Lessons I’ve Learned From My Mum: Laura Cleminson
The relationship a mum shares with her children is unique, complex, and constantly evolving. For many, she can be a continuous source of emotional, professional, romantic and mental guidance and support.
In honour of Mother’s Day on 31st March, One4all asked people to reflect on their relationship with their mums, sharing their fondest memories, what they’re most thankful for and the most valuable lessons they’ve learned.
Here, Laura tells us about her special relationship with mum Carol.
Tell us about your relationship with your mum:
‘She was that person you could tell ANYTHING to, no matter how horrible you think it is. She listened with an open heart and wasn’t prone to quick, shoot from the hip replies. At that time of your life when you started questioning authority and pushing proverbial buttons, she was clear on who she was in the relationship. One time when I clearly pushed her a little too far, she said, ‘’There will come a time in our relationship that we will be great friends, but for right now I am your parent and I make the rules and expect you to follow them’’. I loved and admired (in hindsight of course!) how she always did her best to build a bridge and not a wall with our relationship, all the while doing her best to ser me and my sister up to be decent human beings.’
What’s the fondest memory you have of your mum from your childhood?
‘My mum would tell you she was not a good teacher of things. The beauty of that is she was very self-aware. She never wanted to ruin anything for you in the ‘’learning process’’ because she knew she wanted things done a very specific way, with a very specific outcome. When I told her one day, when I was eight or nine, that I want to learn how to bake, she replied ‘’Okay, if you know how to read, you can cook and bake. Go pick out a recipe. Read it and follow the directions’’. I remember standing there kind of stunned, fulling expecting her to do this with me side-by-side. She saw my look and said ‘’You can do it. Now go get started. I’m just in the other room If you have any questions’’. With mild confidence in this first venture, I decided to try a chocolate chip cookie recipe from a cookbook she had and got started gathering the ingredients. When it got to the part where it asked for ‘’ 1t soda’ I was a little confused. I walked into the other room and asked ‘’Mum, what should I use, 7-up or Coke?’’. She looked at me quizzically and asked ‘’You ARE making chocolate chips cookies, right?’’. I said yes and said the recipe calls for soda but doesn’t specify which kind. She laughed and explained it means baking soda and showed me where she kept that, then promptly left the kitchen again, but before she did, she said I was doing a good job.
What are you most grateful to your mum for?
‘She was available whenever I needed her. Time being such a nebulous commodity, I reflect back that her willingness and ability to be present for me, whether it be on the phone or in person, is something I cherish to this day. I’m sure she unwittingly instilled in me that importance of quality time.’
How has your mum supported you in life?
‘Whether she shared my visions or not, she was my biggest cheerleader and encouraged me to follow my heart. She was never a helicopter parent. That said, she did express concern at various career choices I was embarking on, but always said that she believed if I put my mind to it, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.’
What are the biggest life lessons you've learned from your mum?
‘If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Self-care is important. Also, when I was a young mum overwhelmed with the feeling I had to be with her ALL THE TIME. She taught me the importance of having my infant daughter be able to “occupy herself” in a safe space with safe toys and know that I can “check in on her at any time”. In doing so, I am teaching my daughter to not only entertain herself but to self-explore and not have someone there doing it for you all the time.’
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