My new worry - what my kids get up to when I'm not watching them

By Justine O'mahony

Published 10/09/2016 | 00:00

Parents spend the first years of their children's lives wishing for the day when their offspring can dress themselves, make their own breakfast, tidy up their toys, wipe their own bums and generally give the grown ups some peace and quiet.

The thing is-once you have children you never have peace and quiet again. You just exchange one set of problems for another.

And despite the fact that we all love our kids to bits, you never stop worrying about them from the day they are born.

My kids are pretty self sufficient now. They can pour a bowl of cereal, make a cup of tea, take a shower and make their own beds. None of which, by the way, they do unless I yell at them to do it, but still, they are capable of doing it.

So the stress of watching them 24/7 has been eradicated. They can look after themselves to a certain degree. My problem now is-what do they get up to when I'm not watching them? I must confess part of me doesn't want to know. 'What you don't know won't harm you' and all that. But things have a way of coming out in the wash, whether you want to find out or not.

Take for example The Youngest's budding film career! There I was sitting in the hairdressers the other day when one of the stylist's says to me, 'Your daughter is gas. Her instagram account is hilarious!'

Her what??! So she shows me my nearly 11 year old daughter's Instagram account full of posed selfies of herself looking closer to sixteen than 11.

When I got home I asked her about it. 'Duh mum! Everybody has an Instagram account!' It then emerged she had a Snapchat and twitter account too, none of which I knew about.

On being informed of this news, Himself nearly had a coronary. 'She's wearing makeup!' he yelled, looking at her profile and ordering her to delete everything.

There were tears, there were tantrums, I glugged some wine and finally we agreed she could keep her instagram account as long as we could check it regularly and she didn't accept friend requests from anyone she didn't know.

We retreated to the local pub for a parental EGM and left The Eldest in charge ordering him to turn off all his electronic devices and go to sleep by 11.30 pm. We snuck into the house at 12.30 (Himself's idea) to see if they were up to anything they shouldn't have been. The Youngest, God love her was out cold, cuddling her teddies and looking her proper age.

On opening The Teenager's door, we found his phone on the floor, having been thrown down, mid conversation and on further inspection, The Teenager under the duvet with all his clothes on, as if he was ready to jump out the window and go partying.

Images of me as a brazen 14 year old flashed before me.

Oh God. This is just the start of it!

Wexford People

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