In the books Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton and The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, Daisy and Diana are the main characters. Both Daisy and Diana lacked a true mother figure as they were growing up and this had an effect on the way that they raised their own children. Both Daisy and Diana tried to conform to the socially constructed role of the mother, and tried to give their children everything that they possibly could. Without very much help from their husbands, both Daisy and Diana tried their hardest to bring their children the best in life.
Both Daisy and Diana lacked a true mother figure in their lives. Daisy’s mother, Mercy, died when she gave birth to Daisy. Daisy was an unexpected child and right after giving birth to her, Mercy died on the kitchen floor. “Silent and still as a boat, a stranger in the world for all her life, who has given her child the last of her breath.” (Shields, 40) After her mother’s death, Daisy was put in the care of a neighbor, Clarentine Flett. However, Clarentine, too died when Daisy was a young child. Clarentine “entered a state of unconsciousness the moment the dreadful accident occurred . . . “(Shields, 55) Clarentine loved Daisy “as if she were her own child.” (Shields, 55) Clarentine acted as a replacement for Mercy until Daisy was 11 years old, however, this was still a young age for Daisy to not have a mother. Daisy did not have a chance to learn how to be a woman and to learn the ways of motherhood from example. Daisy had to teach herself the ways of a woman as her father was the only person she had to use as an example.
Diana also lost her mother at a young age. Diana’s parents got divorced when she was only six years old. “The biggest disruption was when Mummy decided to leg it” (Morton, 33) This had a great impact on Diana as a child and she was left in her father’s care. Diana’s father did remarry, however, Diana and the other children in the family did not like their stepmother, Raine. “We didn’t like her one bit.” (Morton, 129) Diana rarely saw her real mother and did not want to listen to anything that Raine told her. This caused Diana to grow up without a real mother figure in her life. She had to teach herself how to be a lady and how to care for others. She never had a role model to show her how to do this. Both Daisy and Diana lacked a true role model for motherhood and had to learn these skills on their own through experience.
When Diana became a mother to prince William, she was fighting to maintain her duties as a princess and trying to be a good and caring mother at the same time. Diana had some experience in caring for children as she was a nanny in her younger years for various friends of her family. “I was sent out to all sorts of people from my sisters-their friends were producing rapidly.”(Morton, 43) Diana acquired some skills on motherhood through these jobs but never had true experience until she had her own children. When Diana had Prince William and shortly after, Prince Harry,she was concerned with their happiness more than anything else in the world. She loved them so much and would do anything to make them content. She tried to make time for them in her busy schedule to see them and take them places whenever she could. “She lavished William and Harry with love, cuddles and affection . . . she loved them unconditionally and absolutely.” (Morton, 260) William and Harry provided Diana with a sense of stability and sanity in her busy life.
When the talk of divorce between Diana and Charles was in the air, the thing that bothered Diana the most was the risk of losing her children. “She was terrified that the family was going to take the children away.” (Morton, 315) When the children did have to go and see their father, Diana “missed her children badly, particularly on traditional times of family celebration.” (Morton, 329) Diana’s children were the most important thing in her life. They brought her happiness and assurance that some things in her life were going okay. As the world watched her in her royal position, little did they know that she was not happy. The only place that she was happy was with her boys. She took on the role of mother with open arms, trying at all times to be the best mother that she could be. She always wished that her children could grow up just like any other children and live normal lives, out of the public eye. She wanted them to be exposed to the real world and to see that there was life outside of Kensington Palace. Diana took her boys with her to visit sufferers of AIDS and other sick people. “Diana visited regularly, once even bringing her children, Princes William and Harry.” (Morton, 243) Diana wanted her children to see that there were other people who were not as fortunate as they were.
Diana tried very hard to be the typical mother, taking her children places and loving them and giving them the best that they could possibly deserve. She wanted the world to see that she was not just a princess who was absorbed in herself and that she was capable of showing love. The royal family, however, often made it difficult for Diana to give her boys a normal life. Diana was supposed to teach her children not to show their feelings in public and to be reserved and quiet. This was the tradition in the royal family. She, however, taught them to show their feelings, to hug people and cry and laugh and not care about who was watching. I was obvious too that Diana’s boys, William and Harry loved her just as much as she loved them. When Diana was sick, William gave her some tissues and said to her “I hate to see you sad.” (Morton, 258) Diana’s children greatly appreciated her unconventional way of bringing them up and her desire to give them a normal childhood.
