed 26-Jun-13 10:34:53

The posts from people who dragged themselves to sports days whilst pregnant and knackered and suggesting that this was a positive thing are misguided. One could just as easily turn it the other way and suggest that at 8 months pregnant and with SPD it was irresponsible to take on physical exertion in hot weather because you could end up ill. It's been known to happen, after all. Now I'd never say that, because it is for the individual women concerned to decide what's best for them and the family. If you think that's going to a sports day whilst pregnant and just having finished a night shift, fair play. But the point is, whatever you do there's always an argument that it would have been more responsible and/or selfless to do otherwise. Unless and until a parent shows themself clearly unwilling and/or unable to make sensible decisions and give the needs of the child proper consideration, the assumption must be that they are the ones best placed to choose what is best.

With regards to OPs situation, had she gone when exhausted and been underpar later on, someone could and no doubt would have come along to say she'd been irresponsible and should have ensured she was in good form for later when the DCs would actually care whether she was there or not.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:35:14

Folkgirl, just for the sake of debate....

Why is catching up on a week's Coronation Street less important than a classmates birthday party?

Ok, maybe not a great example.... The telly can be watched on demand later. But, is it always necessary to ferry kids about to parties on the weekend?

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 10:35:38

My kids always come first. Have done from the moment I knew I was pg with DD 22 years ago.
4 more DCs later and my world totally revolves around them.

But that doesn't mean I go to every sports day, open day, parent's evening and take them from club to club.

They are put first in that I make sure that I can feed them and keep them safe and educate them and love them.

So the jobs I have taken, the work I do, the way my life is organised is pretty much all about their needs.

Its much bigger picture than being the parent who shows up at every event.

I don't need to prove it (not saying that those of you who DO got to everything are doing it to prove it!).

I changed me life plans totally to take care of DS2 because he arrived out of the blue with no preparation and no clue about how long he would be with us (forever as it turns out grin ) and I gave up everything to care for DD when she got sick.
I bet even the most reluctant Sports Day Attendee would do exactly the same.

And thats what really counts IMO.

TroublesomeEx Wed 26-Jun-13 10:40:29

Katy because I always view watching TV as being what you do when you have nothing else on, not something you'd timetable in as a 'thing'.

My stbxh would have started going on about marginal utility at around this point!

So - the pleasure my child would derive from attending a birthday party would be greater than the pleasure I would achieve from sitting on my bum watching TV.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 10:41:06

Plenty of parents don't go to bloody sports day, as demonstrated by the letters home from school asking us to go. It's hardly as if my own moppet (whose sports day is in fact today) is weeping piteously because everyone else's adoring mummy is cheering them on grin

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:41:58

Ah, my sympathy if you are married to a utilitarian! wink But, I do kind of see the point of the reasoning.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 26-Jun-13 10:42:28

The thing is there are so.many things that are only "once a year". Harvest festival, Xmas plays, mothers day assemblys, school trips that require parent helpers etc etc. I try and go to as many as I can but I have sacked off sports day before because of feeling drained and being with a toddler who just ran amok. I am a sahm.

Beechview Wed 26-Jun-13 10:44:15

I don't believe in always putting my kids first. I am a person in my own right and sometimes a have a life separate to them.
I do believe in making my kids feel loved and valued and I think its important to develop their self esteem by taking an interest and encouraging them in their life.
Attending an event in their life and cheering them on is part of that.
However, if you can't attend an event and explain to them why not then that's fine.
When they expect you to be there and can't find you amongst all their friends parents then I think that affects them.

Verycold Wed 26-Jun-13 10:44:29

I agree. I am going back to work in September and won't be able to attend any school events. I have worked out that it will mean disappointing my children about 16 times over the next year - that's how many events it adds up to for two dc. 16!

DeWe Wed 26-Jun-13 10:46:39

I don't think you always put your children first. However I wouldn't expect my dc to not do something because they were "tired" unless they were ill tired. So I wouldn't not do something for them because I'm tired.

And in your sports' day thread you wrote:
One child doesn't care. The other would like me there, but I have warned him that I can't make it. He won't be disappointed in a surprised sense, at least.
So one of your dc did want you there. That's what I find sad about your attitude. At things like that you always see the one or two hopeful faces checking the parents as they come in, and the gradual sadness as they realise they're not coming.
I'm not sure what's sadder, seeing those faces or the year 6 boy (usually a tough nut) who said to me "dm never can come to things like this. It doesn't mean she doesn't care, but I wish she would come, but she always is too busy on the day". He wasn't disappointed in a surprised sense. He was disappointed in a resigned sense.

OctopusPete8 Wed 26-Jun-13 10:47:43

I think there's a balance, I grew up onthat sacrificing your convinience for a childs welfare is of upmost importance in parenting, and I have a lot of respect for my mum because In know she did a lot of it.

However, I do not expect anything from her now as I know she did so much for me then,
Sports day, hmm could dad have gone?

Groovee Wed 26-Jun-13 10:52:14

My children have often come first but there are times when dh and I have time away. I feel guilty about leaving them behind but at the same time, I know they are well cared for and well looked after.

If I can't make sports day, then my mum loves to go and support. My mum retired last year and is up for anything these days.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:53:15

DeWe, why is it bad for a child to be resigned to occasional mild disappointment?

"I am not going to make it to the event because I need to rest. " Why is that so terrible? I then took him to Beavers and took his brothers to McDonald's, as I was rested enough to feel up to it, having laid down for a few hours in the afternoon.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 10:57:26

So - the pleasure my child would derive from attending a birthday party would be greater than the pleasure I would achieve from sitting on my bum watching TV.

Perhaps utilitarian but very true. It's about balancing everyone's need.

Because my needs to be happy also include me having a life of my own, it also means that sometimes my dcs aren't going first.

eg; dc had an invite for a sleep over one weekend. I was working on the sunday. Dh involved in a hobby the same day. We organized ourselves so that DH would pick up dc in the am and the drop dc at my PIL for the day.
Inconvenient BUT dc was very very keen on the sleep over with his best friend. If it hadn't been so important for dc (eg a 'normal' brithday party with all class invite), we wouldn't have made the ffort.
Then DH's friends changed the plan for the day which meant a earlier meat up and DH knew he would never make it. DH cancelled his plans for the day because we already had said Yes to our dc.
It's very much about evaluating the needs of the different members of the family and trying to see whose needs are the greatest.

You also have to remember that quite often children have no idea what sort of effort is involve with going to sports day etc on their parents pov... dc1 has just realized that sitting for 2 hours on the side of a swimming pool/tennis court/football pitch/sports day (delete as appropriate) can be very boring and not much fun when he had to do it with me for his sibling. I reminded him that I do that for him (and other dcs) every week... It never crossed his mind that it could be a chore for anyone coming along hmm that is until he had to experienced it himself.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 11:02:36

You know how on airplanes they always say that you should put the oxygen mask on yourself before your child? It's because it is necessary to be taken care of in order to be able to care for your child.

I think that's a good analogy for life.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 26-Jun-13 11:03:30

'Verycold Wed 26-Jun-13 10:44:29

I agree. I am going back to work in September and won't be able to attend any school events'

that's ot the same as going to bed for the afternon instead of attending sports day

CaptainSweatPants Wed 26-Jun-13 11:04:06

missing events because of work is different to just not liking them, being too tired to go

Yes, it's not like you told him you were missing it so you could go out on the town and get your nails done or something. 'I don't feel well and I need to rest' is a valid excuse. I don't like the idea that kids can't handle this idea, I would like my own DS to have empathy for people not feeling well, not expect them to sacrifice their health and wellbeing every time.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 11:05:23

Depends what's on the telly, anyway.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 11:05:30

What is wrong with being too tired and needing to rest? Why is that not important? What is the virtue in being exhausted and physically and emotionally worn out?

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 11:05:37

I've missed the last two sports days - I work as a supply teacher and to be honest, money is more important to our family than watching sports. Work's been quiet so I have to grab the chance when I can. I hope DS can understand that.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 11:09:46

It's because it is necessary to be taken care of in order to be able to care for your child.

YY but most people I know have not learnt that rule until they've really crashed head first on a BIG problem and had to learn about taking care of themselves and the fantastic positive influence taking care of yourself has on the family as a whole and on the dcs.

Ladyindisguise: there certainly was a point to me going - they saw that I was there and I was awake enough to see where they came in their races and to be able to talk them about it when they came home. I might have dozed off in between, but it wasn't just a token presence. However, even if it was, I still think there's a value in just being there. I feel really sorry for kids at these kinds of events when everybody else's mum or dad is there except theirs (my children have been in this situation, I'm not judging).

Not sure whether the martyr comment is aimed at me? I'm not surprised if it is, but I'm really not a martyr to my children (I don't stay up all night sewing costumes for the school play!) I just think that if I can do something like sports day then I should.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 11:14:39

I think mums do the martyrdom dance because they are insecure about the worth of their role. So, if they suffer, it means they're doing something important.

I am not sure if fathers have a parallel to that. Perhaps working long hours in order to be a good provider? But that gets more recognition as worthy activity and identity.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 11:17:10

Mrs Minver, I don't mean to single you out as a martyr. Just that what you chose to do could be what a martyr does.

If you found it rewarding in some way to be there, then fair enough. But someone else may do the same and be resentful. Or, may choose otherwise and feel judged.

xylem8 Wed 26-Jun-13 11:17:30

I think you should put your child's needs above your own, but not necessarily their wishes.

Kat101 Wed 26-Jun-13 11:20:03

It's about balance for everyone in the family. Show up to what you can, warn your kids in advance if you can't make it.

I don't like sports day so only go once every few years. The format is about 20 different activities spaced around the playground and field, nowhere designated for parents to be. If you follow your child round to watch them you get in the way, but if you stay in one spot you don't see them doing the stuff anyway. I'd rather save my time for concerts that they're in, at least we get to see each other and I can sit down instead of falling over hoops or being trampled by groups of children.

Only about 20 parents go to our sports day so I presume most of them think the same.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 11:23:33

Putting child's needs before my wishes makes sense. Not sure about their needs before my needs. Needs are needs. In the airplane analogy, putting the child's need for oxygen before your own doesn't work.

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:28:26

Oh Katy, bit close to the bone but there may be some thruth in there.

When I was a SAHM I once missed an Open Day where the kids were showing their work, the thought it was a shame I wasn't there but it was not a big deal. I did not go because I forgot.

This year I went to sports day, but really, I did not feel it was important as such. I am there watching so many of their matches and events ( judo, cricket and rugby) that think it is fair enough to not turn up every now and then.

OP was tired. Well done for looking after yourself.

I DO think many women put their family first ALL the time, whereas men are better able to look after their own interests when needed.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 11:30:16

I have to say the way you describes how tired you were, that you needed sunglasses on etc... made me think you wanted to emphasize the fact you made a huge effort to be there for your dcs sports day.

It can be taken either as the fact you are ready to do a lot for your dcs and put aside your own needs.
Or that you are happy being 'a martyr' for what you think is your dcs well-being.

I think the point of the whole discussion is
1- whether being there at sports day is really essential to a child's well-being (I personally think it depends on what other parents are doing. If very few come, it's less likely to be an issue for the child if you aren't coming too. And also whether your child sees it as something important, eg he might want to show you his skills in running)
2- how far is it healthy to go in putting your needs (emotional and physical) over the needs of your dcs.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 11:32:32

There is also the issue of when you need to be at two different events for 2 different dcs at two different places but... all at the same time.

What do you do then? Will you think that you seriously harming one of the dcs by attending the other one's vent?

Shitsinger Wed 26-Jun-13 11:48:09

Surely if you get to the point of utter exhaustion so that you cant attend sports day then you aren't taking care of yourself anywayconfused

LadyRabbit Wed 26-Jun-13 12:11:50


Precisely because sports day only happens once a year (if your kids are at the same school) and most schools give plenty of warning for your calendar so you can arrange time off work.

Your kids may say they don't mind but it's interesting how when a lot of people reflect on their childhoods and their parents' interest in them, sports day is oft quoted as "oh they never came.." Or "they never missed it"

I get that you're tired. That is part and parcel of being a parent though, as is sports day.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 12:22:06

But why is being tired part and parcel of being a parent?

Sure, staying update all night with sick kid is part of the deal, and you will then be tired.

But why is tired the generally expected state of things?

In my case, I had worked extra weekend days, so it was an unusual occurrence. (And a learning experience. I got another call from someone needing an emergency Saturday clean, and named an outrageous price that clearly stunned them. As expected /hoped, they went elsewhere grin).

Anyway, I don't think it's really important to do sports day, while others might. If someone had said George Clooney would be there, I bet I would have discovered reserves of energy wink

But, I think the crux is that people think that the virtue lies in the sacrifice, itself. I don't agree.

MrsMelons Wed 26-Jun-13 12:23:57

I do get frustrated by people who act like the whole world revolves around their DCs.

My SIL is dreadful and is always changing plans around her DD, so much so her XH is dictated to as to what he has to do with her on his weekends with his DD.

Another friend of mine is always asking me to pick up her DS in case her 3 YO DD falls asleep in the car which would be inconvenient to her.

These are just 2 of many examples I see.

HOWEVER I think not going to sports day as you are tired is not really on, not booking in hundreds of after school activities because you want some time where you are not ferrying kids around would be fine as I don't think parents whole worlds should revolve around kids and sometimes they cannot go to every party and activity etc.

Badvoc Wed 26-Jun-13 12:26:28

I take a fold up chair.
Sorry op I do think that one parent should be there.
It's once a year, not every week.

MrsMelons Wed 26-Jun-13 12:29:49

Just to clarify my DCs are of course my priority and I do lots with them but I can't stand hearing marytr-like comments.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 12:30:31

One of my kids could be the next Andy Murray, but we'll never know because I am not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring up a champion. Similarly, while I like earning money so my kids have some nice things, I won't work myself to death so they can go to private school.

My children's chances at Oxbridge and Wimbledon are curtailed by my personal choices.

Other parents do make those sacrifices.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 12:31:44

Badvoc, sports day is once a year, but there are several events a year. I go to most of them, not all. But, it's more than one day a year.

LadyRabbit Wed 26-Jun-13 12:36:36

So I have to ask, if you're already curtailing your childrens' potential, why did you have them OP?

ladyrabbit that is not true. I had 3 weeks notice for ds2 sports day last year but I could not take he day off because I had meetings booked

That's right Katy, why did you have children at all if they're not going to go to Oxbridge or Wimbledon?

I mean... really?

Badvoc Wed 26-Jun-13 12:41:09 asked for opinions op.
And now you have some.
It's 2 hours out of my life.
And - for me - that is not to onerous.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 12:43:26

I can't remember the last time I was invited to a Sports Day.

Why can't this thread be about something I can join in with <sulk>

Shitsinger Wed 26-Jun-13 12:44:51

"why is tired being art and parcel of being a parent"
At various stages it just is .

I am questioning if you are so good at work/life balance why you are too tired to go to sportsday ?

Lancelottie Wed 26-Jun-13 12:46:29

Those of you saying 'It's once a year' -- in the past two weeks, DD has had four events in school time to which parents were invited. Sports day is two days next week.

And I have children at two other schools as well. For one of those, I've had time off for their orthodontist, music exam, end of term concert; for the other, an open day visit and a morning drop off for a school trip. Summer terms get ridiculously busy.

I don't think I'll be going to sports day. I'm sure DD can continue the family record of Coming Last in Everything without me.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 12:46:40

I do know someone who believes that. Her parents put her and her siblings through private schools, paying all the way up through their PhDs and she believes that this is simply good parenting. She says she wouldn't have children if she couldn't do the same. When asked how lower income people should feel about that, she just shrugs and smiles and repeats "I just think being a parent means being able to do what is necessary."

Verycold Wed 26-Jun-13 12:48:00

Honestly it's just b*cks to say it's once a year, there is stuff on all the time

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 12:48:16

I am probably not great at work life balance if I get physically run down on a regular basis. But I earned an extra £250 last week, which will benefit the whole family.

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 26-Jun-13 12:54:01

I think you do need to put your own needs first sometimes, otherwise you are no good to anyone. Sports day is just not that important to some.

As for curtailing your children's potential or whatever nonsense it was, what a load of cock!

Runoutofideas Wed 26-Jun-13 12:54:50

I was pondering this the other day. I am very much a "turn up to everything" type mum, but I looked after 2 of dd1's friends last week who made me think about it.

Both of these children (aged 8) come from families where the parents, for various reasons, never attend school events. Their parents (different families) are likely to not realise about non-uniform days/school trips etc so the two girls are often the ones in the wrong clothes, or without a packed lunch when they need one... My own dd would be mortified if that happened, however these 2 are both much more emotionally resilient than mine, they seem very happy and confident and are both delightful children to be around. Whether this is down to not being centre of attention all the time, or not, I don't know!

Cat98 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:57:40

I love going to sports day and so does dh, I booked a day off work and dh rearranged his hours! However I understand some people don't feel the same and that's fine. But I don't think going to sports day and the like can be equated with pandering to everything - some people think its a big deal, and judging by one little boys tears today because his mother had to rush off for work it's a big deal to some kids, too.

I don't think she was wrong rushing off the work by the way - she did come for some, and some people just can't get time off and that's life.. But I think not going because you are tired is a bit U, sorry.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 13:02:55

Luis, is it really a load of cock? I mean, I don't think anybody gets to the Olympics without their parents making a huge investment in the activities from a young age. And, unless the kid is a super genius, getting from the council estate to Oxbridge will often require a lot of hard work and sacrifice by the parents.

It's very unlikely my kids will go to Oxbridge. I have just accepted that. Even though one of them is very bright and would, in a different family, be on that path. Other parents move heaven and earth to help their children achieve. I just settle for happy and healthy because it's all I'm willing to work for.

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 26-Jun-13 13:03:00

I think being there for the boring day to day stuff is more important actually. Kids seem to have a much more generalised memory of their childhoods rather than fixing on one particular day.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 13:03:05

My three youngest are in three different settings.
Even when DC5 joins DC4 I will still have two different schools to manage. One is local, I have to drive to the other one.

DS2 will always be in a different school from the others.

I can't do all the stuff. I don't want to tbh. I am not like my parents who never went to a single thing but I will pick and choose.

Or I would go bonkers and get the sack.

