When I moved to Wales with my husband and two children a few years ago, I had never even heard of the Urdd or the Eisteddfod. I discovered it when my son came home from school with a letter asking if he’d like to become a member. After half an hour on Google I knew all about it, joining was a no brainer! It’s brilliant, like a massive ‘Wales Got Talent’ contest where kids from across Wales get to compete against each other in all sorts of competitions; singing and dancing, sport & arts and more. I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for kids in Wales and I wish I’d had the same opportunity when I grew up in England.
My kids wanted to get involved. My children decided to compete. They wanted to compete in the singing, dance and art competitions and my son really enjoyed getting involved in the sports side of it too. If they had decided that it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have forced them to take part, unlike a few parents I’ve met, aka the ‘Eisteddfod Mums’.
I remember attending the first regional round where my son was singing in the school choir. I was so proud of him standing there and singing in welsh in front of the other parents from our school, and other local schools. I was in tears when they got through and when they came second overall at the Urdd, as in the second best in Wales, I was a blubbering mess. My mummy friend was sitting next to me, she was also in tears, but unlike me she was crying as she was so disappointed with the result and disappointed with her own son for not winning! I couldn’t believe that she actually admitted that to me and to him! I will never forget his sad little face, I just wanted to hug him and tell him how utterly amazing they had done.
Since we moved here, I’ve been welcomed with open arms, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of mummy friends, but it’s as if something happens to a few of them when it comes to the Urdd, they turn into these horrible and cruel competitive monsters! They no longer greet their children with smiles and hugs at the school gates, they are staring at their watches and rushing them along to get to their singing coach, or rushing them into the car so they can start rehearsing their lines before they even get their belts on! These poor kids look so sad and exhausted and the mother’s look as if they are about to have a mental breakdown at any minute. I just don’t understand why they put this pressure on themselves and their poor kids?
I’ve sat next to a few of these mum’s in the prelims, bad mistake! They sit there pouting and batting their permed eyelashes at the judge and then look at their own children with daggers! As if it wasn’t scary enough to stand up on your own and sing in front of a judge and a massive audience, the last thing they need is for their own mum to turn into a scary monster. If they don’t succeed to pass the prelims, I don’t know what gets said in the car on the way home, but at least the ordeal is over for them for another year.
I know I’m being a coward writing this anonymously, but I’m also a bit scared of these ‘Eisteddfod Mums’. I just hope that reading this will make them sit back and realise that winning at the Urdd is not the most important thing on the planet! I also hope it makes them realise that what is important is allowing your child to make choices and then support them in their decisions. Visiting the Urdd to support a child who wants to be there and who wants to compete is a far nicer experience for all. When my children grow up, I hope they look back at their Urdd days as a fun and happy time, and not a traumatic and stressful time like many of their friends will.
By London Mum.
Mam Cymru would like to thank London Mum for sending us this article. We will be at the Eisteddfod later on this week writing our own review of the event – we can’t wait to visit! If you would like to contribute or get in touch with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org