Sofa Mum: a mother who opts out of physical activities with her offspring, leaving this side of parenting to the father.
This phrase was coined by a dear friend of mine as she explained why she was opting in on the high rope obstacle course (over water) with her son, rather than sitting on the sofa at home.
Before I get irate messages from irate mothers berating me for suggesting that they have even one spare minute in the day to relax on the sofa, please note that I am very aware that lolling around on the sofa is not something us mums have many opportunities to do. That would be the thing of wild fantasies – with Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper or even Brad from Neighbours (I’m not fussy) lolling with us. The sofa bit is merely a figure of speech.
Now, back to my friend. As I bemusedly asked why on earth she was doing such a thing, she calmly responded ‘because I’ve decided not to be a Sofa Mum anymore.’
I’d just booked the three little S.H.I.T.s on to the same high rope obstacle course (over water)* and decided I could do this too – I’d no longer be a Sofa Mum. I could be just as daring and fun as Fun Daddy. Yay!
And so I squeezed my middle aged body into the obligatory wetsuit and waddled out to face the music, feeling like a giant human condom as I put my helmet on.
As I walked into the throng of excited kids and teens, I wondered if perhaps I should have remained in the safe and cosy world of Sofa Motherhood and watched from the side with a hot chocolate. But no, where’s the fun in that? I needed to show my kids that I, too, could join them in these activities.
To be fair, they were so shocked when I said I’d be joining them, that the whoops and high fives that I’d been hoping for weren’t exactly forthcoming.
Stunned silence more like.
And quizzical looks at my head area to see if my brain had exploded.
They actually asked ‘But why? Daddy usually does that kind of fun thing with us.’ To which I snapped ‘Mummy can be fun too,’ though my thighs chafing against the rubber were making me feel about as much fun as a post coital condom.
And so with great trepidation, I embarked on the course. And wobbled and slipped as I hesitantly made my way along the various wood logs, trying not to look down at the water ten feet below – I know that doesn’t sound very high but believe you me, it felt a long way down to me.
Meanwhile kids were voluntarily throwing themselves into the water ‘just for fun.’ Nutters.
At one point, a long queue of them got stuck behind the ‘scaredy old woman’ as I literally froze at one particular rope swing, squealing like a little old pig at my eleven year old to come and rescue me.
She did. Much to her embarrassment. And I made it, round the whole course, ending with a zip wire which drops you into the very cold water.
I felt triumphant.
I did it.
I could be Fun Mum.
Sofa Mum no more.
The little S.H.I.T.s had obviously completed the course twenty times by the time I did it once, and didn’t quite see what the big deal was.
I pretended to them that I loved it. I even whooped and said ‘that was sick!’ My eldest looked like she was actually going to be sick at my response – or maybe it was just the middle aged woman in a wetsuit.
But did I enjoy it at all, I asked myself?
Enjoy might not be the right word.
I enjoyed sharing the experience with my children.
I felt proud that I did it and could wear the Fun Mum badge that day with pride.
I’m determined to do more with them in future so that Mr S.H.I.T. doesn’t permanently steal the most fun parent in the world award. while boring Sofa Mum stays safely on land.
But next time I think I’ll choose something dry, without the rubber suit requirement. Nobody needs that.
*This all took place at Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar, East Lothian in Scotland which is a fab place for kids (and some crazy adults) with lots of activities such as wakeboarding, a forest zip trail, ringo and segway and extremely good hot chocolate.
For more information go to https://www.foxlake.co.uk.
This is not a sponsored post, the kids just genuinely love going there when we’re up in the homeland.