Tag Archive | parent

After I had nowhere left to hide

 

My mother had a habit of squirrelling money away, not that she really needed to, it was her safety net. When she died,it caused my father a huge headache, trying to trace all her different accounts, some active, others not.

She wasn’t materialistic and never spent much on herself, when she did, she’d hide the fact or felt obliged to justify herself. In some ways, I am a little bit like that too but I think it’s all too common for mums in general.

She did once tell me the story of how when her grandmother was dying, she told my mum where she  had hidden her little nest egg and she wanted her to have it. My mother, being a dutiful daughter told her mother who promptly took it all away.

My mother was at the time married to a violent man. He beat her up whilst pregnant with her son.In those days, divorce was much frowned upon. Eventually, despite her hopes of  ever happy family, she came to the conclusion that she would have to leave.

She was a formidable woman, not the kind you can push around easily, she was also very strong-willed and stubborn, it runs in the family, on the women side anyway.

It goes to show abuse knows no boundaries or classes.

My mother came from a very well to do family, her divorce was seen a complete disgrace. She struggled to raise her son without any help, her own wealthy parents never lifting a finger.

By the time she met my father, she’d done well for herself and had some security. She never fully trusted my father, even though they had a child together, yes, me.

I always remember her telling me that when I married, I was to hide all assets and not share everything I owned.

Sadly, she never did get to enjoy the benefits of her hard work and savings, she became very ill and died when I was a teenager. I watched her becoming very weak, a shadow of herself, yet, she could still terrify everybody, myself included.

I’m not materialistic at all and dislike talking or even thinking about money. I’m not a great spender either but do enjoy splashing out on my children.

When it comes to trust, I could not live with someone I didn’t trust wholly and completely. I’m not just talking about money but much more than that, this deep knowledge that you are loved and respected.

Friends who know my background have often wondered how I could talk about my mother in a positive way after the childhood I had. Well, first of all, she was my mother and I loved her, growing up, I didn’t know any different.

Piecing it altogether, I can reflect on the fact she also had an unhappy childhood and she endured many struggles. Her illness and subsequent death were an almighty shock.

The more I grew in myself, the more I understood her and how difficult life had been for her at times.

Even after all these years, I still think of her and understand a little more all the time. There are many things I wish I could tell her as an adult and no longer the frightened little girl I was.

When I became a mum myself I watched friends with their mums feeling a little pang, we wouldn’t have had that sort of relationship, I know but…

I strive to do the best I can for my children. Nothing else matters more to me than being a loving mum with happy and well-balanced children.No achievement of any kind could prevail over this.

I’m the lucky one, I broke the vicious circle in my family, friends will know what I’m talking about. No matter what happens in your past, you can change and prevent history from being repeated.

First I ran, found myself and when I had nowhere left to hide I confronted my past.

 

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Extreme parenting in all cultures

I shuddered when reading the reviews and interviews of Amy Chua.

One example :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/15/amy-chua-tiger-mother-interview


She reminded me too much of my own mother, and no, she wasn’t Chinese. Rather she was from a certain background and a generation stuck in the past. I don’t believe this is necessarily a case of Chinese vs Western styles, you can find extreme ways of parenting in all cultures.
Children need love and encouragement, not being put down and threatened all the time. We all have our own strengths. Children should not feel bad if they’re less able in one are, they might be great in another. All talents are needed, otherwise, there would be no point, if we were all capable of doing absolutely everything!

I expect most children raised in this way rebel sooner or later. I’m not Chinese but the system she advocates is not far off the way my mother treated me.
It doesn’t make for happy children or adults. I had to learn to shake off all the labels and the fear.

With my children, I am the complete opposite. I want them to feel loved and have the confidence to find their strengths and thus give their best.

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/mother-love/


http://thegoodchinesemother.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/challenging-chua/

http://blog.seattlepi.com/parentingadabsurdum/archives/235930.asp

Don’t mess with a mum!

Today was a shocker. You think you’re safe, you do everything you can to protect your family and then something happens…

Two guys broke into our property in broad daylight. They had a ladder and forced part of our fence. I was still lying in bed, cuddling my son when I heard footsteps around the house.

While we called the police, I screamed at them and fortunately for us they fled. They probably thought the house was empty.

As you can imagine, I was very angry but as soon as peace had been restored I was shaking like a leaf. I know we were lucky but I still felt violated.

I have a strong issue with safety, having lived in fear for many years, some of you will know why. The dear one knows this and has always endeavoured to make me feel safe.

