Something struck me recently that there comes a point as a parent when you stop with all the discipline, the rules and the nagging. Goodness, I make parenting sound like a military operation. Some days it does feel exactly that. The raising of children to grow into wonderful, confident and kind women or your son to be a gentleman does not happen without a humongous amount of blood, sweat and tears.
There are days when the hard grafting of parenting feels like a constant in your life. Then suddenly, something changes. You find yourself not banging on about holding cutlery correctly, not moaning about them mumbling their words, not leaving their wet clothes on the floor, not listening to a slamming the door, not grumping (well not all the time!) and you find you’re having genuine chats.
It seems to happen overnight. One moment you are a woman possessed with all the nagging, nagging, nagging “we need to leave, why for the love of … aren’t you ready?” to “oh I wish you were old enough to join me for a glass of wine!” Seriously! Ok I’m not wanting to turn my children in to total lushes but you get my sentiment. And, do you know what? It is genuinely wonderful. No longer do I feel I am viewed as mum – they laugh at me, they see me as Helen. I touched on this a little in a recent post about owning motherhood.
We have an honesty, maybe too honest, but I don’t hide anything from them. I am to them who my friends see. I no longer feel I have to be all virtuous and well-behaved. Thank goodness for that! They tell me off (hmm a little too frequently!) and when they clock my empty glass they offer to top it up. OK, far too much alcohol chat here so moving on!
The realisation of the transition in the relationship became apparent recently when I wrote a guest post and someone commented that wouldn’t my children be embarrassed if they read what I’d written? My immediate reaction was no. I reflected and the answer was still no. My children know me fully. I don’t hide anything from them. To be embarrassed would, to me, feel that we don’t have an honest and open relationship. I get that we will always be mum (and I adore that) but just some days it is so refreshing to see your children finally view you as you. It feels like life makes sense. By being open and honest with them they are open with me.
Maybe this approach isn’t for everyone but it’s my approach and, for the record, I would never write anything that would embarrass my children. They know me well enough to understand when I’m being funny. They know I didn’t really mean that I wanted to spend a night with Robbie Williams! But I’m glad someone asked the question because actually it was great to come to the realisation that my children wouldn’t be embarrassed. I checked. They weren’t. They know me and I wouldn’t want it any other way … just saying.