With International Women’s Day been and gone, I’ve been left thinking about my own role in all of this.
If I’m going to be real, it’s fairly obvious I am by no means an inspirational person- in fact, I am staggeringly average. By the age of 13, my strong point was probably answering back and wearing black 7 days a week. I certainly wasn’t putting the world to rights like Greta Thunberg. But my role is still important.
Being a parent means that I have a crucial role in shaping my daughter’s life. From the minute you give birth, that clock starts ticking and everything you do will influence your child however big or small. If I do an okay job, I have confidence that Arielle will grow up with little more than teen angst and an apathy towards her parents. If I mess up, my actions could have profound consequences on her future life. But this mustn’t be taken for granted.
A few years ago, I did what I want when I wanted to. I spent most, if not all of my money entirely on myself and going out. My biggest problems were probably who said what to who at the Student Union bar after a boozy night and the only thing that kept me up at night were the mounting essays. I was ‘young’ when I found out I was pregnant, but that didn’t mean that I could stay acting like a complete party head.
I had to effectively ‘snap out of it’ and spent 9 months preparing myself for the scary, scary world of parenting. Almost two years later, and I have an extremely healthy diva of a toddler who knows what she wants and when she wants it. I’m not in ANY way taking the credit for this, the point that I’m making is that being a role model starts starts at home. It doesn’t mean having to be First Lady or the first female astronaut. Being a good role model as a mother is gold- and figureheads are nothing in relation to this.
I am also not calling myself Mother Theresa. I am loud, sassy and was once described as a ‘Rottweiler’. I have had MANY mental health struggles and setbacks of some sort. But hey, I’m still here and I’m trying my best… And that’s good enough. I have days where CBeebies is on for waaay too long and I’m losing my shit somewhere in the background, and others where I’m completely hands on. I’m sure Jo Frost won’t be proud.
But I can safely say that I am a better person now… Simply because I had to take a good, hard look at myself when my daughter was born. Things like a negative outlook, a lack of responsibility for our actions and bitterness are all a goner. Obviously these things don’t make you a bad person but they really are toxic for children and that’s something I didn’t want for my daughter.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the drama but also monotony of everyday life and slip into habits. Sometimes you do just have to check yourself. There have been times where I’ve caught myself
unnecessarily bitching about someone and have had to think… Is this what I want my daughter to learn from? Being a ‘good person’ doesn’t come naturally to me, but I sure have to make a good go of it while staying true to myself.
By aspiring to be a good role model, I hope to teach Arielle some key things about life. In a world filled with uncertainty and mounting pressures, I want my her to feel like the world is full of possibilities for her and that there is always hope. I won’t however kid her into thinking it’s a perfect place. I don’t want her to become caught up in league tables and numbers, but I equally do want her to have aspirations- however big or small. What I want above all else is for her to be comfortable in her own skin- one of my biggest achievements after many years . In whatever she wants to do, I want her to occupy her space and that is something that I hope I can instill in her.