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AskAlex #2

A lot of the questions on today’s AskReddit forum were incredibly interesting and there were several I could have answered. These included “What’s the craziest thing you believe?” and “Which food or invention makes you think ‘How did someone come up with this?'” but I thought these wouldn’t really give a blog post-length answer. Other possibilities were “What’s the one thing you said you’d never do that you have done?” and “What is the biggest secret you keep from your family?” which both would have got way too personal and produced material that I really wouldn’t be happy to immortalise in cyberspace forever. So in the end, I went for this one:

What are you going to do differently from your parents when you raise your own children?

That is, IF I end up having children. Right now, at 22 years old, children annoy the hell out of me. They’re too loud, too messy and too expensive. However, if I get to a stage where I’m broody and end up producing offspring, there are a few things that I would change from my own upbringing.

I certainly haven’t had a bad start and as I still live with my parents, my relationship with them is far from terrible. They have always looked after me, put me first and done what they feel is best for me. They’ve even stayed together for the sake of me and my brother, when in a different situation they probably would have split. However, I’ve never had the kind of relationship I would really like with them. I guess most people put on a certain persona when they’re with their parents but this isn’t something I enjoy at all. I would love to not have to concentrate on not swearing or saying anything too lewd. My parents, certainly my mother, claim to be laid-back and open but in practice, she would go crazy if I said anything more sweary than “bloody”. Indeed, it’s the same with the other members of my family but I hate the fact that I can never fully relax around them.

Another thing I hate is their judgements. Both of them often jump to conclusions on little evidence and they stick to those conclusions rigidly. Again, my mother is worst for this. We’ll be watching a TV show and within five or ten minutes, she’ll have normally negative and undoubtedly wrong back stories for everyone on the show. However, if I try to challenge her story, she’ll go off on a tangent about why she has drawn that conclusion and it will literally be near impossible to budge her from that. So much so that you just eventually give up and let her believe whatever opinion she has of that person.

If I’m ever a parent, I would also worry a lot less than my parents. I bet everyone without kids says that but I honestly would. I have always felt that my mother’s worrying has held me back. Due to her concerns over the things I did in the past, such as spending the day out while my phone was flat aged 15, I will never do them again. She was so upset and scared when I came home that day that I have never again been out without a fully charged phone for more than an hour. Now, that isn’t such a big deal but it is something that I feel I have to consider whenever I’m out for the day.

Linked to that (kind of) is the fact that even to this day, my mum and my nan still try to influence my decisions. They’re both strong, stubborn and incredibly persuasive women and until the age of around 13, they did dress me entirely in a way that highlighted which parts of my body were ugly and therefore “wrong”. They dressed me in floaty tops and dresses, things that hid my belly and thighs. I honestly believe that this is the root of my long-term battle with self-esteem and body acceptance. Although now, I do very much wear the things I like, I am very aware of the parts of me that aren’t pretty such as my round stomach and wobbly thighs complete with chubby arms. I know a lot of women have similar insecurities but I honestly believe the cause of mine comes from a time when the people who loved me most taught me to cover up rather than embrace my body as a beautiful, natural shape.

So yeah, with my kids I would worry less, be less judgemental of everyone and everything, let them be themselves and make them feel like they’re truly beautiful in every way. Do you want me as your mum yet?!

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