In honor of Mother’s Day, and in protest of generic “Love Ya, Mom” Facebook statuses, we asked ladies to share a lesson that they learned from their mothers. Here’s what we got:
Do What You Want.
“What my wonderful, amazing mother taught me about being a woman is that anything goes. When I was 6, this meant that she didn’t mind me only shopping in the boys section of Kohl’s and wearing the exact same navy blue fleece vest to school every single day. Now, it means so much more. My mom taught me that to be a great woman, you don’t need to be able to bake, but you can if you want. She taught me that to be a great woman, you don’t need to have a fancy high power job, but you can have one if you want. She taught me, by going back to school when at the age of 40, that a great woman doesn’t have to know what she wants right away, but when she does, she can have it. What womanhood means gets so confusing with societal pressures and the constantly evolving definition of feminism. My mother taught me that I can be a great woman, simply by doing what I want to do.”
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Loud.
“My parents and I have always had one of the better relationships in my life, the sort of relationship that has grown and matured over time, especially in the last four or so years. When it comes to my mom, I could write about all kinds of lessons that she’s explicitly taught me: don’t use the word ‘hate’ like it means nothing, never is an awfully long time, wash your hands, forgive those who wrong you, vote, and don’t worry about not knowing what you want to be when you grow up. Out of all of the things the most important lesson is volume.
My mom loves the Blackhawks. She loves a lot of things a lot of different ways (quietly, constantly, excitedly, intermittently, unintentionally), but the Blackhawks she loves in an unashamed, lucky-shirt, whooping, loud way. Watching a game with my mom is an experience in volume.
All her yelling and gesturing is comforting to me because it doesn’t come from a negative space. She’s celebrating her love for those boys in the only way that she wants to. Yes, she’s loud. Yes, I have been incredibly frustrated when trying to talk to her during a game. But when the puck hits the ice, there’s something pulls at my emotions too. Because of her, I’m not afraid to be loud either.”
Time is Precious. Live Every Moment.
“For as long as I can remember, I have been told that I look like my mother. As I’ve gotten older, I have also inherited her love of coffee, the color red, lox, cheese, traveling, folk music, and long walks. With these loves, my mother has taught me to appreciate every moment in life. My mother cares so much for her loved ones and wastes no moment to express it. My Papa, her father, is very sick and every day with him is absolutely precious. A few weeks ago my mother made the difficult decision to retire at a relatively young age to be able to sit by his side and care for him every day. She simply recognizes the fleeting quality of time and LIVES every moment, be it sitting a little longer to enjoy coffee together, buying every pair of shoes available in the color red, or finishing every meal with a piece of chocolate. ‘Every day I become a little more like my mother, and I couldn’t be prouder.’”
-Annaliese “Smalls” Stockmeier
A Mama’s Love Is Unconditional
“My mother taught me to always be independent and never depend on a man (or anyone) to take care of me. She taught me that even if you didn’t have the best childhood, you can still turn out okay and grow up to be the best mom. She made me realize that at the end of the day, nobody else has your back more than your family. My mom has taught me how to stay positive, and always laugh at life’s misfortunes-even when they’re not funny at the time. Most importantly, my mom has shown me the true meaning of selflessness and unconditional love. I am beyond grateful to have such an amazing person as both my mother and best friend.”
Love Is Fluid.
“My mother taught me perhaps the most important lesson of my life: love is fluid. I watched her struggle to find her feet after her divorce from my dad when I was a kid. Like a newborn deer, she wobbled to and fro until she ended up in a relationship with a wonderful woman who makes her feel whole. In witnessing her happiness in finding someone who accepts herself for who she is, as she is, I learned that one can ever know where love will lead them. Pure love, when I find it, will not be something I contrived to satisfy the norms of what love is “supposed to be”. Pure love is when somebody appreciates you as you are, without trying to make you change. They make friends out of your monsters and challenge you to be your best possible self at all times. I am so incredibly thankful for my mother teaching me this lesson when I was young so that I will be able to recognize it when it finds me; and I won’t let someone go because the don’t fit society’s expectations of who I’m supposed to love.”
“My sweet, little mama has been the one constant in my life, my North Star. There are so many things she has taught me and I know that I’ve embraced all those “lessons” each time someone tells me that I am a clone of my mother. She tells long and crazy stories, laughs until she cries every day, makes the silliest jokes, and most importantly, lives so damn selflessly. While I have most certainly inherited her storytelling and sense of goofy humor, I am still working on that selflessness she emits at all times. But I know she will always be there, living for the good of others, to remind me of that woman I want to become, that mother and daughter I will strive to be.”
If There’s A Will, There’s A Way.
“One of the main things that my mother taught me is that if there’s a will, there’s a way. I have memories of her sitting with me at all hours of the day or night working on school projects or patiently listening to me practice for a solo in an orchestra concert. She was there at my side, supporting and loving me through everything I wanted to do. There have been many times in my life where I’ve encountered a great obstacle, such as a hard breakup or a big paper (or 3) due the next day, and every time she will say the same thing, ‘I believe that you can do it, Autumn. You always do.’ This has taught me to not only know that I can accomplish what I set my mind to, but to look back and be proud of everything that I have done. No matter what the obstacle was, she believed that I could accomplish it. Because of her, I am proud and know that I could accomplish it too.”
Be Strong. Be Honest
“I am often told that I am strong. My mother, however, is the strongest person that I know. She has taught me countless lessons over the years, but her strength is something that I learned inadvertently. This strength is something that I know she inherited from my grandmother, and they shared a very special bond. Both single mothers, I can only imagine what that struggle must have been like. Very rarely did I ever see her truly stressed or without a smile. One virtue that my mother instilled in me daily, was honesty. While growing up and trying to be mischievous at times, nothing got my mom more pissed than if she found out I lied to her. Many people think that strength comes from an absence of weakness. I believe the opposite. By being honest with myself about my struggles, I am able to be honest with those I about them. When I was born I was given my grandmother’s middle name, her mother’s first name. Although my time with my grandmother was unfortunately cut short, I take pride in knowing that I come from a line of women that were (and are) a force to be reckoned with.”
-Chelsea Flora Spencer
Take Care Of Yourself First.
“My mom taught me to be confident and honest, and that there is nothing wrong with feeling and believing that you’re special and beautiful. I don’t blame her for making me a “millennial yuppie,” because I’m grateful to have that voice in my head when the doubts start creeping in. The biggest lesson I have learned from my mama, both directly and indirectly, is that you must take care of yourself first. Take care of your body with exercise, healthy food (and sometimes comfort food.) Take care of your mind by talking about things that are bothering you, and being open about how you feel. Take care of your spirit with sunlight and music and by being mindful of the company you keep, by surrounding yourself with people that bring out your best qualities. It is a combination of this advice that has helped me grow into the strong woman I am today, and I am forever grateful for that.”
-Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle