Parenting is hard. I’ve been a mum for almost seven years now and whilst the baby days are behind me, there is so much more I feel I am not equipped to deal with.
This week, my eldest son asked if he could have a sleepover at his friend’s house. It took me by surprise and to be honest I was not prepared for it at all. I, myself have yet to have a night away from my boys, let alone letting them be away from us. I told him I would discuss it with daddy and that we would think about it.
He’s been on many sleepovers before but usually, it’s when we are visiting friends and so we all go as a family. We’ve talked briefly about him having a sleepover at one of our good friend’s house as a practice before but annoyingly, we never got around to organising it.
The friend he wants to have a sleepover at is a school friend and whilst I know the mum and the boy has come around for playdates, I don’t feel I know them well enough to let him stay over.
What am I most worried about? Is it that I don’t know the parents well enough or is it that I’m just not ready for this new found independence? The not knowing what he is up to? Am I being over-protective? Am I unwilling to set my children free a little? (yes probably all of the above)
What exactly am I afraid of?
There are many baby manuals out there. How to get your baby to sleep. How to wean/potty train, yet there are no parenting manuals for this kind of thing. No rules about what the right age is for children to have a sleepover. Does it mean that because we have passed the baby stage, we suddenly know what is best for our children?
A night away from home is a big deal for both of us. (well mainly me)
I’m just not quite ready for him to start spreading his wings a little wider. Do I want to be that mean mum that says no and he misses out?
Do I just need to take a deep breath and suck it up? Or do I need to go with my gut and say no?
I can’t even remember how old I was when I first had my sleepover but I was well into double digits and even then, I had said friend stay around our house first before I was allowed around theirs.
Maybe, I need to give him a little credit and trust his judgement when he tells me that he is ready to do this and that he will be fine. After all, he’s a good kid and that should surely count as something right?
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*This post first appeared on The Huffington Post