CinnamonAddict Wed 26-Jun-13 13:04:49

None of my dc are particularly sporty, at least not in the sports day disciplines. I went to the first few ones, then stopped for a bit and went to the year 6 ones.
We talked about it, they were not bothered.
(yesterday morning my daughter told me it's Sports Day, I asked if she wants me to come - she said: God, NO grin)

I go to every concert one of them plays in (or dh), have never missed a single one in years (quite a few concerts per term). I love to hear them play.
And that is what matters to them.

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 26-Jun-13 13:08:08

Well yes I do think its rubbish. If they have the talent they will do it with the right support. I just mean that having kids does not automatically mean that you can or do earn a mega salary to support their aspirations, nor that you sacrifice yourself entirely for their potential. The other poster seemed to be suggesting that you should earn more.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 13:08:25

Being tired shouldn't be part and parcel of being parent if you have NT school-aged children. I am frequently tired but that is part and parcel of not really going to bed early enough.

I do pick and choose what I turn up to. I'm happy enough to help out with school plays - even ones my kids aren't in. Sports days, not so much. They were enough of a nightmare when I had to go. I have flashbacks of having to wear navy knickers and an aertex shirt.

Badvoc Wed 26-Jun-13 13:12:53

My ds1 isn't particularly sporty.
But he likes sport and enjoys sports day.
He came first in welly wanging and second in the hurdles.
I came fourth in the mums race and my dad joined in the tug of war (much to ds1s delight)
I don't see any of that as a sacrifice tbh.

Lancelottie Wed 26-Jun-13 13:14:40

Argh, yes, giant school PE knickers! (Did everyone have navy or was I at your school, MI?)

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 13:15:24

Luis, if one of my children had what it takes to someday win Wimbledon, the "right support" would be very intensive. And expensive. I don't pay a lot of attention to sports, but I know that the parents of Andy Murray, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton, the Williams sisters, and others are often talked about in terms of how much they did for the champions when they were quite young.

And, I do believe my oldest son would have a better shot at Oxbridge if I gave it some welly. I do feel guilty about not trying harder and just settling for the local state school.

I don't fault my own mum for not doing more; it did bother me that what she did do, she did in a kind of half-assed way. Basically, I think it's quality over quantity. Better to be really engaged in the stuff you do than try to do every single thing.

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 26-Jun-13 13:18:50

I think you are being too hard on yourself Katy

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:20:29

I think it's great to go to school events - if you can. But people who work only have so much annual leave so I guess it's a balance.

I know that as a teacher, it's pretty hard, if not impossible, to get to school events except plays. I have been lucky to see DSs work at school when I have been doing supply as I have not been working that day. I think he appreciated me coming in.

But some parents are unable to make it.

unobtanium Wed 26-Jun-13 13:20:47

I went to my son's sports day and he ignored me... later admitted my presence embarrassed him.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 26-Jun-13 13:22:17

Every year at sports day I have to comfort YR/Y1 and sometimes Y2 children when their parents don't come. I work in a school.

No, it doesn't do them any long term damage and they will get over it quickly enough. But why make them feel that disappointment and sadness while all their friends are having a great time if you don't have to?

I appreciate sometime parents have work commitments that simply can't be rearranged, but to be really honest, I'd think a healthy parent was very selfish if they felt the need to rest just because they had to make dinner and do a bit of driving their kids around that evening.

charlottehere Wed 26-Jun-13 13:25:44

Generally agree with you. However, sports days a biggie in my mind admits to leaving after half an hour because it was freezing

AmberSocks Wed 26-Jun-13 13:26:18

I am going to my ds sports day,my mum never used to come to anything like that and it always felt a bit crap,everyone elses mum used to go.

AmberSocks Wed 26-Jun-13 13:26:49

but un general sometimes you need to put yourself first so that everyone else benefits,but in this case yabu.

comelywenchlywoo Wed 26-Jun-13 13:27:42

I think it's important to look after your own health, your children cannot be the centre of everything all the time.
However, if my child had indicated to me that they would like me to attend sports day, if I was well I would go. Being tired doesn't cut the mustard for me. I'm afraid it just sounds lazy.

Badvoc Wed 26-Jun-13 13:27:52

Same here amber.
I go to everything that I feasibly can as I remember what it feels like being the only kids with no family there.
If I can't make it ( been il recently sadly) then other family members go in my place.

charlottehere Wed 26-Jun-13 13:34:35

Reminds me of parents I know who insist on going to all three shows that little Burts.. It's the same way I'm watching it more than once.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Wed 26-Jun-13 13:35:20

My DD's school has broken down her (all day) sports day into events and she has told me which event she wants me to see, the one she feels she is best at I'm guessing so that's the one I'm going to aim for not sure if to her schools do this though?

charlottehere Wed 26-Jun-13 13:36:10

Oh I must be really baaaad... Bunked of certificate giving the other week because--I couldn't be arsed-- i was tired. blush

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 13:38:41

I'm ok with not having gone. Grandma was there, I had told them that I wouldn't, and there weren't many parents there, according to my son.

I just think it's interesting to see how other people think about it.

As for tired not being a good enough reason, I think tired varies from situation to situation, and person to person. For me, throbbing feet and aching back is good enough. Others might have higher or lower threshold.

It's like when a friend of my mine says childbirth isn't that painful so why do people make a big deal about it? Maybe her experience is different or maybe she just feels very strongly that no pain is so great as to risk anything to the baby.

Acinonyx Wed 26-Jun-13 13:43:19

If I die and go to hell I will find myself at a school sports day that never ends. Dd spent all of about 5 minutes on the field and the rest of 3 hours sitting by the fence. It's a form of institutional torture.

comelywenchlywoo Wed 26-Jun-13 13:44:11

I would say throbbing feet and aching back is being in pain, not being tired. Different things. I'd probably put being in pain under the 'ill' category.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 13:48:55

Comelywench, to me, that's tired. My feet hurt and elbow ache every day. But, on Monday I was extra tired.

I'm tired today, but I could manage to stand around bored without it being torture. smile

sameoldIggi Wed 26-Jun-13 13:49:42

I would agree that it is not always wise to put dcs first.
However I would love to have had the opportunity to attend my ds's first sports day, but had to tend to other people's kids instead. On that basis I think your reason for not going was not the greatest, no.

niminypiminy Wed 26-Jun-13 13:50:33

When I was at school parents hardly went to anything, and certainly not to sports day -- there is so much more of an expectation now that parents will (and will want to) go to everything. I'm not sure I see what the big deal sports day is, and I haven't been to my children's since DS1 was in reception, when, to be honest, my presence disturbed him.

One of the things I have really noticed in the playground is parents who can't let their children go -- sometimes teachers have to take the parents' hands off their children to lead them into class. I support my children, and I go to things, when I can, that they ask me to, or where they are doing something special. But I can't go to everything and I don't want to, and what's more, I don't think they actually need me to. And that includes, for me, sports day.

sameoldIggi Wed 26-Jun-13 13:50:47

..agree aching is not good at all sad

Happymum22 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:51:46

I agree kids come first, but in a balanced way and they have to learn sometimes they aren't your one and only priority.

My kids learnt this fairly on as their father disappeared and I had to go back to work full time. I could never go to the younger twos sports day/mothers day tea parties etc.
They never complained, but I remember as a child I was gutted that my mum couldn't be at these things (I never blamed her though). I guess it made me more resilient and learn from an early age life wasn't just about me or the same for everyone. It didn't 'damage' me or my children, but if I had a choice I would have been at my DC's sports days.

Depends how old your DC is tbh and only you know how much it means to them, whether you were there or not. For example, a DC aged 12 who hates sport and doesn't see sports day as anything more than a day to sit about with friends, is different from a 5 year old experiencing their first sports day and who had been told mum will come to watch.
It is all relative and I agree needs come before wishes. I don't know whether your tiredness was a greater need than your child seeing you there or not..So not going to judge ! smile

whataboutbob Wed 26-Jun-13 13:52:35

I think this is a vary valid question and maybe your average middle class British mum is a little bit too kiddie focused, to the detriment of other areas of life. I also want to add something else, which I know might be construed as a little over the top. My mum died suddenly when she was 54. In the years since then I've had the leisure to mull over her life. What I love to think about most are the things she did for herself, her hobbies, her passions. The trip she took by herself to the far east. The friendship she rekindled with a university friend. The mediation training she was doing (she'd have been excellent). It benefits no one to have an overly self sacrificing mother. Whn our kids eventually leave home, it'll be for the best if we've spent some time being kind to ourselves and cultivating our own gardens.

mam29 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:54:40

I have 2 to attend this year preschool and primary.

primary very last day of term which I thourght was good thing.

but another parent says we screwed if weather bad dident happen last year.

Dd1 was at different school last year and they posphoned until september and it was chaos and stressful she won 2races but had to manage 2younger toddlers running across feild thankfully hubby was there.

But during reception-they had mini beast oplay baby started crying and I had to leave early felt terrible, dd was upset and another mum kept saying how amazing it was and shame I missed it.

Xmas nativity was ok as they had common sense to do it evening.

but had to leave school carol concert early due to crying toddlers.

I do my best to try get to greet the blooming teacher afternoons, take them all social events , help on pta but as sahm mum im shattered and life does revolve around them as hubbys always working.

Recently we missed few parties and brownies as they like to do trips miles away cant do it all.

My mother used to make a big deal of going to certain school events, and always, without fail told me before hand "I am going to re-arrange my day at great inconvenience to myself (OK she didn't phrase it exactly like that) in order to attend your parents evening/ sports day/ school play/ presentation assembly so that your teachers will see I'm a good mother - she actually made a point of pointing out directly, to me, both that it was inconvenient for her and that she was doing it to show my teachers she was a good mother (i.e. it had nothing to do with supporting me) for as long as I can remember, every single time she had to attend something. Then she always bustled in very late (usually after whatever bit I had been involved in), carrying too many bags, making a big fuss and flurry so everyone would see that she was there, and that she was rushing due to being so busy, busy, busy... hmm

Not going is sometimes better.

However tired is a pants excuse. For the 2 years that my youngest woke up 5 or more times a night I wouldn't have even thought of not going to my older children's events because I was tired - its not their fault, and its rubbish for children to be the only ones unsupported or to feel they are not important to their parents or their parents don't want to support them and would rather sit at home "resting" (unless of course the parent is ill and actually genuinely needs to rest).

The "Happy Mummy Happy Baby/ children" line is trite and self indulgent and trotted out by those types who want to have everything their way - they want to look as if they put everyone else first, so they try to convince themselves and others that they are not going on a spa day/ away on holiday without the children/ out on the piss/ spending the grocery money on wine because they want to, no - they are doing it for the children! hmm

That said everyone needs to put themselves first sometimes and there is nothing wrong with being a bit selfish if it does no actual harm to anyone else - I do wish people would just admit that is what they are doing though, and not try to argue that they are putting themselves first for their children's sake! grin

LadyRabbit Wed 26-Jun-13 13:58:49

That said everyone needs to put themselves first sometimes and there is nothing wrong with being a bit selfish if it does no actual harm to anyone else - I do wish people would just admit that is what they are doing though, and not try to argue that they are putting themselves first for their children's sake!

^ this exactly^

EmmelineGoulden Wed 26-Jun-13 13:59:24

I'm not into the "children first always" idea. Apart from anything else, I look at my daughters and what I do not want is for me to put them first totally just so they can grow up and put their DCs first totally, it seems pointless - who is going to enjoy life? Just the childless?

There needs to be balance in family life. It's supposed to be life for everyone and I don't think it does children any good to see their wants and needs prioritised to the exclusion of everyone else's (nor vice versa).

I think it's a shame to let your DCs (or anyone) down though. If I'd said I'd go to sports day, or if they were really enthusiastic about sport, I probably would have gone. But I'd arrange some downtime for another point, which would probably mean them not getting something else.

bigbuttons Wed 26-Jun-13 13:59:46

I don't stop going to kids things because I am exhausted. Being exhausted is part of my life as a mum. I do not complain about being exhausted and I do not make a thing of going to all the events I have been to over the years. Now I am working again after 15 years as a sahm I can't go to everything, but on my days off I do.
I personally think you should have gone to sports day.

bigbuttons Wed 26-Jun-13 14:01:01

btw I am no martyr, I make sure I have time to myself and do some of the things I want to do. Of course the kids must come first but I come a pretty close second.

niminypiminy Wed 26-Jun-13 14:01:36

Wouldn't it be great if schools stopped opening sports day to parents and then children would get on with it without wishing their parents were there, parents would stop feeling they have to be there (or torturing themselves about not being there) and, really, everyone would be better off.

just a thought...

I have 5 DC, a grandchild and a giant number of nieces, nephews and godchildren all of whom have these sorts of event and invite me along. All of my DC attend different schools, except the eldest who works.

I hate it, I hate going to the school/activities and dealing with the teachers. I go to things that matter from an information perspective, so parents evening, meetings about their GCSE options, meetings for the school trip. I try to send grandparents to the nativity/play. I don't go to sports day because my kids are good at sport and have a great day, me being there does nothing for them.

Generally I think a bit of wilful neglect goes a long way, I'm one of 8, we couldn't always have the attention and generally things revolved around the family as a whole rather than individuals, I think it taught independence and flexibility. I try to recreate this for my DC.

notverymaternal Wed 26-Jun-13 14:05:49

In theory, I agree with making the child aware that the mother has needs too. however, as a teacher, I see what a difference it makes to the child. THose that don't have their parents there, often (now I realise I am generalising, but you get my point) don't both performing properly. Also, I think there is judgemental game going on, where certain parents will look down on others who are not there....
Having said all that, I thnk it is important for a parent to make an appearance, not necessarily to be there all the time. They can pop their head in, give a wave, and disappear....

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 14:05:58

This thread is making me want to book a holiday away without my children, just to see what all of you say.

bigbuttons Wed 26-Jun-13 14:07:54

and anyone with school age kids knows that christmas and end of summer term is really, really busy. You know it's coming, just get on with ithmm

motherinferior I say go for it (as long as you have somebody trusted and loving to leave them with) just admit you are doing it because you feel like it, and don't try to convince yourself and everyone else you are doing it for your children in some round about way!

nemno Wed 26-Jun-13 14:10:10

I could probably be accused of being a martyr to my DC. But I was a Sahm so it was not difficult to attend all my DC's school events and I wanted to. I have heard so many stories from my friends about being 'the one' whose parents were always late or never came or wouldn't take them to parties/brownies/events that I figured these were important issues. I also thought that being actually in their face at school was a no no, so past primary was only in school for these events, not PTA etc. Once they got older and embarrassable they got to choose if I went or not eg one DC wanted me at the post graduation dinner, one didn't.

I think I got it right, but appreciate others think differently.

nemno Wed 26-Jun-13 14:11:31

Oh, and I had holidays away from my DC; several smile

tungthai Wed 26-Jun-13 14:11:41

I always go to sports day etc but I don't indulge my childrens every whim. Mil was shocked the other day because I wouldn't switch the TV over to cbeebies when I was trying to watch the news. She often says that she always put her children first and raises an eyebrow at me. It's give and take in our house.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 14:11:59

I don't put myself first for my children's sake, but I think it's better for my children that I do it. If that makes any sense.

icravecheese Wed 26-Jun-13 14:12:26

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all - you said that Granny went, plus you told them that you probably wouldnt make it - I certainly don't think that they are going to grow up scarred for life by your missing sports day!

The replies to this thread are interesting though - and I can see mums on all parts of the 'spectrum' of 'over-fussing' type mums (who insist on going to EVERYTHING, and helping in class at every available opportunity) through to 'totally absent, let the au pair attend' type mums!

I personally think that we fuss Waaaaaay too much over our kids nowadays - one mum at my sons school wasn't going to let her reception year child go on his school trip because the teachers said that she wasnt needed as a helper...."what if he needs me" was her retort! Its pathetic (although I didnt tell her that) that she doesnt trust the school / the teachers / her son to go on a school trip without her.

Ok, it would've been nice (for your children) if you'd been at sports day, but you were knackered, your mum (or MIL) went, its fine! Kids shouldn't come first in every situation, otherwise they will never learn that life is about give and take, compromise, you can't always have what you want etc etc.

Oh and I think tired I'd a perfectly acceptable excuse, as is just not wanting to.

My DC are under no illusions, they know I do lots of things for them I don't want to do but sometimes its just too much, and I can't face going to watch their class to some poem recital or another showing of work. They don't care because I spend time in other ways.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 14:13:34

Well, actually I do think maternal unhappiness rebounds on children. My mother spent years at home with us, and/or in work that didn't fulfil her, and it made her deeply miserable and therefore us quite miserable and it made me scared shitless of having kids in case they wrecked my life too.

Now she is an eminent translator and editor and is spending her late 70s showered with awards and frankly I wish she'd got it together earlier, not martyred herself.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 14:22:24

I do think my kids get other benefits from me that not all kids get. I take them away for days of museums and shopper and movies for one on one time. So, while I'm sometimes too exhausted to do too much in the evening, at least the money I earn will pay for these outings.

I wouldn't be able to keep this up indefinitely. My husband will come home from Scotland, someday, and then we will be able to balance things between us.

ImABadGirl Wed 26-Jun-13 14:30:26

my mum was one that didn't come to bugger all of mine, we don't have that great a relationship now, I know my ds is my world and sports day is something I'm really looking forward to, I want him to feel supported and feel he can rely on me, unlike my mother who, even now, I can't rely on her and have never felt supported by her sad

camaleon Wed 26-Jun-13 14:33:24

So if you are a teacher, for instance, do you take a day off to go to your child sport's day?
I work full-time. My job is quite flexible but my kids know that sometimes I cannot make it. I am convinced they are fine with it. When it is really important they insist and either my husband or I normally manage. We don't have family around, we work full-time and no matter how important the many events in the year for 2 kids are according to you. It is just not possible to make it.
Taking a day off for school event means another day I cannot take off to be with them during holidays.

Goldenbear Wed 26-Jun-13 14:37:11

In all honesty I think it is a bit 'lazy' not going to sports day because you are too tired. Equally, I would say taking them for some fast food isn't putting your children first as it is the easy option. I know on Friday that's how I was thinking when I took my DC for a pizza. I didn't join them but I was still thinking of me as I couldn't be bothered to cook for them.

I've had installed in me a very strong work ethic. It's nothing to do with being a martyr, I'm just wired that way and I would go to great lengths to avoid 'giving up' on something. I worked in politics prior to DC and you needed to be able to work relentlessly on some things, hrs at a time, tiredness didn't come in to it. However, this would be followed by a period of calm and very little work. I enjoy applying myself to whatever I do in that way, it's how I work best and that's how approach being a SAHM. This is why I would never miss 'events' due to tiredness. It has nothing to do with being a Martyr though. I don't have a clue how to do things differently.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 14:54:43

I cooked food before the Beavers meeting. McDonald's was for ice cream and the play area for the two who didn't go to Beavers.

