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 Talya, the person behind Motherhood: The Real Deal.
Bold, authentic, straight-talking and hilarious – Motherhood: The Real Deal has had parents nodding in agreement with its mix of sassy thought, unbridled humour, general WTF-ness about motherhood and parenting, SOS tips on how to survive, expert advice and reviews.
1. Can you describe your relationship with your mother today?
Although my mum and I are close we have a turbulent relationship at times. She would do anything for me and my own little family, but our personalities are really different. I take after my dad more – and they are no longer together for obvious reasons – and I take a can-do attitude life whereas my mum can get beaten down by life – and that’s hugely because of her extensive health issues. It means that often we seem like we’re from other planets but despite our differences the old adage blood is thicker than water still prevails.
2. How does this differ/is this similar to the relationship you had growing up?
Quite similar…it was always fractious yet she would have done – and did do – everything for me. Ours was not a harmonious household and she wasn’t the kind of mum I confided in – I was too scared! She was really in a bad place with post natal depression when I was growing up but she did the best to muddle through in life and with our children and for that I can not fault her…but it showed in our relationship.
3. In what ways has your relationship with your mother influenced your character and outlook on life?
Hugely. It has sent me in the opposite direction! It’s made me want to soak in all the positivity of life and I practice a daily gratitude practice every day to help me keep a positive outlook. I do have days when I really need to battle my demons thought. I think because I’ve grown up seeing her not being happy with herself and her life it’s taught me one thing in spades – you have to love yourself because if you don’t, nobody else will.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your relationship with your mother?
Honestly? To be more selfish. My mum did so much for us and our family, and then when my dad left he, her whole world fell apart. She had nothing. No career. No sense of self, and her mental health was on the floor too. It’s taught me while being kind and giving to others is important in life, you have to look after yourself first and foremost in order to be the person others need you to be for them.
5. In what ways has that affected your parenting style?
It’s taught me things like the importance of taking time out as a mum and not feeling guilty about it, so that you can fill up your cup and be a better parent. It’s taught me to be the best mum I can be without it ruining myself and that while yes, I’m a mum I am also a person with interests and a sense of self and that should be cherished and nurtured.
6. What’s the best/worst piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
Bless my mum her advice changes like the wind….but from her own experiences she often told me I needed to toughen up. Strangely I think becoming a mum has softened me in some ways yet hardened me in other ways that are necessary in order to survive in life!
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 really want to be there for my daughter 100% – but not so much physically. I mean mentally, and emotionally. Growing up, I don’t think my mum and I ever talked about issues and problems – that was only something we did in latter years and I’ve tried to be open on the communication front as early as was possible with my daughter. Now she is four and just starting school with all the issues that come with that, the importance of communicating openly has just started to kick in.
8. Based on your relationship with your mother, what has been your biggest surprise/revelation/epiphany when you became a mum yourself?
Just how much she sacrificed for us and how hard it must have been for her. She had two children, in a country that wasn’t hers…she didn’t even speak the language and learnt it by watching Sesame Street with us..and she had zero support. It can only begin to imagine just lonely, isolating and challenging that must have been.
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 the strain can be felt with my daughter. I think children are so sensitive and they pick up more than we can even begin to comprehend and so the days when our relationship is good, there is…and the days when it isn’t, it spills over to theirs also. I’ve come to accept things for what they are enjoys things when they are good, but it can be tough.
If you’d like to take part in the series about how upbringing influences parenting, please email me.