Mom Reflective thoughts from your Daughter

I chose to write my memoir about my mom because I wanted to use the opportunity of interviewing her to be able to really learn more about her. As a mom she has sacrificed so much for me and for my family. I have not always appreciated the sacrifices that my mom has made and it is only as I have grown older that I have seen how much she has sacrificed for me. What I have also learned as I have grown older and moved out of the house is how much I do not actually know about my mom. Moms are so selfless, always looking to the needs of their children and family - asking them about their day etc. that they rarely get to share about their own day or their childhood. I used this opportunity of writing a memoir to learn more about my mother’s childhood - to see how she became the person that she is today.

My mom was born in Charleston, South Carolina and was the oldest grandchild of fourteen. Being the oldest grandchild affected mom personally because it created in her a desire for responsibility. Mom believes that this desire has always been innate to her; she says that she was born with the “responsibility gene”. This “gene,” has had one of the largest impacts on my mom’s life because it has driven her to constantly achieve all that she can. My mom has learned to balance high success while also loving those around her. This lifestyle, while seemingly the ideal, has proven to be quite difficult to maintain.

Mom grew up in a household that expected excellence. Mom had to have perfect grades while also balancing the Charleston social life and while always being challenged to achieve the highest athletic awards. This lifestyle has continued with mom throughout her life and at the root of it is her responsibility gene. Mom believes that it is her responsibility to achieve the most that she possibly can at all times. As stated above this has been quite difficult to maintain for mom because of the practically impossible goals that she has set for herself. In my interview with mom she identified three main areas of insecurity that she believes have contributed to this need to achieve excellence. These areas of insecurity are rooted in appearance and finances. In my interview with my mom she spoke about her experience growing up. Mom went to a small school where there were fewer than twenty people in her graduating class. By the fourth grade Mom was taller than her teacher and all of the boys in her class. She was tall and very skinny, which many noticed and made fun of her for. Like many young girls the teasing and bullying that she received as a young child has made a lasting impact on her today and how she views her body. Mom is absolutely beautiful - she always has been, but she struggles to accept that truth.

Mom also struggles with finding a peace about her finances. Mom grew up in Downtown Charleston and that is also where she raised me. In this area one can never have enough and there is always someone that one can compare himself or herself too. For mom, and for our whole family, this has been challenging for all of us to overcome. Mom’s high sense of responsibility and achievement means that she always wanted to be the best, have the most, and of course, be doing the most all at the same time. Even with tons of success in one’s career no one can ever be satisfied with this desire. This need for an unachievable amount of success has led to feelings of despair and brokenness. It is hard to imagine how one can have so much success in life and still feel like a failure, but it happens all the time and it is a part of my mom’s story.

This leads me to what mom most wanted to discuss during our interview - a women’s wellness weekend that she had just attended. During this wellness weekend Mom was able to identify the ways in which she was not caring for herself well. Wellness does not mean having enough material goods or looking the best, but instead it means maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Mom identified some critical values that she has neglected through the years and now wants to invest more deeply in. They are her faith, forgiveness, friendships, and her health. Mom wants to be, “intentional about how to approach each day with an outlook on these values”. She wants to be “kinder to others” putting them before her - not herself before others. She has seen the value in being vulnerable with herself and others about her struggles and insecurities.

My mom is a champion and role model to me. She loves so well - making sacrifices daily for others, especially my brother and me. I know that I will never fully appreciate all that my mom has done for me because she has done more than I could ever imagine, but I look forward with expectant hope to continue to learn more about her for all of the days I have left on this earth. My mom is a testament to a mother's unconditional love.

Thank you Mom; for all of the sacrifices, heart breaks, and tears that you championed through to love me well - you have been an example of the unconditional love of the our Father God and His consistent mercy on us.

Created By
Ellen Hudson Howard
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