My son and I were talking about different parenting styles today. The conversation grew out of overhearing two mamas at the mall. Their kids were all within earshot while they commiserated about how hard the school holidays were and how they couldn’t wait for the little monsters to go back to school. Jed couldn’t believe they said that in front of their children. Me neither.
I asked him how he would feel if he overheard his parent saying how you couldn’t wait for the school holidays to be over etc. He said he would be looking to be adopted. With a twinkle in his eye. Later that day a friend pointed out that there are loads of articles around with titles like How to survive the school holidays and What to do with the terrors for two weeks. I hadn’t even noticed.
I understand that the change in routine and extra noise, mess and expectation of giving the kids a good time can be hard. It’s challenging to take time off work and/or organise playdates for days on end. I really get that. Kids have a way of knowing where all our buttons are and in the process of getting their needs met or expressing discontent, they know how to push them. Repeatedly. And with vigour. And this parenting milarky is not a walk in the park, I get that. It’s freaking hard work at times.
But I also get that kids want to feel connected with their parents and look forward to the holidays and having more time with their families and friends. I imagine it must be hard for many kids to hear that mama or papa is gutted that they’ll be around. I have seen little lit up faces darken and fall on hearing comments like we overheard. It just makes me feel sad. I mean, adults wouldn’t talk to other adults like that. Well, not in front of them. Why do adults do it to kids?
I am big on being honest. Kids are bullshit radars, if I am smiling and saying ‘yay holidays’ but inside am thinking ‘holy crap, this is going to be 2 weeks of hell’ my kid is going to be onto me. There’s an internal shift that needs to happen there. I’m not saying we can’t download our woes with our pals or turn to wine or chocolate – those are all good things. I just want to put out a plea to be a bit more mindful about how to take care of all our hearts. Especially those little ones.
It makes me glad that Lucy of Lulastic and the Hippyshake blog has launched the Parent Allies website. You can check it out HERE. Yay for Lucy!