I always thought my Grandma was overprotective when I was a child. I was never allowed the same level of freedom as my friends. I told myself repeatedly, that, when I was a mother, I would trust my children and let them be independent.
All these years later I understand exactly why my Grandma was so protective, and I understand it was never an issue with her trust in me. At the same time, I don’t want to break that promise I made to my 12 year old self.
I think I am already quite protective over my little ones, children a similar age to mine can be found playing out on our street, and I wont let my eldest in the front garden unless their is an adult with him, or I am stood watching at the window. At the moment my four little ones usually want to be together, so I have a good excuse to be around, but I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable letting him play outside our front garden alone just yet.
Whilst we were on holiday, we camped at a beautiful small campsite near Padstow in Cornwall. They have a new park area that was built this spring, and when we arrived James (6) and Lily (5) asked if they could go to the park alone. It was quiet and the park was only about 25 meters from our tent, but obscured by an hedge. We knew that the park was quiet so we said yes, and asked them to keep popping back to camp so we knew they were okay.
Letting them go to the park alone was a huge thing for me, and I did keep wandering over every few minutes and quietly observing without letting them see I was there. They really made me proud, playing nicely with each other and making new friends quite quickly, they were always quick to introduce others into their games.
Once you say yes to something like that you set a precedent, and for the rest of the holiday they wanted to visit the park alone, luckily though Amy (3) wasn’t interested in joining them at first, and Ava (15m) was, but had only just started walking so could be caught mid waddle and distracted.
Proud Moment #1
One day during the first week, James & Lily came back over to our camp with their new friend Finn.
“Mummy, Finn whats to show us his tent & dogs, is that okay?”
I said that was fine, and asked if they wanted me to come watch from afar or go with them. They wanted me to go, so I followed as they went to see Finn’s tent and dogs. Later that night I told James how proud I was of him for asking and not just going to see his friends tent. Their tent was right next to the park, but James still came back to ask, which was perfect!
Proud Moment #2
During the second week, James and Lily had dissappeared to the park to see if there friends were there, while we cooking tea and caring for the younger ones. I walked over to where I could see them, and I spotted them playing a game on the slide. I watched for a few seconds, and I saw them and 2 other girls sliding into each other on the slide, the next sliding down before the others had climbed up creating a pile of children. They weren’t hurting each other but there were younger children at the park and I didn’t want anyone else getting hurt so I called James and Lily over to have a quiet word and asked them not to play that game and explained why.
That was the last I thought of it, until a few days later. Lily told me that she had been a good girl when we were chatting one evening in our tent. I asked why, and she explained that her friend (who was aged 6/7, so older than Lily) had told her that they could continue playing the game because I wasn’t there. Lily told me she had said “no”. I think she was incredible brave for standing up to her friend, especially when she was older than Lily. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to friend and I gave her a huge cuddle and told her how proud I was of her.
I think they both proved on our holiday that they were deserving of the trust we placed in them. I know I am going to find the future and letting them grow up, and become independent so difficult. At the same time I know that I cant wrap them in cotton wool, and that we will have to find a balance somewhere. I just hope that the balance comes easily and they make me as proud as they did when we were on holiday.