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Are today's parents too child-centred?

(43 Posts)
emkana Wed 09-Mar-05 19:30:16

article in the Guardian

I really am guilty of what this woman is saying. I have completely and totally centred my life around my children. When they get older there will be no old life to get back, because my old life is completely gone - partly because I'm in a different country, and partly because I became a SAHM and didn't really keep in touch with my work colleagues. I spent every day with my children, nearly every evening at home, when I go out for dinner with my dh we get home early, weekends are spent as a family...
I could go on. Am I mad? But you know what, I'm happy! I still see where this woman is coming from though, and worry sometimes that I'll have a rude awakening one day...
but then I think, surely I'll be capable of finding things to do when the children need me less? I can't see myself polishing the silver and weeping just because there won't be any children left to look after!

Pinotmum Wed 09-Mar-05 19:44:22

I'm guilty as charged

lilyblossom Wed 09-Mar-05 19:46:17

me too

lilyblossom Wed 09-Mar-05 19:50:44

much better that than going to work all day every day

Then when your children are all grown up realise you missed them walking for 1st time or you don't remember getting paint all over the floor because the easel collapsed!!!!!! like what happened here yesterday

Or you never made rice crispie choc cakes

Tortington Wed 09-Mar-05 19:59:17

i truly belive that seeing them walk talk and anything else for the first time is overrated. you know what emkana if it makes YOU happy then stuff anyone else!

i do like having an identity which is not only linked to the children. that is what makesme happy i dont pander to my kids every hope wish dream and new toy. they are perfectly capable of doing things around the house - i do not believe in martyrdom - no one thanks you for it. and every kids will despise you for something when they are 15 anyway. like emkana we approach chilrearing differently but are both happy, great.

FairyMum Wed 09-Mar-05 20:00:50

I thought it was a strange article.

LGJ Wed 09-Mar-05 20:02:12

Please do NOT let this descend into a a working mums versus SAHM thread.

Xena Wed 09-Mar-05 20:04:06

I am guilty too but I wouldn't change it .
p.s. Lilyblossom we have been making our rice cakes with mars bars mmmmm (or galaxy choc)

Hulababy Wed 09-Mar-05 20:05:12

I am not a SAHM - I work PT 3 days a week, but the rest of my time is very child centred. Weekends are spent as a family. My days off are spent doing child-based things on the whole, like Gymboree or meeting up with friends and their children. Evenings are also spent in more than out.

DH is also very family orientated too, and we both come from families that spent a lot of time together.

However I enjoy my life and it works for us. I wouldprefer to spend more time during the week at home, but right now it isn't possible. But on the whole life is good.

DH and I do go out together and with friends. Our parents baby sit. As DD gets older tis is increasing, but we have never spent a night away form DD (nearly 3) yet.

And despite working PT I still have manage to see the firsts - first step, first stand, forst crawl, etc. DH saw most of them too, even though he works FT.

Cam Wed 09-Mar-05 20:06:11

or you could do what I've done emkana, wait till your child is 24 (having lived with me till she was 22) then get married again and have another baby

lilyblossom Wed 09-Mar-05 20:12:46

mmmmmmmmmmmmm mars bars [yum]

Ours were dairy milk but very yum

lilyblossom Wed 09-Mar-05 20:13:47

btw paint splatters go a long way

trefusis Wed 09-Mar-05 20:13:51

Message withdrawn

lilyblossom Wed 09-Mar-05 20:16:34

sorry can't open the link

should have mentioned that, so my posts were about joys of being a child centered SAHM

Cam Wed 09-Mar-05 20:20:51

We make Rolo brownies

binkybetsy Wed 09-Mar-05 20:21:02

The way I see it is, we decided to have kids and they are therefore our responsibility from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed. We are a family & things are done together.
When they go to bed, it's our time as a couple, be it on a rare night out, in snuggled up on the sofa with a bottle of wine chatting, or eating takeaway late watching tv.
I know eventually they will need me less and I'll adjust my life to manage this, but at the moment, our kids are very young and need us. I see it as part and parcel of the job, and don't feel I've given up anything. I volunteered to change my life and am happy with the decision.

