My mother Ann is in the top four people on this planet I enjoy spending time with. The others are my twin six-year-old daughters and their father. Life just feels better with my mother around.
I make a point of including her in everything we do, not because I am a dutiful daughter but because I want her there with me. My mother improves every social occasion. A bit like crisps and cheese day.
And yet, I take this life enhancing relationship for granted: I am dependent on my mother materially. If I lose my ATM card, which happens too frequently, or too many bills come in at the wrong time and I need a dig out, my mother is there. I pay her back, eventually, but I know that I shouldn’t be relying on her in this way. I am dependent on her emotionally, too. Take the other night. I was feeling a bit fragile after a long day at work. I took a call from a well-meaning friend who started to suggest gently that I might need to take time for some exercise. He wasn’t wrong. I DO need to take some time for exercise. But at the moment I haven’t got the time or I find it difficult to make the time. So this well-meaning person’s comments riled me. After I put the phone down, all my struggles with being fitter and healthier, mostly so I can run around after my children and not pretend I don’t have swimming togs just so I can get out of going to the pool, came bubbling up.
I knew the only person I really wanted to talk to about it, the only person who would really understand why I felt so bad was my mother. So, instead of dealing with my hurt and confusion and frustration on my own, like a grown up, I rang my mother and spewed it all out down the phone. I howled out my pain, I wailed, I talked for twenty minutes, hardly drew breath, and all the time my mother was there saying, ‘I know, I know.’ And she did know. Otherwise her ‘I knows’ would have irritated me. I knew she knew. And that knowing was like a balm across my heart, a salve for my soul. Eventually, I calmed down. I had been heard. I had been understood. I had been loved back to some kind of equilibrium by the only person in the world who could have done it: my mother. But is she the only person? No. Through The Daughterhood meetings I began to realise that my ‘motherwork’ was about learning to depend on the other person who has the power to love me back to sanity: myself.
My mother is a central part of my life. We go on foreign holidays and Irish hotel breaks together, we talk almost every day, sometimes a few quick hurried words, at other times we have lengthy conversations. It is not just the company and the chats that makes my mother special to me.
My mother is kind, considerate, and patient with me, extremely patient! She does not pass judgement or criticise me and if she does, she must be keeping it to herself! When I discuss a problem or a situation I find myself struggling with, she will offer advice, which I may or may not agree with. Occasionally she might give advice that wasn’t asked for, which I usually need, but often don’t welcome! Regardless of my reaction to her advice, which can range from delight, or to my being short tempered and dismissive, she never seems to take offence at my behaviour.
It hasn’t always been this good between myself and my mother, through no fault of my mother’s. I am ashamed to say that I have only truly come to value her since becoming an adult myself. Through my teens, my mother was a source of food, laundry services and good for the extra few pounds to top up my pocket money. In my early to mid twenties, I was busy socialising, working hard to develop a career, and earn money for nice holidays and the material things in life.
It was not until my late twenties, early thirties, I began to realise that I actually enjoyed my mother’s company. I finally could see my mother, not just as someone with a role as part of the background of my life, but as an individual in her own right, with her own personality, likes and dislikes, dreams and disappointments.
There are many things I am grateful to my mother for teaching me, some trivial and others not so trivial.
- Always write a ‘Thank You’ note. No matter how ugly or useless my uncle’s birthday gift was, it was nice of him to think of me.
- Never be ashamed of wearing second-hand clothes. I should delight in the huge black sack of my neighbour’s cast offs, they are all still new to me!
- Find a man that makes me laugh, I will need him when all I want to do is cry.
I am now in my mid forties and my mother is in her late seventies. I am deeply grateful for every day I have her in my life. As the hectic pace of everyday living takes over, I forget to actually think about how incredibly lucky I am, to be able to enjoy the woman that is my mother.
We are delighted to announce that The Daughterhood will be hosting a special Mother’s Day lunch in Residence, Dublin on Sunday, March 15.
Guests will be treated to a canapé reception, a three-course set menu, a glass of prosecco on arrival and a copy of The Daughterhood book.
Both Natasha and Roisin will be speaking at the lunch which will take place at 2pm.
Tickets for this special lunch to celebrate Mothering Sunday are €49 per person.
Dubray Books will host a special Daughterhood Supper with Natasha and Roisin in The Westbury Hotel, Dublin on Thursday March 19 at 6.30pm.
This special evening in The Grafton Suite will be an evening of discussion on the good, the bad and the guilty of mother-daughter relationships.
Guests will each be treated to a Prosecco reception, a three-course supper with a glass of wine and a signed copy of The Daughterhood.
Tickets for this special supper are €55 per person. To book your ticket, phone 01 646 3385.