Monday, November 18, 2013

The Stare

I'm standing by the living room door. He's playing happily with his toys. He asks why I am staring at him. I only realise I'm doing it when he asks the question.  He asks me to stop because he doesn't like it. I think how my mother often does the same to me.

I don't like when she does it either. I worry it makes her wistful, nostalgic or scared in some way. I also feel she may be criticising things about me. She's eighty and she's my mother and I want her to stay strong. She's my mother. Even though I'm grown I need her to be the Mother in my life still.

But I'm a mother now myself and there's no getting away from the fact that I do that staring thing too.  When I do it, my thoughts travel. They travel to the future and they travel to the past. Probably in just the same way as my mother's thoughts do. When I lived abroad for a time, my flat mate said I worried too much about what my mother thought. I still do.

I'm thinking as I stare, of what a magical miracle he is. I'm hoping that he's not lonely  and I'm wishing that I could  have given him a sibling.  I can only try to keep him close to his cousins and friends as compensation for that. I think I'm doing ok.  We don't see his cousins all the time but he knows each and every one of them. We talk about each of them and look at photographs. That's more than I did, growing up. But I had four brothers and that's the difference.

I'm hoping for the future that he will be well adjusted even though I've never followed any child rearing books. Oh yes, I've googled stuff but exploring theories and then practicing them are two very different things. I tend to have a more flexible, play it by ear approach. When the midwives were forcing the breastfeeding policy on to me, I stopped as soon as we got home.  Some may think thats selfish but I was so horrified by that whole experience of people and things pulling and pushing at me, I couldn't bond with my baby.  As far as I was concerned, once he got the Colostrom, that was it. I felt it was better for him to have a functioning mother, than one who was weeping all the time because she felt pressured into breastfeeding him.    It doesn't seem to have physically harmed him. He's rarely sick and has only ever vomited three or four times in his six years of life. 

When others were force feeding their kids at three months or six months because the book had told them to, I knew he wasn't ready. He was seven months when he went onto solids and he had no problems at all. Like me, he is a late bloomer. He didn't walk or get his first tooth until fifteen months old. I didn't worry though. I knew he would do it in his own time. He was a great sleeper. We were lucky. No pacing the floor throughout the night and no bleary heads in the mornings.

When I stare, although I hope I have done some things right, I feel the guilt of the times I haven't been the mother I  aim to be. The times I've lost my temper, lost my patience and almost lost my mind. The time he was barely two years old and he caught his finger in the hinge of the kitchen door. He'd been clinging  to my leg and I swung the door closed not realising his hand was there. A trip to the hospital in an ambulance. An operation to sew his fingertip back on. His vulnerability as he was wheeled back to me unconscious.  The feeling that I had put him there. His Dad had been away on business. If hasn't been for my fantastic sister in law and next door neighbours, I would have felt like the worst mother in the world.

His behaviour isn't always all it could be but he's only just turned Six. I know he's pushing boundaries etc. I don't need the books to tell me that. Its listening to other people that makes me worry about his behaviour but its also listening to other people that makes me stop. We've all pushed the boundaries at certain points in our lives and come out the other side.  He's strong willed and I understand that now and can change my own behaviour accordingly.  I'm hoping that the boundaries we do put in place will be just what he needs.

 I'm hoping for the future that I haven't transferred my over-sensitivity to him, that my relationship with his father, my husband won't impact negatively on him. We're doing our best with what we ourselves learned from our own parents .Sometimes it's effortless but more often than not it's hard work. But that's okay. Life is a lifelong learning process as I prove everyday.

Everything about him is magical, the fact that he's part me and part his Dad. I hope he gets his Dad's brains. And not my tendency to veer away from the logical and drive myself crazy looking for the answer to life's mysteries.

How can I explain all this to him, the miracle of becoming his mother in my forties? How can I explainThe reasons why I often stare at him? How can I tell him how lucky we are that he is in this world at all? Will he hate me if and when he finds out that at one time I thought I didn't want kids because I was scared to embrace motherhood and new life. 

He once asked me if I was glad he picked me as his mother. I didn't understand what he meant. Then he told me that when he was up in heaven, before he was born, he picked me. He says he saw me putting out the bins and he looked down and told Holy God that he wanted THAT Mammy and THAT Daddy.  He said he told my father, his Grandad Pat, who he never actually met, that he wanted him to fly him down and magic him into that lady's tummy! He says Grandad Pats job in heaven is to fly babies down into the tummies of the mothers they pick! I love his imagination and I love his take on things. And Yes! I can safely say that I'm very glad he picked me.

