All my life I have known where I fitted into the scheme of things, but as I get older I don’t anymore. I have gone through the change (fingers crossed), I am hormonal, I am no longer able to have children if I wanted to.
I loved being a mother, I loved having my children and having struggled to get them I enjoyed being with them. Having said that, if I knew then what I know now, I am not sure I would have children again.
Before you all get cross with me, don’t take it the wrong way. I wouldn’t be without my sons. I would be devastated if anything happened to either of them. I just don’t think I was cut out to be a mother, and it is despite me rather than because of me they have both developed into delightful, caring, ambitious young men. The internet didn’t exist like it does now back then, social media was the personal ads in the local paper, and mobile phones were the size of bricks and didn’t take photos. Your friends were those you knew in person not people in cyber space.
My children have now grown up. They have left home. They don’t need me any more. I am redundant. I suffer from Mother Hen syndrome. I stick my nose in where it isn’t wanted a lot. Twitter has been a godsend, I don’t use facebook, as has the football this season and this blog.
I have lost my confidence. I have a new hobby of photography. I don’t have a lot of faith in my ability. Have a look here at my portfolio (I only loaded up the better ones!!) I am trying to lose weight (and failing), I am trying to be a good wife (Still! after 32 years!)
There is loads of advice for empty nesters and how to survive the initial loss. Those people who wave their children off to university or off on a gap year. Despite the statistics showing that more adult children are staying at home with their parents,
“A total of 3.3 million 20- to 34-year-olds lived with their parents in 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics, the highest number since it started keeping records in 1996.
Over that period the number of young adults sharing a home with their parents rose by 25%, despite the proportion of the population aged between 20 and 34 remaining broadly the same.
The ONS data showed that people were most likely to live with their parents in their early 20s, with 49% of 20- to 24-year-olds in the family home, compared to 21% of 25- to 29-year-olds, and 8% of 34-year-olds – and it is the percentage of the youngest age group that has increased most noticeably, rising from 42% in 2008.” source: Hilary Osborne, The Guardian 21/1/14
But what about when they finish University? When they no longer bring their washing home? When they no longer ask for money? Or how to do something? how to cook something? Why their jeans are stiff because they dried them on an airer next to a radiator and is that OK?.
When you no longer buy them food parcels because you aren’t sure they are eating properly? When you no longer drop them Twenty quid because they need it, whether they need it or not.
When they have their own place and you go to visit and you have to remind your hubby that he can’t just mend stuff, and that he should stop nagging about stuff he would have dealt with? When you stay overnight – that is really odd! I am getting used to it now, but all those uncertainties I used to feel if I stayed over at my hubby’s house before we married have resurfaced…. should I make a cup of tea? a sandwich? remind them that Hubby needs to eat at regular times? Will they think I am nagging too? I sometimes feel I am walking on eggshells, I want to be a nice Mother In Law for C. I would love to have her as a friend. She has her own mother though and I cannot / will not tread on her toes.
How do I support them when I struggle to find things to say to them on the telephone? I don’t want to be asking questions all the time, and I don’t want to seem like I am interrogating them when I ring them or they ring us. I used to know what was happening their lives, I used to know who their friends were, their social calendar, their likes and dislikes. Now I feel like I don’t know them at all any more. I hope this changes back again. I wonder if it would be different if I had a daughter. I have always had the saying “A son’s a son til he gets a wife, a daughter’s a daughter for the rest of her life” at the back of my mind, so I suppose I kind of knew that this might happen. It doesn’t lessen the love they have for me, it just means that they don’t put me at the top of their list (quite rightly!).
So, I guess I will be stuck in limbo for the time being. I am sure a new way of being part of their lives will evolve and I will be able to know what is happening in their lives again. I want to be involved, but I recognise they need to be independent, they need to be able to spread their wings, they need to be able to make their own mistakes and pay the cost, they have to have dilemmas and worry them through on their own. I only hope that we have given them the tools to do this.
I thought today that maybe one of the babies I didn’t manage to carry to term was a girl. Would it have been different? would we be best friends? Would we have a close relationship? But then if I had carried those babies to term I wouldn’t have my two sons and I wouldn’t be without them.
I wonder what my role is now?