It’s Mother’s Day! First and foremost, to my mom, I love you. Happy Mother’s Day. To all the other mothers, grandmothers & fairy godmothers: Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you choose to make this day really special!
I wanted to take a few minutes to honor my mom & all she has taught me.
My mom is brave. She is unconditionally supportive of me. When I told her I was leaving my job and starting a business, she was 100% on board. When I asked her to be on my podcast, she immediately said yes. She had every reason in the world to say no & to be nervous. Her influence on my weight, beginning in childhood, was significant. But she showed up for me. She just said yes. (If you haven’t listened to that episode, you need to. It’s pretty powerful.) She didn’t qualify her participation. She didn’t ask me to go easy on her. She didn’t ask for topics or questions ahead of time. She always shows up for me.
She picks me up when I’m down. She calls me on my bullshit. She is my #1 fan and my clear-headed voice of perspective.
If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click play. Otherwise, keep reading below.
Today, I thought I’d share 5 of the hundreds of things I’ve learned from my mom.
For context, she had me when she was 33. At the time, she stayed home with me and my older sister Debi. She taught piano lessons and was the music director for our church.
When I went to kindergarden, she went back to work as a music teacher. She had been teaching music from when she graduated college until she had Debi. She is a passionate musician & teacher. I have no doubt her passion played a huge role in the lessons I’ve learned from her and in who I am today.
In fact, that’s probably the first lesson:
Love what you do.
My mom works hard but she’s never made herself a victim of her schedule. She doesn’t complain about being busy. She loves it. As a kid, we’d have conversations about what we wanted to do when we grew up. She always encouraged us to pursue something we love. Find a way to make money doing what you love. Study something you enjoy. Find work you look forward to doing. If you don’t love it, make a change.
You can always reinvent yourself.
As a kid, I hated the start of the school year. I was overweight. I didn’t have a lot of friends. People made fun of me. My mom’s message was so empowering: you can always reinvent yourself. You can lose weight, you can get in shape, you can be more social, you can join a new sport or club. It’s always an option. If you don’t like how things are, make a change.
My mom was always practicing her music. She practiced alone and she practiced with others. She’d play the piano, guitar, flute, drums and just about anything you can dream of. She’d practice in the morning before work. She’d practice at work. She’d practice at night. She’d practice on the weekends. The more she practiced, the better she got. The better she got, the more she enjoyed it. She showed me that there’s nothing you can’t learn if you are willing to practice and there’s nothing that will be easy without practice.
At times, I was passionate about basketball. She got Debi & I a private coach when there certainly wasn’t extra money for those kinds of things. She had our stepdad paint a half court in the driveway. She’d push us to practice every day.
At times I was passionate about ukulele. She bought me one. She bought me books. She pushed me to practice daily.
She used our long commute to high school to drill our SAT vocabulary & analogies with flashcards.
She led by her example. She practiced daily & raised us to do the same.
Not everything is worth it
My mom is not a spender. She’s a saver. I have followed her lead in that regard. I have so many memories of clothes shopping with her. She’d come out of the dressing room, look in the mirror and casually say, “I don’t love it.”
If she didn’t love it, she didn’t buy it. No exceptions.
When we would try on clothes she’d ask, “Do you love it? Do you feel like you just can’t wait to wear it?” That’s how we made clothes decisions.
Decades later, it’s a huge part of how I make food decisions, business decisions and just about any decision.
Judging others says more about you than it does about the person you judge.
This is a tough one I learned by her example. She judged overweight people. She judged my weight. She thought it was a reflection on her parenting and she believed that thin was always better than heavy.
To this day, I am very sensitive to others being judged. Not long ago, I was out to dinner with a group of people and two people in the group were whispering about the outfit some stranger was wearing. I nearly cried. I felt awful. It hurt. I have no tolerance for it. It says way more about the people doing the judging than it does about the person they are judging.
My mom’s judgement of my weight wasn’t really about me. It was about her. It was about her thoughts and feelings and priorities.
This is true in every way. When you judge someone – what they are wearing, their size, their job, their finances, their words – it says more about you than it does about the person you’re judging.
What about you? What were some of the lessons your mother or grandmother taught you?