Like most recently divorced mothers, I worry myself sick about the emotional welfare of my children, in the aftermath of such a devastating event in their short lives. And this week has seen a lot of worry!
Following on from a series of days ‘malingering’ from school, my little one woke up yesterday and started sobbing. It’s about the fourth time this has happened.
Once he calmed down, he blurted out that when he’s at school, he misses me and feels home sick. At 7am on a Tuesday morning, it just wasn’t what any of us needed. I finally gave in to his demands to stay at home, but on the condition that we go to the doctor.
Fortunately, I managed to get him in to see the lady doctor that I particularly like. As we sat down, I told the little one that he needed to help me explain exactly what was causing him to be off school.
To give you some background, my two children are like chalk and cheese.
The eldest shouts and throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get enough attention, but little one is stoic. He keeps it all in and doesn’t complain – until eventually it gets too much for him.
The doctor and I asked him to tell us whether he was unhappy at school, whether he was being bullied, if the teachers were mean to him…. all the usual suspects! But he said no to them all. And that was when I realised that, despite my best efforts to give the little one my attention, the time spent focused on his older brother during his recent exams, had taken a heavy toll on him. He felt ‘left out’ and ignored.
My inner voice started to wage war on my conscience. I’m only one person… but I should have done better. I shouldn’t have taken my eye off the ball. I should have been more conscious of his sensitivities – and not forget that the child who shouts the loudest and protests the most, is usually the one getting the most attention.
And I couldn’t help feeling a certain parallel to my own life. I kept my ex-husbands behaviour to myself, I bottled it up, and by the time the lid blew off there was total carnage.
I am therefore today keeping this post short. I am not Supermum. I don’t always enjoy playing games with my kids as much as I think I should. And to minimise the wait between the youngest and eldest getting out of school, I always collect the little one from the ‘late room’ half an hour after his collection time. But today, I am going to attempt ‘Supermum’ status.
I am going to pick him up on time, despite the lengthy wait that entails. I am going to take a pack of cards and endure his endless card tricks – with a smile and good will. And I’m going to try and remember how I felt at his age and attempt to boost his confidence.
No parent is perfect. No parent gets it right every time. But there is no excuse for not trying…