We’re approaching Mother’s Day, and every year it encourages me to reflect on my amazing mom. Being an only child, I’ve always been really close with my parents, and living 5 hours apart hasn’t changed that. They have both taught me so much about living, loving, and finding my place in the world. My mom in particular has been the epitome of a female role model: smart and quick witted, strong and independent, and soft and caring.
With time and age, I’ve become more and more grateful for the lessons she taught me just by being herself. And instead of keeping them all to myself, they warrant their own blog post 🙂 Here are 5 of the most powerful things my mother taught me.
#1. It’s okay to be different.
My parents always encouraged me to be my own person and march to the beat of my own drum. I remember a Hanukkah pageant where all the other girls were in cute matching outfits and I was in a bright mismatched getup with my Elvis-inspired haircut. Looking back at the photos now, I have to laugh. When I asked my parents why they let me dress myself, my mom said that I knew what I wanted to wear and how I wanted my hair to look and they saw no need to prevent me from expressing myself.
This same message made its way into so many other aspects of my life. Instead of hiding the fact that I was the only Jewish student in my class, my mom came into school as a guest and taught the other kids about the story of Hanukkah. Instead of forcing me to be conventional, my parents let me wear mismatched socks, camp out in my closet for months, and write a speech on whether women should be allowed to go topless in public.
Every step of my path, they’ve supported me, and never tried to change me. Instead, they encouraged me to embrace my uniqueness. It’s that encouragement that has given me the confidence to be myself and care less about what other people may think.
#2. Never stop learning and increasing your knowledge.
One of the coolest things about my mom is her constant desire to learn. She always loved school, and even went back to get a second Master’s degree in order to change careers when I was in high school. She reinforced the fact that learning can be fun, and it’s always beneficial. Even now, she continues to learn and grow by reading books, travelling, and attending events and seminars.
A hunger for knowledge and a desire to learn have been qualities that have served me well in my life. They encouraged me to dive into school with interest and engagement. And they drove me to learn about the various components of running successful businesses from product photography to video editing to content creation and everything in between.
#3. Contribute to your communities.
Over the years, there have been countless examples of my mom donating her time and energy towards building and supporting the communities we were part of.
At my school, she volunteered in the library, helped students with reading, and sat on school councils.
At our synagogue, she held various leadership positions, and she and my dad often invited university students over for dinner.
And within the quilting community, she was a member of the guild executive when I was a child, and even holds a leadership position to this day.
Witnessing this over the years gave me a strong sense of community and our responsibility to give back. It’s what encouraged me to volunteer, get involved in student government, and lead conferences and committees. In turn, these experiences gave my life more meaning, especially when I was younger, and made me more well-rounded.
#4. Research is your best friend.
My mom is a MASTER researcher. She’s a Consumer Reports wielding, spreadsheet making, analysis fiend. And when it comes to making big decisions, they are always incredibly well thought out.
In fact, she helped me tremendously at choosing which university to go to. I kept getting caught up in the associations I had about each school that I was finding it hard to make a decision. She helped me evaluate the schools based on the criteria that were most important to me and I ended up choosing the perfect university.
From her, I learned to focus on what’s most important and make decisions based on how all the data stacks against these factors. It’s helped me be more confident in my choices and also make them much faster.
#5. Always do the right thing.
If you looked up “integrity” in the dictionary, my mom’s face would probably appear. Her sense of fairness and of always doing the right thing is one of her strongest attributes. In fact, it’s hard for me to think of one specific example since it’s something so ingrained.
She taught me that while we can’t control the actions of others, we can control our own. And we have a responsibility to do the right thing and demonstrate integrity, regardless of the circumstances and environment. We’re responsible to our own values and beliefs.
I wish you all a happy Mother’s Day and I would LOVE to hear what lessons you’ve learned from your moms! Please let me a comment and share 🙂
And check out my post 5 of the Best Things My Father Taught Me for more life lessons.
I always say the two things my mother taught me that have served me bets is contribution to community and hospitality. These things you have listed all ring true to me about a woman I’ve been honoured to call my friend.
Thanks so much for sharing, Havi! And I’m sure she’ll appreciate you saying that 🙂
Linda Keller Notkin says
How beautiful is this. You have captured your mother perfectly. Your growing up was exactly the way you describe it. I remember when it was time for you to possibly get a big bed your parents would have none of it until they discussed it with you to see if you felt ready. I have many wonderful memories of your mom and your dad. I have many memories of you growing up, too. Whenever you came to Montreal, Mommy made a point of my joining you for lunch or shopping at the mall. You are a lovely young woman on the horizon of a wonderful life.
What a sweet message – thanks so much, Linda!
What a nice tribute. I completely agree with your assessment of your mom but the trait that stands out the most to me is integrity. Your mom is the most honest person I know and she always does the right thing. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. That makes her truly unique.
Couldn’t agree more! That’s what I was trying to capture with #5 🙂
I am so very proud to have such a wonderful granddaughter who has received and learned life’s lessons from her mother. As mothers, we hope and pray that the important things in life will be treasured and when that happens, we feel blessed and doubly blessed when it is passed on to the third generation. Love the introspection. Keep it up.
What a sweet comment! I’m lucky to have such wonderful female role models. So happy to hear you enjoyed the post!