I have been scheduled to post for Cheltenham Maman for quite some time now, yet my screen sat wordless. What’s with the delay, Deb? Well, since I approached Kate and asked if I could contribute in some small way to this juggernaut of a mummy movement, I waited for some epic moment of writing inspiration to hit me. I was sure that something amazing to report from my daily life was on the horizon and upon drawing a blank on both counts, I returned to Kate’s initial pointers of what to write. One of which was the suggestion of a humorous post. And guess what? I’m not at all funny.
That then left me with the dilemma; what would I like to read? What would other Mamans like to read? Although I am still completely defined by my role as a Mother, my children are in the tween/ teen stage so I’ve moved on from reading about teething and nappies (although I do revisit these with two ever-changing mindsets of poor you and I want another!) so that left me with the option of writing an older children mummy post or the ‘about me’ post. I’m all for freedom of speech but I didn’t think it was right to make public my unique & rather strange internal monologue, for fear of getting committed, not to mention the fact that this was again something that wasn’t worthy of sharing.
So I threw it out there and asked some of my closest friends and fellow mums, asking them not only what they would like to read about, but also what was the first thing they thought about when they thought of me. The replies where quite frankly some of the most meaningful comments I have ever heard about what I like to see as my life’s biggest achievement – my role as a mother.
Like most of us parents, my children are my world. I became a mum at the ripe old age of 24, having given birth to my daughter the day before my first wedding anniversary. I was lucky enough to have a blissful pregnancy, although living in a hovel as we renovated our house was far from bliss. I also run the risk of upsetting quiet a few mums since I had a natural delivery that lasted 30 minutes… an hour after going to the toilet and feeling a head. Which as you can imagine led to a very hurried trip to the Cheltenham maternity unit. Nine months later we were to do it all again, but unfortunately (by which I mean ‘horrendously devastatingly’, but will adopt the usual terminology associated with miscarriages) it wasn’t meant to be. 22 months later we were blessed with our second daughter who again shot out in a very uneventful, due to the sheer speed of my labour, way. As my husband says, “it was as easy as shelling peas”… well, not quite.
So what am I trying to achieve in this brief summary of my journey to becoming a mother? Well, let me tell you. I consider myself tremendously lucky, not because of my quick births, although they were a big bonus, but because compared to other mums who have their own very traumatic tales of conception, birth and loss I am lucky enough to have two amazingly beautiful daughters and for all of my self-depreciating faults I have a remarkably strong sense of self when it comes to the parenting of my daughters.
Although I’m by no means a perfect parent I fundamentally believe that parents instinctively know what their own children need; whether they choose to be a good parent is another matter. My children are not always perfect either, but they are kind, strong and confident, remaining unfazed by relocations, school moves and the general turmoil in which we live our lives. All of which those nearest and dearest to me put down to my honest (which is a polite way of saying no-filter) approach to parenting and my fierce, protective lioness nature when it comes to my babies (there is a pun in there for those who know my maiden name).
And as to the moral of this story well here it is. Sometimes it is easy to let your instinct get clouded through circumstances, external influences and self-doubt, but at the core I think being a parent is an amazing force of nature that a lot of us, male and female are hardwired for. Every child, parent and circumstance is unique and in talking about my style I am not advocating it but instead urging other parents to stop beating themselves up based on the latest sleeping or weaning trends, on whether or not they are a stay at home parent or working parent, and throw caution to the wind going against those who compare children in the playground. Instead, allow yourself to love your babies and love parenting with a smug sense that you are doing a good job and with that your little person will grow up to be who they are meant to be. Although as a disclaimer I should probably insert an advisory note to dodge doing the school run in PJ’s or letting your children play in the road because you’re embracing their nature to explore.
I’d like to end on a mildly humorous anecdote that was brought up during my requested full disclosure. Please express to your offspring that it is NOT acceptable when you are a teenager, or at any age for that matter, to walk into a Boots store with a push-bike when shopping for make-up, just because you don’t have a bike lock… I took that bike everywhere with me! Something I obviously now realise was completely inappropriate behavior but it does highlight my fierce maternal and protective nature that seems was apparent from a young age! Nobody was getting their hands on that bike.” Lioness, you see… whether bike or child.
A Guest Blog from Debra Beames
After relocating back to Cheltenham, with her family after 10 years of being beach bums in Poole, Debra aka A Blog Online is keeping things manic with the recent launch of her own online concept store, Harbor Beau. An environmental and ethically focused shopping community, offering style without compromising on consumer values.