As far as mothers go, I got lucky. “Is that really your mom?” — said in the most incredulous of tones — was a constant refrain when I was growing up. Now that I’m an adult, I see what the fuss was about. My mother is cool — way cooler than average. Not only that, she is so gorgeous and youthful that she could pass for my very hip older sister.
Being a single mother of two couldn’t have been easy, but she made it work. She was a fun and cool girlfriend to have growing up, but was also authoritative enough that even now as adults, she still makes us quake in our boots.
I give my mom full credit for making me the person who I am today. And as a tribute to her, I’d like to share some of the things I learned from her.
#1. Being positive is the key to turning things around.
No matter how tough things got, my mom never lost her cool. The glass is always half-full with her. She always finds a way to joke about every situation, no matter how bad. Infuriating, at times — and sometimes, inappropriate — but it’s taught me that things are never, ever, end-of-the-world kind of bad. I’m convinced this has made me a more relaxed and level-headed person.
#2. There is more to life than the endless pursuit of materialism.
My mother likes pretty things, but as a single mom, she couldn’t always afford the finer things in life. So she improvized. She took us shopping to flea markets and thrift shops, and taught us how to make things with our hands. In doing so, she spared us from a lifetime of brand-enslavement and materialism.
#3. Self-expression leads to self-fulfillment.
My mother makes her own clothes. She has never seen the value of passing trends, and instead has always created clothes she felt like wearing and was comfortable in. Soon enough, people were asking her to make clothes for them, and it turned into a full-time business. Being exposed to that showed me how you can make a career by expressing yourself creatively — and be completely happy doing so.
#4. Laughter really is the best medicine.
My mom is of the opinion that laughter is the answer to everything. I can always count on her to deliver if I ever need a good pick-me-up. She laughs easily and often, and I’ve learned to do the same. I find that being able to do so is a real blessing.
#5. The human imagination is boundless.
As a creative, my mother always encouraged us to pursue imaginative past-times and discouraged TV. Growing up, we’d dress up in costumes and pretend to be figure skaters, draw chalk murals on the ground, and sing at the top of our lungs. Today, I am perfectly content without an internet connection and I hardly ever watch TV because I prefer to amuse myself in more enriching ways.
#6. Attaining independence in life is essential.
My mom has always pushed me towards becoming independent. Not for her benefit, but for mine. Growing up, I made my own decisions without her trying to micro-manage me. However, she was always ready to give her input when asked, which I did often. Because of this, I made better decisions and grew up to be completely self-sufficient.
#7. Mistakes are inevitable and ok, as long as you learn from them.
Growing up, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. But instead of telling me “I told you so,” my mom always let me figure things out for myself. She was also there to help me pick up the pieces, if I ever needed her help. That’s one of the things that I appreciate most of all.
#8. Pursue your heart and be true to yourself.
My mom never told me what to take up in college, or what career I should pursue. She let me follow my passions and live my own life. And whenever I was on the verge of a career change, she gave me the same advice: “follow your heart”.
#9. Always be yourself.
Even as a teenager when everything is supposed to be awkward, it wasn’t. This is because my mom encouraged me to be comfortable in my own skin very early on in my life. I saw that it didn’t bother her that she was different from other mothers. That attitude rubbed off on me, so that at an early age, I had my own style, which she supported. I never felt like I had to change anything to gain anyone’s approval.
#10. Love fully and selflessly.
My mother is the embodiment of love. She loves fully, and selflessly. In a world where people are always expecting something in return, that’s pretty amazing. And so I’ve learned to do the same — to love without expectations and ulterior motives — because that’s simply the best kind of love there is.
For all that you’ve done and everything that you are — thank you, mom!