Published On: Mon, Oct 6th, 2014

Two Great Fears In Life

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

Two Great Fears In LifeIn life I have two great fears. The first that one of my children would go missing, and the second, that I would die before they had grown. Do you ever think about how your kids would cope if you were suddenly not around? Well I do, in fact often, and I have no doubt that if sitting across the table from Dr. Phil that he would tell me this was because my own mother passed away when I was three. But something tells me I’m not alone, and that there are many mummies like myself who ponder on this as I do. Now while this might be beginning to sound like a life insurance commercial, I can assure you it is anything but.

A friend recently asked me if I would like to go on a short holiday with her. It was easy to tell myself she was crazy and that it was enough of an organisational nightmare trying to get everything ready for a Monday morning for me let alone my husband who enjoys half hour morning showers and has no sense of urgency about him. But really, the fact is that it is not an option at this point to be away from my children when they are still so young. Sure Mark would take care of the kids and they would be alive when I got back, but he simply wouldn’t do it the same way. Ok, so perhaps I should of said the “right” way. He wouldn’t remember how Aidan needs help with his shoes, or how important it was to help Bella stuff that Hippo in her uniform pocket ensuring the zip is fully closed, or how Will always needs a kiss goodbye before he races off to class. As for the “have a good day I love you guys”, well that I know would get lost in the rush.

Can you teach this stuff? My guess is no because we each parent differently even if we have the same parenting beliefs. These what I shall call “mummy knows” are things we have learnt along the way. Small pieces of information that makes our kids who they are. I fear if not around that truly being who they are, may fall by the wayside as they give in to the needs of other’s in my absence.

You would think this fear of dying would have me being a fruit and veggie eating machine who washes it all down with a litre of water a day. Well no, which doesn’t make sense, but I guess part of that is knowing that it is mostly out of my control. Funnily enough though I am reminded of my poor eating habits and lack of exercise whenever my six year old decides to throw the old “mummy I don’t want you to die” line on me, or the “when will you die”? These questions are I’m sure unsettling to most, but to me they are painful. How do you explain to your kids when asked that in fact one day you won’t be here. Lie? I have learnt to simply tell him not for a super duper long time. This seems to satisfy him… until he asks me the next time.

Sometimes I wonder. If I died tomorrow what lessons would I be leaving my children with, and which ones did I not yet have a chance to teach them? Would the lessons I had so far taught my children carry over into adulthood or fade as they grew older making way to someone else’s teachings of what is ideal? The world certainly seems to think that Diana’s early influence on her boys has made them who they are today, but is this entirely the case?

Unlike the royal brothers, we don’t tend to have family close at hand. Extended family members that know our kids inside out. Family members that in the face of tragedy would step up and take the reins. Family members that our kids would feel at ease and at home with. This plays on my mind. I have friends that know my children better than anyone in my family does.

Last year I decided to take action. I felt like I needed to gain some control over my thoughts, my fears. I did this by writing a letter to my children. In this letter it tells them what I want them to grow up knowing in their hearts. It tells them things that they are too young to yet understand but with good reason. You see these are the things I am yet to teach them. These are the things that I wanted to know from my own mother that I was never able to ask her. For my children, if I am not here, they not need wonder as I did, and I pray it will guide them be I leave them sooner or later.

When we think about death, some of us take comfort in our religion, others more of an acceptance of how mother nature works. Whatever your belief, grab the moment, look forward to the future and remember to be thankful for the past.

Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright Mummy Weekly 2013
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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