Raising My Children My Mother’s Way! :)

Raising My Children My Mother’s Way! :)

*I write this post as a rememberence to my mother who I lost almost 18 years back, and it’s meant to be a celebration of what she meant to me! :) I think holidays/milestones etc are often hard for those of us who’ve had to deal with loss and hope that what I feel resonates with those of you who sadly know what it is to stand in my shoes! I hope that in my journey as a parent, I also bring alive the memory of grandparents my children haven’t met! This is not a tear-jerker, and even as I love and miss her, it fills me with panic that my trajectory toward becoming her is nearly complete!! :D. Read on….

I’ve often heard people say that when you raise your children, you also raise your grandchildren – you never really see that till you hit your 30′s and you realise that the battle against becoming your mother is largely inevitable! You can run, but you can never hide!! I’ve been thinking about my mother increasingly these last few months, and realised (with a healthy dose of hysteria) that I’m quite a bit like her! I always thought that would happen to my sister! Throw in yawning at 10 pm and some serious anxiety over restricted baggage allowances and you’re ready to go to that place of no return! :)

I remember odd things when I think of my childhood. I remember my mother, who quoted Virginia Woolf to pre-adolescent kids in the face of any human conflict. We were to always remember, like we did our names, our telephone number and our address, that if we were to truly understand any human being, we were to see them in the context of their surroundings and the experiences they grew with.

Since we could never completely know the above mentioned parameters, it was eminent that we would never totally understand whoever we had the conflict with. Hence the conflict would lose its center – being not a conflict, but the natural outcome of human interaction!!

 Base premise – humans are essentially never to be wholly understood. Virginia Woolf! One of my mother’s most appreciated lessons!:D

Another of my earliest memories of when I was a little girl, was wanting to be in the kitchen because it was warm, and that’s where my mother was. You never lose that feeling – although I clearly didn’t pick up much more than that in all the time I spent there! As I’ve mentioned countless times before, I have no culinary skills and have begun to think I was probably dropped as a child resulting in a significant blind spot where one processes culinary-anything, Sci-fi, Gaming and Twitter!

When it’s 1 AM and I’m craving pancakes : As my children grow up, I, like so many of you, find that quite subconsciously, we’ve formed our own family traditions. Some are rooted in what I did with my mother, and make an attempt to reinforce that with my children as that’s the only way I can make my mother real to her grandchildren! For instance, the other night, both my girlies were up late and wouldn’t go to bed without a midnight feast..they were off school anyway so my otherwise regimental self agreed that it would be fine. We decided to make pancakes, my childhood solution to any malady, celebration or setback!! My mother passed this onto me, it was the only thing I ever learned from her! I’d have to say it was the most emotionally satisfying hour I’d spent with my children in the longest time. :)

“It’s a plié, Mummy, a plié!” : Aren’t winters just the most apt time for nostalgia and stocktaking?! Or maybe that this December was spent with me in largely hostage situation-husband away visiting family, one child down with the flu and asthma attacks, power cuts and storms, and I’ve had a significant amount of time to ‘ponder’! :) This winter, I passed down another thing to my children that harks back to my own childhood! When I was 10, my mother’s  very good friend gifted me Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes. She said to me gently and very well-meaningly “, I know you haven’t the body for ballet, but you do have a keen, imaginative mind that can make this story come alive. Every little girl should should have something to do with dance.” Clearly, either the words or the books made an impact – I fell in love with ballet and adoption! :) I gifted my ballet-enthusiastic children their own copy though I have my 20-year-old copy still kicking around, far from their grubby hands! Of course, I’ve had to modify the language as I read to them…like so many classics, it’s hopelessly politically incorrect for our times! Gotta love it!! :D

Ballet shoes, noel streatfeild, old ballet shoes, pointe

Ballet Shoes- Past, Present and In-between :)

Autumn is when every leaf’s a flower: At the start of every autumn, we make it a practice to go out and see the leaves, see the brilliance of nature and how seasons turn and change! Apart from the fact that we don’t do summer and are therefore very pleased to invite the cold, the payoff is priceless! To see the wonderment on my children’s little faces as they stamp on leaves and rustle through them is more than anything money can buy. Autumn/Winter is big at our home…we do walks, celebrate the nip in the air, have countless cups of hot choolate and babbycchinos laced with cinnamon. We incessantly and hopelessly watch movies! No better time to feel that “this is my family, I belong to them and they belong to me and there’s nothing more I could ever need more! ”  Growing up, my aunt would make us traditional drinks made with milk, clarified butter and lentil flour  (Besan ka doodh) when the cold set in, and we brought out our thick jumpers to get ready for it! Such magical memories of traditional bonfire nights and warm roasted bonfire foods! :)

I know that in a few years we’ll also have the danger of the shared tradition of the lot of us sat in the same room on our various devices, in silence !! We hope to get so much in before selfies, twerking, video games and dragging them out of bed become a part of our lives!! I think back to all the little things my mother did with us and believe that like us, these experiences will feed them throughout the happy and trying times of their life.

