Most parents want what is best for their kids, right? And sometimes that might be turning out to be just like them. Successful, happy, content with life.
Well, I hope my daughter is nothing like me.
Recently we’ve been having some discussions about priorities and how it’s important to get them right, now, rather than try to sort them out later in life. At the moment, she’s more interested in her friends than her school work and it’s starting to show.
Just last week I had to sit her down and have a serious conversation about life in a hope I’d make her see sense enough to change her ways. At first words failed me but then it just spilled out like uncontrollable verbal vomit “I’m not saying it to be mean, I just don’t want you to end up like me!”
Of course she asked what I meant and I told her the truth. I didn’t want her to have regrets, become a teenage mom or leave school with no real prospects. I don’t want her to be, well, a nobody.
In some ways, I think the only way I would have had a better life would have been if I’d had better parents. Don’t get me wrong I love them to bits now but they were never really there for me when I was a kid. I was kind of left to do my own thing and fend for myself. But, like my own daughter I had a life plan, unfortunately for me that all ended when I got pregnant.
Without trying to make out I blamed her for my life, I tried to explain what being a teenage mom means. How I ended up the way I did.
I was prevented from joining the navy, I had to leave college, I didn’t get to do my driving lessons. Relationships broke down, friends drifted away. I was alone for so long that I started making bad decisions. My life wasn’t my life anymore, now it was all about taking care of a child when I was just a child myself.
I missed out on jobs, experience, internships. I didn’t get to go on girly holidays with my friends, no date nights, no pub crawls or birthday binges. My weekends consisted of takeaway pizza and Pop Idol repeats.
There were no luxuries, no shopping for anything I wanted, no new stuff for the house, nothing. Life and all of its decisions were based around baby. It was the loneliest and poorest I’d ever been.
Trying to explain this to her still didn’t seem to work, she presumes (like most girls her age) that she has everything under control and that won’t happen to her. Fair enough, let’s hope not. But then she said “but you’re happy now aren’t you mom?”
I thought about it for a moment. My answer wouldn’t have been easily understood by a 13 year old. But it was important to answer it.
Am I happy now? Well, yes. And no. Although I’m now taking driving lessons, writing my blog, working on my freelance stuff and I’ve found a good man and we live in a nice(ish) house, I still crave some of what I missed out on and if I could have my time again? I would definitely wait to have kids. I’m almost 31 and only just getting my life together. That isn’t what I wanted and it isn’t what I want for her.
I have many regrets in life and I do feel unfulfilled. Sometimes the stress of being a mother to four children is overwhelming and I do sometimes wish things were different. That’s not to say I don’t love them 100% of the time because of course, I do. But I don’t enjoy being a mom 100% of the time and that’s mainly because of my own personal unfulillment.
I don’t want my daughter to have to go to college to pass GCSE maths because she left school with no grades. I don’t want her starting university at 26 when she could be finished with education and saving a deposit for her first house. I don’t want her to feel so lonely that she makes bad relationship decisions just for comfort. I don’t want her to be almost 30 and still not know how to drive or just stepping foot into her career. I don’t want my daughter to have any regrets.
I want her to live her life. A good life. Filled with joy, experience and happiness. Sure, there’ll be some sadness, heartache and hardships along the way and no doubt she will make mistakes but I want her to be equipt enough to deal with them, to not let them define her or to change her goals.
So I truly hope she is nothing like me. I hope she does well at school and makes decent friends, that she continues her education alongside a part time job. That she learns to drive at 18, enjoys time with her friends on holiday, goes travelling, sees the world, gets a career she’s always wanted and a house she’s always dreamed of. I hope she lives her own life before bringing children in to it and I truly hope she finds a decent man who will love and support her unconditionally.
There is one thing she already has that I didn’t have and that is decent parents. I would have given anything for mine to have sat me down and given me a life lesson on priorities. I wish they would have supported me and encouraged me. I’ll continue to be the best mom I can be to her and hope that she has a life far greater than mine ever was.