When you become a mother to a baby girl, your life changes. It’s not that being a mother to a boy means that you aren’t going to experience a huge change, but having a daughter is an experience like no other. The mother/daughter bond is one that, when nurtured the right way, is unbreakable. Your daughter is going to grow up and be a reflection of you and if you get it right when she is little, you are going to end up with a best friend. It’s common knowledge that mothers and daughters have difficulties in their relationship when that beautiful little girl becomes a beautifully opinionated teenager.
When you were a baby, I would feed you in the dark so that you could learn the difference between night and day. I didn’t want to wake your dad either so would tiptoe across the carpet to get a clean nappy. You would dreamfeed, all snuggled up against my skin, safe and secure in my arms.
‘Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.’ —Annie Lennox
As a parent and a teacher I want my own children and the children I teach to know how to be kind. I actually believe that kindness is the most important thing for children to feel fulfilled and happy themselves. Unkindness in others tells me that the person is actually unhappy, they are stressed or something in their life is not right. Emotional resilience is more important than academic success or sporting prowess because without it you will always feel unhappy.
My daughter took her GCSE’s last summer. My son is in the middle of his now. They both are on the conveyor belt of studying and taking exams and seem to think that their exams are THE most important thing ever. Whilst I praise their enthusiasm for exam preparation and study, I’m struck by how much pressure there seems to be on their very young shoulders and that worries me as their mum. It is also worrying me as a teacher to hear about so many young people with anxiety or stress related conditions. There is so much emphasis on passing tests and exams in the school system these days that the love of learning something new has been squeezed out of their experience. My children look at school work as a torture and something to get done so that they can move on to the next part. Where is the wanting to find out about an aspect of their learning that has inspired them? It’s just the wrong way round isn’t it?
I’m at home today as my son is ill. I watch him as he lies on the sofa covered up (well part of him) in a blanket with his big feet hanging over the edge of the sofa. Where did he come from? I ask myself. This huge, great man child who I love with all my heart.
This was a question that my mum used to relay to us as children. It became a family “thing”. “Where did you come from?” It’s hard to imagine our children before they were born isn’t it? But once they are here it’s hard to imagine them not being here. Where were they before? Were they waiting somewhere, waiting to be born?
Apparently mum asked my younger sister this once when she was about 3. Immediately she replied, “I came in a wocket!” We still laugh at this now….a rocket indeed, with a man called Robert apparently. Maybe we come and leave this world in a rocket….wouldn’t that be something!
My son was 3 only yesterday but here he is almost grown. Where did the smiley and content little baby who slept through the night and ate his body weight in baby rice go? Where did the defiant and chatty little toddler who asked 4 million questions a day without waiting for an answer, go? Where did the cheeky and physical little boy who refused to wear trousers and took his Lego creations to bed with him, go? Where did the school boy who loved hot chocolate with cream who was obsessed with Transformers, go?
He’s still here. He’s just feeling poorly. He may now be a fully fledged teenager; shaving, texting girls, obsessed with sport but he still here. He still loves to wear shorts and eats his body weight in food. But although he may have changed, he’ll always be my boy and hopefully he’ll always want his mum to make him a hot chocolate. Well, maybe until she gets taken off in a wocket…..
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.