My youngest daughter, just turned 10, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up says ‘a mum’ – well actually she is now saying a mom unfortunately ;). Thinking about this led me to think about what influence I, as her mum, have on her and her sister and the whole nature versus nurture debate.

Youngest looking very comfortable with my BFF's baby

I sometimes feel guilty in this day and age for being a SAHM who has never really pursued a career. I wonder what I’m teaching my kids and I often tell her that she needs to find a career before she becomes a wife and mum. But does she? She is a natural around babies and kids just as I was as a kid. I always babysat, I was an AuPair for 5 years, did daycare in my home and always wanted to be a mum. Have I taught her this or was she born this way?  Oh the guilt of it all – lol

Well, I would feel guilty except I look at my eldest who is 12 1/2 and she is totally awkward around babies and young kids and wants to work in  movies as an actress, stylist or costume designer. Whoa! Where did that come from! Nothing in her upbringing instilled this into her she was always that way inclined – we have encouraged it but it’s innate.

Eldest looking rather less comfortable 🙂

So, back to my influence. I’m hoping I am showing them that they can can have it whichever way they choose. I may not have had a career as such but I always worked and provided for myself until WE decided I would stay at home with the girls. Even then I always did something to bring some money in and for my own self esteem. I did the daycare, I ran an ebay shop in the UK and I did some party plan direct selling in Australia. Now they see their mum working her butt off to grow her own business as a Coordinator for an AuPair program so it’s not as if I have sat around dusting and watching soaps all day.

I married a great Dad who allowed me to be the mum I wanted to be by taking on the responsibility of providing for us. Sure we took ‘traditional’ roles to a degree but mainly because I REALLY wanted to be with my kids.

Anyway – the upshot of this rambling is that I think nature way outweighs nurture. Both my kids have the same parents doing the same things and bringing them up the same way and one wants to be a mum, primarily, and the other wants a career in the movies.

What do you think your influence is on your kids with regards to what they want to be when they grow up? Do you think you have any or that their talents and wishes are innate?

  1. I tell my kids all the time ” you can be whatever you want to be in this life, do what makes you happy and do it to the best of your ability” My daughter at the age of 5 wanted to be The President , by 6 she wanted to be an icecream man.
    They’ll change their minds a hundred times and like me, not follow the path that my parents would have chosen for me. Sometimes I wonder why on earth I ever got a teaching cert that I would never use? but my career allows me to work from home and some people are not so lucky to have that option so I get great satisfaction from helping others with their childcare needs. Just like you.

  2. This is an interesting topic, Louise. I don’t have children, but I see , with my own siblings, how different we are, and find myself wondering “did we grow up in the same house?!”. I think we come into this world with unique talents and passions. Good nurturing, allows those individual traits to blossom.
    It sounds like you are a wonderful mum!!

    • Heidi, thanks so much for commenting. I really only touched on the subject but it is fascinating to see the innate differences in kids. You are right though, those traits have to be nurtured so it’s a bit of both 🙂

  3. Rikki Tracy says:

    Hi Louise,

    You DO have a career! A career doesn’t have to be linear or conventional. You were self-employed running an online shop, you had a daycare, and now you are a Local Childcare Coordinator. You don’t have to work full time or even from an office to have a career.

    My college (Wellesley) did an article about stay at home mothers in the alum magazine a couple of years ago and got a massive shout out from that community. They are often made to feel that they are wasting their degrees, but they feel that raising their kids is the most important job they could have.

    Everyone seems to have a really strong opinion about this, which makes me think that the right choice and balance is different for every mother.

    • Thank you Rikki! You have hit the nail on the head with this ‘They are often made to feel that they are wasting their degrees, but they feel that raising their kids is the most important job they could have.’. You have given me one big gee up this morning and I thank you for that – I do indeed have a career – you are right.

  4. I tried to influence, encourage , support, help my child find happiness. It was difficult letting go of the need to control; however, I knew that it was essential. I think that once you can release that need to control, everyone will find more happiness.

    Both of my parents constantly frustrated me because they attempted to control me. They still have not realized that it is a recipe for disaster. I think that we can try to control others, but there will always be a struggle, and we will always fail to some degree. We try to control them but we can’t really.

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