 

For all of us who try so hard and then fall off our saddles trying harder; I think of how all the most perfect memories I have of my mother are those that she would probably get shivers to, if she knew of them!  Our generation puts so much emphasis on ‘memory making’ and the complex ways we think we need to accomplish that…expensive holidays, high-investment gadgetry and other whatnots.

  • I remember the way my mother’s arm smelled as I rested against her on a journey somewhere… I don’t remember where to, though!
  • I remember her smile as she tried to drink a rotten cup of tea I made her (I suspect strongly that it never got drunk). Good parenting doesn’t need martyring yourself :P My mother was a right rogue, very often telling me things right as they were…she believed in reality checks! She was a fabulous cook but the best thing I ever ate was something she put together for me, randomly on a rain-soaked day when I hated the stew she cooked for the family. She could never replicate that dish. It was for that one moment only!
  • She was someone who didn’t shy away from saying that every time I said I hated her, she knew she was doing the right thing.
  • I remember her absolute uncool dancing as she cleaned the house, unaware that I was going to retain this in memory without any desire to, believe you me! :)
  • I remember her perfume, her lipstick, her having a good and bad hairday. I knew her fake smile; and her corny laugh! I knew that her friends loved her, and she loved them back. Children know so much! :)

Good parenting is showing your child you’re there, you’ll always be there in them, even when you’re gone physically. Showing them the way for them…giving them the vision of their best self and telling them you believe they’ll get there, albeit after they finish hating you and life and their hair! Home is where you know you can always go back to, even if it’s just to find your corner, get into sweats and skulk  around for a week before you decide to speak!  I often have people say to me that my mother was the best mother ever,  like so many other lovely mothers who’re no more. I say, yes, she was the best mother she could’ve been -  to me!! She was funny, pure evil, loving, a rogue, a great friend! And I am so much of all that, at 6.5 and 5, I’m sure my daughters will already attest to the first two :D

I haven’t had my mother around for more than half my life now…and never has a day passed when she’s not been around. I say that with the biggest smile… :D

She’s left too big an imprint on me, and now- hopefully on mine!  x

 

                  *I’d love to hear about a family tradition that you do with your family, whether as a remembrance or just because it’s sweet :) !! *

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Comments

  1. My mum sat where you do now with regards to her mother. We didn’t get to know our grandmother – only glances of her when she would sit in front of the big dressing table, putting jasmine flowers in her hair. Instead, when my mum and I had arguments about how I’d never be like her when I grow up, she would smile painfully and tell me how that is the thing she used to tell her mother. I’m not married, don’t have children and I’m only in my late 20s and still I can see that slowly, I am becoming her and there is nothing better. From my mum, we learnt to have sundays that were just for ourselves. We’d massage hot coconut into each others hair, soak our feet in hot water, cuddle a hot cup of tea and watch an old Hindi movie or some new reality show she was into. My mum didn’t know cooking either when she was first married and doesn’t enjoy being in the kitchen, but the best meals I’ve ever had is the snacks she’d whip up when I was staring outside at the rain or when she’d come up to my room and wake me up with coffee (best coffee ever!) or when she’d dramatise something that’s happened to her – complete with accents and facial expressions. Like me, I’m sure that your two R’s are going to be proud to call you their mum and go through their whole lives feeling loved, loved, loved. xx

  2. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    I remember I started my yet unfinished novel with this sentence ” I have often noticed that when one grows up with a particular disability; physical or emotional, one seems to have a heightened sensibility of things that touch or resonate against that shifted core” – I feel that about parenting! I’m a very self conscious parent, and I mean that in a positive way…not sure that even makes sense!! :) I marvel at how we imprint our parents, view their flaws, their strengths- and how that perception is fluid and dynamic through the years as experience enriches you. Your “cuddle a hot cup of tea and watch an old Hindi movie” is very evocative of some of my best memories growing up! Thanks for stopping by, A! Always a pleasure to chat with you !xxx

