Today’s guest post comes from Sarah at Grenglish, who has long been one of my favourite bloggers. Last time Sarah guest posted for me – Just the One – the response was overwhelming, and I have a feeling this beautiful post is going to get just as much love…
Since becoming a mother, there are a great many things I find myself worrying about every single day.
I worry how well my son is settling in at school, whether he eats all of his lunch, and if it is possible for him to escape from the school playground without anyone noticing.
At home, I worry if he is watching too much TV, if we should be doing more crafts, and if he has wiped his bottom properly.
But these are all things I can observe and make changes to accordingly as we go along.
It is the bigger things that have the potential to keep me awake all night. The things that I have no control over. The sudden things.
Like, if something happened to him when I wasn’t there.
Or, to the Greek God(zilla).
What if something happened to both of us?
I worry who would pick him up from school, how they would break the news and where he would sleep that night.
I worry who will love our son if we both die.
I have many friends and family who I know would take him in a heartbeat. I trust he will have a roof over his head and be well looked after.
I know he will be loved.
But who will love him, really love him, as unconditionally and as completely as we do?
There are obviously many ways to give and show love, but could anyone love him in the way that was intended for me.
In my mind, it would be someone who understands me well enough to know the things I would approve of, and the things that I would not.
Someone who will raise him with the same family values.
Someone who totally gets us both and be as accepting of any quirky little ways our son may well inherit.
Someone who will take my husband’s place at bedtime every night and chat about the solar system, sharks, or favourite flavours of ice-cream.
Be as oblivious to his flaws and imperfections as only a mother can be.
Love reading, swimming, and bicycle rides in the park.
Take him to the cinema, rock pooling on the beach, and to see the tigers at the zoo.
Do things together as a family. Play board games, eat out at restaurants, and watch films under a blanket on the sofa.
But also, live close enough and be happy to make regular trips to visit both sets of grandparents. Split time over the summer holidays, Christmases, family occasions and birthdays.
Stand in for us at his graduation, his wedding, and the birth of his children.
Show him my blog, full of stories of how much he is loved.
It is a big ask of anyone. HUGE.
But these are the things that matter to me.
This is what I want for my son.
Although, I quite often fall short of my own expectations.
I can be lazy, impatient and selfish.
I am not always the perfect parent I wish for him.
In an ideal world I hope for a shinier, healthier, suped-up version of me. Someone who thinks like me, only is much better at it.
However, the reality of being a parent sometimes bears little resemblance to the ideal.
It is without a doubt the most wonderful feeling I have ever experienced and has brought so much love, joy and pride into my life. But, it can sometimes also feel overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating too.
I have no idea if the way I am choosing to parent my son is the right or wrong way. It is not like when you do get it right, someone comes along, pats you on the back and says ‘Good job. Well done”
People can often be quicker to criticise than to praise.
I just muddle through; hoping the decisions I make won’t come back and bite us on the bottom.
To me the only clear definition of being a good parent is to love much, laugh often, and listen always. The rest I believe can be worked out along the way.
My husband would argue that actively encouraging an interest in sport and academia are equally important.
He is right, but then so am I.
So maybe it is the question that is wrong.
It must be, because there is absolutely nothing about making this decision that feels right.