I am pretty sure I am turning into my mother.
I definitely inherited her love of giant hideous pajamas. We share the inability to keep a car clean for more than a few days. When I stand on my porch at the end of a nice evening with friends, wringing my hands and urging our guests to let me know when they get home safe, that’s my mom shining right on through.
We share the same pasty skin that burns in minutes, and the same fine hair that won’t hold a curl. On the upside, we can sing like nightingales, and we both have the features required to wear a red lip during the day and not look overdone.
I’ve always recognized that my mom and I share these silly little quirks and physical similarities, but I’m in my mid-thirties now, and I am starting to realize that it runs much deeper than that.
I am who I am because my mother is who she is.
I am turning into the best parts of my mother, and that’s not bad news. It’s lucky for me. These are just a few of the amazing things my mom taught me with words and actions, and I’m glad they stuck with me.
1. Pride in your work.
My mother’s career has evolved over the years, but she has always been incredible at anything she put her mind to. My parents didn’t raise me with any respect for traditional gender roles. I always saw my mom making money, raising us, and pursuing her personal goals outside of work and family. She wasn’t a full-time homemaker, so that wasn’t the only thing I thought a woman could be.
It is, however, what I wanted to be. I have always known the world was open to me, and I could pursue any leading I felt in my heart. When I had my first baby, my heart led me home, and that is where I have stayed.
As fate would have it, a couple months ago, I got a job offer that I could never have imagined. I jumped on the opportunity, and I recently made the transition from stay-at-home mom to ecstatic work-at-home mom.
My mother’s blazing ambition has been ignited in me. I love working. I love deadlines and brainstorming, and I really love getting a paycheck with my name on it. When I am working hard, I know it’s because she provided me with the drive to succeed in anything I choose to do. Thanks to my mother, I feel no guilt about splitting my time between work and kids. I know they’ll benefit from the extra income, and also from living with a happier, more fulfilled me. Everyone wins.
2. The importance of hospitality.
It’s not only her drive that has allowed my mom to flourish in her career; it’s her warm, inviting personality. My mother has made lifelong friends on an airplane and in line at the gas station. She is funny and open, and people really love her. Our house was always full of friends and family. People have mourned and celebrated at my mom’s kitchen counter. She knows how to open her home to make people feel love and a sense of belonging.
When my friends are at my table, and I’m standing at my stove cooking a delicious meal, I realize that I am becoming my mother. Both her skills in the kitchen and her knack for hospitality have trickled down to me. Sometimes I look at my hand holding a wooden spoon, stirring a pot of marinara, and I could swear it was hers.
3. How to walk away from things that aren’t meant for me.
I’ll be honest: I used to think my mother had a hidden coldness inside her. As friendly and loving as she is, she is also able to quickly sever ties with anyone who causes her pain or threatens her family’s balance. I have only seen it in action a few times, but it’s always swift and decisive. She has no time to dedicate to relationships that have run their course. When she walks away, it’s final, even if it hurts her to let someone go.
I thought there was a side of my mother that must be unloving and emotionless. She could wash her hands and walk away, seemingly in peace. I realize now that she wasn’t always in peace. She still felt all the pain she didn’t always show me. She mourned those losses. Her heart is soft, but her resolve is firm.
She never begs at a closed door.
Because of my mom, I now value my own peace over peacekeeping. I have learned that I can love someone and walk away at the same time, and that I have no obligation to chase someone who leaves me. I am lucky I am turning into my mother because I’ll never waste another minute fighting for someone who doesn’t deserve it.
I’m not a carbon copy of my mother. I see my dad reflected strongly in parts of who I am. I also have a handful of strong women and mentors who helped me become who I am today.
More importantly, I have made me who I am today. I am exactly who I have chosen to be.
But I’m not fighting against all the ways I am becoming the woman who raised me. I’m lucky that my mother’s blood is in my veins, and her fight is in my spirit.
When I look in the mirror, I am not always proud of every single thing I see, but I am never disappointed to see my mother.