I am very fortunate to have been raised by one of the strongest women on this planet.
She taught me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. To believe in myself even when I falter or fall down. To always get up and fight another day.
She taught me to be resilient. To have courage and determination. To be strong.
She taught me to always be comfortable being myself – to never compromise who I am just to make someone else happy.
And my mom has always practiced what she’s preached.
She has always uncompromisingly been herself. She didn’t need to fit a mold. She was comfortable being who and what she was.
For instance, she’s an athlete and has always had no qualms about showing it. She is competitive and fit.
If you challenged her, she was going to try to beat you.
Probably one of my favorite stories about my mom being comfortable with being herself (the competitive athlete) is one of her stories about dating.
She went out to play tennis with a guy she was dating and as they walked out onto the court an older woman, who knew the guy, asked her if she was going to beat him. (The woman was basically hinting that my mom shouldn’t want to beat him.)
My mom told her, “It all depends on how good he is.”
She then did, in fact, beat him.
Her comment to me about the story was, “Why would I try to be something I’m not? Sooner or later, if we continued dating, he would find out that I’m better than him!”
“Why try to be something I’m not?”
That message stuck with me.
It may be a funny story, but it is a meaningful one. She wasn’t going to pretend to be something she wasn’t just to be “liked” by a guy.
She embraced her competitiveness and her physical abilities at a time when many women downplayed those things to be seen as more feminine. (My mom even has a story about a woman she knew acting like she didn’t know how to play tennis on a date when she was actually a competitive tournament player.)
My mother is unapologetically herself and taught me to be as well.
She has taught me to accept myself, “flaws” and all.
And that is probably the most valuable lesson you could ever learn yet one that, all too often, mothers don’t pass down to their daughters.
All too often I feel like we, adults, teach children to fit into society’s molds so that they don’t get hurt instead of teaching them to embrace who they are.
We teach them to want to always “fix” their “flaws” instead of accepting them.
And while we should always want to better ourselves, we should also be able to accept those things about ourselves that aren’t so perfect.
So thank you Man Bicep Mom for making me happy to be me. I love you with all my heart!
And Happy Mother’s Day to all you other amazing mothers out there!