What Legacy will you leave as a Mum?

On Thursday, I attended the service of songs or wake keeping for my cousin, Sola, (still can’t believe it). One of his closest friends read a tribute and talked about the legacy he left to his daughter. Although he spoke about a lot of things, the word ‘legacy’ has reverberated through my being since Thursday. What legacy am I leaving for my children?

When Sola’s daughter came up and read her tribute, I was struck by two things. Firstly, what an eloquent young woman – her parents must have been so proud of her. Secondly, how present her father was in her life.  Over the next few minutes she went on to describe explicitly what it means to be present as a parent from a child’s perspective.

Sola poured his life into his daughter and her well-being what his utmost concern. Whilst he might not have had much, he had a lot of love and he lavished it on her. I realised as she spoke, that on this dusty road we call life, he focused on the principle thing – love.

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Mother’s day can mean a myriad of things to many of us. A day to be cherished; a reminder that we are taken for granted perhaps; a reiteration of the fact that you are both mother and father to your child; a reminder that the child you long for is still not yours; maybe sadness over the loss of your own mum – it means so many different things to all people.

In the midst of all the chocolates, flowers, pampering and what nots you may or may not be doing, I’d like to take moment to focus on what it does mean to be a mother – to be a parent. These are the lessons my young cousin taught me on parenting from the view of a child.

  • Children are kind. They don’t always hold your faults against you.
  • They love unconditionally.
  • They appreciate when you spend time with them – quality time.
  • It is important to create memories. It doesn’t cost much to watch a movie on TV together or share your favourite songs with one another. Create unforgettable memories.
  • Encourage them all the time. Motivate them. Be their greatest cheerleader.
  • Though you are parent first and friend later, be the one that they want to come and share their burdens with.
  • When they find in you someone they can trust with their hearts, they share their lives with you and crown you ‘best friend’. This is not a title you bestow upon yourself.

I hope I haven’t rained on anyone’s parade today. It’s a reflective time for me and a stark reminder about what parenting is really about – at least for me anyway. However, I also find it encouraging that what children remember are the simple things, not the things – what they remember is you.

My cousin’s daughter, my young cousin, taught me what IS important about parenthood. In her words, “my dad wasn’t perfect but he was perfect to me”. It suddenly dawned on me that parenthood-slash-motherhood is an act of service not a trophy. It is also a privilege that I probably do take for granted if I am honest. And in those moments when we rush from pillar to post in a bid to do it all, all of the time, this is a wonderful reminder that we are enough.

Her time with her father was so so brief, it is really heartbreaking, but he left an indelible imprint on her heart that will last a lifetime. I wonder how my children will remember me? Have you ever thought about that? What legacy are you leaving your children?

Yours,

RWW

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Overcoming School Run Trauma

Have I mentioned previously that I hate, with a capital H, the school run? Well I do! I really HATE the pressure it puts on me to get to the school gate at a certain time. The pressure to get to school on time so I’m not late for work. I hate that it turns me into the Wicked Witch of the West as I try to get my children to be compliant first thing in the morning.

As the new school year is upon us, I thought it would be good for me to revisit some of tips that have helped me alleviate the school run trauma.

  1. Iron and lay Out everything the night before – laptop, snacks, clothes, shoes and even underwear. The number of times that I have regretted leaving it till the morning is unforgivable. It’s a favour to myself and my kids to ensure we are prepared the night before.
  2. Wake up and have my shower before my children. If I am ready before them, I feel better prepared to handle their impending slowness in the morning.
  3. Eat breakfast. It puts my brain in gear and gives me fuel for the day.
  4. As they are old enough, let them make their own breakfast. If yours don’t know how to, teach them to make something simple!
  5. Give the children breakfast that can be eaten in the car or on the bus. 🙂 Anything that can be easily packed and taken along with us if we happen to be running late.
  6. As soon as they are home from school, give them a light snack and then do homework first before anything else.
  7. On evenings that they have after school activities, make sure dinner is prepped beforehand and simple.
  8. Don’t forget to check their school bags for notes and homework.
  9. Eat dinner early.
  10. Get them to bed early (not a guarantee that they’ll sleep) and remember to wake them up at the same time everyday so their body clock gets used to the routine.
  11. If you have young kids that share a room, remember to split them up at bedtime otherwise they’ll stay up talking till 11pm.
  12. Go to bed early. No late nights. Makes me cranky in the morning.

