When it matters


So my teenage daughter has been captured by aliens, and replaced by some weird teen-bot that gets up early, does her work, pulls in an A+ for her first English SAC and says, ‘I can’t go out, I have to finish this Global Politics work.’

Anyone who knows my kids, know they aren’t going to be persuaded into a direction, unless they were planning to head that way first. For twelve years I have had to bribe, cajole and force my daughter to do her school work, and now that she’s in her last year, she’s hitting it out of the park.


Part of me is grateful, and part of me wants to shake her and tell her she’s a pain in my arse for all those years before this one.

Yesterday the kids and I were talking about life and love, and everything in between, and we talked about what they wanted to do with their lives.

I heard myself say. ‘I don’t care what you do with your lives as long as you are being of service in someway, giving to the world and it’s people, and please make sure you’re always learning something. A language, coding, to knit, to garden, to cook, to teach, to be taught. Anything.’

They looked at me like I am crazy. One day, they’ll understand.

While I am thrilled with my daughter’s focus, I still don’t put huge stock in the scores. I also think people find their way in their own time.

The Atlantic printed an article on how Creative Breakthroughs happen when you’re in your late thirties.

This was certainly true for me. I was thirty-eight years old when I started to write. Forty years old when my first book came out.  This idea of creative surges in your middle years is also true for a friend of mine who started to paint in her thirties. Another who became a candle maker and another who is an illustrator.

While the articles states that the late thirties breakthrough is often because of the culmination of education, I also think that it is a time when people have faced mortality or illness, or perhaps had their children, and now have time to explore their passion, or have been made redundant from their industry or made redundant from a relationship.

It’s about having time, or making time for your creativity.

Whatever the reason, it’s true that more people are doing more creative things in their thirties and forties than in their twenties.

I was twenty-five years old when  I had my first baby. I don’t regret it for a second. There is no way I could write now with small children. I know plenty of people who do, but I couldn’t. I am selfish with my writing time, and thank god my older children get this.

I took three years off my life when I had my daughter. I was the most dedicated, present mother I knew; attending every playgroup, library story time, making my own play dough and playing elaborate games with her, and fighting vigorously for her to have the best opportunities in her medical care and her education.

But I couldn’t make her do what I wanted at school for twelve years. The decision my daughter has made to save all her focus for her last year of school, makes me laugh (in a good way). She wants this. Not because of me, or her teachers or any carrot anyone has dangled in front of her. She wants it for her and that’s the best kind of want.

I am realising more and more that children will do things as they are meant. As long as they don’t grow up in a shitty house with shitty parents, then chances are they will be okay, even if their choices aren’t what you were expecting.

I feel myself letting go a little of my nearly adult child. She is being smart. She is being diligent and she is being exactly as I had hoped all those years ago – powerful, and in control of her own future.


6 thoughts on “When it matters”

  1. As a mum of 2 girls, I LOVED this post. I see parents on a daily basis competing with each other as to how brilliant their kids are. I see parents on a daily basis pushing their kids into so many extracurricular activities that there’s no time for being a kid. I like my kids to be active and engaged, but only in what they want to be into and what floats their boats. As you said, they’ll do what they do and only in their own time. Thanks for the reminder that it’s their life and not mine

    1. Yep! It’s a waste of time to freak out about them wanting to give up ballet or piano or anything else. I was on my daughters back about school work for years and she just scraped through, because she told me nothing mattered until the last year. Maybe she was right all along.

  2. Make sure you are always learning something…I completely agree! Whether for work or for fun, we can’t ever stop learning.

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