Wearing the Pants and Other Lessons from my Mom

This year will be my first Mother’s Day as a mom.  Unless you count being pregnant – yes, my mom did send me a card last year!  Every May, I find myself reflecting on my relationship with her.  She has taught me countless valuable lessons, by example.  One trait I previously mentioned that she passed on to me is empathy.  Here are some other unique tidbits I got from her growing up:

Get Outside
Seriously. Being outside does wonders for your mental health. We took walks around the neighborhood religiously.

Dress for Comfort
My mom had three looks: work scrubs, jeans and a t-shirt, or the occasional skirt/dress for an event.  She rarely wore heels. Makeup was very minimal. Through her example, I never felt like I should wear clothing that made me uncomfortable. I have never minded running an errand without “putting on my face.”  As my mom’s favorite t-shirts read, “Life Is Good”. We’d rather be busy enjoying our day than getting ready for it!

She Can Wear the Pants
My dad started working at the hospital, where they met, right out of high school.  My mom, however, went to two colleges to eventually land a degree in respiratory therapy.  She made the big bucks and handled all of the household finances. I’m currently a stay-at-home-mom, but I didn’t always know that’s what I wanted.  Like my mom, I went away to college before entering the workforce.  I was also paying my own rent before my husband came along. It’s a great feeling to know that you can be financially independent, whether or not it makes the most sense at a given time.  

Outside of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

It’s Okay to Get Help
One trait that my mom and I have in common is that we’re both kind of… emotionally guarded.  We both prefer to veil our own suffering to focus on the needs of those around us.  My mom has suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis since she was about the age I am now. As the pain intensified in recent years, more testing was done, and she finally got a new diagnosis: Charcot Foot

With the lack of specialists in Northern Michigan, my mom decided that she needed to head out to Mayo Clinic to see what they recommended for her.  I had vacation time saved up, and thought it would be a fun road trip for the two of us – something we had never done before!  I thought of it as my chance to be there for her; little did I know that this trip would be about her being there for me.

When my mom met me at my house, I nervously filled her in on some news:  I was ten weeks pregnant.  I was slightly spotting, but everything I heard from my friends and read online said that could be normal.  As our trip progressed, so did the bleeding.  By the time we talked to the doctor about my mom’s foot, I knew I was miscarrying (although still in denial).  My husband was very reassuring via telephone that we could handle anything.  But something about being in a hotel room with my mom was just what I needed.  We had tentative plans (Mall of America, of course!), but she was totally understanding when all I wanted to do was lay in bed to nap, cry, and watch TV.  Thirty years isn’t too old to need your mommy!  The circumstances were awful, but I still appreciated spending quality time together.  

A hat and sweater my mom made in her knitting & crochet classes.

Have Hobbies {lots of them}
I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends have a hard time with life transitions. When they completed school or moved to a new city, they just didn’t know what to do with themselves.  I’ve certainly had those moments, but for the most part, my interests keep me busy.  I’m so impressed by all the different classes and activities my mom has done since retiring.  Even while working and running a household, she continued to read books, sew, cross-stitch, etc.  I was encouraged to pursue independent hobbies, and that has sustained me through times when making friends was harder.  

My mom’s example has taught me the importance of finding a balance between strength and vulnerability.  Always be yourself. Keep a positive mindset, and lean on others from time to time! 

What’s the biggest lesson you took from your Mom?

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