My morning ritual starts with a cacophony of groans followed by a facial search. The groans may fluctuate depending on the exercise that has been partaken the night before and the facial search... well let's just say that MiddleS asked if I was able to grow a beard like Santa's . Sigh.
MiddleS is great at that; letting me know my foibles and flaws. Luckily I adore her so she gets away with it - for now anyway. But I'll admit some of the aspects of me or my mothering that she likes to comment get me thinking and sometimes re-evaluating.
I'm now used to her preamble starting with 'When I'm a mummy I'm going to let my children do..." and this is followed with a range of allowances that she is currently deprived of; such as being allowed to have her ears pierced, wearing crop tops, having a mobile phone, the list is endless. I know there will come a time when we'll have to start negotiations of Cold War proportions because there are very few boundaries that I haven't crossed in my own youth. I can hardly belittle or bad mouth mistakes of my yesterday simply because I don't want my kids to repeat them. We all know that if you keep telling the young 'no'it just makes the 'yes' seem more exciting.
AWOLMum always told me to never start plucking my eyebrows whilst she tweezered her own. So, like, that message got through! But I get it now. Hiding my tweezers is easy though (plus I always intend to make that threading appointment) but as for my piercings and tattoos - not so discreet. Many of my piercings are long gone and my tattoos are usually hidden from view but this all got me thinking about how I communicate that certain actions or choices I may have made in the past are now huge regrets of mine. AWOLMum had me when she was very young but I don't recall her ever telling me when I should or shouldn't have kids - the focus in our home was getting an education. However she was horrified when I kept 'putting holes in my body' and shaved all my hair off at uni but I did it anyway, and then some. There was some of my own sadness and insecurity that had me piercing, painting and pretending I wasn't me back there in my 20s and 30s.
When the girls ask me about my tattoos I say that they hurt really badly and I wish I didn't have them any more. When they ask about my piercings I say that they hurt and it costs lots of money to keep buying earrings when you lose them. When they ask about my historical hair disasters I say that the damage to my hair can never be undone. See a pattern here? Who knows? Maybe they'll develop an aversion for all things not natural to the body and I won't have to worry at all. Or maybe these are just rites of youthful passage that they will go through and look back on with a cringe in the same way I do.
Until then I'll tweezer in secret and pass on the message about how lovely they are as they are and hope that something sticks. Hopefully they won't have to wait until their 40s to realise it.