A good mom teaches us a lot. If we’re lucky enough to become moms one day, we realize more and more just how much we learned from her. In general, moms get a bad rap, held to a much higher standard than anyone else who might enter our lives. Her missteps are often severely judged, not just in her own mind and heart, but in those of her children. But for better or worse, she’s the one we turn to most, the one who is always there, a constant gardener in love and care, in her way.
‘Her way’ may not always be something we agree with, but even if she’s made a mistake, we’re going to learn something from it. She’s human sure, but beyond that, she’s mom, which means she impacts your life in a way like no other. As we grow and become adults, it’s important to consider her not just as mom, but as a person on her own journey. Puts a little different perspective on her mistakes, doesn’t it?
Considering her this way should likewise put an improved perspective on her love and constant gardening. She’s just another human being on a journey, yet she devotes the majority of her thoughts, energies, decisions, and dreams toward your well-being, the epitome of unconditional love. And though it may not always seem as though her love comes without strings (she actually expects things of you!?!) it ultimately does, because every demand is made with your best interests at heart. And we cut her some slack, she’s lived longer than we have, she likely knows more than we do about a thing or two, so we try to listen more and judge less. We have some faith in her love for us.
My mother struggled to raise me on her own, a struggle I’ll never completely understand because I have not had to experience it. She worked…HARD. Sometimes more than one job at a time when things were particularly lean or I needed something special for school or sports. She did what she had to do. And she made me do. Whether it was “Go outside and play”, “Get up, you’re going to work with me today, I need help”, “Clean up this room!”, they were each lessons. She was teaching me about work and life. She was teaching me what work does for you, how it makes you feel, how to use it to empower and enable good things to happen in your life. Translation, please?
- “Go outside and play” teaches that there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to experience it, but you’ll never encounter its mysteries unless you get up, get on with it, and get out there.
- “Get up, you’re going to work with me today, I need help” teaches several lessons. First lesson: The value of gumption, of getting about the business of living, instead of sleeping it away. Sleep is necessary of course, but like most things in life, in moderation and good health. Second lesson: It’s good to help others. We all need a little help every now and then, but a child who isn’t taught to recognize it and follow through, will never help anyone but themselves. Third lesson: “You’re going to work with me today” teaches that work is necessary to life. The perception that work is drudgery, something to be avoided in favor of relaxation, is an incorrect perception. Actually, work (especially hard work) makes you. What does this mean? Work makes you by instilling a sense of confidence in your own abilities. It teaches self-reliance. It’s the only thing that helps you understand what being productive feels like; that to endeavor is to burn, to be alive and on fire with activity. It’s a positive, worth-building thing, and the best thing to keep one depression-free and feeling optimistic. Having goals is necessary. Without it, we sit static, motionless and helpless in a world that is moving all around us, leaving us behind. Fourth lesson: By requesting that I go to work with her, she demonstrated a belief in my ability to help. This is often the first experience a child has that helps them understand they can positively impact others through action.
- “Clean up this room!” teaches self respect. It may seem like a demand, but in reality it’s a request to benefit both of you. Mom has likely already figured out self respect and she has it, therefore she values her space, which includes the one you occupy. But she’s also teaching you, because she learned (maybe the hard way) that respecting yourself directly impacts the decisions you make for yourself in life. Decisions are choices and they ultimately influence life and happiness. Choice in partner, environment, work place, health, even rest and relaxation, are all governed in some way by self respect. Without it, we are a punching bag who believes we deserve less, which leads to things like poor performance, pessimism, lethargy, and stress, ultimately things that can have real affect on personal health and wellbeing. Living in a pigsty translates to believing you deserve to live in a pigsty. Essentially, think it, believe it, do it. Believing in yourself, recognizing your value, merit, and goodness means you are less likely to accept less than the very best situation you can create for yourself. Your environment is a direct reflection of how much you value you. And beyond its impact on you, any devaluation of life and endeavors, purpose and potential, means you will fail to have a positive impact on others.
Mom lessons extend past instruction, into the realm of behavior. My mom has always maintained an excellent work ethic. She’s always doing. This doesn’t mean she can’t relax or won’t, it means she is on fire with activity. When she relaxes, she earned it. This enables her to exhibit an extraordinary generosity and a hopeful, endless love. Her spirit shines with exuberant energy, resulting in a vigorous, fun-loving attitude that always brings a smile to others. As a result, she belies her age, often mistaken for being much younger (not a bad thing, right ladies?). She loves to learn, read, and experience. I’ve always found much admiration for these things, and I find that in my admiration of them first in her, I now seek them out in others. More importantly, I seek them out in myself. I am proud of those aspects of myself that I can directly attribute to her influence. I am an incredibly hard worker, because I enjoy being productive, endeavoring, living on fire. I love, appreciate, and respect life. And each day, I wake with a passion to live that drives me in many different directions at once. These things and more are the direct result of her impassioned efforts, her love and life lessons.
Thankfully, we never get too old to learn something new. Work it, girl…work it. Mom wants you to know YOU ROCK…