Tag Archives: confessions

Join Me in More Parental Confessions

Sign that says "Confessions Booth"

While browsing through some of my past posts I came across one I had written in 2012 – Three Parental Confessions. In there I confessed to three times where I felt I had fallen a bit short of being the perfect mother. I now need to unburden myself of a couple more such incidents, and give you the opportunity to confess too.

French Lessons

When my son started secondary school three years ago, he was doing just fine in all of his lessons except French, where he really struggled. I spent a lot of time trying to help him with his French homework, but he just couldn’t grasp any of it. In the end I was just doing the homework for him and he would copy it into his book. I told him that at the parents’ evening, I would speak to his French teacher, and see if there was any extra help they could give him. He didn’t really want me to do that; he said that he had already decided he was going to drop French after Year 9 when he picked his options, so there was no point. I insisted that there was a point because he still had to do French for two and a half more years until he could drop it.

When the parents’ evening arrived, my son and I walked over to the French teacher’s table. As we approached, she had a huge smile. Before I had a chance to tell her about his struggles, she said “I’m SO pleased you’ve come to see me because I want to tell you how well your son is doing in French!”

Toy of teacher at desk

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, and went on to tell me how he was grasping concepts that the rest of the class weren’t, and how he was much more advanced that she would expect from a year 7 student. I sat there lapping it up, a little confused, but delighted.

Finally she pulled out a book. “I’ll show you what I mean,” she said. It was his homework book. She began leafing through it, showing me all the pieces of homework I had done, saying things like “Look at this! 10 out of 10! Nobody ever gets 10 out of 10 for this,” “And look at this, I didn’t expect anyone to understand this so quickly!”

After the discussion we had just had I felt far too awkward to say “Oh I see, no, I did all that.” So I just sat there smiling, saying things like, “Wow, that’s great! I’m so pleased!” and “Wait, why is that one only 9/10? Let me see that.”

As we walked away my son said “Good job mum, telling her how much I’m struggling with it.”

“It doesn’t matter,” I told him. “You’re dropping French after Year 9.”

Raffle Prize

On one occasion when my kids were at primary school, we went to a quiz evening at their school. My son was 8 and my daughter 11. They were also doing a raffle. The raffle tickets were sold at the start of the evening and the draw was at the end of the evening. Those who won were able to go and choose whatever prize they wanted from the prize table.

I bought three strips of tickets, one each for me, my son, and my daughter. When it came to the draw, one of my son’s numbers was drawn. “Ooh, what are you going to pick?” I asked him.

Used raffle tickets

“I’m going to pick the travel game!” he said, and began walking up to the prize table while people applauded him. I tried to let it go, I really did. But I had seen the travel game earlier and it was one of those rubbishy little sets that quite clearly came from the £1 shop. He almost made it to the table when I couldn’t take it any more, I leaped out of my seat, ran up, practically shoved him out of the way and grabbed the case of beer instead. I’m pretty sure there were a few shocked gasps from the other parents who had all witnessed my behaviour.

As we did the walk of shame back to our seats I muttered to my son “I’ll buy you a travel game, it’s just that this is worth much more.” I like to think I was teaching him something about value. In case you’re wondering, yes I did buy him a travel game, and no I didn’t enjoy the beer; it was too tainted with my guilt.

So come on, fess up, what parenting mistakes are you ashamed of? You’ll feel better if you share.

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Photo credits:
Confession booth sign
Toy teacher at desk
Raffle tickets

The time I secretly shared a box of chocolates with a mouse

Elephant and mouse sharing

I feel the need for a little true confession today. It all started with a box of chocolates that I had brought in to work. It was one of those tall pass-it-around-and-share-it boxes of individually wrapped assorted chocolates. I passed it around. We shared. After four or five chocolates had been taken, someone reached in and pulled out an empty wrapper. Strange. I peered into the box, and there was another empty wrapper. Not nice flat wrappers, but crumpled up ones, still twisted at one end. I delved in further, then horror of horrors, I found a half unwrapped chocolate with what looked like little tiny nibble marks in it. And then another partly nibbled one…and another!

“A mouse must have got into the box!” Someone cried.

“Impossible!” I shouted. “I’ve only just opened the box now from new and there are no holes in it or anything!”

“Well a mouse must have got to them in the factory then,” somebody else suggested.

“You must complain Vanessa, you must write to the company and complain!” They told me. I knew they were right, but first I asked the question that was on everyone’s lips, or so I thought, but it turned out it was only on my lips…

“Should we eat the other chocolates anyway first? You know, the perfectly good ones that still have the wrapping intact?”

