Becky’s Blog: Lessons I’ve Learned From My Mother
My mom has been on my mind a lot lately. I find myself wondering where she got her strength from. How did she become so patient? How does she practice unconditional love?
After mothering 3 grown children and being married for almost 30 years, I find myself seeking mentorship to carry on through the next phases of life. We have been extremely blessed to be surrounded by hardworking, smart, healthy, kind individuals who have helped support our business and the community to help raise our family.
We have also been so fortunate that any stress that we’ve experienced has been centered around financial or business stresses. Sometimes, it is difficult for entrepreneurs to separate themselves from their businesses, entrepreneurs have a drive that sometimes-other people don’t understand.
“My youngest of three; Adam who is 19 years old, was born on a Thursday and I went back to work at EA the following Monday. A non-entrepreneur may be shocked and tell me I’m an awful mother. What they don’t know, is that I did not have a choice. If I had not returned to work, my business would not have survived.”
I have a few other stories about broken legs and hobbling back in a full-length cast, or the time I had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured and returned to work with a freshly stapled abdomen! Everyone told me I should be home, and we’d laugh and I’d say, but I love working! It’s true, I do love working. I tease my kids and tell them that I will be a better Grandma. I have a few years to figure out how I’ll pull away from work and re-prioritize!
Now, the ironic thing is that my Mom did the same thing. In the mid 60s when my brother and I were born, my Mom & Dad had a small fuel truck business in northern BC. My mom had her babies and then went right back to work. She had no choice, she had to do it for her family. They had a partnership in marriage and in life and have been together for over 55 years.
“Growing up, my mom always worked harder than the other moms I knew.”
When I was a teenager she worked full time, and did a full university course load for accounting at night. She was always learning new things and always challenging herself to do more. The problem arises when one’s health gets sacrificed for the goals achieved. My mom had a heart attack at 49, due to a high stress position in an accounting firm and not prioritizing her health. She was forced to slow down.
She told me that she had a sense of guilt for teaching me that same work ethic. She is very proud of my accomplishments but has also cautioned me to pace myself.
“Self-discipline is a struggle that we all face. Sometimes the pendulum swings from one side to the other. Sometimes health is priority, sometimes work is a priority and sometimes family is a priority.”
I know some women who can balance all 3 at the same time. I think the majority of women tend to focus on what is screaming the loudest for their attention.
Our family is facing some health challenges (no, not me…my hubby). We are going to be forced to change our pace. I need to take off some time to be with him in the hospital and then beside him for his recovery. The irony is that it takes these types of health challenges to force a change. To stop you in your tracks and say, “hello, are you listening, there is something really important that needs your attention!
I have a feeling that if my mom had a chance to go back and do it again, she would make different choices. I also believe that many women (and men) her age did not realize the impact of lifestyle choices made 40-50 years ago. I too wish that they knew more about nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
My mom was watching me one day work out in the basement and she said to me “honey I am so impressed by your dedication to exercise. I laughed and replied, “you’re my motivation mom!” I don’t want to be limited by my health, and I know this is a little idealistic because sometimes we don’t get a say…but I still want to climb mountains in my 70s.
So maybe my mom was not the best role model for health (it’s okay mom, I’m trying to make good choices!) but let me share with you some of the things that my mom is the most amazing at.
- Unconditional love. To her kids and my dad. My brother was a good kid, I was a brat. A horrible teenager actually but she loved me anyways! Through sickness and in health, her love for my dad is beautiful. They’re my role models for marriage. When one guy is knocked down, the other is there to pick them up. When my husband first met my parents, he was impressed by their adoration for each other. His own mom left when he was a baby so he didn’t know that kind of family.
- Optimism. I don’t recall my mom ever being a complainer about life. She always and continues to take life as it comes, never dwelling on anything negative. Mind you, if you want to see her feisty side, check out her Facebook page during political debates. She’s fairly opinionated and it’s quite entertaining to hear her vent. She would have made an awesome president or PM!
- Forgiveness. I know I’ve wronged her many times growing up. I was such a shit head and so inconsiderate!! Mom, I know that I’ve pained you, thank you for always forgiving me.
- Patience. I can’t think of a time that my mom ever panicked over anything. If she was panicking inside she sure didn’t reveal it to us. She continues to think things through then go slow and be patient for results. She had unbelievable patience for us kids and for my dad too. Very admirable. I wish I had more patience. I tend to push push push, then get annoyed when results don’t happen quickly enough!
- Kindness. Never a nasty word about anyone (except for Trump, she does think he’s an idiot!!). She speaks kindly of all family members, sees the best in her friends, and always saw the best in us kids. She was always cautious over the years to not pick sides and chose her words very carefully, because she knew the lesson well about words coming back to kick you in the butt. I’ve been caught on that one. Speaking hastily in a moment of discontent, then wishing you could take back unkind words!
- Non-Judgmental. Love this about my mom. Doesn’t matter what you look like or where you come from, my mom would never judge you. What you decide to wear, do, or be made no impact on my mom. Different strokes for different folks she would say. It takes all types to make the world go around.
- Respect for other beliefs. I think it’s pretty cool to listen to my kids come home from University and hear about the communities that are being created about equality in beliefs. This is something that my mom respectfully has preached over the years. She believes in respecting all religions. She was always interested in learning about the beliefs of others and finding the beauty in their message. Most religions have faltered at some point in history and claimed the lives of innocent people in their quest for power so how can any one group claim the title of being the “correct” religion?
- Open-Minded. Being judgmental automatically closes off the opportunity to learn more about our universe. I love how my mom loves to explore new or old ideas. Takes the time to read, study, research new possibilities. Never afraid to learn something new whether it supported or challenged something she believes.
- Humor. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen my mom laugh so hard she peed! I get it, happens all the time to me now! She can always find stuff funny, how awesome is it to be around people who get a kick out of life!??
- Compromise. As I write this I am going to cringe just a bit and so may you!! After I got married, I remember driving with my mom and her saying to me ‘you know honey, now that you’re married you may have to do things for him that you may not want to do!” I vividly remember becoming very wide eyed and focused on the road so I did not have to look at her with my stunned look! My husband has enthusiastically supported this thought process over the years! Now, to this day, I really don’t want to know exactly, what she was referring to BUT I do know that she was correct in the aspect of compromise in a marriage. Give and receive in all the aspects of love, support and encouragement
As I close I will share one more thing that my mom told me when I was about 19. I took great joy in sharing this with my own daughter Sam. She said, “If you can’t be smart, at least be sweet”.
At first glance this may seem a little derogatory but let me tell you what she meant. In this dog eat dog world, where men have typically governed, she meant to choose your words carefully. If you don’t have the exact right answer, be humble. Don’t be mouthy. Instead of being snappy, think about what you say before you say it (oh, how I need more practice on this one!). Yes, being smart is necessary but having the reputation for being a kind person is a fantastic combination. Cause being sweet goes a long way!
Thank you for being my best friend mom and for teaching me how to be the best version of myself for my family and how to forgive myself when I am not. Thank you for teaching me how to love. Happy Mother’s Day.
Love you Mom.