I Think I am a Grumpy Mummy

The other day I turned to a group of mothers and said, “I think I am a grumpy mummy.” They laughed and then paused, waiting for me to explain myself. The laughter was somewhat nervous. “I don’t like children’s parties.” I helpfully added. A few nodded. A few looked at me as though children’s parties are a strange thing to dislike.

And they are. But let’s try to see it from my point of view for just a moment. Let’s collect seventeen five-year-olds who know each other somewhat. Throw some parents into the mix. Add sugar. Then some strange activities that the children must learn the rules of (such as pass-the-parcel). Keep things ticking along with more games, and some cake. Now some presents that only the ‘birthday girl’ or ‘birthday boy’ get to open, while everyone else is left to a) covet, b) feel embarrassed about or c) gloat over. Shuffling parents on the outside of the present-opening-circle try not to compare what their child has contributed with what else the birthday kid is opening. If all goes well, the kids survive without major bust-up tantrums, and the parents extract them and their little lolly bag at the appointed hour.

But it doesn’t end there. The food at birthday parties is typically high-GI, which is code for ‘un-filling’. So the kid you get to take home is usually ravenous despite having stuffed enormous quantities of party food in their gob. You get the sugar-high, followed by the tetchy-slumpy-grumpy-whingy-whiney-why-did-I-ever-have-kids-phase. And the kid doesn’t behave much better. They are tired, having expended large amounts of both physical and emotional energy. And for some unknown reason, suddenly has an extremely inflated sense of entitlement, as though some of the “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” mentality has rubbed off on them. The lolly bag lasts far too long, and provides too many days of rationing and sibling-wrangling for my liking. And do not get me started on balloons.

No, really, I mean that. I hate balloons so much. This has only started to become a problem since I became a mother. They are evil pieces of latex (or whatever rubberish material they are made from). I am sure they have some mysterious ability to devilishly transmogrify the air contained within them into a noxious gas. They are capable of wreaking havoc on the surrounding environment through sheer force of  gaseous malevolence. And they are at their worst in cars. All my kids’ inflated balloons get put in the boot as soon as we take them in the car. From there, they are mercilessly dispensed with. I dump their bodies later. Yes. I am a balloon murderer.

I do not think I’m alone. I believe a lot of parents struggle with being happy at events such as children’s parties.

My problem is that I am honest about it, from time to time. That throws people. I’m sure the stunned silence I am greeted with suggests that people are trying not to agree with me (for the sake of propriety), rather than indicating any lack of agreement on their part. It simply couldn’t be that I am a grumpy mummy, and they are actually very nice parents. Could it?

 

 

Post Script: And now, for something completely different. My very wonderful friend Lulu has a new blog. Her kids are hilarious, and I am so glad she’s sharing their stories with us.

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18 thoughts on “I Think I am a Grumpy Mummy

  1. Hi Sally, firstly love your honest blogging. Secondly totally agree, being an introvert I struggle with the concept of large groups of people to start with, but large groups of out of control children and uncomfortable parents is not my favourite thing to do. I agree with the balloon thing too, they float around my house and get in the way and end up mysteriously being deflated. I do love to celebrate birthdays though, I am blessed to have my husband and children, family and friends to celebrate with. Sometimes it does get a little crazy though 🙂

  2. LOL Sal, its so true, all of it! I am a grumpy mummy too 🙂 I definitely do not love kids’ parties. That is why PP went painting for her ‘party’ with 3 kids instead of 17. And that explains why I pin things on pinterest that give me ideas for non party parties.
    Love your work x

    • Thanks Lulu. Love yours too!

      Did I tell you about the time I planned a non-party party for miss Seven? At about the stage that I almost fell off a chair balancing on a table attempting to string balloons up on the ceiling, James turned to me and said, “Well, I’m really glad we’re having a non-party this year”.

  3. hate parties. hate balloons. hate the awful food, and the rough unsupervised older children. And after last weekend, I am NEVER EVER having a pinata. I still can’t believe no one was hospitalised, instead I have been immortalised in some very ugly photos with my grumpy expression as I plead with other people’s children to step back and be careful. *sigh*

  4. Uh, yeah. The only good kids’ parties are those for your own kid (which are of course stressful as hell and during which my husband and I usually get into some kind of absurd argument) OR the ones that are in the afternoon and involve alcohol for the parents. I’m thrilled to be at the point of drop-off for at least one of the kids, and close on #2.

    • “At the point of drop-off”: I love that Deirdre! I’m at the same stage exactly. Eldest is droppable, second is close. Sometimes I want the years to roll on more quickly. Then I look at my youngest and want them to slow right down.

  5. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I am in the middle of planning my son’s 1st birthday and I am SO excited about it. I don’t want all the adults cringing at the thought 😉

    Actually I don’t care. If they don’t like it they don’t have to come – lol!

    It’s giving me lots of food for thought in terms of what food we serve and how we approach it but, at the end of the day what can you do? Some ppl will love & have fun and others dash out the minute they can – that’s the way it’s always going to be.

    It makes me think back to the days of 18ths and 21st – because my birthday was one of the last ones I was at the end of the “rounds” of parties by which time everyone was over it. It made me really careful to try just to invite the people who would really want to be there because I didn’t want people coming to “celebrate” with me actually really wanting to be somewhere else. Harder to do with a kids birthday party but I was conscious when putting the list together to really invite people who have a genuine involvement in our lives so….fingers crossed!

    • Louisa, you’ll be just fine! Remember, I am a Grumpy Mummy. That is MY problem. I am sure your friends are lovely! (And the truth is, there are wonderful moments in every party where I sigh and just love all the kids to bits…except for maybe ‘Carrots’, who is just a bully.)

      I hope your son’s party is a blast! (And I expect a full report on my desk by the following week…) 😉

      • @ Everything is Edible…

        I definitely think first birthday’s are the best party number. Because the kids don’t really know what’s going on, and they’re too young for crappy games. And the parents are right there to scoop them up if they have tantrums. Also, the present opening thing is easier because the kids only care about the wrapping paper. And everybody knows this so there’s no awkward feelings!

    • First birthday parties are the best, they are a celebration of the parents as much as the baby and the food is generally healthier, as is the fun. I think I started getting stressed at 4 year old parties, and then only some.

  6. Lovely Sal! Looks like you’ve struck a nerve with a few other parents too. I suspect your balloonophobia might be inherited. I have always hated the nasty, squeeky, exploding little suckers! btw – you too are a nice mummy!

  7. So glad I stumbled on this post today… yep I hate kid’s parties too.

    I hate it when my kids are invited to a party of some kid that we don’t really know… then I have to call parents I don’t know and do the whole ‘epi pen, no they don’t eat nuts, but don’t worry they probably won’t die’ speech and decide if I should feel obligated to stay or if I can just drop and run like both me and my girls would prefer.

    And balloons… pure evil. I once held a baby in my arms (working in child care) while he choked on a piece of popped balloon. It was only pure luck and a finger right down his throat that saved his life…. pure evil I tell you.

    • Oh, Kate, that’s a bit of a horrendous balloon-experience.
      Yes, allergies would complicate things further too.

      One day I’m sure we’ll start enjoying them again…like when we get to be grannies or something. Then we can drink tea and eat lamingtons and cackle in a corner of the room with a napkin tucked in our sunken cleavage. (Terrifying.)

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