      Over and Over and Over and Over and Over and Over ……….

      If you have ever spent time with children or looked after them or have them, then you would have experienced the infuriating thing they do – watching a movie over and over and over AND over again.

      I could never understand it but now, as a wiser mother to a six year old and an eight year old, I know they were preparing me for a life time of living in a repetitive state.

      Little did I know that this quirk was a forewarning of the way things were going to be as they grew up. 

      • You have to tell them to pick up their clothes like two hundred times and repeat it all again, yep all two hundred times, the next day.
      • You have to tell them to clear the table after eating.
      • You have to tell them not to play when they should be eating.
      • You have to tell them not to talk whilst eating.
      • You have to tell my son not play football in the house, particularly in the room with French doors overlooking the garden WHERE he should be playing.
      • You have to tell my daughter not to touch things, especially fragile things in John Lewis.
      • You have to tell them over and over again to say ‘excuse me’ and not interrupt people in conversation.
      • You have to tell them, even after they’ve spent  two hours tidying up their room, to pick up their toys again.
      • You just have to tell them over and over and over and OVER again.

      I can only hope and pray that when they older some of what I’ve said will stick. In the meantime, may God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Sigh.
      -RWW

      © Redefining Wonder Woman

      Mummy, Do You Know ………?

      My son just walked up to me to ask where his swimming goggles are. I’m not quite sure if there is a job description for mummy about somewhere that states that she has super-natural powers.

      I mean, how else would I know where he put the swimming goggles that HE took out of his bag himself last week and PLACED heaven-knows-where? I must have super-natural powers. No wait! In fact, I AM Wonder Woman, so I will use my x-ray vision to find them. Why didn’t I think of that?

      Guilty Working Mum

      My daughter is usually in a hurry to get to school and eager to be first in line before they go into their classroom. However, for the last couple of weeks she has insisted that instead of saying goodbye in the courtyards, I walk her to her class and give her a hug and kiss. And then she says that she’d like me to stay with her and that she’ll miss me. Very odd behaviour, particularly if you know my daughter.

      I’m working on tenderness in my parenting (eye rolling but essential) so I sit with her; ask her why she wants me to stay and then tears ensue. So I have to stay a little longer and hug and kiss and wipe tears away whilst she sits on my lap. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking I need to get to work. I eventually calm her down and then tell her we’ll so something special when we get home.

      The head teacher had observed it all and stops me to ask if everything was OK and promised to monitor her as she also found it to be odd behaviour for my daughter. That got me teary because I was grateful she was in a caring school and I can’t take that for granted. But I was also a mixed bag of emotions for a myriad of reasons.

      I think every working mum feels guilty. I was wondering if I wasn’t spending enough time with her. Had I wrapped myself up so much in work that I was neglecting her? You know – those sort of fleeting thoughts.

      Silly thoughts really because even if I wasn’t working, I wouldn’t be able to stay with her at school right? Go figure! Anyway, I made a decision to do something with her on her own this weekend. Just to bond.

      As I drove to pick her up from school after work, I had visions of her running up to me and giving me one of her infamous bear hugs. I must admit that I was excited about receiving her hug especially after seeing her so distressed this morning. So imagine my surprise, no scratch that – horror,  as I walked towards the courtyard and she starts to back away – wailing that she didn’t want to go home, she wanted to stay at school.

      Note to self- you are doing a BRILLIANT job as a mother and your children are fickle so don’t trust them! Simples!

      You Are Doing a Great Job

      I wanted you to know that despite your darkest moments and constant doubt, you are doing a great job.

      Just by showing up every day and being there for your child, you are doing a great job.

      Sure there are things you could do better but always remember that children only care that they are loved unconditionally.

      So remember to laugh, remember to live in every precious moment and remember to love unconditionally.

      Happy Mother’s Day
      💋💋💋💋💋💋

      Happy Mother’s Day – For Mums No Longer With Us

      I uploaded a picture of myself on my blackberry profile and my cousin instantly commented on how much I looked like his mum.

      To be honest with you, that was like the bestest compliment anyone could have paid me. My aunty Dupe was hot, stunning, tall, graceful, fashionable and a fully domesticated goddess. She cooked, gardened, hosted amazing parties – as far as I was concerned as a child, she was uber amazing and her love for her children was unequivocal. She was just a chilled mum and I loved that about her.

