There are certain things as a parent that we worry about especially when our children are young and are learning to make informed decisions. I’ve always been conscious of not looking over the boys shoulder every two seconds, I believe they need to learn about boundaries and responsibilities. Sometimes they are going to fall and hurt themselves and sometimes there will be struggles but as a mum I want to equip them with the skills they need to deal with problems and be responsible.
Those of you reading my weekly pregnancy updates will know that my back is starting to cause some problems and this has been more apparent over the last few weeks. It means I just have to be a lot slower and if I’m going anywhere that involves walking then I will take the crutches with me. The boys have seen me on crutches before and understand they need to travel at my pace but they are only 6 & 8 and sometimes I appreciate there are more interesting things that catch their attention.
We had an incident at the beach the other weekend which left a lasting impression on me and feeling that I’m the worst mother in the world. I lost both of the boys for about 20 minutes, clearly I don’t do things by half loosing both my kids not just one. Have a read of my story and how easy it is for a normal day to turn into my worst nightmare.
I took the boys to the beach, just the three of us, the plan was to go to the park for an hour and then wander up to meet some friends and sit on the beach. The first hour was no problem, they played in the park while I sat with my coffee and they kept coming over to check in with me. I shouted the usual instructions like please don’t climb on top of the equipment or run in flip flops which they duly listened to for about 2 minutes. I know they’re safe in the park and we have rules, like they should never leave through the gates in the park without me or talk to strangers.
Once we’d finished we started our walk along the promenade, we were just going at a leisurely pace and weren’t planning on walking too far. I reminded the boys to stay with me, Will was walking ahead of us and Ben on the sand next to me. We said we might meet some friends and as the phone signal wasn’t great at the beach I told the boys that they may be somewhere along the beach and to look out for them. As we continued walking I told Ben he could catch up with his brother if he wanted as I could see them both, but not to go to far ahead.
By the time we’d walked for another few minutes I was in quite a lot of pain and noticed the boys at this point seemed to have forgotten about me and were more intent on looking for their friends. Before I realised I was shouting for them to come back and they could no longer hear me. There was no way that I was going to be able to catch up with them and at this point I was struggling to walk at all. So I sat down at the edge of the beach and thought they would turn around, realise they couldn’t see me and start walking back. Either that or they would find their friends and the adults would tell them to come back to me.
Unfortunately this was not the case, so I got up and started walking some more. The other thought I had was that they’d realise I wasn’t with them and would stop where they were and wait for me to find them. They couldn’t be that far away and at this point I was just cross that they’d continue walking when they know better.
I walked for a few minutes and my rage started to turn into panic as I couldn’t see them anywhere ahead of me. I was scanning the beach and the promenade but they were no where to be seen, so I kept walking. After about 5 minutes I now had tears streaming down my face, I just couldn’t understand where on earth they were and my mind was turning to the worst case scenarios.
There was no one around to ask for help, no shops, no lifeguards just row’s on beach huts on one side and the sea on the other. Some elderly people wandered past me and saw me crying but no one offered to help at all or ask if I was OK. I didn’t have my phone on me as it was in one of the boys backpacks, it’s hard to carry anything when using crutches. I knew there was a lifeguard station up ahead and decided to walk to that and ask them to help find the boys.
It took me another 5-10 minutes to get there and I was hysterical at this point. Just before I reached the lifeguards, there on the side of the beach are the boys just sat there and looking out to sea, perfectly happy. Well at least they were happy until they saw the state of me, they rushed over asking what was wrong! Through my sobs I managed to half cry and half shout that I thought they were missing and that someone could have take them.
Apparently the thought of being taken never entered their minds, they were too busy looking for their friends. They’d realised they’d lost me but decided to keep walking and thought I’d catch up eventually. I explained that I hadn’t seen them for 20 minutes and of course I was upset. They hadn’t even been worried enough to ask for help.
When I had calmed down we started walking back to the car and had a long talk about how important it is to stay safe. This is a talk I’ve had with them when they were younger, sometimes I think parents forget about how important it is to continue reinforcing the messages. Please make sure that you keep repeating safety message and guidelines to your kids, often I find with mine that things go in one ear and out of the other. I just got lax thinking they had good judgement without remembering that they are only 6 & 8.
All’s well that ends well and if it wasn’t for the pregnancy hormones I probably wouldn’t have been so hysterical. We’ve had lot’s of chats about safety and wandering off since this date and I keep reminding them that they need to be more considerate whilst I’m struggling and keep at my pace. I think the state of their deranged and hysterical mother has scared them into wandering off, for a while anyway.