I have been a mother all my adult life.I got my babies when I was barely out of my teens.It was, and has been, a learning curve.I graduated from high school when I was just turning 17, meaning I had a whole year to burn before I turned 18..the legal age to do whatever I wanted…every teenager’s dream.As every under 18 naively thinks, getting an ID card would solve all my problems..little did I know that is where they  would all begin!

My boyfriend was the centre of my world…everyone else be damned.Anyone who knows me, knows if I love, I go all in, no holds barred, no questions asked, loyalty to the death..and so it was.My parents hated (and yes, hate here cannot be over emphasised)my boyfriend..this dude, was like almost 8 years my senior.I was naive and knew nothing about the world,though of course I thought  I know everything-which teenager doesn’t?My life had been simple-home,school, library, and my mind was filled with fairy tales and my idea of romance was  a Mills and Boon kind of romance.So anyway, I bid my time till I was 18…then boom!Carole gets hitched.And boom! A child comes along.

What did I know about babies, other than having seen them in other people’s arms?What did I know about changing napkins?(diapers were a reserve of the rich) Just what had I gotten myself into?The sense of responsibility was overwhelming and I wondered if I was insane.This little red faced  person I had brought into this world looked up to me for everything!What did I know about anything? Nada…I somehow survived  and did not drown the little person or crush her while I slept.What then happens?Boom! Another kiddo…and I survived that one too, and I was the best mom I could be. I did all the things mothers do, fed, bathed, changed…and I managed not to get another kid haha

Fast forward 20, soon to be 21 years later, and the girls are done with high school.It has been a roller coaster, with ups, down, tears (mostly mine), and laughter.I have done the best I could, taught them all the right values and taught them how to be women of integrity.Have I succeeded? I have no idea, but I have done what I could under the circumstances.Parenting does not come with a manual, you just do what feels right at the time, what your gut tells you.There will always be people telling you what is right and what is wrong, but listening and sifting through the information is the only thing you can do.You then choose what suits you and your child and discard the rest.Do I doubt myself? Do I doubt my abilities as a mother?Do I worry whether I am doing the right thing?All the time! Just this morning I was filled with doubt and grief that maybe I have been doing things wrong.Maybe I have been  horrible mother, maybe I should have done things differently…maybe…maybe…maybe.

I cannot turn back the hands of time and do things differently.I can only be content that I did my best at the time.I can only try to improve myself and rectify my mistakes going forward.We all make mistakes and  the beauty of making them is that once we recognise where we have gone wrong, it is never too late to make things right, and so I soldier on.

~There is no such thing as a perfect parent, just be a real one~Sue Atkins