Nakedness Dens and Food

My life with four little boys

Just not “one of those mums”

on July 10, 2014

My dear mum used to say “give me 6 yoghurt pots and ask me to turn them into a castle… and they will still basically look like 6 yoghurt pots!” She used to dread my sister and I coming home from school with the “our Easter Bonnet parade will soon be upon us…” or “your child needs to provide a costume to dress up as a bumble bee for our play…” letter. She would struggle to assist us with homework that involved any level of model making or artwork. And she certainly did not sit in a chair of an evening and darn socks. Well, the apple as they say, never falls far from the tree and I, in fact – I know my sister Wendy will not mind me saying this – neither I nor my sister have inherited an abundance of “artistic flair” when it comes to traditional “making things” type activities. I am sadly not as excited as my sons are about them bringing home Beavers and Cubs badges to sew on to their uniforms. I go straight to Amazon in order to provide a costume for World Book Day (which, while we’re at it, let’s face it, is more about what mum can find at the bottom of the dressing up box and “will do” than about any 5 year old’s “favourite” literary character….) and hide from the fellow mums trying to recruit bakers for the PTA cake raffle at my sons’ school. I’m simply just not “one of those mums.” You know, the kind that can rustle up a creative art project on a rainy day, “run up” a quick PE bag in an afternoon on the sewing machine from bits of fabric found in the bottom of a wardrobe or coach my children in the art of making a model of a structure out of everyday materials for their homework (Seriously? Really? Come on teachers, give us a break!).

So, if you are “one of those mums” or even “dads” then I applaud you. Congratulations. I stand in awe of your abilities and feel mostly inadequate in the shadow you cast in the school playground holding your costumes, models, home-made PE bags and perfectly baked cakes. And in the main I actually don’t mind. The world will not come to an end if I have to ask Granddad to help with the model making homework or ask my mother-in-law to sew on a badge (see previous blog about my village). And think of my contribution to the economic recovery with all my purchases of ready-made costumes, shop bought cakes and new socks without holes! (You’re welcome…)

I say “in the main” though because actually, deep down, I would at times quite like to be “one of those mums”. Just sometimes. One of those times is when playing with my boys at home. In complete contrast to their mother, they LOVE making stuff, creating things from their imaginations and getting messy. Whether it involves paint, glue, mud, water, sticks or cooking ingredients they love to get stuck in. And if I’m honest, on the few occasions that I have forced myself to embrace it, whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say I enjoyed the activity in itself (have you ever tried baking with 3 boys under the age of 8 and then trying to clear up the mess afterwards?!), I did really enjoy the experience of having fun with my boys and seeing what we could learn and achieve in the process. And it kind of, rightly or wrongly, made me feel like I was doing something parents should just sort of be doing.

Now one of the benefits of social media is that you are never far from an annoying parenting blog (sorry!) showcasing allegedly really easy craft activities to do with your children. You know the ones: “25 crafty rainy day activities” or “10 things for your monsters to create outside”. Some of them even layer on the additional guilt factor: “15 things you should do with your toddler to get them ready for pre-school” or “A lack of craft can lead to more aggressive children. Do these to avoid the trap…” All of these blogs assure us mere mortals that they really are super easy honest and will occupy our little darlings for hours on end. Oh and cheap too because most of the stuff you are bound to have just lying around the house apparently (this will presumably be because as “one of those mums” you already have a bulging sewing basket of useful apparatus, a cupboard full of art materials and a pantry stacked with so called basics for all that home baking you do). So, in what may well turn out to be an impulsive moment of stupidity I have decided to put some of these ideas to the test. Over the school summer holidays I am going to attempt one crafty activity from these blogs with the boys each week. I am going to embrace it, commit to it and have fun with it. Well, I am going to try anyway. And if the projects all go disastrously wrong I shall just pretend it’s all part of the enjoyment. Which it kind of is. I think!

I have already started to collect things that I might need (because as we have established I am really not “one of those mums”) and am trawling the internet for interesting and achievable sounding projects to have a go at. And just to make my life a little bit more stressful (!) I hope to be able to blog about each one as I go. Below is a picture of the box of stuff I have started collecting, for no other reason than the fact I need to practice how to upload photos into my blog so I can share more effectively the fun/trauma we are having!



I have also invited one of my fellow villagers to come join us on our adventures (also making it harder for me to bottle out!) and if you are local and want to come too do let me know; the more the merrier! Or if you have any “super easy craft activities” you think we should definitely try do share them. I am hoping to do as much as I can outside, weather permitting to get everyone away from the dreaded screens… and to help with my general “tetchiness” about the boys causing too much mess inside!

So, wish me luck. Keep an eye on my blog to see how we’re getting on. And please, please don’t judge! Remember: I’m just not “one of those mums”.


Helen -x-

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