Do you find your children boring?
If you're a fan of This Morning, you'll have seen that this was the subject of their debate today. It followed a piece in the Daily Mail by Lorraine Candy, entitled 'No, being bored by your kid does not make you a bad mother, I hope'.
I'm going to come clean right from the outset and admit that I'm treading carefully here, as I happen to know one of the women who took part in the debate, but the gist of it was basically that kids are mind-numbingly boring to be around.
Catherine Cooper, a freelance journalist and mum of two, defies any adult not to feel bored after endless games of peek-a-boo, while Denise Sumpter, also a mum of two, disagrees.
Reporting on the TV debate, the Daily Mail put it like this:
Catherine said: 'You're a grown woman, with different interests to a child. Small children love repetitive games. It might be delightful to play peek-a-boo at first but not 300 times later.'
Catherine, whose children are now 10 and 12, said she's glad the issue is finally being debated as it's something she never felt she could not admit when hers were small.
'I felt guilty when my children were babies as I assumed everyone else was having a wonderful time,' she said.
But Denise begged to differ. (Of course she did, that's why they invited her on.) She said:
'I find the different ways my children interpret things so interesting. The way they can see something different in a pen or a piece of paper or a cardboard box.'
Wait a minute, REALLY? I think she might need to get out more...
Ahem. Now I'm not supposed to be taking sides (I have a friendship at stake after all, as I mentioned...) but here's my tuppence worth on the issue.
Yes, motherhood is an altruistic mission which can, on an alarmingly regular basis, reduce you to snotty tears. Usually the kind that you have to cry silently whilst sitting on the toilet with the door locked, since that's the only place where you're ever left in peace, and even then only if your kids are of a certain age.
No-one in their right mind is going to suggest that the monotony of motherhood is anything other than boring at times. The meal-making, the bum-wiping, the squabble-refereeing - need I go on? But there's a world of difference between calling your kids boring, and being honest about the less-than-scintillating role of being a mum. The two things are not the same; one is an 'office' of sorts... a part of our identity. And like most responsibilities, it carries with it some less favourable duties. But that's not the same as finding your kid boring.
I'm not going to apologise for the fact that I find that perspective strange. Since when did we start judging our own kids like this; as if their existence is meant to serve some purpose that ceaselessly delights us? Their play and exploration is all part of learning and developing; whether we find it entertaining or not is surely beside the point.
And while I applaud Catherine for being honest about her experience of boredom as a mum - anything that opens up discussion and makes mothers feel less isolated is surely a good thing - I reckon any mother who feels bored by her kids might do well to look at them - and indeed motherhood - in a different way.
Imagine life without the monotony of motherhood and all those endless games of peek-a-boo. I dread to think how much more boring that would be.
Image credit: Morguefile.com/creative/tat