The HR Juggler

Mums and Daughters

Posted on: April 3, 2011

When I was born, my Mum was 30. Given that my Dad was a police officer and worked shifts, she was often on her own with three children under 5. And, of course, she did everything for me. I don’t think it is until you become a parent yourself that you ever realise or fully appreciate the enormity of commitment, hard work and unselfish, unstinting love that is required in looking after small people.

When I was 5, my Mum still did pretty much everything for me, although in that time she had taught me to start to become independent. She used to invent brilliant, funny children’s stories, which my brothers and I would listen to in rapt wonderment, particularly on car journeys.  When my paternal grandfather died, my Mum gave my Nan a roast lunch with our family, every Sunday from that point on, without fail for the next 28 years.

By the time I was 10, I was starting to be argumentative with my brothers. My Mum instilled some golden rules for our family, amongst which that we were never to go to bed without resolving an argument. We had to share and agree – the single television in our house got locked away for a month once to teach us how to work together, play properly and argue less. My Mum had a temper too – on one memorable occasion she threw the music book repeatedly up in the air at sheer frustration that we would not practice our clarinets. I think she may have regretted it when she had to explain its sellotaped, battered state to the school ;).

At 15, my Mum tolerated my teenage moodiness and angst, stopped me going out to nightclubs when all my friends were allowed to and tried to allow me a little lee-way (not that it felt like that at the time!). Hospitality was another golden rule – if I was at home with friends, they were included in family meal-times, there was never an opt out. She also helped me to cope when my best friend’s mum died, which was devastating.

By the time I was 20, my Mum was starting to let me go: to Zimbabwe on my gap year after school, to University, to make my own choices and decisions. Still supporting me financially, keeping the lines of communication open, she started to become my friend – a companion on shopping trips, a listening ear.

On my 25th birthday, I got engaged to Mr C and my Mum was there to share all of my joy, excitement and delight. She came wedding dress shopping with me, cried tears of joy and defended me wholeheartedly against her own Mum who was outraged that I had decided to live with Mr C before we were married. She also helped me navigate and understand my relationship with my mother-in-law, which became so much more complicated and unpredictable after my brother-in-law’s death. My Mum had also taken on a caring role for all three of my grandparents by this point.

When I was 30, I gave birth to my beautiful twin girls. Although they were not due until February my Mum wrote all of her Christmas cards by the end of October that year, just in case she was needed to be on hand early. Once they were born, my Mum came to my house every single day for the first eight weeks, cleaning, cooking, changing nappies, feeding…anything I asked her for and with an insistence that she would do all the grottiest jobs possible to make life easier for me. She also insisted I slept during the day time, usually whilst she hoovered or emptied the dishwasher or sterilised the bottles.

I’m very nearly 35 now. My Mum looks after my daughters 2 days a week while I work; if I am late she comes back to my house and gives them a bath. She also looks after her other 3 grandchildren and has all 5 of them together once a week. Her parents have passed away now, but she still cares for her 97-year-old mother-in-law, visiting her in the residential home at least once a week, always having her over at Christmas and other family occasions, even though my grandmother’s state of health makes that difficult now.

My Mum is a star – an absolute rock – and for me Mother’s Day will always be more about her and all that she has done and continues to do for me, rather than my own much shorter experience of being a Mum. She’s all the clichés really: my best friend, a dependable and honest counsellor, my inspiration and the woman who has loved and accepted me unconditionally all of my life. I know that she is tremendously proud of me and what I have become….I hope that she also knows how hugely proud I am of her.

I am very lucky and for that, on Mother’s Day, I thank you xxx

5 Responses to "Mums and Daughters"

Ali – that’s beautiful! Tears in my eyes…hope you all had a lovely day xxx

Probably the best dedication to a mother I’ve ever read. Thanks for sharing with us Alison x.

That’s a truly lovely blog – made me cry. Thanks

This is a lovely thankful story, I’ve read it several times now and like it more with each read. Good work, mums rock!

Thanks so much for your lovely comments. My Mum was thrilled to bits and I am so pleased it struck a chord with you too.

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