I was having a phone conversation with my Mother a while ago whilst at the same time trying to fend off various requests from one or other of my children. The conversation stopped, started, stopped and re-started a number of times while I listened to Renée tell me that Edie had pulled her hair, Edie ask me if she could have something to eat, Renée tell me that Edie had now bitten her and Edie ask me to wipe her bottom.
These days, it's extremely rare that I manage to have a phonecall without any interruptions, at least during the day. The important ones, the ones where it really won't do to have a screaming child in the background have to be left until the evening, by which time I'm completely exhausted and can think of nothing I'd like less than to be chatting on the phone. Needless to say, I don't make many phonecalls.
But during this conversation with my mother, she happened to say, something along the lines of,
"These days children really are the centre of attention aren't they?"
I bristled a little I think.
"What do you mean Mum?" I asked.
"Well when you and your brother were younger, it never used to be like that at all. Your Father and I had our own lives."
And before you start imagining me as a young child being herded around by an endless supply of Nannys, I can assure you that that couldn't be further from the truth. My Mother was at home with the two of us, trying her best to keep us entertained, just as I try my my little ones.
I pressed her on it a bit more, interested to uncover her secret to perfect parenting. Annoyingly, though, she couldn't recall the elusive elixir, only that things had been different.
But it did get me thinking.
Yes, my children are the centre of my world. But do I have any other choice? I mean, do I, if I choose to be a Stay-at-Home-Mother? They're five and three. Can I really expect them to entertain each other while I get on and lead an independent life in another room? Do I even want to? Well, yes, actually, sometimes I do, but that's probably because I've been couped up with them for rather too long, thanks to the snow.
But seriously, we've all heard the old expression 'children should be seen and not heard'. Now I can't imagine that that applies to anyone these days, but it must have done once.
Have children changed so much? Have the adults? Do we indulge our children with too much attention? Or perhaps, as I'm sure is the case with my Mother, she likes to put on her rose-coloured spectacles. I'll give you a quick example. We never had snotty noses as children. Oh yes, and childbirth didn't hurt at all.
See what I mean?
So maybe in a few years, I'll look back, put on my rose-coloured spectacles too and forget just how hard it was.
In the meantime, I just have a couple of bottoms that need wiping...
Apart from my own, obviously.
hayley balozi posted a blog post
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