Pigsmummy Wed 26-Jun-13 14:56:51

After my Mum left us my Dad decided not to bother to go sports day or
Parents evening about me, having done this for my older sister and as a teacher he was sick of seeing the insides of a school (he sometimes taught at our school but mostly others in the area) and it still hurts that he couldn't be bothered doing it for me.

Knowing that my Dad wouldn't be at sports day I stopped bothering to take part, I later (illegally) gave up PE in favour of Spanish and I suspect that this led to poor fitness and low self esteem that lasted years.

If I am not working I will be at my children's sports days. I will always attend parents evenings.

I think you're even more YANBU given that Granny was there and you're parenting on your own

I also think Emmeline has nailed it, for me -- if mums endlessly sacrifice for their children and the cycle keeps repeating, who gets to enjoy life? except I would add: probably men, because at the risk of huge generalization, I don't think you see as many men sacrificing their health and wellbeing as women do.

Went to DS's sports day this morning and was good to see him win the sack race and the three-legged ! What's not to like ?!
Also a nice thing to go to with DH - and free as well !

But more generally my children have a high priority in our family but doesn't mean the adults don't get a look in !
Different though I think to my DMum (and her generation ?) who has always put DDad first.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 15:07:06

Reactions to the 'I was too tired' are making me smile (but a sad smile).

I remember a thread where a mum was saying she was keeping her dd off school because of a cold. Cue for loads of posters to say that her dd should be at school. Until the poster described cold as having some fever, coughing, being achy all over etc... Basically what most of us would describe as having a bad case of flu...

The same goes with 'being tired'. Being so tired that your joints aches and you struggle to say on your 2 feet is not 'just a bit tired' that will go away after a normal night of sleep. It's fatigue and exhaustion.
Some people are clear better at coping with tiredness than others too so comparing what you do to what someone else does and the says 'Oh I do the same and I am OK so you shouldn't be that tired' isn't cutting it either.

I really have an issue with people who associate saying 'I am tired so I can't do X' and being lazy and 'just can't be bothered'.
Some people ARE tired, exhausted, fatigued. They DO need more rest than others, even if they don't have a 'recognized medical condition'. I am not sure making someone feeling guilty of feeling unwell and taking care of their own health is the right thing to do.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 15:10:16

Oh for heaven's sake, sports day is totally different from parents' evening.

I don't want to spend my life totally devoted to my children. I am completely aware that by many MNers' standards that makes me a Very Bad Mother. I really don't care.

Arcticwaffle Wed 26-Jun-13 15:12:06

We have 5 equally important people in our household. 2 adults. 3 dc. We try and balance all our needs and wishes. But noone gets to be more important than anyone else. Not adults (as happened in my childhood, it all revolved around my father's wishes), nor children.

Paid work trumps sports day as work is not some selfish personality quirk but it benefits the whole family if we have financial stability, maternal sanity etc.

It's not "just one day" either, not at this time of year. This coming week I have for just dd3 sports day, school fete, coastal cafe and music concert (both irritatingly placed at 2pm). And that's just one of the 3 dc.

Owllady Wed 26-Jun-13 15:16:13

Loads of Dads miss sports day
that is my observation

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 15:37:27

It's very unlikely my kids will go to Oxbridge. I have just accepted that.

Totally agree with pretty much everything you've said, OP, and your general stance on this issue, except for the above.

Whether or not you have accepted that your DC won't go to Oxbridge (or Wimbledon) is largely irrelevant. The point is that you have made them accept it.

They may turn out to be fine with the decision you have made for them. Or they may not. I think that when it comes to education (which for me has unimaginable intrinsic value as well as being of practical benefit), a parent has a DUTY to do the best they can. Education is largely about the opportunity to do better, to expand the mind, to appreciate life more fully, to be mentally fulfilled, as well as to increase your child's financial (and therefore, often, emotional and familial) stability and happiness etc etc. Deliberately deciding at a young age to curtail your children's opportunities is regrettable, I think. Ask anyone living in a country where their children have no access to education at all.

Having said that, if it can't be done, it can't be done. If your children are capable enough they will make it anyway. As for Wimbledon (or the Royal Ballet or becoming a rock star or whatever), I think the odds are so, so slim that very often the cost:benefit ratio doesn't work.

But a good university...well, this is a public forum so I think I can say that it is a crying shame not to do what you can to make this happen.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 15:53:44

It's not that I don't care about education. I do. But I don't think I am willing to do what is required to send them to the best local schools. I think I could scrape together the tuition fees for one of them. But I would rather have the money to spend on all of us.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 15:56:46

I may also have a distorted idea of what is required. I assume it means the very best grammar school, tutoring, lots of time spent on extra curricular activities, etc.

I am willing to do some things, but not what I assume is required for ds to be on track for Oxbridge.

Wishihadabs Wed 26-Jun-13 16:02:25

Omg the number of events I have dragged myself to after a night shift over the years!. My Dm taught me that when you love people then you put your needs behind theirs (she still does this for me btw). I sincerely hope when I am old my dcs put my needs above theirs. How are they going to learn to do this other than by example. In a family everyone has to make sacrifices and compromise.

TheSmallClanger Wed 26-Jun-13 16:07:15

Katy, what you have posted strikes a chord with my own experiences. My mum was always there for sports day, which did not bother me - I would rather not have done sports day, and always felt even more crap for being physically inept in front of an audience.

Mum also worked odd hours, and developed this awful habit of having an afternoon nap that coincided with the time I got home from school. I would have preferred to have a less tired mother who could be bothered to talk to me after school, when I was at my most chatty, than one who showed up to the opening of an envelope at school. I understand where you are coming from.

When DD was at primary, I worked in two part-time roles, one school hours, so that we would have "normal" time together. I wasn't usually able to come to sports day, as my working arrangements left me with little remaining flexibility or holiday.

Oblomov Wed 26-Jun-13 16:20:54

It's a question of balance. And how important it is to your child.
Some children couldn't care less. Some, it's critical.
I go to some things. Others I miss.
Any child, is only ONE member of a family. They are no more important than any other member. And that means the mum, and the dad, too.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 16:27:03

Katy I am aware of what is required to get into Oxbridge (or equivalent) against the odds.

It is, in my opinion, some of what you have said but actually mostly a lot of parental input. I believe a very good (doesn't need to be the very best) local school or grammar school plus extra tuition where necessary is all the (paid for) outside influence you need. The rest comes from the child's home environment. And by that I mean a lot - LOT - of parental input in terms of things like imposing mental and physical discipline, foregoing family outings if they clash with study time, ensuring a home life conducive to enjoying learning, developing your child's intellect and personality yourself etc etc. In many cases, this is normal home life for children - hence why it often seems that the offspring of achievers just seem to slip effortlessly into the best universities. Sometimes it has to be actively brought about.

If you'll allow me to say so, you have always come across in your threads as analytical, educated, and has having good written skills (and a very important healthy sense of humour). In my opinion, you seem to have a lot of what it takes from a parent to do the necessary. And this is without a DH around full time to also contribute.

It is a mistake to think that getting into Oxbridge is all about exam results. These are a given (mostly), and it's true to say you're not going to get in with B, C, and D as A Level results. But, without meaning to sound offensive, there are tonnes of kids out there with great A Level results, and if your kid isn't in line to get them you can pay money to help them achieve those results. But Oxbridge is about mindset, and that is something that no amount of money can buy. It's what you do for your child at home.

Sorry about that - lecture over!

Samu2 Wed 26-Jun-13 16:30:06

I didn't go to any sports days events this year and didn't feel bad at all hmm

My kids didn't care, if it was a big deal to them I would have gone and with five of them there is always something going on and sometimes something has to give.

I also missed a library visit because I was tired and had already been twice that week with the others so I told DC that I was going to skip that one but promised to be at the next school event.

I have lots of children and two with SN's there are days when I want to just relax and have a good few hours on my own and I don't feel bad about that at all. I go to all their appointments, parenting evenings, IEP/ Statement reviews etc but I will skip the odd school event unless it is really important to them.

Oblomov Wed 26-Jun-13 16:35:41

I too totally agree with the Oxbridge comment and disagree with TheSunAlwaysShines.Not every child is Oxford material, the next usain bolt, next darcey bussell, etc. Realistically, only one in amillion of the MN children will be.
Accepting that your child is what they are. How can that be bad. If they are law firm partner, or brickie, or whatever.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 16:39:42

I agree too.
It was only when I joined MN that I realised that there were people who thought 'affording children' meant having a trust fund and university fees plus a deposit for a house for them.

I always thought it meant being able to feed and clothe them and give them stability.

It astounded me TBH.

My two youngest are going to be doctors but if they turn out to be brickies I will be happy.

Alive, happy & with a job. In that order.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 16:43:44

Oblomov - totally agree. But OP has said that her elder son would have a shot at Oxbridge if she gave it some welly. If she does that and he misses, wherever he does end up will quite possily be just as good (if not better for him, as an individual).

Ultimately, you want to do your best to foster your child's happiness and personal fulfilment (to the extent that is within your gift), wherever that may lie.

Mamafratelli Wed 26-Jun-13 16:44:56

There are hardly ever things parents have to go to at our school. I went to something recently and all the reception kids were straining to look for parents and probably only 3 had turned up. The look on their faces was such disappointment. Yes kids have to learn that life can be shit but I plan to teach mine that even when it is their mum and dad will be there for them. So I'll keep going to mindnumbingly boring school events or send grandma to make sure someone is there when they are scanning the audience.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 16:47:16

But, MrsDeVere, do you not want them to be as happy as you can make them, and with as good a job (which does not mean as high earning, just what is best for them) as you can?

Goes to Katy's original question: where do you draw the line between your and your children's best interests?

As I said, education for me has such immense intrinsic value to the individual and society that I would sacrifice a lot for it. Other things, less so.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 16:48:23

I went to Oxford. From a comprehensive.

I still don't go to bloody sports day grin

nulgirl Wed 26-Jun-13 16:50:07

I didn't go to sports day this year as I was away working. I don't think my dd really cared as she isn't sporty and it is a non-competitive one without any winners/ losers. I have though in the last month been to 2 graduation ceremonies for my ds, 3 parents evenings for them and picked them up from school/ nursery today on the last day of term. I work fulltime and travel a lot so I will prioritise the events which I think are more important. Sports day (the way it is run at her school) is a complete waste of time.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 16:51:58

motherinferior As I said, it's about mindset grin

louisianablue2000 Wed 26-Jun-13 16:52:35

There are so many school events aren't there. I'm on maternity leave this year and have dragged myself along to them all but once I go back to work I won't bother, there is no point taking even half a days holiday for a half hour assembly. I'd rather save my holidays for the school holidays so we get a full day together. I know that parent's evenings go on late enough so I can go after work but sports days? No chance! And my DM was a SAHM and I know she didn't bother going to them all and it didn't bother me.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 16:55:00

Yes of course thesun but that happy might well be them being a plasterer like their grand dad was.

I won't know till they are older. In the meantime we have fun learning the internal organs of the body and the different types of blood cells.

But all that won't help them get in to med school in the long run will it?

If they don't want to be doctors me teaching them to say 'paediatric oncologist' and 'neurologist' when asked 'what are you going to be when you grow up' (I have done it, its hilarious btw) isn't going to make them into doctors.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 17:03:21

I don't think we're disagreeing, MrsDeVere. OP said she thought her older son would have a shot at Oxbridge, meaning he is showing potential. I'm assuming he's shown interest too (maybe incorrect assumption).

Let's be clear, there is nothing better about being a lawyer or doctor or physicist than about being a plasterer. But, if you are going to be a plasterer, isn't the ideal to be as well educated a plasterer as you possibly can be?

It's an interesting point, I value education very highly, mainly because I didn't take advantage of it myself and there are certainley times I think my life would have been a lot easier had I stayed on at school , went to uni etc.
so I want my DCs to realise that a good education and qualifications can open a lot of doors that would otherwise be difficult.
But all the DCs are different. Dd wants to be a lawyer. She is 15 now and working amazingly hard, studying hard, planning her future.
Ds1 is bloody clever but is of the mindset that because he is clever, he doesn't have to put any effort in to school
And ds2 is at the moment, amongst the middle of the class.
Not super bright, not behind.
He is very creative, dramatic.

But I just want them to have a happy life. So whatever career they choose, whatever path they take I want them to be happy.
I do think education is important but I also think that pushing a child into something that they really don't want to do, trying to make them something they are not, in order to satisfy my ambitions for them is somehow wrong.

Oblomov Wed 26-Jun-13 17:05:00

In hte last few years, due to a shortage of tilers and electricians, they were offering traineeships, ending in minimum 40k. Sounds o.k. to me.

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 17:07:17

Interesting debate about turning up to school for sports day.

I can think of some schools I've worked at where parents don't turn up to school for anything except to pick up their DCs. They have to battle to get them to come to parent's evening and that's probably the only real contact they'll have about their child's education.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 17:17:21

It depends on what you mean by 'well educated' thesun (I know I am being annoying now grin)

To be literate, numerate and have a good understanding of the world around you. To be able to write a decent letter/report/email and to be able to make sense of statistics, research and read/listen to the news in a critical way...

that is a good education IMO. Everything on top of that is extra and fantastic if it is wanted.

Someone not wanting to go to university does not depress me. Someone not being able to put together a logical argument or understand the difference between the truth and an article in a tabloid, that depresses me.

I have seen posts on MN 'but why would you not want your children to go to university?'

It simply is not the default for many families and that is not a bad thing. As long as you want your children to be as happy and productive as they can be.

There should be no barriers to going to university if that is what someone wants. NOT going to university should not be a barrier to success.

(I don't mean a barrier to success as a doctor or teacher obviously but a successful life)

Viviennemary Wed 26-Jun-13 17:21:12

Nobody hated sports day more than I did. But it's once a year so be there if they want you there. You just have to get some sort of balance between being totally self-sacrificing and being totally selfish. Assuming there is a balance!

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 17:22:24

I'm not sure my son would make it into Oxbridge, but I think kids with no more brains than him go on to it because their families prioritise it.

I believed in being well read an interested in the world, so I take him to museums and encourage him to read.

I have the American equivalent of that sort of education because I went to Berkeley. I like to share my interests and values with my kids. But I don't have the drive to coach them through the channels that lead to Oxbridge. I'm not willing to drive the one child to the other side of town to attend the posh school, or pay the tuition. I don't even know what that would mean in regards to the other two. Would it be fair? Because I can't afford to pay for the three of them.

I battle physical exhaustion most days in order to get them fed and in bed with their teeth brushed. Even reading to them every day is more than I can handle. I hope to do better when my husband is here. I am making an effort to get them out of the house for activities and I'm working on sitting with them for homework on the weekends. Thankfully, they only have homework once a week.

I am also planning to take each of the two oldest away for special weekend trips, like Love Bombing. Eldest perhaps to London for museums and galleries, middle for Chester and the zoo, maybe. Youngest is only four, so a night camping nearby should b enough for him.

Owllady Wed 26-Jun-13 17:27:33

do you think loads of Fathers sit around discussing this shit, because I don't. I don't think they give it a second thought

As for sports day, it happens. If you miss it it isn't the end of the world. I have 3 at 3 different schools, sometimes stuff like this clashes anyway. Sometimes only one of us can go to one thing or another because of lack of (child)care. it's life. It doesn't make us bad people.

Crap parents are too pissed/high to pick their kids up from school. they beat and abuse them, forget to feed them, don't wash their clothes and don't care about them. Someone having a nap because they are wore out and have family stuff to do later on with their children doesn't need any criticism imo

But i am a bit intolerant of dictators today so please feel free to ignore me

We all muddle along and do our best, it's the most anyone can do without the aid of a magic wand

MissStrawberry Wed 26-Jun-13 17:40:33

So far with my 3 children I have been to about 14 Sport's Days. I have 3 children and not always have they had them at the same time - maybe 2 or 3 years they were.

I go to everything that I am invited too but tbh Sport's Day is such a lovely afternoon at our school (not so much at our previous school) that I wouldn't miss it for the world.

I hear you though as I have been musing about starting a thread about how you stop yourself being a bit of a martyr when you do so much as a mother. Mostly I don't mind, sometimes it gets me really down.

Wishihadabs Wed 26-Jun-13 17:47:54

Just to add DH had sports day in his diary all year he wouldn't miss it for the world ditto parents evening and the summer/Xmas fayre. He works 4 days a week btw.

needaholidaynow Wed 26-Jun-13 17:49:42

I know this is slightly different, but I'm not attending DSD's first dancing show due to having to look after DS1 and DS2. One out of many shows, couldn't find a babysitter this time, mum and dad are going, no harm done.

Wishihadabs Wed 26-Jun-13 17:49:57

Also my male boss took last Friday off for sports day. In my world the dads do care about these things.

wish it's all well and good having the date in your diary for weeks however if something important that you have to deal with comes up at work, you can't really say oh no I can't do xyz because its my DCs sports day. You can't ask clients to reschedule or change important meetings based on a primary school sports day.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Jun-13 17:53:22

I suppose I should put my hands up and say that I have one child with SN and have lost a child (she was 14) so I admit this has totally skewed my way of looking at things.

It may not be the best thing but when I say I just want them to be alive and anything else is an extra, I really do mean it. smile

DS1 decided not to go to university. I had always imagined him and DD would. Unfortunately at the time I should have been pushing his lazy arse I was away looking after DD. He needs a LOT of pushing. I am not sure if Tiger Momma of the Year could have managed it.

He has pretty much dropped out. But he is at least fairly cheerful when I see him now and that is enough. Particularly now he is looking for work.

I would not have believed my standards would have been this 'low' 10 years ago.

I really do want DCs 4 & 5 to be doctors though. Unless DS3's ballet career takes off first grin

Owllady Wed 26-Jun-13 17:57:09

exactly tantrums
I have a severely disabled child so organising days off to attend appointments becomes a higher priority than sports day, for both of us

It's got nothing to do with caring or not caring

Wishihadabs Wed 26-Jun-13 17:57:36

Agreed Tantrums, but I was merely pointing out that some men do care about school events.

