Half-term haze

Notepad and pen

I’m suffering from half-term haze….

Notepad and penI have spent the last three days floating around in a half term haze. The break from the usual school routine seems to have wreaked havoc into my daily life and thrown it into total disarray. I have always thought that it is my children who need to adjust to the family togetherness and less regimented order of the holidays and yet now I discover, it is me.

One of my favourite quotes has always been:

‘the most important legacy a mother can leave her children is the quality of her own life.’

I am not sure who said it. Initially I loved it because I felt it gave me carte blanche to selfishly pursue my whims. More recently, I love it because I believe it’s completely true. A significant part of parenthood is to lead by example and the ability to value yourself and your own needs and individuality shouldn’t be underestimated.

My team of four are starting to peel away. One down, three to go. It is absolutely how it should be although my life has been so fully entwined with theirs that I don’t find it easy as my children emerge into adulthood. I know I want to be involved with their lives and I hope I always will be, albeit at a less hands on level than in the early years. Growing up is about spreading your wings and bravely discovering new pastures and as parents, we hope to see our children soar although is there a parent you know out there who isn’t always ready with arms outstretched, just in case?

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Back to the fog that seems to have set in for me this week and I realise how hard I am finding it to juggle my hats. During term time I am busy all day long rarely stopping for meals and hastening through my list of tasks which seem to get ever longer. This is seldom unachievable as I relish the challenge and find the pressure keeps me focussed. Holiday periods are completely different and whilst my tactic in the past has always been to take a break from corporate demands, I don’t really find that I can, or even want to, in quite the same way anymore.

Imogen's desk and laptopI seem to be at a point of impasse. I love motherhood but the needs of teens are very different to those of younger children. Firstly, my teens and I function best at entirely different points in the day. I am wide awake and full of enthusiastic bounce at 6 am. Do you know a teenager who relishes an early start? Small children move as one with their mothers but life with older children is somewhat different and long gone are the family visits to the farm or soft play. All too often these days, I need to drive in three different directions all at the same time.

One of the loveliest things about your children when they are very young is their naïve belief that you are amazing. This changes as they grow up and they become your harshest critics.

“Don’t be embarrassing” is never far from their lips!

One thing that hasn’t changed at all over the years is the importance of constant food. As one of my son’s commented the other day “I need something sweet, sugary and preferably smothered in chocolate”. Of course he is quite capable of finding his own morsel of deliciousness but for him, like us all, happiness is when someone else does it for you.

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So this week as I have tried to maintain my own status quo, we have moved inharmoniously alongside each other and I fear I have been the best at achieving the worst. Although we are the proud owners of more than one computer, one of the children constantly seems to be at my desk, I am queen of admonishment as the siren call of their mobile phones never ceases and Mum’s taxi service has been on overtime.

In the early morning peace as I try to get a good start on the day, the words of the great Diana Ross ring true:

The greatest gift that my kids give me is the reminder that I’m not so great, I’m just ordinary.

Yes, that would be me too Diana.

About Imogen Jamieson

I live in rural Surrey with my family and when not attending to their every whim or holding down my part time job, I enjoy writing. The seemingly insignificant highs and lows of every day are what interest me and I observe small successes with pleasure, empathise with the bad moments and seek subtle humour wherever possible. I also love a good chat over a cup of tea.