Who decides if you are a good or bad mother?
Am I doing a good enough job raising my boys and how will I know if I succeed?
All the above and more have been hurriedly circling my brain since last Thursday when we got the great news that our eldest secured his place at Warwick University.
From the moment he walked into our room at a little after 6:15 in the morning with a mooted expression I got 2 A* and a B. Great yes but!
He needed an A in German as part of the condition of entry, would these results be good enough? Surely yes, said my inner me but the vocal me couldn’t help but say why the hell do you have to make it complicated.
We waited for what seemed like an eternity for UCAS to confirm his offer of acceptance and in that time I went through every single conceivable emotion, elation, worry, anxiety and relief.
When I heard shouting, ‘yes, get in there’ I didn’t register what this meant.
How I wept with joy I ran up and down the stairs, hyperventilating with excitement and sheer bloody relief.
It was at that moment I realised that I had been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders for the last six months probably longer.
Worrying, supporting, caring, managing my eldest to ensure that everything was right for him for these most important exams.
Why worry so much?
It is hardly the end of the world if a kid misses the mark, they can re-sit, re-do, take a year out, no one ever died because they didn’t get the grades.
And yet here I was relieved that all had come to pass. That the last two years were all about this moment, this one moment that can change the path of a person’s future.
After deep breaths and a quiet moment later I reflected on the last eighteen years and asked myself have I been good enough?
Did I get it right?
Often critical and tough, very much the way I was brought up I hope that my children have learnt the important lessons of life.
For each parent they may well be different ideals but for me it has always been:
- Never giving up
- Listening and understanding
- Be gracious even when you believe it should have been you
- Thankfulness and politeness
- Be steadfast in your decisions
Being a mother has been a job and challenge borne out of love and tenderness. Just when you think you’ve nailed it the tide shifts and you feel out of control with only the prevailing wind keeping you on course.
But parenting skills are not learn’t overnight, it takes time and experience and gut instinct to ensure you are getting it right and even the most hardy of mothers can find her teen very testy to say the least.
His idea of timekeeping is usually at least 40 minutes after the designated time. He spends more time in the bathroom than I do and he has an answer for ‘everything’.
Am I describing anything new?
No, of course not, because all teens go through this phase.
I call it the proving to the world I’m here and I want to be seen and heard phase.
My eldest has become the best ‘how to get out of doing something’ expert, he could right a book on listing excuses on how to get out of doing jobs around the house.
But deep down I know he cares and this is his way of forging his own views and developing independence.
His forthrightness and his ability to stand up for himself are proof that he has strength of character.
Like most teenagers who are solely into themselves, I wondered whether he really cares about anything at all?
Does he love his parents, his brother, will he miss any of us when he goes off to University?
When we left school on Thursday morning, A level results day, congratulatory celebrations in the air, we walked to the car.
He took my hand and said thank you for everything mum, for your love, support, I do love you, you know.
And with tears in my eyes I looked at him, a young man in his prime, a new chapter about to begin, pride and love swelled in my heart, tears in my eyes.
“Yes, I do believe I have done a good job”.