They always say that you’ll grow up to be like your mother. I always said, no way, not gonna happen. Of course, now that I’m a mom, I see myself more like her than not. I recognize her in the ways that I teach and parent my own children.
Even in the areas where I think I’m distinctly different, I feel the echoes of her in my teachings.
I grew up in a strict household. Some days I feel like I missed out on a lot – homecoming, prom (seriously, I was home by 10:00 on prom night because my date was so scared of my dad. Not a joke), Friday night football games, even basic phone calls with friends. My parents would say “You don’t need to give out your number. You should be doing homework!” Ha!
More often though I think about how wonderful my childhood was. My mom encouraged me to use my imagination. I remember wandering along shorelines, building forts in the neighborhood and trips to the library that only furthered my imagination. My dad took me fishing – oh yes – I can bait my own hook with ease, thank you very much. I learned how to dig up clams and prep them for dad’s famous clam chowder. We kept dad company during his early morning (or late late night) excursions to the docks to catch fresh crab. When we weren’t doing that, I was by his side watching the Lakers games or the 49ers win another Super Bowl.
Definitely a great childhood.
Now that I’m a mom, I’m constantly, constantly, evaluating my parenting style. How can I be different? How can I be better? What do I want my kids to remember about their childhood? What will make them strong, willful and successful? Am I a safe place for them to turn to when they need it?
Will I be my Mother’s daughter?
I think, yes. And darn lucky to be.
Not in every aspect, mind you.
I’ll never be as clean as her. Never. I’ll sacrifice another day of laundry to simply sit down with the kids for the rare hours I get them to myself. Shoot, I’d happily pay someone to do it so I won’t have to.
My kids will not likely be the “seen and not heard” type. The very thought of Malia in the perfectly pressed dress still in the same condition after a party? Laughable. But I will encourage them to speak up, to find an adventure and to push past their comfort zones.
I’ve started to accept that my kids may never fully love my home cooked dinners and will laugh when they tell me that “Mamu’s food is soooooo delicious”. But I’ll take them out to eat and make sure they’re fed.
And that’s okay.
I’ll be like her in the ways that matter. She taught me to work hard for my family – to show them that hard work, passion and sacrifices get you to your dreams. For as long as I can remember, her life has been about hard, back breaking work so that she could give us a good life, filled with many opportunities. She was always motivated by her love for her family and the rewards for that are indescribable. I mean, come on, I’m pretty darn amazing. 🙂
I’ll look for local resources to help them build experiences that money doesn’t have to buy. We were a family of limited means but there were plenty of adventures in our childhood. She opened my eyes to the world even if it was in our backyard. That’s pretty incredible. She was our adventure and our safe place to come to.
I’ll teach my kids to be accountable – to me, to themselves and to God. My mom was so good at teaching us the value in everything. We grew up knowing that everything that we had was earned. Work went into putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. Above all that, she taught us that God blessed us with life and love & to always honor it by being good.
Wherever we were. Wherever the military moved us, she made it home. Together we were strongest. She filled the walls with laughter, creativity, music and life. When my kids walk through that door, they will always know that it’s the safest and happiest place on earth (aside from Disneyland, of course)
Every day as a mother, I am reminded of all the wonderful things she did for us. Every day, I learn how much more I took for granted and discover yet another way she showed us her love. I was pretty darn lucky to be raised by her.
And that’s why I love Mother’s day. It honors the strength and beauty of mothers all over the world. Motherhood is hard. There is no one right way to do it. Guiding and molding the life of another person is a lot of pressure. It’s daily, constant and unending. Even when I sleep, my mind is aware of my children. It’s imperfect and beautiful. It’s done with unconditional love and lots of mistakes. My kids challenge me each day to be the best that I can be at it. Some days I cry with failure, other days I’m leaping in the airing, with a fist pump, for all the pride and joy I feel when I’m with them. My mom’s example shows me how to do be a mom. I’m proud, today and everyday, to be my Mother’s Daughter.
Happy Mother’s Day to the moms in your lives. Give them a hug and a kiss on Mother’s day.