Making sense...

posted on: Thursday, 26 February 2015

Along the way, I've been thinking a lot about what messages we give young girls about what the future holds for them. I have a daughter, but also I have nieces who are embarking on different paths in life. One of my nieces is incredibly talented as an actress and singer and we, as an extended family, are trying to find the right way to advise her. She wants to pursue her dreams on the stage, but as the responsible adults we all know that those opportunities can be hard to achieve; her lofty aspirations. However who are we to dissuade her? Isn't our role - or my role as her Aunt - to give her hope that there can be limitless possibilities? Not to cut her down with negativity? There is this fine balance between being realistic and stamping on a dream. I don't want to stamp. So I shan't...I shall be the crazy Aunt who insists that anything is possible.

I wonder about bringing up a teenage girl. I have written before about the need for brutal honesty with my daughter and how I have had to explain realities of life in a way I never imagined. I didn't expect I would be covering topics i) this early and ii) in as much detail. A side effect of the Internet is that everything I could think of (and some I couldn't) is known to her anyway. The role of the mother is no longer to manage the way in which topics are introduced (they are already there), it is to interpret the topics and to provide meaning. Nothing is off limits.

This can be viewed as a blessing or a curse; there was an exact point in recent years at which I said to myself: man up Lou, have the difficult conversation. Now I am more used to it, I can be found having these conversations with her everywhere; 'the unreality of porn' whilst walking the supermarket aisles, 'glue-sniffing' whilst driving home, 'the role of feminism' whilst walking the dog. Modern parenting is about bravery, from what I can see. There is no shirking away.

Because if I don't do it, the Internet will. And I'm not sure the Internet has love and trust and consistency on its mind.

I have written a separate article for the blogzine 'Selfish Mother' where I ponder motherhood and bringing up girls and boys; it can be read here.

Meanwhile, on smaller matters, here is an irony; the heavy lifting associated with bringing firewood into the house last week, to ally the freezing temperatures (well, not freezing exactly, but not warm) has given me a muscle sprain. It hurts to breathe in, the muscles around my ribs unused to the exertion required to live like frontier woman. I am not frontier woman. I wonder what type of woman I am. I was getting up at 6am to make the fire to provide heat for my family, and this is where I end up. I know I am may be over-dwelling on domestics but honestly it does lead me to conclude: what a delicate flower I am to injure myself tending house. Just as well I was not a scullery maid in Victorian times.

It's Thursday, it's drizzling, my house is a tip. But I did cover the finer points on 'boys: don't be too keen' on the school run this morning. Hurrah for that.


  1. Wonderfully insightful post. I would have LOVED having you as my crazy Aunt!

  2. You're so right Lou - modern parenting is ALL about the bravery. I find this with an almost ten year old let alone where we'll be when we hit the teens! But I think your honest open discussion approach is truly inspiring and one I will be trying myself. Sorry to hear about your Frontier Woman injury and hope you soon heal. And by the way...I would have adopted you as my Crazy Aunt any day had I had the choice!!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    A xxx

  3. Es ist Donnerstag, es nieselt, mein Haus ist ein Tipp. Aber ich habe decken die Feinheiten auf 'Jungen: nicht allzu begeistert sein "auf die Schule laufen an diesem Morgen. Hurra dafür.

    FIFA 15 Münzen

  4. sorry to hear about your injury. I am catching up with a few posts and yours is the second I've read recently about bringing up teenage girls. I have been there with one (who is now out the other side - I started young too), and at that time it was the birth of the internet and now with my son, I realise the infiltration has happened. There is a no holds barred filter of more adult stuff speeding it's way down to younger kids. I am still left bewildered and little bit reeling as my son has now started secondary school and I had no idea what he is now exposed to until recently. I know it's everywhere (every subject, including porn) and I'm still yet to figure out how I should go about broaching these issues - with love and trust and good intentions like you say - especially with a child that does not really talk about much. It makes me want to run away and live in the country in peace and ignorant bliss - if there ever is such a thing! Oh and I totally believe in encouraging dreams, however bizarre or apparently unrealistic they may seem to us :)