There will be a time when my own mother is no longer around. When that time inevitably comes, I will be more than a mother.  I will be THE  mother in mine and my sons life. While I have my own mother I still  feel mothered and protected, as if I havent fully grown into the idea I'm a mother myself. I just hope that when it happens, I can do half as good a job as her, stare or no stare.

My father used to call her stare 'the look' but 'the look' was reserved for him and that's a whole different story!

I know now I've been unfair when I've berated my mother for staring at me. Rather than think it might possibly be a negative thing, as I have often done, I want my son to know that the 'stare' just means I love him more than I can say.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Can Love Of Work Become Work Of Love?

The other day my little boy came home from school and asked me why I didn't work. He said a boy at school had asked him what I worked at and he had told them 'nothing'!

I explained to him that I don't work outside the home at the current time but that I do work every day. I may be on a career break from my job but that didn't mean that I was doing nothing. I told him that cooking, cleaning, taking care of him, his Dad, his Granny and our cats all qualifies as work.  He looked so sad and turned away from me. I had to coax him to tell me why my answer had upset him so.

It transpires that he was disappointed to find that I thought of looking after him as being work.  I think he has a point. I love looking after him and my family so maybe I should 't be thinking of what I do for them in this way.  After all if you are doing something you love, can it be classified as work?  I think it was Confucius who first realised this thousands of years ago. And here I am, having to be reminded of this by my five year old (sorry, five and three quarters!) son.

'Speaking' of work, I then asked him if he had any thoughts of what he would like to work at when he is a grown up.He used to say he wanted to be a doctor so he could fix people and make them better. Indeed, any time we had a doctor visit, he insisted on going all dressed up in his doctors outfit, carrying his bag of equipment. Apparently he no longer wants to be a doctor or a vet as he heard that in training you have to look at dead bodies and brains and things and anyway he wouldn't like to have to to blood tests!

The other thing that he often talked about being was a bin man.  That idea is also out the window as he thinks it would be too hard to be working out in rain and snow and sun.

He put on his thinking face and then said he had a great idea.  He wouldn't work at all, he would do something he loves too and still make money.  When I asked him what the idea was, I could hardly contain my giggles.  He said he will just keep doing runs and walks and a bit of playing and get people to sponsor him.  He would go round all the neighbours and relatives and get them to sponsor him to do these things all the time. Then he would be doing something he loves and make money too. The poor child was so so disappointed when I explained to him, that people usually got sponsored to donate the money to charity and that he would have to give it all away.

Whatever happens in his future, I sincerely hope that he will have a love for whatever 'work' he does and so the work will become the work of love.

What about you? Do you love your work, whatever it may be?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Go For It! Don't Wait A Moment Longer!

Go For It!  Don't wait!

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault. John Henry Newman

I started this blog in May 2010 when I was feeling a little lonely. I started this blog when I felt I wanted to reach out to others in the same position as me.  I also started this blog to indulge my love of writing.

When I put the blog out there, a friend commented that she thought I was brave to do it. She  felt that she would not be able to write well enough to share her experiences with the world.  I knew exactly what she meant. I felt just the same. However, I remembered John Henry Newman's quote above and decided I would go ahead with my plan. I love quotes and before sharing them regularly on my Facebook page, I collected them in a journal. These wise words have stayed with me and so, I decided, that even if my writing didn't appeal to everyone, I would forge ahead.

Naturally, as is the human condition, it is inevitable that some people will find fault.  However, I think that no matter what we choose to do in life there will always be people who support us and people who don't, people who agree with us and people who disagree.  That's just life and the way it is.  I know that now and I can accept that now.  But I didn't always feel this way. I didn't always 'know' this. Just one person finding fault would have sent me on a downward spiral.  A bad comment would have confirmed to me how terrible I really was.

As a forty something first time mum of a now five year old boy, I have done most things later in life than many of my peers.  I was in my thirties when I got married, late thirties when I learned to drive, thirty nine when I set up a small petminding business, almost forty when I learned to swim, forty one when I bought a house, forty four when I took up my yoga and blogging lifestyle and almost forty two when I became a parent!

I used to put things off through lack of confidence and a belief that I wouldn't be able to cope like other people. I used to worry that people would find fault with whatever I did.  I even put off motherhood through fear and lack of self esteem and self worth.  Luckily for me, I woke up and got on with all the above things before it really did get too late.

I learned that you cannot wait until you can do it so well that nobody could find fault. I learned that there will always be people like this and they should not hold the key to your happiness..  So I urge you, no matter what age you are, what stage of life you're at, what dream you hold dear, what you want to achieve, GO FOR IT and DON'T WAIT!