Random thoughts about being Adult 

Looking back over the last 8 weeks or so, when I have been making a point to blog regularly, it’s quite obvious to me how my thinking has developed as I have more sober time ‘under my belt’ …

Some of my more esoteric posts about yoga or karma represent initial thinking about subjects I have not previously given any ‘air time’ – probably because far too much space in my brain was taken up with the emotional paraphernalia and fall out from drinking. Now that I am sober, and my mood swings have definitely calmed down, I seem to have a lot more ‘brain space’ for some of these more philosophical musings. At times I don’t think they come out clearly, and my own belief system seems very much in its infancy … But I’m interested, enquiring and reflective, and this represents progress to me.

In the last couple of weeks it has been the end of the school year, for sons no 2 and 3; and we have been to assemblies to celebrate the children’s achievements. Son number 2 attends a local state school with an “outstanding” Ofsted report (those in the UK will understand this, for other readers it’s a government assessment of the quality of education the School provides – or it’s supposed to be ! ) Attending the end of year assembly it struck me how consistent the messages were coming from all the staff. There were prizes for effort, achievement and attendance; some children’s musical or oratorical talents were showcased, but again and again the messages coming from staff were about respect (for yourself, peers, staff, property) hard work and commitment  (academically, in sport, in all endeavours) and self confidence.

Similarly, the leavers assembly at number 3 son’s school, was full of consistent messages promoting respect, reflection, responsibility, resourcefulness, resilience and reasoning (6R’s)

All of this has got me thinking about the role of adults, and particularly parents in promoting the values and attributes we wish children (especially our own) to adopt: not in a passive way – which to be honest is far to often how I have parented- but actively, firmly and consistently. About how to BE an adult who has a huge and direct influence on the way our children develop. I’m beginning to beleive it’s not enough to passively get on with ones own life alongside ones children, expecting them to somehow absorb the lessons we want them to learn. I have always fed, clothed,washed and loved my kids, I have supervised homework, taken them to clubs and parties, taught them to ride bikes and tie shoelaces. I am, at least, a good enough Parent..

BUT… have I really been present? Have I known what consistent messages I needed to deliver to bring up worthwhile adults, have I consistently made them complete tasks to the best of their ability, developed their potential, attended to their moral education? Yes at times, but consistently ? No. Because I have been drunk, and too drunk to do this , or even really understand that this is what needed to be done.

That’s shame. And there is NO-ONE to blame but myself, and no excuse , and it’s probably too late for son No1; but it’s not too late for son’s 2 & 3 who may now find their slightly easy going, lackadaisical mother has  developed some clearer ideas about effective , directional parenting, which might make their lives initially harder, but will, I hope, bear fruit in the end.

I need to think some more, about what I believe to be important. And then take steps to actively, consistently and clearly Instill those behaviours by accepting nothing less. Can I do this? Along with everything else I have to do ? Maybe it’s actually more important than anything else I have to do, and should be prioritised.

That will have implications, but …..


5 comments

  1. Wow what a thought provoking post for us parents. My eldest is very laid back and his favourite say is “it doesn’t matter” he is a well behaved boy but doesn’t have a lot of confidence or friends. I do worry how much of this is my fault because i havent truly been present due to my drinking. What message have i been giving him, him seeing me veg out on the sofa, glass in hand night after night. Could I have encouraged him to join more clubs to help his confidence. Should I have made more of an effort with play-dates when he was younger so he would have a bigger social circle. I just feel guilt and shame when I think about it. I need to take a leaf out of your book and think about how I am going to better influence him and his younger sister as they grow up. Sorry I’ve rambled on, but thank you for sharing as its given me quite a lot to think about xx

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  2. My kids actually see me as a more laid back parent now.
    I used to be erratic. Trying to make up for deficiencies by becoming controlling, not following through, quick to anger or criticism. I could see myself, but I couldn’t stop it.

    Now I step back. I leave a lot of room for them to do things their way. I have minimal boundaries and I acknowledge that as long as they are respectful, and are trying, I will not try to hover or micro manage.

    My kids are in grade 6 and 8. So far this seems to be a good change. Although they call me the zen mom, they respect their freedom.

    My kids are both old souls….and I realize I may need to reconsider my stance regularly. Life moves on.

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  3. I can identify with everything you say. I definitely have more brain space . I wrote about that on my blog yesterday.

    I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I should have been more present for my children. Like you I did all the right things but it was more a case of going through the motions than really engaging. I have been open with them about no longer drinking and they are both really proud of me. I think I remember you saying how your youngest has said that he likes it that you don’t drink. Don’t beat yourself up Lily I can just tell from your words and the way you express things that you are a wonderful Mum. Xx

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  4. I don’t have children, but I had one of the most laid back upbringings among the people I knew. I was the youngest. My mother was out of the picture and my father was just not “father” material. While those around me would say I had no parenting, which is entirely true. I don’t discard it as bad parenting. I was able to learn from how my father acted. His loyalty and work ethic is something I noticed. His respect and his resourcefulness, his talent and skill all wore off on me. Maybe I didn’t realize it as an adolescent, but I realized it in my early adulthood that the lessons I learned may not have been directly applied, but they were instilled in me regardless. I wouldn’t be so worried about not being as present as you would have liked in the past. Everything works out the way it should. =)

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    • Thank you for that perspective. There is , and always has been, an element of “maternal guilt” which may distort my perspective. I hope there are no long term ill effects, and that my children don’t blame me when they are older. But I can only change the future, and do my best from now on. Lily 🌷x

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