My mum is an amazing woman. When I was about 15, I wrote an article about her on a blog that I had at the time, which I deleted later on. It was called ‘Ma mère, cette femme’ (‘My mother, this woman’ en français dans le texte) and I really wish I had saved the text because I am fairly sure I would still to this day, write the same thing word for word.
It’s funny how sometimes growing up, you grow closer to your parents whom you once despised (ha, those sweet teenage years). For me, I definitely have grown closer to my mum as a result of experiencing adulthood, but there’s something more.
As I moved all the way across the world from France to Australia almost five years ago, I found I had never felt closer to my mum than when we were 17,000 km apart. We started Skyping every Sunday night Brisbane time, for an hour or so, just catching up on things – and it was actually the first time in my life that I was taking an hour of my day just to talk to my mother. I guess in everyday life in France, we rarely had one on one time. I have quite a big and loud family, and we’re not really big on talking about our feelings. So to take this whole hour to actually discuss what was going on in my life with my mother was a really big deal for me, much more than I actually realised at the time.
Five years later, this is still very true. I hold very dear our Sunday sessions, and as much as I wish I could actually hug my mum and not have to see her through a screen, I am so grateful I get to share those special moments with her.
Here are five things about slow living I learnt from my mum:
1. Always look for a natural alternative
My mum has been using plant based remedies for our family for years, and she always gives my sisters and I plant creams and essential oils first before using any chemical drugs. Thyme cream with a drop of tea tree essential oil applied to your throat and chest is actually amazing for curing a sore throat. Whatever the symptoms, she can whip a blend of essential oils, creams, drops, herbs, seeds and motherly love in a matter of seconds (but beware if you don’t use it the prescribed way, she will come after you). I learned very early on that not all pains should be fixed with a Panadol, and that more gentle approaches can actually be more beneficial.
2. When in doubt, go to the sea
Both my parents are sea lovers. You can be sure to find them at the beach on any given day off during summer, and this is where I spent most of my childhood holidays. We have always lived on the Mediterranean coast, as well as of most of my family. The sea has always had a calming effect on me, I feel very relaxed and serene every time I find myself toes in the sand, soaking in the sunshine and the salty fragrances of the sea.
3. Tea tree essential oil is queen (oils are female in French)
No matter what your problem is (maybe not a broken leg, but you never know), you can pretty sure tea tree essential oil will fix it. Seriously, this stuff is magic and has so many healing properties: antibacterial, antimicrobial, health booster, cicatrisant – you name it! If you must only have one essential oil in your life, this is it.
4. Second hand doesn’t mean second best
My mum loves going to the flea market and she has passed on to me this passion for rummaging. She is big on spending Saturday mornings at the market. She won’t be looking for anything in particular but will most likely find amazing treasures, and will make sure we all hear about their ridiculous price when she comes home.
5. Put yourself out there
This one isn’t technically strictly related to slow living, it applies to everything. If you know my mum, even if you’ve only met her once, you probably know how… active and determined she is. For the rest of you: the woman never stops (I wonder if she even sleeps). But more than this, she never gives up, never surrenders. She is relentless, and I have always been inspired (and a bit scared) by her iron will. She pushed me more than once to take a leap of faith, to go out of the beaten path and find my way. I am actually not sure how likely I would have been to break away from my predetermined future lawyer career and move to Australia to start over again if it wasn’t for her.
For all these things and so much more, merci Maman.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums in the world – and for those of you who are lucky enough to be able to see your mum today, hold them tight.