Lionessy Wed 26-Jun-13 18:01:59

Ah well, the DTSs sports day next week has just been cancelled due to problems with the astro turf which means that the whole of the school field is out of bounds for all children until at least October hmm. It was only put in at great expense and fanfare 4 years ago!

DH booked a day off work as well as it's their last one at primary. They don't do them at secondary or at least DD's secondary did'nt. I feel rather sad about it sad.

At least we have DS3's to look forward to for the next 7 years!

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 18:03:41

I see it the way owllady does. Although I do think some fathers definitely care.

I just think most fathers show they care by working hard at their careers, which is often more "fun" and also rewarded in ways being "a mum" is not.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 18:06:17

Katy - 3DCs, on your own, battling physical exhaustion every day, only ever realistically being able to do it for one DC anyway ... It sounds like you might fall into the category of "can't be done". Please understand that at no point was I having a pop at you, and certainly not wanting to make you feel bad. I understood the term "welly" to mean "a bit more effort", instead of superhuman effort.

I have been banging on about education, but I think I am educated enough myself to know that there's no point in education for education's sake. As MrsDeVere says, not going to university isn't depressing. Not being able to read a newspaper in a critical fashion, for example, is. The ideal is for everyone to be educated along MrsDeVeres terms. For those who want to and can do more...well, it would make me very happy to know that I had done the necessary to open my - or indeed anyone's - child's mind beyond what they thought were their limits.

camaleon Wed 26-Jun-13 14:33:24
So if you are a teacher, for instance, do you take a day off to go to your child sport's day?

Nope - it's a very rare head indeed who would let a teacher take time off for their own DCs sports day. It costs a school hard cash to get supply in to cover when you should be teaching.

I teach and will be with my class for their sports day but cannot attend that of my own DCs. Nor can I attend their concerts or special assemblies.

DH does what he can to book leave to attend those that I can't get to.

littlewhitebag Wed 26-Jun-13 18:11:05

I hate sports day and never ever go. I go to everything else. My kids have never been bothered in the slightest. They are not competitive and just want to hang out with their friends. I am often on days off on sports day and not tired at all. I just hate it. However if my kids had really wanted me to go i probably would have gone.
Btw kids are age 15 and 20 now and have not suffered in any way by my lack of sports day attendance.

littlewhitebag Wed 26-Jun-13 18:14:56

Oh i realised i lied - i don't go to everything else. I didn't go to speech day or the art show or the Christmas service this year either. Bad mum. grin.

Sports day is one of the things DH is more interested in going to - he's quite sporty and it brings back memories of his own sporting highlights I guess. He tends to leave parents evenings to me, which is fine, as I find a two way convo (or three way if DC there too) is enough to handle.

Also, I think your perspective is very wise MrsDeV. Would be lovely to see one of your DCs as a doctor one day smile But happy is always the first thing.

Wishihadabs Wed 26-Jun-13 18:19:28

I guess we just all do things our own way , I would have dragged myself to sportsday then ordered takeaway for tea.

Like littlewhitebag, my four are now older.. but in the many many years of school I have attended many evening concerts, plays shows, art evenings... but never a sports' day, because I teach elsewhere and can't have time off. Dh is forces and could not have time off.

Our children have made it to young adulthood unscarred by the lack of a cheering parent grin.

Having survived our own school sports' day yesterday I am just glad the bloody thing is over for another year....

birdsofshoreandsea Wed 26-Jun-13 18:26:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

"But, if you are going to be a plasterer, isn't the ideal to be as well educated a plasterer as you possibly can be?"

See, I'm not sure it is. I come from a working class family (in the US) so lots of tradesmen as relatives. A lot of them are what I'd call self-educated, they read the paper, they have hobbies, travel. But I don't think any of them would have benefitted from an Oxbridge education. Or even a typical four-year degree anywhere. They are really practical people, happy working with their hands, happy to learn stuff they're interested in and sod the rest.

I spent a lot of time waitressing when I did postgrad degrees. That level of education did not make me a better waitress than the girl who stopped school at 17 -- or even a happier one.

Education is a big priority for me, but I know lots of people living very creative and alternative lifestyles without going to uni or anything, and it's much more important to me that my son is happy.

(Luckily he's only 3, right now bubbles make him happy so kinda easy!)

LaQueen Wed 26-Jun-13 18:38:06

Hmmm, well with events such as Sports Day, or Parents Evening, Nativites, important sport matches...then, I'd have to be at Death's Door, not to be there.

DH once did a 320 mile round trip, when he was away on business, just to see our DDs in their first nativity together. It was a once in a lifetime thing, and he really wanted to be there.

They're only going to do these things, just a handful of times, really - so, it's encumbent on you, as a parent to be there. And, really it's such a short time, that your DCs will really want you to be there. So you need to enjoy it.

However, this doesn't mean that DH and I dance attendence on our DDs 24/7...not at all. We enjoy our adult weekends away, and we have a good social life with our friends. Sometimes what the DDs want to do, takes back seat to what we need to do, and they understand that.

But, for school type events which I know are important to our DDs, I will move Heaven & Earth to be there...and further more I consider it a privilege to be there, and that they want me to be.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 18:39:02

I went to uni for the fun of it. I enjoyed the challenge of the exams and papers and I was interested in the subject (art history). It hasn't made me a better cleaner!

Wishihadabs Wed 26-Jun-13 18:40:17

Actually was remising with df today having been to dcs sports day on Monday. It brought back such happy memories for me. I should add that we are a sporty lot, Df took me running before school and they always came to cheer me on as did my coach.

Thesunalwayshinesontv Wed 26-Jun-13 19:07:10

dreamingbohemian , katy - an academic education may not make you a better plasterer or cleaner, but it may make you a "better" person. By 'better' I mean all the things that I've indicated an education can provide: mental fulfillment and satisfaction, for example. It can affect the relationships with people in your life for the better. It can provide you with an appreciation of the natural world, people around you, society etc that perhaps only a lifetime of experience might otherwise provide. And so on.

I'm talking about the inherent value of education in life, not (just) about what it can do in terms of earning a living.

littlewhitebag Wed 26-Jun-13 19:09:13

It's all relative really. My kids are not sporty but over the years we have taken them to countless films/shows/ballets/museums/art galleries as this is what they really love. I think i am a pretty encouraging parent, but i still loathe sports day.

littleducks Wed 26-Jun-13 19:28:28

I'm surprised how much sports day is valued. I will be going this year but didn't go to the nativity play shock as my kids dislike it (get bored of rehearsals and having to repeatedly watch other classes bits). I always try really hard for class assemblies as they are really important to them though.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 19:38:37

My sons' school has an assembly every Friday. Ds2 has asked me to go, but I am always working.

I feel bad about it, but it can't be helped.

I am a tiny bit annoyed with the school for holding it and sending text reminders every Friday. It's like they just dream up ways to bug parents. wink grin

Sam937 Wed 26-Jun-13 19:39:55

Sports day is not something they are going to hate you for... I know it may sound harsh but they are going to forget. If you really want to see it get a friend to film it for you. biscuit

scottishmummy Wed 26-Jun-13 19:43:38

I've never been to a sport day I'm working and that just way it is

thesun I'm sorry but I really disagree with your generalisation there.

I'm finishing up a phd, so basically, educated up the wazoo, as we say so vulgarly in America

I don't consider myself a better person than the many, many people I know who never went to university or beyond. Not in any way. Honestly, not at all. On the flip side, I certainly know a lot of highly educated people who are atrocious human beings.

I'm not talking about the material benefits of education either. I'm saying that I think there aren't really any automatic causal connections between education and either happiness or virtue.

Education might make you happier or more fulfilled, but so might many other things. I'm just going to see how my DS turns out and support him best I can.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Jun-13 20:06:45

I agree that putting children first is the right thing to do.
After all if parents don't, who else is going to.
That is not to say they should be spoilt or rule the nest, these are totally different.
I always supported stuff at school they wanted me to. Ds 1 didn't want me to attend sports day so I didn't, ds2 and dd did, so I went, simple as.

tourdefrance Wed 26-Jun-13 20:16:11

To go back to original OP.
Dc need to understand they are not centre of universe. When I was pg with dc2 I had a really bad cold/ flu. I didn't go to the doctors until dc1 caught it. The doctor said " he's fine, what about you? It turned out I had a chest infection and needed antibiotics!!

apatchylass Wed 26-Jun-13 20:36:29

IMO, they come first, because they are not yet capable of putting themselves first and to really thrive, someone has to, and that's usually the parent.

That said, I'd happily skip sports day because DC aren't sporty, but would be gutted if I missed a school play or concert, even if (as is so often the case grin ) they are only banging a spoon against a rainmaker or playing thirteenth sheep in the back row of the nativity. Because drama and music are important to them, it's crucial for them that I'm there, but they have pretty low desire for me to stand around watching them embarrass themselves in the sprint, so I usually just turn up late.

scottishmummy Wed 26-Jun-13 20:44:32

Define come first?is it unilateral attendance at events?is it emotional,physiological?
Pragmatically as parent I weigh up pro/on how achievable the ask is?
No I don't attend every sports day/play.doesn't diminish how I feel about kids,it's just how it is

pointydog Wed 26-Jun-13 20:49:16

It doesn't matter if you miss a sports day.

Although if I was tired, I'd find sports day mind-numbingly relaxing

Bambinocino Wed 26-Jun-13 20:50:28

YANBU Katy - you are a person too and what's good for you is good for your dcs.

FOURBOYSUNDER6 Wed 26-Jun-13 21:14:37

My mum always came to my sports day and I loved her being there cheering me on and giving me her support ( and snacks !!!) I have v happy childhood memories and photos and it meant a lot to me

Sports day is up there along with the reception nativity in my opinion !!!

Imagine if your child won and you are not there to congratulate along with the crowd or if your child is sad to lose and you are not there to comfort ???

It is A massive mile stone in building your child self esteem

The school invite you for a reason !!! It is IMPORTANT

This is very judgemental I know but i think you should have been there. I have 4 very young children and work and would never miss it and I am soooo tired too... I have literally had about a handful of unbroken nights in 7 years .... So it bugs me to hear ' i was tired so did not go'.
Go next time !!!!
Everyone needs to catch up on rest and not become ill with the hard slog of life or resentful with demands of life parenting etc but choose a better moment to catch up on sleep than sports day for goodness sake !!!!

scottishmummy Wed 26-Jun-13 21:24:24

Yes and sometimes parents have to attend to other important priorities
Schools can have an unrealistic expectation of parental availability
Friends film it,tell me how it goes.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Jun-13 21:45:56

I think if the child wants you there and expects it you should be there. If they ask you to go you should move heaven and earth to attend.
I didn't miss one thing at dds school and now she is H.ed i don't miss a performance, concert or show.
I think it is important and your role as a parent, especially if they want you there. The amount of times I saw friends of dd upset because their mum or dad wasn't there, they cried in reception.

Cloudkitten Wed 26-Jun-13 21:55:01

I think it all depends on whether you are usually put them first, if so, then the occasional no-show for various reasons other than work is fine. My mum had a "healthy" hmm no-nonsense disregard for sports days and school fairs and the like, dismissing most of them as unimportant fripperies of life and an irritating inconvenience, and to me as a child it was that attitude that hurt more than the fact she wasn't there. It did not occur to her to look or feel too sorry that she wasn't coming to sports day or whatever, or we weren't going to the school summer fair (I would usually get taken by a schoolfriend's family instead, feeling like a cuckoo in the nest). Granted, sometimes it was because she was working and genuinely couldn't make it, but she didn't even try to look bothered or sorry that she couldn't come. I always felt disconnected from the event if my parents weren't there, like I was a 2nd class student or a poor relation. I guess I just didn't feel very special or worth the effort of attending, especially if she had been off-hand about the event itself.

In conclusion I would say that if you can't make an event, at least try to be genuinely sorry about it (without grovelling of course, which is the other side of the spectrum and just as unhealthy).

I'd like to ask all those who think it is so vital to attend; What do you think teachers should do when we're busy educating your DCs therefore can't attend our own DCs events?

Verycold Wed 26-Jun-13 21:58:37

Hear hear readytoorder, I was wondering the same

LadyRabbit Wed 26-Jun-13 22:03:04

Someone made a point earlier in the thread that the school invite things to something that they consider important. We've also heard from teachers that they notice when the kids whose parents haven't attended feel a bit down about it. Only the other day there was a thread about 'what is the point of school anyway' or something like it. You can't have it both ways. You can't expect a free education and not be prepared to chip in as parents as well. It's not just for the teachers to educate our kids - it takes parents to do it as well.

It's not about having a personal go at the OP - really it isn't - but if we're all intelligent enough adults to bother posting on a contentious post, surely we have the wherewithal to have kids knowing that IT MAKES YOU VERY F***ING TIRED (yes we need to suck it up as the OP said) and it's our job as the responsible adults to make them the centre of the universe for just a little bit in our own lives. Frankly, to do anything else is just a little bit selfish IMO. But that's me, and not everybody is the same.

If we spend such a large part of procreative lives (as women) trying NOT to get pregnant, doesn't that mean we realised it was going to be hard work and tiring beforehand?

And someone also pointed out that love (at least for our children) means putting them first. I'm not saying that about sports day specifically, but in wanting them to achieve as much as they can - not necessarily in terms of money, but ability, in realising their potential.

Don't you want your kids to be healthier, happier, better educated, better off than you are? I know I do. I know my gran, who raised 6 kids in abject poverty did and I thank G-d every day she did because I might never have got to university and got to live in a developed country (unlike my mum) with all these amazing things like free schooling, education etc.

Sorry. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, and it's not about having a go at someone, but this shit is important.

stopprocrastinating Wed 26-Jun-13 22:14:50

My parents would miss sportsday, and even parents evenings (they had the reports). It honestly never did me any harm. They had their own business, which was very successful, and time consuming. I always knew they loved me, and if something meant a lot to me, then they would make the effort to be there. I never liked them watching me play sport, I always played better when they were not around. Same with speach and drama.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Jun-13 22:15:26


of course you can't attend if your work doesn't allow you the time off. It doesn't make the event any less important to the dc, just because a parent is working. I don't think anybody has said anything derogatory against the people working. It is saying that those who can attend should attend, especially if their dc want them to.
I know several parents who don't work, or who were at home on the day and didn't turn up for various events. The dc usually know the hours mum and dad work and if they don't turn up they get upset.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 22:21:29

No, I don't particularly want my kids to be better educated than I am, actually. I too am educated up the wazoo.

It's sports day ffs. Not a proposal to leave them unfed tethered in a concrete yard all weekend. I shall go and applaud DD1's 'performance' in a play on Sunday afternoon because it means a lot to her. I won't however go and hear DD2 in a concert tomorrow because I have a rehearsal of my own. DP has a meeting, related to work and earning money so he won't go either. Oh, and they won't be coming to hear me sing a solo in 10 days' time and I'll cope then too..

niminypiminy Wed 26-Jun-13 22:40:07

I can't remember who said this, think it was the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott (whose work has contributed to ideas about parenting and child development that we nowadays take for granted), that the job of a parent is to disappoint their child -- not all at once, but gradually and in stages.

We need to allow children to learn that they can do without us (and that we can do without them), and they need to be disappointed in us in order to wrench themselves away from us and achieve independence. If your parents always meet your every wish how is it that you can begin to learn to satisfy your needs and desires yourself (and how can you learn to tolerate not getting your wishes met)?

Disappointing your children in little things (like not coming to sports day) is not only inevitable -- you'd have to be completely self-abnegating to a dangerous degree never to disappoint them -- but it may even be an essential part of their development.

Of course you need to put your children first in everything when they are utterly dependent on you. But one's job a a parent is to help them to achieve independence. I wonder sometimes how much the 'putting the child first' is really a way of putting the parent's own need to be needed by their child before the child's actual needs.

ssd Wed 26-Jun-13 22:48:34

op if you cant be arsed dont go but dont dress it up with the I'm so exhausted crap, just admit you cant be arsed

we're all exhausted join the club

ArgyMargy Wed 26-Jun-13 22:53:22

My parents never came to sports day. My children's schools never invited parents to sports days. And I think I am the only person I know whose children's primary school didn't do Nativity. We are all OK.

I would like my son to have a happier and easier life than me, yes. I've had a rough ride actually, and I hope he never sees anything like it.

I don't think that means he has to be better educated or make more money. I find that an extremely narrow viewpoint.

I won't know until he's older whether missing sports day will scar him for life. I suspect the OP knows her children, and knows that not going may have been a bit disappointing but not devastating.

I think there are two separate issues here. First, children have to learn that they don't always come first. Totally agree with this and I try and get my two Ds's to know sometimes we have to do what I want to, watch what I want to etc.

The second issue for me is, is not turning up to sports day teaching them this principle. I am sorry but i don't think they will get the idea that they don't always come first by you not showing up. I don't know your children but i know my own, and if I didn't turn up they would just be disappointed and sad that I wasn't there to watch them.

I am by no means a mummy martyr but to me school events are a must, both for me to see and for my children to see me and know I am there.

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 23:03:43

Oh, come off it with the martyred exhaustion again. Not all parents are exhausted.

auntmargaret Wed 26-Jun-13 23:05:00

I hate Sports day. Wish I had the guts to skip it

motherinferior Wed 26-Jun-13 23:12:03

Being constantly exhausted and sleep deprived is risking your health I a way that is in fact quite irresponsible in a parent. Loads of stuff out there about the links between inadequate sleep and a higher risk of heart disease, for starters. Don't give me this 'exhaustion is part and parcel of parenthood' line.

HomageToCannelloni Wed 26-Jun-13 23:18:33

It would break my kids heart if I missed sports day. I couldn't stand to think of her there with no one to cheer her on, no one to say 'well tried' when she didn't win and scream like a mad woman with glee when she did. I love it as much as she does though. I still remember my sports days when I was little and how proud I was in front of my parents. It's an emotionally charged day for most kids, and an opportunity for them to shine in a different way to academically.
I think you are mad to miss it, but I also think its entirely your right/choice to do so if that's how you feel about it!

DonutForMyself Wed 26-Jun-13 23:22:39

I didn't go to sports day. I had a class at college that I didn't want to miss and had paid for, so I wanted to attend that instead. 2 of my friends in the same class missed it to go to sports day.

As my DCs are a few years apart, one of them was in the morning and the other in the afternoon, so I would have had to spend all day there, watching hundreds of other kids, just to be able to glimpse my DCs from 100m away chucking a bean bag in a hoop.

