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To not enjoy my children's childhoods?

(218 Posts)
Maisieknew Wed 02-Sep-15 08:38:55

It's the back to school inevitability that's prompted this.

My feelings here are really conflicted as I think if I could have my time over I'd still have children. But I don't enjoy them as children. I find the sort of family based activities for young (primary school aged and under) so tedious and largely pointless and I don't enjoy a lot of the things you're supposed to enjoy and take pride in (I hate school plays, parents evening bored me to tears, I just can't get excited about sports day.)

I don't know if I am alone and I do love them - I just don't find under 12s interest me much.

MrsGinnyPotter Wed 02-Sep-15 09:02:46

Part of me thinks YABU but then I guess each to their own.
I prefer the younger years.. It's so much more fun dressing up and playing princesses than taking them shopping for clothes and makeup!

I also love school plays and parents evenings blush

MrsGinnyPotter Wed 02-Sep-15 09:03:16

Sports day is crap though!

Seriouslyffs Wed 02-Sep-15 09:06:34

Try not to show it. If you go through the motions and fake it, you'll enjoy it more anyway. I miss the physicality of primary aged dcs, but they are better company when they get older. And they're older for longer than they're tiny!

gamerchick Wed 02-Sep-15 09:07:28

I prefer them from school age. Babies are so mind numbingly boring from the grub stage, that's my own and other peoples. The toddler stage is shit and restrictive. Then they go to school and become much more interesting.

Hero1callylost Wed 02-Sep-15 09:11:10

YANBU to acknowledge it. Not everyone loves every stage, and I think there's huge social pressure on parents to absolutely love every single bit because time flies, they grow so fast, etc etc. It doesn't stop you loving your children to say that you find lots of bits tedious!

You just try focusing on bits you do like though so your children don't think you find them tedious e.g. (silly example) you'd still cheer them on at sports day race because you love them, not because you love running/sports/sports day.

wineandpopcorn Wed 02-Sep-15 09:11:57

I'm the opposite, I love the baby years but haven't got a clue how to interact/enjoy my 12 year old sad.

juneau Wed 02-Sep-15 09:14:51

School plays, parents evening and sports day are all dire - I agree! As for condemning everything that children under 11 like or do - I think maybe you just don't like DC and that doesn't make you unreasonable, but its a bit sad for your DC.

misscph1973 Wed 02-Sep-15 09:15:33

No, you are not. I enjoy my children so much more they are out the "service age". I don't mkiss the nappies and the broken nights. I don't miss the hard work of teaching my DS to read at age 6 or my DD wetting the bed untill she was 7.

Now I enjoy that they are developing into such interesting personalities and watching them discover just how competent they are and how much they can do without hardly any help now that are 8 and 10.

TuckingFablet Wed 02-Sep-15 09:16:40

Yanbu. I'm in the midst of the toddler years and it's so repetitive. I can't wait for her to be a bit older and more independent. I mean I love her and she's a lot of fun, but some days are just so boring.
Don't let it show though. Fake it till you make it and all that. You never know, you might have fun!

Savagebeauty Wed 02-Sep-15 09:18:40

I prefer mine as teens.
I got through the younger years by having lots of their friends round to play.
I think it's sad not to enjoy school things...do you have friends to sit with/ chat to at these things?

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Wed 02-Sep-15 09:22:17

YANBU. I always felt guilty that those things horrified me! But I do like being with DS, chatting to him, finding out his thoughts and tackling the world together.

Maisieknew Wed 02-Sep-15 09:25:38

Don't do the whole 'I feel sad for your DC' thing - it just isn't necessary.

My children are luckier than about 95% of the babies born in the same month and year as them - taking into account they were born into a first world country, taking into account both parents are mid/high earners, educated, love them all dearly.

Babies I don't mind; they are dull but can also be carted around with you smile

But then they grow and you have to listen to things like 'mum, mum, mum, guess what?' 'What?' 'I - erm - I ran a race and it was up a hill!'

I don't interact brilliantly with small children though it is getting easier as they grow and of course I haven't sat my children down and said 'actually kids, you bore the shit out of me!'

But sometimes, they do grin

0x530x610x750x630x79 Wed 02-Sep-15 09:30:39

I don't interact brilliantly with small children though it is getting easier as they grow and of course I haven't sat my children down and said 'actually kids, you bore the shit out of me!'

my mum has said it to my sisiter and I (once we were adults) and our response "oh that explains so much". But she wouldn't play games with us "as they never end" apparently

Mrsjayy Wed 02-Sep-15 09:33:04

School plays are dull and as for sports days urgh i dont think your feelings are rare some parents embrace school life some avoid it like the plague you are the latter its fine as long as you look interested attend things dont let your dc know how dull you fi nd you dont need to worry just focus on the bits you do enjoy. Fwiw i loved the early years by the time they got to 8/9 it all got a bit meh then picked up again.

Mrsjayy Wed 02-Sep-15 09:35:09

Im all done with childhood its great <smug>

museumum Wed 02-Sep-15 09:37:54

Please don't tell me that life until the age of 12 is all sports days, school plays and parents evenings?!?!??

My ds is only 2 and I dread all the above. But I enjoy taking him on bike rides, to kids theatre, museums, hanging out in big country parks/gardens, I enjoy taking him out for lunch too.

