Monday, 31 August 2009

Being a mother is the best and hardest job there is

I have just returned from one of the best holidays I have had. Sharing a 2 bedroom caravan with my crippled mother and 3 of my 4 teenage sons. The site was very small approx 40 caravans on a tiny plot meant that there was very little room to swing a cat (if we had taken one) either inside or outside the caravan. Our caravan was no more than 70 feet from the beach. (allowing for 2 x 20ft caravans plus space between). Immidiately in front of the front row of caravans there was a low wall seperating the beach from the caravan site. The sand was gloriously soft and felt lovely under foot, there were a few reed covered dunes then more soft sand before a band of pebbles between the soft sand and the water's edge. I spent a lot of time walking, sitting and photographing that beach (Caister on Sea). My sons played games and buried each other many times.

We did a lot of driving around the broads (I did the driving everyone else just watched the ever changing scenery). We planned a trip on a paddle steamer from Hickling, had a scrumptious meal while we waited for our trip, then I got stung by a wasp on the underside of my arm (excruciating pain). In a way it was a good thing that at the last minute two coaches turned up and took all the places on the boat so we couldn't go. It would have meant a further 1.5 hrs before I could get to the anti histamin cream and tablets.

We drove passed the RAF Base ET would be going to for his training (only to find when we returned home that he is now going to a different base). A visit to the zoo involved hiring a wheelchair for me to push my mother around in (a glimps of the future perhaps). We finally managed to get a boat trip on Friday from Potter Heigham luckily it was a covered boat as we were hit by a storm during the ride. (We had been so lucky with the weather until then).

I thoroughly enjoyed everything (apart from the wasp sting) but what really made the holiday so good was just being totally relaxed and enjoying being with my sons (mother too but more especially my boys). It was really good to see them enjoying themselves and enjoying being together (not always on the computer/games console). I had many many cuddles with both ET and JA, not so much OJ (being nearly 19 hes far too grown up to have cuddles with his mummy).

It was very important to me that we had this holiday together. I very much doubt that it will ever happen again. Next year even if I have two of them I doubt I would have all three together again for a holiday. All our lives will have changed in the next 12 months. My one regret about this holiday is that DC was not with us but he has already branched out by going to USA with his friends. We have had sporadic contact with him as they progress from west to east coast (last we heard they were in Denver).

Now we are back home, back to realilty. There was a letter waiting for ET his pre joining course has been brought forward to 28th Sept. He has his train tickets, all he has to do is get a train to London Waterloo, find his way to London Liverpool Street then get a train to Bury St Edmunds. He has a choice of two trains to BSE one arrives at 18.32 the other at 20.50 (transport will collect him and others at 21.00) so he is faced with a choice, wait around for 2.5 hrs or get the later train with the risk his train could be late. Now I have no worries about him getting to or from London on his own it is the bit in the middle that is causing the crisis (mainly my mother in a panic). He has only ever been to London a couple of times and never alone. (mother is convinced he will be mugged). I now have a list of items he will need to have with him for these 4 days. I have just managed to get him some high leg black boots (no steel toe caps) with heel and ankle support from ebay. (hopefully he can get them broken in by the time he goes).

The month of September is looming up in front of me with all these changes and arrangements that need to be organised. I can see that come October I shall be exhausted. Between now and 4th (3rd really) I have to make sure JA has everything he needs for the new school year, I had asked their father to do this for him, he hasn' usual it is left to me. JA already has the biggest feet in the family (I only hope he doesn't keep growing too much). DC who returns from his trip on 11th will no doubt sleep for a couple of days while I try to get him organised for his move into University Halls on 19th. Whilst all this is happening I am trying to organise OJ ready for his move into Halls on 26th follwed by ET's adventure on 28th. (working full time all this time).

I have always believed that I am not the kind of mother who wraps her children in cotton wool. I have always given my children freedom (within reason and safety). I believe that although I have never had any control over my children I have managed to instill good manners and morals into them. I am often praised for how well spoken and behaved bright young men they are. However during this time of preparation it has hit me that I have not done such a great job. During our holiday we encouraged them to cook and clean etc (not out of laziness but for their own preparation to look after themelves). They can all cook (meaning heat up) food. But they cannot do the simplest of tasks without contantly asking how/where/when. Perhaps it is a boy thing they don't seem to be able to work things out or read instructions they have to be told step by step what to do.

