10 Sep 2015

Have I Failed As A Parent?

“Aai, do you miss me?” My son asks as we get ready for his second full day at reception. “I so do!” I say aloud, while my heart sighs, “More than you could ever know, my darling.”

“But Aai, you can get all your work done,” he pipes up. I hug him close and am enveloped in guilt. Is that all my son remembers from our four years together? Me working? Have I really not made any better memories for my little boy to cherish? Something to bring a smile to his face?

Have I Failed As A Parent?


Hand on heart, it has not always been smooth sailing. When has parenting ever been? We’ve had our fair share of tears and tantrums, trials and tribulations. There has been enough melodrama to fill all of Albert Square. But surely, surely, there have been those wonderful moments when we have laughed together. Those cherished memories of sharing a book or humming a song or simply pottering around the house. All those kisses and cuddles. Can he not recall any of that at all? Or are those moments too few and far between to make a significant impression on his developing psyche?

Have I really let my son down?

I am not much good at playing, I admit. I can get impatient. My attention span at pretend play or garden games is perhaps worse than that of my son. Also, there is this uncontrollable need to capture every moment on camera for posterity. And for the blog.

That magical moment when my son and I are enveloped in our own little imaginary universe. I am guilty of breaking that spell.

I have other shortcomings that perhaps get in the way of a more laid back upbringing. I have this almost obsessive need for order - in the house, in the garden, even on the computer. My head physically hurts when surrounded by chaos. I like things to be just so.

Plus there is always something that needs doing. "I'll be with you in a minute, darling. Just as soon as I have finished this." How many times have I said that over the last four years? How many times has he heard me say that? 

Little wonder then, that all my son remembers is his mother working - on the blog, in the kitchen, around the house - cleaning, tidying, just trying to keep on top of everything. 

The time has come to take a step back and let go. Let go of the need to control, the urge for perfection. Deep breaths, relaxed shoulders. To go with the flow. I only hope it is not too late. That I can make amends for my earlier impatience. So that my son knows how much I miss him without the need to ask. So that he knows I will always be there for him, no matter what.

Post Comment Love

33 comments:

  1. Of course you haven't failed. You have done so many wonderful things with him. He was probably trying to say the right thing and cheer you up, because you said you missed him He would probably be really sad to know it upset you. So just keep on doing what you do and love him and enjoy the time you have together! Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I might be reading to much into his innocent little comment. But that is maternal guilt for you, when you are always left wondering if you have done enough for your children.

      Delete
  2. Aw I bet that isn't all he remembers at all - he's just trying to put a positive spin on him going off and you being left behind. We all have guilt, nothing is ever perfect but he loves you and doesn't want you to feel bad that's all, don't worry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we were both emotionally strung, and rightly so. It is the first time ever we have been away from each other for so long, day after day. Will take a bit of getting used to, but I hope we both come out strong the other side.

      Delete
  3. You are not a failure at all but I understand that feeling so well. There is never enough time or energy to be everything that you want to be. But we aren't perfect and have to accept that. Hope you feel better soon x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, hun. I've decided to get all my work done when he is at school and spend all my time with my little boy before he goes to school in the morning and after he gets home. Everything else can just wait.

      Delete
  4. Aww you are an awesome mummy and you only have to look through your posts for the summer to see all your wonderful adventuress together. Your boy is obviously a lovely kind little boy and this week is probably filled with so much emotion. I feel a bit like I've lost my sidekick. Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! I am so used to being followed around everywhere, and the incessant chatter! Feeling a bit lost now, without my side-kick!

      Delete
  5. Hi Vai, When I read your post I hear a boy who is looking for the upside. At that age they are aware of our feelings too.
    But it also sounds as if you know that there is a better balance you could strike in your life. If you didn't then his comment wouldn't bring it to mind. So rather than going forward differently with guilt as the motivator, would it be possible to go forward knowing that there is another way of being that might be good for both of you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Kirsten! I have put it into practice over a couple of days, and am already noticing a huge difference in the way we both feel. A lot more relaxed, for starters.

