Have I Been Enough?

This isn’t a post asking for you all to say, “Yes, Helen, you are enough!” Well, that’s not my intention. It’s more a question I’m asking myself. This is definitely an inward looking post. With one daughter having finished school this summer, it’s got me a little reflective. OK, not a little, a whole big lot of reflective.

So yesterday Georgia was at school and today she isn’t. There’s no change really to who she is. I know that. But, with the finishing of education, comes the realisation that childhood has come to an end and with that all the thoughts of the childhood I’ve given her. Suddenly the responsibility of being a parent leers out in front of me, almost too late. There is no time to go back to alter mistakes, to reclaim time, to be the best parent I can be. My chance has been and gone. Any warning of this juncture missed. Right there, childhood over.

Has there been enough fun? Has there been enough time? Have there been enough good memories? Will she have stories to share with her children of her own childhood that will stand the test of time? Will she look back fondly? Will there be grips of nostalgia of moments that can’t be relived? Will she reflect happily?

What are my memories of her childhood? Did I enjoy her enough? Was I there for her enough? Did I listen enough? Was I her mother enough?

My heart aches for lost time. This is my own fault. I should have known that childhood was only fleeting. Didn’t I have my own? Surely that was my one chance to grab my own parenting of childhood, to make it everything it should be. Did I choose not to listen to my elders who told me? Did I think my own children would be immune to time? Oh, the message I’m sending to those of you with younger children is screaming off of the page here!

Yes, of course, there’s pride. That goes without saying. But my words aren’t about what my daughter has achieved. I’m worried more about have I been the role model that will carry her through life? Was I patient enough? Have I raised her to go forward with confidence and make the world her own? Are there traits of mine that she has mimicked that will hinder her? To have let her down in any way is not something that rests easy.

Raising a daughter, with the known pressure that they look to their mother constantly for guidance, for reassurance, a role model, I’m questioning my work. I want it to have been enough and whilst reflection can leave one fearful that time has run out, I want her to know that throughout her childhood I tried my best.

We think we have all the time in the world to raise them, that childhood will last forever. We are fooled into thinking that we will have all the moments to be the perfect parent to go back and correct the mistakes to create the perfect childhood, whatever that may be. I think you know where I’m going with this. It comes to an end. That glorious seemingly never-ending stretch of childhood years, like the summer holidays, it ends. And, whilst the child embraces adulthood with sheer joy, as they should, the parent is left somewhat in this reflective state!

So, what now? Well, I can’t go back. I know that. But, for now, I am looking forward to sharing adulthood with her. I can still try to make enough memories. I can still try to listen enough. I can still try to be there enough. I can still try to give her the moments that she will hopefully grab onto and take with her. There is still time. Childhood may have ended but we most definitely haven’t … just saying.

 

 

 

 

43 thoughts on “Have I Been Enough?

  1. Ahh I understand what you are feeling but memories don’t stop being made just because one part of the mother /daughter relationship has passed. You will always be her mother and therefore she will always be looking to you for guidance and love – the difference now is that she is old enough to understand just how lucky she is to have you.

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    1. You’re so right. There’s just a real sadness to an end of an era for sure. Making the next stage full of wonderful memories – at least there will be less nagging! Thank you for your comment xx

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  2. This is so beautiful, and I know it wasn’t what you were looking for but you’re getting it…yes, I bet you were more than enough. As one door closes another one opens. This is what I try to remind myself constantly. You are a beautiful writer, thank you.
    @bigpinklink

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  3. Ah, that brought a tear to my eyes. So beautifully written and what a wonderful reflection for us all to consider as we continue through the challenges of parenting. Note to self…be patient, play and laugh a lot! You’ve been such an amazing mummy and still have so many moments to enjoy. xxxxx

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  4. Thank you for sharing this lovely post! I’m often so caught up in trying to keep three little ones fed and watered that I loose sight of the enjoyment of childhood. Right now I don’t think my oldest is getting enough one-on-one time, so this is nudge I needed to make changes now! #bigpinklink