I love them, I spend half my life putting their needs before mine, but this is not a need. Yes lots of parents were there, probably many of them had taken time off work for the privilege of watching sports day. Hats off to them. Sorry if it makes me a bad mum, but maybe as a SAHM we get blasé about the opportunities to participate in our DC's lives and don't appreciate it all the time.

FWIW I would always go to a play, concert or assembly unless it was totally unavoidable (other DCs being ill etc). Maybe I just don't value the 'sport' they do on sports day as an audience-worthy attraction as much as music etc.

mam29 Wed 26-Jun-13 23:51:30

Blimey everyone has sports day early ours is 24th july last day term so guess i rains cancelled as halls not big enough.

Dd1 school has celebration assembly every friday afternoon 3pm.
we get text night before saying your childs names in it.

then we sit at back and kids look to back see if parents there then they know they getting an award but thats like once a term

Parents evening twice a year usualy 1 of us go as no childcare.

but all the other events.

I have 3

1 primary
1 in nursery
2 in preschool.

=3summer fetes.
1end term disco
1 end term party
2sports days
family bbq/party
end of term mass.

im sure theres something I forgot.

even with 2 its hard with younger siblings.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 26-Jun-13 23:58:04

I have gone to sports days in previous years. If it had been today, I would have gone. But on Monday I was really exhausted. My feet, elbow, and back were aching. Sports day sucks no matter what, but I would go ordinarily.

Why is it bad to say "today, I just want to do the grocery shopping, picked up the youngest from nursery, and then rest a few hours before the busy night ahead?

motherinferior I wish I could like every one of your posts on this thread. Hope you get that child-free holiday real soon wink

I do try to resist the 'all parents must be exhausted' line of thought. Having DS wrecked my health a bit and if I don't take care of myself, I fall apart pretty easily. Marathon, not a sprint, etc and so on.

nooka Thu 27-Jun-13 00:01:07

My sister is frequently exhausted as she has ME. She is so tired she can barely stay up for a few hours before she has to go to bed or she will get very ill. There is tired and there is so tired you really have to go to bed. It sounds to me as if on this occasion the OP veered more toward the later.

I have never been to one of my children's sports days. In the UK because I thought that the school didn't encourage parents to attend and in any case I don't know that it would have been a huge priority. I can't remember any of my own sports days from primary. My mother might or might not have been there. She was at my secondary ones because she taught at my school, but by that time I had very little interest in either the sports or parental support.

We left the UK a few years back, and they don't have sports days where I live now (they have far more PE/sports, but parental attendance is not a part of the picture). I asked them if they had minded me/their dad not being there when they were younger and they both looked blank and asked me what sports days were. I suspect that it's one of those things that might matter at the time, but in the long run is fairly irrelevant.

Plus in my experience schools are terrible at actually letting you know about important events with any sort of notice.

TwasBrillig Thu 27-Jun-13 00:27:52

Attitudes on this thread make me scared to return to teaching. I really don't want my daughter to be the only one with noone to cheer her on, or come to the school play etc. Sigh.

MidniteScribbler Thu 27-Jun-13 03:55:01

The school invite you for a reason !!! It is IMPORTANT

It's completely, utterly and thoroughly UNIMPORTANT!

We need parents to attend parent teacher conferences (or make another time to meet with us), we need them to attend the parents briefing at the start of the year. We need them to make sure they discuss any issues and concerns with us, we need them to send their children in correct uniform, we need them to get their children to school on time, we need them to provide an adequate lunch and snacks.

We do not need parents at sports days, carnivals or any other event unless they are coming to help out. We really don't care about the parents sitting on the hill under their umbrellas sipping chai while the rest of us run around in the sun, wrangling children, making sure everyone has hats and suncream on, stewarding races and trying to work out how we're going to make up the whole day of teaching we're missing out on.

No child is going to be scarred for life because their parent didn't attend sports day. But a parent who found that the pressure of being there waving on the sidelines means that they lose their job and can't afford healthy food and a safe roof over their child's head is going to suffer a lot more.

bigbuttons Thu 27-Jun-13 07:03:04

midnite. I am not scarred for life. But I remember and resent the fact that other kids had their parents at events and I never did.
Some kids don't care one jot, some really, really do.

Think it depends really. If you can't make it you can't and most kids realise that, if you can I think most children (whatever they say) would prefer you to be there. Exhaustion had certainly been part of my life with kids (severely autistic eldest child who often doesn't sleep) & I think I do have to suck it up - not through being a martyr but because I don't want the rest of the family's life defined by autism.

Anyway that aside this year I have a clash. Ds1's mini marathon clashing with ds2 & ds3's sports day. Dilemma - ds3 in particular would always want me at sports day - i couldn't give a stuff but i know it is important to him - and ds2 although he's much more aware of other pressures - but I have done the mini marathon with ds1 for the last 8 years & can't imagine his reaction if I wasn't there. Mainly he wants me to drive him home afterwards & he would feel very cross if he missed that. I tried to suggest I didn't go and er no - that was clearly going to be problematic. Luckily my lovely mum has a day off so she is being sent to sports day (I can explain to ds2 & ds 3) leaving me to head to mini marathon & thus prevent meltdown.

JustinBsMum Thu 27-Jun-13 07:44:12

The prob is that most parents do sports day. So if you don't turn up your DCs might be sad if it seems everyone else's can make it.
Not much mention on here of DFs doing sports day but it might be a good opportunity for them to step in.
What DCs want most is a happy DM, not really an exhausted or tired, or martyred one, and would, I think be happy to see DM doing something she loves instead of doing something for them. But staying home exhausted isn't that, however, they are around for roughly 18 years so one sports day is nothing really.
I was a bit of a martyred mum but now wish I had been more of an 'actively doing stuff for me' mum and not always prioritising them, it would have given them a healthier balanced view of life imo.

I missed sport's day this year. I am going through my annual leave at a shocking rate and couldn't risk taking the day off only for it to be rained off like last year. It is a shame 'cos it was DS's last primary sports day and I was quite gutted, but they actually didn't seem to mind. In fact I've only been to one sport's day due to work and they didn't seem to care that I was there on that occasion either.
I do feel slightly guilty about my lack of parental involvement in school but as a single parent I think ensuring we have an income is pretty important too!

All parents are not "exhausted"
That's simply not true.
I'm not exhausted. I am tired sometimes but not in a permanent state of exhaustion.

For everyone that goes to every event at school because they want to and are able to-obviously that's your choice.

I don't go to everything. I missed sports day but I took a half day yesterday to go to ds2 district sports.
I go to what I can.

I think it's lovely that the schools encourage parents to come to these things. I don't think it's quite so lovely for me when an event is at 11:30am because I can't go in to work and have a half day, or go in my lunch break, or do anything at all because I can't take a day off for a 15 minute event.

But I think we might need to remember these events are not compulsory for parents. I view it as an invitation. If I can go, good. If not, that's life isn't it?

My children know this, they know I will make every effort to get to important things but sometimes I can't.

I don't see the sense of dragging yourself to an event if you are tired, not feeling well and your DCs are not that bothered.

It doesn't help that at every school there are parents, like those on this thread who will make sure they are in every event, whether they are busy, or ill, or tired and make a point of bringing it up and making a drama out of it to the parents who didnt attend.

mignonette Thu 27-Jun-13 08:19:02

I do not always put my children first. It is about priorities. What is the most important to your child. What do you need to most do or be? When they were little they sometimes did not want me to go out for an evening out or they would moan when I went to work. Putting them first does not mean doing what they ask for.

Not always putting the children first does not mean you are keeping them tethered in a cupboard. You are not a bad Mother or father. It doesn't mean they are neglected or hard done by.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Thu 27-Jun-13 08:21:47

I am now nearing 40. When I was at primary school, almost all of our mums were SAHMs. And many of us were not well-off families by any means. Relatively rural, not loads of jobs going spare, but mums seemed to stay at home until we were off at secondary school and then they got part-time jobs. My mum came to sports days but never my dad. His work was such that it wasn't feasible. Did I mind? No.

When I went to secondary school, neither parent came to sports day. School was 15 miles away, not on bus route (except schools bus) and dad needed the car for work. Did I mind? No.

Because I fucking hated sports! I was very lucky and had a great childhood with a lot of social stuff. Did my parents come to everything? No. Did I mind? No. They would tell me why they couldn't. And I excepted it. Even being an only child, I didn't mind if I didn't have a parent there. I just wanted to enjoy myself!

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Thu 27-Jun-13 08:22:47

*accepted not excepted. Oops.

LadyInDisguise Thu 27-Jun-13 09:16:23

Not all parents are exhausted.
Being constantly exhausted and sleep deprived is risking your health I a way that is in fact quite irresponsible in a parent. Loads of stuff out there about the links between inadequate sleep and a higher risk of heart disease, for starters. Don't give me this 'exhaustion is part and parcel of parenthood' line.

Can't agree more BUT it doesn't mean that some parents aren't actually exhausted what they OP describes IS exhaustion.
Usually the sort of thing that is creeping up after years and years of doing too much and not taking care of yourself. Sometimes because the person doesn't see it, sometimes because they don't have the choice.

But the reality is that when you finally do realize what's going on or you do suffer from these symptoms of exhaustion, then the only 'right thing' to do is to take care of yourself and to sleep/rest when you need it to.

I confess that so far I have only read the first two pages of this thread, but my opinion FWIW:

I had 'detached' parents. Disinterested. I have no recollection of them attending any sports days, school performances. They're the same now, they don't go to any of my children's things.
I do resent that. I resent that they weren't interested in me. And when I hear other people say 'Oh, he was a great dad, he was always there for me', I think how nice that must have been.

The bottom line is that although your kids may not register NOW that you're always there for them, if you're NOT, they'll remember it later. I want my children to always know that I was involved, interested, attached.

That doesn't mean I prioritise their every tiny want over my own plans, work, needs. But it does mean that I try to recognise the important stuff, and make sure I'm there for that.

lainiekazan Thu 27-Jun-13 09:39:51

I agree with Flouncy. Dh still talks about the time his parents didn't come to see him in the main part in a school concert because it was his mother's dinner dance. And this wasn't a one off. Mil always put herself first.

If your kids are blah about sports day, then it's fine to give it a miss. I always do. My dcs hate sports day with a passion only matched by my hatred of my own many years ago, so they are absolutely indifferent to my attendance.

Otoh, ds was very upset when I missed an assembly once that he had a speaking part in.

So, basically, read the mood of the child. Yes, there are some parents who go to everything because they like hanging round the school like a bad smell, but if you can't manage to reach their dizzy heights of involvement, just make sure you step up to the plate when your child really wants you to.

Wishihadabs Thu 27-Jun-13 09:59:44

Don't give me this exhaustion is part and parcel of parenthood. Exhaustion is part and parcel of life IMO. My general health is much better since becoming a parent, I drink less, I sleep more and I take more exercise. Better to get up after a night shift and go to sports day then get 10 straight hours that night, than sleep all day and hit the pub at 5:30pm as I did pre-dcs.

Lasvegas Thu 27-Jun-13 10:11:36

I went to sports day, even though I had had a gynae op the day before and bed rest advised. Sports day is only 7 times, I only have one child. I always take annual leave to attend sports day, and school music performances and plays. I love seeing my child. I do put my child above my own emotional and health needs. I TTC for 4 years, so i feel so lucky to have a child.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 10:23:39

I think detached parents are simply detached, and not attending school events is just one symptom of that. A loving an engaged parent who can't make it, or misses the occasional thing is not going to make the child feel unloved.

I would even say that a loving parent who shows their interest in other ways can simply say "I am never going to sports day because I hate it" and the kid will be fine.

But I would think it odd if the parents felt that way about all school events.

Someone on this thread does lots of recitals and concerts, but never sports day. I seriously doubt her kids are hurt by this.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 10:25:25

Lasvegas, what you describe in your post is not laudable in the least. I can sympathise with your feelings, but I don't think it's healthy and, therefore, possibly not really good parenting.

TroublesomeEx Thu 27-Jun-13 10:29:23

I don't think it's healthy either!

I feel lucky to have both of my children but I wouldn't risk making myself seriously ill.

Always putting your child above your own emotional and health needs is a bit of a red flag tbh. If you neglect your own needs, your child is the one who will ultimately suffer - especially if you're either incredibly unhappy or end up being admitted to hospital.

Lasvegas what you describe isn't admirable, it's irresponsible.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 10:31:24

I don't want to be too hard on Lasvegas. I mean, she is clearly a good mum. I just think that what she described is a poor choice, and short sighted.

TroublesomeEx Thu 27-Jun-13 10:36:17

I don't want to be hard on her either, but I still think it's irresponsible.

camaleon Thu 27-Jun-13 10:36:32

Thank you for answering me ReadytoorderSir. I am pretty amazed about the importance some parents(mothers) put onto sports day and the pressumption that you should go to incredible lenghts to attend. In my book, asking for a day off at work is quite a big thing, mainly when you have kids who get ill or have many holidays that you have to cover up for too.

If you only have one child and a very flexible work, or you work at home, this may be a reasonable expectation.

Otherwise I am pretty much on line with Midnitescribber here about the real important things. If you are scared for life because your parents did not attend sports day, my guess is that there are other problems on how you were brought up, and the expectations you put on yourselves and other parents.

And it also means that some professionals, such as teachers, mainly if they are single or have a partner with problems to take time off from work, are all damaging their own kids being unable to attend other schools' performances.

TroublesomeEx Thu 27-Jun-13 10:36:49

She needs to make sure she's looking after herself too. That's the best way of being the best parent we can be.

TwasBrillig Thu 27-Jun-13 10:40:40

That's why I'm reticent to return to teaching! I really don't want my child to be the only one with noone there for sports day etc. I do think around here at least where everyone has someone, that a child would be upset.

There seems to be a bigger emphasis on home school partnership and parents coming in at the moment too. I'd like to return to work as a teacher but I guess yes, I do think its important to have someone there.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 10:46:08

You would seriously give up your career over sports days? hmm

I find it hard to believe that every child at the schedule has a sahp who can attend everything.

At worst, your child will be disappointed that you can't make it, but if you love and support her, she will understand.

Giving up on a career just to avoid disappointment of even the most trivial sort is as irresponsible and short sighted as ignoring doctor's orders to attend the event.

It is bad parenting, not good.

Also, what about your partner? Maybe he should give up his career?

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 10:46:33

School, not schedule. blush

MatersMate Thu 27-Jun-13 10:50:27

I'm a SAHM with 2 dc and I go to everything, but this will be my first sports day and I'm petrified they are going to make me do some sort of race, is this the general norm at sports days? I absolutely couldn't face it, and may not go if it's the case sad

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 10:51:48

Borrow a pair of crutches and claim a twisted ankle? wink

MatersMate Thu 27-Jun-13 10:54:28

I like your thinking Katy, but my ds is honest to a fault, he'd grass me up for sure smile

camaleon Thu 27-Jun-13 10:56:07

Or tell your kids you hate sports day. You did your share when you were a child and are happy enough for once to be able to miss it.
If you go to everything else, is it bad to teach your kids that sometimes you don't do something just because it is really hard for you to do it?

We want our kids to be able to stand up for themselves. To be confident and to be able to say 'no' when they feel very uncomfortable doing something. It is your child sport's day. Not yours.

Sorry can't say I've read all the posts on here because some are just making me angry
I'm a pt time sahm, with three kids -primary/nursery age.

I choose whether or not I attend sports days/assemblies blargh blargh blargh on the balance of whatever else is going on at home & work.

Event attendance does not = putting kids first.

Clearly some people turn up for the sake of being seen to be there - by other parents - because it's an important part to play in the Parent Of The Year contest.

Event attendance is also not necessarily an important way to show your kids love. However, increasingly around here where we live there's a notion that attending/being involved with school events is perhaps only one down from making sure your kids are fed and clothed. hmm angry
<end rant>

Teaandflapjacks Thu 27-Jun-13 11:40:58

Katy I adore my parents - me and my siblings all do - and they are now wonderful grandparents to my sisters kids, and soon to be to my first little one. I have absolutely no idea if they came to sports day or not as a child. BUT I do remember the little things - like my mum, in the summer, even though when were short of money, bringing us little drinks when it was hot at the end of school - in case we were thirsty. It is the little things that show this every day that counts I think. We were quite resilient kids - has stood us all well in life. Also I have friends from Oxbridge - TBH a lot of them have found it really hard to get work after. It sounds glam, but a decent useful degree going into a secure prof can be more useful IMO. It CAN be awesome too - but it certainly wont scar them not going, conversely over pushy parenting can do - you sound like a wonderful mother BTW. xx

MissStrawberry Thu 27-Jun-13 11:48:37

My parents never went to anything at all. I was always the kid without anyone there as foster carers didn't bother. Maybe that is why I go to everything confused.

livinginwonderland Thu 27-Jun-13 11:56:19

I think kids need to learn that parents can be at their beck and call all the time. My parents went to the important things - concerts I was performing in, and big school plays (my dad would go one night and my mum the next, for example, so I always had someone there), but both my parents worked full-time and couldn't take mornings off to come to tea/coffee mornings or open days or shows of my work in school.

Honestly, I preferred it. It meant they saved their holidays for when I wasn't in school and I got quality time with them for a week or two at a time each summer. That's more important to me, imo.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 12:01:39

MissStrawberry, I think it's normal to overcompensate for things we lacked as a child. Not that you are OVER compensating.

My parents were very, very thrifty and my mum never bought any junk food or sweets. And while they sent me to art camps and funded music lessons, they never spent money on trivial treats and all of my clothes came from charity shops because my mum thought fashion for children was silly.

So, guess who now gives her kids lots of "treats" ranging from sweets to comic books to whatever catches the kid's eye? blush

Goldenbear Thu 27-Jun-13 13:18:49

Showmethemummy, speak for yourself- I don't go to sports day to compete in some imagined 'Parent competition', I am going as my DS YR 1 is very excited that he has beaten one of the fastest boys in a running race in the practice sports day and he wants me to witness it if it happens again. I am a SAHM mostly although have recently taken some work on and it's not going to be a problem for me to go with my 2 year old DD, who will probably want to join in everything but so what- I'll cope. They have a toddler race at the end of the event and DS is desperate for DD to take part. My DP often works late and is turning up to watch Sports day as time off in lieu. He is doing this to watch his son on Sports day, to make him happy, believe me he has absolutely no interest in what the other parents think of him as a father. I equally do not care what people think about my attendance.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 13:30:31

Goldenbear, someone else very early in the thread said that they do worry about what other mums think. Don't take it personally.

