There seems to be a terrible fear that has gripped Great Britain, that the sun is inherently bad. We don’t see much of the sun, we tend to go a little bit insane when we get some in the summer and when we are abroad we traditionally have burned ourselves and behaved badly.
Such is the strength of the anti-sun campaign, that many of my friends have their children kitted out in sun blocking t-shirts and shorts, hats with flaps at the back and total sun block factor 50 creams. Is it not a teeny bit much?
When my kids were babies they were kept out of the sun and I had those SPF 50 suits and I now cover them in factor 30 cream and hats and sunglasses and we avoid long periods in the sun. We are not allergic to the sun though and all enjoy being somewhere hot and getting some colour about us, a light caramel rather than red.
There is a certain type of middle class mother who takes her children somewhere extremely hot on holiday and yet keeps her offspring out of the sun. To the point of obsession.
Vitamin D is manufactured only when we are exposed to sun and it is difficult to get the vitamin D that you need through diet alone. I am not advocating that you get sunburned, in fact I have a dreadful fear of sunburn as it is this can and does increase your risk of cancer but it is important to see the sun and feel it on our skin to manufacture enough vitamin D to keep us going through winter.
I’m on holiday this week, somewhere hot, but seeing as it is October I am fairly relaxed and we dared to be outside at 2pm. Whilst at the beach yesterday, I watched as a mother covered her three very white children in thick sun block, sun block t-shirts and shorts, hats, sunglasses and then made them all sit under a UV blocking tent until it was 3pm, after which time they were allowed to come out.
My children were appropriately hatted and covered in sun cream and were happily playing with a dead octopus inadvertently murdered by Mr KBW (a long story). She loudly explained to her children that “children shouldn’t be out in the sun between 12 and 3” when they complained that they wanted out of the tent.
I am sometimes a bit of a health martyr and loudly explain to my children why they can’t go to MacDonalds/eat crisps regularly/skip swim class/have sweets every day when we see others doing exactly that. Instead of thinking what a wonderful mother Mrs Scared of the Sun was and how I was obviously a disgrace, I thought she was being a complete twat.
Which must be what people think I am when I am refusing to purchase more Haribos or chocolate for my children. No more health martyr statements for me.