I recently began a new series about how upbringing influences parenting. It remains to be seen whether it has as great an impact as I imagine, but that’s why I find these interviews so fascinating! I hope you will too.
(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!)
This week, we have Kate, the person behind LesBeMums.
Kate is one third of a same sex family based near Brighton, East Sussex. Living with her wife, Sharon, and their son, T, they write about life as a same sex family and their adventures.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
My relationship with my mum is so so strong. She is always there for me when I need her but she gives me room to be me (now a mother of my own). She’s always allowed me to be the person I want to be as apposed to the person she thinks I should be – and for that I’m grateful.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
From the very start she’s always given me the independence to make my own decisions, although becoming a single parent suddenly meant that a lot more responsibility was given to me (in comparison to other ten year olds) – I had a younger sister to look after! But even now at the age of 30 she’s never given me advice that I didn’t ask for.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
Oh wow. I can’t avoid becoming my mother – we’re bold after all, and she was a huge influence growing up – but being given the choice to choose my own paths in life has meant that I’ve become the person I am because of her.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
Treat others how you wish to be treated.
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
Treat your children with respect and you’ll get it back (eventually!). Probably not the best time to example this as we have a very bolshie toddler at times – but I can already see that if we talk and explain to him as apposed to just telling him he reacts better to that. I respect him as a person, even at the ripe age of two.
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
Trust your mothering instincts. Without a doubt. You’ll get heaps of advice throughout your parenting journey (a lot of the time when you didn’t ask) but nothing beats your own instinct. Trust it.
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 aim to communicate – a lot. We did a lot of talking when I was a child and it worked 99% of the time. I’ve learnt what works when it comes to motherhood by remembering what it was like as a child. I treat T the same way I was treated as a child, so I hope he turns out as perfect as I am (I’ll stop now! Haha!)
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
How hard it is. Like, really hard. Not only is it hard in an exhausting sort of way, but it’s hard emotionally. The worry and the guilt never stops, but the joy you feel when your child – this blank canvas – does something for the first time. I can see why my mum was very emotional when I was younger – it was pride.
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?
Similar in a sense that she treats T the same way she did when we were children when it comes to rules and boundaries. Plus, my mum is super respectful of what we do as parents and follows our rules. But with nana’s you get treats that you don’t get with your own mothers. I don’t remember getting a milky way after dinner, but somehow T does when he stays for tea.
10. Can you share a memory about you and your mother which illustrates your relationship?
When I came out as gay my mum took me to my first gay bar and we got drunk. Without sounding cheesy, we’re friends – but not the kinda friends that let each other do stupid things. We look after each other mentally and physically, and know when something is wrong.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.