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Iam a mum and I ought to be con­grat­u­lated. At 6pm on Tues­day night this week, I had to be in no less than three places at once. One kid had to be at soc­cer, another had to be at footy try­outs and another needed to be at a school con­cert.

I pulled in some favours, drove like a mad woman and gave the kids din­ner on the run. They ate re­heated burg­ers that had all the ap­peal of seared mud­flaps and made the car smell like a gym­nast’s armpits.

I ended up at my youngest son’s soc­cer breakup only to dis­cover it was par­ent par­tic­i­pa­tion night and the mums and dads had to play a game against the kids.

You know the drill: we have to make our kids proud by play­ing well, but not so well that we beat them. It’s ex­cru­ci­at­ing.

I had to play in bare feet (“Mum, why did you for­get your sneak­ers?”) as all the other boofy dads tried im­press­ing each other with their Maradona moves.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse, I still hadn’t fin­ished my work.

I barely had time to miss a cou­ple of goals (“Mum, you just cost your team two points”) be­fore my phone started buzzing with queries from irate sube­d­i­tors try­ing to make sense of the story I’d just filed.

Just as I got to the bot­tom of some tech­ni­cal point in para­graph 27, I was in­ter­rupted by one of the other mums. “Would you like me to get a photo of your son for you? I can text it to you. I can see you’re busy,” she said.

I looked down at the court. There was a conga line of eight-year-olds lined up wait­ing to re­ceive medals and cer­tifi­cates, sur­rounded by ador­ing par­ents tak­ing pho­tos. There I was on the side­lines on my lap­top.

Here’s the truth. I wasn’t go­ing to take a photo any­way. My son and his mates hadn’t won a grand fi­nal; the medal was merely for turn­ing up for the term. But the way ev­ery­one was car­ry­ing on, you’d think they had won the World Cup.

As I sat there feel­ing like the worst mum in the world, I won­dered where MY par­tic­i­pa­tion medal was. Where are the peo­ple crowd­ing around to thank me for ev­ery­thing I do? Where’s my cer­tifi­cate for pay­ing $260 a term for my son to play soc­cer? Where’s my medal for get­ting him there on time? For re­mind­ing him to take his soc­cer shoes? For find­ing his shoes in the bushes by the tram­po­line? Re­mind­ing him to take his mouth­guard? For look­ing through the bin to find his mouth­guard?

I reckon we should stop giv­ing kids medals for turn­ing up and give them to the par­ents in­stead. Don’t get me wrong. I love ev­ery minute of be­ing a mum (ex­cept for the show-off soc­cer dads) but kids to­day do take things for granted – par­tic­u­larly their par­ents. Of­ten it feels like we’re the ones do­ing the hard yards, but they’re the ones get­ting re­warded.

One friend told me about her kids’ school’s Easter bon­net pa­rade where kids have to turn up with a home­made hat made of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als. Noth­ing shop bought. Noth­ing new. Just whole­some en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly reused news­pa­pers and rinsed-out milk car­tons.

My friend’s hus­band did the best he could, given that he had a bro­ken arm, only to be told by their daugh­ter af­ter­wards that she had the “worst bon­net in prep”. Where was HIS medal for ef­fort?

I think we need a whole range of awards to be given to par­ents, not kids.

Top Ef­fort for Find­ing my Li­brary Books Un­der My Bed!

Thanks a Bunch for Re­mem­ber­ing Daf­fodil Day and Find­ing me Some­thing Yel­low to Wear!

You’re a Hero for Re­mem­ber­ing Footy Try-outs!

OK, I am kid­ding (sort of). I know par­ent­hood is a re­ward in it­self. Our kids are our medals. Their smiles are our cer­tifi­cates. But I wouldn’t mind a tro­phy – for ef­fort, if not achieve­ment

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