It never occurred to me my kids would grow-up
When I had my first baby it never occurred to me that he would actually grow up. Surely that was so far away it could never happen? And then slowly, very slowly and gradually, it did. They are now all through school and heading off to university and beyond.
Despite this, my three are all at home this year, for one reason or another – gap years pre- and post- uni and a masters. The house is still pretty full but the role I now hold as a mother has changed along the way. Obviously this is how it is meant to be, but it is not something I had put a lot of thought into until recently.
Rose Tinted Glasses
I do so miss a lot of things about having small children. At the same time there are so many advantages and reasons that I am happy to be where I am today, but I just need to GET USED TO IT! Nature is cruel in the way it allows you to remember only the good bits. When I see an exhausted mum in the supermarket with a small child who is screaming and demanding some random thing they have decided they can’t live without, I remember the harder bits that have been stored away and it really helps. But even situations like that become almost sweet in your rose tinted memory glasses.
The changing role of a mum
I am not sure when the transition occurred, but somewhere along the way my role changed. It was slow and gradual but I went from being needed all the time, involved in every decision and action, to realising that the kids were mostly happily getting on with their lives, making decisions with friends and each other, and checking in with me once in a while when they needed advice. I was busy with the younger ones to really notice it happening and then one day they were all fairly independent. Although living in my care, they just liked to know I was there but didn’t need me much.
It is an odd realisation and it is as if you are becoming someone else. A bit like when you have kids and you can’t remember yourself before you had them. You now can’t remember how NOT to be a mum!
I don’t think all the reminders on social media telling us to enjoy every minute with our kids, because one day they will be gone, are very helpful. Time passes, kids grow up, it is the circle of life. It is what is meant to happen and has happened forever. Even if you haven’t devoted every minute of your life to them, it changes nothing. Causing regret is pointless and thinking about it ending, whilst you are still doing it, is pointless.
It was not really until everyone started talking about it that I realised it was sad that my kids were getting older. Up to that point I was having a great time!
So just go with it. Enjoy the changing relationship because it proves things are happening as they should.
Some mornings I lie in bed and try to remember who is in the house
Although I definitely miss the days when my children were totally mine (and believed every word I said) I also love the fact that we have made it. I got them all the way to adulthood and feel a sense of achievement and relief. My relationship with them is still as ‘Mum’ but they offer me something too now and are great company. They still want my opinion but I don’t have to find an answer if I don’t want to and they will still cope.
Some mornings I lie in bed and try to remember who is at home and who is out! It is lovely letting go of responsibility after so long on duty. Thank god for findmyfriends because if I have forgotten where they are I simply look them up on my phone and check they made it there alive. I no longer have to get cross because it is now up to them what they do/spend/eat, but yet it isn’t an issue because they are grown-up and mature (ish).
The good thing is it takes so long and so much work to get them all grown-up, that you are naturally ready to slow down when it happens. Mother nature is amazing! But as I said I just need to GET USED TO IT.