How can I keep them safe when I can’t be with them all the time?

As we awoke to yet another horrific incident in the news, this one directed specifically at children, it’s raising a fear in me that is always there, usually dormant but rises to the surface whenever I hear of a bombing, or a pile up, a young adult murdered in Thailand, or an accident at a theme park. Always the same fear. How can I keep my children safe?

When they were inside me I ate the right things, I put my seat belt on correctly, I didn’t take risks, I literally kept them in a safe cocoon, and then once they were out, I was with them all the time. I took them with me around the house, where I went they did, I put them in special seats, drove carefully, I was there to keep them safe.

And now they are older and they are becoming more and more independent from me by the day and I have to entrust others to keep them safe, and at the moment, I can do that, I know that their teachers are there, that there is security to prevent harm coming from them. We live in a safe area. But what will I do in future?

I refuse to live my life in fear and yet I am always so aware. I realise that these things are news because they are unusual, unforeseen, are unpredictable, but how am I going to take steps to allow my children the freedom that they need to become adults in the future with all these terrible things happening in the world?

A theme park trip will always have the thought in the back of my mind that something could happen, I will be very very worried about them going to popular event where huge numbers of people gather, when, (and I say when because I know the desire to travel is as strong in them as it is in me), when they announce their plans to go travelling I will worry from the minute they leave to the minute they return.

They are not 100% safe whenever they leave this house and I have to accept it and not allow it to change the way we live. It is so hard but any day could be your last and so it is so important that you have really lived. In the aftermath of any incident like the one in Manchester last night, people always say, be strong, don’t change the way you do things, don’t let the people trying to make you live in fear win. But oh it is hard to do that.

I know that I will battle always with my desire to keep my darling babies safe, that I will worry about accidents, about illness, about travel, but I also know that I feel just as strongly that I want them to experience life. Free from worry, free from care. I won’t tell them all the awful things that could happen to them. I will try and shelter them from news stories while they are young.

Instead I shall try to teach them to be sensible. To stop a drunken friend from driving. To know first aid. To not take the dark alley home. Not to get separated from friends on holiday.

And for everything else that isn’t predictable? I shall try my very best to put it out of my mind. I’ve shed more then a few tears today at the thought of this atrocity in particular, but also for all the parents that have not been able to keep their babies safe. The following quote seems particularly poignant today.

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” – Elizabeth Stone

I feel so so sorry for everyone that lost their hearts last night. I’m sure there will be so many people wishing they had never let their child go, and as easy as it is for me to say, sitting at my desk with both children safe, they were letting them live. They were letting them have an experience that they probably dreamed about for months, talked about for weeks, planned out excitedly with friends, the highlight of their year because that’s what being a parent is, enabling your children to enjoy their lives.

The hardest part of raising children is letting them go but something that we all have to do at some point. My thoughts are with all the families affected and the amazing emergency services, volunteers and everyone involved.

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41 Comments

  1. May 23, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    Lovely post Lou. It is really tough to balance your fears for them with letting them have their freedom. But as the child of a parent who let her anxiety restrict my childhood, I will be letting mine have the adventures. Childhood should be a time for making the most of every opportunity while you have no responsibilities. Not a time to feel responsible for your parents’ worries every time you’re not with them.
    Nat.x

    • May 23, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      Agree absolutely Nat. I had a similar thing and know that I don’t want that for my children. I want them to run over the hill without worrying about what’s over the other side.xx

  2. May 30, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    Oh I can so relate to this. My child is heading off to Kindergarten and I am shaking with nerves. This will be the first time he will be going to school 5 days and well..I am so nervous. our post speaks to my anxiety but aso calms me because it is true..”The hardest part of raising children is letting them go but something that we all have to do at some point.”
    I do try to stay away from the news though. it is frightening.

