OPINION: I've been so lucky to have my mum to help raise my children

Ruth Davies is thankful for the role her mum has played in helping to raise her family

Ruth Davies is thankful for the role her mum has played in helping to raise her family - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We often mother in a style which emulates our own upbringing, taking on the tricks of our own mums.

Quite often I have to stop a moment to remember a time when my mum did something I’ve just found myself saying or doing too, the little nuances passed on like genes as we realise slowly but surely we are turning into them.

I tell my own mum often that she reminds me of grandma and she grins at some memories while offering a grimace at others thinking “but I hated it when she did that!”

The lick of a finger before being wiped over a crumby mouth is, despite saying I never would, something I now do myself and wince realising I’m doing things I hated my mum doing too, but there are other, lovely things I’ve inherited in my mothering and I am lucky enough to be bringing up my babies with my mum along-side me.

I have the benefit of her wisdom, kindness and maternal instinct shared with me as I go, she is also here to hold my hand when I need it and pass me a wet wipe if she sees me lick my finger because she will say “well, I never did that Ruth!”.

I was criticised online once for spending too much time with my mum and that as a notion just made me shake my head in disbelief. Too much time?

Is there really too much time we can spend with someone we love? For I have seen first-hand the missing when a mum is no longer here.

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“Too much time” feels rather a strange thing to say. Life is short and too many women live through their own motherhoods without their matriarch – I count myself lucky that my mum wants to spend so much time with me and my wild four!

You see my very best friend in the whole world, someone I have known and loved for more than 30 years, she’s more family to me really, is not so lucky in the same sense.

She lost her mum while we were much younger, before she’d had babies of her own.

To use the word “losing” almost makes light of it almost, yet losing it was.

She didn’t suddenly pass away, the loss being immediate or rudely opened with swift movement - not that there is a better or worse way to find yourself where she did – but she had many years to watch and wait for the world to turn enough times so that her mum would no longer be a part of it.

A very cruel illness which stole something from my friend then and continues to rob her every day.

In the time her mum was ill their roles reversed, my friend no longer the looked after had to take on the caring and of course she did that without question.

Because… all the world truly is a stage and all the men and women merely are players with their exits and their entrances.

Shakespeare was right when he said one man in his time will play many parts that was true also.

Turning again towards childish treble, coming into the last scene of all in second childishness, well… It’s not always saved for sans teeth, sans hair and the sans everything.

What was left by the time my friend had said her final earthly goodbyes weren’t all good, wholesome, childhood memories and the robbing of life with her mum wasn’t the only thing taken from her. Going forwards, having children of her own, she has had to live all her own mothering moments as a motherless.

When we become mothers ourselves, if we are lucky, that hand is being held – another time we as adults still need our mums.

This is part of the seven stages and intended in the writing of the story yet for women like my friend it was not to be.

She embarked upon motherhood without maternal wise eyes watching over her, helping her navigate breast feeding while putting a load of washing on.

The practical and the loving in only a way your mummy could; looking after her as she looked after the next. She had to do it sans her own mother.

Lots of people do unfortunately but I’m not entirely sure it’s something we talk of enough. My friend is an amazing mum, one of the best and it’s not fair she has to do it without her wonderful mum on hand.

I talk to my friend of her mum often. I’ve lots of memories that she is a part of. She can’t be a part of the ones made going forwards but she absolutely must not be forgotten and I think this conversation is good for my friend. It’s always good to talk.

To keep a person alive in your heart you have to remember loudly that they were here. And they were here, without them there would be no you, or indeed yours.

Keeping this good conversation going is bound into the The Motherless podcast which was launched recently by another swan swimming with her chicks bobbing along behind her as she navigates the water’s path alone.

Radio broadcaster Kelly Ford talks to five incredible women in a similar boat to my incredible friend about how they charter motherhood without their own mothers.

An important, sad but also uplifting series which is powerful to not only the motherless but to all.

Follow @BookofMum on Instagram to listen to the series.

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk