The other day I came across a piece of paper entitled, ‘The mother I want to be.’
I remember writing this when Beaver was a few months old. When I obviously had time for such ideals. There are 17 things on this list. If I wrote this now there would probably be just one.
A mother who doesn’t shout quite so much.
Actually, the list has very little to do with being a mother. A mother of egocentric under fives anyway. It has much more to do with being me. And when I look at it now it is painstakingly clear to me how worried I was in those early months of losing myself. Completely and utterly. So worried that I wrote a list to remind myself how to be me. Here’s the top five:
- Have a positive attitude
- Be pro-active and decisive
- Have my own interests and hobbies
- Maintain a level of attractiveness
- Put my children first but maintain a sense of self
I know what I was thinking. In my mind, with five month old Beaver in my arms, I had already fast forwarded 20 years. To a mother with grown-up children. Young adults. Gulp. The list should read, ‘The mother I want to be in 20 years’ time.’
Because naturally we all hope that we will be mothers that our children want to be around. When they actually get to choose who they spend their time with. It means we’ve done something right, doesn’t it?
A mother’s role today goes beyond nurturing. Beyond serving up fish fingers and peas. There’s a desire, a need even, to inspire as well. If we can. Because we know that inspiration is at the very core of the people they will become. And we’d like to lead by example. If we can.
We want to show our sons and daughters who we are. Behind the mask of mother. So that their role models aren’t only superheroes and irresponsible pop stars. But just very possibly, us too. Now, wouldn’t that be something.
We aren’t alone in this thinking. P&G’s ‘Thank You Mom’ Olympic campaign was built on that very foundation. That behind every amazing athlete is an equally amazing mum. And who didn’t cry at those adverts?
When I read magazine interviews and Celebrity X mentions the huge influence their mother had on them, how they distinctly remember the perfume she always wore or the way she helped them enjoy every moment blah blah blah, it immediately makes me wonder how Beaver and Godivy will remember their childhood with me.
I mean, some days I forget to put perfume on. And I’m pretty sure they’ve already realised I don’t enjoy every moment. Will they say, ‘Mum always wore Batiste because she never washed her hair. And she shouted A LOT?’
Oh God. I hope they never get interviewed.
Surviving Motherhood Tip#13 – how to be a role model mum
- Show your children who you really are. Beyond the mother they know and love (you can get away with a multitude of sins with this one).
- Pursue and share your own interests with them.
- Dig out films you enjoyed as a child and watch them together.
- Wear perfume.
- Oh yes, one final one if you’re really going for gold. Wash your hair.