Parents, and mothers in particular, are used to being The One on Whom All Blame Falls. Just this morning my son told me it was my fault he’d decided to lie in bed instead of getting up and coming down for breakfast.
But The Media are worse.
They love to criticise us for hoiking our kids relentlessly from one extra-curricular activity to the next, but surely if schools were to venture a step or two outside the limited box set of Numeracy, Literacy, Science and ICT, we’d all be able to enjoy our weekends a little more.
When I was at primary school – admittedly this was another time and another place – we did swimming every week of the summer term (in the sea, not in some nancy heated indoor pool), we also did netball, tennis and athletics. We learned the recorder, we entered singing festivals and we did French from the age of five. We also did raffia plaiting, basket weaving and public speaking.
All this was considered to be part of the curriculum, not after school club fodder.
I can’t say I’ve done a lot of raffia plaiting since then, but it’s stood me in good stead for my own hair and now my daughter’s.
I’m not over eighty, nowhere near it, but I did go to a very small, old-fashioned primary school, run in a rambling old house by two elderly sisters whom we had to call “Miss Phyllis” and “Miss Norah”.
Miss Phyllis wore big red bloomers and when she sat at her desk in front of us, on a small raised platform, we could see her milky white flesh oozing out over her pull-up stocking tops.
Miss Norah had a stammer. She ran the tuck shop, taught us Arithmetics and how to play “Now Thank We All Our God” on the recorder.
In schools now though, anything not tested has been axed from the curriculum and we have to pay for our kids to do it if we want them to learn it.
As for my two, they do a few after school activities, but my son has always refused to go to anything at the weekends – he says he has to get up all week for school and at the weekends he wants to stay in.
Then he discovered there was a climbing wall open on a Sunday morning.
I repeat, a Sunday bloody morning.
And he’s still on at me because he wants to climb mountains, specifically Mount Everest, and not just boring old climbing walls.
I think mountains would be a bit of a break actually.