Uncover A New Breed of Parent
In life, I have discovered that there are lots of different types of parents. There are those who suffocate and dictate with rules and strictness aplenty. Those are the ones that often see things backfiring in their faces when their kids are old enough to say ‘piss off, I’m doing things my way’ and become rebellious and crazy from being caged up so long. There are those parents who let their kids run amuck with no rules, no boundaries, no control and who are spoiled beyond belief. There are those that strike the right balance and have wonderfully close relationships with their kids. There are those that have kids and never see them but buy their love with expensive gifts, a brand new Mini and buckets of cash.
I’ve met most of these parent and children combinations. However, I had never come across the curious case of the Absent-Mother-Who-Wasn’t-Really-Absent. Needs some explaining, doesn’t it? Well, without naming names, I have come to know a Mother recently like no other Mother I have met before. She is a woman who has barely worked a day in her life. She is on her second marriage and has always managed to marry relatively well, so that she can live in a relative lap of luxury doing very little each day other than telephoning friends, doing some food shopping, running a couple of errands and generally using her time as she damn well pleases. She has two grown up children (21 and 24) and from the moment they turned 13 she sent them to boarding school, even though she wasn’t working and had plenty of time to look after them. I personally don’t agree with boarding schools, unless it is just weekday boarding and the individual loves it, or the parents are working to such a level that they are simply not around to look after their children properly. I think it is a very old fashioned and elitist tradition.
Anyway, the two boys went to board miles away from home from the age of 13. An age when they are just starting to mature and grow up and form opinions – and, some might say, need their parents around now and then. Even before 13, when the boys attended primary school, their mother did not wake up to drive them to school in the morning. She would sleep in until 11am while the boy’s father – who was working full time – would make the journey to school. This is a mother who barely featured in her son’s young lives – even though she was physically present for all of it. She worked, a little, when the boys were very tiny and had nanny after nanny look after them.
She is a mother who says she loves her boys with all of heart, and maybe she does, but she didn’t want to be a part of their lives. Not really . Not wholly, fully, properly, like a mother should be. She wasn’t interested. And she isn’t all that interested now. She doesn’t ask about the 21 year old’s friends all that much, didn’t know he is an excellent busker and always puts down the degree he is taking at University. The result? This young man has years of resentment buried away within him, that are so deep rooted he barely lets them show, except for every now and then. His mother doesn’t think the way she brought him up was at all wrong. She went to boarding school and probably had quite absent parents herself, so has continued tradition. The issue, however, is that she isn’t absent. She is there. Always. And now she has a son, who is so intelligent and cultured and wise and none of it is because of her. And he is fractured. So subtly, that no-one would really be able to tell, but he is. By a woman who decided to have children but also made the choice not to be a Mum.