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If you can’t say something nice, don’t bother to say anything

I am feeling really rather got at.

Horribly got at.

And for some reason I can’t shake it off and its made me really miserable.  Miserable as in having to go away and have a good cry miserable.

I can’t work out why I’m taking it all to heart so excessively but you see I am and I guess that is the bottom line.

Over the course of recent days my mother has repeatedly told me that the girls have too many toys.

I’m the first to admit that they do have rather a lot, that the playroom is a bit of a mess but its easily solved and being frank, we didn’t really get them anything much for Christmas.  In fact a lot of what is in the playroom are toys that others have given us.  And I’m not going to force my mother in law to stop buying them things (although I have steered her gently towards books rather than other things) when it gives her a lot of pleasure.  And yes, I do resent that I cannot go out and buy the odd nice thing for them because others have got there first or bought them more than I feel comfortable with them having.

And New Nanny has also seemed to have a go about this too.  I again find myself having to justify what others have done when we had to hold back giving the girls the presents we had bought and are now holding back for another, more suitable, less excessive moment.

And it appears that people think my house is a mess.

Yes during the day it can be rather chaotic but come tea time all the toys get tidied away and the bits of the house where we’ve sorted them out are really rather nice and uncluttered.  Yes, our kitchen is a bit of a mess but we’re working on getting it changed so I can reach some of the cupboards and we have more storage.

I don’t want a prize for everything I do – work, cooking for the family, keeping things under control, washing, ironing and so on, but I would rather that people at least tried to understand how much I’m actually doing before having a go at the things I’m not.

I’m also sick of being got at because others have been generous.  I don’t believe my girls have disproportionally more toys than their friends, I don’t believe they are particularly spoilt, I don’t believe we buy off any guilt we may feel about not being at home with them.

Reading that back it all seems so petty.
And yet I’m still feeling miserable and got at.

I had thought I was doing an ok job.  I guess my problem is that all of these comments make me feel as if I’m not.

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25 comments to If you can’t say something nice, don’t bother to say anything

  • Oh lovely H, you are doing a wonderful job. Just wanted to send you a big kiss and bollock to the lot of them. xxx

  • have similar issues here wrt others’ generosity, place is rather flooded with toys. And it is def messy, I am awful at housework and tidying. Ignore the lot of them, you are doing a fab job.

  • I hate housework and I work. People who know me, know that I am an untidy person but there are times when I get fed up and then tidy up!
    I do try my best but why bother sometimes when I could either be tidying or playing with the girls!!!
    Tell her that the girls are happy and therefore you are happy and she should stop moaning!
    BNM

    • Muddling Along

      I think we’re fundamentally untidy – but you know what I reckon our house feels like a home for it, there’s such a thing as too tidy

      Would be fab if we could finish renovating the place and get it all sorted (at which point I’m sure I’ll realise that there is a bigger clutter issue)

  • Rachael

    It doesn’t sound petty at all. I DO try to tell my mother in law to stop buying things but it goes in one and out the other. She doesn’t even seem to get much pleasure from it and some of it is such tat it goes straight in a charity bag. I feel exactly the same that we don’t want TOO many toys and if others spoil the kids with lots of stuff, we, and others, are unable to gift them things when we’d like to. Only difference is, nobody’s got at me about the mess yet! Just myself!! Hope you can ignore the comments. x

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly – its partly that I can’t indulge myself and I can get over that but having to defend others doing things that I’m not sure I agree with is what gets me down

      I love that my girls are adored and am touched that others want to treat them but to be honest, its me that has to deal with the piles of toys and yes, there are times when I too try and tone it down but bottom line, how can I stop someone doing something that gives them such pleasure even if it does mean some consequences I don’t enjoy

      And yes, we ebay, we send to the charity shop, we send to charities but still they seem to breed

  • I know where you are coming from there, except I am my own worst enemy as I cant part with anything, even the tat. Its really disappointing when you cant get them something because others have. I have been through the whole ‘they have too many toys thing’ hundreds of times, but I always ask what people would like me to do, if they all insist on buying tons of stuff should we waste it?
    Im in a terrible muddle, thats what gets me down. If you can live with it, its the last thing to worry about.
    x

    • Muddling Along

      Ha – I’ve tried to clear out but yet there are some things its hard to get rid of – and yes, I do shift stuff up to the loft but there is still so much

      Its all tidied away at the end of the day, its all contained and I can sit here tonight without seeing heaps of plastic so it must be ok, right?

  • So your children have nice toys and play with them and people think you’re in the wrong somehow? WTF? Some people feel the need to have an opinion even if it’s not welcome. None of us have perfect neat houses – I know I damn well don’t.