  3. May 30, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    Oh I can so relate to this. My child is heading off to Kindergarten and I am shaking with nerves. This will be the first time he will be going to school 5 days and well..I am so nervous. our post speaks to my anxiety but also calms me because it is true..”The hardest part of raising children is letting them go but something that we all have to do at some point.”
    I do try to stay away from the news though. it is frightening.

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      I’m sorry you’re finding it so tough, I’m sure that a few weeks in and you will be absolutely fine though, I found it awful when my daughter went but now we are all happy. I just wish I could stop them ever going any further away though!

    • June 4, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      It’s just so bittersweet isn’t it? Seeing them fly but watching them go at the same time.

  4. June 4, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    I had strong words with a stranger today trying to keep my kids safe x it is too terrifying. Great post x #bigpinklink

  5. June 5, 2017 / 6:44 am

    It’s terrifying isn’t it? But I totally agree with you that all we can do is try to equip our children with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to do the right thing. My heart truly goes out to everyone who has suffered in these acts of pure hate. This post sent a shiver down my spine… #bigpinklink

  6. June 5, 2017 / 8:05 am

    I love your post because it focuses on how to carry on each day. It’s just so sad we needed this post two times in the last few weeks. #bigpinklink

  7. June 5, 2017 / 8:11 am

    I think all parents, the world over can relate to this. It’s a worry, a real worry that seems all the more overwhelming as each day passes. #bigpinklink

  8. June 5, 2017 / 8:21 am

    With three teens who are out and about on their own regularly, as they should be, I am struggling so so much. The fear is almost suffocating but then I have to try to get a perspective and fill their lives with happiness and laughter and beautiful memories. Fear can not get a grip. There is so much beauty and love that we have to focus on that. Thank you for writing this post. All the feels from one mama to another xx #BigPinkLink

  9. June 5, 2017 / 8:32 am

    I worry all the time. What parent doesn’t honestly? I’m also worried that if something happens my kids won’t cope or get into further danger in what’s happening because of their difficulties. I don’t even know how to write about. …

  10. June 5, 2017 / 9:20 am

    What a wonderful post sharing the sentiments that we are all feeling right now as parents, in this world full of terror. I’ve shared a post this week too about letting our children go and live life to the full, even though it terrifies me. #bigpinklink

  11. June 5, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Beautiful post hun-I feel exactly the same!!! I just watched Kyes next school send their kids on a week away and I can’t cope that he’ll have to do that too!
    #BigPinkLink

  12. June 5, 2017 / 10:34 am

    I truly wish I had the answer. The world is really scary right now.

    #bigpinklink

  13. June 5, 2017 / 11:43 am

    It’s hard. You bring them up to fly the nest then worry yourself silly when they do. I haven’t got any big thoughts, but know how you feel.

  14. June 5, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I have the same concerns too and my little one is only 2! We teach them to be independent and streetwise, but what else can we do but worry? #bigpinklink

  15. June 5, 2017 / 12:15 pm

    Well said. It’s unthinkable what is happening over there in the name of religion. There is nothing religious about it.
    I pray for the souls of those who lost their lives, and for those of their parents, children and families who were left behind.
    #bigpinklink

  16. June 5, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Bringing kids up today is such a worry, I swear there is more than ever to fear for them. #bigpinklink

  17. June 5, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    That quote just sums up parenthood perfectly doesn’t it? I’ve never heard it before. Yes it’s not something I’m looking forward to either – my eldest will be walking to school this time next year and I’m not sure I’ll like it very much – I’ll probably spend the first week following him, hiding behind bushes! Of course I want them to be independant and experience all the exciting times that lie ahead but I know I’ll worry like you and every other mother out there does. You’re right, all we can do is bring them up as well equipped as possible and try to guide them a little along the way. x #bigpinklink

  18. June 5, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    Absolutely we have to embrace our love and push ourselves to fear nothing, only then can we live out lives. Fear kills lives too…. Such a thoughtful post x #bigpinklink

  19. June 5, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    Lovely post! We wish we could protect our children forever and keep them from harm, but we can’t. The best we can do is prepare them-just like you said! Well done!

