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Tell me about your mother

(116 Posts)
Aqualegia Tue 20-May-14 10:45:37

I was at an Arts' Festival on Sunday and met Tracey Kershaw, who is currently running a project entitled "Tell Me About Your Mother"

traceykershaw.co.uk/projects/tell-me-about-your-mother/

People were invited to sit in a comfy chair, give a few moments' thought to their mother, write a few words and then post them (anonymously) into a box. Tracey then printed out a few onto a calico material and hung them on a washing line (looked incredible).

It was strangely moving for me. I ended up writing something like, "She came from a long line of mothers who didn't enjoy being mothers. By being brave and honest enough to admit this to me, she enabled me to transform the future of that line" ... which is better than my usual lazy condemnation of her limited mothering capacity.

Over to you. Imagine it on a washing line, flapping gently in a nice breeze smile

DeputyPecksBentBeak Tue 20-May-14 10:49:47

She tried her best.

Whenever I think of how my mum parented me and how she is with me now I can always pick faults, but I know she's tried her best and although there are things I wish I could change, or things I look back on and wonder "why did you do that?" confused, she had our best interests at heart and did the best job she could.

Interesting thread- thanks for starting it.

DreamingofSummer Tue 20-May-14 11:00:46

A very bright lady from a working class background with high aspirations for her children to make something better for themselves. She encouraged us to widen our horizons beyond our northern home city

Her job (she'd never have thought of a career) was severely interrupted by WWII after which she met my dad, married and had 5 children in 6 years. She was the boss in our house - dad handed over his wage packet unopened and she controlled the finances.

She was devoted to her children and grandchildren and put them before herself. Thinking of others first and the importance of the Golden Rule is what I've inherited from her.

She had typical working class conservative views of the world including on the role of women, the importance of religion and what made you "respectable." She never "got" the 60s and the social changes that followed. She'd have hated the idea that living together is common let alone having kids without a marriage certificate.

She died way too young at 60 thanks to the tobacco industry.

Thank you mum - I still miss you

beginnings Tue 20-May-14 11:09:36

She raised whole people. She enabled us to find ourselves while instilling strong values. She gave us an incredibly happy childhood, despite not, by her own admission, not really loving having small children.

She did this despite having no good role model.

The best gift she gave me on my own journey to motherhood was telling me that she didn't fall in love with her children at first sight. I felt guilt about other things, but not that. And that was really empowering.

She irritates me madly very often. But I irritate her madly too. And we wouldn't be without each other.

Nocomet Tue 20-May-14 11:17:57

She always describes herself as the last of the dinosaurs. A very traditional, non working, home cooking and baking, home cooking, reasonably house proud Yorkshire house wife.

I just know I love her and wish I could take away the pain of her arthritis and give her back her mobility and dignity sad

Nocomet Tue 20-May-14 11:19:06

Home sewing (not cooking x2)

Oh and your washing line must have matching pegs on each banner!

Aqualegia Tue 20-May-14 11:21:58

God, these are glorious!

Chopsypie Tue 20-May-14 11:31:17

My mother is a person, not the superhero I thought she was as a child. She has her flaws and foibles and she drives me mad at times. As I've gotten older and had children of my own I appreciate her parenting style. I was allowed as much freedom as I thought I needed but always given a strong safe home to return to. She always treated me with respect even when I didn't deserve it.
She is very open emotionally. It can be wearing as when she is upset, she can't or won't hide it. But it meant I was always aware of the impact of my actions. I always take the time to tell her I love her and I know how happy it makes her.
She doesn't appreciate some of my personal choices (married at 21, baby at 22) but she has never criticised and has only ever supported me in my decisions.
She's amazing and doesn't deserve the shit hand that this year has dealt to her. But she has built a strong caring family who surround her and we are helping her through it, holding her hand.

My goodness that was long. I'm a bit misty eyed now. I'm off to ring her

PoirotsMoustache Tue 20-May-14 11:31:42

From the moment the eldest of us was born, she has given her all to us and done everything she possibly could to raise us to be decent and happy adults. She has put us first always and has shown nothing but love and care towards us. I hope I'm just half as good a mum as she is, but I don't think I could ever live up to her example.

bakingaddict Tue 20-May-14 11:33:02

She does deep down love her children and grandchildren but because of her own troubled childhood she has difficulty properly connecting with people and her insecurities trouble her terribly and have always ruled her life.

