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 Laura, the person behind Edinburgh Life With Kids.
Laura write the family lifestyle blog Edinburgh Life with kids. She’s a 32 year-old married Mum of three kids. Laura has a 12 year-old step-son, 5 year-old daughter and 2 year-old son, and they are based in Edinburgh Scotland.
Taking a lifestyle magazine approach, Edinburgh Life with kids provides simple, honest, inspiring and down to earth advice for parents looking for inspiration. It features articles about Food, Fitness, Style, Design, Family Activities, and hosts regular reviews and competitions.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
I speak to my Mum pretty much on a daily basis unless she’s away travelling. Failing that we text pretty often and have a family ‘Whatsapp’ group. She’s the person that I turn to for advice or really if I just want to talk about my day. I think it’s nice for her to have someone chat about mundane stuff now that my Dad is not around.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
My Mum worked very long hours when I was growing up and weekends were quite busy with activities. We argued an awful lot when I was a teenager and just seemed to clash a lot of the time. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that we really started to talk.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
I think we probably clashed because we’re quite similar in a lot of ways. We can both be quite determined and opinionated. She’s always encouraged me to learn as much as a I and to take education very seriously. This is certainly something I have tried to relate to my children too.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
I really would like to avoid fighting with my daughter when she’s a teenager. I think it’s important to give her space and to listen. I think my relationship with my mother improved ten-fold when she just left me to make my own decisions – and make my own mistakes as a consequence!
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
I try to avoid working when i’m with the kids and like to try and pick them up/drop them off at school. I’m very lucky that as a teacher I generally work the same hours that they’re at school and have great holidays!
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
To be nice to everyone. This is partly selfish advice because it means people are nicer back. But I remember asking why she talked to this random parking attendant but it turned out that he helped her at the ticket machine each day. By talking to him and being civil, her life improved. So basically, kindness never hurt anyone!
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’d like them to do what they want! I might dream of them going to Cambridge one day and ruling the world, I’d like to think that if they want to leave school and start they’re own business, or go off to Art School that I would be cool with that. My Mum really did just let me chose my own path (it didn’t always feel like that) but effectively, I made some daft decisions but she supported me through it all.
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
That I also care about what other people think! I always used to scowl when my Mum wanted to brush my hair or didn’t want me to wear a football kit out to dinner. But honestly – I don’t like my kids looking a mess either!
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?
Her relationship with my kids is very different as she’s had the time to spend with them. She went back to work very early and I always had a nanny as a small child. Watching her try to cope with the whirlwind that is my kids is genuinely hilarious sometimes. But she has given them loads of time and does a huge amount of childcare for us when she’s in Edinburgh. When she’s off travelling then she often Skypes. I know my kids adore her and really miss her when she’s away. I think their relationship is different but she’s their Grandmother not their Mother.
10. Can you share a memory about you and your mother which illustrates your relationship?
Both of us are not exactly ‘navigationally able’. Years ago, we had attended my Grandmother’s birthday meal without my Dad as he was sick. We had got there without any hassle but upon leaving everyone had given us advice on the best route back. This really meant we got really lost.
Initially, Mum just tried to work it out by herself. This resulted in her actually driving the wrong way on a dual carriage way and me screaming at her.
Then she wanted me to sort it out by finding where we were on a map whilst she drove. This was before Sat Nav and did not go well.
Eventually, we just stopped in a village, took a breath and mutually made a decision to just live there.
I have no idea how we eventually got home but it was alright in the end and actually – it’s now quite a fond memory for me. Mum still remembers it as being terrible.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.