QT's Mummy Columnist Clare Evans of Goodna.
QT's Mummy Columnist Clare Evans of Goodna. David Nielsen

If parents play to win, children are sure to lose

WHEN I was eight, I was given the game of Boggle for Christmas.

I don't know if you remember Boggle, or if it's even still around, but it was a type of word game; you press one of those poppy things and it jumbled up a heap of lettered dice and you had to make as many words out of those letters as you could within the time limit.

Well, Boggle survived less than 12 hours in our house before mum threw it in the bin. Why? When I played against mum, she played to win, and I couldn't hack it.

I suppose 'couldn't hack it' might be a slight understatement.

Weeping and screaming and throwing things might be slightly more accurate…but that Christmas Day is something that has stuck with me and it definitely influences the way I play games with my own children.

I have never played to win with my kids. When they want to race I'm the "oh you beat me AGAIN" mum.

When we play cards my standard line is "how did you see that snap?" or "how did you get your hand down SO much faster than mine?" and they somehow don't twig that my hand has been hovering for a good 30 seconds.

Sometimes they'll do it back, and let me win. That can get a bit confusing as we each try to go our slowest until I work out what is going on. We get lapped by snails.

But when it comes to things that are actually competitive, they know that they are not going to always be the best, or be the winner.

Like school athletics carnivals; they have no misconceptions that they are going to place anywhere above midfield. My people are not a naturally athletic people.

I honestly don't know how any of my bloodline actually made it to 2013 without being totally annihilated by large predators.

Maybe we were in the cave trying to get the Wi-Fi connected. Who knows? But we were certainly not put on the planet to run races, jump hurdles, or throw long pointy sticks without someone being drastically injured.

That's okay though. Not everyone is good at everything.

Despite the way we play in our own home, I'm not actually a massive fan of the "everyone gets a prize" approach in a competitive arena. Because that's not life. It doesn't work like that.

I was so proud of my little ones at the last school awards night.

The She-Devil received the arts award, a trophy and a certificate, and her brother didn't get one for himself that night.

When I asked him how he felt about that, he said "I'm a bit disappointed mum, but I'm really happy for my sister". And she in turn didn't rub it in his face. Well, maybe a little bit.

Maybe playing to win all the time has its advantages, but so does watching my children win and lose with equal grace and dignity.


Come on baby, I've been pregnant for 150 years...

I AM officially over being pregnant.

I secretly thought that by now I would have an outside baby, but she's hanging in there.

Which is awesome, because another stubborn child is exactly what this house needs.

It is too cold for thongs, but my belly is too big to manoeuvre around to put proper shoes on.

I can't roll over in bed without doing a three-point turn, and I feel like I have been pregnant for approximately 150 years.

I've even started threatening to pull out the old wives tales of inducing labour.

One friend swears that gently jumping on the trampoline worked for her.

Our trampoline is still in pieces in the yard, so I guess that one's out.

Another friend recommended two hours of gentle swimming, but yeah, cold.

I've even heard of a pizzeria in the US that does a pizza guaranteed to induce labour, which I can only guess would taste like burning.

And then there's the suggestion of the activity that got me into this state in the first place….which I will neither confirm nor deny.

But I know I have to let her choose her own time to join us.

I'm ready when you are, baby.

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