acepuppets

Archive for March 2015


Spring has finally sprung the sun is shining and finally the rain is holding off long enough for us to enjoy the great outdoors.  When I pick my son up from school we will be spending time in the playground with all of the other parents and children.  Having a wonderful playground so close to the school is wonderful because it allows the children to expel the pent up energy they have saved while working hard at school.  My son and his friends are definitely ready to spend after school running around outside climbing on the playground equipment and digging holes in the mud.  Hopefully being able to play in a more open and freer environment will help him and his best friend to stop bossing each other about and getting each other’s backs up.

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Play England have devoted a whole section on the benefits of outdoor play because they believe that it is important that children learn skills that cannot be learned easily in the classroom.  Apart from the obvious health benefits of climbing on playground equipment and getting lots of exercise, children also learn how to interact with others and deal with conflict.  Playground equipment also offers the opportunity to conquer fears about height and balance.  Children also enjoy the freedom to abandon the playground equipment and find parts of the playground where they can hide and play imaginative games.

Visiting the playground as a parent can either be a sociable occasion where you chat to other parents or you find a quiet place to catch up on some work you need to do on your mobile phone.  Leaving the playground generally involves lots of time warnings and watching your reluctant child clamber on every piece of playground equipment before they reach the gate, only to forget their shoe and spend the next ten minutes looking for it.


Often we read statistics in the press as to how much a mother should be paid, if her role was a job rather than a labour of love.  It is always concluded that a mother would earn a healthy sum of money, in the region of 30 to forty thousand pounds, due to the amount of work that goes into the job of being a parent.  Many parents find their role challenging but rarely consider time spent caring for their children to be a job.  When your child is young it seems that your role of a parent is pretty straight forward but as children get older their emotional needs increase and our input is even more important.  Often time or lack of it prevents us from being the ideal parents that we would like to be.

Saatchi & Saatchi conducted a survey of 1,022 women in December 2014 and surveyed a further 1,800 mothers through Mumsnet to find out how mothers perceive their role.  They looked specifically at the eight emotional roles of parenting which include; carer, coach, hero, safe house, friend, partner in crime, fan and rule breaker.  When questioned almost 100% of the mothers agreed that all of the roles were extremely important but admitted that they rarely spent more than 10% of their time with their children fulfilling these roles.  The graphs below show that being a carer outweighs all of the time spent carrying out all of the other emotional roles.

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The survey also found that 51% of mothers fulfil all eight roles all by themselves, so it is hardly surprising that being a mother feels a bit pressurised at times.  Ideally mothers would like the role to be shared more equally with their partners giving them time to have more breathing space.  We don’t live in an ideal world, but children do need to know that we are there, come hail or shine, and that we are human too.  If we were to perceive the role of parents as a job then we would probably perform badly, where targets are concerned, because a lot of what we do for our children is not quantifiable.

I have to admit as my son is getting older I find that my role is becoming much more complex and more often than not, it is hurt feelings rather than hurt knees that I am having to put a metaphorical plaster on.  I miss the simple days of going to the playground and watching him explore the playground equipment without a care in the world.  Now I have to make sure that he does his homework, looks presentable and help him to find ways to deal with bossy children without falling out with them.  In the morning when I take him to school I sometimes feel like the worst mother in the playground but that is probably how we all feel.