26/05/2014 17:20 BST | Updated 26/07/2014 06:59 BST

Three Things I Am Glad My Mother Never Taught Me

2014-05-22-BabyEmwithMum2.jpgHOW TO BE PRETTY

My mother never really wore make up when I was a child. She didn't spend hours in the morning putting her face on, straightening her hair or painting her nails.

She never French plaited my hair, dressed me up in frilly clothes that I had to 'keep clean', threw me a mini-makeover party or bought me sparkly princess shoes.

Instead, she dressed me in shorts and T-shirts and told me to play outside and run around with my friends. She put me in wellies and watched me splash in puddles. And when I got dirty making mud pies she didn't even care.

She never taught me 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 than beautiful. 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.


My mother never went on diets when I was a kid. There was never any talk of 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 never baked when I was a little girl. She never cooked biscuits or made me a birthday cake.

She never taught me how to iron a crease in trousers, to clean out an oven or take a dress up.

But she would spend hours chatting to me, making up silly songs and telling me stories.

She showed me how you can do a job you love and still be there for your children. Apart from taking a few years off when I was a baby, my mother always worked. She managed to have a successful career as a journalist and still put her family first.

As my parents shared the cooking, cleaning and parenting, I was brought up to believe that these things weren't a woman's job. But that they were the job of anyone who had five minutes to do them.

I never came home from school to the smell of freshly baked muffins but I came home to a big hug and a smile.

So if you come to my house for tea and I serve you shop-bought fairy cakes, but we still manage to enjoy a good conversation; don't blame me, blame my mother.

My mum didn't have Mumsnet to consult about the best way to look after a baby, Google to check 'How to bring up girls' or an app to tell her the latest parenting techniques. She didn't worry about being a stay-at-home-mum. She didn't worry about being a working mum. She just followed her instincts and did what she thought was right for her children.

Now, I am far from a stylish yummy mummy and by no means a great cook, but I am healthy, independent and happy with who I am.

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.