“Your job is to show her the world, not to be her world”. This is what my partner said to me in the first week of our daughter’s life when he saw me more scared than he’d ever seen me before. I got so frustrated by the constant questions of ‘do you love her?’, ‘Are you enjoying it?’. How was I meant to answer these questions I’d only just meet her! Now I know its ok to have mixed emotions about motherhood.

From the moment she was born I was constantly trying to get back to ‘normal’. It took me several months to realise that she was the new ‘normal’ and that was actually quite good. She teaches me to look at the world in a different way, to slow down and see the world with new sparkly eyes. I’ve never seen anyone so happy to start the day, she bounds with joy and enthusiasm. She is happy to be alive and just happy to be with me. Sometimes her wriggleyness annoys me. I just want to say ‘be calm and just hug me’, but she’s got other things on her mind.

Who can blame her after all, she really does take after me. I had a really healthy and active pregnancy and consequently I rarely sat down, jogging here, cycling there, places to go for me and now for her too.

Your Mother

When I was about 10 my mum worked in a children’s centre, a child she had to look after had AIDS. This was the 80’s and AIDS was still a bit unknown and mum’s other colleagues were nervous to look after the child. I remember being so proud of my mum, she didn’t hesitate in nurturing the child. When I was 14 I wrote a story about this for school. When I was 16 I ripped the story up in a rage, when I was furious at mum after we’d clashed. When I was 18 I taped the story back together when I felt love towards her again! I think this event goes some way to symbolise my feelings about my mum; pride and fury. Mum was young when she had me and quite idealistic. Her idealism is a trait that she has taught me. It hasn’t always served me well but I wouldn’t be me without it, and mum wouldn’t be her without it.

Your Mother, You, Your Children

After not living near mum for 10 years, she moved down the road from me a few years ago. I was thrilled that I finally had the chance to be physically and emotionally close to her. This really manifested itself when I was pregnant. At times I can be too quick to discard mum’s wisdom and advice but this time I was determined that I would really try and listen and learn from her. This begun from the moment I gave birth to the next generation of women in our family. My mum was the first person to dress my daughter and she even looked like mum. She calls mum the same nickname I called mum’s mum, and so the cycle continues. Mum is so in love with her. When Mum refers to my daughter as ‘her little girl’, I want to shout ‘but I’m your little girl’! I often think that Mum favourite part of seeing me is seeing her.

I have a lot of respect for my mum and the way she raised me, she is relaxed and trusting. The three of us often spend long days together, mum is the head matriarch. I sometimes wish I had a mum that backed down when she was wrong, I think this would have served me well in life. I hope I can give this to my daughter. I was always quite anxious about having a little girl as mum is strong willed and determined and in turn I am also strong willed and determined. The upside of this was that Mum always let me be me but this also made mum and I clash badly over the years. I’m pretty sure that I too am raising a girl of a similar nature. Already there are signs. Should I counter balance it? Do I want to change it? Should I just let it be?