My mum is narcisstic (sp) and while i've plenty of stories to tell the upshot is that i've always felt second place behind her friends or whatever cause she had on the go. Despite that she can be supportive and encouraging on a superficial level if it doesn't involve her having to actually do anything more than offer soothing words.

As a mum i've vowed to take an interest in my kid's activities and to try and be there for them in more than just an abstract way. Don't get me wrong I do love her, she is my mum after all, I just don't rely on her

mammadiggingdeep Tue 20-May-14 11:34:10

Amazing woman. Complete unconditional love for her family. Strong, independent yet best friends and devoted to my dad after 45 years of marriage. If I'm half the mother she has been ill be doing ok.

JackAubrey Tue 20-May-14 11:36:00

She is absolutely my heroine. Funny, acerbic, brave, honest. Loving. Softer than she gives herself credit for. Beautiful, stylish, sweary and chain-smoking..God, I LOVE HER.

Aqualegia Tue 20-May-14 11:38:07

Oooh, bakingaddict, that rings very true for me, too.

pingufan Tue 20-May-14 11:51:48

Don't know where to start...She was the product of a very domineering mother herself who also suffered mental health problems - my mother was very loving towards us when we were little but always suffered with 'bad nerves'. Became very controlling as I was growing up and her mental health was declining but would never do anything about it. Started hitting the bottle to cope when I was around 9 or 10 and things deteriorated from then onwards

I had a difficult time in my teens because of this and left home at 17 as I just couldnt stand the moods, shouting, regular drunkeness, controlling me and my life as she didn't have one of her own. Had a strained but stable relationship up until last year when all the drinking finally caught up with her and she got end stage liver disease. I tried everything to get her help but it was always refused. She was still nasty, bitchy, uncaring of me and my children even when we were travelling a 2 hour round trip to see her daily.

I decided on my daughters birthday (when she was particularly vile to me when I visited her in the hospital) that I was cutting all ties and putting my family first.

I havent spoken to her for 18 months which has put a strain on my relationship with my father (who is an enabler to her)

So sad - I feel I've missed out on a proper mum. I have promised to break the cycle and would never do this to my children.

Limelight Tue 20-May-14 11:52:26

She loves us fiercely and unconditionally even when she is a little frightened of who we have become. Her first instinct has always been to protect, and I know (in part because I'm now a mother myself) how hard it was for her to step back and allow us to make choices she would never have made. She (and my DF) made us believe we could do and be whoever we wanted to be.

Love breeds love I think, and I think that she knows that her love for us is returned. She is the centre of us. It's taken my marriage to someone who has never experienced this to understand and appreciate it. As my DH comments on regularly, when I am ill, or worried, or trying to decide that right way forward, I want her. I know now that this isn't a given, she has worked hard to achieve it. I only hope that my DC feel the same.

pausingforbreath Tue 20-May-14 11:56:27

My Mum ; truly beautiful both on the outside and the inside.
All my 'good' attributes I have, she gave me.
Kind, patient, loving, gentle, supportive , funny and fair - but never weak.
If if can make my children feel half as special, appreciated and loved as she made me feel - I have been successful.

Mum , thank you for allowing me to make mistakes, grow from them and learn my independence; to watch me and be there when I needed you to support me , never call me stupid or unfairly judge me.

Mum, thanks for being the best Mum a girl could get.

Mum, ten years tomorrow I lost you, a whole decade without your smile, laugh & the worlds best hugs.

Love & miss you so much.

Shosha1 Tue 20-May-14 12:05:48

Mum, you knew how to cuddle and clean scraped knees.
You knew when to grit your teeth and say its a phase.
You knew when to send us to the bottom of the stair and when to praise our efforts.
You knew when to smile and when to frown

You knew when to catch us and when to let us fall
You knew when to raise us up and when to push us.
You knew who we were and where we were going
You accepted us as us and loved us unconditionally

You knew when you became ill, and tried to protect us
You knew how you wanted it to go and decided quality over quantity
You knew you were dying but only thought if us
Most if all you knew you were so greatly loved by us all.

