What happens when your child no longer wants to be Mammy's best friend? Maria Rushe shares her experiences of being 'dumped':
“I’m not your best fwend Mammy. I’m Emily’s best fwend”…
And there it was. In one simple sentence, I’d been categorically dumped by my one of my daughters… AGAIN. I’ve been through this before and yet, like all things parenty, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve experienced something, with each child you have, it’s all new again.
When I had my first wee girl, my aunt told me that I’d been blessed with my very own best friend forever. We see signs and cards and photo-frames everywhere, stating that a daughter is a friend for life etc. And this is largely true.
In my own case, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful Mum who I can happily call my absolute, all time, unconditional BFF. We had our moments while I was (am) growing up, but we typify that stereotypical Mother/Daughter relationship and I know how very lucky I am. Friends may come and go. Let’s be honest, only a handful are really there for the long haul, but Mamma Bear is a constant. 🙂
As my girls pass through the baby stages and began to bloom into the pleasant-if-sometimes-terrifying little personalities that they are, I fully appreciate their roles as my besties. We do everything together; we have fun, we fight and we laugh and we cry. We bake, we go shopping, we play and we are wonderful at doing absolutely nothing together. We work. (OK yes, sometimes we work like a chocolate teapot, but hey. No one is perfect are they?)
In a world where everyone is busy and where as parents, we can often find ourselves a little isolated and out of the social loop for whatever reason, our friendships with our toddlers become more important to us than we can ever give them credit for.
My girls are my wee companions and they will always be 100% on my side (except for when they’re not!). I know they’ll have my back and I have to admit that this tie, with Princess, I once again fell into the false security that I did indeed have my very own, custom made best friend.
Until again, (three years after the first time I made this mistake), like Snow White’s stepmother I asked the stupid question.
How quickly we forget the lessons taught to us by previous children. For the past few months, I had allowed this to become a daily certainty; an ego boost for me even.
Every day, “Who’s Mammy’s best friend?” has been answered with “Meeeeeeeee!” and usually accompanied by a giant cuddle and slobbery kiss…until Friday.
Princess was in her car seat, engrossed in a Paw Patrol book. We were driving to playschool and I was chattering about what we’d do that afternoon when I collected her.
I may as well have looked in the mirror and chanted “Baby, baby, in the chair, Who’s your bestest friend in the world?” Without a second’s thought, she announced “I’m not your best fwend Mammy. I’m Emily’s best fwend”... and with that, the mirrors and illusions of my assumed Disney-perfect Mother and Daughter world, shattered into a thousand pieces.
Initially I laughed. What else do you do? (For the record, the little girl in question is a wonderfully perfect BFF for my precious one.)
She’s branching out. She’s socially accepted, popular even. She’s making her own friends and she’s growing up far too fast. It’s wonderful and it’s terrifying all at once, because while we parents encourage our little ones to grow and bloom every day, realising that you’re not the only thing your child needs in life, is just horrid.
We might be smiling, but we don’t have to like it.
Instead, we treasure every second, count every milestone, and celebrate every chapter. We capture special moments in our memories, (or on our phones if we can!) We post on social media with pride. We entertain others with our cute kiddies and we get through each day as best we can. But sometimes, we get an inevitable slap in the face from our little angels as they take their own uncertain little stumblings through the big dark forest of the world.
As time goes on, I’m probably going to assume the persona of the Wicked Witch in both of my daughter’s eyes, rather than the perfect loving Queen. That seems to be inevitable, but what is also inevitable is the certainty that some day, they’ll realise that Mammy IS actually their best friend again.
I am Suddenly Dumped Mum.