|Roscoe striking a pose|
My mum worked full time and so did my dad. We didn’t have grandparents close by so with a busy household my mum had a lot to do and only the scant weekend hours in which to do them. Mum, ever the multitasker, did a lot of her parenting on the go. By this I mean she got on with her life and took us kids along for the ride. One important aspect of her life was, and still is, being immaculately turned out. This meant a lot of time shopping. There was no online and for any of my younger readers the 80’s meant none of this individual changing room business but one big space with multiple mirrors and much knicker flashing. I spent a lot of time sat cross legged in the corner of communal changing rooms, whilst my mum sought the perfect party dress or work outfit and these were my lessons:
LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT – Parents can be prone to a spot of martyrdom. Somewhere along the line we get the memo that parents must be selfless and then we feel guilty if we so much as sneeze without considering the impact on our children. The truth is if your child never sees you doing anything for yourself they learn that self-care isn’t important and they don’t discover how to make themselves happy.
EDUCATION IS EVERYWHERE – One of the advantages of taking a small child shopping is that you have your own errand service. It might have seemed like I was just being sent to change the red one for a size twelve but actually I was employing observation and memory skills. Also there’s never a wrong time for an impromptu spelling test.
DON’T BE ASHAMED OF YOUR BODY – As I mentioned the changing rooms of the 80’s were just that – rooms full of changing women. You really had no choice but to strip in front of several other people. There was little point being self-conscious about it because it had to be done. I guess the fact that it was a necessity and that everyone was in the same boat stopped people getting embarrassed about it. I never saw my mother trying to hide or commenting negatively about herself. Now I’m not saying we should find opportunities to disrobe in front of our children but I’m saying that when they arise – at the swimming pool or on the beach, we want them to believe that everyone has a right to flash a bit of flesh out if they so choose.
WOMEN ARE SUPPORTIVE – Mum was always asking other women if what they thought of the colour of her dress or the length of her trousers and was happy to give her own opinion on whatever her changing room buddy had chosen. I never heard more compliments thrown about then when I was in that changing room corner. Perhaps it’s easier to say nice things to strangers than those we know and love but the changing rooms were full of supportive sistas.
WEAR NICE PANTS – When there’s a chance that you might have to get undressed in front of someone you wear nice pants but even if you’re fairly sure that the only person seeing those kecks will be you, it’s great to start the day with the right foundation.
I’m lucky enough to be able to spend less time working outside the home than my mother but I’ve still embraced the lesson that children need to see parents live!
To celebrate my wonderful mum and the launch of my free webinar, ‘The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting’ I’m giving away a £25 voucher (UK only) for one of her favourite shopping haunts, M&S. Please enter below, anyone can enter or attend the webinar and you don’t have to be a stay at home parent to get some top parenting tips from the event.