I don't care about the other mums, and will even go so far as to say that I avoid interaction with them at the school gate. But, I think I have ishoos wink.

It was hard not to feel judged and found wanting last year with people texting me what a shame it was that I couldnt go and how the were cheering for my ds.

I think the parents who go to everything know who is there or not.

Goldenbear Thu 27-Jun-13 13:48:47

I avoid interaction at the school gates to and am very anti-social as I never have a clue what to say to people and exude awkwardness. Despite this I have parents approach me as my DS is very sociable and he is friends with their children. This is why I take umbrage at people saying that parents' sole reason for attending these events is to look devoted- it isn't!

Lasvegas Thu 27-Jun-13 13:53:24

Katy and Folk girl, I am no good at bed rest. If it wasn't sports day and I had not taken annual leave I would have worked from home. I took a deck chair which another mum kindly carried around the events for me. The other mums got me drinks. I had more help and sympathy and advice about heavy periods at sports day than i would have done stuck at home on my own.

syl1985 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:02:37

I think it all depends on how important it would be for your children to be there.
As a child I never really liked sports day. It was ok, but not the highlight of my life.

I did like it that my mum was there. But if she wasn't... I didn't care about that either. I was ok with both options.

If you're really tired and you really need a rest and the kids don't mind. Then take your rest.
If it'd really hurt the children if you aren't there to watch them. Then try to make it as easy for you as possible. And go and watch them.

motherinferior Thu 27-Jun-13 14:04:11

Oh, I love the school gate. I have many very lovely friends I have acquired there. I am madly sociable, and linger at school drop-off/pickup for a chat. I just don't like sports day.

golden - i do speak for myself, and am happy to stand by my opinion and my post, in which I clearly say that some turn up for the sake of other parents.

syl1985 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:13:53


You're so right about that what we lacked as a child we often overcompensate as parents.

I didn't had a lot of toys as a child. My parents didn't thought that was important for a child to have enough to play with.
Of the things that I had a lot of it was either broken, no working batteries, puzzles with missing pieces etc.

Now it drives me up the wall when I see that a piece of a puzzle is missing. When a toy is broken, battery need to be replaced etc.

It all needs to be fixed asap.
Then when they are done with playing the toys needs to go back in the toy box. Ready to play for next time.

I've got family games and I just love playing them with the kids. (they love that too)
Same thing, my parents barely did that with me.

show I agree with you.
I know these parents. They like to make it in to a 3 ring circus that they are at every single event

They also make a point of feeling sorry for the DCs who's parents have to work.

amazingmumof6 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:17:33

ok here's the options I might go for, depending on situation, whether other kids etc

a, go and enjoy
b, stay home, no guilt
c, show up, say hello & show support then go, must tell kid I'm only popping in. no guilt

any of these are fine.

what I wouldn't do is go & grumble nor would I stay home and feel guilty.

YABU for feeling guilty.
staying home to avoid getting ill or run down is fine. you'll go next time. cheer up smile


amazingmumof6 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:22:25

read a bit of the thread

my eldest is almost 12.
it has never occurred to me to go to show up for other parents.shock confused
How very odd would that be.

Goldenbear Thu 27-Jun-13 14:23:08

Well my eldest is only in YR1 so maybe im unaware of these parents because I've only been to one sports day. I have noticed annoying parents but I would imagine they were annoying prior to DC and continue to be so as parents. I cannot read minds so I don't know what motivates people to attend events at school.

GoodMorningMoon Thu 27-Jun-13 14:26:28

In this particular situation, I'd say YANBU. Sports Day isn't the be all and end all for lots of kids. Generally, I definitely think it shouldn't be. But especially for kids who don't care one way or the other.

Clothes, food, a roof over their heads and someone who
Loves them; these are what children need. If a parent does all of these things, then he or she is putting children first.

But a burnt out parent, going through the motions,
draining his or her energy just because "it must be done" does not a healthy parent or child make.

amazingmumof6 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:28:25

tantrums about the texting -I would've felt judged and wishing I had gone.

but I assume they cared.
such a double edged sword, isn't it?

yes some people do the spreadsheeting. best ignore them

<opens file on tantrums. one sportsday missed.
OP ditto
MUST read full thread...grin >

OddBodd Thu 27-Jun-13 14:30:16

I agree partly with your OP about women feeling rentful and taking too much on. I am one of those women who have struggled with parenthood, I am tired, resentful and bored out of my mind. However, I think it's very sad the number of women on here who think that going to an event means you're putting your child first. For me it's never about 'he'll be upset if I don't make myself go', but more I WANT to go and see his achievements. I love standing in the cold watching him run, seeing his face as he tries to throw bean bags through a hoop. I wouldn't miss it for the world. I ENJOY watching DS1's spots day and would never ever miss it because I was tired. In fact I'd stand in the pissing rain if I got to see him happy and enjoying something... if you don't enjoy seeing it then I don't think that makes you a bad parent or means you're not putting your children first. Perhaps you just enjoy a different part of parenting. No guilt necessary.

OddBodd Thu 27-Jun-13 14:31:49

resentful not rentful!

Mumsyblouse Thu 27-Jun-13 14:32:16

My husband doesn't attend sports day 9 times out of 10. If he had a day off or wasn't working away then he might go along, but he might not. No-one asks him why or expects him to be there. I don't think he feels guilty or wonders whether to reschedule his life to achieve this, or doesn't take up a job (incredible!) as he won't be around for them on these few days a year. Nor would anyone judge him as a father on this attendance.

takeaway2 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:47:33

I went to the first hour of my son's first sports day. I had a train to London to catch for work reasons. My husband went to the other hour (but there was an hour in between when DS was 'all alone').... It was totally fine. Friends of ours took pictures and videos for us. DS isn't scarred I don't think. I think it's important that he knows that he is still loved unconditionally whether we attend sports day or not.

Frankly, I think there's such a big deal made of all these events (baking cakes for the cake sale, volunteering for the summer fete) it's almost a full time job being a school mum!

cassgate Thu 27-Jun-13 14:53:13

Haven't read all the thread but I don't think this is just about missing school events. I really think that childrens lives are becoming increasingly micro managed to such an extent that its this that causes parents to burn out. I am a sahm and I do attend all school events but I refuse to allow my kids to do every club and activity going. If I did I would be ferrying them about every single day after school and at weekends. Instead, they get to pick 1 after school activity each and they do swimming lessons at the weekends. This week dd has said she wants to go to the same drama group as one of her friends from september. Fine I said but that means you will have to give up dancing as you can't do both even if its on different days. She has decided she would rather carry on with the dancing as she is good at it and prefers it to acting and singing. I refuse to be run ragged by the dc's, unlike a friend of mine. She seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown because on top of working 3 days a week she has 3dc's to ferry to various activities on the remaining 2 days after school and the whole of her weekends are taken up doing activities with them as well. Her life is chaotic and not one I would choose for myself. Interesting, she still feels she should be doing more for them so she is increasing her working hours to get more money so she can do more with them.

takeaway2 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:55:28

I know EXACTLY the sort of mum some of you are referring to. There was one time my son had thought that I was doing the 'stay and play' session at school at 3pm. Obviously I didn't turn up (there was never even a chat about it - I had no idea)... he got picked up by another boy's mum and off they went to their house to play. All ok. That mum didn't even say anything to me because it was NOT A BIG DEAL. My son did mention it that evening, I apologised but said I didn't know we were doing 'stay and play' and said that I was at work etc. He understood.. crisis over... OR SO I THOUGHT.

The next day, the nosy annoying mum came up to me (she hardly speaks to me) and said 'oh takeaway, it was such a pity to see your DS's sad face yesterday when he realised that you were not should have come'. I said to her 'I didn't know there was stay and play, and we didn't even talk about it'. 'oh but his face was so sad. He looked so broken...'. FFS!

Personally I think you could let her go to her friend's drama group as well as dancing cass - it might be good for her confidence ?! Two groups a week plus the weekend swim ?
Mind you I agree the DCs can't do everything (so much on offer),
- and I've asked mine to choose between activities sometimes as well.

LaQueen Thu 27-Jun-13 15:21:04

DH grew up, with a father who never, ever went to anything ...even, when DH grew older, and at grammar school 3 sports at county level, his father never, ever went to watch him play (when any other normal father would have been bursting with pride).

DH never says anything, but I know it cut very, very deep. And, I strongly suspect that's why he moves Heaven & Earth to be there for our DDs, at school/team events.

But, then he does have the luxury of being able to largely dictate his work diary.

cerealqueen Thu 27-Jun-13 15:22:52

Children need to be bored, then they have to think of something to do to entertain themselves.

LaQueen Thu 27-Jun-13 15:24:22

"I said to her 'I didn't know there was stay and play, and we didn't even talk about it'. 'oh but his face was so sad. He looked so broken...'. FFS!"

Oh FFS... take if I'd have been you, I would have assumed an expression of utter alarm, clutched my pearls and said 'Oh my God, I had no idea...I feel so incredibly guilty...I'm going home right now, to make him an appointment with a child psychologist - God only knows what emotional damage he has suffered'

And, then I'd throw my head back and roar with laughing grin

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 27-Jun-13 15:25:56

juggling if cass doesn't want to do two activities a week, why should she?

Maybe it cuts into her telly watching time? Or just generally is more than she wants to do. So what if it could be good for the daughter's confidence. I'm sure dance is, too.

Not everyone wants to be "juggling". wink

amazingmumof6 Thu 27-Jun-13 15:37:40

cereal I agree.
being bored every now and then is ok - bit of head space etc.

also if mine pester me coz they are bored I tell them to dust the book shelf.
interestingly they can immediately think of something better to do grin

cassgate Thu 27-Jun-13 16:06:56

Juggling - Trust me my dd is not lacking in confidence - far from it. She was in a dance show at the local civic theatre last weekend and is the narrator in the KS2 performance of the wizard of oz at the end of term. She has a grade 2 ballet exam in 2 weeks and has extra lessons this weekend and next week for that. She is training for the bronze medal in swimming. The point is that for me having time at home is just as important. We have just got home from school and both dc's are happily playing in the garden, my friends kids never go in the garden because they are never at home. My friend is constantly frazzled and her life chaotic to the point that she is at breaking point - yet she still wants to do more with the kids. Why. If I allow dd to do the drama group then I have to allow ds the opportunity to do something else as well. At the moment dd does dancing on a monday, ds football on a wednesday and they both swim on saturday morning. The drama group in on a tuesday so theoretically we can fit it in but if ds wants to do something else on say a thursday or friday then that leaves just 1 night a week to do homework. Both dc's get homework on monday to be handed in on friday. To my mind that is too much running around especially as I don't drive and for the sake of fareness and sanity I limit activities to 1 each during the week.

Interestingly, neither myself or the kids are ever ill. Both kids have had 100% attendance at school for the last 2 years and the year before that were only off for 5 days each due to chicken pox. Perhaps there is something to be said for having more time at home.

takeaway2 Thu 27-Jun-13 16:15:53

LaQueen - can you be our class rep?!?! grin

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Jun-13 16:29:24

Some dc thrive through activity others through academia, they are all different.
My dd is the former and until recently didn't have a night off at all. Now she has activities on sat, tues, thurs and hopefully wed as well from september.
I don't think there is any magic number of the right or wrong amount of activities or classes your dc decide to do. its really more about how parents wish to manage the family time and how much they intend to pay.

LaQueen Thu 27-Jun-13 16:37:53

Totally agree on letting children be bored from time to time...over the years have observed too many children being relentlessly whisked and hurled from one activity after another...

And, even whilst being taxied everywhere, no downtime can ever be allowed...DVD players are activated the moment the children get in the car.

The moment they get home they're plugged into something...or, quick...quick let's get the baking things out...rush...rush...let's engineer a scale version of the Eiffel Tower...faster...faster...let's build/colour/smash/mould/crayon/paint/glitter/dig/spray something...anything...hurry! Hurry!

These children's head are buzzing and they are alternatively wired and exhausted. At no point in their busy, busy, busy day are they allowed to absorb anything, or filter anything, or ponder on anything.

And, they reach the age of 7/8/9 utterly unable to occupy themselves for even 15 minutes.

lainiekazan Thu 27-Jun-13 18:00:02

[Bursts with slacker pride as I hear dcs rampaging round sitting room pretending to be walruses whilst I MN. Although they are 14 and 9 blush ]

snowprincess1 Thu 27-Jun-13 18:46:26

cassgate is absolutely correct. We are mollycoddling children nowadays it is ridiculous. Life is about balance. Keeping up with the Joneses is another one.

Driving ourselves into the ground is insanity. Quality is what is important. If you don't look after yourself how can you look after your children.

Jellybeanz1 Thu 27-Jun-13 18:54:27

I didn't go last year as I'm usually working and my DD came home with loads of gold 1st place stickers. I felt shocked coz I didn't know she was any good! This year both dc are at the same school so I went. The sun was shining, P T A did great tea cakes and coffee and kids got lots of stickers and cheers ( especially when my DS finished the 150 m and carried on running, joining in with the 600 m! ) lol but lots of cheers from other parents is soo supportive. It might be the last time we can both go and watch them together but it was a great day to

Also do agree with keeping a couple of school nights activity free to keep on top of homework situation cass, and if you don't drive then of course it's sensible to take that into account too.
Thinking about it my DC do several activities together which means you kill two birds with one stone as it were.

Goldenbear Thu 27-Jun-13 19:04:05

That's the thing though I don't think it's 'these days', I think it's just about becoming a parent and coming to terms with the limitations and efforts involved in being one. My DS didn't sleep through the night until he was 4.5, at the time I remember my Mum being able to show great understanding as did my Dad, come to think of it because my brother had been very similar. Equally, I along with my brother and many of our peers were ferryed around to regional Cello and Piano competitions, music lessons, dancing classes, football practice and matches on Sunday mornings, tennis club. So IME I don't believe prioritising your child is anything new.

wordfactory Thu 27-Jun-13 19:05:15

takeaway there were a couple of Mums like that in my DC's primary school; always seeing sadness and damage in perfectly lovely well loved and cared for DC.

One would link any problem to the fact that the Mother worked. She didn't know I worked from home so would tell me these stories expecting a kindred spirit. She once even asked me if I'dnoticed that all the DC with dyslexia had working mothers shock...

scottishmummy Thu 27-Jun-13 19:35:20

Ahhh yes like the mum who told me dc cried at sport day,inconsolably sobbing where's mummy
Clearly mixing it,and being provocative.such a shame I work,missing precious moment
Not knowing they'd spent day with another mother and shed filmed whole event

Mindyourownbusiness Thu 27-Jun-13 19:56:24

Not directing this at you by any means at all OP but my DH (a builder) is working on a school atm in a very very 'naice' area (state school but one very sought after where mums rush from the maternity ward to put their childs name down grin )

One day he was talking to a lady there and asked her if she was a teacher and she said no she was a counsellor for pupils having problems.

My DH expressed surprise at the need for this in 'Naiceareaville' and said surely the children here are all really well cared for, housed, plenty of activities funded etc etc.

The lady assured him she was very much needed and utilised as many of the parents are money rich, time poor and just throw the latest phone or game at their kids instead of spending time with them or whatever when really all they need is a hug ,or some affection. sad

I repeatI am not suggesting this is you OP ! just making a point.

LaQueen Thu 27-Jun-13 20:36:11

Ah, yes Word I know someone just like this. Just like it.

And, after 7 years of knowing them, I have come to the conclusion that they (for whatever sad, sick, twisted reason) actively want to think of your child as being upset, insecure, sad, unhappy, struggling...

I'm no psychologist, but can only assume that it's some kind of weirdy transference, which actually reflects the generally unhappy nature of their own life?

takeaway2 Thu 27-Jun-13 20:36:56

word incredible isn't it? This same woman made a huge fuss when it was non-uniform day and she'd forgotten (so kid was in uniform). Coincidentally so was my son (I'd forgotten too). I just said 'oh well it's ok. It's school. They should wear uniform' and left it. My son was cool. He did bring in his gift for the tombola though (yes I remembered the prize but forgot the so called incentive of not wearing uniform!!!).

Her dd on the other hand was bereft at wearing her uniform and it was mostly because she kept going on about the damn uniform and that mummy was sorry and how bad it was etc. ffs woman! Get a grip!

LaQueen Thu 27-Jun-13 20:40:33

Ah, I've just remembered something.

DD2's godmother, trained as a psychologist. And I remember her saying that this type of person (like your woman take) who is constantly excessively apologising for everything, and anything, and over-reacting to really, very innocuous things - is probably feeling very, very sorry for themselves (for whatever reason).

And, they behave like this, because (typically) others around them will reassure/console them, and give them positive attention...and that's what the person craves.

takeaway2 Thu 27-Jun-13 21:22:09

Sounds about right. I don't have time for her though. Or more specifically I don't have time for her antics. I really don't. I barely have time to have toilet time (hence why I'm constipated!!). grin

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 27-Jun-13 22:41:18

I missed DS's sports day last year. It coincided with a conference call that I couldn't get out of ( or perhaps with hindsight I could have just said I wasn't dialling in). DH went, so no problem thought I, assuming it would be like the nursery one where they all did group things and if any child managed to cross the line it was a blinkin miracle.

Well DH texted me that DS won his first race, then another for his second, then his third and fourth. Clean sweep in all his races and I wasn't there to see it. Yes I had it recorded by DH and I'm sure DS was happy because DH was there.

But I wasn't there and I had to put myself on mute from the conference and go to the loos and have a few moments to myself - which probably makes me sound really wet, but what do I care. It has become my line in the sand, where I will be there no matter what. This year both DH and I were there (DH attends all parents evenings and we both try to go to other events or split them 50/50). DS did well, but wasn't quite as successful as last year.

Maybe for the OPs kids sports day isn't that important, maybe they aren't bothered if she is there. But I know that this stuff matters to DS, he always wants me to help on Beaver outings or be present where I can and I want to as well.

