Lessons Our Moms Taught Us
The lessons we learn from our parents growing up shape us into the women we become, for better or worse! As parents, I truly believe that we are all doing the best we can with the resources we were given, UNTIL we decide to question our fears and hang-ups and actively learn new ways of believing and parenting.
What we instill in our kids really does come from our inner beliefs. It’s what drives our own behavior and ultimately is what our kids see… not necessarily what we tell them. Our thoughts about life and how we believe people should behave and think is right out there. The reality of that is both pleasing and a little frightening!
I thought it would be a fun little blog for us to share the Top 3 lessons we learned from our own moms, and how those beliefs have served us, hindered us, or lit the fuse inside us to blow that belief up and create our own.
One of the beliefs I got from my mom is that what you look like matters – a lot! That people will judge you on your appearance, so if you want to be valuable, you'd best show up looking pretty. Now, in some ways this was beneficial...she fostered my love for exercise, she cooked food at home and tried her best to make sure it was healthy. She made sure we got enough sleep and had our teeth cleaned and got new shoes and learned how to put mascara on correctly. My mom takes great pride in her appearance, to the point that it takes 90 minutes to get out the door in the morning! And that was one of the downfalls of that belief...all that time, all that money, all the things we couldn't do (camping, sweating, etc.) were the price we paid. But, the ability to show up and make an excellent first impression is a skill that has served me well.
My mom always said I could do anything! She still tells me that and continues to be a great role model. I’ve watched her be a caring mother, nurturing nurse, a bad ass soft ball player (in her younger years), an amazing cook, a tough cowgirl, a good snow skier, an elegant dance partner, a caring friend and loving wife. She’s encouraged me while I’ve experienced lessons-gymnastics, dance, piano; vocal performances, graduating from college, climbing the corporate ladder, being an engaged mother, running marathons, entrepreneurial endeavors, learning about positive relationships and finding peace in God. My mom taught me to try anything and find what makes me happy... and I have.
My mom showed me that exercising is fun, you can do it at home, and it really really helps you manage your Crazy. I have great memories of leg warmers and my Barbie fitness record (yes, an LP ). We would get dressed to workout and put the record on and Barbie would sing about "Feelin' good! Feelin' great! Swim, jog, rollerskate!" and I would dance around and copy my mom who had a contraption with pulleys and handles that attached to a doorknob...I see now that it was a Pilates inspired thing (my mom detested sweating, it ruined her hair and makeup). She stayed trim and healthy and never really left the house. No gym fees. But, the stress relief and the time spent doing something FUN together was priceless.
“Keep doing” was the motto in our house. Go, go, go! I remember a day in high school when I fell asleep on my bed in the middle of doing my homework. I heard my mother walking up the metal spiral staircase toward my room and I sat straight up, straightened my books in front of me and by the time she knocked on my door I welcomed her in so she could see I was hard at work. I was raised by hard working parents who very rarely slowed down and are still going strong today. I’m proud of the people they are and what they’ve achieved. Yet there’s always been a longing to have more time with them. Guess what? My friends and family say the same thing of me. On one hand, this type of upbringing gave me a strong work ethic and because of that opportunities within organizations and my own entrepreneurial efforts to be a successful businesswoman. On the other, I’m always hearing “You’re too busy”.
Another lesson my mom taught me is that I am independent. I learned this lesson in the struggles. I learned it in the face of her fears. I learned it in the long stretches of highway that led away from Ohio. My mom never really left to explore, or attend college. She never really had the urge to travel, well, she may have, but the fear was greater than the urge until much later in her life. My mom always affirmed to me that I was smart, I was strong, I was capable. She couldn't actually model independence, since that wasn't ever her path or her heart's desire, but she gave me a long enough leash to make mistakes, learn the lessons, and then take flight at 17 years old and move off to college. And then Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and lately, California. While she never came to see me during my travels until she was 68 years old, she lived vicariously through my independence which served to affirm, further, that I was.
I also left home at age 17 for college … not far since it was just to live in the dorms across town. I was excited and my mom didn’t think twice about letting me go. In fact, she may have done a little happy dance! I remember that she always reminded me about my responsibility to hold up my end of any deal. This particular deal was good grades for financial support while in college. Actually my dad reminded me too since he was footing the tuition. I knew they were serious because they always stood by their word. After three semesters of mediocre grades and the whole college scene, I knew my free ride was over. I took a break from school and moved to San Francisco then Houston. When I returned to Arizona, a year and a half later, it was time for ME to stand by My word! I began my last two years of college with several grants awarded to me, worked part-time, and graduated NAU on the dean’s list!
We both have seen that all the values we have been consciously AND unconsciously instilling in our children never leave them. We do the best we can with the hands we are dealt, and gradually, there comes a time to let go and let them try Life on their own. Form their own thoughts. The values we instilled that are worthwhile will stick, and through our kids' wanderings, they circle back to what feels right to them.