I have that kind of mom.
You know, the kind who becomes a single parent with two kids under the age of 4, and never doubts she’ll be enough. The kind who can solve any problem with one phone call, and skip any restaurant line using one convincing excuse. The kind who packs up a U-Haul and drives it to New York so that her daughter can have her childhood bed in her grownup apartment. The kind who makes a massive career move into a male-dominated field in her mid-50s, only to become her company’s top salesperson in just a few months’ time. That kind of mom.
My sister and I have always considered our mom our best friend, which means we’ve seen her cry as often as we’ve seen her laugh, we aren’t blind to her moments of weakness and we’re not absent during them, either. Through it all, we’ve watched a badass woman set an example for the type of women we want to be: Women who define our own success, our own happiness, and never let anyone get in the way of either.
If your mom is anything like our mom, here are 11 things you know to be true:
1. It’s OK to like yourself… The other day, my mom sent me a photo of her newly-cut hair with the caption, “I look amazing.” I laughed, because self-loathing is expected from women, and it’s rare to hear a woman genuinely praise herself. But you know what? She did look amazing — why shouldn’t she tell me that?
2. …and not apologize for your success. My mom began a new career in home improvement last year, and outsold a large salesforce — mostly made up of men — six months into the gig. When she was named Top Salesperson of the Year, she didn’t insist it was “luck,” or offer some caveat to her accomplishments. She worked the hardest, her skills were the best and she was damn proud of it.
3. Lifting yourself up doesn’t mean knocking someone else down. Putting her own accomplishments aside, my mom is the first one to highlight other people’s strengths (especially if those people are her daughters).
4. Comparing yourself to other women will get you nowhere. My mom treats her friends as if they are blood, and is the first person many of them have on speed-dial. She has such special relationships with other women because she listens to her friends’ problems without judgment and offers endless support; zero jealousy is involved.
5. If you can count your good friends on one hand, you’re pretty lucky. This is one my mom has stressed since the playground days when some dumb brat didn’t invite me to play foursquare, and I’ve carried the sentiment through high school, college and navigating the bullsh*t we call our 20s. My mom taught me that it’s more important to foster relationships that truly matter rather than wasting emotional energy on fair-weather friends. So, thanks.
6. A relationship is not the main indicator of your happiness. I binge-watched Disney movies in the early ’90s like the rest of them, but my takeaways were that glass slippers don’t fit most, and that flounder fish are super friendly. I never bought into the men-always-save-women, marriage-is-the-ultimate-life-goal narrative, because I was raised by a woman who showed me otherwise.
7. You don’t need permission to do what you want, when you want. My mom once turned down a job because her ex thought it was unsafe, and has told me repeatedly why she’d never do that again. Nothing to worry about here, mom! My life = my rules.
8. You can stand on your own two feet. All the ladies who truly feel me, throw your hands up at me.
9. Forgiving someone is not the same as being a doormat. In an attempt to keep some details of my mom’s personal life off the Internet, let’s just say: she’s showed me that some people are worth forgiving and some are not.
10. Superheroes cry, too. Moms are human, people.
11. Above all, girls just wanna (and should) have fun.
Real text from my mom:
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