For my sons 

Dear O and F,

Lately I’ve realised that I didn’t bring you into the world that I thought I had. I had so much hope when you were both born, but then things seemed to change. Or maybe the changes were already happening and I hadn’t noticed. Either way, I want you to know that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that there is so much hatred and division in the world. I’m sorry that most of the stories you see glimpses of on the news are stories of war and misery. I’m sorry that the sea levels are rising and the ice caps are melting. Most of all, I’m sorry that the burden of fixing our broken society – and planet – is going to fall upon the shoulders of your generation.

But there is still a little glimmer of hope alive inside me, and that is because of you. Because I am going to do the very best I can to raise you to be tolerant and inclusive and brave. You are both surrounded by people of different colours and faiths and that is a wonderful thing. You are already learning that those people have exactly the same value as you do in the world, without even being taught. And why should you need to be taught? The only thing you need to know is this: That under our clothes and beneath our skin, no matter which god we answer to – or don’t – we are all the same inside.

Gandhi said that we must be the change we wish to see in the world, but as your mother I have a unique opportunity to go beyond that. I have the opportunity to raise you to also be that change. To teach you to challenge inequality and discrimination. To show you how to make better choices for our planet. To help you to find your voices and use them to speak up for those who have no voice of their own.

I look at you, I see your innocence and your joy and I feel afraid for you. And more than that, I feel guilt. Because there will come a day when I can no longer protect you from the storm happening around you, when I will have to let you see the extent of the damage. I don’t know what the world will look like when you are grown up, but as it stands there is a man in the White House who doesn’t believe in climate change and our own country is on the brink of leaving the European Union. Neither of these facts makes me feel encouraged about the shape of things to come.

But when I look at you, I also see how strong you are. I see how fiercely you love your family and your friends – and, perhaps most importantly, each other -, and I know that you have so much to give to the world. Being with you is exhausting, but it is also healing and rejuvenating. And I know that’s not just because you are children and you are predisposed to be wonderful; it is because of who you are. It’s because you’re funny and smart and kind, and you make me feel hopeful about the future.

So I’m sorry that the world you will inherit is a bit of a mess, but I know that it will be safe in your hands and I’m not going to stop trying to tidy it up in the meantime.

You already are and are going to be amazing.

I love you,




  1. Matt · January 31, 2017

    Good post, liked it.. Did want to point out though that Gandhi never actually said “be the change..”, though he has said words to a similar effect. This quote is often misattributed to him, so it’s an easy mistake to make. It’s possible it originated from a much less well known author called arleen lorrance

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · January 31, 2017

      Thank you, Matt. And, since you mentioned Arleen Lorrance, I’ll do some research.


  2. Hannah · February 5, 2017

    I too worry about similar things for my 3 children. But I’m sure our parents did too and their parents before them. There has always been wickedness, selfishness and greed in the world. It’s very saddening. But there is also a large proportion of goodness in the world too. And that gives me hope. It’s how we choose to deal with the problems in our own sphere which matters. I wrote a similar post called ‘growing up a superhero’ so this resonated with me. Thank you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · February 5, 2017

      I went for a play date with my sister-in-law and my nephew this week. She is a teacher of nine year-olds and told me that the children in her class are preparing for Armageddon. They are so afraid of the things they’ve seen on the news that they are convinced they’re going to have to camp in the woods because their homes are going to be bombed. It’s heartbreaking to think of children so young being so afraid. I’m very glad that my children aren’t really old enough to understand what’s going on, to be honest.

      Could you send me a link to your blog post, please? I’d love to read it. X


  3. Marko @ · April 25, 2017

    Wonderful article! Kindness is such an easy behavior to teach, if we are aware and lead by example. Help our children develop this very important social quality so that they may be inspirational to others and have a positive impact on the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 25, 2017

      Thank you for the lovely comment; I really appreciate it. On other networks – particularly Facebook – I was branded a “negative dramatist”, so I really appreciate the fact that you have seen this post for what it really is!


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