Had a conversation with a friend about children earlier which somehow brought back a memory from my childhood.
During my second year of primary school – I would have been around seven or eight years old – my mum decided she could no longer stand having to nag me every single morning to get out of bed and ready for school. Whilst I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person now, I most definitely wasn’t then or rather I didn’t want the day to start and much rather wanted to stay in bed or play forever. Quite clearly I was set to drive my mum insane!
For a few days, maybe weeks, she threatened me. “If you don’t start getting up on time I will stop making sure you are”, she would say. “If you don’t stop playing now and get dressed you’ll be late”, she would say on other days. I would retort telling her I didn’t want to and that she would let me play or stay in bed if she loved me to which she only ever had one reply:
It is *because* I love you that I don’t let you do whatever you want. You won’t understand this now and I don’t expect you to, but you will and you will thank me for it.
Of course I didn’t understand and being told I wasn’t even expected to understand it probably infuriated me more.
Despite all the hassle I always did make it to school just on time though my timekeeping 22 years ago is about as good as it is now.
One day she had had enough and with no warning whatsoever – as child Cat would say – she spent an afternoon preparing me for the next day. She asked me to tell her what I needed to do in the morning, which involved getting up, washed and dressed, and we did a trial run before telling me that as of the next morning I wouldn’t have her on my case. It took the rest of the day for the message to sink in.
Just for that message to obviously be forgotten the next morning.. The alarm we had set the night before rang and I turned it off. My mum woke my up a few minutes later telling me that she wouldn’t remind me again and that I would have to get ready myself which I didn’t until very late and I ended up being late at school which my mum excused to the teacher. The rest of the day she spent again telling me that it was now my responsibility, nothing to do with her any more and, most importantly, that it would also now be me who would have to confess to the teacher why I was late.
The next morning I got ready mostly on my own though so slowly I was late again. Getting to the school my mum came to the classroom with me and, when the teacher asked her about the delay, my mum just looked at me and said “well, Cat, why are you late?” which embarrassed me to no end. It was to be the last day of my primary school education where I was late, because of not wanting to get ready and was just another step by my mum to raise me to be as self-sufficient as possible.
And I did understand.