I just need to write about my next step as a parent. My body has made and birthed three babies and I now have a teenage girl, a pre-teen girl and an angel boy who will always remain a baby in my memories. My girls are brilliant and challenging, they are becoming more independent and I love watching them grow and develop. They still need me – usually for cash and permission to do stuff – but I get the occasional cuddle, however I have reached a point where I don’t see them that much – for both of them, their bedrooms and music have become their safe place, where they chat to their friends, sing and just hang out in their own space.
My youngest girl still runs to find me, to ask questions and to have a quick snuggle and I am clinging to the cuddles I get from her, before she starts high school and then becomes a teenager who I just pass on the stairs and coerce into sitting at the dinner table for a family meal.
It’s all a bit odd – and I feel a bit in limbo. I quite enjoy the space and the different pace that comes with having older children but I am not ready for them to get older. Their next step is to keep developing, to learn more about who they are, to learn more about friendships and the world around them, to develop their own opinions, to work towards the life they want, to have a social life, to experiment, to be independent. So my next step is to guide when needed, to be there to pick up the pieces when needed and to be available to them when needed.
Long gone are the trips to soft play (thank god), long gone are the days when a meltdown could be solved with the Tweenies or a biscuit, just gone is a book together at bedtime and very very nearly gone are trips to the playground and buckets on the beach. Mummy isn’t magic or fun anymore, mum is boring and old, she lays down rules and she sometimes has to say no.
Creeping in are the worries about social media, going out and being safe. And fairly soon, some sleepless nights will start again as I wait for a teenager to return home after a night out.
I find myself missing the lost afternoons with my girls snuggling with a movie, the evenings where we shut the front door and it’s just us, when we were not ruled by hormones, when play-doh was all the kids needed to entertain them. Maybe I am just missing the almost 8 year old boy that should be causing noise and chaos around us, with him I would still have some of the things I miss but he was too sick to stay and wishing him here won’t make it so.
I have enjoyed the journey with my children so far, they make me happy and incredibly proud and I will do my best to ride the next set of challenges as they arise but, sometimes, I wish life was just about crayons, cuddles to make everything ok and sploshing in puddles.
Janine Rudin | Birth & Baby