Jump to content

Should parents be slaves to their children?

  • Please log in to reply
36 replies to this topic

#1 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

I was watching an episode of Wife Swap and found it intriguing that the parent in question thought it was selfish of a Mum to have their own interests and hobbies. That if you had kids it was your choice and therefore you should run your life entirely for them. The Mum did everything for the kids, and didn't do anything for herself at all for that reason; and felt it extremely selfish of the other Mum to do such activities.

I had one of those 'gee are there parents around that actually do think I'm selfish' moments. As I do outside sporting activities for my own benefit only (ie health, activity and really the sanity). For me it makes for a balanced family. But having watched that episode I'm now more aware that not everyone thinks that way! So I was at one of my girls activities today and whilst my girls only do 2 activities a week, there was a lot of talk between the other mums there how 'many' activities and I could see clearly they thought it was only right they give their kids all the opportunities they can (ie something almost every day) and I can see they do give up their own lives entirely for their kids. I confess I do not - and perhaps that does make me selfish.

So I wondered what you think. Do you think it is selfish to have your own set of activities outside of the home? Or if you have kids life should be entirely and wholly about them and their lives.

ETA I don't 'really' give a crap what others think... ie I'm not affected by it. It was more an observation and wondered if a lot of people do think that of mums who do have a life away from the family in one activity or another.

Edited by Katakacpk, 28 February 2013 - 07:08 PM.

#2 Guest_LeChatNinjah_*

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:08 PM

I say no to slavery.

I am there for them, I care for them, I've "sacrificed" a hell of a lot of "me stuff" but I think sacrificing ALL "me stuff" is not conducive to mental well-being.

#3 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

QUOTE (stopwhiningatme @ 28/02/2013, 08:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They have to pick contestants with extreme views to make it watchable.

I prefer to treat my kids as slaves.

Oh yeah completely understand that. But I guess it also highlighted that people do think that way. And then I thought of a few instances with the people around me where this is probably true but I had never stopped to think about it before.

#4 Mitis angelam

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

I'll bite, although I suspect a train wreck ahead.

I think we need to be clear what we mean when we talk about "selfish."  Is it selfish of me to be sitting here, at home alone, reading EB and other stuff, while DH takes DD to choir practice with him?  On one level, yes, because I could have done things in such a way as to make his life easier.  On another level, if I never have time to relax, to do things I enjoy, to nurture myself as a whole person, sooner or later I'm going to be a tired, worn out, crappy wife and mother.  

So I think it's about balance.  Self care is not selfish.  Being a whole person in your own right is not selfish.  Pursuing your own interests to others' significant detriment might be - but that's something to be worked out within the dynamics of your own family; I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all phenomenon.

And, you know, I might add.... there are two parents in most homes.  Surely what's good for the goose ought to be good for the gander?  Or is this question of selfishness never applicable to fathers?

#5 *LucyE*

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:26 PM

So I wondered what you think. Do you think it is selfish to have your own set of activities outside of the home? Or if you have kids life should be entirely and wholly about them and their lives.

No, I don't think it's selfish to nurture yourself to be a complete and balanced person.

I think anyone who gives over so much of themselves for someone else is highly dependent.

I have made sacrifices for my family - career, body, sleep - but I am still my own autonomous person. I'm not a robot or slave at anyone's beck and call. I choose to do certain things that makes all of our lives easier but I don't just do it for them. I realize that one day my children will grow into independent adults and won't want mum hanging around. I hope to have more in my life than just being a mum slave.

#6 Jane Jetson

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:28 PM

No, I don't think it's selfish to continue to have your own life post-children, any more than the OP's acquaintances probably think it's selfish that their male partners still have "me" time. Because I suspect that, as always, accusations of selfishness are only ever going to be levelled at the female parent.

I have not only retained my own interests but work full-time, so I'm pretty used to being called selfish. Meh.

#7 Maple Leaf

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

I like to lead by example. I am glad that my girls see me experiencing the world outside of this house and outside of them.

I am still ME. There is a happy medium with being a parent.

#8 Jane Jetson

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:35 PM

QUOTE (stopwhiningatme @ 28/02/2013, 08:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But Jane, wot of the chilluns!!  The chilluns!!

Hmm, come to think of it, I have noticed some short people living in the house...

#9 The 8th Plum

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

I don't see it as selfish to have your own interests. If anything, I think it is good for children to see that it's not all about them and that mum & dad do stuff too. However, I'm also one of those parents who is likely to set a limit of a couple of activities per week per child so obviously I would also be considered selfish by the wifeswap mum.

I think she sounds crackers.

#10 Procrastinator5000

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:38 PM

I think as long as kids feel they get love and attention most of the time then they have more respect for a parent who's got hobbies outside of child-rearing.