Cam Wed 09-Mar-05 20:23:56

Except thet children actually get more needy as they get older, particularly emotionally, and take up even more "headspace" . It's better when they leave home, though.

wordsmith Wed 09-Mar-05 20:25:40

Oh I so agree with this article (except perhaps the bit about parking the pram outside the wine bar!).

<runs and hides>

trefusis Wed 09-Mar-05 20:28:20

Message withdrawn

LGJ Wed 09-Mar-05 20:28:59


I am with you

maisystar Wed 09-Mar-05 20:29:04

that made for interesting reading. i agreed with her largely(obviously not about leaving your child outside a cafe). i think children should help set the table, tidy their toys etc etc. it doesn't have to be a chore. at the risk of sounding like mary poppins stuff like that can easily be fun for children.

ds and i do loads of stuff together(mucky trips to the park, baking, painting...) but i also expect him to speak politely, behave when we are eating out, and let 'grown ups' have conversations too.

i have to say that a thought the pyjama rama(???) thing sounded great until she said about the parents wearing them!!

wordsmith Wed 09-Mar-05 20:32:14

People have been having children for thousands of years - why have we suddenly turned it into a profession? I love my kids, love spending time with them - but love getting away from them sometimes for a night out.

Pyjama-Rama - YUK!!!

Bozza Wed 09-Mar-05 20:55:05

I agree with Trefusis and Wordsmith. Personally during the time I am home with my kids I try and have a balance between doing things with them and getting on with other things. So I clean upstairs in the morning while the kids are around and DS can either join in (more trouble than its worth really - "can you just spray some polish on my toy box mummy") and DD follow me from room to room or they can play together in DS's bedroom. Then DH and I clean downstairs when they are in bed. I do the cooking when they are around but the ironing in the evening. When DD has a nap I spend half the time doing something with DS (painting, sticker book, sand picture etc) and the rest of the time doing chores. Quite often when DH is playing golf we will do something like go to the garden centre (I like gardening and looking through the plants - DS likes looking at the pets and sometimes we will go to the cafe for a cake which goes down well all round ). Do think DH and I ought to get out together more in an evening but thats down to finance/baby sitters and I'm hoping will improve when DD is a bit older.

mummylonglegs Wed 09-Mar-05 21:37:05

I didn't like the article. It implies that someone 'child-centred' has out of control brats running riot and the paretne has no life of their own. I only have 1 dd, 2.5, who I had when I was 37 after a totally selfish life doing everything I wanted to and being really rather irresponsible! I feel I am VERY child-centred, I love children, especially small ones, and find them often much more fun and interesting than half the adults I meet. For me it's a real change of life to have dd to look after, teach and learn from. There are many many blocks of time in my life pre-dd that I now see as rather a waste of time whereas I truly don't believe I'll feel any time with dd was wasted in that same way. I work 2 days a week, dd goes to a childminder 2 mornings when I don't work plus she goes to bed at a reasonable time in the evening so I also have time for myself. But she is my priority. And I'd treat a pyjama-rama event like she described as a lot of fun!

Donbean Wed 09-Mar-05 21:37:17

We had our grown up lives prior to DS arriving. We bought our house, renovated it, went on fab holidays had parties and socialised every weekend etc etc and then we were ready to comit to a child. We were together for 10 years before we had him so felt that we had had "our" time.
This is where the lines blurr somewhat i feel.
I agree with the majority of what the author says and a relative and her child spring immediately to mind when she talks of ungrateful brats presuming that the rest of the world exsists to serve them. This is an accurate description and the parents bend over backwards to accomodate this child.
From my experience and from watching every one elses parenting stratergies, (whether deliberate or accidental) has afforded me the luxury of picking and choosing what i consider to be the best bits. I then employ them in my own parenting style, still never sure if i am doing the "right" thing.
This author has managed to put down in black and white what many of us probably think about some parents but would never dare say because you are skating on very thin ice when freely critisizing other peoples parenting styles.
I feel it essential that my child fits into our routine of doing things because this is the real world im afraid. I cant be there 24 hours at his beck and call, i have to work and get things done, this is what makes me me. Therefore this is what makes me his mummy. I do think long and hard about what is best for him and believe that in order to raise an independant confident child, he has to know that although he is very important, he has his job to do as well.
In short, i like the article and think that she is spot on and very very brave for saying these things.

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