I don't think it's right to be a martyr - I changed my hours, but deliberately kept DS in afterschool two days a week, although strictly speaking he only needs to be in for one, but I use that other couple of hours after work to go to the gym/do household shopping or just have a wee bit of time to myself. Means that Dh gets to exercise in the evenings and I'm not trying to squeeze in my sessions as well.

amazingmumof6 Thu 27-Jun-13 22:58:11

She once even asked me if I'd noticed that all the DC with dyslexia had working mothers

Word Am I allowed to quote that as fact from now on, please? grin

how ridiculous....

conorsrockers Thu 27-Jun-13 23:41:56

Everyone's priorities are different.
I work f/t running my own business but have missed few school events or matches, simply because I WANT to be there. I love seeing what they have achieved and celebrating with them. Craft day was my favourite when they were little smile I regularly lose a nights sleep to catch up on what I missed during the day while the kids are sleeping - I won't work when they are with me. They'll be grown up soon and I don't want to miss a thing, so I won't have Nannies etc.... I insist on doing it myself, and what I sacrifice is 'me' time. But I don't feel I need it. I am probably like this because my Mum was like you. She found any excuse not to come to anything that didn't interest her. I made out I didn't care, but inside my heart was breaking hmm

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 08:37:46

If you're regularly losing a night's sleep you're putting your health at serious risk. That's your choice, but it's not one I'm willing to make. I would in any case be unable to focus on sports day for exhaustion. Let alone work (which I consider rather more important than sports day...)

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 08:47:32

amazingmum you may indeed co-op this story. The more the merrier.

Hilariously, said Mum didn't even bat an eyelid when I told her that I am dyslexic grin...

And somehting takeway said earlier rang true to me. The word bereft. Dyslexia Mum and her DC were always bereft. Never a bit peed off. Or a bit grumpy. Always bereft. And she would tell me this, with a look on her face that made it quite clear I was meant to undertsnad the enormity of the situation.

I wonder how on earth folk like this react to real life, like, you know, actual problems...

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 28-Jun-13 08:50:16

I wouldn't voluntarily skip sleep for anything. However I do think it's important to be there. One of the mums is the hr director at a huge company her dh works ft as well. Yet she was there for sports day and I see her dropping them off and picking up from after school.
Bottom line is if you can't be there because of work then fair enough, but if you aren't there because you're a bit tired or your feet hurt then personally I think that's a bit disappointing for the child.

It's not always disappointing for the child though is it?

If they are not that fussed if you are there or not?
Ds1 has district sports today. He is 14
I asked if he wanted me to come. He said no.

I was quietly relieved.

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 09:39:27

But theoriginal surely that super successful mum has a great deal more control over he working hours than a mum who has to fit in her shifts at Iceland?

Or someone on zero hours contract?

So I don't really see her as an example of 'if she can do it we all can' IYSWIM.


This all comes down to the child and the parent involved. Some kids really do not give two tosses if their parents are at sports day. If you have a child who would be upset it is difficult to imagine that.

I think most of us do our best. I have been going to various primary events for over 16 years and DC5 still hasn't started school yet.

Not one incident comes to mind where I have though 'awww poor kid, s/he looks really sad without mum/dad here'

My priority is to be able to drop the children off and pick them up. For some its to go to all the events and for others its really just having to pay the rent and anything on top of that is a bonus.

I didn't go to school events for at least a year at one point. They were too painful. DS2 doesn't remember.

conorsrockers Fri 28-Jun-13 09:49:32

MrsDeVere - you are absolutely right and that is the beauty of being the boss. That said, I positively encourage my employees to attend their children's events, both Mums and Dads if they are in work hours.

Of course we have kids at school whose parents just cannot make it and in those cases we all rally around, make a fuss and take pictures to email to Mum. But not turning up because you are tired? Just don't get it.

And as for lack of sleep - 3 kids in 5 years with a DH who works away - I had to learn to function on no sleep, I am sure I'm not the only one...!

amazingmumof6 Fri 28-Jun-13 09:54:28

word - was this mum a SAHM then? doesn't matter actually. what matters is that she was being a dick

what bugs me is that even if she was right about the dyslexia thing - how is that helpful?
Isn't it bad enough to have to deal with a dyslexic child's emotional and practical needs - because it is extra energy, time, money etc - why make a parent feel guilty?

we all try to do the best for our children. whether SAHM or WOHM, bf ot ff, purees or BLW and so on - I think it would be much better if people could feel that whatever they are doing their choices are respected.

yes, there are some odd cookies, but even they think they are doing what's best, so why make each other feel worse or guilty?
Agree to disagree is such a good thing - and so is trying to understand the other person.

I hate self-righteousness, such a horrid attitude.

If the outcome of something really doesn't matter either way, I much prefer to be kind instead of being right.

but yes, thanks for permission, that quote is going in my Fake Facts collection.
like my friend's drunken rant about how Stonehenge is just the leftover bits of giants playing Jenga!!!

<note to self, check meaning of bereft in dictionary>

You have just made me realise something MrsDeV

I have been to who knows how many school events, concerts, sports days, assemblies over the last 11 years with 3 DCs.

I have never, in that whole time looked at a child and thought, oh little x looks so sad because his parents aren't here. Never.

Which makes me think that actually, all the children are fine. They know if the parents aren't coming, and actually they are ok with that.
I have never seen sobbing, emotionally damaged children.
But listening to some people you would think there would have been loads of them.

Maybe people should just do whatever is right for their families and that's it? Rather than over analyzing every single thing?

And look forward to the time when your 14 year old says "no mother. I don't want you to come to my district sports. I want to sit with my friends"

It's great, I gave him money for lunch, breathed a sigh of relief and went to work.

Oldraver Fri 28-Jun-13 10:21:39

Why is Sports Day considered such a chore ? DS had his yesterday, it lasted less than two hours and was fun apart from the sceechy kids on the bouncy castle. I dont know if its because DS's school is small (just over 90) but they manage to keep it fun and not too sporty

what is fun to some one isnt fun to everyone though is it?

I went to ds2 district sports on wednesday and I enjoyed it. But sports day at our school is bizarre. They go round in groups to different events so you either have to follow them around and get in the way or stay in one spot and just catch a glimpse.

Oldraver Fri 28-Jun-13 10:26:46

Oh and with DS2 yesterday.....when we arrived his teacher had a quite word that he had been upset that we wern't there as we had said. He hadn't realised they were to go out on the field before parents arrived. Though I'm sure if he had known we couldn't be there (as his Dad hasn't attended assemblies) he would be ok.

I didnt attend a few of DS1's events due to work, I'm sure he would of preferred me to be there but knows that was not always possible

OrmirianResurgam Fri 28-Jun-13 10:35:30

Late to this but I have to say that while in principle I agree with you, I think it very much depends on how important sports day was to your child. If he didn't care that much then of course, take a day off, put your feet up. If it was a big deal, he really really wanted you to see him balance an egg on a spoon or fall over in a sack, they you need to suck it up. Having been working ever since my kids were tiny we have really struggled to make it to all our kids school events that mattered but always found a good compromise - take a day off work, work through lunch and leave early, get my parents to go instead. Now DS1 has finished school and he has been recruited to help with the 'at least one bum on a seat' campaign for DS2 now that the end of summer term school madness has started.

But having children is a great deal about sacrifice. Don't want to come over all burning martyr, but it's true. It won't last forever, I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and am beginnnig to miss it beleive it or not....

MadeOfStarDust Fri 28-Jun-13 11:01:00

Not all sports days are 2 hours though - ours was 5 - FIVE - hours - of watching kids run round a field over and under hurdles, balancing a bean bag on their head - watching them have an ice-pop during a half hour break, do it for another hour - breaking for a picnic lunch on the field etc... oh- except for the kids who had school dinners - they had to eat alone in the hall ...

HELL for parents who do turn up - let alone those who get the guilts for not turning up - thank God youngest is Y6 now -their secondary doesn't have parents present at inter-house sports day! I turned up for 30 min when I knew DD would be doing her favourite event - chucking a ball in a netball net - for 10 min in that time slot... she was happy...

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 11:35:16

They are not fun for me.
Anything that involves being around lots of happy, healthy kids in school uniform is very difficult for me.

Primary was the last place my DD was well. My Dc4 goes to the same school and so will DC5. I managed to swerve it with DC3 and sent him somewhere else (that plan didn't work btw it was still horrible) . He later transferred to special school.

Just sitting in an assembly can be agony, particularly as DS3 is so much like his big sister.

I realise that my situation is fairly unusual but it only one of many reasons why people don't find school things fun.

Some people deserve a medal for going to anything rather than stern looks for missing a few things.

YouTheCat Fri 28-Jun-13 11:43:21

I work in school. I've only once seen a child upset because their parent didn't turn up and that was because she had promised. She was a serial offender (and not working) and would promise to turn up to plays/sports days etc and then just not come, which is a shitty thing to do.

I don't see the big deal with sports day. Go if you want. Don't go if you don't. But don't make a child a promise and then not be there unless you've got a good reason.

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 11:46:22

God NO! Don't promise and not turn up, thats horrible. You kid will be looking for you and then go all crumply when they can't find you sad

Its awful when it happens because of something you have no control over but to do it on purpose? Not nice.

amazingmumof6 Fri 28-Jun-13 13:42:59

youthecat that is precisely why I never promise anything. nothing, ever.

Instead I tell my children that the only thing I promise is that I will always love them - everything else is just a plan!smile

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 13:46:06

"we all try to do the best for our children. whether SAHM or WOHM, bf ot ff, purees or BLW and so on - I think it would be much better if people could feel that whatever they are doing their choices are respected."

Well, you say that amazing - but, actually there are plenty of parents who really don't try and do their best for their DCs. And, they are selfish and self centered parents, who consistently put their own needs and wants before those of their children. Sadly.

My FIL is an example. Never once attended sports day, parent's evening, nativities, etc. When DH went to grammar school, and won the maths prize, his Dad never once came to Speech Day, or Prize Giving...he never went to watch DH play cricket/rugby/hockey. Nothing.

He never said anything. What would have been the point. Children are very adept at hiding their feelings. But I know it hurt him very much - and that's why nowadays, he will bend over backwards to watch our DDs play cricket/netball, and come to Parent's Evening etc.

Tonight he's driving back from the South coast, won't be home until after 9pm. Then he'll have to work into the wee small hours, to get stuff finished - just so he can go and watch the DDs play cricket in the morning.

What a great line that is amazingmum - really like your promise/plan thing ! smile

cory Fri 28-Jun-13 13:59:49

The assumption is that Sports Day is a source of pride and joy to all children.

To me- dyspraxic, clumsy, lazy and terminally bored by sports- they were at best the most boring day of the year, at worst a source of ritual humiliation. Having my nearest and dearest turning up to watch me being either bored or humiliated would hardly have improved the occasion.

They got plenty of opportunities to see me actually do something I felt good about. Sports Day was not it.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 28-Jun-13 14:01:18

Well exactly Laqueen.

Some parents are indeed rather rubbish and I hate all this "happy mummy, happy child" guff. Sometimes I make choices that make me happy and DS less so - this is the case when he goes to afterschool so I can slot in exercise after work, but I don't try to make out that it's some kind of fundamental human right, or me being some kind of marvellous by putting myself first. I'm prioritising my own needs over DS's and I'm sure he would be happier if I just picked him up.

I'm not saying that the OP is rubbish as it does depend very much on how much it matters to the DCs that she is there and how much they are loved generally.

When I was at DS's Sports day the other week I could see that all the children that I knew had parents there, oh and btw there was a slight preference towards Dads just to dispel the myth that this stuff is not important to men.

If a parent can't be there because of work that they can't get out of, then that again is fine, no judging on my part. I just hope they impart that information in the right way to their DC though as in "I wanted to be there, you are important to me, but I cannot take the day off work. X's parent will be there to cheer you on and will let me know how you get on in each race. Let's go out for pizza tonight and you can tell me all about it," rather than " I'm at work," or "I didn't bother because I don't like sports days."

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 28-Jun-13 14:02:01

( I should point out that he is only in afterschool two days a week and one of those are necessary for work.)

cory Fri 28-Jun-13 14:08:16

"X's parent will be there to cheer you on and will let me know how you get on in each race. Let's go out for pizza tonight and you can tell me all about it," "

Eternally grateful my parents didn't go in for that one. grin

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 14:10:17

Everyone has different standards theoriginal - for me, I just couldn't live with myself if I swerved Sports Day/Speech Day, just because I didn't fancy it, or felt a bit tired.

However...I rarely cook from scratch for our DDs (because I dislike cooking, and can't be arsed). And, I tend to rely on the really easy M&S 'Cook It Yourself' range, or just pasta and pesto, a maybe a quick omlette.

You'll never find me in the kitchen slaving over a stove for over an hour, every night, just to give our DDs a hot dinner [shudder]

yet, I know someone who routinely doesn't bother going to school stuff because she finds it boring - yet, she cooks from scratch every night, as she considers that really important.

Lancelottie Fri 28-Jun-13 14:13:53

<<stands in the 'Please mum don't come and watch me be last again' corner with Cory>>

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 28-Jun-13 14:15:04

Actually if I was a semi decent parent myself I'd probably get myself off mumsnet and take the 3 boys in our living room ( I own only one but seem to attract more) out to the park, rather than letting them play minecraft all day long grin.

Sorry cory - maybe what I said was a bit cheesy, but it's important for me that DS knows that he is valued, probably because I didn't feel especially so when I was a child.

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 14:15:27

Yes LQ.
I am the same.
Luckily for me my dc aren't very appreciative of haute cuisine smile
Ds2s gave food is steamed veg and mash and ds2 would eat pizza every day smile

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 14:32:13

Oh, I'd much rather cook a nice meal than sit through sports day. And I could quite feasibly have gone, instead of finishing a project early (I've taken a chunk of today off instead). I really don't care if you think I'm a crap parent (I am, as it happens, a crap parent but that's nothing to do with sports day). I am going home to make chickpea curry insteadgrin

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 14:43:01

Bad I'm with ya there wink

Our DDs eat really well (well, it's M&S) it's just that I don't prepare it for them.

Life's too short to chop your own veg...

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 14:46:32

Yes, my dc do too.
Both have a hot breakfast each day (pancakes, beans on toast, porridge, omelette, hash browns etc)
Ds2 is a fruit and veg monster and ds1 eats no junk at all...chocolate, biscs, anything shock
So I don't feel too bad if they have pizza once a week or fish fingers smile
I bloody LOVE pre prepared veg

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 14:57:49

Last night my DDs had M&S chicken breast wrapped in bacon, with a little sachet of sauce your pour over, before bunging it in the oven. And I served it with M&S ready done veg, and a tray of their buttered new potatoes (why would you stand chopping your own veg FFS?)

Delicious smile And all I had to do was take lids off things, and put them in the oven at correct time. Admittedly, opening the sauce sachet was a bit tricky...

But, this is a very typical meal for them. I really can't be arsed with proper cooking.

They both eat loads of fruit as well, and their lunch boxes are very healthy (school employs ex-gestapo as Dinner Ladies).

amazingmumof6 Fri 28-Jun-13 15:07:01

hi LaQueen <waves>
maybe I should have said that "I try to do the best....and so are most of the people I know etc"

but my "best " depends on a lot of things.
some days it's an elaborate homemade cow birthday cake complete with green coconut grass.
Sometimes it's making sure we all survive till bedtime or till DH gets home to take over coz I can not cope.

not to be a devoted mother every second of my life is fine with me.
as long as my kids know that I love them and care about them through my words and actions than I'm doing my best.

I don't want to be the best. I'm happy to be good enough!smile

amazingmumof6 Fri 28-Jun-13 15:10:55

badvoc I rarely eat breakfast. now I know why. it's because you are not making pancakes for me! <wails>

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 15:16:53

My ds1 can eat 9 in one sitting amazingmum!
They are really easy..(all the things I make are easy...I would not do them otherwise smile)...they are the American style ones from Jamie Oliver's cook book.
Equally good for puddings! smile

I think most of us are just simply doing our best, it's just that it looks different from everyone else's IYSWIM

Parents have different priorities, which I think is pretty much ok as long as you love your children and want them to be happy and healthy and loved.

It doesn't matter whether you prioritize work, or sleep, or earning a living over sports days and cake sales, well I don't think it does. As long as everyone is ok. And that the children know what's going to happen.

lainiekazan Fri 28-Jun-13 15:31:48

I think if we all sat eating M&S individual ready meals I'd be in great debt to and thus not be a good parent. How very amusing that some saddos actually chop vegetables. The very thought!

libertine73 Fri 28-Jun-13 15:40:16

If I could afford M&s pre-chopped veg, no doubt I'd use it smile

cory Fri 28-Jun-13 15:41:51

My mother did put me first: she gave my sports days a wide berth but always showed me how much she enjoyed my Sunday dinners.

Because she knew which achievement I was proud of.

If she'd got them muddled, she might have been able to live with herself but she wouldn't have had a very easy time living with me grin

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 16:05:38

I am afraid I would rather hate to live off packaged food. And would prefer my children not to live off it either.

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 16:09:20

Bloody hell, I'd love it.
If I could afford it that is.
Some of the m and s and waitrose ready meals are gorgeous (and very healthy to boot)

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 16:26:33

Oh my word. If I fed my troops ready meals I think there'd be a revolt!

amazingmumof6 Fri 28-Jun-13 16:44:03

I like cooking and love baking, but if i could afford it my choice would be to employ a cook so I can avoid all kitchen responsibilities a la Downton Abbey's Lady Grantham!

I'd still bake when I feel like it, but kids would never have to eat ceral for dinner againgrin

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 16:49:49

WF, the curry is going to be divine. It has dried green mango powder and dried pomegranate powder in it, lending a fabulous tart note.

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 16:51:14

Ooh - I've never used those!

cory Fri 28-Jun-13 16:52:26

All it goes to show is that families are all different and children are all different. Some enjoy sports days, some enjoy chopping vegetables (or having them chopped for them), some don't care for either but want their parents to celebrate some third achievement that matters to them.

Dd has never been worried by my absence at sports days, a civil "thank you" will cover her dinner preparations, but if I ever fail to deliver a full theatre critic's review, with total recall of every line spoken and every gesture made, after a youth theatre performance, my fate will be sealed and I might as well try to make my way to South America in a false beard.

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 16:55:39

Cory grinDD1 is the same...

WF, they are recent additions, hadn't used them for years, well worth it!

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 16:56:00

"I am afraid I would rather hate to live off packaged food. And would prefer my children not to live off it either."

Would you mother? I have yet to eat something from M&S that wasn't yummy smile

Do you endeavour to buy al your food raw then, and without any packaging?

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 16:59:14

M&S food is fine.

But it cannot beat properly sourced, home cooked food!

You're simply not comparing apples with apples.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:00:58

Ah, oh I see...I think there's some confusion over what I've described.

I don't tend to buy the M&S actual ready-meals - the ones you can just microwave.

