Some days I feel like I’m walking a tight rope…
When my children were very young and I was just newly diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritus. I decided to go away for five days on a ‘Life Writing’ retreat. I’d been having counselling for the previous six months. I was trying to get my head together about life, the past and the very scary future. The demands of three young children had taken their toll and I desperately needed a break. It was either that or I’m pretty certain the break I’d have been having would have been that of a much more serious nature.
So while away I studied in a beautiful setting with a marvellous tutor Sally Cline. She was an older lady, highly educated and a successful writer. During that week she offered me guidance and did say she’d mentor me with my writing. It is a bit of a regret that I didn’t take her up on the offer. But then life and more pressing matters took over.
It was a break, staying in a Cottage with the guidelines of those in a Hostel. You looked after yourself and were mindful of others. While others would just push their way to the front to pick out the lunch that they wanted.
I stood at the back and would patiently wait my turn.
“You can tell you’re a mother.” Sally Cline said.
Young and inexperienced about life I didn’t quite understand what she meant.
“You can tell you’re a mother, you stand at the back and wait your turn. Your turn for when everybody else has had.”
I felt a rush of warmth towards the kindly lady as I took my food and took it to eat in the garden that overlooked a huge valley. A valley that was green and lush with Deer to be found. Sally Cline came out to sit with me.
“You know, I was in your position. I wanted to write and I was a mother and I always put my children first.” She said. “There came a point when my children hit teenagers that I could stand it no more. All four of them rushed into the house one day and demanded their tea. I told them to get it themselves and I retreated to my dining room, shut the door and told them I was writing. I did that every day ever since.”
Although my children were young and not at the stage of doing things for themselves, I understood what she was saying.
“The thing with children. They grow up and they look back and it won’t matter what you did. There will always be something that you didn’t do.” She was really serious when she said it.
The conversation that I had with the kindly lady came back to me today. It came back to me today when I thought how parenting is like ‘Walking a tightrope.” We’re balancing and trying to keep it together so that we don’t fall off.
We want to provide for our children so that they feel happy and secure. We’re often putting ourselves on the back burner just to do that. Even during the times when we have more we end up giving more. Then we feel it the other way. What if I’m spoiling them too much? Too much so that we end up with no life of our own.
It has been a thoughtful day as I sat and contemplated. A day where my 11 year old daughter has given me the attitude of a teenager. Not only that but not treated my boyfriends daughter very nicely.
Sometimes it is painful being a parent. We love too much. Then we have to discipline and end up feeling very shit.
I guess really, if we’re thinking then we’re aware. When we’re aware we can work on it.