Thursday, 9 July 2015

Boozy Parenting

Today is the first day of the summer holidays. 7 weeks.

On the one hand, I'm excited. No school runs. Lots of adventures - beaches, ice cream, surfing, lie-ins, movies, expeditions.....

But I'm nervous too. Seven weeks of trying to find different ways of keeping #1, #2 and #3 off the computer. Arbitrating sibling disagreements (aka trying to stop them beating each other up). Cooking hundreds of meals that at least one of them will turn their nose up at. Constant tidying, washing, sun cream applying, nose wiping, manner correcting.....

.....all without anything to 'take the edge off' at the end of the day. And with no time for myself with blogs, bubble baths, long dog walks or any of my other 'displacement activities.'

But it has to be better than doing all of the above with a hangover. Then letting them run wild from 5pm onwards while I get stuck into the vino. Then shouting at them because I'm slightly drunk and cross.

I'm starting the holidays with bags of energy. I weigh under 11 stone (154 pounds) for the first time in years. I'm (relatively) relaxed and even tempered. I can be the perfect Mum! (yeah, right).

I have always been the opposite of the 'helicopter Mum'. I've never done that buzzing constantly overhead, coaching, pushing, adjusting, organising endless 'improving activities' and monitoring appropriate play dates.

It's pretty impossible to be that kind of Mum and drink too much. I had to prioritise.

So, I've been more of a 'satellite Mum'. Bleeping somewhere overhead, keeping a weather eye and checking that no-one's in mortal danger.

I've made sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time, in the right kit (except when they're not). They all do their homework, their reading and their spellings (most of the time).

But Kumon maths? Suzuki violin? Mandarin lessons? Fencing? Extra tutoring in anything? I don't think so!

This approach makes me most unusual (almost unique) in my part of town. I'd like to claim that it is all part of a 'free range kid centred philosophy', but actually it was probably laziness, selfishness and booze.

Given my history, I was definitely not one of those mothers who could feel a personal sense of achievement yesterday as we watched our year 6's graduate from Prep (primary) school. #1's achievements were entirely her own.

Which is why I was utterly blown away to see her perform as the lead girl role in the end of year musical - belting out her solos to the back of the hall, despite never having been in a choir or had a single singing or drama lesson (outside of school).

Then she walked off with the cup for outstanding achievement and an academic scholarship to her next school. Out of sixty or so highly-tutored-intensively-mothered kids she came out top.

Blow me down with a feather.

If you're a Mum reading this, worried about what effect your wine habit has had on your kids, then stop worrying right now (and stop drinking right now, obviously). They are hugely resilient, and a bit of self reliance is good for them.

Plus their time frames are different from ours. I quit four months ago, and - for my kids, if not for me - it's already the 'new normal'.

I overheard #1 talking to a friend the other day. The friend said something about her Mum drinking wine. "Oh," said #1, slightly smugly, "my Mummy doesn't drink."

Now that was something I could take some credit for.

Love SM x


  1. Oh the old you sounds so much like the old me! I did everything I needed to do, but I don't think I was very 'present'…. Even though it's only day 4, I feel so much more in the moment with my twin girls :)
    Though somewhat unexpectedly, my mind seems to be racing today (not in a bad/anxious way, just turned 'up' a bit more than I would like) - sod off out of my system, wine! :D

    1. Well done on 4 days Feebz! It is a bit of a roller coaster to start with, but you'll get real highs as well as the scratchy antsy bits! Hang on in there - it's worth it! SM x

    2. Thanks! your blog really is inspirational :) This weekend will be interesting, but I've committed to an early morning cycle on Saturday so early night for me tomorrow!

    3. Friday evenings are hard to start with! Try and make some time to relax and give yourself a treat of some sort! X

    4. Am thinking a nice hot bath is in order, and some colouring with my posh pencils :D

  2. Oh SM, funny blog - my sister in law "hovers" over my nieces, and here in Canada, several of my husband's relatives have "free range" parenting styles. Neither seem to have any impact on the outcome of the child it seems (not that I'm an expert)! xx

  3. Loved today's blog SM. I'm more of a satellite mum than a helicopter. I want our kids to make their own fun like I used to rather than always looking up me "mummy what shall we do now"... (A question that gets a little on my nerves) . Well done to #1 on such a fantastic achievement you must be very proud. Our summer holiday is 9.5 whole bliking weeks this year! Started last Friday and I'm already repeating "go and play" every two minutes.... Can't moan too much as I love having them at home in the hols. Happy sober holidays to you all x

  4. Sad the one child knew her mom was drinking.
    I never knew my mom and dad drank until I was quite a bit older.
    Proud of you!!

  5. It's amazing how many kids put their moms favourite drink as wine in questionnaires. I see it all the time. Mommy juice. Sad.

    Yup. Kids are Sri.ient. And they are also super aware. My kids were really happy when I quit. My daughter hated it when I would "fall asleep". And I am sure I was weepy and erratic.

    But my kids are happy. Smart. Nice. I don't push too many activities, butter I support what they want. And I make time for my own interests.

    Parenting is hard. Do what feels right for your family, not what everyone else is doing. It's been working for you!

  6. I like that phrase "satellite mom". If we're keeping with the metaphor, think about this: as a satellite you are cruising way above the earth and instead of focusing on silly things that don't matter, you can see BIG things- brush fires and global warming and huge storms. The big picture of what's really going on with the kids' lives is what becomes clear when you're observing them instead of regulating them and micro-managing their individual molecules.

    1. Love this SB! You've made my day! Thanks xx

  7. There was a feature in a magazine once called "gems" it means "good enough mums" I think I'm one of those. I'm far from perfect but I'm good enough and so are you!!

  8. Love that your daughter -and you - are shining :) x

  9. Sounds like you have one very proud daughter. Big smiles. The other day my #1 referred obliquely to some of her friends mothers as 'Wine Mummies'. So glad you're not one, so glad I'm not one, so immensely pleased for our dughters. Flossie x

  10. Timely post. I have also tried to satellite, but my kids need more, which caused me to be annoyed because it interfered with wine time. Last night a kid was up until midnight finishing something he put off. I was soooooo exhausted (being on day 4), and I still had to get up for school and work today. But then I realized, today I am just tired. Not tired and hungover as in the past.