Social commentary and think pieces

23 February 2019

I come from a family of strong women: this is my thank you to them

Of the many things I’ve inherited from my mum, (her height, eyebrows - or lack of them) the thing that is most prominent to me is by far her attitude, something which she shares with the generations of women who came before her in our family. 
Her strong-minded, independent attitude and the fact that she stands for no bullshit is something that I admire in her and feeds the infinite amount of respect I have for her, which seems to grow with age. 

When I was four, my parents split. Since then my mum has raised both me and my brother almost entirely alone and - with the exception of the weekends once a fortnight that my dad would take over childcare - she’s had little to no financial or emotional support.

For my mum, having kids meant giving up her successful career as a freelance jewellery designer and instead  she spent an intense year studying for a PGCE at university (whilst bringing up two young children). She then became a primary school teacher, a profession in which she could rely on a steady income and had school holidays off to spend with my brother and I. 
How she managed to juggle being a full time university student and a full time mother is something I don’t think I’ll ever entirely understand. It’s certainly not something I think I would ever be capable of doing, especially not to the extent my mum has, having excelled in both aspects. 

Given the situation, I haven’t grown up in a financially stable family, like most of my friends have. In fact, my family were on benefits for a period of time. This is not something I intend to complain about as I know full well that so many people have it far worse than I do. In fact, I don’t even think I have it badly at all - I’m incredibly lucky to be living in the way that I am. Rather, I’m trying to provide context so that hopefully you get a better understanding of how strong willed the women in my family are. 

Our financial situation meant that as a family we weren’t able to indulge in the luxuries or extravagant holidays or throw away money with no thought on unnecessary Starbucks sandwiches in a similar way to the vast majority of my friends. But, my mum was sensible in her spending, teaching my brother and I the value of money and that in fact there are alternatives to buying overpriced sandwiches. She was careful with her money in order to facilitate a lifestyle for my brother and I and as a result we haven’t had to miss out on the experiences similar to those of our friends. 

Aside from her attitude towards money, my mum is the most emotionally strong person I know, having raised two children alone, undergone a career change and throughout all, kept spirits high.
Her straightforward honesty is something I have been especially grateful for in many situations throughout my life. During the long periods of time when I was younger in which I felt trapped in toxic, manipulative friendships her frank advice helped me a great deal in gaining perspective and understanding of the situation. She's the wisest woman I know, and has helped me extensively during periods of my life in which I have felt completely lost. 

This straight forward attitude is something she shares with her own mum and grandma, and something I see in myself to some extent. 
Possibly one of the most crucial reasons for her strong attitude is the experience of her own upbringing. 

My mum grew up in a family in which the typical parenting stereotypes were very much reversed, with my grandma being the sole breadwinner of the family and my grandad taking on to the typical ‘mother’ roles, as he worked from home. He would do the cooking and take my mum and aunt to school, all whilst my grandma was out working as a university music lecturer. Not only were my grandparents unusual in the sense that their parental roles were very much reversed, their attitudes most definitely went against the stereotypes too. My grandma - like my mum - had a head on, no bullshit attitude and was far more practical than my grandad, who is quite a sensitive man. 

Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet my grandma as she died of cancer when my mum was a teenager. However, from the stories my family have told me about her, its quite clear that she is a perfect example of the strong willed attitudes upheld by so many women in my family. This is also true of my great grandmas, one of whom raised all three of her children alone due to the fact that my great grandad died whilst two of them were babies. And despite being widowed she continued to adopt a third child.

I firmly believe that the mentality of the women in my family is something that has impacted each of them throughout the generations, and inevitably has come to impact me too. The strong, independent attitude that each of them have upheld is something which I very much see in myself. In fact, its my favourite feature. 

I’m beyond proud to have inherited their outlook and all I can hope is that I will grow into a woman even the slightest bit strong and independent as those who have come before me. 


  1. This was so lovely to read! My mum is quite similar with the no bullshit attitude, probably on the extreme end of that spectrum ha

  2. Great post, I too wasn't financially stable growing up but I feel like it's made me more grateful as an adult xx ❤️

  3. Great one.

  4. Lovely read dear. Thanks for sharing!
    Jessica |

  5. Your mum sounds stellar. I sometimes reminisce on how my mum manage to juggle her full-time job and raising 3 toddlers all at once, I'm in awe every time i think about it. Trying hard to stop complaining about uni work or trivial issues when my mum managed to handle way worst.

    1. No, YOUR mum sounds stellar! I don't think I'll ever be able to manage 3 kids and a full time job, let alone toddlers. But, thanks - my mum will be very pleased with your comment!

  6. This was such a lovely read. It's insane that your mum was able to balance childcare whilst being at uni too, now that is incredible xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

  7. Love your leopard belt!!

    X Merel

  8. Loving your camel jumper dear! Nice post!
    Have a great day! xx

    La ilusión de Nina -

  9. Such a beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Love Cynthia xx

  10. What an interesting read. Your mum sounds like an incredibly strong woman. Lovely photos! x

    Samantha |

  11. Wow what a courageous and strong woman x


  12. Wow! Such an inspiring blog post! I feel so inspired for all the strong and brave women in your family who kick ass and didn't give a damn about stereotypes!

  13. Women are starting to be more aggressive in business, and in romance, and I for one think that's a very good thing.

  14. Our world is made up of many strong women. Everyone has their own definition of strength and what it entails, but I assure you, everyone has someone they know that can be put on this list.

  15. This is a great post and so good to see a woman being proud of being independent and strong!!


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