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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unsolicited grandmother thoughts part 1

The first rule of being a grandmother is never give advice. 

So I don't, except here on the www.

Listen, my daughter is a better mother than I was. She is a trained pediatric nurse. It is unlikely her girls will ever have  a couple of hours surgery to remove a sewing needle that has migrated up their foot to their ankle because it was impaled in there for a year and a half. Her kids are safe and carefully, thoughtfully raised. She knows how to do things I still don't know.

In my defense the doctor was treating that bump on the sole of my son's foot as a wart, and that particular son has a very high pain threshold (something that came in handy in his childhood. We will save the discussion about how he fell out of a bunk bed and broke his collar bone and didn't tell me until three weeks later for another day).

No, these granddaughters of mine will turn out well and their mother is doing a great job.

I know this too because three wonderful kids survived me. And I know this because I am a grandmother and I have been at it long enough to have seen other children grow up on social assistance do a master's in engineering on a full scholarship, and the child from the lovely family get nailed for 64 counts of break and entry.

Doing things perfectly doesn't guarantee anything. IMO young mothers should take the pressure off themselves and stop worrying if they aren't perfect.

Your kids won't notice anyway.

Just like they won't remember all the perfect experiences. Kids who don't do Disneyworld every year are fine, and the ones who go often throw up the whole time or, like one guy I know, announce they will rather stay and play in the fountain in the middle of the driveway. The Magic Kingdom out-classed by the Holiday Inn.

You know of all the Christmases and birthdays I worked so hard to produce, you know what my boys remember most?

The year I gave them a "Grabber" a $1.99 thing with a claw so you could bend it around corners and pick stuff up.

You don't have to be perfect, you just have to love them and be you. This means not feeling bad if you feel tired/stressed/annoyed and not trying to be absolutely nicer than you feel all the time. 

It's OK to say stop that. It's OK for mom to be the one who needs the time out. You are the mother. You don't always need to give reasons or choices. 

You don't need to be so pleasant that you say things like "Daniel do you think your brother Nick likes his head being held under the water?" This is an absolute quote from a ransom mother at a pool- they had to hold me back from what I considered to be an appropriate intervention.

My Dad could make kids do anything. He was The Master and he had two tools, distraction and humour. I remember after one lunch time I got all my reluctant eaters to come to the table and sit down politely because I was balancing the plate of sandwiches on my head. As I walked to the table I thought I should go and phone him and say thanks dad, thanks for teaching me this.

I never made that call and never got a chance to, he got sick that summer, but in a way it doesn't matter. He knew what he was doing.

Most parents do.


Karin said...


annie said...

And yes!

shams said...

Such, such wise words, Barbara.

Sewfast said...

Great post Barb!

Branka said...

Probably one of your best posts ever, loved every word of it, thank you!

Karen said...

I love your blog but this post I particularly love. I'm a 46 year old divorced and remarried mother of 2 teenage girls living in the UK. You have just made me feel a whole lot better about myself. And you don't even charge.....!

And you've got me started on StyleArc - they should be paying you commission.

Keep it coming.....