A vent about venting (or: please don’t take your children for granted)

Many of have a bit of a vent about something during the average day. Someone has annoyed us, been rude to us, the train was late or a car cut us up at a junction.

Many of us will have a moan about our family, including our children. Parenting, especially of young children, is fraught with challenges. Lack of sleep, fussy eating, tantrums, squabbling siblings, and a range of other misdemeanours.

Having a vent can be cathartic, helping you shrug off your troubles and move on. Many of us use social media and our blogs to have these vents.

I sometimes feel a pang in my chest when I read other parents’ vents of parenting frustrations, but it usually washes over me. I get it. I would probably have been doing the same, if circumstances had been different.

My son Hugo proved himself to be a wilful little boy during the 35 days of his life, even though he was ventilated and in an incubator. He was so determined to get what he wanted, when he wanted it his nurses gave him the well-earned nickname ‘Hugo Boss’.

During our neonatal stay, I prayed I would be able to bring my baby home. I was even looking forward to having my work cut out for me being mummy to such a determined little boy.

I have no doubt Hugo would have continued to demand what he wanted, when he wanted it and there would have been many tantrums when he didn’t get his way.

Hugo would probably have had developmental issues due to his extreme prematurity, which would have required endless amounts of patience.

In this alternative universe, for all my gratitude at Hugo having survived I would still be human. Sooner or later, my patience would doubtless have been tested and I might have expressed my frustration with a vent or two.

Hugo

Hugo

However, I am fairly certain I would never have described children as ‘stupid’, as I saw in one recent blog post. Nor would have I described my toddler waking from a nap as the ‘worst sound’, as in a recent tweet.

To take the blog post first. If you’re a mummy blogger, you have probably read the post I’m talking about – it was hugely popular, and featured as Mumsnet Bloggers’ Network blog of the day last week.

I understand that the post was intended as a light-hearted view at parenting, supposed to be viewed as tongue-in-cheek. Yes, I am over-sensitive at the moment and no, I didn’t have to read it. But I was left feeling discombobulated at some of the descriptions such as children being, I quote, ‘fucking stupid’.

The fact that the post was intended to be funny, and so other many other mummies found it hilarious frustrated and upset me.

For me, those words crossed a line from a vent into disrespect.

The tweet disturbed me. Of course, it is impossible to convey context in the 124 characters of a tweet. The mother may well have been knackered and at her wits’ end after weeks or months of broken sleep.

But describing it as the ‘worst sound’ – really?

There are mothers who would think the sound of their toddler waking is the most glorious in the world. Mothers who, for example, laid their child to sleep, never again to wake due to sudden infant death syndrome.

To put it in another context, mothers in Gaza may describe the sound of an Israeli rocket attack as the ‘worst sound’. Not knowing if it will be them burying their children in a few hours’ time.

These mothers are not the only ones to have crossed a line, in my eyes. I have singled out these examples because they have provoked me in to writing this post.

I do not mean to judge: I have no doubt that they love their children immensely. I respect that this is the way these mothers choose to express themselves.

I do not know these women, or their situations. I have to wonder, though, whether they have ever experienced the sorrow of infertility. I wonder too whether they have ever known the intense pain of their baby or child dying, of having to plan their funeral and show love for them by tending their grave.

Mummies (and daddies), by all means have a vent about the frustrations of parenting. But please remember children are a precious gift bestowed on the fortunate. Vent, but count your blessings too. Children should never be taken for granted.

Giving Hugo a kiss

Giving Hugo a kiss

 

 

 


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

44 thoughts on “A vent about venting (or: please don’t take your children for granted)

  1. Megan Bidmead says:

    This is one of the best and most thought provoking blog posts I have read for a long time.

    As I get older, I realise more and more the power that words hold. Things I used to say as a teenager or even recently make me wince. Words carry so much weight. And they reveal so much about us.

    I hope that I learn as a parent to always make my children feel loved … even when it is frustrating and hard and they don’t show that same love back.

    Thank you for your blog, I’m so glad you write it.

    God bless x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. You’re right, many people use words very casually, without thinking of their meaning, or the impact they might have – and yes, the words we choose to use do reveal a lot about us.

