With International Women’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about the women in my life that inspire me. My incredible friends, who lift me up when I’m feeling down, who are all pursuing their own, separate paths, amaze me every day. But the most inspirational woman in my life, is my Mum. She had me at just 17 (something I honestly can’t imagine) and by my age, at 21, she was a single mother to myself and my younger brother.
She worked so hard over the years, went to college in the evenings, and then university, and in 2013 finished her Social Work degree, all whilst working crazy hours as a waitress to provide for us. Now, I’m able to watch her excel in her career. At the hospital where she works for CAMHS, I have been able to see how she works with her team, and just how much respect they have for her. Watching her go through and help so many young people, both through her career, and the supported lodgings we have done at home, has inspired me to want to do the same.
We had a typical, but at times complicated mother-daughter relationship when I was a teenager. I was convinced that she was out to ruin my life, whenever I was grounded, or she asked me to do chores (the horror). Sometimes I resented the fact that she wasn’t like other mums – she didn’t bake, most meals were slightly charcoaled, and she wasn’t always around to help with my homework like I thought other mums were. But now, I realised that she was there for every important moment – she supported me through all the craziness of my GCSEs and A levels (I remember her insisting that revision was boring and taking me to the cinema instead, because I was SO overwhelmed), she went to every show that I performed in, she took me to university open days, and helped me move into halls. I was convinced that we could have been the Gilmore Girls, but I’ve realised that actually, her being a young mum hasn’t changed how she is as a parent – I thought that she should have been my Lorelai, a best friend with no rules. But that isn’t real. She was pretty strict about some things, but I know now that most of her rules were there to protect me (for some reason I was unhappy that I wasn’t allowed to walk home alone late after babysitting). And she worked hard to look after us.
I love how we are now. We can relate to each other like adults. She calls me up when I’m at uni, and I find that I actually want to talk to her and get advice about the things going on in my life. I complain about online uni, she shares the struggles of working from home, and the latest exploits of her rescue dog (very cute but so naughty). We go on spa days, and the occasional shopping trip, and talk about holidays that we will eventually get around to.
My Mum inspires who I want to be every day. She is independent, hardworking, and has a great group of friends that have always been there for her. I know that I want to be the same, and growing up with her has shown me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.
By Frankie Galton
Cover Image Credit: Kirsty Lemm