It’s that time when I write on a topic about motherhood with other talented writers in this #TogetherWeMother series. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the discipline to sit down and put pen to paper or touch the keys of my laptop…but when I do I’m left with the satisfaction that I recorded sometime dear to my heart. The memories of my mother’s words become more dear to me having written them for you all and then I think the romantic thought that when we’re both gone, our children, grandchildren and great-grand children will have these same words to read. Maybe they will help a wayward one find peace or hope or just a pick-me-up after a long day of figuring out life in your early 20’s. So without further delay here are some of the most impressionable things my mother has taught me in life.
- That my failure doesn’t define me: Whether it was a C in Algebra or choosing the wrong kind of job after college my mother taught me that those things don’t dictate who I am. She taught me to learn from failures and let downs and to move forward without letting them attach to my psyche.
- That learning comes different for all: When I was 5 years old I remember feeling stupid. Everyone in Kindergarten learned to read faster than I and for some reason learning this skill was harder for me. My mother didn’t waver or worry, she got me extra help in the phonics department and said “you are just as smart as everyone else! Christin Janae (my full name) you just learn differently and that is good!” Think how boring this world would be if we were all the same.
- How to clean the bathroom really really good: My mom is a through cleaner and taught me how to deep clean the loo with purpose. 1) Sprinkle Comet in the sink and bathtub and let it sit. 2) Put your gloves on and attack that toilet with toilet bowl cleaner and wipe down all areas of the can. 3) Return to the sink and scrub Comet with water and then wipe down countertops. 4) Get in the bath and scrub while rinsing with water. 5) lastly polish everything off with a new rag and clean your mirror with glass cleaner and a paper towel or newspaper for no streaks!
- Don’t skimp on the compliments: When I was young it embarrassed me so much when my mom would tell the store clerk she was pretty or that she liked her hair. One time during my impressionable and angsty teen years I said, “mom why do you always have to say that? You don’t know them, ugh you’re so embarrassing.” She looked at me straight in the eyes and said don’t try to change me that’s who I am. Which leads me to the next one….
- Don’t be anyone else but yourself: You were made to be the way you are for a reason. If you’re gregarious and encouraging be that! If your introverted and introspective own it. Life is way too short to try to be like other people and that’s so not fun.
- That classy is the way to be: I can still remember my mother’s streamlined pant suits from the 80’s. She dresses like she respects herself and knows what’s up in the world of fashion. I learned from her that you don’t have to show off your body to be sexy. Although she did let me wear a pretty risky red dress to the prom that had the sides cut out of it… that goes back to #1 learning from my mistakes and not letting them define me. I’m mortified when I look back on those photos, gosh I’m so glad we didn’t have social media in high school!
Thank you mom for being YOU and teaching me some of the best lessons in life. I love you!
Photography by Jessica Haderlie
Check out more on this topic from the writers below.