Groovy: Groovy (or, less common, “Groovie” or “Groovey”) is a slang colloquialism popular during the 1960s and 1970s. It is roughly synonymous with words such as “cool”, “excellent”, “fashionable”, or “amazing”, depending on context.
So the fantastically supportive and groovy @kateonthinice has recently started up a Monday linky all about being a groovy mum.
I’ve not felt particularly groovy of late and as all of you who read my blog are aware, some of that is due to my delightful twelve year old daughter and our tempestuous relationship. So when Kate tweeted me the link to this week’s groovy mum post I wasn’t sure I would be able to join in, as the last person I thought would think me groovy was my daughter.
However….when I asked her she said all of this…pretty much in one sentence without stopping for breath…maybe I am a bit groovy after all…
You’re in with the style and the fashion.
You can have a girly chat with me.
You’re kinda like my sister and I can talk to you about anything.
You try your best to do mother and daughter stuff.
You’re always there for me.
You go out and have a laugh, and free your mind and have some fun.
You’re not overprotective like some parents and that’s good.
You’re a laugh.
You’re not afraid to show your emotions.
You like to do girly stuff and go shopping and stuff.
You are strict, but not really strict.
When I do something wrong to talk to me about it, I’m never scared to tell you I’ve done something wrong as you’re always there for me.
You’re a good cook and you love to make cakes and cupcakes.
I know you work for the family, but you always put your family first.
You are thoughtful, you think of others and if you think they’re upset you will always get them something.
I think you’re probably the best mum out of all of my friends’ mums.
See even if I’m mean to you and stuff it doesn’t mean I don’t care.
And so, from now on, every time we fall out I’m reading this post – for it makes my heart swell with love and pride and reminds me that beneath it all, our relationship is still as strong and solid as ever.
Bite your tongue: to stop yourself from saying something because it would be better not to, even if you would really like to.
My inability to bite my tongue has always got me in trouble. I often wonder if it stems from my senior school days where I wish I’d bitten my tongue a bit less and lashed out a bit more. It wasn’t an easy time as those of us over the age of 18 all know, and it’s a period of my life that I’d hate to relive with a passion. A time where you’re not a child, yet equally not an adult – where everything can be a bit scary and overwhelming. You learn a little more about the world you live in and discover that it’s not all Care Bear hearts and flowers, but that it can be tough, unforgiving and unbelievably cruel at times. I found maintaining friendships at secondary school very tricky and always thought about everything far too much. I was never relaxed and able to go with the flow like most of my peers, and would lock myself away in an extreme dark mood if I thought I’d been wronged, which obviously led to me being the butt of many a prank and sarcastic comment. I was easily wound up, and still am.
When I look back at who I was and how I behaved as a teenager I see a lot of similarities between myself and my daughter – however, where I (mostly) kept quiet and retreated into myself and my OCD, she very much vents her frustrations outwardly so everyone knows about it. And she is without doubt far more stubborn that I am, which is really saying something. I’ve written about this many times before and yet somehow, in spite of everything I’ve tried, things have deteriorated between us somewhat to where we have both openly said that we don’t actually like each other very much at the moment. Which makes me feel incredibly sad. Everything is a battle – she won’t eat anything that contains any goodness in it whatsoever. She refuses to drink water. She hates cleaning her teeth and showering as they are just too much effort. She’s exhausted, yet will not sleep before half past ten. Her room is forever messy. And I find myself constantly wondering whether this is all normal?
Don’t get me wrong it’s not all hideous, we do have wonderful mother/daughter meals out and time when it’s just the two of us and it’s magical. And recently we discovered something new which worked wonders. I suggested that she went and wrote me a letter, as honestly as she could and that if she wanted me to read it I would, or if she wanted to keep it privately then she could. And it was a really useful tool in diffusing her anger, yet like most things the positive effect was short lived.
