Crappy Parenting 101

When I was carrying Beanpole, I had images of being a Mary Poppins, Supernanny, cool, but awesome mum. Beanpole is now 8 and TinyPants is 7 and I’m ok with being a crappy parent.

I still smile at new parents of tiny people who only feed their child lentils or breast milk and who devise mentally nourishing activities for their children.

Let me tell you about yesterday’s cardinal sins:

1. always supervise your children. Lie ins are not advised. Not unless you want to stagger downstairs to what appears to be an explosion of glitter and PVA.

2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. School holiday breakfasts are a bit more lenient than normal ‘eat the bloody cereal’ breakfasts. This morning we had beans and cheese in toast. Healthful. Even had brown toast. Children looked orange. Bean juice all over children.

3. your children reflect you. Allowing them to get dressed without supervision is always amusing (or not depending how fast we need to leave the house). Whoever said girls take more care than boys over their appearance hasn’t met mine. For me, it’s the clashing patterns that really make their outfits say ‘bad mother’. For instance, this morning TinyPants is wandering around in neon yellow & black stripes tights & a brown curly wig. I’m currently negotiating losing the wig and adding possibly shorts and tshirt before we go out. Please?

4. Always get your kids to help with shopping to give them a sense of independence.The supermarket. This is evil at the best of times, but add two over active children…. The bribe was good behaviour equals Club Penguin membership. By aisle 3, this was out the window and I was growling at them (met with sympathising looks from the other mums doing the same). I met another mum in there carrying a box of wine – she indicated her child was the reason for the alcohol / vegetable balance in her basket.

5. Garbage in, Garbage out. Lunch. This should be nutritious snack to fuel the afternoon’s activities. This does not describe our lunch. In a fit of, taste over nutrition, we bought hotdogs and smothered them in sauce. And crispy onions. This is what happens when I am deprived of coffee!


6. Children need fresh air! So we cycled to the local park. Go children, be free! (In the standard confines of the play park.) Mummy opens her book and starts to read in the sun. Bliss.

Half a page later….
“I’m bored”
“But you’re in a park!”
“It’s boring”
“It’s got a zip wire! Go play.”

Three lines later…
“I need a wee.”
“Do you want to go home?”
“Urgh. Ok.”

So we wheel the bikes to the loos and I proceed to cover my hands in grease re-attaching TinyPants’ chain back to her bike. Who knew I could do that! Then off we ride back home to make cauliflower and broccoli cheese for tea.

7. Always get enough sleep. ….or leave the kids with your parents, go to the pub and drink several bottles of pink wine with your friends. Thank god I bought coffee yesterday.


Go to sleep kids, mummy wants to shoot some semi naked nuns

I ought to start this by stating very clearly that I am not a violent person. I deplore physical, emotional and mental abuse when it’s real. However, I do play some more dubious computer games.

In reality, I rescue frogspawn in the garden in case it dries out, I worry about hedgehogs getting chilly and hold doors open for people. In virtual worlds I shoot people in the face. I throw innocent bystanders off cliffs after stealing their clothing. I eat things off the floor.

These virtual worlds have different rules and my moral compass starts to spin the minute I log in and it’s not just violence. I am a n00b.

Take for instance this evening. I took huge pleasure from throwing knives at people’s heads, or shooting them in the face then throwing their bodies over convenient ledges (a tip – when the lady says kill discreetly, she doesn’t mean throw the dead body into the garden and watch the guards freak out before walking through and shooting them all. Apparently, that’s not very discreet and it leads to re spawning earlier in the game).


Other nights, I choose to spend time throwing fire from my hands and shouting at things til they fall over. (Seriously, if you’re a teacher and your teenage, predominantly male class is being rowdy, try shouting FUS RO DAH! It has pretty much the same effect in and out of game). Not that I play this properly either… Technically, I could quest and get XP, or I could take the moral low ground and eat stuff off the floor and kill random villagers and hand their bodies over to their spouses having put on their clothes.


So do I play anything properly? Well, sort of. No. Actually, no. I joined World of Warcraft in 2006 as something to do in the evenings. I became a guild leader. It took me four years to reach a level cap. FOUR years! Why? Because I was busy organising hot tub parties outside the other faction’s main cities, running conga lines around the main city and getting married in Stormwind Cathedral (yeah, we did actually did this on our actual first wedding anniversary – our romance knows no bounds).


I was that moron who always tried to drive up the pit lane the wrong way, just to see if I could. Or ran off the path to see how far the scenery went. It turns out that my ability to get bored inside the confines of a game with specified outcomes, but the ability to not follow the storyline is immense, and I find random stuff to do. Skyrim lets me eat butterflies, WoW gave me real people to giggle with, hell! Second Life allowed me to buy genitals! (For no other reason than I could).

I am that player that the healer lets die because, well, it’s just kinder on the group to let them be dead for a while.

I’m not unpleasant, I don’t rage quit, it’s just that I don’t take it that seriously, because, well, it’s a game. And I’m a grown up.

(Note: whilst I do appreciate playing the odd violent game, I can do so because I am over the age of 18. Because of this, I can differentiate between reality and virtual and the moral differences between the two. Games have age ratings for a good reason and the sooner parents understand this, the better. Beanpole and TinyPants will have to stick to mariokart and just dance for now. If they want CoD, then they will have to settle for James Pond)