      I am sure you do everything you can to make your children feel loved. xxx

      Like

  2. Jenny says:

    I haven’t come across the tweet or post mentioned but I am so sorry that you came across it and you are so right it is awful to go the extreme of venting into and past disrespect of such a amazing miracle of life. Bless you. Sending you tons and tons of hugs and hoping you don’t come across anymore of those that don’t realize how truly lucky they really are. Thank you so much for linking up to Share WIth Me and I really hope to see you again this week for another great round. We always love a good old favorite too if you have any in the archive you want to share each week. Oldies are still goodies. #sharewithme

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m so relieved to hear there are more parents who realise how precious their little ones are than don’t. Thanks, I’ll be back linking up this week xxx

      Like

  3. Honest Mum says:

    I am so sad and sorry you had to read that, I haven’t read the post mentioned but you are so right, life is so precious and it’s an important lesson that despite how hard life can be with children, we must feel grateful. Sending you a big hug x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, you’re very kind. You’re right. I know those people don’t mean ill – they just use melodrama, or unkind words for a laugh. It’s done me a bit of good to get this off my chest. Thank you for taking the time to comment xxx

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  4. tracey bowden says:

    I never read the post you mention but I have to admit to frequently losing my patience with my daughter, she likes to push my buttons but I would never say that to her and we always end our disagreements with an I love you. I agree it’s a despicable thing to say about your children especially in a blog post! You expressed your views perfectly and my heart broke for you as I read about your loss I am so sorry. (My daughter was also premature but thankfully not life threatening) #mmwbh

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I think lots of parents lose patience with their children – children often do know what buttons to press and parents are only human. I think the blogger in question was talking about all children rather than her own specifically. Still, it’s not a very kind description. The examples I mentioned are only two such that have frustrated me because they have been played for melodrama or laughs. Thank you for your kind words. I’m pleased your daughter is a thriving former preemie xxx

      Like

  5. Tin Box Traveller says:

    Good post. I despair sometimes at the things I see being shared openly on social media and the web in general. I’m not sure everyone understands the impact of their inner most thoughts on other people and themselves. I have family and friends who post the most ridiculous comments to Facebook – I’ve even blocked a few because they say the most infuriating and senseless things. My rule is always to pause and reflect before hitting ‘send’ or ‘publish’. What would my mum think, or someone on the other side of the argument? How would they feel? If I think someone could be unnecessarily hurt or embarrassed by what I want to say then I don’t.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. Yes, sometimes people don’t stop to think about the impact of their words before posting. I’ve I try really hard to put a balanced argument across, and thought about this post for a couple of days. The rule of thumb you describe is a very sensible one. Thanks so much for commenting. xxx

      Like

  6. Emma Kershaw (@BeautybyEmma) says:

    Brilliant post! I struggle with my children everyday because I’m tired and my youngest is incredibly clingy, sometimes I feel like it’s too much and I want to just run away but the thing that helps me carry on is nearly losing my youngest last Christmas, she was very ill and it was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through so although she makes life very hard for me sometimes I’m so grateful to still have her that it makes the hard parts insignificant, I do vent to my family and friends but never on Facebook or to people that would feel hurt by what I’m saying as I do think about how people who have lost children would feel reading it. I think it’s something that is easily done but maybe we need to think before we speak sometimes and realise just how lucky we are 🙂 xx #mmwbh

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you! I’m so sorry to hear about what happened last Christmas, it must have been awful. I’m glad your little one is now ok. Venting is easily done, and healthy too – there just needs to be a bit more consideration, in my view, and it sounds like you’re very considerate which is lovely to hear. Thank you for commenting xxx

      Like

  7. LIANNE (@Lianne84) says:

    Oh hun. It’s my first time reading your blog so I firstly want to say sorry for your loss and send big hugs, I was really quite emotional to read this. We all get stressed and we all have a bit of a rant without thinking about what others are going thru. I don’t think people think before tweeting sometimes! Maybe we need to think a bit more before we ‘vent’ out loud! That said, altho I didn’t read said blog post, I really don’t understand how any parent can call their child ‘fucking stupid’ how awful and disrespectful!!
    Lianne | TheBrunetteSays…

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I think the mum was saying that children in general are stupid rather than her own specifically, but even so. People have every right to have the odd vent, but you’re right, many people don’t think. It doesn’t make them bad people (usually). Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment xxx

