Ahhh Mother’s Day. The one day a year that people plaster wonderful sentiments about their mom’s on social media. The day that we celebrate the women who worked hard, were strong, gave us unconditional love when we were our ugliest and celebrated every damn thing we did no matter how small. These women are our biggest cheerleaders, our confidante’s and our saviors. They are also the women we competed with for our father’s attention and the women we fought with during our ugly teenage years when we were expressing our independence.
These women, especially the one who raised me, deserve more than one day to honor them, but today they have this one moment in time. There have been years when I was away on Mother’s Day. My mom would always tell me it was ok, for her every day was mother’s day; I didn’t need to see her on that Sunday! She knew I loved and honored her even when we argued, debated or fought. I fought my mom over the years; she pushed buttons on me that hurt.
What I have found is my mom and me are a lot alike. Both feisty, opinionated, stubborn and quick-tempered. We are also loving, kind, compassionate and amazing friends to those we love. We are both fierce. We also both never thought we were good enough. I watched and listened to my mom for years compare herself to others, especially the sister she loved dearly. She would talk about how brilliant my aunt was and how beautiful. I would tell her she was as brilliant and beautiful but she didn’t see it. She never realized that she did the same to me, telling me how smart and beautiful I was but I didn’t hear her, or believe her.
We both suffered from that Gremlin, the inner critic who never thinks we are good enough.
On this Mother’s Day, my first without this incredible woman, I will honor her by fighting this gremlin once and for all. I am working hard at not listening to the critic in my head. In fact, I have named this gremlin, William. I will not share where the name comes from, but it works for me. When William rears his ugly head and tries to convince me that I am not good enough, I tell him to get lost. I am good enough. I am smart enough. I am pretty enough. And if someone doesn’t like my body and wants to make fun of my big hips and cellulite, let them. I don’t care anymore. I don’t have to live up to someone else’s standard or opinion, I have to live up to mine. I have to focus on what I want, how I feel and where I am in my journey.
We are all on our journey. Comparing ourselves to others is never healthy. I watched it eat away at my mom at times and I will not let it eat away at all I have built for myself. And I can say that. I built this life myself, with no help from a partner. I am proud of that. I am proud of progress. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be perfect. I will never live up to the standard that the media sets or at times society sets, being part of a long lasting couple, with children and grandchildren. I will never live up to the standard of a perfect body or size 2 or 4. I am me.
I live up to my standard. One of intelligence, both in smarts and emotions. One of kindness and compassion with some humor thrown in. I am always growing and learning, I am never stagnant. I enjoy a million different things, not just one or two. I can mix with many types of people not just the few around me. I embrace change, I embrace growth. I also embrace the step backwards, that comes before the growth. I embrace my lightness and my darkness.
I am who I am because of the woman who raised me. She taught me to do my best always, be kind and care and love my family. I may not have children to pass that along to, I have nieces and nephews who I hope learn from me and my example; of both what to do and not to do to!
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom in heaven and to all the mom’s, Godmother’s, Aunts and female role models who allow us to grow and learn and teach us grace under pressure. I honor mom today by being who I am and knowing I will continue to grow into who I am supposed to be.