As mothers day fast approaches I realised it was time to take stock!
When I asked my youngest, almost 13 years old to grab something out of the tumble drier the answer that flew back was ‘where’s the tumble drier?‘. Guaranteed, it wasn’t that old, but it had been whirring away drying clothes in the shed for some months now! And prior to that its predecessor had tumbled away in the same old shed. Many a winters night I slipped and skidded along the narrow path that leads from our back door to said shed in order to save a favourite pair of knickers or ‘best’ trousers for said children!
Now this comment got me thinking, along with the realisation that a few years ago when number two son was off to college I made the decision to allow him some independence, so I insisted he wash dry and sort his own clothes. No mean feat to a mum of four who bundles everything in together. It was often more difficult to separate the washing from his and ours! But I put in the effort and two years on he now washes dries and sorts his own attire. Don’t get me wrong, there have been stumbling blocks…like the time his washing sat for almost a week in said machine, smelling rotten to the point where he simply pressed wash every few days in order to ‘rid ‘the smell! (yes I have been known to do it too so I can take the blame for that one) And when his washing did not sprout legs and walk to the radiators or tumble dry itself, he stood disbelieving. That was the hardest part, allowing my son to stand on his own two feet. Ignoring the smell emanating from the washing machine, filtering out the stray boxers that slipped into the ‘family’ wash and ignoring shouts of ‘I have no socks’!
It sounds harsh parenting but it has allowed my son to take a step closer to becoming the independent adult he will one day hopefully be. Being a parent is tough, we often focus on the hard stuff…cleaning cooking washing ironing, nursing and generally caring. But its also tough stepping back, allowing them to grow into who they will become. My eldest son is now off at Uni and the realisation of cooking and cleaning….I say cleaning loosely having seen his halls…has sunk in. I felt immense and overwhelming pride at a recent shopping trip to a supermarket with him. ‘No mum I don’t want those pizza, I have these each week because they are in my budget’. I watched silently as he loaded his trolley walking deftly around the supermarket as if it were an old familiar friend. When I absently threw in a block of cheese he looked horrified, apparently he didn’t buy cheese as it was far too expensive! This was the child who not too long ago would get through an entire block of cheese in one sitting, making cheese on toast whilst stood hanging over the grill late at night. But of course reality hits when you are on a budget! I insisted on the cheese staying and me paying for the shop. The real test….was I going to pay for a weeks worth of beer and a trolley full of fags? No, my son simply said ‘well in that case can I splash out and get tinned tuna too’. My heart swelled….my son was finally there. Independence and realisation of what the real world can feel like and above all respect. I fought the tears and the urge to fill his trolley right there and then with tinned tuna and pilgrims cheese!
To all of those mums learning to let go, Happy Mothers Day!