KATIE'S BLOG: You are only as happy as your unhappiest child.

Being a mum of 4 kids, I’ve always known that the odds were going to be stacked heavily against me, where by all four of the children could be happy, all at the same time.

Which recently, after 23 years of parenting, is something i've really been praying for more than ever before.

After all, Happy kids = Happy mum right?

But this past year has been really tough for all of them, in their own ways (and so by proxy, for me too.)

I used to think having four under the age of 7 was hard, but parenting four young adults, well that's a different kind of hard and no one can properly prepare you for that.

Swop dirty nappies and sleepless nights, to fragile mental health and sleepless nights of a different kind.

I’ve always felt like my role in the family was akin to Ground Control.

When most are now driving or learning to drive, out late, in late, surrounded by the temptations of teenage experimentation, and experiencing the negative side effects on their brains of hormones colliding with young adult life pressures, well...

...the phone calls, in and out, seem to be relentless & more anxiety inducing now than ever before, and i am tip toeing on, and around, some very sharp edged egg shells.

And its not just the phone calls; the whats apps’, text messages, emails that can start from as early as 6am (my alarm didn't go off, why didn’t you wake me?!) right through to 4am (i can’t sleep, there are no ubers, I’m locked out).

Where are you?

When are you back?

Can you pick me up?

Did you get it?

Can you take me?

OMG!

Guess What!

Can’t speak.

G2G

BRB

LOL

Not sure

Will let you know

Can you lend me some money?

Ping, ping, ping goes the phone as my other full time job as family receptionist, seems to leave me little time to concentrate on anything else these days.

My brain luckily has many different, alphabetically arranged, compartments, which my husband is blissfully unaware of.  Whilst on the flip side, his brain conveniently seems to only contain one box, which is aptly labelled; ‘Ask her!’.

If only he could see inside the contents of my already full to over-flowing boxes;

Information of where they currently are, when they will be back, their plans for the day, the week, the month, the year, their current friendship issues, relationship status, job problems, school issues, exam timetable, social arrangements, medical appointments, ucas applications, all stacked one on top of the other side by side, squished together – its remarkable there are any boxes left for my own thoughts to reside.

This week I count myself lucky, its about evens here – 2 happy, 2 pretty miserable, that's not bad odds, I’ll take it, a huge improvement on last week where we had 3 in despair and 1 happy as Larry (who is Larry by the way? And can someone tell him I have no room for another child!

Each morning I brace myself for the sound of footsteps, which will give me, the first clue of the day as to what sort of roller coaster of emotions i'm likely to be greeted with.

They arrive bleary eyed into the kitchen grunting at me in acknowledgement that, yes indeed they are awake, but do not dare speak to me. I have resorted to texting them a questionnaire to fill in, whilst they are inhaling their choice of caffeine across the table from me;

Morning!

1. Are you ok?                                          y/n

2. Did you sleep?                                      y/n

3. Got everything you need for today?      y/n

4. What time are you back?                      6/7/8/crazy o'clock

5. Will you be in for dinner?                       y/n

Byeee have a good day!                           tx/f off!

I know, I know, I bet many of you are reading this thinking – ‘fool, she’s doing way too much for them all, let them learn from their own mistakes, how will they grow up to be independent adults etc etc’ and yes you are absolutely right, I’m guilty as charged, but the bottom line is, like all us mums, I love them with every fibre of my being and I can’t enjoy my life, if they are not enjoying theirs.

I don’t care how old they are, when they hurt, I hurt, when they are happy I’m happy, so what ever it takes to be able to help them to become part of some temporary oasis of calm and happiness, all at the same time, even if its only on one day a month, well for me its worth it.

But yes i'm not going to lie....

....I’m a tad drained of

absorbing all their problems,

helping them find solutions

being a good parent

making them independent.

being an emotional punch bag

and

trying to make sure everyone is ok.

But that is what i signed up for and most of the time i can cope.

But wouldn’t it be amazing if just one day a month, or even a year, they all spent every waking minute of their days, making sure I was entirely happy all of the time. Now that would be something!.

Ah well mothers day is not too far off.......ooo that reminds me I must remember to put a post-it-note in the box that says; 'text family group a gentle reminder that i'm due a spa day or failing that some socks'!!!

Ps. however drained I am, I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world, i am blessed to have them all and in a blink of an eye, they will all be leaving home and starting their own families, before I can even look up and text: ‘Adios amigos!...

...and that’s a day I’m not quite ready for yet.

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