In my experience and what I’ve learned from many discussions with my peers, we have all been set a sail on this journey, mainly by what we saw our mothers do, how we saw her connect with the world and a bit from what she said. I can’t tell you how many adult conversations I’ve had where I unexpectedly find myself prefacing a “fact” with “Well my mother said….” For most of us, men and women, we were often near our mother, guided by her voice and steered by her essence. Some of us might want to separate ourselves from her, while others feel a strong sense of support and dependence on your mothers’ opinions. Either way, we were shaped by her presence. Let’s look at the lessons we’ve picked up that you might realize are more pivotal to your character than you realize.
What Was Inherited From Mom
How to show up in relationships: My mother had a hyper independence going on and in our household, there were limited other examples as to how to be woman. This spills into the string of relationships with friends, my bosses, my family and lovers. I’ve learned the hard way, this approach, lacking some finesse, does not always work as well as I’d expect. I saw my mother create her world from top to bottom, so anytime I feel like anyone else is trying to “construct” something on my planet I didn’t ask for (aka help) I get a little edgy. I’ll admit, letting some of those gates open would probably have helped me get to many of my goals sooner and a bit smoother. Other ways you may find yourself showing up in your relationships because of what mom displayed could be:
- Over dependent
What unconditional means: My mother showed me that “unconditional” meant giving, even when you didn’t have enough for yourself. Striking up a balance is hard because some days I remember how taken advantage she appeared to be, which fires up my super bratty “mine, mine, mine” side and other days I remember how loved she appeared to be and the sense of joy she had on her face when being selfless, and then I’m ready to give it all away. Here’s what others told me they learned about unconditional:
- Only be or be with that “ride or die” chick
- Never leave a relationship
- Forgive, forgive and forgive again
- Always give
Work Ethic: My mother was a science teacher and then a business owner. This perfect mix, without a doubt, creates a perfectionist. Guess what I am, no matter how I fight it. More lessons I’ve had to learn but push to conquer each and every day. What I gathered others also learned about work ethic from their mothers:
- Working harder means “you’re better”
- Work smarter not, harder
- Men should do most of the work
- You don’t have to love your work (it’s just a job)
- You should always love your work
- YOU should always be in charge
- Clock in/Clock out
- It may not get done right away, but it always gets done (you may be the king or queen of procrastination)
At what point are you making decisions based on your own life experience and not hers?
So of course your life experience was significantly informed by watching your mother operate in her own world. Weed out what you take and what you leave behind. For instance, my mother (Cynthia) was FEARLESS and I’ll take that one! She was also the kind of mom we had to tell her an event started 30 minutes before it did, because she was late to everything you can imagine, so I’ll leave that one behind, lol. The one lesson I struggled with, as so many of us in the wake of our “Cynthia’s” do, is the definition of strong; remaining still/stuck, even to our detriment. The blessings in our world are that our nets are cast larger as we grow and we can learn new lessons from our Sweet Dira’s, our Strong Regina’s, our Always Slaying Deborah’s, our Boujee Sara’s, our Faithful Tanjia’s and our Fierce Lynette’s (you fill yours-you get my drift). So from not just our mothers “trial and errors” but so many others, you can (and should) shape the authentic character equipped for the joyous life of your choosing.