Daisy, from the Stone Diaries, took on the stereotypical role of wife and mother in the 1950s. She stayed home with her children while her husband went to work and raised them by herself. Daisy truly lacked experience in raising children. She did not have any contact with children as she was growing up and when she had children of her own, it was her first time in a motherhood role. She did, however, care for them well and tried to teach them things in life. She took time to speak to each of her children, Alice, Warren and Joan separately and to answer any questions that they had. She always made sure to tell them the truth. When Alice enquires about the origin of babies, Daisy gives her a suitable explanation. ” The mother and father lie on a bed… .with their arms around each other . . .” (Shields, 165) Daisy also answers Warren’s questions with truth and promptness. Warren asks “How old are you?” (Shields, 168) Daisy also shows much care for her youngest daughter, Joan. “Her mother, putting her to bed at night, leans down and kisses her on each cheek and says My sweetie pie'” (Shields, 172) Daisy always made sure that her children got fair treatment and that they were happy.
When they were young, Daisy taught her children hard work and discipline. She taught them to be responsible, to keep their clothes clean, to care about their appearance and to help out when help was needed. ” The two girls, Alice, nine, and Joan, five, have been encouraged to pick a small bouquet for the table . . . ” (Shields, 157) The kids made their own beds and “Alice has helped her mother by dusting the front and back stairs.” (Shields, 158) The children were taught good manners and morals by their mother.
When Daisy’s children become older and move out, Daisy is finally free from the role of motherhood. She takes on a job at a local newspaper. She had been raising children for 25 years and felt that it was time to do something for herself. “If you are in agreement, we thought we might use Mrs. Green Thumb’ as a byline.” (Shields, 204) Daisy felt that it is time for her to move on with her life.
When Daisy became old, sick and lonely, the only one of her children that kept in touch with her was Alice. Alice went to visit her mother and to stay with her when she was ill. The other children, Warren and Joan were busy with their own families. Daisy was not, however, offended by their absence as she knew that she did a good job raising them and that they loved their mother very much. They wrote and sent postcards, but Daisy let them go off into the world, confident that she had taught them well and they could survive in the real world. Daisy took on the responsibility of a mother with open arms and did a good job in showing her children the ways of life and how to act around people. She taught them discipline and morals and how to lead a good, healthy life.
Neither Daisy nor Diana had much help from their husband in raising the children. They were practically single mothers. In Daisy’s case, this was because her husband, Barker was working all of the time and was getting very old. He was more than 20 years older than Daisy. “In a matter of months, he’ll turn sixty-five.” (Shields, 162) Barker did however, find time to spend with the children every once in a while. “His old habit of taking the children for weekend walks, quizzing them as they ramble along the quiet streets on the common names of trees and shrubs.” (Shields, 163) This was about the extent of Barker’s involvement with the children. He was always too busy with his lady’s slipper collection or his job to bother with the children. Barker was a man who “almost never engages in a game of backyard catch. Who scarcely ever swings them up in the air or fills their ears with nonsense at bedtime.” (Shields, 164) It is obvious that Daisy did much of the child raising by herself and did a good job.
Diana too, had little help in raising her children. Diana did, however, have a nanny to help her: “William and Harry had breakfast with their nanny.”(Morton, 328) This alleviated much of the stress of raising two boys and carrying on her royal duties all by herself. Charles would very rarely make time for his children. When Prince William was young and hurt himself very badly at school, it was Diana who stayed by his side the whole time. “Charles left the hospital to go to a performance . . . Meanwhile Prince William . . . was wheeled into surgery for the 75-minute operation.” (Morton, 251) Charles received much media scorn for this incident. However, it was not an isolated event. Charles found it very difficult to make time for his children on an everyday basis. “She thinks he is a bad father, a selfish father, the children have to tie in with what he’s doing. He will never delay, cancel or change anything which he has sorted out for their benefit . . . It was Diana who chose their schools, their clothes and planned their outings. She negotiated her public duties around their timetables.” (Morton, 260)
Neither Diana nor Daisy received much help from their husbands in raising the children. Both had to do it on their own and try to give their children the best that they possibly could, considering the circumstances. Diana had many other things to do as well as raising the children. This made it very difficult for her. Daisy did not really have too many other things to do and had time to raise the children.
Although Diana and Daisy both had a lack of a mother figure in their childhood, they both grew up to be very successful mothers. They both tried to give their children everything that they possibly could, even if it meant sacrificing themselves. Daisy fit perfectly into the role of a mother and Diana certainly tried to juggle the role of mother and princess. Both tried their best and without much help from their husband, gave their children everything they wanted. The children new it and loved their mothers just equally. Neither Daisy not Diana can be criticized for the way that they raised their children, as they did everything they could to ensure that their children had happy and productive childhoods.