An ode to Mommy

I have found that a mother-daughter relationship can sometimes be one of the hardest, most emotionally tugging, relationships to have – and yet it is one that moulds women for better or for worse.

My mom turned __  this week. I don’t think she’d mind me saying her age because she’s extremely open about it. Also she looks AMAZING… But the age is not the point – her life is.

…and she’s proud to be a gran!

 

My mom comes from a place where women weren’t treated with high regard.

Her own mother was one of many wives – my mom was but one child in a sea of my granddad’s children. And yet in all that I consider her to be a woman of substance.

It’s not easy to fight for better in life when for the most important, foundational stages, of your existence you were showed that you, as a girl child, and as a woman were not valued.

My mom comes from an experience where men could take wives as one would a loaf of bread. And just like bread, women in the eyes of their husbands, could go stale – and another “loaf” could be ordered. This was not only accepted but the norm.

For the most part the women I remember from where my mom came from were industrious and yet there seemed to be this invisible barrier they could not overcome. I don’t think they even tried to break that barrier – it was almost as though they accepted the lie that they were nothing without their husbands.

Those that did fight, perhaps like my gran  for instance, did so by  pushing for their kids to not live the same lives.

From where my mom comes from women were beaten for not “behaving” as their husbands ordered. Whatever their husbands’ wrongs, be it drunkenness or other women, slackness or violence, the women had to “accept” their men as they were, be silent and take it. Protest was deemed insolent and punishment swiftly followed.

This experience and background is not only my mother’s but mine too.

And yet I am a woman of substance. That has a lot to do with what my mom taught me.

On the one hand she taught me to take care of my home with finesse that can only come from a woman’s heart; She taught me how to pamper my husband and make him feel like a king; She taught me to care for people and never to treat others based on what they had or their status but as humans beings with a common need to be seen, acknowledged and heard.

So while I’m perfectly “domesticated” don’t let that fool you. I’m just as savvy and ambitious when it comes to business.

My mom taught me to be a fighter and to be industrious. She taught me that being soft and domesticated did not mean I was weak.

Life for my mom was tough. As a woman she had to fight to be seen and heard in an environment that didn’t want to hear her voice nor valued her opinion.

And yet she fought to find her voice and taught me that my opinion mattered and my voice was worth hearing. I carry that with me in my personal life and in my work.

My mom taught me that being a woman is such an honour from an all-wise God- An honour not to be taken lightly.

Despite her own struggles (and I believe sometimes a battle so see her own tremendous value) – my mom taught me that I was worth the earth, the sun and the moon.

As a child the bulk of my relationship with my mom was that of coach and student. And yet even in that she showed me that I was worth so much and I dared not settle for anything less.

It is this utter conviction in my worth that compelled me to shut the door on boys and later men I so adored and yet would not compromise for. My husband is quite something. I didn’t settle Mommy.

At school I was considered an average student. I never received an award for anything and yet my mom told me: “Oh they don’t know Hannah. They don’t know who you are. You are an amazing child!” And then she took it upon herself to shower me with her own rewards instead.

It was this utter confidence in how remarkable I was that even when  doors were slammed in my face – be it in matters of the heart – or in my career or business – somehow I would remember that I was worth something. And not just “some thing” but the earth, the sun and  the moon – and I dared not give up but rather reached for higher because I knew I deserved it.

When my husband asked me to marry him – my mom sent him a message saying: “She is our ruby. Our pearl. You take care of her.”

Generally women lose their sense of self and sometimes even worth when they love a man. But my mom’s reminder of my worth as I was getting into the biggest commitment of my life reminded me that I owed it to me to never abandon me. I owed it to me to not eat BS like so many women before me had done. It’s not arrogance. It’s what we’re entitled.

Women lose their sensibility when in love. Sometimes more so than men I think. It’s too late to speak sense to us when we’re in  love. Far too late. Speak sense to us WAY before we fall in. My mom did that for me.

I’ve been married a mere six years. You learn very quickly that it can be the most amazing relationship or the worst.

There are times I’ve had to fight for me in my marriage. Sometimes I’ve had to stick to my guns and demand to be heard and seen not because I’m arrogant or insolent but because I know I’m worth  being seeing and heard.

I’ve no desire to be my husband’s equal. He remains the head of our home and the priest of our household. God gave him that position and I dare not argue. It’s a wise woman who finds joy in this set-up. It’s a wise man whose wife thrives in this set-up.

My mom and I fight often. We often disagree. And yet this week as she celebrates yet another year of her life – I cannot but praise the investments she’s made in me.

Growing up I feared my mom. She truly did rule with an iron fist. As an adult now, and a mother myself, I can honestly say looking back I may not always agree with some of her methods – but what I totally agree with was her utter commitment to parent  us.

My mom was never concerned with being popular with my brothers and I. She didn’t care how others raised their kids – like her own mother had raised her – my mom raised us to be prepared for life.

Mommy with our youngest, 7 year old Caleb

 

Life can be a battlefield sometimes and I’ve learned that it’s dangerous to raise children to expect life to be a fairytale.

For the most part I feel we live in a world where parents are terrified to parent. And in the end it’s the children who suffer.

Often I see parents who seek popularity with their kids rather than do what is right.

Way too many times I’ve seen parents cripple their children by doing too much for them, shielding them from life, and eventually those children, as adults, fail to stand on their own feet.

My mom taught us boundaries and she taught us hard work. I am grateful for both. And the many other lessons I can’t fully list here.

It’s easier to be successful when you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth.  And I don’t just mean money.

My mom’s start was tough. Her own mom had her at fourteen. It’s tough to parent when you truly are a child yourself. Looking back at how my mom was born and how she grew – I feel she was born with clay not silver.

And yet she took that clay and somehow despite what seemed like constant storms in her life she found it in her to invest strength in me.

A silver spoon is a silver spoon. But clay – clay is ready for moulding from the onset. You can turn it into anything your mind envisions and commits to.

The value is not in the silver or the clay – the worth of them both lies in the hands that hold them. My mom (even though she may not know it) taught me that.

 

Hannah Viviers is the author of mommy24.com. She’s also founder of Hannah Viviers Business Training.

You’re welcome to leave a comment or email her directly on hannahviviers@yahoo.com

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