I need my haven, the place I can retreat to, away from it all. I need the gates that keep unwanted visitors away. I need to know my children are safe when they play in our garden.

And yes, I know, we can never be completely safe but I’ll give it a damn good try. My children, though very scared, were very proud of their Mummy. I roared like a lion. Don’t mess with a protective mum!

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/living-in-fear/

So much toss about motherhood!

Most of us choose to become mothers, as such we have a responsibility and duty to our children.After all, they certainly didn’t have a choice and they depend on us for survival and love.

This does not mean we have to suffer our children or be slaves to them.

We live in a free society and most mothers have a choice on how they wish to raise their children.

Ok, so, I’m a non-conformist.I do not bow down to so-called gurus who always know better and I can’t stand stereotypes.

There is no such thing as the perfect mother, why should there be? Is anybody perfect?!

My previous posts on motherhood have been all about choices and tolerance.

I didn’t choose to breastfeed.I was the first of my friends to be pregnant and had no preconceived ideas.
Yet, for whatever reason, as soon as I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, it seemed obvious to me.

Breastfeeding wasn’t easy, I was very weak after very difficult and life-threatening pregnancies.I was even advised to bottle-feed.I had mastitis several times,not fun!

Yet, I never felt I was a slave to my babies.I enjoyed the special bond I’ve got with them.

We are all different.I’m not criticizing anybody’s choices or circumstances but I  will not stand a so-called feminist belittling mothers who do breastfeed and make purees for their children!

For the record I did not use re-usable nappies. So?!

Mostly, I listen to my instincts.
You are the one looking after your baby, you’re the one who knows your child best.Children like mothers are all different and react differently.

Let’s embrace our differences

As long as you’re not harming your children and doing your best does it really matter how you do it! I know I don’t need a book or some ill-thinking person to tell me how to look after my children.
I love my children immensely, they’re happy and well-balanced and that’s what really matters!

Related posts:

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/motherhood-a-form-of-oppression/

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/e-badinter-and-her-distorted-views-on-women-and-feminism/

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/mother-love/

Mother love

I love being a mum, I have two beautiful children who brighten my life everyday.It’s not always easy being a mum, there are ups and downs, but it’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever done.No book can ever teach you how to be a good mum, some at best can give you ideas and guidance. I learned to trust my instinct and shower them with love, with love you can’t go wrong.They do tell me I’m the best mum in the world,I’m not perfect but I do strive to do my very best.

On Sunday, it was Mother’s day back in England.I’m lucky to have 2 Mother’s days, ever since my daughter found out they celebrate Mother’s day at a different time in France.At the time, I ‘d been rushed into a french hospital while on holiday. I was pregnant with my son and had complications early on as in all my pregnancies.Both my children were fighters, I’m lucky to have had them and I’m glad I didn’t listen to the doctors who said they wouldn’t make it.
On that Mother’s day in France, a nurse appeared in my room with flowers.I was dumbfounded until she explained they were a present from the local mayor to all the mothers at the hospital, a lovely thought.
So the tradition of both Mother’s day was established and I can look forward to it again in a few weeks.
I will always think of my  little ones who didn’t make it into this world, I’ve learned to accept there will be no more babies to cherish and hold in my arms, my last pregnancy nearly killed me.
So I count my blessings, I survived and was given the chance to keep looking after the two treasures I’ve already got, I’m a very happy and lucky Mummy.
“True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions.”

The expat child,or is the grass really greener…

I never really felt like I belonged anywhere as a child but I sure learned a lot from different cultures to foreign languages.

I was still a teenager when my parents died. I had pretty much educated myself until then and after completing a degree in America, I decided to go “home”. I married and very soon I became a very proud mum.
I tried hard, when my daughter was a toddler, pushed myself to go to the various playgroups, in spite of my shyness. Although, funnily enough, with motherhood came a new found self-confidence.
For a few years, I resisted travelling abroad and kidded myself that I had done it all, and there was no need to revisit. Of course, it soon started eating at me and so our first family holiday was booked.
As soon as we got to France, the memories and my french ,which I feared would be rusty to say the least, came flooding back as well as the way of life and the little peculiarities of the French.
Perhaps,like my parents, I’ve been looking for the dream place too.
All the countries I have lived in have their good and bad points, none has it all.
What I do know is, it doesn’t matter so much where you live but more the people you live with and the love you share.
I’m still feeling bohemian,I suppose but I also need that haven where I feel safe and loved and right now,I’ve finally found that perfect balance.