When my right arm went missing.

Mum Confidence

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So this week my oldest is off on his school residential for 5 days, a week away he has been looking forward to since he started junior school. He is my ‘activity bug’, always in the thick of whatever is going on, and this week will be no exception.

I still remember my year 5 residential trip and what an amazing time I had with my friends, doing fab things and I want Joseph to have the same experience.

I am used to being apart from him, as he is from me, but this is the longest time he has been away and in a group of children who will have had varying degrees of experience of being away from their parents.

And in reality, they are going to have an absolute ball.

However, when doing the ‘mummy thing’ and packing up the last bits and pieces into his bag, showing him how to put a duvet cover on (a life skill obviously) and making one maternal request that he at LEAST cleans his teeth every morning and possibly introduces his flannel to the tap, I started to wobble.

My husband always knows when I get a bit anxious, and he knows it will hit at some point when I am parted from my boys. I get verbal diarrhea, I go into over convincing mode where I tell him everything is going to be alright even though he knows that already and then I panic I have forgotten something vital which means my son is going to be completely deprived and vulnerable all week.

Also, when I feel like this, I get flippant, and I posted on my FB page on Saturday night that my evening was mostly going to spent ‘naming pants’, bit of a metaphor for my life right now as a parent. Here I got an insight into how other mums were feeling too, as my comments thread filled up with ‘I haven’t named pants’ responses.

For the record I didn’t name the pants!

These comments reassured me that I was not the only one wanting to get it all right, to make sure my child had everything needed to have an amazing time. And it felt good to know I was not the only one 🙂

However, the final step in the process was letting go. That wrench where you rationally know they have got everything, they will be okay, but that maternal need to ‘just make sure’. My parting shot to Joseph was ‘put your jumper in your bag’ and then I went, knowing that if I stayed he would look to me and see that I was struggling to say goodbye.

The letting go bit is the absolute hardest because it is when us, as mums, have to relinquish control. We have to trust that our parenting and the support of the adults with them will bring our children through this week and make it the most fantastic experience they will never forget.

Because this is the first building block on their move towards independence, of realising their own capabilities and building their confidence. As they do this they can learn to make mistakes, we all do in life and work out the solutions.

And I need to be confident in my own abilities as a mum to let my son go. I can still miss him and I will be thinking about him every minute this week but these feelings will be eclipsed by the sense of pride in myself for letting him have this experience.

And my right arm will return on Friday, smelly, unkempt and extremely tired but so much happier and more fulfilled for this time away.

Love Clare x




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