motherhood, parenting

Surplus To Requirements

There is a lot of emotion in the air right now – preschool/school leavers, new starters and inductions! I have August to process my big boy moving up yet another year, where does the time go(?!), and my baby starting preschool, meaning my role as stay at home parent will change beyond recognition. Watch this space for the blog on that! Instead, I blog about something that took me quite by surprise recently. Yet another element of parenthood that I hadn’t prepared for. There is clearly a running theme and I really should learn to pay more attention, or at least read the manual!

I ask myself “At what point did it happen?” When did I become so embarrassing, so seriously uncool?! I don’t believe I ever thought for a second that my mum was uncool. Oh hang on, perhaps one day she crossed over the line when she hollered up the stairs “There’s a boy on the phone for you!” – just imagine the horror as my teenage crush was evidently revealed having flown down the staircase at top speed, I could not have seemed more desperate, only to face the dial tone ringing in my ear! The horror swiftly mixed with disappointment; I’d been tricked! Perhaps it was April fools, perhaps I was needed to lay the table, who knows? I cannot remember, but I do recall thinking ‘Thanks mother, that was so not cool!’ So it seems there was a period in time that the cross over occurred briefly but it was definitely the latter end of my childhood, the teenage years, most certainly not at six years of age! I should still be the best thing since sliced bread to my big boy, should I not?!

Ok, so if I’m honest, it’s probably been a long time since I’ve been THE best thing since that soft squishy sliced loaf, after all, there has been Peppa, Octonauts, Lego, Superheroes, Minions and more recently Thomas and Pokemon (dreadful I know)! As for cuddles and kisses, I am clearly far more the one in need and mostly left disappointed; I often feel sad when I steal a cuddle and discover cuddling a reluctant, gangly legged board is much less fulfilling than I’d hoped.

The reality of the situation was this…on one slightly out of the ordinary Friday afternoon I, unbeknown to myself, did something inappropriate and/or humiliating in the eyes of my eldest and, within the blink of an eye, became surplus to requirements. I became an embarrassment! I say surplus to requirement, this should come with the subtext ‘in public’. At home, I am of course, indispensable, an absolute necessity – not necessarily in the comfort department like I said, but I am most definitely required and have many useful functions; chief seeker and fetcher, chief snack provider and chef, chief adjudicator, chief art critic and partaker in endless joke sessions, maths quizzes, Pokemon quizzes (don’t ask!), the list goes on…Not many hours of the day go by without the word “Mummy” on repeat and I know I don’t appreciate these moments like I should in the busy day to day of living, we all need reminding I guess.

The afternoon I refer to just happened to be my darling niece’s 7th Birthday party (and what an amazing party it was). This was the day I overstepped the imaginary line. In my mind I have an image of the TopGear Cool Wall and see myself sliding along, praying I stay within at least the ‘uncool’ section as opposed to the ‘seriously uncool’!! It is not like I did anything that bad, at least not in my eyes! Just to set the scene, my boys live very far from their cousins and therefore do not have the familiarity of shared friendship groups. So, being the loving mother that I am, I worried my boys were looking unsure and overwhelmed, so sought to help them along in getting involved in the fun. Evidently I had misread their facial/body language and my mucking in to help the eldest make friends was met with awkwardness (the look of ‘Mother, you are so not cool!’) and I was told in no uncertain terms to “Leave me alone!

History repeated!

I spent the remainder of the day trying to submerge the feeling that I’d been jilted and emotionally bruised. Deep down I knew what he’d meant, yet I still felt the need to gain clarification, to rub salt in my wounds. So during the calm of the bedtime routine I seized the opportunity for another harsh reality check and asked Bubba what he meant by telling me to leave him alone. The long and short of it was that I was being an embarrassment. Needing it to be spelt out probably reinforced his very point!

It wouldn’t be so bad if I thought this was just a one off. Am I really that uncool? (That’s rhetorical by the way!) However, the theme seems to be recurring one now. No hand holding en route to, or in the vicinity of, any extracurricular activities, no official goodbye, if I’m lucky, a reluctant peck on the cheek. I consider myself particularly lucky that I still get kisses goodbye on the playground, although I begin to feel these drifting out of my reach as the days go by too!

So, break it to me now….when will these kisses goodbye in the playground come to an end? Someone please give me the heads up and warn me now as I’m going to need some serious propping up when the day comes (never mind copious amounts of the big girls bottle). Feel free to leave out the parts when we fall off the cool wall for however many years and restart the commentary when we return to sub-zero because right now I cannot bear the thought that my precious babies (not so little anymore) will be too embarrassed to hold my hand and kiss me goodbye one day soon.

I know that of the many precious gifts of parenthood we give to our children, few are more important than teaching them independence and helping them develop confidence to live in the big wide world, but I’m not sure I’m ready to teach myself this lesson just yet. I’m not ready to learn that they won’t always need or want me constantly by their side to help them along or give them comfort when they feel unsure. So for now, I’ll pray that I can teeter on the edges of cool for as long as possible and remain in a symbiotic bubble for just a little bit longer, them needing me, as much as I need them.

I love you boys, from your seriously cool Mummy! 😉

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