This post is dedicated to my Mom.
My mother is the bravest person I’ve ever known. If I were to compare her devotion to motherhood, I can’t help but think there’s no comparison.
By brave, I don’t mean that she is making the boldest choices. She rather is brave in embracing her experience as a mother. She is brave to be consistent with how she loves and keeps on loving me the same way since as long as I cannot even remember.
I can’t even imagine myself loving someone else so much so that it makes me so brave. I often think that she should stop doing that and just give herself some credit. But the more I try, the more she ends up being as brave as earlier. Probably, not until you are a mother yourself you’ll be able to understand it.
My mother and I have discussed life so many times since I was a teenager. At times we agree and sometimes we don’t and end up having completely different opinions about the same thing.
But here’s the thing, even when we do not agree, I feel it’s because she has taught me so much and let me embrace the real me that I can afford to have a different opinion than her. Even with the disagreements we have, we always have reached a point where a lesson was learned.
I can honestly say I would not have been the person I am without her. I would have not defined happiness without her. My idea of jobs, beauty, wealth, and even a partner would have been different and not as wise as it is now.
I want to share with you her idea of things as they have helped me in my life, and I hope they’ll inspire you too.
Here’s an effort to compile 15 of the most valuable life lessons from my Mom
Unconditional love exists
If you don’t know what unconditional love is, you can just feel the love of your Mom. She loves without judgment, jealousy, or resentment. My Mom, even if she’d miss me to the bones, was fascinated by the fact that I am becoming independent, even if it meant staying kilometers far from her.
It’s like she found joy in having me, even if it didn’t mean we are physically together. It’s a folly to think anyone can love you this much. But Moms are really proof of the existence of unconditional love.
No job is small
Moms, by all means, teach us that no job is small. My Mom always told me that no matter what I do, if I am happy doing it I should go for it. I started small. But because of her I never felt bad about it. She taught me that you have to start somewhere to reach somewhere. She wanted me to take chances.
Small or big, only if you start something then only you reach somewhere. Regardless you are starting now or you are starting over, no job is small.
Jobs do not define you
You are more than your job. My Mom has told me a gazillion times to not bring the office home. I still have not fully gotten over it though. I am learning. But she did make sure I know that my job is not my whole identity. It’s just a part of me.
There are other parts that I should explore and embrace. She keeps on reminding me how important it is to exercise, get rid of that double chin, relax a bit, and learn about myself outside my job.
Happy is the new rich
I always thought the more I’d earn, the happier I’d be. But as I started earning more, I had to be stronger too. I was facing way more dilemmas than when I wasn’t earning enough. So what I thought would make me happy, did not make me happy anymore.
The obligation to do extra at my job, even when I am not supposed to, just because I earn more, was growing. I was unhappy. At one point, I thought to myself, why am I earning? To be happy, right? So wouldn’t I be happier with lesser dilemmas and probably lesser money? I asked Mom, and she said it doesn’t matter how much you earn, as long as you are surviving and are happy, you do you.
Hard work always pays off
I have given up on life a million times, and I am not even that old yet. I have declared that hard work doesn’t always pay off many times. It might be true to an extent. To quote my favorite author, John Green, in Fault in our Stars, “The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
I’ve met many people in my life who have not appreciated hard work. As painful as it was, my mother reminded me that if at one place someone did not consider paying off the hard work, I still will be successful no matter what. Truth be told, working hard has brought me bad things, but it has brought me good things too. Everything that happens helps you grow.
It’s important to be independent
By independent, I don’t mean only financially. It’s important to not depend on others to get work done. My Mom has unknowingly taught me to be a perfectionist and do everything myself. It’s a blessing because you put your heart and soul into your work. But it also is a curse when I am not able to delegate it.
Nevertheless, when you can strike a balance and tell when to ask for help and when you need to do it on your own, there’s no harm in being independent. If anything it teaches us to do things on our own and learn.
Patience will bring you the best
As I mentioned earlier, I have given up on life gazillion times. As my Mom made it very clear that hard work always pays off, she also made it very clear that having patience will get me far.
I know that some things take time, but I have been very quick in my life. Probably so quick that I have looked down on myself for not achieving things quicker. I sometimes went after things that didn’t bring me happiness or gave me momentary happiness. In those times, when I think of myself as a failure, I remember her words. The patience may be bitter, but its fruit is sweet. And if the door didn’t open, it might as well not be my door.
Not all friendships are right
I don’t know how but every time I was in a bad friendship, she’d warn me. She would know of my fake friends before I would ever know. She probably knew back then how I give too much of myself to people that I end up hurt.
Her telling me about fake friendships has made me a little bit cautious. She did not tell me to love less, she just told me to put myself before someone else, so I don’t end up hurting myself for opening up too much. I am still learning.
Being proactive will only take you farther
She taught me to pack well. Mom always was proactive about having all winter clothes available when I travel. She also made me realize how important it is to keep an umbrella handy when there is rain in the weather forecast. Truth be told, she has made me proactive about a lot of things.
Honesty is not always the best policy
You know that’s exactly the opposite of what any morals or ethics book would tell you to do. Everyone is always all about how honesty is the best policy. But when you face the world, there are instances when these principles do not apply.
When people are not honest with you, you are not obligated to remain honest with them. You need to take care of yourself. Not everyone in this world deserves the whole you.
Acknowledging your feelings matter
Acknowledging something has let you down is healthy. Only if you have acknowledged a negative emotion, you can work on it. It’s okay if you are sad, the point is that regardless of how sad you feel, you can always use it to achieve something better.
Letting your feelings stay with you will only help you let go of them.
Saving money is not old-fashioned
We all have thought that saving money is an old people thing to do at least once in our lives. The truth is when you earn it’s wise for all age groups to save money. My Mom always reminded me of putting a little money away that no one knows about.
Not only do you never know when you might need it in a difficult situation, but saving money also gives you the freedom and security to change careers or even start something of your own when you are fed up doing one thing.
Changing yourself for better doesn’t change who you are
There is nothing like “people should love you just the way you are”. The whole point of having someone in your life is to make you a better person. We always tend to be attracted to people who have something that we don’t have in us. I have anxiety so I am attracted to calmer people.
My Mom told me it’s not okay to change yourself so that other people like you, that’s people-pleasing. You don’t owe anyone a thing and nobody owns you. But when you have someone who wishes the best for you, it’s okay to change.
A day off does not mean you are shirking work
Regardless my Mom never takes a day off, she keeps on reminding me that working 7 days a week is not the best way to go. While I understand this, I have a pang of constant productivity guilt. There have been 20 days straight where I have worked from 10 am to 10 pm. The 21st day, however, I feel so exhausted that I finally acknowledge that I could use some time off.
The point is a break every weekend can save me from the exhaustion and also the need to go on an extended break. Whenever I oblige her suggestion and take a day off, I go and tell her, “Today I have achieved nothing.” “It’s okay, break for your health is necessary, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break,” she’d comfort me.
A prayer is always helpful – faith is important
My Mom, just like Sheldon’s Mom (those who know just know) is very disciplined about prayers. I also think that a prayer might not make God change his decisions but it changes the person who is praying in a good way.
A prayer is an exercise. Just like yoga keeps you healthy, a prayer is an exercise to keep you hopeful. Being hopeful makes you strong. “There always is something better waiting at the other end,” Mom tells me. “God watches over us, guides us towards the path of right.”
I genuinely feel her prayers keep me safe and will keep me safe forever.
Ain’t no hood like motherhood.
Love you, Mom,