I was listening to BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour this week and one of the segments on the show was about Mother’s Day. The focus was on turning into your mother and how daughters felt about that seemingly unavoidable fact. As you might expect, whether or not you take the comparison to your Mum as a compliment or not very much depends on the relationship you have with her: if it’s a negative or difficult one, turning into her is the very last thing you want.
Fortunately, I have a great relationship with my Mum but even I admit that when people compare my mannerisms or looks to her, I balk a little. Or at least I used to.
Increasingly I find myself opening my mouth to hear the sound of something my mother would say, or I look back at my Pinterest interiors boards and realise I have nearly exactly the same aesthetic as she does. Whereas before I would have tried to differentiate myself from my Mum, now when I hear myself use her sayings or buy something for my flat that she too would love, I do so with fondness and a deep appreciation. I’ve stopped worrying that I am becoming her and count myself lucky that of all the women I could have turned into, I was lucky enough for her to be my one and only option. So, in the spirit of Mother’s Day, these are the things about my own Mum that I really don’t mind adopting:
When I was younger, I used to think that my Mum’s taste was a little questionable at times. We’d be in an antiques shop and she’d pick up an item that on its own looked over the top or strange, but she’d always reassure me that once it was back at home in exactly the spot she had in mind, it would look perfect. Lo and behold, she was right every time. My Mum’s got a fantastic eye and I would always glow with pride when friends came over and complimented our house; the ultimate seal of approval.
Her go-getter attitude
My Mum has always been the type of person who makes the most of every opportunity. When opportunities haven’t been forthcoming or blatantly obvious, she has made them for herself. From opening her own lifestyle shop in London in the 90s to learning to fly a couple of years ago, there isn’t much my Mum won’t try her hand at. She’s always up for trying something new and rings me to tell me about a new project she’s taken on almost every month. Her go-getter attitude is infectious.
Her ability to laugh at herself
Though I’ve never actually asked her, I’m pretty sure my Mum is the funniest person my Mum knows. She is constantly saying something bonkers or mildly inappropriate and then erupts into the loudest, most contagious laughter imaginable. I’ve come to realise that being able to make yourself laugh is one of the easiest ways to remain sane – no, honestly – and I’ve noticed that I too crack myself up more than anyone else I know.
This is something I haven’t yet mastered as well as my Mum. She has the ability to behave quite badly and always get away with it – I think it has something to do with her doe eyes. Prime example: Mum taught me that grabbing a bite to eat while you wander round doing your weekly food shop is perfectly acceptable since you’re buying such a mammoth amount from the supermarket anyway. I know a lot of people do this, but they then put their empty sandwich and crisp packets through the checkout. When I used to ask Mum if it was okay that we popped our empty packets back onto a random shelf, she would pretend she hadn’t heard me. Her absolute nonchalance in the face of questionable behaviour is how she always gets away with everything. I’m learning to be better at this. I get too flustered, that’s my problem.
Her ability to make friends with anyone
This is one of my mother’s traits that I try to embrace more than any of the others because it’s one of her best. She has the ability to make friends with absolutely anyone and never passes judgement; in fact, the stranger you are, the better. Mum has friends from all walks of life, of varying ages with different back stories and from countries all over the world. Meeting new people never phases my Mum and one of her best friends and I always say that you could drop her anywhere in the world and she would make firm friends with virtually everyone in that location in no time at all.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful grandmothers and mothers out there! Any daughters reading, I’d love to know what elements of your Mum you wouldn’t mind inheriting?