The summer holidays are almost upon it and I’m already trying to plan out some activities as I have found that my children thrive on a bit of order and simply knowing what they are going to be doing. I mainly do all the things myself or with friends working around a few trips to museums and galleries, it can be a bit pressured but means we save a fortune on holiday clubs. However, I cant help but wonder if this is the best thing to do overall. Many of their friends are going to organised clubs, learning new skills and gaining new life experiences. I’m yet again racked with guilt.
I think this may be a product of where we live but there is a tendency for children to be tutored and given experiences which are somewhat out of the norm. My children have their own talents and I have tried to nurture them as best I can but we are up against it financially. For example, this week I had to contribute my last tenner to the teachers thank you fund- I don’t begrudge this but it has meant we have had to scrape through the contents of our cupboards for dinner. I also need to find another ten pound note for the other teacher/ teaching assistants and I’m not entirely sure how we will budget for that. Anyway, that’s an aside. Fifi has shown a natural ability for pony riding, unfortunately we cant afford the lessons anymore. The guilt. What if we kept her going and she became an Olympic pony rider? It’s this sort of worry which is keeping me awake generally. The boy wants to learn an instrument, he has a natural gift for rhythm. Music lessons cost a fortune. Oh dear.
I’m also racked with the guilt of them potentially missing out on something great. This weekend it’s a Beaver Fun Day, which I had agreed to go to with the boy (he won’t do things on his own). Then I got invited to something which looked more fun for me than standing in a muddy field herding small boys around trampolines and things. So I changed my mind and opted for the thing I’d prefer to do. Now I’m feeling guilty that he’s going to miss out on one of those experiences he might remember for the rest of his life and which might change him as a person.
I realise that some of this is irrational. As a child I didn’t do a great deal of this sort of thing and I don’t think it had much of an impact. I get so stressed about whether the children are being left out from stuff, who they are friends with and all of that sort of thing. However, I couldn’t name all of my primary school ‘friends’ could you? Does it really matter?
That’s the crux of it all really, if you as a parent are doing your best, does the other stuff matter? If you cant afford music lessons, additional tuition, the best school, if your child is falling behind but you just cant help them yourself, does that matter? Have you failed if you put them in front of the television instead of carefully sourcing activities for them? I’m confused, I want my children to do well in life, to be able to support themselves financially and lead worthwhile positive lives. Will they be able to do this without all the additional stuff given the current state of the UK education system? I’m not so sure.
On the other hand, should I sacrifice my own well being for them? I regularly make myself ill worrying about them, worrying that I’m not doing the best for them. I drive myself mad working out the best activities, researching and reading up on what they should be learning and where they should be at school and then making sure they are at the right place. It means I have very little free time for myself. That isn’t good either.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about it all. Do you make your children fit in with you or do you live your lives for them?