Before I start I would like to make it very clear to my children if you are reading this that I love you very much just as you are but I can't help but wonder if you'd be different people if I had been a different parent! Oh and if you are reading this, get a job! And to my children still living at home, Put your clothes away!, clean your rooms and pick up your crap from all over the house!
I was determined when I started this blog that it would not be yet another blog that focuses on being a parent but the thing is when you are a parent it is innevitable that at some point it will come up so here it is!
I have 6 children they vary in age from almost 25 down to 2. I started young, VERY YOUNG! Down to a combination of poor sex education( I went to a catholic school, I'm sure that explains it all along with why I eschew organised religion), naivety, falling in love with the wrong boy who was older than me and of course rampant teenage hormones! The thing is what the hell were my parents thinking! They just kind of left me to raise myself I don't really remember much parenting but hey easy for me to say now that I'm a parent but as a kid I probably loved the freedom see parents fuck you up and I am a parent!
So anyway I was thinking about my kids and all the many mistakes I have made and the mistakes the grown up and almost grown up ones have made and I could cry, actually I do cry, a lot! I do what I'm sure most parents do, I blame myself! I have parental guilt no matter what they do it's my fault, I wasn't strict enough, I was too strict, I didn't encourage enough, I was too pushy and it goes on and goes on.
There's a line in that wonderful film Parenthood that goes something like "with your first you worry about everything every bump every sniffle but by the third you let them juggle knives" (probably got that very wrong but you get the picture and if anyone know the actual line please let me know)and that's the thing with my first I was so young and everyone was so against me keeping him that I thought I have to do this right, I read every book there was to read, I did everything thing that I could do, I was going to be The perfect parent! The joke is really on me because there is no such thing! what I have learnt is every child is different,
every circumstance is different and every child responds to a different style of parenting the only thing that I have learnt that is important and does work for all is be consistent, if you say something follow through and don't back down and above all love your children and be there for them to talk to, something that can't be forced!
You live and you learn and I feel that I messed up alot with my three oldest children but I have learnt so much that I have had and am hopefully going to have an easy time with the younger 3, two of which are teenagers so I must be doing something right to be able to say that but still I question everything and I feel that same guilt.
Here's some irony for you as I write this I've just had a phone call from my daughters 6th form telling me She wants to drop out can I talk to her, ggrrr, see just when you think you've got it figured they throw something new at you , also just got a text from my son asking to borrow money, something I definitely need to be strong about and just say no! Anyway I digress, I think that what I'm trying to say is that no matter what we do with our kids there's always going to be something that we mess up, something that we should have and could have done differently.
When our children are born we have such hopes and dreams for them we imagine them with fabulous lives fabulous careers then the little buggers go and get personalities of there own and no matter how much you want to argue about the nature over nuture debate, where you live, the schools you go to, the people you hang around with have a massive impact on the person you become It's not just about how you were raised unfortunately.
All that being said and all the challenges and obstacles we've overcome all the stress they have caused me and believe me there has been and still is alot I am still really proud of them, for what they have achieved, for how they have dealt with and handled situations so what if its not the stereotypical things that parents are proud of as long as they are doing their best and they're happy then I should be happy too, right?
Plus hey, theres always the little one to work on! just kidding!