Meet the Mums
Everyone has a special relationship with their Mum. On our blog we want to tell the stories of Mums from every walk of life. We want to inspire you, maybe show you a different perspective and above all showcase how different one of the most amazing jobs in the world can be.
In this article we talk to Liz – she’s a Mum to Claire who’s 21. She began her working life in the pharmaceutical industry. When she became pregnant with me, she moved into teaching – and 11 years on she’s still going strong!
What does parenting mean to you?
Parenting is so many things. For us, ‘parenting’ isn’t what some might say. She’s 21, so for us it’s such a bigger idea. It’s all about teamwork. We’re all working together to reach the same goal.
In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding bit of being a parent is?
I don’t know if courage can be taught. Whether it is, or isn’t, it’s one huge aspect to parenting. Sometimes I’ve wondered if some of the stuff Claire has done has been achievable but if you meet each challenge with the same amount of determination you’ll be surprised what can be done. In 2011, Claire had a spinal fusion to correct a 65 degree S shaped curve in her spine. It’s fair to say we were both petrified. Though if you’d have said she would have crossed the finish line of the London Marathon 8 years later I wouldn’t have believed you – but I would have been a lot less worried!
How do you think your parents have shaped how you’ve bought your kid/s up?
My parents first set eyes on each other as Doctors training at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. They really were a pair. In pre-Facebook days they wrote each other love letters which still exist to this day. It’s safe to say, my Dad wasn’t the most by-the-book person. In doctor’s exams there would be an actor given the task of ‘presenting’ with a particular illness. They then had to correctly diagnose the illness. I have no idea if this is true or not but he’d say how he could always sweet talk the actor into divulging the illness. Well after he retired, he continued dispensing medical advice (some more wanted than others!) where he could.
Igniting your kids curiosity is something everyone should do. Okay his medical approach may have been somewhat unorthodox – there was one thing which was always there – and that’s his curiosity. One thing he taught both of us is to continue asking questions. We’d have so many random conversations about the weirdest of things. From how the world’s first lab burger was created to a family of wild orangutans – we covered it all. He taught us the power of knowledge and the importance of continuing to learn – developing new skills all the time. Whether it’s something big or small – we try to adopt this approach wherever we can.
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
She’d definitely say she got her wacky parts from me and the sensible grown-up bits from her Dad! Travel is totally were she feels the impacts of it. So perhaps I’d encourage her Dad more to take greater leaps of faith and travel beyond a 2 hour car drive from our house! My Dad was a HUGE fan of travelling – venturing to all four corners of the globe. He went to Australia to visit friends and family, the Northern Lights. You name it. Some of our holidays had mixed success though. I remember having such high hopes for the Northern Lights. Though maybe thanks to a touch of light pollution, we saw them across a car park and they didn’t look as special as people made them out to be! But nonetheless I don’t think that’s put Claire off her desires to visit Norway and other Alpine countries. Though money isn’t vital to having an amazing time. Trying new things and stepping a little outside your comfort zone could be though.
Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story!
Claire has always loved animals. We had a local zoo with chimpanzees. Years ago we must have told her a story which was so life like we managed to accidentally convince her she’d gone into the chimpanzee enclosure to feed them. She then proceeded to tell the whole school about her chimpanzee encounter! It was only in semi recent years we had to break it to her that it didn’t happen!
What annoys you the most about parenting?
Me and Claire are so ridiculously similar. We finish each others’ sentences, at restaurants we order the same stuff (not intentionally, we promise!). People can never quite believe that yes we have our own opinions but a lot of the time they are soooooo similar. And the other bit – probably more annoying is when Claire gets ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry all at the same time). I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who lives her life quite so dictated by food!
What’s the one most important thing about parenting?
There’s not a single magic ingredient. Just to ‘be you’ is probably the most important. You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If someone doesn’t value your skills and personality for what it is then it says more about that person than it does you.
Would you like to feature on our blog? Send us a message on Instagram and we’d love to work with you on an article.