To say that I'm protective of my children would be a gross understatement. It would be far more realistic to say I'm over-protective to the point of paranoia and then some. It drives them crazy. Teenage Daughter will be legally an adult in eighteen days and reminds me of that fact at any and every opportunity. It may drive them crazy but they also use it to their advantage.
For most of my children's lives I've been a stay at home mum. It's something I've always felt a little guilty about. With a university degree and professional qualification maybe I should be contributing financially. This system, however, works best for us and I'm far happier at home. In order to justify my choice, however, I have always been there at the kids' beck and call. That's not helpful to their learning to be independent adults or for the Footprints Project. I've blurred the lines between keeping them safe and doing too much for them.
These days I see myself far less as a stay at home mum and far more as a writer. Sure, I'm not published yet but that doesn't mean I'm not a writer. That shift in perception has filtered down to my dealings with the children to some extent.
I 'rescue' the children when it comes to rides. All it takes is a phone call to Mum if one of them has missed the bus and I'm down there in the car faster than you can say carbon emissions. Or if the weather looks bad, I'll pick them up after school so they don't have to catch the bus in the rain. I believe the name for me might be 'bunny'. These rides have nothing to do with protecting them; they're a bad habit I've gotten into. I wouldn't hear of one of them coming home on the bus in the dark after a music rehearsal but dropping everything because it's raining? Seriously?
Yesterday I had just begun writing the blog. Two sentences into it the phone rang. It was Teenage Daughter; she'd missed a couple of buses and would have to wait thirty minutes for the next one. She was at a large regional shopping centre (a mall) where there is a bus interchange. There was food, shelter, water, toilets and safety. I thought about it dropping everything and going to pick the poor delicate creature up so she wouldn't have to wait. But there I was blogging about lowering our impact on the environment. Furthermore, I needed to buy petrol and there are so many roadworks happening around here at the moment that I didn't think I'd be much earlier than the bus anyway. I simply told her I couldn't be there before the bus and to wait.
She survived. She survived better than I did. I was wracked with guilt. The only thing on her mind when she burst through the door was showing me the new dress she'd bought to wear to her school's upcoming Jazz Cabaret and Valedictory. (It was very pretty but she seems to have forgotten about shopping ethically.)
I may have been wracked with guilt but I learnt some valuable lessons. The children don't need to be rescued from inconvenient situations, I can put my writing first as long as everyone is safe and I don't have to use the car when the bus is a perfectly fine means of transport for the children to use to get home from school. The best bit is that it reduces emissions.