#11 FeralBee

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

Would you want your daughters to sacrifice everything that they are for their own children? By having your own interests, taking time for your own things, you are showing them that a woman can be a mother AND a person at the same time - just like a man can be a father and a person. They learn from the example we teach.

This idea that it is selfish to be yourself is so strange to me. Yes, parenting involves a lot of sacrifices - time, energy, sleep, sanity (luckily I have little of that to begin with), some of your interests, perhaps even some of the things you love - of course your priorities and the way you spend your time will change.

But to sacrifice your whole self? To what end? What does it teach, how does it truly benefit your children?

#12 BadCat

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

Answer A

When I produced children it was my firm intention to check my personhood at the door and pick up my yoke of motherhood slavery.  It's a busy but fulfilling life.  I get up at 4am to make sure their bedrooms are tidy before they wake so they don't tread on anything untoward as they wander sleepily from their beds.  They find an assortment of breakfast on the table and should none of the options be to their taste I will make something else.  I dress them and clean their teeth then drive them to school where I have arranged for them to be in adjacent classrooms so that I can follow everything that they should be learning.  Then I do all their homework while they throw stones at me for their own enjoyment before preparing dinner as per their individual requests.  After dinner I give them a sponge bath so they needn't tax themselves by standing a shower and they won't miss their favourite tv shows.  Once they go to bed I self flagellate to remind me that I could have done better and then write a diary page about how I intend to improve my performance tomorrow.

Answer B

**** that for a game of soldiers.

Bonus points to whoever can spot the genuine answer.

#13 sa5ha

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

I don't think it matters what you're talking about - parenthood, friendships, romantic relationships - you need to be your own person with interests and self love in order to be your best in a relationship with anyone else.

I hope when my partner and I have children that they become part of our lives but not our whole lives.

#14 ComradeBob

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

Manatee's answer B summed it up quite nicely for me.

#15 adl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:44 PM


Errrr .... NO

#16 Rainbow Lemur

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:47 PM

You say "selfish" like it's a bad thing.

#17 Guest_LeChatNinjah_*

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:49 PM

That's the thing, though, Amoral Lemur, having a few interests outside of kids isn't selfish at all!

#18 sāta kōrsa

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:56 PM

QUOTE (Katakacpk @ 28/02/2013, 08:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Do you think it is selfish to have your own set of activities outside of the home?

I'll save you some time.  No one thinks that way.

#19 Musk Sticks

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:02 PM

My mother was/is the type to say that a mother should sacrifice everything so that she can always be there for her children.

She is now struggling living in an empty nest.

Her whole identity was her children and now that they have grown up and left home, she is finding it very difficult to fill that void.

My mother was a very good mother to us while growing up, but I really think she would have been happier if she had set aside time for herself.

#20 Lees75

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:29 PM

I don't think it's selfish to have outside interests, but I don't think it is possible for everyone at all stages of their life. Currently my life as a full time working single mum is unbalanced, and even though I love it, it's not sustainable long term. But it is what it is for the next few years until my kids are old enough to leave on their own for an hour or so.

#21 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:55 PM

QUOTE (amoral lemur @ 28/02/2013, 08:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You say "selfish" like it's a bad thing.

No no I didn't say it was selfish, the lady on Wife Swap did - so I was asking as she would use the word selfish. Doesn't mean I believe it at all. I was just surprised there were people that think that, and wondered if it was a common thought.

#22 jojonbeanie

Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:59 AM

Ignoring the silly use of the word 'slave', I'm not sure why it has to be one or the other. It's quite possible to be an involved and nurturing parent and still enjoy your own hobbies and interests without any detriment to the lives of your children.

#23 GoBack2Bed

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:27 AM

Income from the premise of should PEOPLE be slaves full stop. And my answer is a resounding no. I'm not a slave for my boss, I'm not a slave for my husband and I'm not a slave for my children.

In regards to parenting, I think our job is to raise little people. That means people who are independent, resilient and happy. And I don't think a child that grows up with mum doing everything for them is any of those things.

I also think that me having my own hobbies and interests is essential. It's my sanity. I also think that when kids see their parents engaged in activities it encourages them to get into activities too (not necessarily the same ones).

All I can say is that if anyone called me selfish they better be prepared for the fury coming their way as I am most definitely not selfish and don't take anywhere near as much time for myself as I would like. I make endless sacrifices so taking some me time is well earned.

I also love the irony that some people think you are selfish if you take me time but would probably also be the same people who judged you for not losing baby weight or whatever other ridiculous standard they expect you to adhere too.

And men choose to have babies too. Why is it ok for them to have hobbies? Oh riiiiight penis I forgot.

