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 Jennifer, the person behind Jennifer’s Little World.
Jennifer is a Mum to two and lives on the South Coast. She blogs at www.jenniferslittleworld.com, and loves days out and travel with the family and crafting.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
I think that my Mum and I have a very close relationship, we don’t see each other as often as I’d like and I’m guilty of not calling her as often as I should, but we always have plenty to talk about.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
It’s very similar, I’ve always been close to my Mum and felt that I could talk to her about anything growing up (in fact, I probably shared lots of things with her that she wishes I hadn’t!) I don’t remember ever arguing, not even as a moody teenager. I don’t tell her everything now, but I know that she’d be there to listen if there was something that I wanted to discuss.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
I’ve always felt that she is supportive of me and interested in the things that I get up to. It’s given me the confidence to try new things.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
Always take time to talk with children, even if it’s about something that seems silly or unimportant, and take all their little concerns seriously.
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
I have many happy memories of doing crafty things with my mother and it has definitely influenced the way that I spend time with my own children. I’ve copied lots of the activities that we used to do that I enjoyed, like cutting out pictures from catalogues to make collages, painting plaster of Paris models, building dens in the garden. I think I’m quite relaxed, and I hope that I can give the same freedoms that I had as they get older.
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
Some of the best advice from my Mum – always check the toilet paper before you sit down, and never buy cheap washing up liquid! I’ve been racking my brains to think of the worst advice and I can’t think of any – I think that my Mum has always been very careful not to give me too much advice, she’s better at helping me come to a decision by myself.
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?
The main thing that I want is for my children to be happy, and so I try to do all that I can to make that happen. I feel that my Mum has always been proud and supportive of me and so I want to be the same.
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
I was very surprised how difficult it was dealing with a baby! My Mum always said that I was a terrible baby that never slept, but I never really appreciated what that meant until I had a terrible sleeper myself!
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?
Their relationship is similar in many ways because she enjoys doing the same sorts of activities with them that she did with me, she tends towards the quieter activities like crafting, jigsaws or reading, which they enjoy very much. She doesn’t interfere with opinions on how I’m raising them and goes along with what I do. I think that she’s very careful not to judge or criticise my parenting, which is great. I love the relationship that they have, and they love spending time with her.
10. Can you share a memory about you and your mother which illustrates your relationship?
I remember one afternoon when my Mum and Dad built us a puppet theatre from a cardboard box, and then my Mum sat down with me and my brother and sister and we made all the puppets so that we could perform the Gingerbread Man. It sticks in my mind because we were all so happy working together with no distractions and doing something crafty that we all loved.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.