I’ve learned many lessons from my remarkable mom mostly by watching her. She never judged or criticized. She modeled by being like that herself - resilient, generous, hard-working, positive. I didn't quiet understand it then, but it really instilled in me the confidence I needed to achieve my goals - and I try to be like that with my kids as well.
My parents and I abruptly moved to this country when I was fifteen. My mom was 39 years old at the time. I find it incredible how she managed to learn English and get accepted to a graduate school less than 2 years after she arrived to this country. While she worked on her Master’s Degree in Social Work she also worked as a night counselor in a group home for people with disabilities and volunteered at a local hospital. Every morning after work, she’d arrive home by 5 AM, sleep for 2 hours and then drive me to high school, only to go on to her second job right after. She hardly slept, worked two jobs, attended grad school and always had a big smile on her face. She also was a mom of a teenage girl who was struggling to adjust to the new world. And through it all, my mom has been the rock for our family and has always supported and encouraged me to reach for the stars.
As I struggled with my emotions and wondered how can I pick out just one important lesson I’ve learned from her, my teenage daughter sat beside me. This was one of the rare opportunities when I felt she was open to talk. So I shared this question with her and she immediately said, “You can achieve anything.”
Intrigued I asked, “Is this the biggest life lesson you’ve learned from me? Or are you referring to what I’ve learned from grandma?” And she replied, “Well… both!”
Hmm, yes, I thought. My mom has always said, “I believe in you,” “You can do it.” She always trusted my judgment and loved me unconditionally. I am very grateful to my amazing mom for trusting in me so much, stepping back and letting me find my path.
What was wonderful to hear is that now my daughter is learning it from me!
I encourage her always. She is my star. She is fearless, strong, smart and passionate young woman.
Being a parent of a teenager is not easy. It’s a tough age, full of ups and downs. Sometimes you think you’re talking with your child, but in fact, they’re busy texting or listening to music or just tuning you out. I think many parents of teenagers can relate!
So I’ve learned to be mindful of what I say to her, when and how. I understand that this is the time when they need to have their own opinions, believes and passions. They need to feel supported and given freedom to explore and learn just like my mom did with me.
But I am also happy that even though sometimes even if it feels that they’re not listening – they ARE. And the conversations (even if brief or sometimes explosive) still plant seeds that grow into important ideas or positive outcomes.
I am grateful for this question as it forced me to think about all the wonderful things my mom has taught me, and the gifts she continues to give! It also gave me an opportunity to hear from my own daughter the lesson she thinks she’s learned from me! And for that I am thankful! Happy Mother’s Day to all the selfless, accepting, hard working, dedicated and loving moms!
I also want to thank my incredible mom. You are an amazing woman that continues to inspire me every day with your love of life, your positive outlook, generosity and resilience! I feel a lot more in my heart that I can ever express, but you know how much I love you! Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
Written by Julia Berger, founder of everydayparenting.com