LayMeDown Tue 20-May-14 12:08:17

Selfless in everything really not just with her kids. Shes loves harder then anyone I know. Liberal and ahead of her time for a very conservative time and country (Ireland in the 70s and 80s). Not so much now as the growth of liberalism in Ireland has overtaken her. But it was an important example when I was growing up.

An absoloute rock solid base. She made some mistakes of course but the single greatest influence on my life and an example of a good person. A pressure for me is knowing that I will probaly never be as good mother as she is. I dont know anyone who loves their kids as much as she loves me and my sisters. This is down to how she is prepared to suppress her own feelings for us and to make us happy. I dont think i have this capacity.

To good for my Dad, but he appreciates her as much as she deserves now (he didnt always). She is very easy to please, time with her family is what she values above all else, but people she loves could take advantage easily. Very few of them do, which is a good reflection of where she gives her love.

A giant, not jsut in her family but her community as well.

GiniCooper Tue 20-May-14 12:14:19

Superficial, materialistic, selfish, overly concerned with other peoples opinion of her/us. Very jealous and insecure. (Also dependant on alcohol in recent years.) Delusions of grandeur and always felt she was meant for a better lifestyle.

Very thankful for grandparents and older siblings influence growing up. Grandmother especially would have had much more simple views on life and gave little time to 'stuff' except for books and reading and instilled a love of learning and nature.

ChangelingToday Tue 20-May-14 12:31:07

Should never have had children

Meerka Tue 20-May-14 12:51:12

my adoptive mother: loving and beloved. I miss her still, bitterly. Wish she could see my older son and newborn.

my biological mother: <sigh> sad. Appalling. Underneath everything, there was love, but the price was far far too high. I fear it was better to be unloved than to pay the price she demanded.

ninilegsintheair Tue 20-May-14 12:52:51

A confusing, emotionally manipulative, narcissistic person who thinks she did the best for us and would probably weep if she could read this. I have never felt completely whole as a person due to her influence in my life.

She stood back and watched my physically and emotionally abusive dad hollow out my insides as I grew up into a shell of what a real person should probably be. Despite all the excuses she never stood up for me or tried to help. She was on the periphery, watching.

I've watched her similarly ruin the lives of my siblings, one of which is much younger than me and is simply unable to function socially. The other sibling is the 'golden' one and just as damaged.

Then Mum stood back and watched as I got into a relationship with a man so like my dad he could be his younger twin. Never once has she ever asked me if I'm happy. I'm not, Mum.

I now live 3 hours away and rarely see Mum. Phone conversations are brief, awkward and irregular.

I want to love her more but I can't get past the hurt. Now I have a daughter of my own I don't know how she did it. She loves her granddaughter which is lovely to see.

I would say I really miss you, Mum, but I'm not sure you were ever there. in the first place.

pointythings Tue 20-May-14 13:06:43

She came from an utterly dysfunctional family - narcissist stepfather, enabling mother - and was horribly neglected emotionally. She did not repeat the mistakes of her upbringing and was loving, firm, sensible, fun. Now that we are grown up and in our 40s we are seeing her frailties - her huge emotional dependence on my father, who is very ill with Parkinsons and advancing dementia, and her tendency to look after everyone but herself...

She has enormous insight into why she is the way she is, and once nearly reduced me to tears by saying she wished she had been as patient with Dsis and me as I am with my DDs. No mum, you did just fine and I wouldn't be the parent I am if not for you.

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Tue 20-May-14 13:17:19

She loves us. I have never been in any doubt about that, she's made mistakes and didn't handle divorcing my Dad the best way, but everything she does in relation to me and my brother comes from love.

isme10 Tue 20-May-14 13:18:51

Funny without even realising that she was. Beautiful in a simple and timeless way. Loving without the lashings of treacle. Protective while giving us all room to breath. Individual and never afraid to say what she thought. Brave and full of life in spite of the cancer that took her away. We should have said we loved each other more but it never mattered that we didn't. We just knew.

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