  3. Aww lovely post, whoo mine would love pancakes at 1 am :) lovely pictures too …
    Thanks for sharing with us at Welcome to the weekend blog hop…

  4. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    Thank you for the opportunity, Claire :). It’s a pleasure to be on board! Thank you also for stopping by :) xx

  5. Kanch, she sounds marvelous, as are you! It’s obvious you are a ‘conscious parent’ and I say that with admiration-your girls are going to have the best education in life. I love family traditions, my own & others-lovely post! I remember playing games, lots of games. And my parents playing loud soulful music whilst they cooked/baked. Friday nights (after piano lessons) were always ‘film night’ where we bought 4 different chocolate bars & quartered them & had them in a bowl each.
    I love that your mum was a rebel, mine is too & I intend to follow suit ;) x

  6. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    Must do the chocolate in the bowl! :) thanks for your lovely comments my dear! ;) No one would’ve ordinarily thought my mum was rebellious, but she so was!! I remember when my dad, typical bloke, didn’t want to fork out for a new camera (my mum was known in her circles as photographically gifted ; p); she sold her gold bracelet and bought a new camera!I remember standing outside the store and her telling me she’d enjoy the cam so much more. ‘Twas our secret! Not the best parenting, I’ll admit but I love her for it! :-). I remember wishing at times for her to be just like other parents I knew -”normal”, but I am so thrilled she wasn’t! ! When I said I wanted a faith, she was like “if you want a God, go out and find him – God doesn’t have grandchildren. That just sums her up ;)
    I’m overwhelmed with the response this post has had. ..and glad that I got myself to write it! I’m so guarded about sharing my family ;). Xxx

  7. Aw what a lovely post – what beautiful memories you have, and are making for your little ones. I love the midnight pancakes – might have to steal that one as I’m sure Mushroom would love it! I might write a whole blog post on this one so will let you know – thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Rachael! :) We revisit the pancake tradition the most :) naturally, (wink, wink)!! Would love to read your version of this -keep me posted!! Xxx

  9. This post is like a warm cuppa’ hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. Thank You for that warm, fuzzy feeling in my toes and for making me think of my mother. And yes, I think I’m getting her ‘cleanliness OCD’ ! =)

  10. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    Thank you for loving it- It’s so warming when I manage to make someone feel that way with my posts! :) I started this blog as a one-stop shop for my children, a journal of where our family traditions stem from! I cherish all the little things that are unique just to the way I was brought up – something all of us have, and want to assign it it’s proper place in the landscape of our lives! I’m getting the cleanliness bug too, but seriously, two children under 7, anyone would!! Always a pleasure to hear from a reader, and more so, a friend! :) xxx

  11. It is true we take what we learned from our mothers and use with our kids, hopefully only the good stuff!

  12. my mum is still with me, but I have memories of childhood times together that will never go away. Our mothers are responsible for the women we become, I think. If I can carry myself with even a dot of the grace and elegance my mum does, I will be very pleased xx

  13. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    That is so well put, Jo! I try everyday to keep the dignity, the magic and love she grew me up with and pass that on to grandchildren who’ve never seen her! I will always be a copy of her, to me- she will always be the real deal! :) Thank you so much for stopping by! xx

  14. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    I’ve got the temper too, Becky :P xx

  15. Lovely reminiscent post. I know I’ve become my mother in many ways! You brought me right back with ‘Ballet Shoes’! How I adored Ballet as a child… I’m really loving ‘Big Ballet’ on Channel 4 on Thursdays. Loved the pancake-making too :-)

    xx Jazzy

  16. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    I was an athlete when I was younger, no grace whatsoever :) I remember being lost in that book and reading it many , many times over! I’m glad my daughter’s living my dream for me :) Thank you for stopping by, Jazzy! xxx

  17. My mom just passed on February 21st and this was so refreshing. I’m praying that I can be half the woman my mom was, and I wonder so many times how she raised 7 kids by herself, then I realize she didn’t that GOD was with her. I adored my mom and I can tell you adored yours too. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Intrepid Misadventurer says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that Marsha…and from the sound of it, you’re about as lovely as you say your mum was! I wish I could say something that takes the pain away..but living well is my best tribute to my mother! :) xx

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