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  5. Helen you write so beautifully and straight from the heart. It’s always so powerful read your posts. I have absolutely no doubt that you have been more than enough. My own mum wasn’t around through most of my growing up years, but she is now, and she is more of an incredible mum to me now as an adult than I could have hoped. I guess what I’m trying to say (very inarticulately) is that she will still need you. School or no school. You’re still her mum and will continue to be there and make all the difference for her even as an adult. Hugs to you both xxx

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  6. Its funny as my boys are only toddlers really but I still have moments where I think Am I enough? Are we doing enough? Am I fun enough? Am I good enough? So i can only imagine what it will be like when they are young adults leaving school. My mum always told me that if you lay strong foundations with children, show them love, respect, empathy, discipline and kindness that when they grow up and go out into the world they may veer off the rails for a while trying to find their own 2 feet but with strong foundations they will find their way back and find the best path for themselves. You are going to have some great times ahead xx Nicky #DreamTeam

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    1. Oh it’s all the questions and all the guilt! We have to stand up and praise our strengths! We all try our best and of course there will be bad days but on the whole we have to enjoy our children whilst they are small because once they’ve grown they’ve grown! Strong foundations for sure! Keep making them! Thank you for your comment xx

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  7. #dreamteam rephrase the question – is she enough, and i think most mums will say ‘hell yeah’ , if you fall in to this category then you’ve made it…because you made her. You’re always enough. ALWAYS – even when your knickers are on inside out.

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  8. My mum always reminds me to enjoy every stage of our children, which I sometimes have to remind myself to do. I am with you about the end of eras, my youngest is leaving primary school next week and I am a mess. I tend to live in the past, and with the kids growing up I need to look to the future instead. I am sure you will continue to enjoy lots of memories as she enjoys adulthood x

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    1. It’s so hard to not live in the past sometimes isn’t it?! WE have to look forward and embrace as much as we can for all the new memories to come! Thank you for your comment and hope the next stage to senior school goes well for your youngest xx

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  9. As a 33 year old I can honestly say – you’ve only just begun. I call my mom more now than I did when I lived with her. Random stuff all week long, sometimes something as weird as what toilet paper did she buy us. There are so many things I should have paid better attention to! #fortheloveofBLOG

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  10. I thank you for the wisdom as we approach another summer of fun, Helen. I’m sure like us, you have had many of these over the years. Each one unique but all creating memories of their own. You will have an even bigger collection of these. And if you are talking about the same girl I saw a few weeks back, I’d say yep – you have been more than enough. What was the advice you gave me? I’d say you’ve arrived at that place my lovely. In first class #tweensteensbeyond

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  11. With my son just leaving school now too I can also appreciate your thoughts. It feels like now is a real changing point as he also turned 16 as he finished his exams. He makes me so proud every day although I wish I had of enjoyed him so much more because he feels like he’s spending his wings and venturing further away.

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  12. What a lovely post. I think we all ask ourselves whether we’ve been enough from time to time – it’s only natural that as parents, we sometimes doubt whether we’ve given our kids everything that they need to succeed and thrive. I’m sure as she gets older – and especially if she has children of her own – she’ll appreciate everything that you did for her. Here’s to her adulthood and all the adventures that come along with it! #fortheloveofBLOG

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  13. My girls are growing up too. Both will be at secondary school next school year and I find myself having the same thoughts. Hoping I’ve not done too bad a job, hoping I’ve been good enough, hoping they know that they are loved unconditionally and always. I think it’s a natural mummy instinct and thought process. Thanks so much for sharing #coolmumclub x

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. Oh the start of senior school is a big step. Great fun too. The constant questioning of being a mum I guess is a good thing if we are trying to do our job to the absolute best! Not always easy though xx

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  14. So here we are, at two different ends of the scale – one finishing reception and one finishing school… Thank you for opening our eyes even more to the speed at which this time will fly by Helen, and also for articulating so beautifully the worries we all have about whether we could have done better (whatever age our children may be). You already know I have a dream about the day my girls are grown, and I can only hope that my relationship with them as adults is as wonderful as I am certain yours and Georgia’s will be…

    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

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  15. I empathise so much with this post as our son has just left school aged 16 and with no clear plan of what he wants to do next and we have complicated things by moving to France. It is never too later to make memories and I guess all us mums could do better but we are human and that’s probably OK too.