I have always seen my boys as bright capable lads, now I see boys who have been molly coddled by their mother for far too long. Where I tried not to nag them too much, they don't seem able to think for themselves. Now I am worried that I have created mummies boys who might not manage without their mother telling them what to do every step of the way. I am not saying that I always do everything for them (I definitely don't) but I have always been there telling them what to do. If not in person then on the phone.

I don't know all the answers I don't always know what they need to do especially now that they are entering worlds that I have never been a part of. The rest of this year is going to be hard for them and for me, while they settle into their new lives and JA and I are left at home wondering why it is so quiet, worrying about our boys. I know they will each manage (they won't have a choice in that). Having two boys leaving the nest within a week of each other will be hard on us. Then if ET gets through his course (I have every confidence he will) then it won't be long before he joins the RAF properly and he will be gone too.

I love all my boys without exception, I couldn't possibly choose a favourite as they are all so different (my favourite is usually the one I am with at the time). I would never want to have not had any of them but I am not sure if I would ever want to go through motherhood again. When we are young we are warned that parenthood is not easy, there are no hard and fast rules but you never really understand just how hard it is being a mother until you have been through all the stages of your child's growing up (and I have been lucky to have an easy time of all my son's teen years).


Fire Byrd said...

The empty nest stuff sucks, but you get used to it eventually.
I'm spending my first week totally alone since 1984!!! (Al's in Spain)
Very weird

Lady in red said...

I have spent years longing for my net to be empty purely o that I will know where everything is and if there is a mess its my own I am not so sure, but like everything it is just what you are used to and I am adaptable

you know where I am if you want someone to talk to

Fat Controller said...

We had the same experience a couple of years back. We stayed in a converted farm on the Gower Penninsula, with some magnificent beaches right close by. Something told me it was going to be our last holiday as a whole family and it was. Letting go is always hard but it brings its own rewards!

Waterloo to Liverpool St is easy: Waterloo and City Line from Waterloo to Bank, then Central Line Eastbound to Liverpool St. Easy! The route is busy with plenty of people about at that time of day. I am a Londoner and I have never felt unsafe walking about town. I'd be more wary of walking around Gosport of a Saturday night!

Lady in red said...

FC I was not much older than ET when I worked in The city. I would have walked from Bank to Liverpool street but then I knew my way around.

I know exactly what you mean about Grotspot though.

Grump said...

Tenby south west Wales circa 1973 beautiful. So glad you had a good time.
Cheers Mark x

Joanna Cake said...

Really interesting to read this after mine. It's not that we mollycoddle them so much as they know that if they act ignorant, we will often do it for them because it is easier/faster than the 'pulling teeth' exercise of showing an unwilling person what needs to be done.

If we refuse to make that time, then they have to cope on their own. In many cultures, the young men are taken off by other non-family members to learn how to be adults. In our own, this function used to be performed by the Scouts or National Service. Our own soft pampered offspring will have to learn for themselves and Im sure it wont be such a hardship. We just worry too much x

PS Im sitting back at my flat after two weeks with Ruf. Ive had my own place for nearly six weeks now but the early days were spent between the house and here and then there was my two weeks with Ruf to look forward to. For the first time, I am looking at a future that will revolve around me. It's rather daunting... and rather exciting at the same time. Just like my children, I am about to be re-educated about self-sufficiency :)

Mel said...

You've done a fine job......honestly! (the vacation time sounds like it was awesome, 'cept for the stinging....)

They 'get it'.
And they'll 'do it'.

Cellphones are wonderful things, I might add.
OMG.....I don't believe I just said that. *laughing*

MarmiteToasty said...

I know about the 'boy thing' lol..... I think you have done well girl.... its not easy being a single mum and trying to raise 4 lads on ones own.... you and I have done bloody well in sometimes extreme circumstances......


MarmiteToasty said...

I know about the 'boy thing' lol..... I think you have done well girl.... its not easy being a single mum and trying to raise 4 lads on ones own.... you and I have done bloody well in sometimes extreme circumstances......


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