I was lucky to have Sarah, my 28 year old daughter, visit for the weekend and while she was here I read a story in the paper titled ‘Like mother, like daughter? Three women compare their life with that of their mum at the same age’.
I decided to do a similar story with Sarah and I will do one with each of my other 2 daughters when I next see them.
Sarah & I talked about the many differences in our lives at this age. The main one being that at 28 I was the mother of 3 daughters under 5 years of age, having just given birth to Eliza our final child that year. Grant & I had been married for nearly 9 years and were buying our own little house in Newcastle. Sarah on the other hand is enjoying life with her partner, Ben, with neither a wedding nor a baby in sight. In her words, she is as free as a bird.
I hadn’t gone to university after finishing high school and wouldn’t until I turned 40 years of age, whereas Sarah enjoyed a year after high school living & working in Italy before returning home to undertake a university degree in International Studies. She is planning to return to study in 2014 to do her Masters while working full time as well.
I obviously wasn’t working outside of the home at 28 having 1 daughter, Melanie, start school that year and 2 little ones at home. My social life revolved around playgroup, Nursing Mothers and all things child related. Sarah has a good job in Canberra with a Federal Government Department. She has aspirations!
At 28 I had only travelled outside Australia once when I was 17, which turned out to be an ill fated & tragic trip, whereas Sarah has lived in 3 countries – UK, Italy, & Sweden – for over 6 years before returning with Ben, to live in Australia, just last year. Sarah is much more worldly aware than I was at that age and also has a great social conscience. She believes in things and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. I think she is more idealistic than I was at 28 but that probably stems from the fact that I was a young mother and didn’t have much time for anything else. She is much cleverer than I ever will be and I am glad that she has made use of her brain power in a good way.
I didn’t travel again until I was 31 when we moved the family to England for a year on a Teacher Exchange. We often say that this was the turning point in our lives, it definitely opened the door to our family becoming addicted to travelling the world with a family motto of ‘To travel is to live’. So Sarah has us to thank for opening up her world to travel! Moving the family from Newcastle to Tumbarumba was also a big change and one that we are all happy that we made.
Grant & I were on a strict budget as we were buying our first home, we only had one income at the time and life was tough for us. Sarah & Ben are good managers and also understand the need for tight fiscal control, they are renting a nice unit and Sarah has just bought her first car. They do have a very nice life I am happy to say, but a very different one to my life at 28!
At 28 I still had all my grandparents alive and thankfully so does Sarah. She values her family connections despite her jokes about her sisters and their competitive relationship. They love getting together whenever they can and just being themselves, warts & all. I love having them all together too.
We both agree that some things haven’t changed much and one of them is that women are no further ahead in many ways than they were when I was 28, in terms of in management, political & leadership roles. This is despite us having out first female Prime Minister within this time. Just looking at the portrayal of women in TV shows and music makes us both cringe at times. We both agree that the world has changed with the advent of the internet and mobile phone communications and that TV & music were better way back then.
I feel that I have lived my life on the whole, opposite to what Sarah has done. I married young (19) and had my children while I was still young. I have mothered them and then got on with my life in terms of study, work and travel. I love that there are no hard and fast rules for Sarah’s generation. They can, and do, have a life and make decisions based on where they are up to and their individual choices.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that I am still a mother and Sarah, my daughter. But I would like to think that I am now also her friend as well as her mother. I have enjoyed watching her progress to where she is now and am very proud of what she has done with her life in her 28 years.
It is always an interesting exercise to compare lives and especially when it is with one of your own children. I wouldn’t change a thing about myself at 28 and I am very happy with how Sarah has turned out at the same age. She is beautiful, confident, clever, caring and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Like mother, like daughter? – I don’t think so!