Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mother May I?

Do you think you are a better mother than your mother? And what good/bad traits as a mother do you think you learned from your mother? And what characteristics as a mother do you think you learned on your own or because of the boys you have.
From Leilani of The Pursuit of Meaning

I don't think I'm a better mother than my own...I'm just a different mother. I had never really felt 'connected' properly to my Mum. She always seemed tired and grumpy when I was growing up. I never brought back friends from school for fear of upsetting her...she just didn't seem to like extra children around the house. As I got older I started to realise and understand there were reasons for that. If my kids want to have their friends over, they know it's ok for them to do so, but they always ask first to make sure I don't have other plans.

My mum had always said that she didn't bring her girls up to be running around after males. The irony of that is, that's what I ended up doing lol. And still do to a certain extent of course considering I have two boys. We would all have set chores that needed doing each weekend and they were done automatically, noone questioned her. She was a fastidious housekeeper and we did her bidding. A complete opposite on this subject, my house is always needing chores done. I've been slack in 'training' my own kids to do the menial chores around here and nothing gets done unless I ask. I take the responsibility of that being my own fault. I don't ask, I don't get. But when I do ask, they do (if that makes sense lol).

Being independent and stubborn I've always tried to sort things out my own's not often that I stop what I'm doing and think "what would Mum do in this situation?" My mother never interferes in anything I do...she sits back and watches and even if I ask, her responses are short and pretty much "I don't know, it's up to you." I would often wish she would just give an opinion or say something that I could work with even if I chose to do it a different way eventually.

She was never a very touchy feely person. And I recall her telling me several years ago that she had to force herself to cuddle us when we were was the way she grew up...her mother was never a cuddler. In contrast I was the opposite with my boys when they were younger. I've found it to be one of the greater pleasures of being a mother have a toddler fall asleep on peaceful and trusting in your arms, they're secure in the knowledge that noone or nothing will harm them there.


Parenting is a rocky road as most of you know. I think we learn from those around us. We implement what we feel will work for us, and toss aside that which we feel will not. Trial and error. If one technique doesn't suit my family, I move on trying something else. Now my kids are older, they're quite vocal in telling me what works for them and what doesn't, but they both understand and respect that I have the final word in this house. And although they may not be happy with it, they abide by it (and end up throwing it back in my face at a later date if things go tits up lol).

One thing that I definitely taught my children as they were growing up, is that they could always, always come to me or their father if they wanted to discuss something. No matter how big or small. I hope that I've proven that to them over the years. I will down tools and listen. With Cameron, this often starts with him coming into the lounge and sitting down while I'm at the computer. A "What's up?" from me, can start off a conversation that lasts for 3 hours (I have to say here, there are times when I find it difficult to stop my eyes glazing over and wondering if he's ever going to go away again lol). Ryan is short, sharp and sweet...if he comes to see me, it's for information he wants, directly, no bells or whistles...once he's got it, he's gone again.

I never felt my mother was there enough for me when I was younger. I believe that was the economic situation my family were in, and her upbringing via my grandmother who was very big on "children should be seen and not heard" or "only speak when spoken to." Society and generation changes have a lot to do with how different we are as parents today in comparison to how they were when we were growing up.

If there's anything in particular that I've learned from being a parent, it's that each child is a unique individual. Once you learn how each of them works, you can treat them accordingly. My boys are not only like chalk at cheese in physical appearance, but also in their outlooks on life. The most important thing for me, is that they know they're loved beyond all reason and I will always be there to help in any way I can (whether they ask or not lol).
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