This week Lily Allen was in the media for admitting whilst on a radio show that she feels children are boring. Many parents out there were outraged, believing this to be the statement of a mother who does not deserve her children and obviously does not appreciate them. Some even suggested she did it to sell records, thereby exploiting them for money.
I am one of those people. I too find my children boring, sometimes.
I have sat with my children attempting to join in their role play games – aiding Fireman Sam in his rescue attempts, floating Donald off in his glove balloon and drinking endless cups of air. I have set up various messy play activities and sat down, showing the children how to explore the textures and use their imaginations to create worlds. I have read the same book over and over again, trying my best to retain my enthusiasm by the twentieth reading.
These activities, whilst they bring joy to my children, I find boring and often struggle to find the necessary zeal for each activity. As an adult they are not exactly mind-enriching or challenging experiences.
But the other side of this is the guilt myself and every mother feels. For me it is terrible guilt that, for the most part, I have to force myself to participate in this play that my children love so. This guilt creeps in, more and more every day, and then it festers, playing at your mind and questioning your success as a parent. I often compare myself to those other ‘perfect’ mums out there, feeling a failure.
I feel that it is important for us all that we are exposed to reality every now and again. Those picture perfect images of happy children, impeccably dressed, scrubbed and well behaved are lovely to look at, but they don’t always depict what is going behind the scenes and can often make the rest of us feel dejected as our dirty pots pile up, the wet washing sits in the machine too long and beds remain unmade.
So good on Lily for admitting that life isn’t all sunshine and roses for her and that maybe she didn’t adapt to being a mummy as much as she thought she would. That actually, she needed more mental stimulation than staying at home could offer and so decided to return to work in order to retain some sanity and ensure when she was with her children she gave them the best she could be. We are all different and our talents may lie in areas that don’t always match those of being a stay at home mum. Should we be judged for this?
What I do know is that however dull to me, they bring the contented peace and luminescent giggles I cherish. They are memories of which my children may forget but I won’t and they stimulate my children where the TV and iPad can never do. Just because they are boring doesn’t mean I don’t participate in them for the sake of my children. But don’t judge me for my lack of enthusiasm, I am only a woman trying to do my best.