Shhh…I send my children to kids clubs!
So there I am at a 6 year old’s birthday party talking to someone I've nicknamed Father Superior about his recent trip to Fiji. Apparently it was really great, family loved it, all had a ball, etc. ‘And the kids’ club?’ I ask, smiling and nodding. ‘Great eh? We used them a lot when we went to Fiji.’
He looks at me as if I have trodden in dog **** and trailed it into his house and says, ‘I don’t agree with kids’ clubs.’
My heart starts to race as I sense what’s coming. ‘Oh,’ I say. ‘Why not?’
‘When I go on holiday,’ he announces as if addressing a congregation, ‘I like to spend time with my children.’
‘What about spending time with your wife?’ I ask.
He looks at me as if he would like me to shrivel on a vine.
‘Anyhow,’ adds Mother Earth who is hovering at our side. ‘We stopped using kids clubs when all those charges of paedophilia came out. And they were at the top resorts!’
‘Oh come on,’ I say. ‘Kids clubs are lots of fun. When my children went there, Father Christmas arrived on a raft and threw sweets at the kids and the kids hand fed fish!’
Father Superior looks at me again. ‘Our children did all of that too. And they scuba dived to the bottom of the ocean and hiked up exploding volcanoes with us as a family.’
I’m bristling now.
‘Listen,’ says Mother Earth, smiling as if she is joking but really getting ready to draw back her bow and arrow, ‘some of us don’t want to abandon our children when we go on holiday.’
Now I am shrieking. ‘If you didn’t have any family in Australia and never got any help with childcare then you too might use kids’ clubs.’
‘Oh look how she’s getting defensive,’ says Mother Earth, twisting that arrow as she smiles at me.
And you know what? I was getting defensive. Defensive at the assumption that I’m less of a mother because I don’t want to spend all of my time with my children whilst on holiday; defensive at the accusation that I abandon my children and throw them into the hands of paedophiles so that I can read my book for a couple of hours once a day.
What is it with Superior Parents and their need to make the rest of us feel bad? Why does everything have to be a judgement and why, oh why do I care so much about what other people think?