This week has been so much fun as we celebrated International Women’s Day. This day always makes me think about the women I admire and the reasons why. Yesterday in my Facebook Group we celebrated being extraordinary women by reflecting on the women who make life look easy no matter how tough things get.
For me, I admire:
- The working mums who work hard to keep their careers going whilst juggling a completely separate career in raising a family. I don’t know how they do it!
- The women that have broken through the glass ceiling and have led the way for the future generation behind them by showing it’s possible
- The women that show up no matter how hard things get for them either emotionally or physically and continue to strive for something better.
It seems appropriate to continue with the theme of inspiring women this week as we approach Mothering Sunday here in the UK. This week, I wanted to share a few of the lessons that I learned from my beautiful mum, Maureen. Sadly, she is no longer with me but she continues to shape how I live my life through the lessons I learned from her and I will always hold her close in my heart.
Lesson no 1 – Be generous
My mum was a generous woman. A bit like my Dad, she would have given her last penny to anyone who needed it. I fondly remember many Christmas celebrations where we would have unexpected guests to share the festivities with us. This usually meant they would have either been alone or they could not afford their own Christmas meal. It didn’t matter, anyone was welcome and for me it just became a part of life. I like to think I follow in her footsteps.
Lesson no 2 – Dance, it lights your soul
My mum used to love to dance and I can still remember seeing her dance around her kitchen to different tunes over the years. Even now when I hear certain songs, I can see an image of my mum busting some moves and loving life. I am so happy I have these memories. It was because of my mum’s love of dancing that she encouraged me to learn Ballroom and Latin American dancing and I appreciate that still. I attribute my love for dancing to my mum. I am also incredibly grateful to have married someone who loves dancing as much as me. You should see it; his moves are something to behold!
Lesson 3 – Finding your soulmate is a beautiful thing
My mum and dad were not only married for 36 years (she left us way too early!) but they also worked together for much of that time. In their later years, they went in to business together and were literally joined at the hip 24/7. It wasn’t until I got married that I fully appreciated how amazing that achievement was.
The biggest lesson I learned from watching them together was the sense of partnership. They both had their roles to play and they did it beautifully. My mum was definitely the boss though and never let my Dad forget it!
Lesson 4 – Sometimes you have to dig deep
I like to think I am a resilient woman. I know that I get this from my mum. I can remember very specific times in my childhood when life threw my family a curve ball. One event that stands out clearly in my mind is when my mum and dad lost their first business due to an explosion. They had invested all their savings in the business and it literally went up in smoke along with many of our belongings at the time including treasured photos etc.
I remember my Mum being devastated when she received the news however I also remember her determination to get the family back on their feet. And she did. I don’t remember how, but I do know that the business was rebuilt and continued until they finally retired to look after their grandchildren which became their new passion and full time job.
Lesson 5 – Tough love is sometimes required
In my early twenties, I think it is fair to say I was not good at picking the right boyfriends and had my heart broken many times! I like to think I have learned lessons from each of these experiences and at the end of the day I needed to wait to meet Rob.
At the time, I was pretty good at wallowing in my own pity. Listening to sad songs and not eating (I was very much like Bridget Jones in those days) however my Mum would have none of it. At the time, I felt she was very hard and not at all understanding about how broken hearted I was. But now I know that she was teaching me how to respect myself and recognise that I was worthy of being treated in a much better way.
Her tough talking has helped me realise that no matter what happens if you respect yourself and treat yourself as worthy, you can come back from anything with dignity and grace. It has also helped me recognise when people around me need a shoulder to cry on and when it is time for some tough love.
As I finish this blog post I am looking at a photo of my mum and dad that sits by my desk in my office. They are both smiling and looking directly at me and I like to think to myself that they are smiling because, thanks to them, I turned out alright.
I raise a glass to all the other amazing mums out there.
Until next week