by REBECCA SPARROW
My timing could be better.
We’re just weeks away from Mother’s Day and here I am writing a post that essentially criticises my mum. Let me tell you, it makes for uncomfortable writing. And it’s entirely Kate Winslet’s fault. More on that in a moment.
You see, I have always seen my mum as amazing. I have looked to her as the benchmark of how to be a mother who is loving but not cloying, who nurtures but doesn’t stifle. She raised me to be strong and independent, to laugh often, to work hard but to keep things in perspective. Mum encouraged me to cherish my girlfriends, to show compassion, to earn my own money, to always find time – regardless of kids or work – to do something that is my own.
So let’s just make it clear that my mum would beat Carol Brady, Mrs Partridge, Clare Huxtable and yes, even Julie Rafter if there was ever some boxing match involving my mum and, you know, fictional mums from TV. Which there’s not. Obviously. But if there was – ‘You going down, ladeeeeeeeez. Word.” Or something. Anyhoo …
Soooooo writing this post is a just a leetle difficult.
Because last week I had a lightbulb moment thanks to, well, Kate Winslet. Yes, Kate “I’m-flying-look-at-me-look-at-me-there’s-only-room-on-this-plank-in-the-sea-for-one-of-us-Jack” Winslet and I’ve realised that while I want to (and should) hope to emulate much of my mother’s parenting habits – there’s one thing I must do differently. And it’s the way I speak about my appearance. My body.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I grew up in a household where my mum routinely sledged her appearance in the mirror. But I didn’t. I can – hand on heart – tell you that I never once heard my mother complain about her figure. Never heard her bemoan her thighs or her arms, the size of her boobs or the shape of her hips. She may have thought it in her head – I’m sure she did – but she just never verbalised it. Certainly never in front of me. Consequently despite the fact that I am an entirely different size and shape to my mother (I look like I ate my mother, frankly) I rarely utter a negative word about my appearance in front of Ava or Brad. Do I think it? HELL TO THE YES. It’s like my head features a soundtrack narrated by Anna Wintour. But I don’t say any of it out loud.
And for year YEARS I have thought this was enough. More than enough. Just last week I was congratulating myself on my awesome body image parenting while simultaneously stuffing several of Ava’s Easter eggs into my cake-hole.
But last week Kate Winslet made me realise it’s not enough.
Last week on Facebook I stumbled upon this quote from the actress about what she says to her 12-year-old daughter Mia: