What My Mother Taught Me

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On this Mother’s Day, I thought I’d write about what my mom has meant to me, and the impact she has on me as a mom and person. My mom is pictured here with my sisters, me and her granddaughters.  I know she has and will continue to have a major influence on all of us.  Her unconditional love’s meant so much to me over the years–always, but especially when my own journey has offered challenges, heartbreak, and new beginnings. Here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned from her:

Be true to who you are:
Be honest with yourself and with others, and take responsibility. My mom set boundaries and stuck to them, so we didn’t get away with much. Looking back now, she gave us the tools to make good decisions but also the space to make mistakes, allowed us to take risks, and if we made bad choices, there were consequences. But even then, she was there to support us.

Have strength:
I learned this from both my mom and her mom. I witnessed my mom’s strength later in life was she was faced with breast cancer. She moved through it with dignity, grace, and became a survivor. She has given back to the community by raising awareness about the disease at the Connie Dwyer Breast Center in NJ. Meanwhile, her mom was very strong as well. She was a big influence in our lives when we were young, and came to live with us after my grandfather died. Her inner strength was incredible. When my husband Chris died, I had to dig deep and never knew the strength within me was there. I now know I drew strength from watching these strong women in my life go through their own challenges.

Have compassion:
My mom always taught us to be kind and give back.  My sisters and I were raised to be grateful for what we had. My dad’s mom was also an extremely compassionate person and learned a lot from her as well.

The value of hard work:
I have a strong work ethic that I learned from both my parents. My mom instilled in me the desire to succeed. I’ve taken that into my life and it’s helped me while working in finance but also creating my own businesses.

Respect:

As we became teenagers, I remember my mom always telling us to respect ourselves. There was never a tremendous amount of pressure on us for grades, sports etc. I remember my parents just wanting us to do our best.

Show (and accept) love:
My mom has loved me unconditionally for the last 47 years. She has given me love and support in everything I have done. After experiencing such a deep loss when my husband passed, it was hard for me to relate to other people. When Chris died, a part of me died too. I felt empty inside. I also felt that no one understood what I was going through, not even those closest to me. I often felt alone even in a room filled with family and friends.

But I did have lots of loving support from family and many friends. Through all of that, my mom was there for me and I’m forever grateful. She helped with my girls, especially in those early days when I was barely aware of what was going on around me, and they are still there today.

I couldn’t have done it without her. And so on this Mother’s Day, I honor my mother, grandmothers, and all mothers who teach their children strong values, strength, and love.