Many people I know do not have twelve year olds, and I’m really missing those reassuring conversations where someone else says their tween is exactly the same. There are no toddler groups for tweens, no stay and plays or tween massage sessions. Health visitors don’t come round and ask how you’re getting on and there are no 13 year checks. It’s a time where parental instincts really do have to kick in as you blindy go where you’ve never been before and tackle challenges you didn’t know could exist. I understand why she is like she is, and I know I can’t fix hormones and make this period in her life any easier, but I do want to make it more bearable for us all, I just haven’t worked out quite how to do that yet and I’m not prepared to ‘wait ten years until she comes back to me’ as many have suggested. Life is too damn short for that.
What I do know is that my instincts are definitely telling me that I have to learn to bite my tongue more. I’m ashamed to admit it and am being painfully honest here when I say that she often succeeds in dragging me down to her level, and we’re like two teenagers arguing and I’m no longer behaving like an adult – and I’m mortified and know I need to reign it in. I have to accept that she’s going to be challenging, that she feels like she hates the world and the world hates her and that everything and I mean EVERYTHING is so horribly unfair to her that it’s unbearable. And I have to find something good to praise…something…somewhere, but it’s far from easy.
So please, if you have any tried and tested tongue biting techniques share them in the comments below, for my instincts are also telling me that at the moment, I need all of the help I can get…
Battle: Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. A war sometimes consists of many battles. Battles generally are well defined in duration, area and force commitment.
Constant, heated battles,
Angry with me most days,
You want to shout out loud, be heard
Determined to do things your way.
You feel you’re so grown up now,
Yet you’re not quite old enough,
To do the things you’d like to do.
You’re finding it so tough.
You challenge every sentence.
You feel wronged in every way.
You get frustrated, get grumpy,
From one mood to the next you sway.
You say I make you angry,
That I’m cross all of the time.
You answer back because you,
Think you haven’t done the crime.
You’re quick to think the worst,
To think I’m constantly having a go.
You think I’m always saddened by you,
The seeds of doubt begin to sow.
Is this the beginning of teenagdom?
Is there worse to come?
Am I doing something wrong?
Am I not being a good mum?
Our bond is a very strong one,
Sometimes we’re just too close.
Too similar, we’re just the same.
She is like me the most.
We’re stubborn, always think we’re right.
Self doubt sometimes sneaks in.
Attacking the best form of defence,
Not stopping until we win.
She’s fiery, gorgeous, passionate and strong,
Confident and wild.
My gorgeous tween, my crazy girl,
My beautiful first child.
I try to stay calm when the whirlwind starts,
Hope the anger doesn’t last.
Take deep breaths and say to myself,
Don’t worry, this too shall pass.
Release: 1. To set free from confinement, restraint, or bondage: released the prisoners. 2. To free from something that binds, fastens, or holds back; let go: released the balloons; released a flood of questions. 3. To dismiss, as from a job.
Before you read this post I would just like to start it by saying that it is not as polished as my posts normally are. It was written when I was very upset and from the heart. Apologies if there are errors!
As many of you who read my blog or follow me on Twitter will know, this weekend I went away, all myself. It was an amazing weekend, but this post is not about Britmums Live (that one is still yet to be written!) This post is about leaving your children, and that because of something terrifying which happened to my 12 year old daughter whilst I was away, it has got me thinking about releasing them. About how they cannot stay close beside us forever, and that one day they will be out there on their own, knowing that home is always a safe environment to which they can return.
I have left my children before, many a time. I think it’s a wonderful thing for them to know that they can be looked after and loved by many different people. (Obviously these people are family, or a very close friend and not complete and utter strangers!) This weekend, however, leaving my children was a bit different. My mum came up on Friday to look after the boys and my daughter whilst my husband was at work, and then on Saturday they tagged teamed it and supported each other. Finally, later on Saturday afternoon, my daughter wasn’t going to be a home at all. She had been invited to a sleepover for a school friend’s 12th birthday party and would be away from home herself, in a house I have never been to, with a parent I have only met briefly on a couple of occasions.
