…it feels wrong…
Once upon a time (4 and a bit years ago to be exact) I was a Mum of two, but that feels like a lifetime ago. I’ve been a Mum to three for as long as I’ve been blogging, for as long as I feel I’ve known myself (at all).
Our middle child flew back to Australia on his own for a 6 week holiday (how lucky is he?? 6 years old and just popping down to Aus to visit the family). He was completely un-phased by flying alone and he has absolutely amazed me with his new-found maturity. I suspect he will come back to us a completely different child. Having hung out with adults for 6 weeks, meeting new people on international flights and experiencing new and familiar things all in tandem, it can only have been a growing experience for our little boy. I’m so happy for him.
Back here in London it’s also been a bit different for those of us left behind. Only two little mouth’s to feed, only two little voices in constant chatter about the house, one child for each of my hands when we venture out, only two little avid movie viewers to consult on movie-night, two booming voices trying to get my attention, two screeching voices arguing over goodness knows what, two snuggle bug’s to tuck in at night and two opinions to take into account when deciding what to do today.
Our eldest and middle child have always been at each others throats from the time Adam was old enough to fight back instead of conceding to his older brother’s will. They squabble over anything and everything and never a day goes by without them getting into a yelling match. Sadly, Adam still loves Alex to bits and misses him terribly if Alex is away at a play date…but if Alex feels anything of that for his younger brother it’s buried very deeply. This is not incriminating of Alex but a symptom of years of subtle favouritism from namely me. He learned anger and envy at an early age for his little brother…and I didn’t even see it coming. I suppose subconsciously a child’s mind would rather flit the blame onto a sibling rather than blame his mother for favouritism. In Alex’s mind Adam is the bane of his existence, if Adam hadn’t been born then his life would have been happier.
Time without Adam around has highlighted my feelings about Alex over the years. I mentioned a guilt-ridden post I was concocting a few months ago but I never did finish it. I also mentioned previously that I know with certainty that I expected too much of Alex when he was little and I have only come to realise this by noting how poorly it contrasts with my expectations of our now 4-year-old.
I’ll own up to the fact that I was too young when Alex was born. It was too much, not in the caring for him (which I was mostly capable with some help from family) it was his and my emotional needs that I didn’t have a hope in hell of fulfilling. It’s been a game of catch up for years…one I’ve been losing miserably. Having Adam and then James certainly softened me (I was older and emotionally ready for them, I was capable of that deep love you have for your infant that blossoms with every passing birthday)…but I never had enough for Alex. I expect more from him than is fair, I treat him like an adult living in my home and my annoyance at his decisions and actions are on par with how you’d treat an adult making those decisions. He’s not an adult, he’s a little boy bound to make loads of mistakes during his childhood…and I get so annoyed.
It’s taken time to own up to what kind of mother I have been to him. In a sick way it feels like he has been my “before” shots of what not to do and with each child I grow closer to the shiny, pretty “after” shot.
Time with one less child has cleared my head and made me more aware of the things I say and do that just aren’t okay. I suppose realising you are favouring two children over the lone one is a good first step. The years are slipping by, he’ll be 10 before we know it with the pre-teen years looming. Time fly’s by and every moment of not being the mother I wish I was feel’s like a huge loss, moments I can never get back.
Change is so very difficult…