It’s Mother’s Day week! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, grandmas, aunts, fur baby mommas, and adoptive mommas. While Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate, it can also bring about grief for some. For those who have lost a mom, or are still dreaming of becoming a mom, this day can be very hard. Please make sure that you are being thoughtful and sensitive to those around you who may be grieving this Mother’s Day.
This week on the blog I’m going to talk about lessons I’ve learned from my own mom. My mom is one of the strongest, kindest, most caring people I’ve ever met in my life (I’m not biased, other people have said this about her too!). My hope is that you may be able to relate, or even strive to integrate some of these values into your own parenting.
You have to take care of yourself
I remember growing up my mom always saying “You have to be able to stand on your own two feet”. My mom wanted her girls to be strong, independent, and not reliant on anyone. She pushed us to put 110% effort into everything we did. She wanted us to get an education and be able to take care of ourselves. I remember being under the age of ten and already talking about college and what I wanted to do for a career, all because my mom was encouraging me to dream.
My mom planted a seed in my sister and I that we were in control of our own destinies. She taught us that hard work and sacrifice pay off. She instilled in us a work ethic that has helped us both start our own businesses. I am so grateful that she taught us to dream and encouraged us to talk about our goals at such a young age.
It’s important to teach our children to dream. Make sure you are talking with your children about college, trades, education, etc. Encourage them to explore their gifts and talents. Plant a seed now that will bloom later.
My parents have always lived a simple, humble life. I know that she and my dad sacrificed a lot for us when we were little. Sometimes that also meant telling us “no” to things we didn’t need or were too expensive. It didn’t harm us, it just made us appreciate when we did get things. She also encouraged us to use our own money sometimes if it was something we really wanted.
At a very young age, my mom taught my sister and me about money. We started with 3 small cardboard boxes, labeled “Save”, “Spend”, and “Give”. Ten percent of our allowance money went to “Give”. The “Give” box was meant to give to others, whether that was the church, a charity, or someone in need. We could pick where it went, but it made us invested in giving back.
The remainder of our allowance was split between “Save” and “Spend”. We opened up savings accounts at our local bank and learned about interest. My mom was and still is a couponer, and has instilled that in my sister and I. She taught us the value of a dollar, and how to spend wisely. She also taught us that money and “things” are not what is important in life.
In a world so focused on “things” and “stuff”, it’s important to teach our children to know about money, and the importance of every dollar. It’s also essential to model to our children that they don’t need everything and that they can work hard to earn the things they want. Model to them work ethic, sacrifice, and the importance of giving to others.
Growing up, my mom modeled to me how to love others. I remember delivering Christmas baskets to homebound people with our church. My mom always puts change in the kettle whenever we pass a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. We donated items to local charities and my mom always made sure that we witnessed this. She wanted us to see that there were others who were in need and that it was our job to help as we can.
The most impactful memory I have was when I was grocery shopping with my mom. The precious little old lady in front of us didn’t have enough money to buy all her groceries, so she was putting things back. My mom offered to buy the rest of what she needed. This was incredibly impactful for me because we didn’t necessarily have the extra money either. But my mom made sure this sweet lady was taken care of and felt seen and loved.
Are you modeling this kind of love to others? Trust me, it is so very impactful on your kids. Teach them to work hard, but to give back and help others. Show them how to love others well.
Talk about it
One of my favorite things about my mom is that she is a good listener. My mom would have time with us every night when we were little to talk about our days or to just spend quality time with us. My mom encouraged us to share with her what was going on in our little worlds. She listened, validated our feelings, gave good advice as needed, and loved on us. She poured into us, even when I’m sure she was exhausted herself.
My mom taught me that feelings are important. She made sure that we always felt heard. I remember many nights as a teenager coming home late and sitting on the edge of her bed just to talk. She was engaged and knew what was going on with my friends. I could share with her my hurts and frustrations, and she was kind and understanding. She never once made me feel like my problems or feelings were insignificant or wrong.
My mom let me make mistakes. I’m sure this was really hard for her at times. She knew the importance of letting me figure things out on my own, even if that meant I might fail. There are times I definitely did not take her advice and wish I would have! She was always there to talk to afterward, and never condemned me for making the wrong choice. My mom was loving and grace-giving, and just talked about it with me. She showed unconditional love.
Back then, we didn’t have cell phones (we barely even had the internet!). Now it is much harder to stay engaged with our children. Make sure you are putting the phone down and giving your kids your undivided attention and quality time. The impact will be long-lasting.
My mom knew that raising us with faith was important. My mom made sure we went to church and knew about God’s grace and love. She read Bible stories with us and sang church songs. She wanted us to have a personal relationship with God. My mom modeled God’s love to us and to others by how she treated people. She taught us that there is so much more to life than clothes and things and money. It’s about loving others BIG and being Jesus to them.
Are you doing this with your own children? The morals and values you instill now will impact your children significantly when they become adults.
Happy Mother’s Day to my momma, who I love so very much!
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.