Mum Musings: A Heart of Stone
When my eldest left primary school back in July one of her teacher’s remarked to her that her mum (me) must have a heart of stone. It was said in jest, because out of many of the mums at the Leaver’s Mass I was one of the few who was dry eyed. It’s quite an interesting observation really as nothing could be further from the truth. A lot of the time I am quite an emotional blubmonster (new word, I like it!) When I was pregnant with Grace I can remember watching ‘A Life Of Grime’ on the BBC. If you’ve never seen it, it’s one of those fly on the wall type documentaries that follows the work of an environmental health team in a borough of London. Some of the episodes focused on an elderly Polish gentleman called Mr Trebus. He was an incredible hoarder and was often getting in to trouble with the council because he piled his garden high with all kinds of rubbish. One particular Environmental Officer involved in the case developed quite a relationship with the old man and eventually helped him to move into a care home as it became clear that he couldn’t look after himself anymore. Eventually one of the episodes was dedicated to his memory. Cue major tears from me, it was like I had lost one of my own. Obviously I am sure the pregnancy hormones had a lot to do with my sorrow, but wow did I cry and sob at the loss of Mr Trebus.
Back to the Leaver’s Mass and I admit I watched it completely dry eyed. A fair number of the other mums were sobbing, but I stood there without even the prickle of a tear. I think for me although it was the end of an era which is often sad, a huge part of me was relieved and excited. I felt that the eldest had been ready to move on for some time and I relished the idea of the new challenges that lay ahead for her. My emotions were very different that on that Leaver’s day. I didn’t feel sad at all that the primary era was over. As mentioned in 7 Things Primary School Mums Should Know I had an up and down relationship with her primary school and even the thought that seven years had flown over so quickly didn’t make me feel that sad. The day she actually finished school, I felt a tiny little twinge and had the words to Slipping Through My Fingers by Abba going through my head as I nipped to Sainsburys that evening, that was the sum total of my emotion though!
Other occasions I can think of where I haven’t cried have included when both girls have had their injections. I’ve been quite surprised when people asked me if I cried or told me they did. Of course no-one likes to see their little child in pain, but I’ve always squared it off in my head with the idea that having the injections is crucial for their future health and in fact the pain is only momentary. Prepare yourselves, I also never cried when I got married either. I was a bit disappointed not to shed a tear because going back to that whole heart of stone thing, perhaps people saw my dry eyes and thought I couldn’t possibly be living the romantic dream. Nothing could be further from the truth though as I celebrate 20 years since our first date today and couldn’t be happier with the other half.
It made me think about when it’s acceptable to cry and when it’s not. I was always a cry baby as a child and remember people telling me not to cry. As I got older I did try and control my tears, but I am rubbish. I cry when I’m sad obviously and very occasionally when I’m happy (for example when both my girls were born), I also cry with anger and frustration. That’s always been a bit of a downer in the professional world as bursting into tears doesn’t do a lot for your career. I’ve always hated the idea that people think you cry for the sympathy vote. I never do that, it’s just the tears come and I genuinely can’t stop them. I read a quote on Instagram recently and it said
‘Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength. ‘
I showed it to the eldest who is also a crier. It’s true, why should we be ashamed of showing human emotion. I’ve never told my girls not to cry apart when they are toddlers and they are clearly crying for nothing (usually given away by the fact that they are staring in the mirror watching themselves cry!) I think it’s good for people to express themselves and perhaps we don’t express ourselves enough. The stiff upper lip is still alive and well and whilst there is nothing wrong in that sometimes it helps to show people your softer side? The biggest disadvantage of being a crier though is that I am not one of these delicate tears down the cheeks crier. I’m a full on red-faced, blotchy, snot strewn crier. When you see people on TV go into the toilets and wet their face to hide the fact they’ve been crying, no that’s an absolute waste of time for me. I would need a full shower, a cup of tea and a makeover at the MAC counter to hide the fact I’ve shed tears. There is no hiding it, which is sometimes hard with young children as they ask a thousand questions and you don’t want to cause alarm. So I guess what I’m saying is that contrary to opinion I certainly don’t have a heart of stone. I do cry and I cry good and hard, I just pick my moments. I mean why be sentimental about the end of your first born child’s primary school days when you can have a good bawl about some complete stranger on TV you’ve never even met!
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