SONS OF SAM
JUDGE’S SHOCK DOUBLE LIFE
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