Celebrating mothers with author Judy Reith
In the run-up to Mother’s Day we caught up with mother and parenting expert Judy Reith, whose new book, 7 Secrets of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know, is just published…
What do you think are the most important qualities in a “good enough” mum?
I think mums today are under more pressure than ever before to be the perfect mum, wife/partner and homemaker with the glittering career on top. The most contented mums I know have found ways to have interesting part-time work so they can keep enough time and energy to also be involved with bringing up their children. They are happy to make financial and material sacrifices to do this. The other important thing I have observed are the mums who have high hopes and low expectations: they forgive themselves, and most of all, they see the value in keeping their sense of humour.
Do you think mums get enough praise for the incredible job they do?
Sometimes, but one of the character traits of mums is how much they do which goes unnoticed, unspoken. They just get on with huge amounts of small, medium and large things that keep a home and a family running without asking for praise or complaining too much. Mother’s Day is a mixed blessing. For many, it is a very painful day. However, it also offers the opportunity to reflect on what a great job most mothers are doing, and to thank them for that.
What was the most important lesson you learnt from your mum?
I think to slow down! She might have been a hopeless timekeeper, but she had endless patience, rarely lost her temper and she would often say to me ‘Can’t you just put your feet up?’
Do you think it’s important for mums to consider the legacy and values they want to pass down to their children?
I work with parents every year troubled by so many of the issues 21st-century parenting throws at us. Often, I will ask them to pause, stop the ‘noise’ and think hard about what really matters. I will say, if this was your last day, what would you want to make sure you have left your children with so they grow up well?
As the mother of three daughters, what is the most important value or legacy you want to pass down to your daughters?
Well, the foundation of my book 7 Secrets of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know is to decide what your values are and make sure you are living them out and not just hoping you are. My number one value at home is honesty, closely followed by kindness to others.
If you could do one thing to help mothers across the world – what would it be?
Lovely question! I think it would be to encourage them to forget trying to be perfect, and to believe that they are doing the best they can, most of the time, and that’s OK.
As a parenting coach who has interviewed hundreds of mums – what one piece of wisdom or encouragement would you give to mothers bringing up kids today?
Relax! Worrying is exhausting, and laughter will do you and your darlings far more good.
My two grown-up daughters are coming home, which is heaven for me, and their younger sister still lives with us. Seeing my three girls reunited is the best present for me. We are off for a fabulous brunch at the amazing Darsham Nurseries cafe in Suffolk. Then a walk on the beach with the dog, come home, light the fire, open a bottle of wine and watch Call the Midwife!