How to be pretty
My mother never wore make up. She didn't spend hours putting her face on, straightening her hair or painting her nails. She never dressed me up in frilly clothes that I had to 'keep clean' or threw me a mini-makeover party. My mum may not have known how to to do a French plait but she showed me how to splash in puddles and make mud pies.
I was never taught that pretty was the most important thing you could be if you were a girl. I grew up thinking that there were way better things to be, like kind, clever, funny and happy.
So if my eye shadow is the wrong colour, my shoes don't match my bag, my nails are unpolished and I don't appear to care; don't blame me, blame my mother.
How to be rich
My mother never took me to Disneyland. We never had much money growing up. There were no sunny holidays abroad. We would go down to Devon in our camper van and huddle up under a blanket drinking warm tea as the rain beat down on the roof. We would sing songs and eat food cooked on the little stove under the front seat. We may have worn our welly boots more than our swimming costumes but those trips away were some of the happiest times of my life.
My mum could never afford to buy me expensive trainers or designer clothes and despite believing at the time that this would 'ruin my life', I am glad. I still can't afford designer clothes and expensive trainers but I have learnt that 'things' aren't important. Although lots of money does makes things easier, I know I can be happy without it.
She taught me to follow my heart rather than the money. So if I am not a millionaire by the time I am 40, don't blame me, blame my mother.
To watch my weight
My mother never went on diets. She never talked about calorie intake or losing weight. She never moaned about 'looking too fat' or wanting to be thinner. So I never learned that it mattered.
She didn't make us drink skimmed milk, diet squash or eat low fat yoghurts. She sometimes even let us have biscuits and chocolate.
She never told us that too many sweets would make us fat. She told us that too many sweets would make us unhealthy.
I didn't learn the importance of being thin. I learnt the importance of being healthy.
So if I don't refuse dessert in order to keep my figure, or I am as happy with the 'baby weight' than I am without it; then don't blame me, blame my mother.
My mum didn't have the Internet to consult about the best way to look after a baby or Google to check 'How to bring up girls'. There was no app to tell her the latest parenting techniques or baby sleep solutions. She didn't worry when she took time out of her career to be stay-at-home-mum. She didn't worry when she was a working mum. She just followed her instincts and did what she thought was right for her family.
I am the person I am today not because of what my mother did; but because of what she didn't do. I only hope that I can not do the same things for my daughters.
Is your mum awesome too? What have you learnt by what she didn't do?
This article was republished with the kind permission of Emily-Jane Clark. Read her blog on Stolen Sleep.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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