Being Mummy, the best job in the world; and also the most difficult.
We raise our children in a variety of ways, building on the knowledge and experiences we have gained throughout our own lives. Some of us do everything for our children, some of us believe in doing very little, some of us discipline, and some of us choose to teach self discipline. Is there ever a right or wrong way to be mummy.
My boys, aged 11 and 15 years old are back in the UK, with their dad. They are all learning to be with one another after my ex husband spent many, if not most of their lives away on business. I had a life of solo parenting, then four years ago, I became a single mum. My boys have always been my main focus. My reason for getting out of bed in the morning, besides my dogs, whom I walked every morning at 6:30am.
I am the kind of mum that has expected my boys to be competent teenagers, not just competent adults. They had tasks to do as soon as they could stand up: putting their own toys away, making their beds every morning, stripping their beds weekly and helping to clean around the house. As they got older their tasks increased in responsibility, enabling them to be able to cook, clean and shop for themselves. They may sound harsh to some parents, but as a solo parent, and then becoming a single mum, these tasks became mandatory; especially when, or rather if, I became sick.
As I travel around the world sailing, writing books and coaching my clients from around the world, I miss them. A lot. I look at photos of them daily just to see their smiling faces. I am in daily contact with them either by What’s App messages and photo exchanges, telephone calls and voice messages. Their father and I talk weekly to check in on their school progress, any mail and rebuilding our relationship. We had 18 years together, why throw away the friendship, especially as we have children together. Our main focus is our children, and even though I am not there, I am still mummy. Will always be mummy.
I have just gone through my biggest challenge as a mummy, the marker point of being away from them the longest I have ever been. I miss kissing them goodnight, I miss our hugs, our daily card games, the cheeky banter we have between them, and the daily declarations ‘Have a great day! Remember to be your awesome self! I love you!’ as they walk out the door to school. I miss the mummy moments of cooking with them, watching them in their sports matches, our snuggles together at the end of the day. And yet, here I am still travelling around the world promoting my books, upleveling my coaching business and learning to sail on as many different boats, learning from a variety of different sailors in preparation to own my own wooden sailing yacht, one in which I will use not only to live on, but also to run 10 day coaching retreats in beautiful locations around the world.
With my boys encouraging me every step of the way, and the three of us planning our next holidays together, I look forward to being with them. Being a full on mummy again, having them by my side as we go off on adventures together, exploring together, eating together, laughing together, and simply being together. I miss my partner too, a lot; and not knowing when I will see any of them again has been a difficult hurdle to jump over.
I stayed with a friend a couple of nights ago, for a couple of nights, and waking up to the children and the routine of daily life in their home reminded me of just how much I miss my boys, but not the responsibility of parenting. I am enjoying being away from them, growing in new ways, understanding myself on a deeper level, having the freedom to go where I want, when I want, with whom I want… without having to think about getting homework done, dealing with the moments of them bickering amongst themselves, keeping our home in order, shopping, and the laundry, cooking and cleaning.
Being a mummy who is leading by example, of living and fulfilling my dreams is challenging for a few, but inspiring to many more. The women I meet have been incredibly supportive, the young women in their twenties have been inspired and the men … well some have been passive aggressive in their support, but on the whole they have been impressed that a 40 year old mummy is travelling alone, without her children, and impressed that I have trusted my ex husband, the boys father to parent the boys in his way, without me micro managing him, which is what a lot of them have told me they wished their wife/partner would allow them to do – the dad they choose to be, in their own way.
So ladies, as I travel, I encourage you all to take time out from being a full time mummy, a woman who puts her life on hold to be at home with their children all the time. Allow the father to step up as well as the children, stop putting yourself last, and go fulfil your dreams, before it is too late. You’ll always be mummy, no one can take that away from you, but you’ll be a mummy who leads by example, rather than a hypocrite who simply tells their children to go after them. Plus, you’ll enjoy it! Trust me! I may not be a Dr, but I am a mummy who is living her dream, and loving it!