My mom had me when she was pretty young. I look back on my childhood and think how lucky I was to have such a young mother because she was very open-minded and “hip.” While she learned by trial and error how to parent, we were learning with her. These experiences were integral to my becoming the woman/mother/wife I am today, and I hope I am able to successfully pass them down to my children.
5 Things My Mom Taught Me
Love who you love
My mother never put boundaries on my relationships with friends or whom I chose to date. She was open and never blinked at the many tests I threw her way. “Mom, I think I’m gay” was returned with “Okay, you’ll need to keep your bedroom door open when you have girls over now” or “Mom, I think I’m in love with Josh” was answered with “Yes, I’ve known that forever.” She taught me that love knows no color or gender, length of time, or type of friendship; you love who you love – period. I can only hope I can be as open with my children as they grow.
Sing and dance for no reason
She had us doing the locomotion in the living room, singing Meatloaf at the top of our lungs, and held head-banging contests on long car rides. We never needed a reason to sing or dance, and these are the moments I remember most fondly. My children love these random outbursts, and I hope they have incredible memories of these, too.
Your best work is perfect
She didn’t expect 100% on every exam. My mom expected us to do our best. If my very best work was A’s in English and C’s in Math, then that was (mostly) okay with her. I try to remind the kids they don’t need to be perfect, but they should do their best.
You can choose your family
We have a pretty small number of relatives on my mom’s side, but she had a handful of really great friends who became as close as family. It was amazing to have a “village” surrounding us. My mom taught me how important it is to develop meaningful relationships, especially since we live so far from our hometown. Growing up, my children will get to experience family in many forms.
Do what you will with your clothes and hair, just don’t pierce your face
This one is pretty self-explanatory. My mom let me have purple hair. She let me wear dog collars. She let me wear puke-green vinyl pants and shave my head. I have already refused requests made by my children, and I’m working hard to remember it’s their body and it’s all temporary. I appreciated having had this freedom growing up and know my children will too.