Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: The Road Less Travelled...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Road Less Travelled...

My daughter is 3 and a half years old. As anyone who has been or who is currently delighting in being the parent of a toddler that ‘half’ is very important and should never be forgotten. Now I will admit that my 3-and-a-half year old is rather on the small side and works hard to mount the 2nd centile on the world recognised growth chart following a rather cruel start in life, but in every other respect she is holding her own. She will count to twenty, hold conversations with adults where they genuinely feel engaged, remember conversations you had six months ago, hop on either foot and reel off all the colours and numbers in Spanish (which is awkward as my Spanish is limited to “una cerveza por favor" and still can be caught pronouncing “chorizo” as cho-ree-sio.) As it stands, I am one proud mother.

But here is the thing: when trying to dress herself the other day the “label to the back/label to the side” conundrum had her stumped and her reaction was to say that she is “rubbish at everything”. On more probing, it came to light that her nursery friends had commented that she wasn’t very good at running races. This is something I suspect may be true and could be due to the fact that she is not the tallest or could be because the vast majority of her friends are at least a year older and whilst I am sure the children meant nothing by it (other than the speaking the brutal truth that children are so often prone to do) this negative comment has seeped into her entire self belief, leaving her feeling defeated and inept.

This is the one thing I never wanted for my children. I am a slave to my insecurities. They have led to make questionable decisions as a burgeoning adult, chased me out of the medical profession and plague me on a daily basis should I be relied upon for anything (and by anything I literally mean anything from a deliverable at work to making a cup of tea for someone else.) This is the one thing I did not want my children to inherit (well that and the diabetes). Like a feral dog I am constantly sniffing out the next way to secure external validation and prove (albeit briefly) that I am an satisfactory human being who errs on the side of competence.
This has led to numerous post graduate professional qualifications, psychological evaluations and daily checks with my long suffering spouse that I am not a bad wife/mother/friend/daughter/person and yet I still am no further forward.

How can I save them from this blighted existence? How do you instil confidence in your children when you cannot monitor every comment that will be uttered about them or how they will interpret them? How do you show them just how incredible they are and why they should love being themselves? How do you stop them being you?

All anyone wants for their children is for them to be happy but how do you navigate that path when you fell off the precipice yourself?

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