Motherly Advice

Sometimes there's nothing better than a conversation with your Mum. I'm lucky enough that I can pick up the phone and bother her once, if not twice, a day. For me, it's the perfect start to the day as I'm walking to the station. From the utterly mundane chit-chat to the calls for advice, there is no one quite like my mum to check in with, provide some perspective and make me smile. Now, more than ever, this is so treasured. As we have all just experienced a rather strange Mother's Day this year, I wanted to ask my mother, Valerie, a few questions to mark the occasion. I'm especially intrigued to know how she's feeling about becoming a grandmother herself for the first time later this year!

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WHAT'S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU REMEMBER YOUR MUM GAVE YOU?

I don’t remember my mother sitting down and giving me one particular piece of advice, but by her being a loving, supportive mother who I could rely on to have my best interests at heart, I modelled myself on her. I thought she’d done a pretty good job! The main thing she demonstrated was that being a mother is not the same as being a friend. It’s like no other job; you’re a carer, a guide, an influencer... you’re so many things wrapped up in one. If you like someone and enjoy their company you become friends. A mother is soooo much more than that.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MOTHER?

For me the best thing about being a mother is that it’s my most significant achievement. Nothing I’ve done, before or since, can top it. It’s also the beginning of a whole new adventure. You're experiencing the world in this new role, while watching them growing and learning about it too. It’s like a trip to the fun-fare, full of different experiences; highs and lows, twists and turns, hilarious moments and scary moments, but mainly lots of fun with opportunities to create a host of happy memories.

WHAT WAS ROSE LIKE GROWING UP?

Mischievous, cute and incredibly affectionate and loving. Very much her own character. She and her older sister could fall out but most of the time they got on well together. They would put on shows to entertain us; dressing up, creating sketches and making up dances to pop songs, which they’d sing along to. Music and dance was a big part of Rose’s life and she had some wonderful experiences, which we were able to enjoy with her.

IF YOU COULD PICK ONE MOMENT THAT REALLY STANDS OUT TO YOU THROUGHOUT HER CHILDHOOD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Far too many wonderful memories for me to choose from Rose’s childhood. One memory that stands out though was when she was 18, dressed in her evening gown for the school Leaver’s Ball and realising my gorgeous little girl had grown into a kind and beautiful young woman. I thought to myself I’d done a good job in raising her (of course, with lots of help from her father!)

WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD LIKE?

My childhood was a happy one, playing ball games with friends in the neighbourhood. We had a musical family and my parents had some lovely friends. I enjoyed seeing and hearing them laughing together. There were long summer days when school holidays seemed to last forever. I enjoyed taking part in musical productions, singing in choirs and playing piano and violin. I followed in my mother’s footsteps and made my own clothes, which I wore to the many parties I went to in my teens. I gave up trying to master knitting, like my mum and sister, and was taught how to crochet by the elderly lady next door. Mostly happy memories, although in Junior School I did have a horrible teacher and hated going to school for a year, but this was followed by another teacher who was brilliant!

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BECOMING A GRANDMOTHER?

Very excited and reminded of my own days when I was expecting. It’s nice that all those bits and pieces I’ve kept over the years will get to see the light of day again. It’s going to be fun! I’ve been told by several people that you love your kids but you’ll love your grandchildren even more! I find that hard to believe but I’m really looking forward to finding out.

BEST ADVICE FOR A MOTHER-TO-BE?

Talk to and listen to your child. Play with them and guide them. They can teach us just as we can teach them. Avoid being overprotective and do your best not to ignore them when they are trying to interact with you. (Though there may, of course, be times when this just isn't possible!) Set aside time to do family things (I'd love to have had more days out). Try not to be a controlling parent or a guilt tripping one. Take the best parts of your own care from your mother, dump the rest, and pat yourself on the back for doing the best you can. Remember they train teachers for three years and doctors for seven plus years, but there is no training to be a parent. Your role is to love and care for them. Simples!

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE MOTTO OR MANTRA?

Life is for living, look for the positives and laugh at least once every day.

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My mother, aside from as her wise words and advice, is where I get a lot of my creativity. After many years working as a Television Script Supervisor on situation comedies (yep, she even got me a part as an Extra on As Time Goes By with Dame Judi Dench!). Valerie now spends her days in her workshop, as a fused glass artist, for her artisan business Glassophony. She is also a Laughter Yoga Leader and provides care and support in the community. Her latest venture is creating Facebook video content from inside her greenhouse!

All for now,
Rose

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In light of the social distancing and self-isolation, the photography I've used in this blog celebrates the beautiful magnolia which blooms in my parents' garden every March / April. In fact, it's usually always in bloom around my birthday in April so is known as 'Rose's Magnolia'.


READ NOW: When my Mother took me to Laughter Yoga.

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