Recently we have made the effort to go out on nice family outings. I am dragging my weary body out the door on a Saturday when all I want to do is sleep. But I'm a good mother (on occasion) so I go.
So when we're driving home from the zoo last week, the discussion is not 'O, weren't the seals fab and aren't you the world's bestest parents for dragging yourselves around the zoo for hours with us while we fought and whinged?' but instead 'But how will we fit in all our computer turns?' [insert quiet sobbing here as realisation dawns that it might not be possible]
We have the most complex system to ensure everyone gets a half hour turn on the computer on the weekends. This is because (a) there is no TV/computer on weekdays and (b) some children (mostly the boys) get quite anxious if they aren't guaranteed a set amount of time. You may think that half an hour is very stingey, but when you multiply that by five, two and a half hours needs to be found each Saturday and Sunday. Yawn - I find the whole craziness hugely, hugely painful and tedious.
But it does work from the kid's end of things. That is until you go on an outing, visit friends, have friends over ... anything that is like, actual real life fun with the real world.
In the midst of my grumpiness I remembered that when I was about 10, I loved the TV show 'Wonder Woman'. It used to be on at 5pm on Saturday afternoons. This was in the pre-video, pre-TiVo days. And my parents seemed to always drag us out to have lunch with friends on Saturdays.
If the people were boring and located reasonably close by, we'd be home in time for Wonder Woman. But if they were having a great time and the hosts lived miles away, I remember starting to get a bit stressy and would start hassling my parents. No surprise, they didn't really enjoy being hassled about Wonder Woman when they were in the middle of a great conversation with adults. I remember trying to get Dad to drive faster as I saw the minutes ticking by - this didn't go down well either. I felt genuine disappointment when I missed out.
So I try to remember that feeling now and be a bit more empathetic. But there are still many moments when I want to throw the computer out the window - but that would be like my Dad deliberately driving home very slowly so that I would miss out on Wonder Woman - and that would be a bit mean.