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 Emma-Louise, the person behind Even Angels Fall.
Emma lives in Bournemouth with her partner Ed and three children Cameron, Carly and Benjamin. She writes lifestyle blog Even Angels Fall, which covers a bit of everything from parenting, weddings, beauty, food & fitness.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
My mum and I are more like sisters than mother and daughter. We are very close but tend to bicker from time to time as we are very similar and our personalities can clash as we are so stubborn. We live only a 10 minute walk from each other and she will always babysit and help out at the drop of the hat – I’m very lucky to have her around.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
Growing up I didn’t appreciate my mum as much as she deserved. I took her for granted and it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I truly realised how amazing she was and still is. She raised my brothers and me as a single parent on two occasions, and even when she was with a partner, she carried the family. She’s an incredibly strong woman, and an inspiration to me.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
When my first marriage failed after only 8 months, I knew I would be ok because my mum had gone through two divorces and come out the other side. I think growing up with a single parent helped me to feel capable when I was on my own with the children too.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
My mum has always been there for me and my brothers and will do anything she can to help make us happy. I’ve learnt that happiness comes from your children, in more ways than one. Knowing that they are happy can put a smile on my face on even the darkest of days (I suffer from depression).
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
I try and give the children a happy childhood like my mum did for us. Having said that, I’ve often thought my mum has let people walk over her too much and I try and be a little firmer in my parenting style for that reason, whilst still doing everything I can to create a happy home for the kids.
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
The best advice would be that tomorrow is another day. Suffering with my mental illness, sometimes it’s hard to take this on board, but it’s true and something which has helped me in times of emotional turmoil. I don’t think I’ve had any seriously bad advice from my mum – things I didn’t agree on at the time, sure, but generally all her advice is useful and true.
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 that my children will grow up and follow their dreams, which I’m sure is something which every mother hopes for. I want to be the supportive mum rather than the pushy mum who forces hobbies on her kids. This is something my mum has always done well.
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
The lyrics to the spice girls song mama resonates with me now I’m a mum myself.
“I didn’t want to hear it then but
I’m not ashamed to say it now
Every little thing you said and did was right for me”.
Before you become a mum yourself you just can’t comprehend a mothers love. It’s hard to understand just how much you can love another and then you have them and you totally understand why your mum was worried for you in certain situations, why she seemed overbearing and why she always checked you were doing your homework, keeping out of trouble etc. She was doing it because she loved you.
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?
I think my mum is slightly less cautious with my children than she was with me and my brothers. She will let them have more treats, and she will let them watch that extra film. I love how close she is with them, and that the older two absolutely love staying round her house or when she does things with us. It’s lovely that she’s been able to shake off some of her protectiveness this time round and can enjoy them for the free spirits they are growing up to be.
10. Can you share a memory about you and your mother which illustrates your relationship?
Despite the fact that my mum doesn’t drink, she has a fantastic knack for being hilarious when others have been drinking. Whilst staying at a hotel on a rare night without the children, I’d had a few glasses of wine with dinner, and we had a very silly, giggly walk back to our hotel room. Once we get going we laugh until our heads hurt. Time spent with her is time well spent. She’s my best friend as well as my mum.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.