10 Things My Mother Did Right
The closer I get to my wedding and entering into the contract of marriage, the more I reflect on my mother and what a wonderful woman she is. They say that you turn into your mother. Well, that's 100% true. I've turned into my mother and I'm not ashamed to say so. Through my mother's example, I learned what it means to be a good wife and a respectable woman.
I don't know if moms are told how fucking awesome they are often enough. They are not told that the things they did in your childhood affected you in a positive way. They generally hear the things that they messed up on, what they did wrong, and the ways that they damaged you; but I thought this blog should be different. My mother is not perfect, but she is an amazing mother and a wonderful wife. These are the things she taught me:
1. She always corrected my grammar and made education a priority. It was annoying when I was growing up, but I really appreciate the fact that I know how to speak, read, and write proper English. I have a really strong intellect and amazing attention to detail that I can directly thank my mother for. The skills she taught me help me in my job(s), my life, and also in my relationship--because I have learned how to communicate, how to seek help, and how to logically evaluate situations in order to get the best outcome.
2. She kept our home clean and safe. Every single Saturday, she would wake us up to help her clean. I'm sure as the dirt crept up the wall, it made every cell in her body curdle and vibrate with disgust. We unwillingly helped her with chores. I wasn't always a clean or tidy person, but the older I got, the more interested in cleaning and keeping my home orderly and neat. I'm still not as good of a housekeeper as my mom, but I also don't live in squalor.
3. She did arts and crafts with us every weekend. We affectionately call my mother the Black Martha Stewart and the MacGyver of crafts. She taught me abstract problem solving through doing crafts. The best memories of my childhood were doing crafts with my mom, but they also prepared me for my career as an artist. A lot of the crafting techniques I am using for my wedding, I learned from my mother. I'm not as handy with a glue gun as she is, but damn it...I'm going to die trying to be.
4. She cooked meals at home, from scratch, and taught us how to cook. My mother taught us how to cook as soon as we were tall enough to reach the counter. She never shooed us away from the kitchen. She taught us how to bake, how to use spices, and bought a lot of raw materials for us to make food from scratch. She taught us how to follow recipes, which is basically teaching you how to follow directions. I'm not the world's greatest cook, but I'm pretty damned good. My momma is gourmet, and she set the bar for food quality to a high standard!
5. She treated my father with respect. This is one of the most important things my mother did for us growing up. She treated my father with the utmost respect in word and deed. My mother NEVER complained about my father, never called him no-good, and never criticized him in front of us. I realized that a good wife respects her partner and also does nice things to make him happy. I've found in my own relationship that giving my partner reinforcement that he is an amazing man deserving of my respect and admiration has made him love me even more. That's something I've learned from my mother.
6. She took us to cultural events. Our childhood was filled with song and dance, the arts, plays, and music!! I don't know any kids that I grew up with that did those kinds of things. And I'm sure my mom spent tons of money on doing these things. She could have kept that money for herself, but she spent it on us so we would have an open mind about the world.
7. She made sure we traveled. My mother worked for a major airline for most of our lives. She has made it possible for us to visit amazing places like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, The Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and almost every state in the Union--just to name a few. If it wasn't for my mother being a world traveler, I wouldn't have realized how big the world is, and that I have the right and duty to explore that world!
8. She went back to school. When I was in Jr. High, and my sister was in High School, my mother returned to school to pursue a Master's degree. It was really hard on the family, because not only did she work full-time, she also took care of us and had to go to class and do homework. My mother graduated with honors, despite all of her responsibilities. She set a great example that if you want to do great things in your life, you can...even when you're not getting as much support as you need from the people around you.
9. She is my dad's best friend. I've really enjoyed watching my parents grow old together. The older they become, the happier they seem to be with their relationship. My parents, through their example, showed me that the best relationship you can be in is marrying your best friend. My mom still lights up like a candle when she talks about how handsome, cute, or daring my dad was in his younger years. They do everything together, and they seem to be okay with that. I realized the most important thing in a marriage is to never forget your partner is your best friend!
10. She understands the correlation between success and sacrifice. My mother sacrificed a lot for her family. She gave up her career as an actress to raise us. She worked long hours in order for us to have all of the things we needed, and probably more of what we wanted than we ever deserved. She taught me, if you want something, you have to earn it. And she never let any limitation prevent her from reaching her goals.
All of these wonderful qualities of my mother have rubbed off on me. There are more than 10 things my mother did right...sure...there are probably countless ones. But when my fiance tells me that he loves certain things about me, I have my mother to thank for that. Thanks mom!