I have reached a stage in my parenting journey that no one ever talks about.
No one writes books saying this is how it’s done for this stage.
Pregnancy, babies, toddlers, children, even teens are written about.
But no one talks about the transition from being the parent raising a child to being a parent standing next to your child and being their friend while they live their own lives.
The questions that arise of –
Did I do a good enough job?
Have I taught them enough to survive out there?
What if I forgot something?
Did I love them enough?
Witnessing my children grow into big humans has been so many things.
But inspiring would probably be the best way to describe it.
When I gave birth to my daughter she saved my life.
Even though I was still suicidal for many years I had something I wanted to live for.
And along came my son who gave me the gift of a mother-son relationship that I will always treasure.
He also gave me one of the biggest gifts of my parenting journey when I had to make the decision that he could not live with me anymore and he went to live with his dad. So much judgement came up, yet he was going to his other parent so why the judgement?
He has become an independent soul who can take care of himself in ways that just would not have happened if he stayed with me. So I’m grateful for that. I never thought I was a hover parent, and on the bigger scheme of things I wasn’t, but I never let my kids catch buses or trains anywhere, I made sure I drove them. That was one place I couldn’t let go.
My son being with his father also taught me a lot about not reacting to how the other parent behaves or does things if it’s different to how I would have. More importantly how to not react when the other parent speaks untruths or tries to degrade me.
Those two are now 18 and 19. The point the world says they are adults.
But they will always be my babies.
Only now I get to practice witnessing them make their own life choices instead of me making them for them.
I get to hold onto the trust that if they need me they will ask.
I get to trust that I have created enough of a safe space for them that they can come to me about anything.
Sometimes that is really fucking hard! Sitting back as a parent and having my own thoughts on what they are doing, but trusting that the journey they are having is the one they are meant to is not an easy task.
Did I do everything ‘right’ over the years? No definitely not.
I am glad I never tried to be perfect though. Worried about being judged, yes, but worried about being perfect. No.
Hopefully I’ve done enough to make sure my children believe in themselves enough to do, be, have, whatever it is in life they want.
There have been things I’ve learnt since beginning my self development and love journey that I think ‘this would have been great to know back when I first became a parent’ but there is also a lot I’ve learnt that I have realized I already did with my children because of my own inner knowing.
As a mother I am glad I never let anyone tell me what to do if it went against what my own intuition was telling me.
Could I have done more research into some things? 100% but I was young and believed that the research was already done for me and trusted that. But once I knew ‘better’ I did ‘better’.
My last baby is almost 13. He already seems like an adult. We have always said since the day he was born he is an old soul.
So his journey into adulthood is going to be an interesting one to witness as well.
I’m so glad they chose me to be their mum in this life.
They have taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of creating and being and having.
I will forever be grateful for the lifeline that was given to me back in 2001.
Parenting isn’t an easy life. Having other lives in your hands isn’t something to take on Willy Nilly.
Without the teachers that were my children I would not be the person I am today, so when I think back to when I was young and said I never wanted kids I giggle to myself. I am pretty sure that was just a trauma response from the parenting I had witnessed and didn’t want to be.
People have made comments when I’ve been away on holidays that ‘Shannii is over here not giving a fuck about her kids while we all sit here missing ours’ not realizing that I never left them alone when they were young.
To those people I say you get to look at how blessed you are to be able to do as you do while your children are young.
I was 18 when I had my first child, 19 for my second. I didn’t go clubbing until I was almost 21.
And I wouldn’t take having my children back at that age for anything.
Those first three years were spent at home with the kids. I was a young mum as they say. Yet I was the perfect age for my children and the experience they came here to have.
So yes now I do enjoy my solo adventures. I come home with tales of travel for my children to be inspired by. I come home with an appreciation of the world that I then get to pass onto them so they understand how easy life here in Australia is.
I spent those first many years with them playing and creating and loving and doing the best I could. That’s all any parent can do.
If I could have taken trips back then I probably would have. And I would have missed my kids just like the other parents. Or maybe I wouldn’t have missed them at all 🤷🏽♀️ we will never know 😂
Parenting really isn’t something you can learn in books. They might help give you some information but everyone of my children are different, and have needed different things from me to grow into the humans they have.
Books never taught me that. And I love reading.
Ultimately if you asked me the lessons I want to give my children I would say that I hope I have shown that it’s ok to LIVE.
Feel everything. Feeling is ok. Go on the adventures. Do the things that make you happy. Live joyously no matter what has been happening. Living is what life is about. Death isn’t something to be afraid of either. When you no longer fear dying, you begin to truly start living.
So yes, I’m now at the parenting stage where I have been given no advice how to handle. And it’s been an interesting journey.