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Mothers as role models.

(30 Posts)
Falconbird Thu 12-Feb-15 07:03:11

My mother has been dead for ten years and she was a widow for nearly 40 years. Looking back down the years I have often wondered if she was a good role model. She was feisty and never bottled up her emotions, whereas I keep a lot of emotions bottled up. I don't have any daughters but I have 3 sons. I didn't have to worry too much about being a role model for them as they looked to their dad.

kittylester Thu 12-Feb-15 07:23:30

I've said this before on here but my mum was, largely, a model of how not to mother! She was much more concerned about how things appeared to the neighbours than developing a relationship with me and she much preferred her sons anyway!

NfkDumpling Thu 12-Feb-15 07:25:26

In a way my mother was a role model. She was an excellent and fun mum until I hit puberty - and she hit the menopause. Then her jealous paranoid streak kicked in and everything went to pot. Nowadays, if I'm a bit 'off' with anyone, someone in the imediate family just comes in with a 'Yes, Nana' to bring me up short.

Leticia Thu 12-Feb-15 07:52:54

My mother is still alive and as I get older I can see me getting more like her!

Jane10 Thu 12-Feb-15 08:21:41

I would definitely see my Dad as a role model. He's been dead now for nearly 12 years but I think of him every day in one way or other. Mum was a very different matter. Almost an anti role model -a how not to be! Memories of my 2 Grans certainly act as role models for me with my DGSs. I'd like to be as good as them at being a Gran.

Humbertbear Thu 12-Feb-15 08:39:02

My father was definitely my role model and not my mother. I am nothing like her at all and she doesn't really understand me, even now. My father's mother was a wonderful example of how not to be a mother in law/ grandmother and thus was an important influence on my life!

soontobe Thu 12-Feb-15 08:53:32

My mum was a good role mother on the whole. My dad was only partly.
And they definitely were not good role models together in how to be in a marriage. Though that meant I learnt a lot about what not to do in a marriage, and which boyfriends not to have.

annsixty Thu 12-Feb-15 09:32:54

Mine was yet another whose role was not to be emulated, and I am still trying to figure out why she behaved as she did. I could put it down to jealousy but as a mum myself that,to me, is unthinkable. My father died when I was young so he had no influence at all,I can hardly remember him.

FlicketyB Thu 12-Feb-15 09:35:03

I had loving and loved parents, but we were on completely different wave lengths from birth so, while they obviously contributed to who I am today neither were ever a role model to me. Growing up I do not think I had any role models.

J52 Thu 12-Feb-15 10:13:01

My mother was not a role model. A very self centred woman, she left when I was 7, and remained in my life to spend the next 40yrs defending her actions. She even manipulated the past to make me feel guilty!
Her family were aware of her character and aunts provided me with role models.

I've made sure that history has not repeated itself! x

KatyK Thu 12-Feb-15 10:50:27

I think my mother was a victim of circumstance. She married my father, who was 12 years younger than her. He was a violent, womanising alcoholic who made her life a misery (and consequently the lives of us 6 children). She had no one to turn to in those days and stuck with him despite it all. She never really had the chance to be a role model.

Grannyknot Thu 12-Feb-15 12:48:36

My mother was a very good role model in some respects - domesticated, caring for her family, nurturing and a very loving person. She was also extremely creative and a lot of fun.

She completely failed in teaching her two daughters about men - she was divorced at a young age, but still clung to the "one day your prince will come" dream, literally the fairy tale "knight on a white steed". It never worked for her, she never remarried, and it had me leaving a series of chaotic relationships as the steed tripped and the princes fell on his head, until I eventually found someone who became The Prince after a long time in training grin

My father was a feckless, selfish womaniser who taught me nothing. My maternal grandfather however, was a brilliant role model. I still miss him and he died when I was 13.

Grannyknot Thu 12-Feb-15 12:49:20

that should be 'princes fell on their heads' ...

GillT57 Thu 12-Feb-15 13:12:22

I too had to kiss a lot of frogs before I met my prince

Greyduster Thu 12-Feb-15 16:09:19

I have always tried to understand what made my mother the way she was - definitely not a mother to be emulated in her late middle age, and I, thank goodness am nothing like her. I always said she made my father's life a misery, but as I have become older, I am left wondering whether it was his passivity and easy going nature that caused her to kick over the traces in the way she sometimes did. She could be very volatile. My father was my role model and the man I married is, as he gets older, very like him in a lot of ways. I think - I hope - that my daughter considers me a good role model.

glammanana Thu 12-Feb-15 16:30:14

I hope that I have taken after my darling mum she was so family focused when we where small and made sure we never felt left out,cuddles always given and she made sure dad was involved in all we did.She would sit up half the night to hand sew us dresses with matching ribbons if we where going anywhere and she always smelt of Pears soap.
I hope my DSs think OH and I have been good role models they have never given cause not to think so and if we are a fraction as good as my parents I would be happy.

Falconbird Thu 12-Feb-15 16:47:34

My mother had a hard life but was very volatile about expressing the fact to family, friends and even neighbours. She used to ring me up several times a day when I was married and she was often in a very bad mood and I had to calm her down.

I decided at a young age to be more like my paternal auntie. I looked more like her and she also, like my mother had not had an easy life, but auntie had a quiet dignity which I tried to emulate. She used to say to my mum,
"please don't start..."

Luckily I wasn't like mum in temperament because there wasn't room for two of us to explode daily about how difficult life had been.

My sons are keeping an eye on me in case I turn out to be like Gran.

Mishap Thu 12-Feb-15 17:04:43

I am deeply jealous of those who had loving and loved mothers as role models; my poor mother was in a right pickle and never at peace with herself or her husband - very sad. She did have some good points - she insisted that my sister and I should have all the educational opportunities possible. But the occasional hug might not have come amiss!

