‘Mum’ stays but the power leaves.
I will always be 'mum' to my 3 grown ups. I am married and still 50 for another 2 months, as every month counts. Having spent the last 20 years working in an office, I am now self-employed and run Pot-a-Plant. I am based at the Hop Farm, but I take a fairy themed activity mobile for Brownies and I make and sell fairies online. I love to share nature’s magic.
I have a handsome son of 25 and 2 beautiful daughters aged 20 and 23. I keep correcting my husband for referring to them as 'kids'. They don’t seem to notice but I feel that if we are going to treat them as adults we shouldn’t refer to them as kids. I've done my job and been made redundant (that makes twice). Yet I am still on call 24/7 or is that just in my head? My role is more as a friend, supportive and less directive. I am not responsible for them. I will always remember the strange feeling of not having to take them to the Doctor or Dentist or speaking on their behalf. When my son was 15 we featured (photo included both of us) in a newspaper article talking about Grand Theft Auto and how I wouldn’t buy over 18 games for him. I didn’t ask his permission and then he was teased at school. It took him a while to trust me again. This time I have had to ask them all if I could use this photo. They call me now to chat or be a soundboard, but never for my permission. The last 20 years have flown by so quickly.
However, all the anxiety around 3 pregnancies, natural births and my parenting skills still lay dormant in the far recess of my getting greyer 'matter'. All the mother’s guilt resides beside it. These dormant feelings and thoughts are usually over powered by the thoughts of my 3 adults who are amazing individuals that we are so proud of. Just now and then they resurface, and I think 'I wish...'
I wish I could do it all again with the knowledge I have now. I wish I had enjoyed pregnancy and not been so worried about their ‘everything’ and dare I admit, my weight gain; I wish I had been more patient with the kids; I wish I had had more friends for support; I wish I hadn’t worked full time; I wish I had a beautifully decorated nursery; I wish I could have bought them everything they wanted …… and now I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. I am now grateful that they are healthy, independent and wonderful people. I cannot change anything now and the older I get the further back these memories go. The other day, I saw a post online from someone that thought her feelings of guilt would disappear with time. When I responded that mine hadn’t she was disappointed. I do believe that the answer is to take control and action at the time these feelings appear.
At the start of my parental journey, I think I was steered by the current of our circumstances, instead of in control. We lived abroad in South Africa for some time then returned. We moved to a new house quite a few times for my husband’s work and for a long time he worked away Monday to Friday. So, there were many choices I couldn’t make but given the support available now I could have at least taken more control of my own body; pregnancy and birthing experience. I am absolutely convinced (stamped by a homeopath) that these two miraculous experiences affect the disposition of a baby. I didn’t have a birth plan for any of them, I don’t know why and I remember feeling scared the whole time. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to a parenting class with my husband as he was working away, although I do remember going alone to a session where they showed a video of a harrowing birth experience. I think this was meant to prepare us, well you can imagine!
I say take control now and make decisions, ask yourself ‘when I look back in 20 years’ time will I regret this decision or not making one?’ I am reminded of a quote by the actor Rory Cochrane ‘I do not regret the things I've done, but those I did not do’. You will look back and wish you had at least allowed yourself the chance to relax and enjoy the experience. I wish I did.
Perhaps the ‘power’ of motherhood is determined by how in control you are as a woman.