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On the bright side of the road
Lover of words. Usually found with a book or a pen in my hand.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

We're only hu-mum

It's Mother's Day!  A day to celebrate our mums and the lovely things they do for us.  How they selflessly toil to get our shirts white and our shoes gleaming.  A cooked meal on the table, a shoulder to cry on and good advice when we need it.

Aah – advice.  That seems to be a bit of an issue at the moment.  According to an article in in The Guardian yesterday, often mothers feel they have the right to talk to their daughters in rather a frank way.  It’s all for their own good, of course, but daughters simply don’t like it.

As both the mum of a daughter and the daughter of a mum, I can see how feelings get hurt.  Mums generally just want the best for their daughters, they’re not usually out to cause emotional pain and anguish (at least not in my experience).  And daughters are pretty much the same, just a younger version with a younger view.

Maybe it’s because I’m not very thick-skinned, but I try to think before making personal comments to my daughter.  In fact, I usually try to avoid making negative comments to her and focus on the positive…..and there are many positively delightful things about my daughter which of course makes it very easy.  Yes, she is going to do things or wear things I don’t approve of…..I’m her mother!  But do I need to tell her?  I don’t think so.  I think the mother-daughter relationship should be nurtured just like any other relationship and I want to be someone she can trust and someone she knows won’t hurt her.

I wouldn’t dream of telling a friend, ‘Yes, your bum does look big in that,’ or ‘That skirt’s a bit too short for your chunky thighs,’ so why would I even think about saying it to my daughter?   (These are just examples and I really want to stress that none of my friends or my daughter have large derrieres or chunky thighs and wear skirts that are far too short!  And if they did, I wouldn’t even notice, let alone tell them!)

Now, if my daughter had an alcohol problem, used drugs or was in an abusive relationship, I would consider it my duty to step in and have that difficult conversation.  Being a mum isn’t all sunshine and roses, you know.

But when all’s said and done – it must be remembered that mums are human, too.  On Mother’s Day it’s all lovely sentiments and chocolates and flowers and I suppose some daughters feel let down by their mums because reality doesn’t come near to the Hallmark rosy view.  No-one can measure up to the Hallmark version – no-one.  We are all human and all make mistakes.  No matter how hard we try, we all say things that are unintentionally hurtful and sometimes we’re completely oblivious to the hurt we’ve caused.

Daughters do this to mums…..and mums do this to daughters, just like any other relationship.  It’s the long view that counts, the whole relationship and we shouldn’t dwell on the blips.

So today, I’m going to remember all the happy times with my mum and think how perfect she is.  And my daughter is so perfect in every way that I know she’ll do the same!


Today is a Hallmark sort of day – sunshine and flowers all the way.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Let's Talk About the Weather


I love the English weather and we English certainly like to talk about it.  One day rain and cold and the next sunshine or possibly snow:  sometimes it’s difficult to plan so flexibility is the key!

So often rain puts a damper on outdoor events and I remember one Easter we had snow flurries for our planned barbecue.  Valiantly we tried to keep the affair going by layering on warm clothes and huddling beneath umbrellas.  But eventually we were ‘snowed off’ and had to cook the food in the oven – the air temperature was just too cold!

Sometimes though, we get a lovely surprise.  This weekend, just the second one in March, has been beautifully filled with warm sunshine and deep blue, cloudless skies.  Our world is awakening with birds busy collecting debris to make their nests and bumble bees slowly buzzing around in the glorious sunshine.  I can hear children playing outside, the dog snoozes in a sunny spot in the garden and the smell of a barbecue is in the air.
Today feels like a Sunday in July and the washing hanging on the line seems to confirm it.  But a closer look reveals how far away we are from summer.  Brave spring flowers are doing their bit to cheer up the garden.  The camellia is budding and almost ready to bloom.  But the garden looks bare as shrubs and trees still need to fill out with their greenery – their skeletons bleak against the pseudo-summery sky.

It’s been a lovely summer-in-March sort of day – and the forecasters say it’s to last a bit longer.  But who knows?  The forecasters are often wrong as our weather is so changeable.  I’ve been grateful for today as, just like those around me, I’ve seized the moment by putting on summery clothes and taking to the outdoors.  My list of chores has been put away for cooler, gloomier days as I’m sure we’ll have many more before summer is here.

And although our weather’s unpredictable, one thing’s certain – it gives us something to talk about!