|And mummy, you can be the batmobile toy while I’m Santa. This is our sleigh.|
Today’s pictures are of Boy Three at our local park. I took him there at the end of a very frustrating afternoon – it was either that or fling him onto the top of the huge heap of toys he’d created in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Normally he’s at nursery all day flinging toys on the floor there and generally having a lovely time with his friends and the nursery ladies (yes, in this case they are all ladies). He comes home bursting to talk about the things he’s learned. “Camouflage is brown, mummy. To blend in. It can’t be pink.”
The reason he goes there is so that I can spend my days writing things for money or fixing things other people have written. Most of the time I love it and most of the time it makes economic sense and helps us live the life we choose.
Today though he spent the afternoon at home after his appointment at the doctors. He’s had a nasty cough for weeks and it’s just not getting better. It’s worse at night and I’m coming round to thinking it might be asthma.
The doctor agreed sent us away with a salbutamol inhaler and spacer. The Boy was thrilled: “Blow my face, mummy. Just like Julia – she’s a girl – at nursery. She’s got one the same with teddy bears and everything.”
In the car picking him up I caught something of the debate on Radio 2 about George Osbourne’s plans to give working parents childcare vouchers even when their joint income could be £300,000. He said being a stay-at-home parent is a “lifestyle choice”.
The five minutes of debate I heard exhausted and depressed me in equal measure.
We’re all mothers, so how can two camps be so vehemently pitched against each other?
It seems that every time the topic comes up, before a few minutes have passed SAHMs and Workings are lobbing insults at each other as if their lives depended on it.
Here’s what I think:
Motherhood is a slog – interspersed with great joy – however you slice it.
- No one made any of us conceive, yet, as sure as we all get fat and farty, we all believed we are going to be different. Guilt and bone-melting exhaustion aren’t going to happen to us. No siree.
- Sometimes you need to go to work for money and that’s OK. Sometimes you need to go to work because you like it and that’s OK too.
- Sometimes you need to stay at home for money and that’s OK. Sometimes you need to stay at home because you like it and that’s OK too.
- Children seem to do remarkably well in the long run whatever happens to them during the early years, so long as someone who loves them lets them know at some point during every day.
- The benefit system is an ass – a good-intentioned, manipulative ass, but an ass nonetheless. No government is ever going to get it right, the best they can hope for is not pissing off too many people too much of the time.
- There will always be those who are better off than others. There are numerous reasons for this – luck, talent and hard work being just some. The more you think about it, the more you reduce chances of luck and waste your hard work.
For goodness sake, we’re all adults. Respect each other’s parenting choices (or circumstances) and use your energy on something worthwhile.
What’s that? Something worthwhile – curing asthma, figuring out a fair benefits system and making what time you spend with your kids the best it can be.