Archive for January, 2013

In reply to Carol Sarler

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Sir: I have two children in their twenties and, so far least, they have turned out ok. However this general okay-ness is the result of two decades of hard work on the part of many individuals but most especially by me, their mother. Motherhood is complex; it requires hard graft, inspiration, loyalty and constant vigilance. This is more often than not, not the mother hen clucking type of behaviour but the more considered kind, of allowing them freedom to grow and make mistakes whilst knowing when to pull them in when boundaries are crossed.

Furthermore, although babies and toddlers would seem to be the most time-consuming, and the yup and nope teenage stage the most trying on the nerves, your job is not over until they are paid up independent self-sustaining members of society. It is often said that successful parents give their children both roots and wings: this is a fine balance that requires good judgment and constant thought.

Much of the work in child rearing is dull and repetitive – the washing of football kit and the finding of clean uniform never seems to end, but it is all part of the caring process. There is also a lot of waiting about while they learn to ride bikes and swim and you spend ages spent sitting with them while they learn to drive; however these are all vital life skills. 

Obtaining a decent education for your child whether in the state or private sector is almost a full time job, no wise parent can take their eye off the ball. (You must also be aware of high octane couples flying by who demand preferment for their child at the expense of your own).

However along the way the mother’s most important duty is the transmission of values and this job is never ending. Facing up to tricky conversations that both you and your children would rather not have is probably the most difficult task of all.

Motherhood is a lot of things, but part-time it ain’t.

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