I’m beginning this new series for two reasons, the first being that I need some easy content for when I have a tiny baby keeping me busy, and guest posts are perfect for that! The second reason is that I’m genuinely interested in how upbringing influences parenting – good or bad.
I’ll be frank – when I initially came up with the concept, I was looking for controversial tales – because they’re often where the most fascinating stories lay. I also loved the idea of giving those parents affected a space to write about a deeply personal subject that they may feel unable to discuss on their own blogs.
However, it quickly became apparent that there was a fair bit of interest in sharing not only the less than perfect scenarios, but also celebrating the more traditional and harmonious relationship between parent and child.
So, with that in mind, I opened the floor (series) up to all bloggers. And if there are any guys reading, please don’t be put off by the title – you’re more than welcome to get involved! I apologise for the un-PC title, but quite simply, I love alliteration. If you have any less sexist suggestions I’d love to hear them!
First up, we have Jo, the person behind Miracle Max.
Jo is mum to a very special boy named Max who is just approaching his first birthday! It took five long years to conceive Max, and Jo started her blog to document the journey into the world of parenthood. It’s a diary capturing all of those beautiful years that ahead. Growing up Jo’s mum was her hero, she still is, and if she can do half as good a job raising Max as her mum did with her then she’ll be happy.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
If I had just one word to describe my current relationship with my mum it would be perfect!I know this sounds so cliché but she really is my best friend.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
I’ve always had such a close bond with my mum. I honestly can’t recall her ever saying so much as a cross word to me and my siblings, she has the patience of a saint! Our relationship has only gotten stronger over the years.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
We’re actually quite different. For example my mum is quite reserved, whereas I’m pretty outspoken. She’s taught me to pick my battles wisely over the years and that sometimes it’ better to walk away and be the bigger person.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
To look at life with a more positive outlook. My mum has always been a glass half full type of lady, whereas I’m the opposite and tend to focus on the negatives and what could go wrong.
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
I suffered with PND in the early months after having my son and I really struggled. My mum would call me every evening and ask me how my day went, and she wouldn’t let me finish he conversation until I’d picked out one positive thing that had happened that day – no matter how small it may have been.
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
I always remember my mum telling us ‘Reach for the stars and even if you fall you’ll land on the clouds’ and I now have that saying printed on the wall in my son’s nursery. It reflects her positive attitude perfectly.
7. How do you hope to influence your own children as they grow up and become adults, and does this reflect your relationship with your own mother?
I want to teach them that they can be anything they want to be, and I’ll always support them in their decisions 100%. My mum didn’t push us in any particular direction growing up, she let us pick our own paths in life, and make our own mistakes. She never judged us, she was just there to pick up the pieces if we needed her too. I hope to do the same with my children, I’d hate for them to see me as a pushy mum.
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
That parenting is tough! My mum made bringing up three children look like a breeze – but it really isn’t! Becoming a mum has flipped my life upside down in so many ways and I can’t believe she made it look so easy.
9. Has your mother’s relationship with your children followed a similar pattern to your own relationship with her, or is their relationship very different? How do you feel about that?
My mum treats Max as if he was her own child. He’s only 9 months old still but he’s been for many sleepovers and days out with her. It’s lovely to watch them together. But she’s not getting any younger so I think she secretly enjoys giving him back at the end of the day so she can have a rest!
10. Can you share a memory about you and your mother which illustrates your relationship?
My mum was recently one of my birthing partners, along with my husband. She sat awake holding my hand throughout the entire 32 hour labour, not wanting to miss a moment. Even when things started going wrong and I was rushed into theatre for an emergency delivery she looked at me and smiled and reassured me that everything was going to be fine – and it was. My husband was a nervous wreck the entire time so I really couldn’t have done it without her.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.