Everything I know…
… about parenting, I learnt from my Mom.
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Mother’s day. A day of macaroni necklaces, toast that manages to be both black and cold at the same time, and moments of true appreciation for what we have. Also time to say thank you to my own mother.

My mom is my best friend, sounding board and punching bag. She’s always there for us, loving her grandchildren as ferociously and selflessly as if they were her own.  Loving me, even when I’m difficult to love. And I’m no picnic, let me assure you. Although we are very different in personality, so much of my own parenting style comes from her. It’s not just our basic beliefs about raising children that are the same – but the invisible tips and tricks, the unexamined quirks; the Way We Do Things.

She’s also an awesome granny. Not the grey-haired, baking type – but the sword-fighting, furniture-building, Tomb Raider-playing variety. She is the foundation of our family, the one who keeps it all going, and I know for a fact that we don’t always show our appreciation as we should.  

Everything I know about parenting I learnt from my mom, long before I ever had children. Do any of these sound familiar?
  1. Ponstan is our friend. Small children with high temperatures must be dealt with immediately – we’re talking major wet facecloth action. (Febrile convulsions run in the family – not fun at all). Foreheads must be checked for fever at least twice a day until the age of 16.
  2. Jerseys are to be worn when mother is cold. Period.
  3. Apples are forbidden until the age of 21. And even then, they must be peeled. (We choke – a lot)
  4. Home is where you are allowed to be 100% yourself – a safe haven against the world. And no matter how bad the day is, you know you’re going to be sleeping in your own bed tonight. Hold on to that thought and you’ll be okay.
  5. Playing favourites with your children or grandchildren is unforgivable. It’s bad for all concerned and leaves scars in hidden places. She never let it happen. That’s a big deal.
  6. Some people’s opinions matter and some people’s don’t. She helped me find the difference.
  7. There isn’t anything more important than family. You don’t let it slide, you don’t turn your back, and you don’t give up.

Of course, there’s more.  It can’t all be said in 400 words, or even in a lifetime.  Right now, I’m going to pick up the phone to say I love you, and thank you. It won’t be enough, but maybe it’s better than burnt toast or Clicks bubblebath  – what you do say?

Love you Ma.  Thank you.

Read more by Tracy Engelbrecht
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