Family Life

Little I on beach_final
Feb 28

I was inspired to write this post after reading a similar one by a fellow Mummy blogger, Mummy OM. At the moment, I am the centre of Little I’s world. But I can already see her growing in independence, and I know that one day I am going to have to let go and allow her to find her own way in this world. So here are a few lessons that I have learnt in my 34 years on this planet, which I would like her to know. I’m sure I will have many more lessons to learn and pass on, and I certainly feel like over the past almost three years I have been on the steepest learning curve of my life…but maybe I will save some of those lessons for when Little I becomes a Mummy!

1.       Yes, girls can go faster than boys

We were out and about with your scooter this weekend, and you asked me if girls can go faster than boys. At the moment, I don’t think you would beat a boy in a scooter race…but there’s no reason why you couldn’t if you set your mind to it. Sometimes being a girl is tough, and you have to work harder for recognition and respect; but don’t ever let your female status deter you from going after your dreams and ambitions.

2.       Read at least one thing every day

I hope that you will share my passion for books and reading, but even if you don’t, be sure to read something new every day, whatever it is. Reading is a gift that enables us to broaden our minds, enter new worlds, strengthen our vocabulary, and learn about new and fascinating things.

3.       Things that you’ve worked for mean far more than those that you’ve been given

This is probably the most important lesson that my parents taught me, and one that I hope I can teach you too. Some people will be handed opportunities and material things on a plate, but true happiness and fulfilment comes from those things that you have put your mind to and worked your socks off for. So if, in the future, it seems like I’m not helping you out when you think I should…it’s because I want you to learn that making things happen on your own is the very best way. Be aware than it might be killing me not to be helping you out though!

4.       Cherish your uniqueness

At the moment, you are your own, wonderful, little person. Just like Elmer the elephant! You have your own likes and dislikes and ways of doing things that are not influenced by anyone, and you don’t care what people think. I wish I could box that for when you might need a reminder of this in the future.

5.       Always have someone in your life who makes you laugh

Some of my best memories are those where I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. The only thing I ever got thrown out of class for was for laughing! I fell in love with your father because of his ability to make me laugh. Never underestimate the importance of laughter.

6.       Notice the beauty in the world around you

I’m trying my best to show you the beauty in this world, so that it doesn’t pass you by. Too many people are blind to the beauty in this world, and fail to stop and take it in. We live in such a stunning part of the world and I really count my blessings for that every day. Only this morning you got excited about the bright orange sunrise that we could see from my bedroom window, and I was proud of you for noticing it.

7.       Always have a pen and paper to hand

Get into the habit of writing down special things that people say to you, or important thoughts that cross your mind, or wonderful passages that you read…before you forget them. I wish I had have done a better job of this, and although I’m trying to get better at it, sometimes I’m lazy about jotting things down when I know I should. As you get older you begin to forget things, so write them down while they are still in your mind!

8.       Don’t let the sun go down on an argument

I hate going to bed with an argument unresolved. If you think that a situation can be resolved before the day ends, always try your utmost to do that. Never put off saying “sorry”.

9.       The world is losing perspective on what is important

Angelina Jolie’s right leg has become one of the most talked about moments of this year’s Oscars. Who cares?! 30,000 people on Twitter seem to. Celebrity culture has gone mad. Don’t let this distract you from what really matters in this world.

10.   Try to find the balance between being shrewd, and enjoying life’s pleasures

Life is a gift, and you don’t want to regret not having enjoyed it enough. If there’s a pair of shoes that you are totally in love with, buy them and enjoy wearing them – don’t put them away ‘for best’. But similarly, some things are worth waiting for.

11.   Respect your elders

This seems to be a dying sentiment, but those who are older than you, are wiser. Respect their views and opinions, and don’t be too quick to dismiss them as being out-dated.

12.   Don’t bite your nails!

Your Dad and I have both always bitten our nails, but it’s a horrible habit. I hope you will have the fingernails that I have always wanted!

13.   Love the English language, and use it properly

Txt spk, or txt lingo, has its place, but that is in a text message and nothing else. It makes me cringe when I see teenagers abbreviating all of their written English. It’s lazy, and there is no excuse for it.