#24 steppy

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:34 AM

QUOTE (Musk Sticks @ 28/02/2013, 09:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My mother was/is the type to say that a mother should sacrifice everything so that she can always be there for her children.

She is now struggling living in an empty nest.

Her whole identity was her children and now that they have grown up and left home, she is finding it very difficult to fill that void.

My mother was a very good mother to us while growing up, but I really think she would have been happier if she had set aside time for herself.

That's exactly why it's such a bad idea to devote everything to one's children. At least in your mother's case she has let you go though. There seems to be a growing tendency to keep children VERY dependent and have them live at home until they are in their thirties. I think it does children a disservice to be unable to handle simple things like doctors appointments or planning a route using public transport, not to mention being unable to clean or cook for themselves. My mother had to mother her own family from an early age so she spared her own children any housework because she had hated it so much. It is the one thing she did that I really think was a mistake that impacted negatively on all of us kids. She is very independent otherwise, but I wish she had made housework a routine thing for us. It's harder when you think of housework as an unimportant and onerous chore than if you think of it as just as fact of life.

#25 EsmeLennox

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:43 AM

Short answer: no.

Long answer: I think it is absolutely unhealthy to the kind of mother you describe. Not only for the mother but also the children. Thinking long term, your children will eventually live their own lives. Where does that then leave the mother? Ridiculous. Also I think we have enough trouble raising children in Australia (and other western countries no doubt) to realise that they are not in fact entitled to everything in life being handed to them on a silver platter. So I make my kids work around the house, I say no to them and I am raising them to realise that parents are people too.

I want my boys to see me out in the world doing things.

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.

The Bugaboo by Diesel Denim launch

Essential Baby attended the launch and it got messy!

Father's letter to Bataclan terrorists

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

Adele's new song to sing along to

Singer follows up success of Hello with new belting ballad When We Were Young.

Major retailers restrict formula sales

Coles and Woolworths have imposed tighter buying bans on baby formula amid a shortage blamed on Chinese consumers.

Three-year-old breaks family's news

If you are three-years-old and an only child, then news doesn't get much bigger than this.

Swapped babies stay with families

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

How life is different with three kids

I knew having a third child would alter our lives, but it's had so many impacts - both tiny and enormous.


What's hot on EB

Win one of two ABC Shop prize packs in time for Christmas

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Beautiful 'now and then' images of premature babies

They are stunning photos that the parents of these beautiful no doubt feared they may never see.

Physios warn pregnant women not to crunch like Michelle Bridges

Experts are urging pregnant women not to do exactly as Michelle Bridges does when exercising, or they risk developing rectus abdominus diastasis.

Penny-pinching supermarket shoppers switching in droves

Half of Australia thinks it can get cheaper groceries by switching supermarkets, and about one in four of us have already switched.

Baby breastfed by wrong mother after hospital mix up

A newborn baby has been breastfed by a stranger after a NSW hospital bungled the identities of two newborns, devastating one mother and potentially exposing the newborn to health risks.

Nurses invent skin to skin c-section drape

The determination of three US nurses to provide immediate skin to skin contact to mothers delivering their babies by caesarean section has led to the invention of a unique surgical drape.

Baby's first photo shoot features a special guest

You can always be sure of a few things not entirely going to plan during a newborn shoot – little accidents are almost par for the course – but this shoot was memorable for a whole other reason.

We are not the family you think we are, I promise

Kids have a way of presenting a completely inaccurate impression of you, as parents, and as a family.

The hidden harm of foetal alcohol syndrome disorder

Experts believe many children diagnosed with ADHD might actually have FASD and that the number of people suffering from the condition across the country could be as high as 500,000.

Anaesthetist facing charges after ignoring woman's pain during caesarean

An anaesthetist could be punished after telling a woman enduring an "excruciating" painful C-section that she was not actually in pain.

When your baby starts life in NICU

Our daughters are finally home after spending nearly four weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Wellington hospital.

How to save for a deposit while renting

As hard as it sounds, it is possible to save money when you rent, and certain things can be done to build a deposit faster.

Medications pregnant women should take, avoid, and think about

There are actually very few medications that must be absolutely avoided during pregnancy.

Paid parental leave uncertainty a growing concern

Eight months out from the due date of the government's PPL cut, some expectant parents are facing an uncertain time.

7 commandments of using the internet as a parent

What you need is careful, objective and repeatable science. Not anecdotes or old wives' tales, but data.

A rethink on screen ban for kids under two

With new guidelines being developed, the discouragement of use below two years of age is being revised.

10 things I want my wife to know

It's on those crazy days that I must remember to stop and let her know some things she needs to hear.

Better education about SIDS needed as deaths plateau

The number of sudden and unexpected deaths in infancy has decreased in NSW for the past 15 years but the most recent report into child deaths reveals the decline has plateaued.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.