My Mom is a very interesting woman. I once heard someone say about her, “Jean’s never met a stranger in her life” and I think that’s the truest statement I could make about her. She’s outgoing, the life of the party, charming in the most Southern way possible, and stylish to the extreme.
When I was a little girl, I remember sitting on the floor of the bathroom watching her get ready for some party. She had tiny bottles of lotions and perfumes and lipsticks everywhere and I thought she was the most beautiful woman alive. I used to sneak into her bathroom and use all of the fancy powders and perfumes. My sister and I would play dress-up in her clothes and put on fashion shows for her and my Dad.
We weren’t always the closest from the ages of 12-21 but that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t always there for me, it was mostly that I wasn’t able to be there for her. Now, my mom and I talk everyday and sometimes even a few times a day. That mostly happened once I got pregnant with Edith. I thikn I called her immediately crying and apologizing for staying gout late, making her worry, saying awful things to her. I realized in that moment how much she must love me and despite her faults, her love was unconditional.
We still have our ups and downs like another mother daughter relationship I think, but we’ve found a really good groove. Now that I am a mom to two girls, there are a few “Jean-isms” that I bring with me into how I parent my girls.
- Have fun – My mom used to turn the music on loud while she cooked breakfast on Sunday mornings and we would dance around the house to Tina Turner and Billy Joel. I do the same thing with my girls (despite their protests for me to just play the Trolls soundtrack). I want to be silly and crazy and let loose with my girls and let them see how to have fun in life, even during the boring bits like making dinner for the 234th night in a row.
- Have a life – My mom and Dad went out, a lot. They also entertained at our house a lot. We would go to grownup parties and be expected to behave and be polite and not interrupt their good time. Now, I live in a tiny little house and we don’t do much entertaining, but we have a babysitter come once a week so Aaron and I can go out. It’s important for them to see that while I love them more than anything in the entire world, they aren’t my entire world, just a very big piece of it. I want them to know mommy has friends, and interests, and deserves romance, happiness, and a life of her own.
- Have a little faith – My mom and Dad had both been married and raised children prior to having my sister and I. They were also a little older when we were born (my mom was 40 when she had me). I think what this allowed them to do was enjoy the fun parts about being a parent and not sweat the small stuff. I also think they gave us a lot of trust. I was a very responsible little girl so often times on family vacations we had our own connecting hotel room and my sister and I could run around the hotel by ourselves as long as we were dressed and ready for dinner by 6pm. We would be out in the neighborhood by ourselves and while my mom knew kind of where we were, she just trusted us to stay put. I left childhood feeling very independent and capable. With my girls, I like to give them a good amount of that age-appropriate independence for themselves. For example, at the playground I am very hands off. I sit on the bench and let them play. I let them work out their physical limits and interactions with other kids (for the most part…) and allow them to feel like that is their space to explore and be free.
What has your mom taught you about motherhood?
This post was written as part of the #TogetherWeMother series – honest stories about motherhood meant to bring about community and relationships to this space.