Posted by: Admin | October 27, 2012

A Mother’s Advice

For the first time ever I am today re-posting a blog post. This is in response to a conversation I had recently with a new project50 follower who is the mother of teens. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you enjoy. If you have, I hope you enjoyed it enough the first time to forgive the repetition! There are two posts here, actually, so you’d better make yourself a cuppa if you intend to read on, I’ll wait for you… ready? Here goes:

LETTER TO MY DAUGHTERS

So, my bright, brave, beautiful girls, has the title of this post got you quaking? Worried what your mother’s going to make public? You might be horrified that the whole world is now exposed to the “mum-isms” that embarrass you so much (such as my off the cuff remark on the radio on Friday about being top heavy with men), but actually most people don’t take me that seriously ;-)

Family is your foundation, 1990

No, this is my way of imparting my priceless pearls of wisdom across the miles, sent with love (and only a little devilment!) You’ll have heard some of it before, but it bears saying again. Some of it will apply to you, some won’t, but I’ve lived a little, so this is hard-won intel here. Pay attention.

So, as you go through life as the strong, independent young women that you are, please remember the following:

  • Men always feel better about themselves if they think they know more than you. Sometimes, if you love them, let them think it – it’s good for their mental health.
  • You are beautiful. Believe it – you’ll knowit’s true in thirty years when you look at old photographs and remember how you hated your nose/chin/thighs, whatever, by which time it’s too late to enjoy being young and gorgeous.
  • Life is too short to spend it worrying. Apart from a little light long-term planning, take each day as it comes and roll with the punches.
  • Never, ever say “that’s just my luck” when something bad happens, or it will be. Trust me.
  • Always take responsibility for your own health. If you eat lard, you’ll get fat, smoke too much, you’ll drop dead, drink too much, you’ll wake up with your knickers on your head.
  • Never be afraid to wake up with your knickers on your head.  It shows character.
  • But try not to wake up with someone else’s underwear about your person.
  • The best contraception known to woman is the word “NO!” If you can’t remember that, you’ll never remember to take a daily pill.
  • Find something to laugh at EVERY SINGLE DAY.
  • When life gets tough, stay cheerful. A long face gets slapped more often than a smiley one. Plus frowning means all your wrinkles will point downwards.
  • Nothing lasts forever – bad or good. Accept that and you’ll appreciate what is.
  • In the Western world, Life is rarely as hard and complicated as most people perceive it to be. Keep it simple.
  • Cultivate “an attitude of gratitude”.
  • Remember where you came from, but never look back.

    Sister, sister, 2007

  • Except to say hello to your parents every now and then.
  • Don’t labour under the illusion that I want you to phone me every day. I have a life. But you are still part of it, so try to fit in a weekly call.
  • Always listen to your intuition – better to be safe and look an arse than sorry and fall on yours.
  • Believe in yourself – you are without a doubt two of the brightest, most precious souls currently gracing this planet. And I am not biased.
  • Stay interested in life. It’s very interesting.
  • Always look for the good in people – there are more good people in this world than bad. Most are simply doing their best to get by, just like you.
  • Never say “I’m not a feminist, but…” The basic definition of a feminist is a woman who values herself. That’s it.
  • Always listen to advice respectfully, but never feel obliged to take it. Not even mine.
  • Be frugal with money. Strive to want what you have rather than have what you want.
  • Never miss an opportunity to help someone else.
  • Remember – how you feel is a matter of choice. Choose to be happy.

That’s all the wisdom of my years distilled into a few hundred words.  As you know, I don’t always manage to live this way, but I do try. At the end of the day, in the words of the song, the love you take is equal to the love you make, so make sure you make lots of love. Er… maybe I’d better stop there, girls. Wouldn’t want to embarrass you.

Love Mum xx

LETTER TO MY SONS

He’s not heavy…

Hey, boys – did you think you’d got away with it when I wrote my letter to your sisters? hehe – I’ve been saving this ;-)  Thing is, you were both the sweetest little boys and watching you grow into the men you are today has been a privilege, and one of the greatest pleasures of my life. You’ve both had your problems as well as your triumphs, but don’t worry, I’m not intending to talk about those. Time was that you used to hang on to my every word, now our time together is so precious, we spend it having fun, not setting the world to rights.

So, where to begin? Not too many words, I guess, or one of you will find his attention wandering and the other will start ending my sentences for me :-) This, then, is what I want you to know:

  • BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. 100%. All the time.
  • You don’t always have to have the answers. When a woman tells you she’s had a bad day, she doesn’t want you to tell her how she can put it right, she just wants you to listen, give her a cuddle and pour a large glass of wine. If you can manage a foot massage you will probably pull.
  • However, if she’s had a bad day because the washing machine has broken down then she DOES want you to have all the answers. And the right tools to fix it with.
  • Try to find time to exercise. The male of the species needs a daily run, much like a dog, or you’ll get fidgetty.
  • Beer and fags will take their toll. So will whisky.
  • Sometimes, a toll is worth paying. Just not all the time. Take the scenic route.
  • And don’t take drugs.
  • Pay your bills on time. Save rather than borrow. Spend less than you earn. It’s not rocket science.
  • Learn to say no occasionally. She’ll respect you in the morning. (Just kidding!)
  • Stay interested in your career – never stop looking for your niche.
  • But don’t allow yourself to be defined by what you do. It’s a cliche, but no one has “he was a good worker” emblazoned on his tombstone.
  • Don’t forget to shower. And yes, you DO need clean socks, underpants and shirt EVERY DAY!
  • Be aware of your motives. Examine your conscience. Then stick to your guns.
  • Ask yourselves occasionally: WWPD? (What would Poppa do?) You might dismiss the answer, but it’s a good yardstick!
  • Love your mum. Be available to help your dad when he needs it, as he inevitably will as he gets older. But aside from that, live YOUR life. Don’t look backwards.
  • Never forget that you are still boys. Kick balls, play computer games, laugh at farts.
  • However, don’t allow yourselves to become infantilised by computer games, or continue to try to light your farts. You are men now, not boys ;-)
  • Be there for each other, and for your sisters. Friends will come and go, your family will be beside you forever.

That’s about it. Nothing you don’t already know really, but sometimes it’s worth setting these things down. You are, without doubt, two of the best. You both have strong wills and big hearts. One of you, at least, has a reckless streak a mile wide with a smile that matches it, so that’s ok, then. Keep cheerful, look for the good around you – it is there, if hidden at times. When you are tossed about like matchsticks in the fast flowing river of life, don’t forget that there is a safe haven, both in your family home and in my heart. I’ll stop there before you drown in cliches.

Keep the faith, boys. Love Mum xx

What advice do you give to YOUR adult children? I’d love to know, so please do share by commenting. The advice we give says a lot about us, doesn’t it? If you’ve read the above, you will now know me quite well. My children are my light, my joy, my legacy. They inspire me every day to be the best person I can be. They make me proud. And penniless. But mostly proud 😉

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