Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I'm Missing the #ProudMummy Gene

I'm lacking the #proudmummy gene.

I have three girls, Emily, who is 12, Alice who is 4 and Rosie who is 3. I love them all very much and I would do anything for them - but one thing I am not is constantly proud of them. I don't really have #proudmummy moments. I think maybe I am a realist and can be quite cynical - but I just don't go all in for feeling "proud" just because they turned three or stopped peeing in their own pants.

Sounds harsh, maybe? I'm a very busy person. I work part time, I am doing a Masters and looking at starting a PhD next year. I have a lot on. I have a lot to be proud of MYSELF for. Oh yes, all these dirty words coming from a mother, Me, Me, Me, like a frying pan clanging in your face. The truth is, my children are completely separate little beings to me. I love being with them, I love watching them grow and change before my very eyes, I love being their mother - but being a mother is only part of who I am.

My children have to fit in with my life. There we go again, Me, Me, Me. Selfish. When we say we are proud of our children, are we proud of what they are achieving or proud of what we have achieved by bringing them up? Both? I'm happy to be their mother, but they have got to live their lives independently of me - they have their own set of inner workings, their own friends, their own interests. I do not live my life through them. Of course, I am proud when they learn new words, new skills and pass tests, but day-to-day? Nah. They're just getting on with their lives.

I remember when being handed Emily's school SATs results in a crisp white envelope, her name neatly typed in black. I held the envelope in my hands. The sun was shining, as it had been a week earlier when I had collected the module results on my undergrad work. I paused. How excited am I about opening Emily's SATs results? More excited than opening my own last week? I bit my lip and thought about it.

Definitely more excited by my own achievements.

Guilt. Real guilt. I opened the envelope and smiled as I saw she had top marks in all subjects. Brilliant. I was happy. I treated her to a cream cake, some popcorn and fizzy drinks and told her how proud I was. I was proud, I also bought Champagne to celebrate my results. I don't think she was very proud of me when I collected my degree, first class (in case I didn't mention that.) In fact, I think she was rather bored by the whole thing.

And that's fine.

That doesn't cloud how I am proud of my kids when they achieve. The way I view it is, a family is a team. They have their own lives to pursue, and I have mine. I am allowed to have a life and I am allowed to pursue my own goals and not feel guilty about saving some of my "proud moments" just for myself. When these kids have flown the nest I will have my own selfish little life to get on with, and I'll be proud of what I did for myself.

I might be lacking the #proudmummy gene, maybe I'm not wired that way. Maybe I am too busy and actually a bit selfish.

I'm glad I am. I couldn't be any other way.

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