The Power of Mothers…

 

Throwing back to when I was 6

 
I’m a very lucky woman. I have a mother who dedicated herself to being a strong, loving person. Her faith in God & family have carried us through some of the toughest tragedies a family can face together.

Blessed. That’s what I’d call my life. Despite the hardships; the losses. I’m still blessed.

And my sweet little sister who stood beside me in this picture is now a mom, herself! Her journey to get there was both rocky and scary, but she’s got a core of strength, steeped in faith and love that would not be denied.

She’s going to be an amazing mother, and I couldn’t be more excited to see her share her life with the new addition she and my brother-in-law have given our family.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the message of “you can do anything and be anyone” will be passed along to my little nephew.  This Martina McBride song always reminds me of the sense of self my Mom inspired in me. I hope you love it…

And, to share my gratitude for you Mothers out there; the love you instill, the patience you exhibit, and the forgiveness that you endlessly give… I want to give something back. Go pick up a FREE copy of Four One Night on Mother’s Day. Consider it my gift to you, with love and respect for everything you do, tirelessly, day in, day out.

  

The Power of Mothers

Mothers-day

Mothers are powerful. Through them, children learn life lessons like self worth, empowerment, or sometimes…the opposite.

A mother’s feelings about her body or sexuality are often passed down and reflected in her children, particularly, daughters. A mother who diets a lot and speaks negatively about her body and weight sends the message that beauty is contingent on a very specific body image, often one that’s almost impossible to live up to.

The other day, it was driven home to me just how impressionable children are and how important a mother’s role is. A fellow author friend was lamenting the fact that her 3 year old had become convinced that she was “sick” and must stay home by her day care teacher because she’d been coughing. Apparently the teacher told her she shouldn’t be at school. My friend knew it was allergies, but because “teacher said,” her little girl could not be convinced to go to school because she was “sick.”

One word from that teacher. That’s all it took to convince a 3 year old. Wow! Is it any wonder that it got me thinking about other messages parents send their children, intentional or otherwise? I’ve shared the positive impact my own mother made on me regarding body image and sexuality….

But what does one do when the messages sent to them weren’t so uplifting? How does one go about fixing themselves so that they can be a better, stronger person for their children?  Recently I saw this video by Amy Jo Goddard and thought she had some great points…

A mother’s job is so important. She molds and builds her children to be strong, capable, productive members of society…hopefully who are also comfortable in their own skins, with their own bodies. She can raise children who aren’t afraid to embrace life, make their own decisions…and handle all the consequences, both good and bad.

What valuable lessons did your mother teach you? If your a mom, what message do you hope you’ve imparted on your children?

In honor of all the wonderful Mothers out there…and the wonderful and challenging job they have, I’m giving away my first novelette, Three For All….so go grab your Freebie and tell your friends!

Here’s a little excerpt:

“Oh, come on,” James whined. “You’re not seriously going to make me go play by myself.”

“That was a loaded statement.” I bit my tongue to keep from giggling over James’ inadvertent innuendo. “But seriously, there are always options.”

“Options?” His eyes were nearly black with intensity, his curiosity was caught. “Such as?”

“Well,” I smiled brightly and stepped between both men, “We could always head back to your uncle’s cottage. Much more privacy there.”

James shook his head as he took a step back. “Oh, hell no. This is my vacation too. We are not going back there just so I can sit all by myself in my room while you two get your freak on, christening every room in the place. Been there, done that. No thanks. Not today. Love you, but no.”

The urge to do a happy dance at the opportunity that just landed in my lap was nearly irresistible. Instead, I batted my eyes at them playfully as my hands found their way up both men’s chests, enjoying the feel of firm muscle. “Who said you had to be by yourself?”

What My Mom Taught Me

I'm the girl in the pink t-shirt

I’m the girl in the pink t-shirt

My mom is responsible for so many of the passions in my life. The background in this picture shows two of them…my love of books and my thirst for knowledge.

I suspect that she also inspired my love for writing, particularly poetry. As often happens when we’re young, we emulate what we see. My mom used to write these long, drawn out odes…probably inspired by reading Psalms. All I know is that I was enthralled with the idea that she had created something that other people wanted to read…with her mind and her imagination. And, as happens with the oldest child, I attempted to emulate her…with my own little twists. My sister would tell you that I took it a step further and spun tales to entertain her and my brothers.

Mothers and daughters are complicated relationships…and I suspect it will always be that way. Through her I learned to be timely because it’s a trait she lacks. Yet there were other things that would blow me away…like when she told me how she chose my name. My passion for music comes from her, too. Every member of my immediate family is actually vocally talented. She and my dad used to sing all the time. She was disappointed that I didn’t take more interest in learning an instrument, too. Even when we didn’t have much, she found ways to help my sister and I pay for our voice lessons in high school.

My mom also has a love for cooking and baking; one she passed on to my sister and me. My first memory of making bread with her was when I was 3. She made sure she had mini-loaf pans and tart pans to go with her pie and bread pans. As she would make hers, she’d double the recipe so my sister and I could make “ours”. We loved that. In fact, baking is something we both do to relax us. Like my mom, I’m an intuitive cook… a pinch of this and a dab of that are commonplace in my cooking. It’s all to taste, which makes it difficult for me to share recipes, but it was always fun.

As some of you realize, my dad wasn’t really a presence in my life. She was the one who never missed a concert that I performed in, she who told me that I could be anyone and do anything I wanted. She did everything she could so that his absence wasn’t missed too much. She found a way to support us with nothing more than a high school diploma…and chose not to take advantage of “aid” agencies, though we qualified. She believed there were others that needed it more and that as long as she was working, accepting things like food stamps would send us the wrong message. She wanted us to be strong and independent. She taught me the value of hard work and dedication.

Don’t get me wrong…we had our ups and downs. Having me so young made us more like siblings than mother/daughter sometimes… We both had our tempers and we knew how to push each others buttons. The single mom in her gave her a very vivid imagination. (She thought my catnip was marijuana and that my sister’s contact lens enzyme tabs were birth control pills that I’d procured without her knowledge or permission.)

Thanks to her, my sister and I were independent enough to spread our wings and fly from the nest as soon as we were old enough. Unlike most kids, we didn’t do it because we were rebelling or needed to escape. We did it to exercise the independence she raised us to crave.

Even then, we knew she was always just a phone call away. If we ever truly needed her she’d drop everything and try to find a way to help us. She still would.

She’s not perfect… In fact, she’s a bit of a hypochondriac. She gave us vitamins one year for stocking stuffers. She’s spiked my sister’s OJ with fish oil to “enhance her memory” when we were in high school preparing for finals… (Yeah, that was hilarious for me, disgusting for her.) She has a brutal temper. She’s beyond protective. She jumps to conclusions and has a tendency to shoot first, ask questions later (a trait common in single moms who want to keep their kids safe).

Through her, my sister and I gained a very clear vision of what a loving God looks like. She raised us to do what was right, even when it wasn’t always easy or comfortable. She taught us to be tough, resilient and self sufficient. She also showed us what commitment looked like.

When we lost our brothers she was there…strong and steadfast. She knew that as long as we had each other and faith, we would survive. She never let go.

Watching her over the years I’ve learned so much about strength, resilience and love….and the kind of mother I’d like to be (if I ever have any children). It always chokes me up and blows my mind a little when she hugs me and tells me that my sister and I inspired so much of what we inspire in her.

May I grow up to be as inspiring to someone as she’s been to me.

Now it’s your turn…. What traits have you inherited from your mom? What inspires you? If you’re a mom, what do you love most about being one?