As a female entrepreneur, mother and grandmother it seems fitting for me to use my blog this week to talk about Mother's Day. I'd like to focus on my kids and the sacrifices they've made having me as a Mom; I'm guessing this will read differently than many other blogs on the same topic.
I have endless gratitude for my children and the things they have done over the years to make my life better. They have taught me so much; I hope I have taught them just as much in return. Parents are meant to look after kids when they are growing up, not vice versa, and most certainly the roles should never be confused. But often kids teach parents unexpected lessons on incredibly important things such as sacrifice, determination and forgiveness. I know mine certainly have.
Frankly, it astounds me that my kids are now grown adults, some with children of their own. How did time pass so quickly? Yet it is the very passage of time that affords me the opportunity to reflect and understand the gift of what I have learned along the way. It has given me the opportunity to realize that along the road, our family always carried each other when one of us stumbled or fell on their journey.
I know generally people wax eloquent about motherhood and the rewards, challenges and sheer joy of parenting. But, as I thought about it all, I was struck by how I feel as much surrounded by my family's support and love, as I am grateful that they openly accept mine in return.
There are many things I can point to which make me feel grateful. Love is of course the overarching emotion that my kids have shown and continue to give me. Through thick and thin they have loved me as unconditionally as I have loved them. That is the foundation of a strong parent/child relationship.
But because I am an entrepreneur they have also given me something unique and very unselfish. They have provided me with constant support as I worked hard, often spending less time with them than I know they would have liked. They had to share my time with many competing business needs. They have allowed me to build a business and to do so WITH them. They have not made me feel guilty or less capable than the other moms that I know they saw their friends had when they were younger. For sure I wasn't always there at the soccer games, recitals and school science fairs. I wasn't able to drive them to and from school. Indeed, they were latch key kids for much of their childhood. A divorce, a start up business and struggles to simply put food on the table all permeated the fabric of their childhood journeys.
Yet, they bore all these circumstances with grace and understanding. That's not to say there weren't challenges – trust me, we have had our share - but ultimately we all got through it together. We grew our family and our business all at the same time. Without my kids none of the success would have happened. This I know to be true.
As a single parent, it's not easy. Many of you reading this know how truthful and understated that sentence is. There is guilt, worry, and ultimately many sleepless nights as you try and simply get through it all. And you tend to compare yourself to those other parents who somehow always managed to show up. I would have loved to be there everyday for my kids, but my circumstances didn't allow it. And I know my kids understood that even when I didn't fully understand it myself.
It's true that my kids sacrificed things that many kids with the benefit of two parents and financial security were able to enjoy. But I know they have also learned important and meaningful life lessons that many kids are never given the chance to experience. And I know those lessons will help carry them through their life. I hope by having me as their mom they have learned above all to be true to themselves. This is by far more important than living a life someone else deems right for them or any of us as individuals. Our destinies are indeed our own, and we have been given the right to choose it for ourselves. Family is at its best when we allow members to be themselves, to support each other's dreams and hopes, and to carry each other through the pitfalls and challenges of the paths we each choose, without judgment.
YouInc's positioning statement is: When Work Is Life. That's because we know entrepreneurs struggle with the constant and unrelenting challenge of managing a 24/7 relationship with their business and their family. Life is complicated, but at the end of the day the best thing we can accomplish is to give each other love and support as we go through it all together.
So, on this week of Mother's Day I thank my family. Not for what they might say or do this week to tell me Happy Mother's Day, but for what they give me every day of every year – their love. And to all you moms out there, Happy Mother's Day. I know you work hard to build a life for your families that makes everyone happy. On this day, may the happiness belong to you. And, to my mom - thank you and Happy Mother's Day!!