Don’t get me wrong, when I was growing up, I certainly had some fun with my mum such as standing in the living room singing our heads off, watching her cheer for me and my sister at yet another majorette competition or simply climbing into bed with her and snuggling up ( and at the age of 30-something I am still doing this last one and with my daughter in tow as it’s our favourite place to be!) However, every mum has their choice phrases that they pull out at every opportune moment don’t they? Now, being a mother myself and listening to the things I come out with, am I turning into my own?!
Phrases I heard on a regular basis as a child were things such as; Its waTer not waugher – there is a T in the middle! I’m THE mummy! Because I say so! Be nice to your sister – you’re supposed to love each other!
It wasn’t that long ago in fact that she tried to use “I’m the mummy” again and I quite quickly rejoiced in being able to point out that I was also now a mummy. Her response, however, left me speechless “But I am THE mummy!” End of discussion.
Not only did my mum wish for us to speak correctly but she also enjoyed us looking immaculate and for a long time dressed us in identical outfits, something I am thankful to say she can no longer get awa
But it wasn’t just her children that she wanted to look well turned out but also her home and over the years, as we’ve grown up, has taken a lot of stick for her very particular tastes. She has a penchant for anything Laura Ashley, whenever possible would always prefer a finer brand, names her handbags with varying levels of “posh names” depending on the designer in question and was ribbed for months when she decided that aubergine and pewter was to be the colour scheme of our bathroom when I was 14 – a fact which is still occasionally mentioned. She put up with us taking the mickey and we begrudgingly put up with being corrected – and all I can say now 30 years later is 2 things;
1. Thank you for correcting me as its helped me no end in getting things I’ve wanted.
2. Oh dear god…. I think I’m turning into my mother!
My ability to speak correctly, and with no regional accent, enabled me to get a job teaching English in Sicily, Italy where I remained for 3 glorious years; the reason I got the job being the way my voice sounded during my phone interview so I was told. I also think, perhaps wrongly, that I have come across better in job interviews and professional situations all because of the way I have spoken and held myself. I have a collection of random qualifications, but it has to be said that when I went for Spray Tan training, I stuck out like a sore thumb, similar to seeing Julie Andrews trying to break dance.
As for turning into my mother, my previous comment is testament to this as unfortunately I feel that I may be turning into, or may in fact already be, a bit of a snob! I call my mum a snob in the nicest sense of the word, simply meaning that she has certain standards, and absolutely despairs at the way in which my brother speaks, as he often sounds like he has stepped out of an Eminem or 50 Cent music video. But the scary thing is, I think this may be happening to me. When around my brother and his girlfriend for long enough, I find myself automatically correcting his pronunciation when he drops letters from sentences and I find myself making instant judgements about people based on the way they speak, though luckily I also have the presence of mind to get to know their personalities too. Don’t get me wrong though, despite being a self proclaimed snob, my mum is also the first person to jump in and help anyone from any walk of life and would give her last pound to someone who said they needed it
There is, however, one lesson that my mother taught me and taught well and one I hope that I have learnt and am able to pass on and that is to love unconditionally. We, as children all have our moments when we come close to breaking our parents hearts, but my mum has loved each and everyone of us, our own children included unconditionally and sacrificed so much to give us everything. For a lot of our lives she has been a single working mum, and when I was old enough to understand discovered she often went without quite a lot, including food, to make sure that we were okay. Yet despite doing things mostly on her own, there isn’t one assembly, show or sports day that she missed, even if she had to sit their in her nurses uniform using up her lunch hour. That doesn’t only make her my mum but my friend, and her knack for unconditional love is something I hope I have and aim to pass on.
In retrospect, I am not sure it is such a bad thing turning into my mother. My daughter boasts a wardrobe bigger than mine and thanks to “Nonna” always has an ironed array of dresses and outfits meaning she is immaculately turned out which gives me a sense of pride. Despite being surrounded by varying levels of elocution, I will endeavour to make sure that Alyssa learns to speak correctly as she grows up and surrounds herself with people that make her happy wherever they come from and whatever they do. Plus, I do not think there is a person in the world I could possibly love more than my daughter.
I may be a single mum but I have had a good example of what I can achieve in this role. Therefore it does in fact look like I really am “My mother’s daughter!” but that’s okay by me.