While I was growing up, we were lucky enough to have a garden. The street we lived on bordered a woodland, and we spent no time in playgrounds as they were basically just a swing and a small box of sand – no fun compared to the unsupervised forest near the house. We also never went to cafés. My parents drank coffee at home and treats were in short supply. Cakes were only for birthday parties. My own children confidently peruse a café menu and order treats right left and centre. I will have the carrot cake, with a side order of doughnuts, thanks – and keep the frothy milks coming.

I didn’t know how to order anything until I was old enough to order alcohol. I feel like I am raising my children, not only in a different culture, but also in a very different time. My British friends have confessed their childhood was like mine. It was a time of playing on the street, and parents not paying attention to your whereabouts until it was dinner and they called for you from a window to come inside and wash your hands and for goodness’ sake, look at you, you need a bath tonight, did you EAT dirt?

I am not saying it was a better time, just different. Maybe it is nice that we are made to spend more time with our children. But sometimes I have a burning desire to torch every playground within a three-mile radius so I don’t have to stand there cheering my children on while they do the monkey bars in the freezing rain for the millionth time, followed by a trip to the cafe where they spend all my money on frothy milk and cakes – money I thought I might spend on a garden near a woodland.

Gabi Froden

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Receive our monthly newsletter by email

    I accept the Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy