I love being a mum, it has completed me, it has fulfilled me, it has made me happy but it has also been the most challenging thing I have ever done but why? How can something so wonderful be so difficult?
Parenting is about being responsible for another human being – feeding, clothing, keeping alive! But it is also about educating, nurturing, loving, comforting, caring, guiding and not fucking it all up.
As parents we need to get this right, even when we don’t know what we are doing so the pressure is enormous and so is the guilt.
It starts from the moment we give birth and we worry about everything we do, especially with our first. The first pressure is feeding – we have to get that right because that is what helps our child to grow and to thrive. We worry about how they develop, we worry if we are doing enough to keep them safe.
As our children grow, the challenges shift. I want my girls to be happy, to be healthy, to be independent and able but, as a parent, I need to get the balance right. My children will be 11 & 14 this year and the challenges are about guiding them towards adulthood – teaching them about responsibility, respect and values while giving them the space to work out who they are. It’s tough to parent when a child tells you they hate you but parent I must – I am not their friend, I am mum and I come with a few rules.
We all parent differently and we will have different ideas about raising our children but the one thing I know is that children need our time, we need to be available to them as they grow. My girls have more independence now than ever before but, in some ways, they need me just as much as they did when they were little. I am there to listen, to chat, to pick up on any problems at school or with friends or I am there just for a snuggle and a movie because we all need someone to talk to and children are no different, even when they think they don’t need us and even after they have told us we are the worst mum ever.
I am responsible for my children until they can be responsible for themselves – I invest time, love and respect in them with the hope that they can learn to invest in themselves. I have no idea if I am doing it right and, just as when they were babies, I am still making it up everyday. But I am doing my very best and I can’t do any better than that.