I imagine many of you out there with brand new babies or very young children are now sat reading this horrified, as I would’ve been many years ago. We are so used to our children being right by our sides, or on our hips, always close. We are used to being in control of who they see, what they eat, where they go. We forever scan rooms, pathways, parks, play areas for potential risks and danger…catching them when they fall, warning them not to stray too far, telling them where the danger is and how to avoid it. They trust that the world is a safe place, never aware of risks because we spend our lives as parents protecting them from them. However, as children grow up…we need to release them. We need to start helping them to make their own decisions, weigh up the risks and decide what to do and which path to take. They physically become further away from us…at pre-school, at primary school, secondary school. We cannot be around to protect them every single minute of every single day as we so desperately want to and we have to trust that they have listened to years of advice and draw on their experiences in life to make their own choices.
But this weekend my daughter had a choice made for her by another person. And it was the wrong choice. It wasn’t life changing or life threatening. It wasn’t hurtful or dangerous. But it wasn’t her choice, and if it had been it would not have been one she would have made. At the sleepover, whilst I was over a hundred miles away in London unable to help or protect, she was made to watch a film. A film intended to only be watched by persons of 15 years or older. A thriller that scared her more than anything has ever scared her before. I didn’t know this had happened until I awoke this morning to find a text from her on my phone. It had been sent at 4am and simply read…
I want it go home. I watched a scary movie it was a 15 and I can’t go to sleep. I feel sick because I am worried that someone is going to hurt me.
I imagined my daughter, my only just turned 12 daughter, my daughter who is still very much a child, sat terrified all alone. Alone in a house she had never been to before. Alone in a room with some other 12 year olds she didn’t know, and only a few she did. Alone and terrified that someone was coming to get her, to hurt her. She is, as I have described in previous posts, sometimes a handful, sometimes verbally challenging and rule bending, but she is my little girl. She isn’t wise beyond her years, she isn’t ‘street-wise’ and ahead of the game, she hasn’t even begun to go through puberty herself. She is my baby and someone has made a decision that has rocked her safe and secure world.
It’s been a difficult day since then. Obviously I have wanted to race around there and pick her up immediately whilst shouting very loudly at the parent who allowed this to happen whilst she was in her care, but I’m not entirely sure my daughter would appreciate that! So she is still there now, shopping with them on the high street, not fearing the film in the safety of daylight. I’m not sure bedtime or the middle of the night will be so fearless for her later.
And me. Well I have spent the day thinking once again about parenting. I said to my mum on Friday that my instincts were uncomfortable about the sleepover, that I knew something would happen even though I wasn’t sure what. I’d met the girl whose birthday it was, and her mother, and many of the other children that would also be there and thought I was just being over-protective, being a parent who didn’t want to let their child have the independence they so desperately need at this age. What happened to her has made me think about the future and how in a few years time I will not always know where she is, or who she is with or what she is doing. It has made me realised that soon many decisions will be solely hers and I will have no control over that. That one day she will move out and be released into the big wide world…where someone might come along and make bad choices for her, hurt her, terrify her.
It was only a film I hear some of you cry, it’s not like someone really did come and hurt her and you are absolutely right. That film still terrified her and she cannot un-see what she saw, she cannot forget what she heard, and I’m angry that she didn’t get a choice in the matter. Whether or not she watched that film was not someone else’s choice to make, it shouldn’t have been their decision to let my daughter watch a film totally unsuitable for her, not least because she is three years younger than the film’s rating. I’m upset because it made me realise that she’s slowly being released already…slowly having to learn to make decisions herself and learn to be brave enough to walk away from the wrong ones. I know she won’t always make the right choices, or take the best path in life, hell I’ve made some shite choices in my time, but I hope I’ve brought her up to think things through, to make informed decisions…and more importantly than anything…to trust her instincts.