On a daily basis I struggle with the decision of whether to get a bit of housework done and fob my kids off for another hour under the watchful eye of the television or play with them and enjoy the adorable age they are.
At its most lighthearted this is not a disastrous parenting issue of epic proportions, on the same scale as, say, beating your children. But it is an issue that brings with it guilt and frustration, regardless of which choice you make.
For someone who finds untidiness around the house the single biggest source of anxiety during her day, making the choice between an untidy house and neglected children is very, very difficult. What if someone pops in unexpectedly and I’ve got mountains (to rival K2) of laundry on the kitchen table? Or the dust bunnies under the coffee table band together and take my month-old infant hostage?
On the other hand, leaving the TV to babysit my kids puts me in the Joan Crawford league of bad mothers. And they do suffer from it. Both my two-year-old and three-year-old get clingy and misbehave when they haven’t had enough attention.
What’s the answer here?
On any given day it’s different. Today, ABC Kids is failing to capture the attention of my three-year-old, who has chosen to climb from the sofa to the footstool to the leather armchair in a type of Survivor-esque obstacle course. At any moment I know he’s going to fall and split his lip on the wooden floor below. So I’ll probably play with the kids for a little while and pray that nobody decides to pop in.
Oh for a maid… although if I’m wishing for stuff, I should wish for a million bucks, a 12 inch waist and the temperament to manage all of life’s choices without needing an oxygen mask or a stiff drink.