      Like

  8. Katy (What Katy Said) says:

    I didn’t read the post in question and I am glad! I saw your tweet to Mumsnet yesterday too, they really should be ashamed. Since when is it ok to talk about children like that? Or anyone for that matter?! As a teacher I always had parents talk about their children in a negative way- in front of their kids. They didn’t see the damage they were doing. Children are a blessing and we should spend every day enjoying them. Yes there are times when my daughter does stupid or annoying things but I would never call her ‘f*&%ing stupid’, not even behind her back. Just unnecessary.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Absolutely. I do understand that parenting can be hard work and that the post in question is intended to be light-hearted. But it’s not ok to talk about anyone in that kind of language. It’s so sad parents even talk that way in front of their children – I hear it too often when out and about. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment xxx

      Like

  9. Rachel @ Parenthood Highs and Lows says:

    I am so, so sorry for your loss and I am so grateful that my children are here, and healthy and happy. However, I know the blog post in question and know that the mum who wrote it absolutely adores her children and doesn’t mean anything harmful by it – it was just a light hearted post about parenting. I know I get incredibly frustrated sometimes – I have a 3year old and a 1yo who are both being extremely challenging. Sometimes I do dread them waking up from their nap (although I am grateful that they are waking, if you know what I mean) as it means the bickering starts all over again, and sometimes bedtimes can’t come quick enough. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them with every single piece of my heart and know that Im incredibly lucky to have them, it is just the reality of parenting young kids x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I’m sure the mum really does adore her children, as I wrote in the post. I completely get it was supposed to be light-hearted, and it’s not that I don’t have a sense of humour – but describing children as ‘fucking stupid’, especially for a cheap laugh, took it a bit far. I do also get that parenting is hard work, and that the vast majority of parents love their children dearly. A vent is often needed, but it doesn’t mean disrespectful comments are acceptable. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment xxx

      Like

  10. familyfever says:

    Hear hear. We all get frustrated with parenting at time, it’s a tough job. BUT – there is no better sound in the world that your toddler waking from a nap, it means it is time for new adventures. Yes, I am tired, Yes I have too much to do. But I would drop everything to cuddle my children. They are a precious gift.

    Like

  11. larabeeuk says:

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read, I was lucky not to have read the ‘fucking stupid’ I can’t imagine referring to a child in this manner as funny in any situation. Thank you for taking the time to write this post and remind us all to treasure every moment, some people don’t have the privilege of being a parent or it’s cut short far too soon x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I certainly wish I’d never read that post, it made me feel so cross. Children really are so precious. I understand venting, but that kind of description is uncalled for. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment xxx

      Like

  12. Karen says:

    What a beautifully written, thought-provoking post. I haven’t read the post you mention and glad I haven’t. I think silly things are said sometimes by bloggers trying to be funny without really thinking about it. Whenever I read a post like yours it reminds me how lucky I am to have my two lovely girls. Thank you.

    Like

  13. Laura Jane says:

    The sound of my 17-year-old (yes, you wait!) waking up is a complete and utter joy – especially if it happens to be a school day 🙂

    Like

  14. meghanoc says:

    Oh my! I have these feelings too! I’ve had friends catch themselves venting realizing that their troubles may seem trivial to me, and I appreciate their sensitivity and tell them that they can still have their frustrations. It’s the ones that cross the lines that drove me bonkers! It reminds me of a saying I heard (and wrote about) while pregnant (and expecting a child that would likely die): the things you take for granted, other people are praying for. Made me reconsider my own situation. I still try to think about that even now. I have my health. I was fortunate enough to experience pregnancy. I had a vaginal birth. I have a supportive husband. These are all things I an grateful for even though my one and only baby died. I wish others could appreciate that as much as I do. I know that even though the worst imaginable happened, the worst really hasn’t. I’m grateful for that.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Absolutely – we all have frustrations, but there is a time when the line crosses into disrespect. There are always, always, things to be thankful for, even when the worst seems to have happened xxx

      Like

  15. Susanne Remic (@Ghostwritermumm) says:

    Oh my goodness. I have not read the post you mention and I am not sure I want to either. I don’t think comments like that are nice at all and in fact the word stupid is banned in our house, along with naughty and idiot! Children are so sensitive to so much more than we realise and its important to remember that what we write here stays here. You can undo it once its been published. Such a shame but I do understand your frustration. I have learned in the last few years just how fragile and precious life is and I cannot imagine hating the sound of my child waking. I’m sorry you had to read it at all x x x x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      You’re so right, children do pick up on those words. Not only can it damage their self-esteem, it can perpetuate the attitude. Life really is so precious – and none more so than the lives of our children. I’m pleased you understand the frustration – I was worried it might seem bitter. Thank you for taking the time to comment xxx

