18 October 2009


On Friday night Andy and I watched Mad Hot Ballroom. It's a charming documentary about a New York school dance competition. As I watched one team of eleven year olds, crying as they realised they hadn't made it through to the semi-finals, I felt a rising panic. It hit me that the huge responsibility of looking after my sons extends beyond the toddler stage.

I feel overwhelmed.

There are all these milestones you go past on the way to raising your children: pregnancy, birth, feeding, weaning, first words, first steps, tantrums, nursery. This is all before they go to school. Most of this list deals with their physical needs. Obviously you also show them love, through the gift of your time, with plenty of hugs and kisses thrown in.

Being a parent extends way beyond that tearful first day at school (me, not them, I expect). Until I watched these school children in the film, I hadn't really thought that far ahead.

When they get to school will they make friends? Will they be bullied? Will they be academic? Will they good at sport? Will they be picked for teams? Will they be picked for the school play? Will they be artistic? Will they be confident? Will they be popular? Will they be happy?

How will I feel the first time I let them out to play on their own? Will I let them ride their bikes into town? Will I let them have the freedom I enjoyed as a child? Will they want to ride a motorbike? (There's not a chance of that being agreed to, never in a month of Sundays). How will I feel when they drive off for university or leave home? How will I cope if they want to spend a year travelling the world? What will they do for a living?

Will they fall in love? Will they get their hearts broken?

I feel overwhelmed. Being a parent is for the rest of your life.

I'll be there for them every step of the way. I'll cheer them on. I'll put plasters on their knees. I'll hold their hands when they're ill. I'll listen to their violin recitals. I'll be polite to the potential partners they bring home, even though I know they'll never be good enough for my boys.

I want to wrap them up in cotton wool, but I know that won't prepare them for the real world. Life can be tough, but I hope I'll do a good job in preparing them for whatever they encounter along the way.

For now though I'll try to stop worrying about what may or may not happen in the future. I'll live for today. They'll be awake in a while and I need to decide what to cook for them for tea.



  1. You're right. There is so much to think/worry about when you become a mum, and I'm finding that as they get bigger you discover even more things to think/worry about. Live in the moment - if you plan/think too far ahead you forget to really enjoy it, and it really does go so quickly.

  2. I think we have all been thinking the same latley - http://themadhouse-themadhouse.blogspot.com/2009/10/spiritual-sunday_18.html my post from first thing this morning. Great minds think alike.

    Also I think Happiness is the most important thing to wish for our children

  3. Being a parent is for the rest of your life.

    - What? You thought they were only for Christmas? ;-)

  4. Oh I know exactly what you mean - I spent the whole of my pregnancy thinking how amazing it was going to be to have a baby, without much thought at all for the 'after that' bit.
    It's all very exciting, but you're right - overwhelming too.

  5. I know exactly how you feel... beautifully put.

  6. I know exactly what you mean, and it is daunting, you have a baby and that's, but living for all the god things they bring to your life hopefully negates the worrying little.

  7. Yep, I feel like this sometimes too - I especially feel it when one of the kiddies has hurt themselves and I'm all alone. It's totally overwhelming because you know that you and only you are responsible. But it passes and you get on with things as best you can. But yes, being a parent never stops. I think my parents still have sleepless nights for worrying about me (and I'm 35). And I know my Granny still worries about my Dad and she's 85. So it seems there's no hope for a quiet life!

  8. It is overwhelming if you look at it that way, and I have felt like that many times. I try not to look too far ahead. I used to plan for things that never happened and not know what to do with the things that happened unexpectedly. I've relaxed more as I've got older and now seem to go from one crisis to the next in a manageable fashion!

  9. Liz, you're right, it's flying by. I'm determined to enjoy where we are now.

    The Mad House, great minds indeed. Yes, I totally agree. I don't mind what my boys choose to do, so long as it makes them happy.

    Mwa, that really made me laugh :-)

    Leslieanne, when you're pregnant I don't think you can see past the birth. Even with my second I couldn't imagine what life would be like with another child!

    Jen, thank you x

    Lorraine, they are a worry, but only because you love them so much.

    Emily, it is for the rest of your life. I once asked my late father to stop treating me like a 6 year old when I was 36. He told me he would always see me as 6!

    Rosie, I'm glad you're managing your crises! You're right. I think I'm paraphrasing John Lennon here. Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.


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