Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how my daughters will look back on their childhoods, and specifically how they’ll remember me, as their mother. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I no longer have a relationship with my own mother which has opened my eyes to how fragile relationships can be, or simply my want to be the best I can be for the girls, but it’s definitely something which plays on my mind a lot.
I see things across social media on a regular basis, little memes giving a heartfelt message of gratitude from child to parent, people proclaiming their mums to be the best in the world and I always get a little pang of…something; an unidentifiable emotion – not quite jealousy, not quite resentment, but something verging on the side of negativity which I don’t like. I’m happy that my friends have mothers upon whom they can rely and relationships that they want to shout about from the rooftops, and I won’t deny that I wish I had the same, but I think I’ve been estranged from my mother long enough now to know that’ll never be the case again.
But how will my girls look back upon me? And, more to the point, how do I hope they look back upon me? I try my hardest in a lot of ways. I try to be the Mum who always helps at the school disco and bakes cakes for the school fete. I try to be the Mum who makes sure the girls go to every party to which they’re invited, neatly wrapped gift in hand and party dresses pressed and pretty. I try to be the Mum who is never late and never lets her girls down – I remember feeling extreme anxiety at always being late for everything as a child and as a result, I try to be on time for everything with my girls, although I will admit to having to knock on the classroom door after getting there 2 minutes after the bell on more than a few occasions since BB has been with us!
I try to be the Mum who is always available to help with homework. I’m not always the Mum with the most patience, I will admit; I sometimes forget that just because Sausage is super bright, doesn’t mean that every single thing comes easily to her. I try to be the Mum who remembers dates; sports day, class trips, open evenings. I try to be the Mum who makes Christmas as much fun as possible and makes a huge fuss of birthdays. I try to be the Mum who makes things fun and doesn’t spend all her time doing housework.
I try to be the Mum who sets a decent example. My girls have seldom seen me drink alcohol (not that I’m judging others who do) and have certainly never seen me using anything stronger than a codeine for a particularly bad migraine. I try to be the Mum who provides my girls with balanced meals and a healthy attitude towards food, whilst still allowing them treats in moderation.
I try to be the Mum who allows them to be children. To play in the mud. To monkey around with the hose in the garden. To walk along the beach. I try to do all of that without worrying about the state of their clothes or the height of my washing pile. I try to be the Mum who is their friend, but above all is their moral compass, even if it means being the bad guy.
I try to be the Mum who is there to share a joke just as much as she shares their tears. I try to be the Mum who will ALWAYS defend her daughters against injustice of any scale. I try to be the Mum who has her daughter’s backs. I try to be the Mum who would take the word of her children unquestioningly and above everything and everyone else. I try to be the Mum who would never manipulate or influence her kids, choosing instead to let their opinions and personalities flourish.
Most of all, I try to be the Mum that I would have wanted.
I hope they look back and remember all of those things.