Remain or Leave?
There has been much debate in the household over the last couple of months over the “remain or leave” issue. The majority believe that we really are “stronger together”, and there is no question what-so-ever about remaining. Despite our differences, we recognise that things aren’t perfect (and they never will be) but we are linked together whether we like it or not and because of that we should all work together to make this a better place for the future. However, one of our number disagrees. She wants to “take back control” and leave. She somehow feels that she should be granted special status over the rest of the members. Never mind the EU membership and Brexit – here, it is all about “Frexit”.
A day at school followed by a couple of hours at after school club makes for a long day for a five-year old, so on most days Freyja is more than happy to grumble about how hard done by she is. On this occasion, I had picked Emily up from nursery before I had collected Freyja. As I do every single time. It wasn’t fair. I ALWAYS do that. “Yes darling, it’s easier to do it that way round” I tell her. “I don’t want to go to after school club!” Freyja bellows at me. “I want you to get me straight away. Everyone else’s mummies get them!” They don’t. But there’s a sting in that comment that hurts. The guilt I feel from being a working mother will never go away. “If I could, I would.” I reply, trying to keep my voice calm. “Remember, because I am a teacher, we get to have all the school holidays together!” It seems to appease her for the time being.
We arrive home, and Emily is put on the toilet. I praise how well she has done not to have an accident and she gets a cheer and a sweet when she does a wee on the toilet. “I want a sweet too!” Freyja shouts. “These ones are for Emily for when she does something on the toilet. YOU had the same when YOU were learning to use the toilet.” Unfortunately Emily smiles, showing off the sweet in her mouth to her big sister. “It’s not fair!!” She storms off, kicking over her water bottle which she has left in the hall. “Freyja! Come back and pick that up please!” I shout after her. My request is met with an almighty scream. “I don’t love you and anyway I am running away from you!”
“No you’re not, and you still need to pick your bottle up” I say as I am helping Emily wash her hands. Another scream and something shouted at me with such anger that I can’t understand what she has said. She sits down on the bottom stair and starts to put on her shoes. “You’ve put that on the wrong foot.” I say without really thinking. I’m met with another scream. “I am really going away from you!”. What do I do? Call her bluff? “Who is going to look after you if you run away? Who will cook your meals?” I ask. “A chef!” she shouts back. I can’t help but smile a little, imagining her demanding that Gordon Ramsay cooks her fish fingers and chips. “STOP LAUGHING AT ME!” Now her shoes are on. Her fists are clenched and her eyes are wet with tears.
There’s a time to assert your authority as a parent. There is a time to reason and explain why a decision might not be great. This wasn’t the time. I knelt down next to her. “Don’t go Freyja. I love you, and I would miss you so much if you ran away.” The tears still pour out from her eyes, but now she flings her arms around me. “I love you Momma. I don’t want to run away from you.” I give her the biggest cuddle until she has calmed down. The “Frexit” has been averted, for now.