      Delete
  6. children do have an unconscious way of making us feel guilty whatever we say or do! It will be good to have some time away from each other so you appreciate the time together xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. This sounds like me, I feel bad all the time and my son is at home. Every day is a complete juggling act with his home education, autism and keeping the house running. I think mums just feel guilty no matter what! We all have different ways with our children so I wouldn't worry about the pretend play and all that, we shine in different ways and it's all good :) You haven't let him down at all, you are a super mum x

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think this is a classic case of Mother's Guilt. It hits us all. I'm sure that your son doesn't just remember those times at all. I am certain that he will remember the times when you took part in imaginary play. But a giving yourself a break is not a terrible thing. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think this about myself all the time about my daughter been disabled and having hydrocephalus as she can be a hand full but I know its not. Dont give yourself a hard time as we all sometime in our life's feel this way too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think this is something that all parents worry about weather they work from home or not. Don't worry, embrace your time off and then embrace your time with you son

    ReplyDelete
  11. If you have raised a 4 year old to know how to look for the positive, be articulate and consider another's feelings then it looks like you are doing a pretty good job in my book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ever so much for saying this, Nadine, and helping me see all the positives in that situation. x

      Delete
  12. I think in parenting there is a lot of feeling guilty but we can only do the best we can

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mum guilt is the worst! I spent 3 hours upset this week as I lied to my son on his first day of preschool. I told him i would be back in a minute and sneaked out. I was so upset that I had lied to him when he trusts me and thought he would never trust me again. When I went to pick him up he was fine and told me what a fun day he had had. I think we analyse too much. My daughter would probably say similar to your son. Maybe it will be good for you to put the camera down and have some mummy/son time soon to make you feel better :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh thank you for writing this post. It is a relief to know someone else feels as I do! I am curently struggling with Pickle going to play group. And I am always saying 'yes, I will be there now...' Kaz x

    ReplyDelete
  15. You have not failed as a parent. It is the hardest job in the world. Play to your strengths and the rest will follow xx

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's very easy to feellike a failure as a mum (or dad). I know I went through it when my son was little, and now feel the same as he edges closer to 17. I think we give ourselves a very hard time, when we shouldn't. Big hugs lovely xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. We did a million things over the summer holidays. I nearly did myself in trying to please everyone! I asked my son what he enjoyed over the holidays his reply "well I didn't like when you sent me to church club" yes the one day I sent them to a club for 2 hours so I could work and that was the only thing he remembered! Not the days out, not the activities, not the food we sampled no the one time I left them!! You aren't a failure x

    ReplyDelete
  18. You have not failed! I am sure every single one of us parents reading this are nodding our head in agreement to your story - i feel and say the same to my Three year old. I could quite easily kick back and just stop everything to spend more valuable time with my Daughter but then of course the hubby will moan that nothing is done!
    We cannot win x

    ReplyDelete
  19. I know exactly where you're coming from but we all do the best we can do as parents and it's not failure at all x x

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm absolutely sure your son remembers other things too - and you're definitely not the only mum who worries that they don't get the balance right. I frequently hear myself apologise to my daughter for being 'too busy' to do something or for being 'snappy because I'm tired'. We all do our best and sometimes we just expect too much of ourselves,

    ReplyDelete
  21. Meant to add #PoCOLo as that's how I found you :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I don't believe you have failed in the slightest. I believe that whilst Grace sees that I work a lot - as does Ross - it is setting her a good example in the fact that she understands that working means that you can pay the bills and buy nice things. I don't want her to think that she is handed them on a plate! I think you have - and are - doing an amazing job and setting your son a great example. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think that sometimes as parents we do read too much in to these comments from our children. I think everyone worries about that balance - I know I do - I worry about any time I have to spend apart from Boo - and the things that we want to do but can't due to money - though I don't want to return to work just yet as that would mean more time away from Boo - balance and learning to live with the inevitable guilt. I think worrying about it is the hallmark of a good parent!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I don't think you have failed as a parent far from it. For your little one to ask you questions like that you have raised a caring little one.

    ReplyDelete
  25. you haven't failed as a parent *we all go through tough times xx big hugs

    ReplyDelete
  26. You've not failed in the slightest. You've done what we all try to do, your best, and it's all we can do but at the sane time you've shown him the importance of working too. Our children need to see this, to know there are times Mummy or daddy has to do things for themselves but once finished our time is theirs

    ReplyDelete
  27. Bless you. Don't be so hard on yourself. Life has an annoying habit of getting in the way but your son knows how much you love him.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a comment. I like reading them all. Do leave your blog name (if you are a fellow blogger) so I can pop over for a read.

If you liked reading this post, why not subscribe to my blog? Just pop your email address in the little box below, and get all new posts delivered straight to your inbox. No spam, I promise x

Subscribe to My Blog by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner