I want to tell you a story about my Mum.

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**trigger warning: parental death**

She was the most amazing woman. We were the house that everyone would gather in. Our tiny house, smaller than the not very big house I live in now. It would be full of people coming for dinner, staying for a few weeks if they were in need. And trust me they weren’t coming for her cooking. I have strong memories of gagging on her chewy beef casseroles, or eating Findus crispy pancakes slightly burnt. They really came for the welcoming nature she created in our house, for her love of a good gossip and the way she encouraged everyone to make themselves at home.

“Would you like a drink? The fridge is here, help yourself.’

My friends loved to ask her the sex questions they couldn’t ask their own mums, “Alison, can you really get thrush in your mouth?’. I guess this is not strictly a sex question but I’m pretty sure my friend Vicky thought it was when she asked it.

I loved to spend time with my mum as a teenager. I’d often forgo a sleepover in favour of hanging out with her in front of the TV. Having deep conversations, during which she would tell me that I was too intelligent for her, that her lack of education meant she couldn’t keep up with me. She may not have been as educated as me, but I have no doubt she was absolutely as intelligent.

What did my mum think of herself? Did she see the wonder everyone else did? Did she find a job or a life that lit her up?
Not really.

She worried so much about her weight that we have very few pictures of her now. And when she died, suddenly, at 43, she did it utterly in love with the (pretty ace!) kids she’d poured her soul into, but very much not happy with her own life or where she’d got to.

She was in transition. My brother and I (who were 18 and 20 at the time) had just left home and she was yet to find her feet with how her new life was looking.

It’s hard to write this because she was magnificent. I wish she could have seen herself through our eyes, she would have walked so fucking tall. She would have shouted at me for saying ‘fucking’.

I see this same thing in some of the women who surround me too. Amazing, creative, intelligent, wonderful women. Raising amazing kids. But I know they don’t see themselves the way I see them, the way their kids do, the way me and my brother saw my mum.

I’ve told a few of them that. I often think it’s a bit of a waste for me to think they are so truly brilliant when they don’t see it themselves. So frequently it’s only them that doesn’t see it - we all know! It’s like a badly kept secret.

This wasn’t what I was meant to be writing, but it just came pouring out. Don’t hide who you are like my mum did. Take the next step to stepping into who you are. Claim that space that only you can fill, live it proudly.

Stand in front of the camera.
Shout about the things you are amazing at.
Look for the thing that lights you up. 
Keep looking until you find it.
Befriend the people who inspire you.
Love yourself like your kids love you.
Step into what is out there for you.
Know you are worth all of it and more.

My mum was one of the best humans I have ever known, I wish I could tell her that again. But more than that. I wish she had heard me all of the times I said it when she was still here.

P.S if you're not in it all ready and your looking to step into what is out there for you, feel free to join my Facebook group "Finding the Balance: Nailing Motherhood + Business' here -https://www.facebook.com/groups/RayDodd/.

Ray Dodd