The other week I was telling a friend how I’d had a really bad migraine the night before, and that because I was solo parenting at the time I told Grayson that my head was hurting and that I wouldn’t be a able to play as much. My friend then said to me “it’s great you tell Grayson when you aren’t feeling well, I can’t remember my mum ever being ill” and it got me thinking.
I can’t remember my parents getting ill growing up, the only instance I can remember is my mum getting pneumonia and I think it’s because it’s quite a serious illness. I imagine a lot of you doing this can’t remember your parents being ill when you were children either. When I say ‘ill’ I mean things like colds, headaches, that type of thing.
As a parent, you want your children to see you as someone who will always protect them and keep them safe and if you aren’t well then that doesn’t keep up with the idea of parents being invincible. I also think it comes as a shock to children when they grow up and see that actually, parents do get ill.
I know for a fact that Grayson knows that Mark and I will always protect him and keep him safe, but I also think it’s important for him to know that we are still human and we do get sick. It also helps Grayson to understand being kind and caring, because when I had my migraine he sat on the sofa with me until bed time and held my hand rather than run around none the wiser.
It’s also the same with your mental health, as well as your physical. The more that we open up with our children about our mental health, the more likely they are to feel comfortable and confident when they are older to come to us and say “mum/dad I’m really struggling” and know that they won’t be judged. I’m not saying to tell your children the whole gory details of how you’re feeling, you’ve obviously got to tailor it to your individual children and how old they are and what they understand.
We always want to believe that our parents are untouchable, and I’m sure our children feel the same way. But we can still be the parents our children need, but we can also be humans as well.