The letter you always wanted to write
This morning we fell out because I asked you to tidy up after yourself and you spoke to me in a very rude and aggressive manner. When I said that you couldnt speak to me that style because I am your mother, you seemed to feel I didnt really deserve your respect. It reached me that perhaps you arent aware why you should show your mom respect. So I guessed Id take the time to explain.
I carried you for 42 weeks. You were late. I had contractions every day for a week. I didnt sleep for the last three months and felt violently ill for the first three months. In between I just got fat and lost any chance of looking good in a bikini again.
I didnt mind because Id have you.
I went through labor without pain relief because I wanted you to come out as naturally as possible for your benefit. When you were born, I asked for the midwife to leave your umbilical cord attached to me for as long as possible so that you could get all of the precious stem cells that travel along it.
It was uncomfortable, but I didnt intellect because I wanted you healthy.
I left hospital the same day because your friend was at home and he required me to look after him too. I then entered a phase all new mothers know months of very little sleep. Every hour you cried in the night, I would get up and feed you from breasts that felt like they were going to explode and with sharp, shooting pains as you suckled.
I didnt mind because I knew breastfeeding was better for you.
When you were three weeks old, you and I spent a week in the high dependency unit because you had an unexplained virus. I had to listen to you holler as they did a lumbar puncture and watched as you lay there weak and pale and tiny , not daring to sleep in case something happened to you.
You recovered and grew. In each phase of their own lives, I helped you. I helped you learn to sit and walking and eat solid food. I spent hours making homemade purees because I thought they would be best for you. I cleaned the floors when you chucked them away. I taught you how to use a potty and then a toilet( a fun undertaking) and spent years cleaning trousers that you decided to pee in regardless.
I didnt mind because I was watching you grow.
Id cut up your spelling sheets and conceal the words around the house to make spelling more fun. I listened to you play guitar( and nag you to play it) even though I have a million other things to be getting on with. I try to help when its exam hour by encouraging you to revise and offer to quiz you. I help you set aims and try to help you understand what you can do if things arent going right, even though you can lose your temper with me as a result.
I dont mind because I want you to get a good education and develop an ability to solve problems.
I have had daily arguments with you about cleaning your teeth, eating your veggies, nice table manners, picking up after yourself, having a reasonable bedtime and being kind to your friend. I have set rules about age-inappropriate games and movies, cut your screen hour and regularly drag you outdoors even though youre fighting me every step of the style and it would be easier for me to give in.
I dont mind because I want you to grow into a healthy, decent human being.
I have spent almost every Sunday of the last seven years standing on the side of a football or rugby pitch, supporting you and your friend as you play the athletics you love.
I dont mind because I want you to have the opportunities to find your thing.
I gave up running full-time in a career that could paid in full treble what I currently earn, so that I could be there for you after school and during vacations, even though during those times you dont want to be with me. It has been very difficult and lonely setting up and running a business while looking after infants, and you sometimes get angry with me for working.
I dont mind because it entails Ive been there for you.
I have done these things, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for 10 years. A lot of it is very, very tedious, repetition and dull.
I dont mind because I made you I wanted you and now I want the best for you.
I dont expect or want you to feel in any way guilty about all I have done for you. I have had the privilege and elation of having you as my son. That is my pay. I simply want you to know that everything I do, I do with your best interests at heart.
So when I ask you not to speak to me in a certain style and to show me some respect, this is why. Its not what Ive done for you. Its what I want for you that is deserving of respect. Never forget that.
I love you.
Read more: www.theguardian.com