Everyone was aghast. “Noooo!!!!” They cried. “Noooo!!!”

“But they are perfectly good!” I protested.

“They’re not perfectly good Vanessa, they are contaminated! The whole box is contaminated!”

I reluctantly conceded that they were right, I must eat no more, I must instead complain. I shoved the box into my bottom desk drawer, fully intending to write a complaint letter later. But instead I forgot all about them. Until a few weeks later when I was searching for something, and opened the bottom drawer. My eyes lit up, for a second…

Chocolates!…Oh wait..no…they’re the mouse chocolates…I was supposed to complain about them. I expect it’s too late now. I should probably just throw them away…only…there’s some perfectly good chocolates still in there, and none of us got ill from the ones we ate before…plus, there’s no actual evidence that it’s mice, it could just be mechanical damage…yes, that’s it, mechanical damage, so…

I looked up and glanced around. Everyone was busy, nobody was looking my way. I reached into the box, and pulled one out, I held it under my desk and looked at it. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s perfectly good. I slowly and quietly unwrapped it and popped it into my mouth. And so it went on. Over the next two or three weeks, when nobody was looking, whenever I got a hankering for chocolate, I would slowly and quietly reach into my box of mouse chocolates, pull one of the fully wrapped ones out and eat it. Until they were all gone. And nobody knew.

And not once when I had run out of the fully wrapped ones, and had a desperate craving for chocolate, did I take out one of the half nibbled ones, and have my own little nibble from the other, perfectly good, end. Not once, because that would be a step too far…right?

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photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc

Three parental confessions

Vanessa's kids standing on a bridge

I’m sure most parents would agree, there are times where you look at your kids and think, hey, I’m doing a pretty good job here. Perhaps you handled a difficult situation with them well, perhaps they did something that greatly impressed you which you felt could be attributed in part to your parenting. Whatever the cause, there are definite moments where you nod and feel confident that overall you’re a pretty good parent. Then there are those other times. The times that you are not so proud of. The times where you short-changed them a little when it came to being a great parent. I am feeling the need to confess three of those times, in the hope of a little forgiveness, or at least in the hope of a little reassurance from others that they may have done similar things…

1) Bedtime stories – I used to read stories to my children regularly. I recently wrote about our favourite children’s books over at Limebird Writers – Oh to Write Children’s Books Like These. Sometimes however, my children would choose a particularly long book, and sometimes this happened when I was very tired and didn’t particularly feel like reading a long book. Sometimes therefore, instead of turning over one page at a time, I would turn over two or three pages at a time, with a swift sleight of hand that an accomplished magician would be proud of. At the same time, I would briefly summarise in my own words what probably happened in those two or three pages. And if I wasn’t skipping over pages, then I would be condensing big full pages of text into short succinct sentences. I couldn’t get away with this with books that they were very familiar with of course, and there were occasions where they would helpfully point out that I had missed a bit, to which I would reply “Ooh yes, good job you spotted that!”. Before you judge me too harshly on this one, please acknowledge that at least I was reading to them.

2) Clocks – I have already previously confessed to this one on my blog, but in case anyone missed it…one day when I was particularly tired and frazzled, I set all the clocks in the house forward by an hour in order to trick my kids into going to bed an hour earlier than usual. People seemed quite impressed by this one when I mentioned it previously, and not at all critical, so I don’t mind mentioning it again.

3) Childcare provision – When my son was seven and daughter 10, I needed to find some childcare provision for them during the school summer break. I found that our local sports centre ran a club. It was perfect:

– It ran daily from 8.30am-5.30pm which meant I could still go to my 9-5 job.

– As it was run by the sports centre, every day was packed full of sport and physical activities, which I love for my kids.

– It was literally half the price of most other childcare provision around.

The only problem was, it was for ages eight and up, and my son was four months short of turning eight. What’s four months right? You know what’s coming here. It’s not so much the fact that I lied to the sports centre about his age which makes this a bad parenting moment, it’s the fact that I had to tell him to lie about his age if he was asked. You may judge me harshly on this one. I don’t think I deserve forgiveness here; teaching your children to lie is pretty bad, and I still feel guilty about this one.

So there you have it. Feel free to join me by sharing your own confessions below, parental or otherwise, but please nothing so bad that it will put me in the awkward position of thinking “Should I report this or not?”.