    From where I’m sitting now, 2 of our sofa cushion covers are off in the wash because the dog came in from the garden with ‘something’ (I didn’t look too closely at what it was – ick!) on her paws and jumped all over the sofa. The rug needs a hoover, there’s dust on the laminate and the TV/DVD etc and the sideboard seems to be covered in children’s art projects/toys/kiddie rubbish. Don’t ask about the rest 🙂

    Like us, you and your husband work full time and you have some beautiful children you’d rather spend time with rather than continually tidying up after – and that alone is a full time job. Please ignore them and don’t beat yourself up, it’s your home x

    • Muddling Along

      Yay finger to the point as ever – yes we want to be with them, yes they have heaps but hey at least we are trying to do the right thing

  • Blimey there are ‘too many toys’ police now too along with the fashion police and the diet police? Judging by the comments on this and the fact that my children have too many toys and my house is a mess I’d say you’re not alone. Messy toy-filled householders unite! Toys are cheap these days. They’re clever and fun too. Why shouldn’t we (I mean our children!) have lots of them? Eventually they’ll move on to good homes (as in Toy Story 3). In the meantime you’re doing a great job. Ignore what they’re saying – that’s what life is like nowadays.

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly – I remember not having many toys but hey, these days they are so cheap and so great that perhaps it isn’t the bad thing that it would have been back in the day

      Meh – guess I just need to ignore them, but harder said than done

  • I think the title says it all. Ignore them. Noone from the outside can ever know how we are really doing and what we have to cope with. Even if they were true they are minor things of concern. Your children are clearly loved and that is all that ever matters. And given you are a full time working mum if your house was a tip it really isn’t a problem.

    • Muddling Along

      Thank you – I really appreciate you saying that they’re loved. That’s the bottom line for me, that they know that they’re loved – the material stuff is just fluff around everything

  • Oh I’m sure you’re doing great! We have a ridiculous amount of toys as well, and you know what they don’t even get tidied away properly every single day. At least half of those toys were bought by my in-laws and I’ve asked them to turn it down but what can you do? I’m going to get rid of toys as my littlest one grows up, but until then it seems a little unfair to the children. Besides, it’s no one’s business but our own.

    I say are your children well fed, happy, that kind of thing? Then you’re doing great for them. It’s impossible to raise a family without a bit of mess, no matter how many toys you have. Stick to your guns and tell the nanny to clear up if it bothers her!

    • Muddling Along

      I’m the same, I’ve tried to get things toned down but it gives people a lot of pleasure to do these things and you know what, I’m not going to stop that (and having talked to Mr about it, its not something I think I should do) but yes, I do slightly resent getting taken to task for the excesses of others when its meant that we haven’t been able to give the present we wanted to (its still wrapped and hidden behind the piano… no idea when will be a suitable moment to give it, probably when Bigger is a little less obsessed with her presents… sigh)

  • Well for a start I don’t really think there is such a thing as too many toys! Children don’t stay little for long so if you or other family members want to get the little one’s some toys then I say go for it. There’s far more to spoiling a child than letting them have lots of things to play with.
    And unfortunately houses with children in do get cluttered during the day. It’s a fact of life. If it’s not the toys it’ll be the piles of ironing or the washing up or the muddy boots etc. Don’t listen to you mother on this one. It sounds like she needs to have a look in some other family’s houses to get a sense of how families really are these days.

    • Muddling Along

      Thank you – you know what I think half the issue is that I’m justifying behaviour by other people and its stuff that I don’t necessarily agree with but I have to defend and its stuff that means I can’t go and buy the impulse jigsaw I may have wanted to

      I think cluttered is just our life – I want a home, not a house, not a show house and hey perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing, right?

  • I struggle with this too. My kids get bought so much stuff by friends and family which I am very grateful for, but I do sometimes feel that they are often given something that I wanted to buy for them, but that I would actually have chosen a slightly different one. And then I can’t justify getting the one I really wanted them to have. Which of course just makes me sounds horribly ungrateful…

    And yes, they do have so much stuff too. But to be honest it does get played with.

    S x

  • Think you absolutely nailed it when you say you think half the issue is other peoples opinions. It’s a slippery slope! The only time I quesion my Mummy/home making skills is when someone says something, it’s horrid.
    You know you are doing a fab job, your children are happy, sod them all frankly.

    My twin girls have far too many toys, our dining room is three quarters full of them. As I sit here I have two baskets of ironing and a machine full of wet clothes and my Christmas tree is still up because my eldest son doesn’t go back to Uni til Friday and I wanted to have the house lovely until he left. Do I care at this moment? Nope 🙂
    I don’t ever remember a child saying, “gosh Mummy, thank you for always having a perfect house”…
    Looking at your lovely Blog and reading all the other comments it looks as though you are doing a more than ok job!

    F xx

    • Muddling Along

      That Fran is a very good point – I guess the majority of the problem is people I want to respect what I’m doing having a go. Most of the time I think I’m doing ok and am happy with my choices… and then this happens

  • Just remember how sodding easy it is to be critical, and that most of us are to make ourselves feel better. It’s usually got very little to do with you, and a lot to do with the one doling it out.
    And, all children have a stupid amount of toys. The breed, didnya know?

    M2M

    • Muddling Along

      oh tell me about them breeding…. and how they suddenly set their noises off in the middle of the night for no obvious reason. You know what, I think they’re ganging up on us!

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