      I told my cousin that was the best compliment he could ever pay me. Apart from the fact that she was pretty and elegant, I’ve always had a picture of her in mind when I imagine domesticated bliss. Her way about the kitchen was always an inspiration to me. I proceeded to tell him a little story of how I remembered her.

      When I turned thirteen, she gave me a YSL Paris perfume. It was such a huge moment for me. Not only was it not a cheap body spray, it was an expensive perfume. It made me feel so grown up and spoilt.

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      Sadly, she passed away about six years later and I could never bring myself to throw away that perfume bottle. I kept it constantly on my dresser – empty as it was. When I moved from Lagos to London at twenty-one, I brought it along with me. To which my cousin responded hoarder, in the way one would say L-O-S-E-R. I wasn’t ashamed. I know I have hoarder tendencies but only of things that have sentimental value and parting with this I guess felt like I would be losing the constant reminder of her. I cherished the constant reminder that bottle was of her in my life so I couldn’t throw it away. However, when we moved to Cambridge we got rid of a lot so two and half years ago, I finally parted with it. It was a little bit tough to let go of it but clearly her memories live on in my heart.

      She was by no means a saint, in fact she was a real as they come but as a human being, she had a great heart. When my mum was going through a divorce, my aunt was there not just to support her but to make her laugh. She made an unpleasant experience lighter somehow with her infectious laughter. And when she laughed, the whole world knew someone was laughing – right from the depth of her. She would throw her head back, and her shoulders would shake uncontrollably, often accompanied by tears of joy. That’s how I choose to remember her – pretty, elegant, tall, generous, joyful and sublime.

      So this post is dedicated to my cousins, her children, and all my friends and a host of people who I’ve never met, whose mums are no longer with us. I hope you remember them today as special. I hope you remember them today as loving. I hope you count yourself blessed to have been birthed by her – faults and all. I hope today is a day to cherish those wonderful memories you have of your mothers.

      Happy Mother’s Day.

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      Like Mother, Like Daughter

      My six year old daughter has a response, comment, argument, query and retort for everything. Some would say she’s just like me but they are H-A-T-E-R-S!!!!

      So this morning as we were preparing for school, after another comment to something that didn’t require a comment, I asked, “do you have to have a comment for everything?”

      She responded, channelling Lola from Charlie & Lola, “do I have to have a comment for everything?”

      I give up!!!!!!! Like what’s the point?

      Confessions of a Struggling Parent

      It would really easy to tell you all the great things my children do and they really do some amazing things. It would be easy to go on about how they are changing and challenging themselves to be good humans beings. It would be easy – particularly on social media.

      You can’t see me so I can spin all the good and true stories about them. But that’s not what Redefining Wonder Woman is about. It’s about taking the good and the bad and still taking a shot at life without condemning yourself. It’s about not making others feel lousy about themselves by exhibiting only your good side.

      I hope that’s not what I do? I hope you get a bit of my struggles and my triumphs.

      So today, I am struggling and I might elaborate on that in another post but today is just about acknowledging that I am struggling. Tomorrow will be different but this is today.

      I am struggling to remember that they are only children and will act as children.
      I am struggling to understand why everyday can’t be like the smooth sailing days.
      I am struggling to understand why I need to repeat myself over and over and over again.
      I am struggling to accept that children are primarily takers not givers.
      I am struggling to accept that this is motherhood.
      I am struggling to accept how after a session of me telling them off, they immediately turn round and say ,”mummy may I have a brioche?” 😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳

      So today I’m going to be kind to myself because they love me no matter what and tomorrow they’ll do it all again. I will simply remind myself that this is the reality of motherhood. Now where’s that latte?

      N-O Spells No!

      My mum and aunties said this to my sisters and I all the time as children and today I heard myself making the same statement to my son.

      His reply was, “that’s what Horrid Henry’s mum says”. And I said, “that’s what my mum used to say to me”.

      To which he responded “really? I thought you were going to say Y-E-S spells Yes”.

      Nice try, but the answer’s still NO!

      Horrid Henry's Mum

      Horrid Henry’s Mum

      *Picture credit: http://horridhenry.wikia.com/