Lessons from my mother

Lessons from my mother

On Friday I was invited to take part in a discussion on BBC Essex Radio about Mother's Day

The question was, 'has Mother's Day become too commercialised'. 

I commented that I felt that we shouldn't allow Mother's Day to be commercialised and that children, and fathers for that matter, shouldn't feel under pressure to produce expensive gifts.  The most precious gifts are the ones that children make for you, the paintings when they are young, the cakes and meals when they are older and the lovingly handcrafted cards.  Charlie O'Brien, the other guest and I both agreed that it's the thought that counts.

My daughter Charlotte didn't hear the broadcast but to my surprise my first gift on Mother's Day was an email.  I often mention that I don't have enough time to write articles for Fighting Fifty, so that's exactly what she gave me.

Lessons from my mother

My mother is the brilliant founder of Fighting Fifty so I thought on Mother’s Day, I would share a few of the lessons she has taught me. 

Beauty – While I’m sure my mother still despairs over my beauty regime (I’m not quite using sunscreen daily, but I take moisturiser when I swim), but I have listened to everything she says.  The advice I’ve learnt is to find things that work for you, but that will change over time.  I have finally given up the moisturiser my 15 year old skin loved, and taken her recommendation for something a little better for someone approaching 30.  She also taught me that health, fitness and beauty are intertwined, and that you can’t have one without working on the others. 

Fitness – For all the things I inherited from my mother, her figure was not one of them.  I remember when she first got into running, and watching her compete in the first few races, feeling both proud and inspired.  I’m not sure I would have ever got started without her.  I love that running is something we can enjoy together, laps around Regents Park when the evenings are lighter.  I’m often exhausted 10 minutes in while she’s still striding along.  (Is that the zoo? Surely it must be the zoo.  When did they move the zoo so far away?)

Health – Anyone who has met my mother will know she is passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about health.  Whether it is the latest superfood, supplement or a great new recipe, she’s normally tried it first.  There is no craze too crazy.  She has instilled in me a keen eye to look at what I’m actually eating, to cook meals from scratch and to pay attention to nutrition.  Everything she makes is delicious.  There’s no bland food in her kitchen.  There is a balance of course, and no run is really complete without a burger and possibly a glass of wine.

Time – My mother is hugely generous with her time.  In particular, when someone misses the last train from Cambridge (again).  Or when someone really needed that new CD, and the only place that is open is miles away.  Or that time somebody fell asleep on the tube and went to the end of the line and back (I swear that was from the blood donation the day before and not the drinks that evening).  I learnt from her that giving your time is more valuable than money; that you can always find time to pick people up from airports and stations, to have a chat or a coffee, or to help with a computer or a house move. 

Learning – My mother knows everything.  She has been telling me this for long enough.  She has a tremendous spirit for discovering and experimenting, and is always trying new things.  She has taught herself how to run a website after all.  She encouraged everything I was interested in and still does.   I know that the products she endorses will be backed up by extensive research into the product and the people behind it.  I’m constantly hearing about the people she’s met and the fascinating stories behind the products.  

So I have a lot to thank my mother for on Mother’s Day.  But if I could have one thing in return?  Forgive me for the beanie babies already.