I'll admit my 2yr old is still at the stage where he's relatively compliant but surely life with small children is as variable as life without (sociable or quiet, outdoorsy, insidy, arty, crafty, sporty or not...)

I think you can aim to enjoy moments throughout their childhoods and beyond, but these wouldn't necessarily be school based activities. I think those are more for building & showing some home-school partnership which is important for their well-being and development. Can be an opportunity for developing friendships for you and them too to a degree. And parents evening is mainly about getting some feedback on their progress as well as developing a relationship with their teacher. So some of those things are more parenting work than pleasure? If you get a moment of joy or pride during a school play or sports day (when first or last they reach the finish line!) that's a nice bonus.
Looking back it's more snapshots of happiness that I remember like looking through a treasured photo album - I don't think you can expect to enjoy all of it as lots of it is quite hard work and some of it not that exciting
Also I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I'm enjoying their teen years and seeing the lovely young people they're turning into - as the teen years aren't usually painted in rosy colours are they? But actually they last longer than the baby and toddler years and can have some lovely moments of their own.
If you can like the young people that your DC are turning into then ultimately that's probably going to be more important for your relationship with them than how much you enjoyed the earlier years

ThumbWitchesAbroad Wed 02-Sep-15 09:42:02

Everyone has their own feelings about various stages of childhood. SO YANBU to feel the way you do; but I do hope that later on you will look back with fondness on some of it at least.

I found that I reacted completely the opposite to how I expected I would - I adore the baby stage, totally - and start to lose patience with them the older they get. DS2 is now coming up to 3, and although I still love him to bits and he's still mostly very cute, his personality is starting to come into its own and I'm getting far more fed up now than I used to when he was smaller. DS1 is also 7 now and going through the early know-it-all stages, which I find intensely frustrating. So I'm enjoying my children less now than I did before. But there are still great times, in among the frustration.

LumpySpacedPrincess Wed 02-Sep-15 09:44:04

Does anyone enjoy sports day? You go for them, not for any pleasure you get. smile

laundryeverywhere Wed 02-Sep-15 09:51:33

I don't think you are being unreasonable as you cant help what you feel, but it doesn't seem that great not to enjoy spending time with your kids ever. I am sure a lot of people sympathise with not enjoying the school stuff and the mummy,mummy mummy... But I do think you should work on making some of your time together enjoyable and fun for you all.

Maisieknew Wed 02-Sep-15 09:57:32

Museumum - problem is, if I'm uncomfortably honest, the things you mention are (to me) more fun with another adult. Bike rides are fine if they can keep up but often you either have to slow right down and constantly check over your shoulder to see if they are OK (I hate bike rides actually anyway but as an example!) Kids theatre - I'd rather watch 'real' theatre smile for adults. Museums aimed at kids are a bit too flashy and interactive and loud for me.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying it's all misery or anything but just the same, I know I will 'enjoy' my children far more when they can enjoy those sorts of activities with me as adults or near adults (I really hope at least one of my children loves Shakespeare) so the longing looking-back at their childhoods as a rosy time isn't something I 'get'; it's more something to be endured.

Thumb, I can identify with that. I find the wittering about banal stuff quite tedious and I can't do imaginary play or dress up if my life depends on it. It sounds a strange thing to say about ones own children but I do sometimes struggle to know what to talk to them about! We don't seem to have conversations so much as one talking AT me or me talking AT one! I'm good with the toddler as she doesn't require proper conversations yet!

Lumpy, some people seem to love it! I haven't been for a while but it isn't just sports day but the school plays and assemblies and parents evenings and parent days and I do find myself longing for the more remote detached world of secondary!

BeaufortBelle Wed 02-Sep-15 10:00:44

I'll always remember my mother saying things like "oh, you don't want me to come and sit through that play/concert do you?". "Oh, if I have to". And worse "hearing her laugh with her friends about how awful it was or how awful the teachers were --and what a surprise that a teacher said I was bright when she'd always thought I was dim". I so wanted her to enjoy those events because they were so important to me.

Like another poster I remember her being too busy ever to play a game with me "you've a cupboard full of toys so go and play with them, you can't be bored" - I was an only child because she didn't want children There was never time for swimming or the park but always time for shopping in the West End because that's what she liked.

I can't help feeling a bit sad for your children. I had everything that money could buy except a mother who wanted me for who I was.

I look back on their under 10 days as halcyon times when we snuggled up together on the sofa with hot chocolate, marshmallows and watching Harry Potter or Nanny McFee. Or turning the sitting room into a camp with blankets between sofas and chairs and having a picnic, or going to sea on an upturned coffee table and all that sort of stuff.

Have found the teenage years much harder although I did at least used to take the afternoon off work for sports day, you know to support them and cheer them on and so their teachers could see I cared and understood they effort they made too. Escorting 20 boys or girls back to the station means you find out far more about what's going on in your child's life/school than not doing it you know.

Notso Wed 02-Sep-15 10:02:54

I don't think anyone really enjoys school plays, parents evenings or sports days that much.
Surely everyone is just there to support their child and any enjoyment comes from watching their child enjoy themselves.

I don't think any time of my children's lives has been a favourite time. There has been good and bad about every stage so far.

Cloppysow Wed 02-Sep-15 10:05:03

I wish i had enjoyed them more when they were younger, but it just felt like one long treadmill.

From 8 onwards was better and i really enjoy it now they're teens. We have a great wee life now. Younger years were a massive struggle for me.

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