Tuesday, 1 November 2016

a question of time

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_sph1410'>sph1410 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

The role of the parent is a powerful thing. Do we ever stop and think how much our behaviour, mindset, welfare, skills, religion and beliefs play a part in our child's life? This may all seem very obvious but when reconsidering an answer and a conversation about two things last week, I also realised how my answers shape the world my daughters see.

First. The Trump. When his last bit of stuff and nonsense entered our homes via the media and indeed the backlash from figures such as Michelle Obama, one evening's dinner was accompanied by question after question about why people are getting so angry about this guy. It would have been very easy for me to denounce this man as a tail-swinging, pitch-fork carrying member of the human race but I decided not to. A discussion ensued with the facts we could find - my favourite place for the girls being The Week news magazine for children - and I threw their questions back at them about why people might have positive or negative views about both American candidates. I didn't believe it was my place to dump my opinions about Trump or anyone else, for that matter, into the impressionable ears of my daughters.

And second, motherhood. Mid phone conversation I became aware of the many overheard comments highlighting the not-so-starry-eyed side of being a mum. You know, the locking yourself in the loo to drink a hot cup of coffee bit. Or those moments when you have scoured the recipe books to create a healthy, fun, colourful, tasty meal only to get three sets of curled lips of disgust in return. Or the moans and grumps about what they've done again and how I have to this, that, the other, save the world because I'm a mum and who the hell else will do it?  Whilst I will not shy away from the downsides of motherhood, I have to admit I may have forgotten to counteract it by talking openly about the good bits.  Is it fair for me to be so derisive of the role that they know they are directly responsible for? And may one day choose to take on?

There are things we may give high status to in our daily parenting: not breaking the law, not littering in the street, being respectful to people.  But I'm discovering that I may have to step back in other things, offer guidance and alternatives to my views when the questions come in.

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