The Weight of Responsibility: A Letter to my Little One

two children sitting by the seas with

Dear Little One, 

First of all, I want you to know how much I love you. Ever since you were born, you have expanded my heart every day to love you a little bit more.  

A girl looks away into the distance

But being your mum hasn’t been easy. A mother’s job never is.

We have so much responsibility to raise you “right” and show you the best direction to head in this life of yours. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.

I want you to know that you can say no. You can always say no when you’re making decisions about your body – I hope you know that. I talk to you about consent and respect your boundaries so you know this is what you should expect from others, too. FYI, if you said no a little less often when I ask you to make your bed, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

We have talked a lot about your body and how it might change as you get older. I know you might not understand it all just yet but at the very least, I hope that I have shown you that we can talk about it. You can ask me questions. Some of your questions might make me stop and think. If I can’t answer them straight away, we’ll find the answers together.  

This point is important: mother’s don’t have all the answers, and I won’t pretend I do.

Sometimes (not always) we do know best! Please know that when I try to stop you from doing something, it is often because I have learned from experience what will and won’t work. I do have a little more experience in this life than you, and I learned by making mistakes. So maybe I should let you make yours, too? That isn’t easy for a mother to do though. I hate to see you hurt or upset.

I want to show you how to support others and stand up for what is right, how to call out injustice and be an ally to anyone who needs it. We talk about what this can look like, and I am proud when you put it into practice. I will always support you and stand up for you when you need it. Just to clarify, I don’t mean injustice over who has the biggest half when you share with your sibling; let’s not shout about that.

Two kids walking on a path through the woods
On the right path?

I try to show you that we also have a responsibility to look after our Earth for your future self and generations to come. I feel like we don’t do as much as we could, but I want you to know that I care and together, we can talk about the impact our actions today have on what will exist tomorrow. This definitely applies to how much toilet paper you use and being considerate about what we do with our trash, OK?

There are so many things that I want to make sure you know about as you grow up, but you should also know it takes its toll.

Sometimes the weight of responsibility I feel for raising you is overwhelming. You should know that Mummy is an overthinker, and I spend a lot (I mean A LOT) of time thinking about how my words/actions might impact other people. I still replay conversations from 20 years ago where I feel like I said the wrong thing or accidentally hurt someone’s feelings.

You are one of the people I care about most in this world, so helping you grow into the awesome adult I know you can be is a lot of responsibility. What I say and do every day can impact your future self, and that is a lot to have resting on my shoulders. I worry that I haven’t done enough or told you enough, and I would feel terrible for leading you in the wrong direction.  

That’s the real catch though, isn’t it? I can show you the way as best I can, but you are your own person. You will find your own way and carve your own path. This might come as a surprise, Little One, but you will make mistakes along the way. We all did, and we all will.

Child with oversized sunglasses and a flower garland
Individual style

That won’t stop me worrying. When I feel overwhelmed with all of this responsibility, I have to remind myself to trust my instincts. If I have good intentions (and I hope I do), I have to trust that I am setting a good example for you, and you will grow up to look after our world and the people in it. 

So I hope I’m setting you off in the right direction. But let’s see what path you take along the way.

Love, Mummy