I've been exchanging a couple of mails with Melissa recently. Melissa resides here and we've been chatting. It's funny how our family atmospheres seem similar despite different backgrounds etc, blog talk... you know... friendly. Hers is obviously a happy family like ours, lively and fun.
Anyway, her kiddies are younger than my youngest and it got me thinking about the different stages of child raising, and how we all enjoy the different bits and react in our individual ways.
I'm wondering how you have handled it if you're a parent, or if you have any particular memories of your own parents parenting to you.
I have very few memories of my parents holding me back, but I'm discovering that that requires a lot of generosity and courage. Especially when it gets to the sticky bits like boy/girlfriends, studies and career directions.
I adore my children, I've tried to be a hands-on mother, available to satisfy their demands, and throwing myself whole heartedly into home-making, school associations, open house to their friends, backing them in their sports and hobbies, teaching them to read, to paint etc etc. But at the moment I have to admit that having 4 teenagers is a lot to handle.
Don't get me wrong, they are great kids, this is a happy home, their friends love coming here. My children are in fact all incredibly zen - they say they don't need to stress because I stress enough for the whole family!
Many of you, like Melissa, are enjoying that blessed time when your children are all little and family life is still at the top of everyone's agenda, when everyone pulls in the same direction. A few years on and a teenager has his or her own agenda, and that's normal. They are growing and changing, and they force us to grow and change too. I know this is nothing new, but I personally wasn't prepared enough. It all happens too fast.
It's very hard to write this without sounding like a control freak! Actually it's very hard to write this, period!
The last thing I'd want is for them to be here for ever and not manage to create their own lives. But oh, how it aches when you worry about them going in the wrong direction. I feel so proud of the people they are becoming, and yet I still want to guide them. How often have I heard "Trust me Mummy!"
Today's world is big, competitive and aggressive. One bit of me says "trust them, trust the way you've brought them up", but another part can't help but worry about the temptations they encounter, and the difficulties they'll come across.
We want them to have character, heaven knows they're going to need it, but often we tell them to tone it down. We worry about the big wide world, yet we encourage them to travel afar and look for adventure.
So are you laughing at me? Do you have little ones, and these worries seem far away? Maybe you don't have children and you observe the parenting around you? If you could do it all over, would you change anything? Do you prefer to over-protect, or let them learn through experience? Will it suddenly seem straight forward once they are young professionals, or will this angst pursue me for a lot longer? I'd love to hear your comments. Thank you for listening!!