But - blowing my own trumpet a bit! - my DDs have said that they see me as a role model for one thing in particular which is that I changed career completely at the age of 50, and they have said it has given them the courage to think that they need not stay in a rut for the whole of their lives, but that they can branch out where their heart takes them, and that money is not everything.

janeainsworth Thu 12-Feb-15 17:05:33

I think we should perhaps remember that when we were growing up, 'role models' hadn't been invented, so it's a bit unfair to blame our mothers for apparently falling short in that respect wink

To be serious, there were huge changes between their generation and ours - educational opportunies, more freedom to work outside the home, relative sexual freedom etc. So I do think it's a bit unfair to expect them to have provided examples of how we should live - they must have been for the most part mystified about what we got up to.

However if you're talking about passing on values - that's rather different and wasn't in any case the prerogative of mothers - fathers are just as important, IMHO.

annodomini Thu 12-Feb-15 17:27:37

I never wanted to be just like either of my parents! There were aspects of both that I liked and admired, but I'd rather be my own person which I think is what they would have wanted.

grannyactivist Thu 12-Feb-15 17:38:48

There is much about my mother that I admire and very little about my father. My early influences came from books rather than people and I was heavily influenced by fables and stories that had a 'moral'. Throughout my life I've been fortunate to have people around me that I feel I can learn from, not entirely role models, but certainly people I admire.

TerriBull Thu 12-Feb-15 17:54:44

I had a much closer relationship with my mother rather than my father who I was a bit scared of. I think my mum was a wonderful parent, she always put other people first, and if I were to criticise her it would be to say that she could be a bit of doormat at times. Both my parents were a bit over zealous as far as religion was concerned, I felt I had too much of it both at home and at school which kind of inevitably led to me rejecting it in my later teens.

My best years with her were undoubtedly when she was a widow and we had our regular one to ones. I felt I got to know here better, it's a shame when some of us are young we don't ask our parents about their own youth, I know I went through a period before I left home when I was so completely immersed in my own life, I didn't really give my mum the attention I should have done. In her latter years I felt I discovered her as a person in her own right, we talked a lot about the war and the impact it had on those who lived through it. It was during that time we started on a joint quest to discover our family history and it was a great pleasure doing this together and putting her in touch with a long lost first cousin.

In 2008 my husband and I went to Canada, I had arranged to see my mum a couple of days after we returned, I remember being quite tired and thinking maybe I'll go and see her a few days later given she lived 70 or so miles away, but having second thoughts, I decided I wouldn't put it off because it was nearly a month since I last saw her. We went out to lunch and had a lovely day. I'm always glad that I didn't postpone our meeting becuase she died the following day.

Iam64 Thu 12-Feb-15 18:41:22

I agree with the posters who remind us about the importance of fathers (for those of us lucky enough to have one)

I loved my mum and enjoyed her company. She had a zest for life and encouraged to to enjoy the day, what ever it brought. She was funny, creative. Painting, drawing, sculpting, embroidery, sewing, batik, you name it, she did it. She was a stay at home mum, like everyone else I knew. We were well cared for physically and emotionally. I was with her when she died and will always be grateful for that.

Dad was less emotionally / practically involved on a day to day basis. He worked long hours. He was actively involved in every holiday, encouraged us to do well at sports, but laughed like a drain when the Gym teacher told him she didn't know the daughter whose parents evening it was. Middle daughter was never sporty and how blessed we were that he didn't come home raging. He had a quiet word though.

Increasingly, I'm aware of the influence both my parents had on my developing personality. I learned a lot from them, especially those things I didn't want to repeat!

Falconbird Fri 13-Feb-15 07:12:55

Good point Janeainsworth. Role models weren't invented until about the 1970s. However I think there was always an awareness that parents did influence their children.

My mum was a runaway train of emotions. As she grew older it became worse. She would criticize people openly and loudly but if anyone criticised her she would become angry and upset.

Eventually a group of her "friends" turned up at her house and told her that she was upsetting everyone and would have to stop it.

This meant she rang me and raged for an hour about them and what horrible people they were.

Not a good role model for me and I did resent the fact that she always turned to me to make things right again but at the same time criticizing me for my appearance etc.,

She was quite a handful but I still miss. She was a force of nature and it may seem strange but I would love to here her voice again raging about someone - from the manager of the local co-op to her friend at church. hmm

janeainsworth Fri 13-Feb-15 08:54:07

Falconbird My mum, who I loved and still miss dearly after 16 years, never raged but had disapproval, combined with frugality, down to a fine art.
Her standard response to any intended purchase was 'What do you want one of those for? You've got one already/ your such-and-such will do instead'. This results in my having the same curtains in my sitting room for 27 years, and the same every-day dinner service and cutlery for nearly 40 years. Unlike many of my friends I have never had a 'posh' dinner service or 'best' cutlery.
I was 30 before I wore black because her conviction that black was only for funerals. She disapproved of anything other than a utilitarian attitude towards clothing, so anything that wasn't strictly necessary to keep you warm was a frivolity.
She even disapproved of many of my friends, although bizarrely the sun shone out of MrA - possibly because he was different from previous boyfriends whom she had regarded with marked disapproval.
The thing is though that she was a character, her own person.
The other thing is that you don't have to adopt the role models you were born with. You can choose your own.
Luckily I had an aunt who liked clothes, who gave me her copies of She magazine to read (mum disapproved of women's magazines too) and who thought there was nothing wrong with spending your own money on nice things.
I looked at other people and learned from them that I didn't have to live by Mum's rules, unless I wanted to.
I guess it's an important part of growing up, to accept your parents' shortcomings, carve your own path, but love your parents anyway.
And to come full circle and to accept that our own children aren't necessarily going to want to be like us, but love and support them anyway.