5 Things My Mom Taught Me

10:36 AM

Happy Mother's Day!

I have a confession to make: I often underestimate my mom.

It's a mistake I make over and over. I think it's a part of the struggle of growing up--we want to distance ourselves from our parents, prove we're our own people, show we know more than the generation before us. I hope I'm not the only one who has done this. Even if I am, I want to say now that it's something I'm deeply sorry for.

My mom has taught me over and over again the power of love, grace, and motherhood. She has endlessly supported me, even when I've kept the big stuff from her and she has to find out later from the Internet or my phone call because I've been too scared to say what I need to say face to face. And even though I've decided I don't want to make the journey of motherhood myself, my mom has taught me so much about the woman and friend I want to be.

In the spirit of Mother's Day, and my own attempts at growth, I want to share with you some of the lessons my mom has taught me.

My adorable parents. 

1) Be fiercely loyal to your people, no matter what.

Look, I can't tell you how many times I've probably disappointed my mom by hiding things from her, or how many surprises I've sprung on her, or the fights we've had because we're so similar and I've said something ugly. But no matter what, my mom has my back, and she always has.

I remember when I was dating my first girlfriend and we were having some problems. I was talking to my mom over the phone and sharing what was going on. I knew she'd been struggling a little with the surprise of my coming out, but what she said to me is ingrained in my mind:

"I don't care if they're male, female, purple, red, or whatever--you're my baby. If they hurt you, I will hurt them."

It seems simple enough, but it struck a chord because I knew that my sexuality was not something she'd been prepared for. To have her be so endlessly supportive, even though she was personally unsure of what to say or do, was a big deal to me, and still is.

Her true "come what may, I will love you" attitude is what I take forward into all of my friendships and relationships, and I try to live it every day.

2) Be willing to have conversations when you don't agree.

My mom and I have a LOT of conversations around politics. A lot. And there are things we still don't agree about. But the fact is, we have the conversations because she wants to hear what I have to say and why I feel the way I feel and better understand my point of view.

Even though I'm stubborn as hell (DEFINITELY something I inherited from both my folks), one thing I'm trying to learn every day from my mom's lessons is to listen/read/understand others' points of view. It's something that has made me better at my job--I can listen to others and not judge them or have my own opinions of their opinions before I make my opinion known. I've learned to discuss rather than argue, and that is so valuable.

My gorgeous mom on my brother's wedding day!

3) Don't be afraid to show the world your natural beauty.

My mom was real quick to tell me in high school that I didn't need to wear a lot of makeup, and that if I was going to do it, I was going to be wearing super natural browns and peaches, and I wasn't going to go nuts plucking my eyebrows into thin lines. Now, high school me protested that a LOT because it was the early 2000s and everyone was trying out glitter eyeshadow and I wanted to do it too.

Thanks to my mom, I don't look back at my high school photos with regrets, and I have full brows that people actually go out of their way to compliment.

But more than that, my mom has always been a woman who embraces natural beauty. My mom still looks like my older sister because she takes care of her skin and rarely wears makeup unless she's doing something special. My mom has taught me that embracing your true beauty is wonderful, and it's okay to go makeup-free. (Even if I do love me some red lipstick. Sorry Mom.)

4) Be friendly to everyone-you never know what they're going through.

My mom is the personification of a people person. I mean, my mom is the person who will strike up a conversation in the grocery store line with the other customers and/or the cashier, make new friends in five minutes at church, and knows the names of the people who work behind the counter AND their families at her and my dad's local Whataburger. She is the person people are willing to talk to because she's just so kind and compassionate.

Her kindness to others was an early example of how to live in the world and act every day. I'm the person who will greet people on the street, talk to the guy down the table from me at Starbucks about his movie, and make friends with literally anyone who's at least semi-willing.

The world can be a hard place to live, but it doesn't always have to be sad or quiet. It can be a loud, enjoyable place filled with friendly people, and that's a beautiful thing.

5) There's nothing wrong with looking fabulous on a budget.

Literally the reason I have so much clothing, and look so good, is because of my mom's early influence. I strayed from it for a while-jeans and tees were my game for a solid half a decade-but when I look back at how good my mom looked, and how little she spent, I know where I get my sense of style on a budget from. We don't agree on style generally-she is always perfectly coordinated and matches perfectly; me not so much-but her teachings made me the fabulous blogger I am today.

Mom, I know you're reading this (because like everything else, you support this too)--so thank you, and I love you. You taught me so much more than this, but if I tried to write it all, it'd be a novel along the lines of Tolstoy. Thank you for making me the woman I am today.

Everyone else-don't forget to tell your mom you love her, and what she's taught you. It's too important of an opportunity to miss.



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