It's really only since I have been a mother myself that I have gained an insight into exactly how awesome my own mother is.
I have always been thankful for everything she has given me, my ethics, my faith, my passion for the environment, my resilience, my self-confidence, and everything else that I am because of her.
She would take us to local farm shops to buy us fresh organic vegetables. She set up a wholefoods co-operative from her home so we could eat the best food she could get hold of. My mum always put us first paying for dance lessons, gymnastics, instrument lessons, and all the clubs and groups you could imagine, driving us here there and everywhere for lessons, exams and shows because she wanted us to have as many experiences as possible. She took us to church every week, nurturing our faith and helping us to become part of the family of Christ. When I suffered terribly with eczema she explored every alternative therapy possible and paid for Chiropractor visits when I suffered from back pain. My mum always encouraged me to give things a try and always do my best. She always encouraged me in school, helping me through my tears with late night maths homework, reading through my endless stories and marveling at my drawings and painting. She can knit, sew, do macrame, cross stitch, she made all my dance costumes, she is basically the embodiment of a supermum.
My mum was the ultimate imperfectly natural mama, She was always makeup free, never ashamed of her body hair, wasn't one for deodorant of perfume and thriftily bought almost all her clothes from charity shops, she also breastfed all of us and cooked virtually all our meals from scratch (including an array of puddings most nights if memory serves me correctly). She grew her own veg on her allotment, baked her own bread and dreamed of living a self sufficient life, with bookshelves filled with gardening books, recipe books and John Seymour self sufficiency guides. She was a full time mum but if never occurred to me to think I couldn't be anything I ever wanted.
Even now my mum continues to inspire me, she hasn't stopped or slowed down like some parents her age, she still works, volunteers, makes, and continues to learn new skills and gain more knowledge in all aspects of life.
It is only since becoming a mother myself I can look back in awe at my mum, a mum of four, who would take us all round the supermarket and not lose her shit. I do all my shopping online because the thought of taking even three children round Sainsburys is just too much! She never doubted her abilities, never sat weeping that she was doing it all wrong, there was no Facebook in the 80s and 90s to vent, rant or ask for advice. And yet we all four of us turned out pretty damn good even if I do say so myself. She absolutely did her best for us with the information that was available at the time.
She gave me the confidence to do things differently than everyone else, she taught me to swim against the tide and to stand strong and tall in the face of criticism of your beliefs. She taught me that it was ok to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing if you believed it was the right things to do. It is because of this that I have chosen to parent the way I do, natural term breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, home educating, gentle parenting with non-punitive discipline. It is because of her that I have perused a vegan lifestyle, trying to live the creative life and moving towards a more sustainable, self sufficient lifestyle. She didn't necessarily do all off these things herself (though I strongly believe that she probably would have given the luxury of access to the information about gentle parenting etc that I have,) but it is because of her, and not, as many might assume, in spite of her that I have.
So I want to say thank you mum, I am me because of you.