Let me just start by saying I have the best mom ever! Don't we all say that once we're grown up and no longer living under their rules? Nonetheless, she is pretty awesome :)
My mom is a graphic design professor at Illinois Wesleyan and an AMAZING artist. Although she's been there for 25 years, she had an interesting journey getting there, starting in medical records, then launching a children's clothing line, and finally getting her master's in Art at ISU all while my brother and I were kids! To say she's a hard worker is an understatement!
I think it's safe to say that I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for her unconditional love, support, guidance and willingness to laugh! She's the person I call for a second opinion, to vent my frustrations, to share great news, parenting advice, clothing and accessorizing help and the list goes on and on!
It's no surprise that my mom has taught me a lot about life.....
It's okay to fail because you learn and grow the most from failures
Parents never want to see their kids fail, but I think failure is a great opportunity for learning. I don't remember all my failures, but I will tell you I will never misspell "lemonade". It was the one word I got wrong in a spelling bee in the 4th grade that prevented me from moving on in the competition. My mom didn't call the teacher and ask for another chance, she gave me a hug and told me to keep practicing and I'd do better the next time. My mom nurtured us through our failures, gave us support, but she would never try to fix it for us. I am truly grateful for that life lesson and try to do the same with my children.
When you get knocked down, there are always reasons to get back up
My mom's successes have never been handed to her, she's had to work very hard to get where she is and she's had a lot of bumps along the way. She probably doesn't even realize that she's taught me this lesson because she's never voiced it. I've just observed over the years how she's always willing and able to put the pieces back together after they fall apart. She shows me that life will always go on and it's up to me how I want that life to look.
Ask for help
Being a mother is a full time job and it encompasses every type of emotion within seconds of one another - frustration, exhaustion, deflation, joy, happiness, proud, etc. It can be exhausting and there are days when you just need a break. My mom is always helping with my boys to provide some sanity saving kid-free hours. Almost all of my extended family lives close by and my mom leaned on them for help when I was young and now I do the same. It truly does take a village to raise my boys and I'm a better mom when I have help - there's no shame in that!
Learn to do it yourself
My mom does just about everything herself. She paints her house and deck, mows the yard, reupholsters furniture, cleans the gutters, cooks, cleans the house and does it all with determination. And since she's a teacher at heart, she taught us to do the same. When I was little my mom taught us how to sew. I did not appreciate this at the time because what I really wanted was to just go to the mall and buy my summer wardrobe - I didn't want to have to make it. But now, sewing is one of the skills that I'm most thankful she taught me. She is a true example that women can do what men can do and more!
Spend your money wisely and be creative
My mom has never been "wealthy" in terms of money, but the woman knows how to save! She also doesn't make a big purchase without doing a lot of research first. And she is never too proud to pick up someone else's "garbage". Back in high school this used to really embarrass me but now I've found myself slowing down to take a second look at old chairs or desks on the curb. My mom found 2 very old couches at an estate sale, bought them for $30, reupholstered them and they look awesome! She also used refurbished desks and attached horse saddle racks underneath for the legs to make a new dining room table. She taught me that you can have nice things without having to pay a lot for them, you just have to put a little elbow grease in it and be creative.
At some point in my life, my mom became my best friend. It feels weird if a day goes by that I haven't talked or texted with her, even if it's just to check in.
And not only is she a great mom and friend to me, but she's an awesome grandma! I can see the bond between her and my boys and it melts my heart because I know she's leaving a lasting mark in their hearts. Happy Mother's Day Mom!!
Melissa Ash - mom of 2 energetic boys, wife, and business woman. Just trying to "do it all".