14.   Be a good listener

The best sort of friend is one who always has the time to listen.

15.   Have an enquiring mind and never be afraid to ask questions

I’m sure that even Stephen Hawking needs to ask questions sometimes! Questions are the way in which you learn, and discover new things. There is no shame in asking a question about something that you don’t understand.

16.   Mobile technology is taking over the world

You aren’t even three, and you already know how to use a smartphone and a tablet PC. Just remember, there was a world that existed before all of this technology came about. While it offers incredible uses, don’t let it rule your life. Know when to switch off!

17.   Keep fit and eat healthily

You really are what you eat, and I am trying my best to be a role model for you when it comes to fitness and exercise. You can do a pretty good burpee already!

18.   Volunteer for aid work overseas

If you do, it will stay with you for the rest of your live and change your perspective on everything. My parents were terrified for my safety when I did it, and I’m sure I would have the same fears for you…but remind me that I said this!

19.   “Do not look for the easy paths, but see your shoes are strong, so that when the road is stony you can get along…”

It makes me a bit tearful writing this point, as my Granny wrote this down in a book for me many years ago, as her wish for my future. I think she would like to know that I have never forgotten it. The actual quote is longer, but the sentiment throughout is that the easiest options in life, aren’t always the best. Don’t be afraid to take the difficult roads to see where they take you – those roads will be rocky, but as long as you keep trying your hardest, you will make it. Whenever I’ve hit a low point in my life, I always turn back to this message from my Granny, and it always helps me to do the right thing and carry on down the path that I am heading.

20.   Know that whatever happens, I will always be your best friend

It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, there will always been an invisible umbilical cord between us.


About the Author

Wendy McAuliffe

Social media & online PR consultant and trainer, and ex-journalist. Founder and Director of Populate Digital and Mum of two. Living by the sea in Bournemouth. @wendymcauliffe.

  • Sarah Linda

    20 beautiful, thoughtful and honest things that made me smile. 

    • wendymcauliffe

       Thanks Sarah. Hope you liked #19 x

  • Lizzy

    This is a brilliant list!!  I totally agree with no 16, technology, my children I teach at school are horrified when I tell them that only a few years ago there were no TV’s, CD players, MP3 players etc!!
    I think I may copy and paste this list for my benefit as well as E’s, so many improtant things on it!

    • wendymcauliffe

       Thanks so much Lizzy :)

  • Katie

    Brilliant and beautifully written. Especially about being unique (for obvious reasons where my kids are concerned!) I hope you keep a copy of this too, for when she comes home as a teenager with a tattoo or a piercing or worse………………… a boyfriend!!

    • wendymcauliffe

       Thank you Katie. I don’t have to worry about any of those things for at least 10 years…I hope!

  • Helen

    Thanks Wendy.  Made me cry!  I email Emma and Alfie at the moment so they have a record of important events or just moments in time and I feel inspired to write them a list too now!  I agree with so many of your points but the asking questions and reading are so important.  I will steal these if that’s OK?

    • wendymcauliffe

       Thanks Helen. Sorry I made you cry ;) Emailing is a lovely idea. I haven’t looked into it properly yet, but I think there are sites that allow you to create a memory bank for your children. Please share your list with us!

  • keilo

    You are an incredibly bright, fascinating person, and wonderful mother. Thank God Little I will inherit these traits, and in doing so there can be hope for humanity, because I fear for it sometimes. I read a quote the other day that I would love to show all my Australian friends with spoilt children (of which there are many unfortunately):
    “Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult”. Nadia Boulanger.

    • wendymcauliffe

       That’s such a lovely quote – I will write it down in my book!

  • Catriona Regan

    Little I is so lucky to have you as her mum.  xxx

    • wendymcauliffe

       Thanks Cat. You’re not so bad a mum either ;)

  • Mark Shaw

    really beautifully written and I share each and everyone of these 20 things for my boys…..except point 1 :)

    • wendymcauliffe

      Thank you so much Mark for reading, and for such lovely feedback. I stand by no. 1 though!

  • Nickyajohnson

    Wendy, I just stumbled across this and am now in floods of tears! You’re writing is truly beautiful. xx

    • wendymcauliffe

      Thanks so much Nicky, but sorry for making you cry! x

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