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 Mim, the person behind Love From Mim.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
She’s my closest friend – I tell her pretty much everything. Within reason, sex talk is generally off the table! She’s my sounding board for everything else to do with my life, relationships, kids and health.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
We’ve always been ‘friends’ but have grown much closer as we’ve both gotten older. I definitely went through that phase in my teen years of not telling her a thing. I remember she told me how it upset her and she wished we shared more. That, in turn, saddened me and I made a concerted effort to share more with her. It’s strengthened our relationship even more and I’ve discovered that we are so much more alike than I thought we were.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
In both good and bad ways. My mum has a lot of empathy and understanding for others and I learn from her to appreciate everyone’s differences.
She’s also a huge worrier and over the years, I’ve picked this up from her so much more than I would like to! I see how she worries about her children and I’m starting to do the same – more so than needed.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
To be both more open. My mum is a great listener and whilst she might always know the best course of action for me when I have a problem, she will also listen to me and help me to work out the best way forward for myself.
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
Mum was a Teacher and has so much love for allowing the children to learn for themselves as well as guiding them on the right path. I try to make the effort to listen to my children and to let them problem solve for themselves when appropriate as it’s what my Mum does for me.
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
My Mum tells me constantly that you can’t change people. Other’s actions sometimes drive me to distraction but she’s right in that some people just will never change. I am only in control of how much I let them in my life and affect me.
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 hope to always be my children’s mother first and their friend second. I want to provide them with a safe, welcoming place to feel happy and be free to speak their mind, as I was when I was a kid.
As my children and I grow older, I hope our relationship develops into a stronger friendship where we are equals, as I am with my Mum now.
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
Whilst I always wanted to be a Mum, I didn’t know how naturally it would come to me. I had no experience of kids, I’d never so much as baby sat. My Mum taught me to trust my gut when it comes to muy family and it’s absolutely always right. I, along with my husband, know what is best for my babies and no-one else. My Mum gave me the confidence and faith to trust in my own abilities as a Mum to put the needs of my family first.
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?
It’s like looking back in time to when I was a child! I love seeing the interaction between my Mum and my kids. She is so happy and patient with them, teaching them when she can and delighting in their every action.
I feel so happy to have been able to give my Mum grandchildren and she just adores them, as they do her. I’ve always joked that they love her even more than me! Which makes me so so happy that they adore her as much as I do.
10. Can you share a memory about you and your mother which illustrates your relationship?
Since having kids, and since being diagnosed with Breast Cancer recently, there have been so many memories I could recall that demonstrate how much my Mum is truly there for me.
When I was too ill to be a fun, hands on Mum, she slotted into that role for me. She looked after me and my babies simultaneously without a thought to herself.
Despite being petrified of flying, my Mum made the move from the UK to Australia to be with me and many family and I’m so grateful every day for that.
I’ll never be able to thank my Mum enough for continuing to raise me and to help raise my kids.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.