      Like

  16. @katgrant30 says:

    Hi Leigh – this is so well thought through and explained… I have to say I was one of those who giggled a bit through that blogpost, and recognised much of her points (though I would never – I hope- ever think kids were stupid!)… Sometimes when you’ve been with a toddler all day, every day, it is a relief to go online for five mins and have a secret laugh at these sort of posts. But I truly recognise now that my scenario is all a BLESSING, as (as you very eloquently write) so many people never have that opportunity.

    Thanks as ever for sharing your thoughts, and much love to you and most especially to Hugo Boss (love that nickname!) xxx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you Kathryn. I totally get that letting off steam is needed, but not at the expense of taking blessings for granted. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and, as ever for your support xxx

      Like

  17. typhaine says:

    Superlatives and exaggerations are often dangerous and triggering. I thought your parallel with the sound of rocket attacks was on point.

    I think for many people, it is hard to fathom the pain of losing one’s child. On my first day back at work, a coworker started complaining to me that he had had to wake up before the sun because of his 1 year-old. I so wanted to yell back at him that he should be grateful to be awaken by his healthy crying baby.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I think you did very well not to yell back at him. Many people take things for granted, because they’ve never had to know the pain of losing a child. We’d love to have these ‘inconveniences’, and people often don’t stop to think about the language they’re using. Thank you so much for reading and commenting xxx

      Like

  18. Astrid says:

    I can relate in some way. I used to go on a forum for parents of children with behavior disturbances, and some parents would continuously call their children “unloveable”. Now I, being an adult with such challenges, do understand parents get frustrated with their children’s (or teens’) tantrums, but it’s not like a child usually chooses to be difficult. Besides, it’s one thing to say you’re annoyed or even at your wit’s end about someone’s behavior, but quite another to call this person or child names like “unloveable” or “stupid”.

    Like

  19. oana79 says:

    I know the feeling. I do get angry with people who mistreat their children now. I got terribly upset when I read about the mentally disturbed mummy blogger who poisoned her son with salt. To his death! I read it while Georgie’s was fighting for his life in the cancer unit. And wanted to kill her for being so stupid as to take life for granted.
    But I am on the other side at times too. I lose patience with Emma. Especially as Saturday approaches. As my baby died on a Saturday night.
    Last week she almost ran in front of a car. We saw it played in slow motion. And we both called her stupid afterwards. We were terrified of losing her too. We never called her stupid before…
    So you see, we can be on both sides at times. Depending on our circumstances.
    Much love to you.xx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      It’s such an awful story. Since Hugo’s death, I’ve held the belief that there is a special place in hell reserved for such people.

      I’m not saying people should never get frustrated with their children. It must have been terrifying to have seen Emma run in front of a car, and no one could blame you for saying that was stupid. I’m sure she’s old enough to know better. The difference is, you were saying it as a natural response towards protecting your daughter – the other mother was saying it for entertainment and a laugh.

      Lots of love xxx

      Like

  20. SingleMotherAhoy says:

    I know the blog post you mean; I got to the “fucking stupid” line and stopped reading.
    For the record, in your alternate universe where Hugo is alive and well, I don’t think you would have been one of those people. I think you would have done what I do: “argh I wish you’d just stop grabbing at me for five minutes… oh wait, come and give me a cuddle.”
    Being a single parent, I do have moments where I have to go into the kitchen and shout into the fridge. But I would never say my daughter is fucking stupid, or that the sound of her waking up is the worst noise – even when it’s at 3am for the seventh time since I went to bed. It’s the difference between a child giving you a hard time, and a child having a hard time, isn’t it. I do my best to remember the difference.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I kept reading despite my better judgement – it was a compulsion like watching a car crash.

      Thank you for your kind words about how I would have been with Hugo in my alternative universe. I think you’re right – I was trying really hard to not appear sanctimonious.

      It’s lovely to hear that despite your stresses as a single parent, you always count your blessings xxx

      Like

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