On the day the UK decided to leave the EU, three Motherload bloggers write letters to their young children explaining how they voted and how they’re feeling.
Kate Dyson writes…
To my loves,
This morning, as the hubbub of the day started, and M jumped on the bed around me, I turned to my phone to check the Big Result. As ever, first, Facebook, so normal, so everyday; but this time, I couldn’t make sense of what I was reading. I looked at the clock, and it was 5.45am, I rubbed my eyes; surely they weren’t working properly, surely I was still half asleep, surely, SURELY this wasn’t true: leave. Leave? LEAVE. The UK had voted to leave the EU. And you, M, bouncing on the bed, so alive with life, with happiness and with your whole future stretching out in front of you in this safe, protected world while my head spun with ‘Oh my Gods’ and ‘What the fucks’ and ‘THIS CANNOT BE REAL’.
We won’t know for years to come what this decision has meant for our working rights, for our economy, our welfare system, for our maternity policies and border controls, for every part of our lives have been intertwined with EU law and regulation. There is so much uncertainty, so many questions unanswered, and so many What If’s that no one can know, yet, what it means to ‘Leave the EU’. There’s no precedent, and we can only look backwards to a time before we joined the EEC as to what it might look like.
But this morning, while you both ate your cereal, and it struck me that this might become one of those seminal moments where people ask you in a few years time, “Where were you when the UK left the EU?” and you remember; we were in the kitchen, eating Coco-pops and Cheerio mix, on our tiny table, and Mummy started to sob whilst making ham sandwiches for B’s lunchbox. And will you know why? Will you understand how I felt scared, nay, terrified for this world that we had brought you into and how it was turning into a place of intolerance, of phobia, and of propaganda? Will you know my sense of failure to protect you from this, that my vote, so passionately made with your future in mind, felt so hopeless, and so empty today.
Somehow, all the stuff that matters about the economy, about your education, about our National Health Service (which I write in full because I have no idea if the acronym of NHS will be relevant by the time you read this) about our working rights, and our management and navigation through agreement after agreement to be able to trade within the EU will work out. It probably already has as you read this, many years later. But my fear, my terror, and my tears today are reserved for the deep disappointment I have in our country – once so great, tolerant and welcoming and fair, has descended into a country of hate, of bile, of ‘get immigrants out!’, where racism has become legitimised, and where seeking refuge from war will not be tolerated by a huge proportion of our population. I fear that you will grow up fighting against the intolerance and xenophobia, which has developed as a festering undercurrent throughout our society, and which I fear this vote to ‘Leave’ demonstrates.
Today we awoke to a new UK, and while we jumped on beds and made ham sandwiches, and raced to get shoes on and coats and get out of the door for school and normalcy, I couldn’t help but feel a catch in my heart, and lump in my throat as you skipped off in front of me, singing away, not a moment’s realisation of the significance of what today’s decision might mean for your lives.
But more than ever, I couldn’t be more motivated to ensure that you grow up to be tolerant, cultured, empathetic and generous-hearted. That you fervently believe, in your heart of hearts, that being kind, inclusive and sympathetic to other’s plight is important not only for your own being, but for the world around you. That you strive to give back to society, and protect those who are vulnerable, who need support or require help and that you have knowledge and education beyond your own front door, an understanding of the world, and of cultures, and religions and race. Of humanity.
My vote to remain in the EU couldn’t protect you today. But I will go on to fight to protect you and your futures, for the rest of my life.
Geraldine Cooper writes…
Today is a very big day for this country, and – I’ll be honest – it hasn’t gone the way I planned. For a start, I woke up even earlier than you two and I was even more grumpy than usual. I know you were particularly irritated when I made you switch off Mr Tumble so I could watch the “number 10 man” as you call him, but by the time you read this, I’m sure you’ll understand why it was such a big deal.
I didn’t want Britain to leave the EU – I really didn’t. I speak three languages, I grew up abroad, I have always thought of myself as European as well as – if not before – British. I spent a brilliant year living and working in France when I was a student. And in Germany. I love living in a diverse, multicultural, free-thinking city like London – reaching out to the rest of the world. Today I feel a lot of that has started slipping away.
But, it turns out most people don’t agree with me. I’m shocked, I’m sad, I feel like throwing a massive tantrum and emigrating to the Cote d’Azur pretty sharpish. But fair is fair and the other side won. You can’t always get what you want: turns out that is just as tough to swallow when you’re 36 as when you’re two.
As I write this, the country is in turmoil. Everything is going crazy, as many of us hold our breath and wait to see whether the predictions of doom turn out to be true…
By now, I’m sure you’ll have learnt that your mother is pretty much always right (just ask Dad!). But if there’s one thing that’s making me feel better today, it is this: perhaps you’re reading this in your teens, wondering what on Earth I’m going on about, living in a better world, with better prospects, in a stronger Britain than we could ever have imagined. This time, I really hope I’m wrong.
Love, Mum xx
Fiona Behl writes…
To my daughter,
Today is an historic day, our country has decided to leave Europe. It’s not what me and Daddy voted for and sadly now the world feels like a very strange place.
I cast my vote to remain in the hope you wouldn’t face an uncertain future. As your mum I didn’t want to vote for an option that had no clear plan to back it up and so present any risk to the future of your generation. The ramifications of yesterday’s vote are only just beginning and so far leading us further into the unknown.
We want you to grow up in a world that is united not divided, one where people are not afraid of others wishing for a better life or those wanting to join us in the UK to make a positive difference. Our own family are spread across the world and as such our vote was in the spirit of keeping doors open not putting up walls.
As the dust settles on all the big changes today we want you to know that we will always keep you safe and continue to do the very best we can for you no matter what the future brings.
To read the partner piece to this blog, Dear Kids, This is why I voted ‘leave’ click here
About our bloggers
Founder of The Motherload®. Wife, mum to two girls, two cats and shit-loads of washing in baskets that sit around the house waiting to be ironed. Hater of exercise, denier of weight gain, lover of wine. Feminist.
Multimedia journalist from South London. Loves singing, learning useless trivia, watching terrible TV and eating chocolate. Mother to two young sons.
Former civil servant now blogging for the Motherload. Mother of one little girl. Loves Vodka and motorcycles.