Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lessons for my daughters

Last week my baby turned four! Four wonderful years I have been the mum to four amazing little girls, and all of the sparkles, pink and sweetness of the party has had me thinking, "What do I want my girls to learn from me?"

Now, I am not talking about manners, independence or the long list of social skills we are already teaching them, I am talking about the lessons only a mother can teach - the 'rules' we teach our children that don't make them a better or worse person, but save them a subscription to Vogue or Better Homes and Gardens when they are older.

For me, I will never forget my mother's constant opposition to wearing red with pink. To make it clear, red and pink are my favourite colour combo and have been since leaving home, but I feel her words burning in my ears every time I disobey her. I had children in little pink outfits with red dots or bows long before she let it go.

I am also rarely seen in tracksuit pants, partly because I am allergic to exercise and know people would never believe I was on my way to the gym, but mostly because of my dad. Yes, my dad who in every way is NOT a gentleman, but would never be seen publicly in tracksuit pants. Surprisingly, he has a few other little rules about clothes, shoes and manners that I find completely hilarious, but feel I stick to because if someone so 'rustic' can have his own loose version of social etiquette, then so can I. 

While I was dressing for a dinner date with Dean last week, I found myself having to explain the difference between leggings and footless tights - beyond the obvious. This is one of those things I need to teach the girls and I think they would care a whole lot more than Dean did! 

Applying sunscreen every day, the difference between a wedge and a stiletto and when it is appropriate to wear each of them, and with what. We need to talk about how to make a bed (using hospital corners - thanks mum), how long to boil an egg to eat with soldiers or to use in a salad, and when to wash in cold or hot water. 

I want them to have basic sewing and knitting skills, I need to show them how to braid in no less than 5 ways, the difference between a weed and a plant, how to prune roses, bake a cake and fold clothes so they don't need ironing. I would add 'how to hang clothes on the line correctly', but Dean is still annoyed at my mother for teaching me incorrectly!

All this amounts to lots of skills and knowledge that won't change their life, or make them better people, I know that, but when I see a rose growing from a plant I pruned and nurtured, I feel joy. Watching one of my girls dance around in a dress I worked on until midnight, makes me smile inside, and baking a beautiful cake, full of nothing that will fuel their growth but filled with love, brings pure happiness.

All lessons I feel is my duty to teach our future fashionistas/homemakers, but don't feel pressure to follow suit, I will not judge you if you don't feel the need to educate your blossoms on such trivial things as hosiery. Teaching a daughter how to dress appropriately may seem shallow to some, but I'm sure we have all had a day in the past few years where we have said under our breath, "Those tights are see-through Love, that top is not a dress!"  You know who you are!

Image source.


  1. That's a lovely post...I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thank you. I hope I'm raising ladies - only time will tell. At the very least, they will know how to cook and how to exit a car in a dress! ;)


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