    #bigpinklink

  20. June 5, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    Such a lovely post that so many people can relate to. All we want to do is protect them but sometimes we just have to let go. I have hugged Amelia so tight these last few weeks, she must wonder what is going on. All she wants to do is run off an play. All I want to do is keep her safe and by my side. Like you say we can’t always do that and we just need to teach them to be safe. It’s a scary world but one that I hope our little ones can make a difference in. #bigpinklink

  21. June 5, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    It is so hard, but the only way they will grow. Another great quote I’ve heard is that it is the parents’ job to give their child both roots and wings. Hardest job in the world… but worth it.

  22. June 5, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    My eldest is 12, and the day after the Manchester bombing he went to Sheffield for a friends birthday party. I was really nervous about letting him go, as I had heard there was a bomb scare that morning at the meadow centre, not far from where he was going #bigpinklink

  23. June 5, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    Beautifully said. It’s such a hard fine line between keeping them safe and letting them live life to the fullest, it’s something all parents must struggle with, especially now x
    #Bigpinklink

  24. June 5, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    It’s so hard, and there is such a fine line between keeping them safe and being overprotective. I think it’s a great idea to try and make sure they know how to stay safe, especially once they are old enough to go out alone etc. #bigpinklink

  25. June 5, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    Bringing children is tough with everything sad happening right now it’s even more so #bigpinklink

  26. June 6, 2017 / 8:28 am

    A beautiful post, a small piece of comfort in all the chaos right now. I can tell from the way my mother is now that you never stop wanting to keep them in your cocoon, but you learn to take pleasure in watching them live free. #bigpinklink

  27. June 6, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Everything you have written echoes deeply in my heart too. The desire for them to live full enriching lives but to keep them safe. A beautiful post.x #bigpinklink.

  28. June 6, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Lovely post. It is hard to find a balance between protection and independence. I think all you can do is teach them to stay as safe as they can with the things they can control and predict.

  29. June 6, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    I think, even when they are adults, I will not let go of the fear and instinct to protect them. I can only hope that I will have taught them the skills to make smart, safe choices. #bigpinklink

  30. June 6, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    That quote really got me – it’s so true. I can’t believe how terrified I already feel and my little one is only 6 months. But you’re absolutely right, despite any worry I have in the future, I know I’ve got to let her live her life #bigpinklink

  31. June 7, 2017 / 9:11 am

    It’s so hard…too hard, to the point where I just try not to think about it. My oldest is 15 and has a summer of holidays (including a train journey alone from Glasgow to London), theme parks and (slightly) extreme sports planned. I have to focus on the good these things are going to do him, the memories he’ll be building, and swallow down any concerns. You’re right, they have to live.
    #BigPinkLink (thanks for hosting!)

  32. June 7, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    I wish I could protect them 100% but then they wouldn’t be living either X #bigpinklink

  33. June 7, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    It’s so hard knowing that we can’t always protect them. I really is a horrible world #bigpinklink

  34. June 8, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    I so relate to this post, I am really struggling with it at the moment. Although I know I am helpless should tragedy strike, I want to try and limit our risk as much as possible. It’s just devastating, I really can’t get my head around it. #bigpinklink

  35. June 9, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    The world is such a scary and horrible place right now, how can I instill security in my child when I cannot be sure if he will be safe? eurgh so hard! #bigpinklink

  36. June 10, 2017 / 12:25 am

    You wrote a beautiful post about something that is so ugly in our world. We all fight this battle now to live out loud or protect. It’s not at all easy and you certainly can try to do both, but I am uncertain how. Our world is so scary now. I do hope we find our way out of this mess. Empathy and love must win, somehow, for the sake of the kids and our hearts. #bigpinklink xoxo

  37. June 11, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    You have a way of writing that is so easy to read, relateable and beautiful. That quote is incredible. I just read it to my kids (who of course looked at me blankly). All those hearts lost. It’s beyond words. #bigpinklink

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