Thursday, 16 September 2010

Be good to your daughters...

Today's post is from a meme started by the inimitable Garry of The Blog Up North and it's about being and having daughters, something of which he has no experience, neither having daughters nor being one. (Good spot by me, I reckon. ;) )

The meme is based on a song called Daughters by John Mayer which includes the following lyrics:

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too…

Garry wanted to know the following three things:
If you are a daughter, what did you learn from your father or mother, either positive or negative?

I struggled to know how to answer this because I guess I absorbed so much about my values and attitudes to life that I could be here for hours. I think I learned quite early on that keeping a family running required hard work and effort. I can remember my Dad working on the petrol pumps in the evenings for many years when I was a child. I seem to remember his employers lent him the money for the deposit on the house that my Mum still lives in and it was his way of paying it off. 

My parents allowed me to make my own choices in respect to my education from relatively early on. It taught me to be responsible for myself but I definitely valued the freedom it gave me, compared to some of my friends who were left arguing with their parents, who were forcing them to do subjects at school that they absolutely hated. They never really pushed me - although you could say they didn't really have to - I had to push myself so I guess it taught me self-reliance in that respect. Even when older, my dad was always the one to let me get on with things and not criticise what I was doing. If I have done anything wrong in my life, I only have myself to blame. I don't feel as if I have any baggage passed onto me by my parents, which is great. 

If you have daughters, what lessons have you passed/will you pass onto them?

There is one thing that I am definitely going to teach Missy Woo. I don't want her to have the same insecurities about her appearance that I have had. I never mention anything negative about my appearance in front of my children. I never criticise their appearance and I make sure they know they are beautiful. They don't even know that I'm trying to lose weight - I try to eat similar things to them most of the time and the "diet" I am on, if it can be called one, is based on healthy eating and I choose not to ban anything, aiming instead for moderation. I don't want her see me not eating, starving myself and going on about how fat I am. My children both know that I exercise and Missy Woo knows that I do it "to get nice and fit", as she put it one day, but I try to put it into a context of being healthy and well. She is still at the stage of thinking it's funny to have a "fat tummy" but I know that being at school and therefore exposed to the attitudes of others girls might quickly change that. Which makes me sad really, she's only 4. 

I also want her to understand that anything is possible if she tries her best and that there is no shame in failing if she has done so. Missy Woo is a bit reticent about trying sometimes and she needs to overcome that fear of failure that we all have. Learning from mistakes is important to everyone; not being scared of failure so that you have a go and keep trying even more so. 

OK, enough. I could go on and on and on at this point, but they are the most important things I want her to learn. 

Do you see something in yourself which you recognise as an inherent (unlearned) trait from your parents?

I perhaps learned my temper from my mother. I have a fairly short fuse sometimes but it's a fairly loud bang which is soon over and I calm down again quickly, forgetting it almost instantly. As a small child, I was always described as "placid" and that I get from my Dad, who was a pretty patient man (he needed to be, living in a house with 5 females!). You could not however miss it when he did lose his temper - he was the very epitome of the quote "Beware the fury of a patient man".

In lots of ways, I am nothing like either of my parents. My dad wasn't big on sport, apart from motor racing, having had a life long affair with cars (and having been a mechanic for a car that came second in the Le Mans 24 hour race once) and my mum can't stand it, whereas I am an avid watcher of a wide range of sports. My career has been very different to theirs, largely because of the fact that I went to university and was the first person to do so in either family. People say I look like my dad, but people also say I have my mother's mannerisms - something she seems to have passed onto all four of her daughters. 

Think that is me done. I hope I did this meme justice. It's been interesting doing this. 

I thought that I would find this emotional but actually, I've had to think quite hard in a detached way and not felt that emotional really. But maybe that's just me. 

So, tradition now has it that I tag a few people to carry on this great meme. I have chosen the following (Some of them know about this, some of them don't; it's late and I want to publish so apologies if you've been ambushed!)

Bumbling at Bumbling Along
Chris at Thinly Spread
Nickie at Typecast

Looking forward to reading some great posts, ladies. 

Here are the rules, copied straight from Garry's post

Nick the badge above, mention the blogger who tagged you (ie me), do the post and tag some more lovely bloggers if you know any.

If you haven’t been tagged, feel free to join in anyway. Leave a comment or post a link if you've blogged about it before.


  1. Thanks. I don't think the daughter thing phased me that much as I was surrounded by daughters all my early life. I'm the opposite to Garry, who started the meme - until Monkey landed, I'd never been close to a boy in a family surrounding so Monkey was a bit of a shot. They are allegedly quite a bit harder as babies/small children but girls are harder in teenage years. Allegedly. Missy Woo was certainly an easier baby and has fewer tantrums than Monkey.

  2. No problem and thank YOU for taking the time to comment. It definitely took a while to write!!

  3. Brilliant post! I worry about the whole weight thing with Meg too! She had some little twat at school call her chubby and she's anything but! I mean she's only 8 and if anything she's a bean pole that weighs 52lbs ( I think that's 4lbs shy of 4 stone)! When she mentions it I wanna go give that lad what for!
    I also love that your teaching her failure is not always a bad thing! I tell Meg to be part of the race and to have tried is much more important than winning all the time. xx

  4. Fantastic, Kate. Obviously a lot of thought and soul-searching gone into this. I particularly love the middle section, what you want to pass on to little Missy Woo. If you can achieve that you will have done a brilliant job. Thank you for taking up the challenge, lovely. I'll rest you from the next one ;-) x

  5. Gosh, what an interesting discussion.
    Great post.

  6. I loved this post. I will be thinking about being a daughter and having a daughter all day! It must have been tricky to write - I wouldn't know where to start - but I really enjoyed reading your reflections on childhood and parenthood all rolled into one. Thank you x

  7. Awww, thanks back to you for tagging me, love. Don't worry about resting me - I enjoy doing them. Just ask me first in case I think it's going to traumatise me doing it. Which is unlikely, but there ya go. :)

  8. Oh god, that's terrible, Kirsty. I would be so cross too.


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