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    1. Oh such a lovely honest comment. Thank you. France sounds exciting and full of plans to come and memories too. I hipe your son finds what he wants to do. We can only do our best, as you say, and guide him xx

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  16. What a beautiful heartfelt piece of writing – this actually brought a bit of a tear to my eye. I’m always hearing how “they’ll grow up so fast” but as mum to 3 very young kids it’s hard to see it that way amidst the day-to-day chaos. This post hit me hard. This made me realise that they really do grow up fast and I was imagining myself on the day my kids finish up at school. I’m sure you’ve been more than enough and I’m sure you’ll make so many more memories with your daughter as she enters adulthood. You always need your mum, just in a different way as you get older. And….are we all forgetting the amazing chance to do it all over again once the grandchildren eventually come along (I understand that that’s still a distant thought to you but a silver lining nevertheless!) x #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh thank you for such a heartfelt comment. It really means a lot and I’m so pleased that you read and held on to the message that I was trying to say. It does go quickly but also I do not remember a time without my gorgeous three so that means it has been a long long time too! Enjoy every day and make memories for sure xx

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  17. What a lovely post. I’m absolutely sure you’ve been enough but it’s a question I think we all ask ourselves as mothers because we constantly beat ourselves up about getting it right. My eldest daughter is about to go into year 6 so a long way off from where you’re at with yours, but the time is just flying. Here’s to an exciting new chapter for your as a parent to a young adult and many more memories I’m sure of that time together. #coolmumclub

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  18. Only you have the answer to this one. I imagine though the fact you are worried about it means you are a caring mother that most likely has created lovely memories with their daughter. #fortheloveofBLOG

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  19. Oh I love this Helen. I’m feeling in a similarly reflective mood – but my youngest is starting school in September. I love your message to us mums with young kids, I need to wake up and pay more attention to things now! Whatever stage we are at with parenting, I think we always worry and wonder about whether we’ve done it right or if we’re enough. I love your positive ending about looking forward, because in the end that’s all we can do. Right? #BigPinkLink xx

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  20. Ah Helen your message has been received loud and clear. It has made me a little sad actually. I know this is a long long way off for me but the thought of it makes my insides hurts. My tiny little girl going off into the world as an adult, argh! Oh gosh the thought of her going to school next year is too much I don’t think I can think much further ahead lol. I love the positive ending though, no doubt you will both have so much more fun and magic to create together as adults – you’ll always be her mum whatever her age and that is something special. Thank you for joining us at #familyfun

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  21. This post really resonates with me. I find I have forgotten so much (first word, first steps etc) and I am trying really hard to make happy memories for them. I think parents do their best but always doubt themselves #familyfunlinky

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  22. Helen I’m crying! I have been feeling very reflective with my youngest going to school and all the things that you write echo how I have been feeling already. I can’t imagine how it feels to be at the other end and the end of school. I think we all have guilt and regret about the parents we would have been in a perfect world. We just need to remember that we are doing the very best that we can. Thanks for linking up with the #bigpinklink this week.

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  23. I completely relate to this, for so many reasons. It’s something I ask myself often, still do. I haven’t always been the best parent, life hasn’t thrown us so many curveballs, and I worry that my children will remember the bad times over the good times. If I were to ask my children though, they would give me a resounding yes. Just as yours would too. #dreamteam

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