Today was the second time I let my two children scoot home alone.
My big girl is four and my boy is three (big girl is five soon lest you think I’m completely insane) When I say they scooted home alone I don’t mean they were all alone.
Walking home from school, once we’re past the parade of shops and away from the main road, I tell them the rules; watch for cars, stop – look & listen before crossing each road, then I tell them I’ll see them at home.
They are only ever a corner ahead of me but the sense of responsibility and freedom they get is evident in how they scoot. They are faster than normal (racing each other) Yet considered. They slow before each road end and their heads swivel so much to check for traffic I swear they’ll pop off.
Just to put your minds at ease and so you don’t think I’m some reckless halfwitted mother who lets mere toddlers on the road alone. The roads by our house are so quiet hedgehogs stop in the middle for a chat. Chickens don’t bother crossing because there is no challenge. Our road is occupied by people aged 70 and up. We are the rif-raf on the street and the only young family within a mile.
I read about ‘helicopter mums’ in a magazine lately. Apparently there is an uprising of super protective mothers who spray Dettol like perfume and only let their children out of the their sight on special occasions, like going to nursery. Personally I don’t know any mums like this but never the less I refuse to be one.
In my mind that means giving them responsibility on small things here and there, like scooting a little way home alone. I want them to know where they live, that they can remember their address. When we go shopping I lay out the type of behaviour I expect from them. I give them responsibility and roles to full fill, like finding certain items for me when we are out. When we’re at home each meal time we lay out and clean the table away together. We do the dishwasher together. I’m giving them skills they can use for life and also drilling the message home that mummy isn’t their slave, she’s just mummy.
We only get 18 summers with them and I want to pack all the love and real life into them while I am still the voice they listen to. I want to trust my children. I want to build them up to be successful in this life. I won’t be around forever neither will my husband so we need to leave a legacy that goes beyond us and will see our babies in good stead when they go off and have their own babies. It’s all about a little give.