Describe Motherhood in three words
Exhausting, Challenging, Wonderful
Does your experience differ from your mother’s? How?
For a start Mum made the totally insane decision to adopt me just when she was on the cusp of freedom when my brothers were in their late teens. I have no intention of doing that.
Mum was not allowed to work by my Dad until we went to school. I had to work sometimes when the children were tiny and even newborn as Him Indoors and I work in charities where redundancies come along all too often with funding cuts taking their toll on good causes and the poor souls who work for them. When you can work, you do.
Over the years, I have come to realise that when Mum was difficult, it was because she was frustrated. A woman with a fierce intelligence and feisty attitude that was not being fully utilised. I empathise totally on that score.
I think Mum had undiagnosed depression as I did at certain points in her life. She tried to be brave to her own detriment and again I can see how I have followed similar patterns.
Mum did not always have a lot of money. Ditto.
Mum liked to get involved in community activities and I do when I can although my dopey shyness holds me back way too much. I think Mum covered up her fears with a lot of bluster sometimes.
Mum had an independent soul as I do so marriage and being beholden to a man was annoying to her. Ditto.
Mum crafted and cooked well. I would love to learn to craft properly. I can cook well though. Mum made one meal for the whole family. I make about 22 dozily catering for individual tastes.
Mum bought gifts for me on my birthday, at Christmas and when I went to the dentist. I seem to be cajoled into buying pressies for my lot every week.
Mum had more control over me than I do over my own children. Having said that, I was allowed to play out at a younger age than my children were.
Mum took me all over the UK and Europe. I too think travel including in the United Kingdom provides a really good education for children.
Mum knew how to be daft and again I think that makes your children’s lives that much more fun.
I think I prefer my parenting style over all except on the days where I am so tired from give, give, giving on all fronts that I resemble a zombie.
Mum had access always to a strong network of family, neighbours and friends. I have lacked a lot of that and therefore, in some ways, I think she had an easier lot in life.
What’s the hardest thing about being a mum?
The way that it is relentless so that you never get a day off. Even when they go to school or out into the world as adults, they are still yours so you are ultimately responsible. The recognition when it is too late to send them back that your life will never run in your way again. Everything will be a compromise. Also how you are ever-vigilant and stressed out at the very idea of them coming to any physical and emotional harm. The way they think you have all the answers when you still feel like a big kid yourself. They way you only have about 10 rules but they forget them all the time. The need for routines which work but bore the pants of me. The mess.
What’s the best thing?
The love. The way that you know they love you more than anybody in your world ever can and that you adore them right back. The way that love is expressed in words, cuddles and glances every single day if not hour. The knowledge that you have already created a lovely legacy.
How has it changed you?
I have come up close and personal with my own limitations. Apart from the odd exam cock-up and a nasty relationship breakdown, I pretty much did well on all fronts until I became a mum. Welcome to a real revelation of all your lack of skills and experience. That does not sit easily with me although eleven years in, I can handle it much better. I have learned to give love properly for perhaps the first time in my life. That has to be a very good thing. On occasion, it has crashed into me like an almighty wrecking ball making my emotions crumble and my body collapse. It has made me understand and forgive my own mother.
What do you hope for your children?
I want them to aspire. I am not bothered what they aspire to do so long as they give it their best shot. In this, I am like my mum who said I could work on the Pick and Mix in Woolworths or go to Cambridge University. I think Woolworths might have opened more doors to be honest. I want my boys to treat any woman they are with kindly and for my girl to live life on her own terms without deferring to any man. Yes, I know that is sexist but it is the way I feel. I want my children to always be there for each other so that life knocks them, they have a strong support mechanism in place. I want them to keep good health, both physical and mental. I want them to always be kind-hearted and to treat others with respect.
What do you fear for them?
I fear that they will come to physical and/or emotional harm. I hope they will always come to me when they need to and not try to put on a brave face.
What makes it all worthwhile?
Love, cuddles, snuggles, giggles, merriment, teamwork,.
I am going to tweet the mums I am tagging on this one. Will add the links to their websites later.