I buy the Cook It Yourself range (I think it's called that?), where all the ingredients are raw/uncooked, but they're assembled for you (like the fresh chicken breast wrapped in bacon we had yesterday) and you just pour the sauce over...then put in oven for 40 minutes, or whatever. Then serve with a side of ready prepped veg, etc.

I suppose I could stand there, and wrap some chicken breasts in bacon...but, don't see the point when someone else has kindly done it for you (and I hate handling raw meat, anyway).

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 17:01:52

Processed pre-prepared meals, I meant (fairly obviously, I thought). There is a homogenised quality that does not cheer. Mimi Spencer refers, memorably, to 'an anonymous savoury mush ladled from a steel var by a bloke in a hairnet'. Frankly I'd rather spend 10 minutes knocking up said curry.

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 17:02:57

Someone made the sauce, though, which is slightly the point.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:03:26

I dunno WF.

I have plenty of friends who are considered really good cooks, and they do all that faffing at farmer's markets...but, have yet to eat anything they've cooked, that's any better than something from M&S.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:05:33

When you say processed Mother do you mean that someone else has wrapped the chicken breast in bacon for me?

I would hesitate to buy a regular ready meal, like a curry/lasagne, because I'm never that impressed with them. And, because yes they do strike me as a bit homogenised, and bland.

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 17:06:12

But you've always admitted that food and cooking are not important at all toy ou and your family.
You don't cook and haven't developed the of course the M&S stuuf tastes better to you!

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:07:32

Yeah, well I'm perfectly happy for someone else to make a sauce for me [shrugs]

Our local deli sells amazing pasta/curry/chilli sauces - they're made by a little company about 5 miles away. They beat the pants off anything I can whip up smile

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 17:07:47

I did mean the mush. I would hesitate over the chicken/bacon mainly through quality - I don't like to buy factory farmed meat for a number of reasons.

Crowler Fri 28-Jun-13 17:07:55

I daresay my cooking is better than M&S.

I may be wrong.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:10:31

Oh, I wouldn't say I had never developed the palate WF ...I like good food, and DH and I eat out an awful lot, in some very good restaurants. And, the food is fantastic smile

It's just that in a non-professional/non restaurant setting, I am never wowed by anyone's home-cooking. Typically it's fine, even good but no better than something you can pick up from Waitrose/M&S.

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 17:14:35

I can cook.
I can bake.
I fact I am a pretty good cook. And my flapjacks take some beating smile
But when busy/ill/lazy I do love something I can just bung in the oven with no prep.
And afaik m and s and waitrose only use free range chicken and free range eggs?
And, in my family, I can send hours prepping, cooking and serving up a made from scratch dinner (even with some veg from our garden thrown in) and my boys would still eat more if it were pizza/pasta/chicken filets.
So I don't bother much anymore.

MissStrawberry Fri 28-Jun-13 17:14:47

I don't like the sneery tone that there must be something wrong with you if you prefer to do your own food prep than pay someone else to do it for you.

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 17:15:36

But home cooked meals are the complete opporsite of restaurant food, particularly high end restaurants!!!

You can't develop a palate from restuarant food, any more than you can develop one from M&S food.

Home cooked food is about something different altogether.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:17:17

I don't think I was being sneery Miss As I said upthread, people have different priorities...prepping my own veg, just isn't one of mine.

But, when it comes to reading ...woe betide any child in this house, who can't demonstrate they have read some of their book every day grin

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 17:17:51

I don't like the sneery tone that if you can't make meals from dust and hairspray there is something wrong with you.
Each to their own.
As ever.

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 17:18:36

Absolutely LQ.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:20:02

Well, whatever home-cooked food is about WF doesn't really do it for me smile

I think you develop a palate from eating out, eating in, eating in when you're out at someone else's house...maybe I'm just surrounded by people who aren't great cooks hmm

MissStrawberry Fri 28-Jun-13 17:21:13

There is no sneery comments from people who choose to cook from scratch hmm.

MissStrawberry Fri 28-Jun-13 17:21:52

are, not is

libertine73 Fri 28-Jun-13 17:28:00

No, I think ready meals are a different ball game to pre-chopped veg, I cook from scratch (she says waiting for take away!) and wouldn't want to feed my family on ready meals, but pre-chopped veg? What's not to like?

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:31:02

I can't take to regular ready meals...MIL serves them up a lot, and they're not even M&S ones. They always taste too vinegary and too much liquid.

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 17:41:07

I had to more or less live on ready meals for two years.
I can't look one in the face anymore.

There is a huge difference between a microwave meal every day and pre chopped veg.

I love pre prepped veg. I love ready grated cheese, any form of M&S potatoes, ready chopped garlic, all that stuff, it saves me loads of time.

It depends whether you would prefer to do it yourself or not, same with a lot of things isn't it?

I don't take my washing to the river and scrub it with rocks, I use a washing machine.
I can't be bothered to chop onions so I buy them ready chopped grin

Id be more than a little bit concerned if your ready meal had a face MrsD grin

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 17:43:13

Pre prepped veg is ace.
As are frozen deserts like roulade that only need defrosting.

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 17:46:21

Tbh I can't win with my dc....
Last night ds1 (10) and i were talking about puberty (he is learning about it at school).
He had watched a DVD about a woman giving birth.
We were chatting about it and ds2 (4) piped up
"I didn't like being in your tummy mummy, the snacks weren't very nice"

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 28-Jun-13 17:47:34

This thread has gone all competitive and cunty. hmm

apatchylass Fri 28-Jun-13 17:48:54

Ooh no. Pre-chopped veg has been rinsed in chlorine so it doesn't discolour and it's ancient.

Get a magi-mix - it chops all the veg for a spag bol: 2 onions, 2 peppers, 2 courgettes, 8 mushrooms in less than thirty seconds.

I find food prep soothing. Do it without thinking. I'm not a very adventurous cook but love prepping the food my family loves to eat.

Just made a cake with ground almonds, fresh Chantilly cream and fresh raspberries, and a leg of lamb studded with rosemary and garlic for tea, with baby broad beans and asparagus from the pick your own farm. Easy stuff and it smells divine. The whole lot took less than 30 mins to prep.

LQ - my cake tastes better than M&S, I bet you a fiver!

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 28-Jun-13 17:48:58

No one personal is being a cunt in particular. Just the general tone. Sorry if I offended anyone. blush

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:49:32

Tantrums I buy Lazy Garlic, that's ready chopped in a jar, and you just spoon it out...and I buy the tins of ready chopped & fried (oh, yes) onions...fabulous products, that make life infinitely easier.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:50:49

Ah, now...yes cakes are a different thing entirely. You can't beat a home made cake smile

apatchylass Fri 28-Jun-13 17:50:52

Sorry Katy. Just added to the halo-polishing competitiveness without realising it. I love cooking. Other people have beautiful homes. That talent escapes me. Mine looks like the dog chased a fox round it and we don't even have a dog.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 17:53:01

There you go patchy my point cook lovely food...whereas, I have to have my house really tidy and fresh at all times - my wardrobe is colour co-ordinated, I fold my knickers, and I have scented candles in every room.

We should swap...I'll come and sort your house, and you come and cook dinner here smile

Yep, Lazy Garlic is magic. I love it.
And <whispers> frozen sliced peppers blush
And ready mashed potatoes.

I honestly don't have the patience to chop things every night when I can open a packet.

Though we have sunk to new depths tonight.
Ds1 is eating a supernoodle sandwich.
Ds2 is eating a supernoodle sandwich.

Dd and I are eating chocolate brownies and ice cream.

apatchylass Fri 28-Jun-13 17:56:44

LQ I would LOVE my house to be like yours. I aspire to folded knickers. I really do. There is something deeply peaceful about a really well cared for home. I sometimes babysit for a friend whose house is like yours and I come back feeling like I've been at a spa weekend.

Sadly, I wouldn't let you near my house. You'd be too knackered to eat my banquet afterwards!

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 17:57:09

Ah now I buy Lazy Lemon Grass, because I just don't use enough of it, so when I buy it fresh, I use a tiny portion, then it wilts and dries and hardens, all the while looking at me with a 'do you know how much I cost' face on it!!!

I have the "tidy" thing too.

And I have a laundry system and no one is allowed to use the washing machine because they will mess it up.
And I love folding clothes into perfect piles and putting them in the correct drawer.
And pairing odd socks. I love it when all the socks match.

That's what I do instead of cook. I would be better off cooking, no one appreciates my folding and pairing at all grin

wordfactory Fri 28-Jun-13 18:02:02

Can the idea of preparing fresh food for your family be a competitive thing?

I mean, all around the world, that's what people do every single day!!!

It's not seen as high falutin' or inordinately time consuming or difficult...just one of those things you do...

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 18:08:40

Ah, now see I'd just be deeply intimidated by Lazy Lemon Grass, as I wouldn't have a clue what to do with it confused

libertine73 Fri 28-Jun-13 18:08:52

Ooh no. Pre-chopped veg has been rinsed in chlorine so it doesn't discolour and it's ancient

Oh, didn't know that, good job I can't afford it then grin

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 18:10:55

[thinks she could live very happily with Tantrum...]

Yes, I derive an immense sense of satisfaction from having an immaculately folded and laundered linen cupboard, with lavender sachets tucked between the pristine white towels. Makes me so happy...

...until my heartless DDs, or DH just stroll along and gliby drag a towel from the bottom of the pile, causing choas and destruction [shakes fist]

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 18:14:46

Patchy one of my BFs luffs coming to stay here. She works really long hours, is a single Mum with teenage boys, and quite a few her house is always chaotic.

Coming here, is like staying in a hotel for her because I really push the boat out...fresh flowers and mineral water for her in our guest bedroom, I fold back the duvet, hang a clean robe on the back of the door, big pile of white fluffy towels.

She sometimes house sits for us, when we're away. She loves it smile

Exactly laQueen

None of them care that I have arranged all the towels according to size and colour. Or that they always have a drawer full of immaculatly folded t-shirts.

No. They just grab what they need and mess it all up.

Or try and use my washing machine to wash 2 items on a 2 hour wash.
Oh no. Not happening.

No one cares that their pillowcases all match the duvet covers. It gives me the rage when ds1 changes his sheets and takes a pillow case that doesn't match the set.
It means there is another set with a mismatched pilliwcase.

It's all wrong.

<grabs immaculately packed luggage and heads for LaQueens house>

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 18:28:38 they don't do they...the bastards. The bastards [shakes fist harder]

Every night our DDs get into a hot bubble bath, and then dry themselves on a clean, white fluffy towel, each...then they slip into freshly laundered Laura Ashley bed linen, under feckin goose down quilts...and I spray their pillows with lavender mist...their drawers are filled with neat piles of dainty, pretty knickers, matching vests and snow white school socks...

Every morning DH opens his drawers to find piles of clean, neatly folded boxers, and pristine white his wardrobe, are his freshly ironed shirts all hanging, colour co-ordinated, no less...

Do they care about any of they buggery...peasants, the lot of 'em

[fights back tears...opens bottle of vino ready for *Tantrum's arrival...]

Shitsinger Fri 28-Jun-13 18:49:06

Omg ! You are all doing it wrong
I am sitting watching the tennis C'mon Andy while DD(19) is preparing a full roast dinner and she has made a surprise ( I peaked)Strawberry Pavlova for pud .
DH has cleaned from top to bottom and because I am poorly I have fresh flowers everywhere- peonies .
Sigh wink

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 19:34:53

Why on earth are you lot folding other people's pants? Did Emily Wilding Davison die for this?

Granted my house is a mismatched hovel...shabby genteel is a wild aspiration round here, I tell you.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 19:36:18

I'd be mildly surprised if she died for my DH's jersey boxer shorts...they're not that great hmm

motherinferior Fri 28-Jun-13 19:36:36

We eat well, in egalitarian squalor. grin

Folding pants?!?!? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

But I do cook from scratch because i find it relaxing. Does that balance things out?

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 19:59:25

I find folding laundry very, very relaxing...

Oddly enough, on the rare occasion I do cook properly, I quite enjoy it and find it relaxing...I cooked a green veg risotto a few days ago, and that was very soothing, all that stirring...

Badvoc Fri 28-Jun-13 20:02:50

I find watching homes under the hammer in my pants whilst eating malteesers very relaxing.
Horses for courses smile

Arisbottle Fri 28-Jun-13 20:18:38

I think my children would rather have proper home cooked food than have me at sports day. Just as well as I haven't attended one in years, almost a decade.

I do manage to chop onions and fold towels.

apatchylass Fri 28-Jun-13 20:36:38

Tantrum and LaQueen we care. I aim for all this, but just can't follow through on it. So I'll fold the towels beautifully, in thirds so they look gorgeous and them stuff them into the cupboard because they don't quite fit properly.

<Passes lavender scented vapours to LQ and T>

But I have just hovered and lit scented candles (naice ones) because guests arriving any minute and I don't want them to know too much about our hovelish ways.

I love folding laundry.
I love having 5 neat piles and then separating them into tshirts, shorts, jeans, sports kit, socks, pants, jumpers.

It's a peculiar thing.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 20:39:56

It's really whatever floats your boat.

Our DDs get to eat plenty of home cooked's just not cooked by their Mum. My Mum is a good cook, and she often batch cooks for us, then I freeze it...other than that, it's M&S, or we eat out...what's not to love wink

[politely ignores the reference to stuffing towels into a cupboard...tsk, tsk, tsk...]

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 20:41:14

You don't have to explain to me Tantrum [strokes Tantrum's hair...]

I like doing laundry...the folding...then putting it all neatly into the correct drawes...I have scented drawer liners, too smile

scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 20:41:35

I don't fluff and fold

I'm feeling a bit of a conversion coming on to ready chopped veg - have dabbled, but might fully embrace as a lifestyle choice grin

Embrace it juggling

It will change your life grin

(I have scented drawer liners too)

scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 20:46:15

I think ready chopped Veg is a middle class affectation
Carrot sticks,chopped veg. Fuck sake don't be so feckless
Unless you want to have notion of too busy,too yummy to chop

God no, not too busy or too yummy to chop.

Can't be bothered to chop more like.

thanks Tantrums ....

Not sure I'll ever have neatly folded piles of freshly laundered clothes though - but I might have less wasted veg and get nearer to 5 a day for us all smile

scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 20:49:41

What does busy life intrude to extent can't chop dinner

It's not busy-ness scottish

I just don't want to do it. I'd rather have a cup of coffee and fold my towels.

And find the carrots are one of the worst offenders scottish - because I always feel I ought to give them a proper peel, and it's too much of a faff.

juggling that's ok. You don't have to love laundry to use pre prepped veg grin

scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 20:52:56

Peel?peel what?ivenever peeled carot in ma puff
Tatties?aye peel them carrot ,no

That's what my SIL said scottish - just chop em and throw them in the pan - that was a bit of a revelation too smile

& grin right back at ya @ Tantrums

apatchylass Fri 28-Jun-13 20:56:08

But nooo juggling - you yet one of those Y shaped peelers and they absolutely glide along. Three carrots in ten seconds. Very satisfying. And then you can listen to the guinea pigs whistling for the peelings and feed then while stroking their noses. Now I want to peel a carrot.

scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 20:57:56

Peel a carrot?why?wash it yea.
That's all

Shitsinger Fri 28-Jun-13 20:58:02

How will the DC learn to cook if they are served M&S stuff?
I learnt to cook from my DP and so did my DC .
Veg takes a few minutes to prepare and is fresh.
M&S is OK if very busy but I prefer a baked potato or cheese on toast to anything they can come up with.

smile Ahh, your guinea's sound cute apatchy

Oldraver Fri 28-Jun-13 21:05:31

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TwasBrillig Fri 28-Jun-13 21:06:16

Heh. I love the 'idea' of an extremely tidy house but I find all the tidying needed just boring. I'd be fine with it if I could have regular cleaners.!

On the other hand not a fan of pre chopped, don't think it tastes the same. I don't bother peeling carrots though. Happy to eat them as they are. Husband introduced me to mashed potato with the peel too!! I really enjoy cooking, and knowing what goes into all we eat.

I would like to aim to be at childrens school events though. Ideally I'd have progressed to a career where I could just nip out during the day.

Shitsinger Fri 28-Jun-13 21:22:09

Oldraver please tell me you did not just say thatangry

oldraver did you actually realise what you just said?
Are you not very well? Because I cannot imagine why you would say a thing like that tbh.

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 21:28:17

What the fuck are you on about?

Are you pissed?

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 21:32:28

**They are not fun for me.
Anything that involves being around lots of happy, healthy kids in school uniform is very difficult for me.

Primary was the last place my DD was well. My Dc4 goes to the same school and so will DC5. I managed to swerve it with DC3 and sent him somewhere else (that plan didn't work btw it was still horrible) . He later transferred to special school.

Just sitting in an assembly can be agony, particularly as DS3 is so much like his big sister.

I realise that my situation is fairly unusual but it only one of many reasons why people don't find school things fun.

Some people deserve a medal for going to anything rather than stern looks for missing a few things.****

^^^^^ The above is for the benefit of anyone who didn't see my post and is under the illusion that I have been telling anyone off for having fun because I or they have a dead child.

And for Oldraver so she can have a proper look and then tell me what the FUCK she is on about.

libertine73 Fri 28-Jun-13 21:51:24

oldraver that was a shitty thing to say.

scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 21:57:48

Actually every day lived with bereavement is a what if
And thats what really hurts
The reality of knowing its real

Is everyone OK ?

((( Hugs all round, and goodnight all )))

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 22:29:39

I don't know if it was shitty or just fucking weird.

I didn't tell anyone they shouldn't have fun.
I explained why school stuff isn't much fun for me and possibly others.

I have no idea why oldraver has taken such offence to that.

I am not familiar with her. Is she usually that nasty?

I don't know either MrsDeV, but as always your posts came right from the heart of experience and were an education to all. I wondered if she had also lost a child as she said "we" ?

Was remembering Billie again the other day when I saw a beautiful butterfly in the garden x Thinking what a wonderful girl to leave you with that thought thanks You must be very proud of her.

MrsDeVere Fri 28-Jun-13 22:41:26

Thank you juggling

If she has lost a child why would she think I was telling her what she should be thinking or doing? confused

I was talking about myself. That is generally allowed on MN no?

Crap end to a crap day.

Thanks for your butterfly story though smile

Completely inadequate words to try to say something about the wonderful strength and thoughtfulness of your beautiful girl, MrsDeV.

Was so moved to hear your butterfly story from Billie thanks

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