There’s been a few changes in our house over the last few weeks and I’m sat here in the back garden typing this reflecting on the changes with mixed feelings.
The first change is that I’ve changed my hours at work and in the near future I’m planning to go from part time back to full time. Reducing my hours at work was the reason we realised we needed to be more frugal so we could save money and afford for me to work less hours so I could spend more time with the kids. We’ve been so lucky with my hours of work because I’ve been able to work between 8am until 2.30pm weekdays with just the occasional late shift so I’ve always been able to pick the kids up from school and spend the afternoon with them.
The thing is, spending the afternoon with the kids recently has mainly been me pottering about and them in their bedrooms doing homework or out enjoying the later nights with their friends. Which brings me to the next big change that seems to have happened overnight – at 14 and 12, my children are so independent that they don’t really need me anymore.
I know they need me as their Mum, and hopefully they always will but they don’t need me for lots of the things that they always used to need me for. Homework for example was always done around the table in the kitchen while I cooked tea but now it’s done in their bedrooms straight after school usually so the rest of the night’s clear for anything else they want to do. Speaking of cooking tea, I got caught up at work last week on a day where Mr Frugal was on a late shift and I came home to find that Miss Frugal had cooked them both tea and tidied the house for me while Master Frugal had done his homework, eaten his tea and gone out to play football on the field with his mates (after texting his Dad to check that was OK).
Yesterday I got a call at work from Mr Frugal telling me the school hadn’t been able to get in touch with me so they’d rang him to tell him that we needed to collect Master Frugal to take him to hospital as he’d had an accident and had a suspected broken wrist. I didn’t feel too bad about missing the call as I was just literally grabbing a drink when they rang but I did want to be there with him in hospital so I left straight away and met them at hospital where he was waiting for an xray.
I sat on one side of him and Mr Frugal sat on the other waiting to be called through and after what felt like about three weeks, his name was called out. The nurse said that only one of us could go through with him so naturally I gathered my bag ready to go with him and stood up. Poor Master Frugal who was in considerable pain at this point looked at me and said ‘do you mind if Dad comes in with me instead?’.
I’ve always been the one who’s been there when they’ve been ill, comforted them when they’ve had bad dreams and snuggled them when they couldn’t sleep. I’ve cooked for them, cleaned up around them and helped them with everything they’ve ever asked me to help with so for a teeny tiny moment I was shocked, horrified and a little bit gutted that I wasn’t the chosen one, that I wasn’t going to be there with him when he got his xrays. Then I looked at Mr Frugal and for every negative emotion that I was feeling in that moment, he was feeling the opposite. He was so obviously pleased that this time, for the first time, he was the one who is son wanted comfort off instead of me.
I recovered quickly and sank back into my chair watching them disappear through the xray doors and realising that I’m not everything to my children anymore. I’m not the only one they’re going to turn to when they need something – there’s Mr Frugal who always has and always will be there for them, then there’s their friends who they are spending more and more time with and will no doubt be confiding secrets to them that they used to confide in me.
I’m lucky that I have a great relationship with my children and that they still confide in me and still want to spend time with me but it still makes me a little sad that they’re growing up and no longer need me as much as they used to.
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