Family,Family life

Should parents have all the answers?

Flo in the sand

Flo: ‘Mummy, I wish I had your life’

Sam: ‘Flo, you probably don’t, you know.’

Flo: ‘I do. I wish I had your life, because it’s so pretty.’

Sam: ‘Flo, mum’s life is really hard.’

So here I am thinking sh*t, how many times have I told my son my life is hard?! Over the past few years I’ve always had a policy of being open and honest with my children, not hiding my feelings too much and not shying away from showing them when I’m upset. He must be thinking come on mum, change the record. Have I done this a bit too much?

Me: ‘Flo, why do you want my life? Your life is wonderful too, isn’t it.’ I mean come on, it really is.

Flo: ‘Mummeeee, where is your life?’

Ok, getting philosphical now. And here it comes, the big question from my son…

Sam: ‘Mum, do you know who you are yet?’

Jeez. There it is and I wonder where on earth, at age seven, he has got the concept of knowing who you really are from? Deep breath, be honest.

Hello mural

Me: ‘Well I’m not sure Sam, I mean I’m pretty sure I have a good idea who I am but I’m not totally sure.’

Is that the right answer? Is that what kids want their parents to say, or are they longing to hear them say that they have all the answers and they know who they are? That they’re all sorted and happy?

Because it’s clear from this conversation that my eldest is pretty clued up to the fact that I don’t really have all the answers, and things are not always certain and secure and happy in grown-up life.

He knows what it is for things to go wrong and I often feel so sad and guilty about that. I wish things were different and I could have protected him from seeing his parents so sad, seeing them go through the hardest thing they will have had to go through and seeing them at their absolute lowest points.

Pink flowers

I’m talking about me here, not really Roger as I don’t think the children really saw their dad too outwardly upset in a way they wold recognise. He always put on a smile for them even when he really couldn’t face it.

They saw me at my lowest ebb, going through the motions of family life zombie-like and partly in denial. They saw me come home from the hospital looking tired and teary, pouring myself a glass of red while I made their tea and they probably never really noticed.

As long as I was capable of feeding them, cuddling them and putting them to bed, I don’t think they cared about the state I was I when I did it. Seeing me cry became the norm so much so that when it happens now, Sam just looks and says ‘is it dad?’ and Flo usually comes in with a much-needed hug and a kiss.

In their own ways they are there for me, and I hope they know I am there for them. I hope that by not having all the answers I’m not any less of a parent, and one day when they’re grown up and think about these things they may even think more of me for seeing me get through something so sad.

For now I need to teach them that whatever Barbie says, it’s not right to say to someone ‘I want your life’ but instead to make your own the best it can be. And as far as knowing who you are goes, well that’s definitely a work in progress for us all.

x Julia

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  • Reply
    August 25, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I don’t think parents need to have all the answers, just the best answer they can find at the time. I think you did your best in the hardest of times and all the children cared was that you were there and I am sure, in years to come, in hindsight, the children will realise that their life was pretty good and they don’t really need anyone else’s x
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  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    August 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I think it actually helps them to know that we have ups and downs and that even when we are at our lowest point we keep going. Life will be hard at times and it is so sad how much you all know that to be true, and I think that seeing you get through it is what will give them strength and help them learn that it’s ok to be sad, to show it, and that you will survive it. I know my kids have seen me really sad and I tell them no matter how hard things can be, we will always smile another day.
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…10 things you can do everyday to improve you mood and your outlook on lifeMy Profile

  • Reply
    August 28, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I dont think that we need to have all the answers but I think you are providing some amazing life lessons x
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  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    August 31, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I think it helps for them to know we are all human, it helps them to open up if they know life isn;t perfect for us all. You have been a total rock and I love that she thinks your life is so pretty. Sam is wise beyond his years.
    Mini Travellers recently posted…The Shrewsbury Flower ShowMy Profile

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