Have I become a ‘low grade tiger mum’?
1st August 2016
It’s the holidays and in my head I am letting my 6 year old run feral and free. She is staying up later, we’ve been to the beach and swimming most days, we’ve made things…. I have taken lovely pictures for my Instagram account… all is ticking along nicely.
But! In the back of my head I have this concern – she is still doing too much… Have I succumbed to idolising tiger mums and unintentionally become a low grade version myself?
How do you know when you are making your kids do too much? Now my justification for lining up camps and tennis is because they get to hang out with friends on the common and they are not at home asking to watch cartoons or play on an Ipad. Although a part of me knows that the more time we spend at home the more chilled out the kids are and as soon as they realise I’m not wavering on the no Ipad rule they take themselves off and play with Lego. But my god can it sometimes be a battle to get there?!
Now my eldest is a premmie baby and since she could walk and talk we have known she is a toughy that just likes to get stuck in. I swear her initial 6 weeks in NICU made her hardy! I also know that I want her to be confident in sport as I was never pushed as a child to practice or play (I know I could have played tennis for the county if I had just been told to stick at it – honest!).
So this is where I find myself over booking camps and activities. You hear that children can enter a tennis tournament so you send them to a tennis camp with an additional lesson thrown into the mix (thankfully I was talked out of this). But it is on my mind – wouldn’t it be great if they won. But who would it be great for? My kids don’t really have a competitive bone in their body unless there is a sweet as a prize at the end of it and that is soon forgotten.
So here is what I am saying to myself over the summer holidays:
- having a chance to be feral doesn’t have to mean a Feather Down farm trip (although they are fun!). A trip to a beach or making mud pie in the garden will do… We recently visited my cousins fab new barn conversion, I came away gushing over the space and interiors when all my kids were raving about was the outside sink to make mud pies in
- Riding a park is an awesome activity and isn’t not just about getting from one place to another
- Play dates at home with no outings planned are fine (no, I don’t need to make them super exciting they have enough toys to rummage through)
- Accept you are never going to be able to teach your child piano if a. you don’t own a keyboard and b. you cant read music!
- They don’t need to have written an epic novel style diary about their holidays, they just need to be doing their holidays…
In answer to my own question – it takes a lot of work to be a real Tiger Mum so if that is just not you and if you like a bit of barefoot ‘feralness’ then go with that for the summer it is a lot easier all round. I know instantly when my kids have had enough as they have an epic tiredness meltdown where they tell me clearly “I am not tired”. I am learning to tame my inner tiger mum and make sure the laid back approach that made up so much of my childhood regularly pops into the mix. I also have a moto for the summer holidays: balanced feral fun. I will stow away my Tiger Mum vibes until September….