A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Monday, 30 March 2015

The Big 5: Life Lessons

I may have had a bit of a giggle when I was tagged by Anya from Older Single Mum for a meme on life lessons we'd like to pass on to our children. Anya's one of my favourite bloggers and obviously I was flattered that she thinks I'm wiser now that my twin daughters are all grown. I remain unconvinced.

Can you instill life lessons into a teenager? Don't they sigh at anything a parent has to say and go on to do the exact opposite? Surely you can only believe wholeheartedly in your scruples and hope that eventually some of it rubs off? As my daughters are no longer teenagers, there is most definitely light at the end of what was a turbulent time in our lives. And I'm optimistic that after 20 years of parenting, my daughters have learnt the following...

1. Be yourself: having spent most of my childhood trying to fit in, I realised my plan was flawed once I'd grown up. Anyone who's a true friend will respect your individuality and never judge. I've always encouraged the girls to do the things they loved and not pretend to like something just because everyone else did. They never did latch onto Big Brother and didn't join Facebook until they were 18. They did however, continue with ballet to grade 6 when all of their friends gave up after grade 2. I'm eternally grateful that my daughters embrace their individuality and aren't afraid to think for themselves.

2. Learn from your mistakes: don't feel bad about making mistakes. Life's meant to evolve and if you're not striving to work out what does and doesn't work for you - you're not doing it right. Chances are you're going to make a few mistakes along the way - it's what you learn from the experience that counts. It can feel like the end of the world to realise that you've done something wrong, but what's important is that you pick yourself up, dust yourself down and carry on. Making the same mistakes over and over is going to be what lands you in trouble - so learn and move on.

3. Don't grow up too quickly: from the age of 13 I was desperate to be an adult and leave my childhood behind. I thought that grown-ups had all the answers - only to realise that most of the time they're still making it up as they go along. So make the most of that innocence and freedom for as long as possible. You're a long time grown-up, whereas childhood is relatively short.

4. Don't be afraid to try new things, they may be the things you love: Sophia and Olivia were always encouraged to try anything they were remotely interested in. This came with the proviso that they didn't have to continue if they didn't enjoy it. As a result, they've had lots of great experiences and fathomed out what they truly enjoy. Strangely, both daughters love rowing, although Olivia's only discovered this pastime during the past year. Sophia is Head Cox at her University Rowing Club and Olivia's taken up gig rowing - who'd have thought it?

5. Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself: I'm not sure this one needs any explanation whatsoever, but here goes... try to be a person you'd be happy to talk to in any situation. Be consistent and treat everyone with respect - even if you're not shown the same consideration in return. You'll be remembered for your actions and this will work to your advantage. 

I'm happy to report that my daughters are so grown-up, that I hardly recognise the teenagers we dropped off at university 18 months ago. There are times when I'm astounded by some of the mature comments they come out with. Obviously, there are occasions when the girls revert to type and we all end up a tad grouchy - but there you go, life's not perfect. My daughters are turning into amazing young women and I am one proud mum. I guess all the nagging poignant mother/ daughter conversations we've had over the years are finally paying off. And it's so lovely when they grasp something, although it's important for a mum not to giggle when that happens, as neither daughter finds this amusing. It's as though they have to learn these lessons for themselves and they do, kind of... I like to think that the initial inspiration came from parental beliefs though.

I'm going to pass the meme baton on to 3 lovely bloggers. First of all Natalie from Plutonium Sox, her blog is a recent find for me and with 2 young daughters, I'm am so looking forward to reading her post. I'm also tagging Lucy from Bottle for 2 after discovering her blog on Vic Welton's Newbie Showcase last week. And finally, just because the dad bloggers often get left out of memes I'm nominating Tim over at Slouching Towards Thatcham, for a dad's point of view.

My thanks to Anya for making me think about the life lessons I've tried to pass on to my daughters. This post was written after chatting to both of them; incredibly we came up with the same five lessons.

And if anyone else would like to join in with the challenge, use the hashtag #Big5meme and share on Twitter. The original idea for this meme came from Mich over at Mummy from the Heart.

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton


  1. I knew you'd come up some brilliant lessons Izzie! You're obviously a lovely mum and I'm glad to see your daughters are doing you credit. I think being yourself is one of the hardest things to do in life - how wonderful yours have that sussed early and have the strength to carry it through. And gosh, yes, mistakes are part of life so it's good not to get too down about them. I am trying vainly to keep my kids young, but some of the other parents seem to want their kids all grown up already, which is sad, because you are so right about them being a long time an adult! Such brilliant news about the rowing and the always treating others well - you've always come across as a decent sort! Thank you for joining in and it's pleasing to hear your daughters are such grown up delightful individuals :)) XX

  2. Wow, thank you so much for the tag and what wonderful lessons you have come up with. How brilliant that your girls came up with exactly the same things, you have taught them well.xx

  3. Fab life lessons hon, and ones I'll definitely be hoping to instill into my cherubs. Lovely post xx

  4. Pretty much all of these are relatable. I'd say the be yourself one is the most applicable to me. I used to care too much about what others thought rather than just living my life for me!

    :] // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  5. Brilliant lessons, I wish I'd listened to some of these when I was much younger. I was a skinny size 6 and was SO embarressed at how think I was I used to wear a size 14 hoodie!! It was a boy I met many many years ago that taught me to be happy with who I was. I ended up marrying him so I did at least one thing right really :)

  6. All very good lessons. And one's I'm still trying hard to follow! 'Don't be afraid to try new things' particularly resonates at the moment with all this blogging malarky and new stuff at work :) x

  7. It is so nice reading one of these posts from a Mum whose kids are now grown-up. You are right thought, we just have to live the values that are important to us and they will see those action. Mich x

  8. Love this, lots to think about! Fab lessons. Even a few that made me think about myself even now! Fab post!

  9. Thanks for tagging me, Izzie. Your set of five was really thought-provoking and I'm still scratching my head over what my five should be. (Can I just copy yours?!?) Better get my thinking cap on!

  10. I am so chuffed that you have tagged Lucy - she is such a great blogger. These are all brilliant - and I am particularly with you on number 5, it is one of my favourite mantras :) Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x


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