My mom was not raised to believe she could be anything. She was raised to see herself as a traditional woman – wife, mother, housekeeper. My mom grew up a child of the depression, the oldest child and a girl. She was taught to be frugal, assume nothing, behave like a lady, and take her place in a man’s world. She is still the woman who taught me I can do anything, because she has been so much for some many people. In my life I have known her as a wife, mother, gardener of much of the food we ate, farmer and business partner to my dad, community, school and church volunteer, choir member, best friend, advocate, grandmother and great grandmother, crafts woman, and much more. She mothered my friends, my brothers and sister’s friends, and every other child she meets. She is a mom. She taught me to balance, juggle, and hustle my ass off because life demanded it. This woman is in her 80’s and still never sits still as there is always something that needs doing. My mom taught me to do what was right because it was right for someone else, not because it was beneficial for me. She taught me to show up and give it all I’ve got, to love completely even when I don’t want to, to accept, forgive, listen, to see others and give grace. As a child she taught me to smile at strangers and say hello because it was the nice thing to do. There was no judgment of who we saw on the street, we were just being nice. She treated it as it was the only way to be. It remains as a simple component of who she is. My mother was taught to hide her tears, but I’ve seen them flow; an injured child, a friend or family member lost too soon. My mother showed me how to love with my heart, not my head, because this is what real love does. She taught me to show up and do my best because I was a representative of both myself and my family. She taught me to get mad, and then let it go. She taught me that anger isn’t worth it as much as I sometimes think it is, and certainly not at the compromise of someone else.
My mom taught me to expect myself to be able to do what needed doing, and get it done. She explained and showed me how men sometimes need someone to make them feel like they’re needed, not just wanted, and it was a simple and worthwhile thing to do. She taught me to view my husband as necessary. Not because I was weak, but because I was strong so I could make room for him next to me.
So much of what my mother taught me I learned not from what she said, but from what she did.
My mom is who taught me what it means to be a woman.
What woman influenced you in your life? And how?
In honor of International Woman’s Day or March 8th.