Yesterday I was reminded of my children’s need for me. I am their constant. Although I fill my days when they’re at school with my freelance work and volunteering commitments. Once they are in my company we are together until they close their eyes and fall asleep.
I hadn’t quite realised that even if I’m busying myself cooking, tidying up or on my phone I am still there for them. That’s not to take away their Daddy and all the amazing things he does with them but for the purpose of this post I’m referring to the fact that On a day to day level I am their steady rock present in their lives.
It’s funny because whilst I feel like I often don’t get my Mummy role right and I’m constantly fighting with the inexplicable feelings of guilt that I don’t do enough, I don’t fully appreciate the impact me “being there” has on the children.
This week has been a particularly Busy week, I even managed to squeeze a school trip in to Epping Forest with my eldest. I had arranged a catch up with some friends on Friday night, as well as my usual Wednesday night commitment which meant that I didn’t put the girls to bed twice this week. I didn’t really give it a second thought that I had missed singing my usual lullaby to my elder daughter. She’s my sensitive soul, and still loves for me and her daddy to sing our lullabies to her every night. She eight and I really love that she still loves us to do this. I know there will come a time when she won’t.
I had a work commitment on Saturday which meant I was out from 8.30 and seeing as me and hubby hadn’t been out for dinner together since Our anniversary in May then we had arranged a dinner at our favourite supper club wine tasting event. Booking in advance meant we Couldn’t the rearrange. I left the girls know that we were going out and the babysitter was arriving, my youngest was completely fine about it, getting all her stories and toys ready to show her but it was here, with 5 minutes to go til the babysitter arrived that the my eldest let me know that she wasn’t happy about this arrangement.
At first she was angry at me. “Mummy you didn’t sing me a lullaby last night, you’ve been out all day and now you’re out again”. Cue guilty Mummy thoughts.
I tried to comfort her, she was too cross, I tried again and she hugged me and wouldn’t let go. She was sobbing “I don’t want you to go Mummy” I felt terrible. She was right, I had been out all the time. She doesn’t often let her guard down like this, which is probably why I felt so guilty. “I just want you mummy”.
In the quiet time of the evening this is when me and my eldest actually have quality time together. She becomes my needy child, we can talk together, she tells me her worries, her self imposed barriers of an eight year old trying to be grown up come down. I used to think that it was a ploy for bedtime delaying tactics but now I realise this is the time when all the worries or happy thoughts that have happened throughout the day come to the surface of her mind and she tells me about them. I hadn’t realised the significance of this time for her, I hadn’t given it much thought. When the girls were younger, if I had arranged to go out in the evening it would always be after they had got to bed, but now they’re older I would go out slightly earlier, before they’ve fallen asleep.
It’s so hard when you feel like you’ve done everything yet somehow that isn’t enough. Most of the time after I’ve put the girls to bed I feel like I’ve been sucked dry. Every ounce of my energy has been used. More often than not I still need to do a few more bits and pieces in the kitchen before I can sink into the sofa and watch a programme of a bit of mindless tv to zone out before bed. My brain can’t focus on anything else, however when I do go to bed I find it had to fall asleep. Even though a couple of hours before I could’ve dropped off to sleep before the children’s bed time.
I need my “me time” yet st the same time they need me too. It’s hard to get that balance right. Today has been a nice relaxed day for once, we’ve stayed in, not done much, and just been present, the both of us with the children. It has led to a lovely day and one which I’m going to try and make sure we have more regularly at weekends. It’s done us all a world of good.