Although this will be my second mother’s day, it feels like it’s only my first. My view of motherhood has expanded exponentially over this past full year of “mothering.” Each month is so different from the last with Noah’s development that as Mother’s day approached I started reflecting on all the mothers in my own life; the women that carved me out and fine-tuned who I am. It’s so crazy when I start to think about how much I’ve really learned from each of them.
5 Lessons from the Women who Raised Me
- Don’t blame anyone for the hardship in your life.
This is one of the most important lessons that I carry with me from my grandma. In all things, she has shown me that no matter how you are wronged you have a choice to let it grow you or control you. When life seems to be working its hardest against us, it is easy to blame everyone and everything for getting in the way of our success and happiness. But, as you have probably noticed harboring anger for these problems neither rids you of the issue or solves it. I think the hardest part to swallow about this advice is that sometimes people are cruel and do treat you bad and do put you into horrible positions, but grandma always tells me that to free yourself from the pain the best thing to do is forgive.
- No matter the job, always give your best.
This is another lesson my grandma passed down to my mom and my mom made sure to instill in me. I was taught that no matter what I’m doing, if I’m going to do it, I should give it my all and do my very best. This advice has been the foundation of my work ethic, my love life, my friendships, my everything. Whenever I do something, I think of it as a manifestation of myself in the world. I never want to put out work that does not reflect quality, or not completely give myself to those around me. I’ve been taught that these actions are the lasting impressions that I leave upon world. Even when I hate my jobs, I still make the effort to produce work I can be proud of. I can say now, that this has helped and hurt my family, because when we’re involved in something or someone we don’t hold back, which leaves room to be taken advantage of. But, I’ve learned from seeing these women give everything for nothing and give everything for more than they could imagine in return that it’s better to give all of yourself than to hold back and wonder.
Growing up this was the only advice my mom would give me on the subject of dating. For most of my life, I felt slighted by my mother and held a bit of resentment for her in my heart, because I believed she wasn’t being understanding or honest with me. Well, now I can see that this was by far the best advice she could’ve ever given me on the subject. I have learned that they are, in fact, dumb. No matter how loving, caring, and providing, they will forever be dumb.
- Have a light heart.
If my family is nothing else, they are goofballs. My aunt never misses an opportunity to crack jokes on someone, and major life missteps are not off limits. Our willingness to laugh at ourselves draws us closer to each other and let’s us know that are transgressions are forgiven. Knowing my family’s intimate struggles and watching them laugh, belly-aching laughs has taught me that hardly anything is bad enough to rob your joy.
- Family will always be there
Being one of the youngest adults in the family, I have just gone through (currently in) the phase of proud reverence, high expectations and the fall from grace. I witnessed my older cousin go through a similar pattern, but at 16 did not yet understand the challenges of adulthood as it plays out in our somewhat demanding-judgy family. Oh but now, she and I are the best of friends. On a good day, we feel like we can prove them all wrong and show them what courageous, strong, independent women we’ve become. On a bad one, we’re failures, who will never escape the clutches of the family’s “generational curses.” But on either day, we’ve come to appreciate the fact that our family will fight for us. They are our fiercest defenders, biggest supporters and always bail us out.
The women who raised me, although all slightly neurotic, are strong, confident and enduring. Watching them throughout my life has been tough yet inspiring, because as life would have it the low moments can seem unbearably low, but every time they prevail. I know because of this, that I am capable of achieving more than I can imagine. I know I am a better woman because of them.
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