Sunday was Mothers Day in Australia, and I had the opportunity to revel in some well earned spoiling from my husband and son. I got to sleep in, had coffee in bed, feasted on pancakes for breakfast, and my gorgeous husband made Indian for me, my mom and stepfather that night.
Mothers Day used to be this obligation where I lamented the empty commercialization of it all and valiantly tried to remember to send a card so I wouldn’t feel guilty. But now that I am a mother I really get the importance of this day. Hell, mothers should be celebrated once a month, not just one day a year!
Mothers are the foundation upon which society is built. They give us life. Feed and nurture us. Teach us our most intrinsic values. Mothers are there to soothe the nightmares and possess the magic lips to kiss away the pain. These days they are also just as likely to be a provider for their families. When you really look at all this responsibility, all this giving, isn’t every mom that mythical creature called a Super Mom?
I’m not saying that every single mother out there is perfect or better than the dads in the family. I believe mothers and fathers possess different roles and different strengths, and one cannot replace the other. Both are important.
Today I’m Celebrating Mothers
The vast majority of them devote their lives to their children. They make sacrifices on a daily basis and struggle to have answers to questions that they may not have figured out for themselves. Too often society, and women themselves, expect perfection and all knowing wisdom from mothers. When the truth is you’re thrown in the deep end from day one, and physically you’re already sinking and you know you have to figure it all out right NOW!
But really you have no idea what you’re doing and you just put one foot in front of the other hoping you don’t fuck it up too much and you don’t send your kids into years of therapy. Me, I’m exhausted from trying to get it right. Now I’m aiming for not getting it TOO wrong.
My mom got a lot of things right. She’s not a perfect cookie cutter mother - if such a creature exists - and I think she’d admit she has some regrets, but my mother is one of my best friends and definitely my greatest ally. Her love and support are unconditional and she sees inside my heart even when I am too scared to look there myself.
My Mom and the Power of Kindness and Empathy
As I sit here reflecting on the gifts my mother has shared with me, many come to mind. But the most important lesson - the one that has brought the most joy and connection to my life - is the power of kindness and empathy.
My mom is one of those people everyone likes. It’s almost impossible not to like her. She is the flashbulb who lights up the room. The buzzing bee who sweeps around making sure everyone is comfortable and taken care of. The one who shares her smile and warmth, her pure generosity of spirit with everyone she meets.
I can’t claim to be as open as mom, but I definitely absorbed some lessons from her that have made a big difference in my life. I try to show my loved ones that I value them. I am generally pleasant and friendly to everyone, whether they are serving me in the supermarket, taking my coffee order or calling me for direct marketing purposes. I learned from mom that what goes around comes around so everyone benefits if you welcome the world with a smile and a kind and generous soul.
Here’s a few quick ways you can get into my mom’s giving spirit and add a little sunshine to people’s lives:
Smile FREELY and for no reason
Everyone wants to be liked and understood so why not relax and let someone talk. Let them get their story out. They’ll feel heard and acknowledged and you’ll send them out into the world in a better frame of mind
Don’t judge people who are different to you. This doesn’t mean you have to hang out with people whose actions you don’t agree with, but we can’t all agree so why get upset and angry about it
Say hi to people you see around your local neighborhood
Chat to that perfect stranger at the bus stop or in the queue, or on the long train commute to work. It doesn’t have to be a big in-depth conversation. A little small talk and shared banter can brighten everyone’s day
Greet the people who serve you and ask how their day is going
Be gracious toward the elderly. Yes, some people may ramble on sometimes but it can get pretty lonely at the end of your life. Start your good karma today
Let other cars into your lane in traffic. We all get stuck sometimes so what’s the big deal about letting someone go before you? It really won’t slow you down that much
Help struggling parents with strollers and/or shopping and roaming kids. if someone seems to have their hands full, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they need some help
Indulge kids with their sometimes nonsensical chatter and pull funny faces to make babies laugh. In both cases, your spirit will feel better
Offer to help someone with their bags
Donate to charity, and be empathetic to street people. You have no idea how they got there or what they’ve suffered. Don’t negate or add to their misery
Tell your friends and family you love them
Be generous with your warmth, laughter and goodwill
Do something nice for someone for no reason at all
When in doubt, forgive. We all mess up. We all fall down. But when we forgive those who have done us wrong we free them, and more importantly, we free ourselves
Here endeth the lesson. I love you mom.