She tucks you in and reads you a bedtime story, kisses the booboos better, and makes that macaroni and cheese you love so much. She’s patient when you aren’t, because throughout your life, you’ll always return to her open arms even if you spend a great deal of time and effort trying not to as a teenager. She watches over you and loves you more than you could ever imagine. She is your mother, and she is the most important woman in your life.
Mother’s Day is one of my favourite celebrations, because without my mother, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’d like to think of her as a representative not only of mothers around the world, but as the person credited with giving me the love and support needed to pursue my goals.
My mother came to Canada with my father in the early eighties, and worked as a nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Long before she had my sister and I, her life was dedicated to caring. As an NICU nurse, her job involved long hours and high stress as much as it involved tender care. Every day, she would commute over an hour into the city to make enough money to afford a modest one bedroom apartment with my father. While life in Canada was hard for her at first, she never gave up hope, and pushed on.
About five years later, my sister and I were born. While she and my father had to work late hours to provide for us, she never once complained, because she knew she was returning to the people who matter most in her life at the end of a long shift. No matter how exhausted she was, she was always there to listen to how our day went. From Raffi tapes to day trips at the museum whenever she had an off day, my mother was my best friend.
Then she got very sick. I remember understanding that cancer was a very serious illness, and that she would require around the clock care, but as a ten year old, the gravity of the situation never really resonated with me as much as it does today.
Just as she was there for me growing up, I was there for her, accompanying her to her appointments and heating up dinner for her when she was hungry. In her position of weakness and vulnerability, I gained strength and courage beyond anything I would have learned in a classroom. A year later, when she was cancer-free, I was no longer a fourth grader, I was the second man of the house.
I’d like to think of my mother, and all mothers for that matter, as entrepreneurs. I don’t mean this in the sense of her business savvy—while she did know her way around a grocery store and could save money on just about anything, the world of business is all but foreign to her—I mean this in the sense of all of the intangible qualities that make entrepreneurs successful. Let me explain.
From the moment a child is born, regardless of what her profession is, a woman takes on a second position as a mother. From balancing a check book to maintaining a child’s health to providing the necessities of life and then some, motherhood is a full-time job.
The growth of our population, economy, and ourselves can be directly traced to our mothers. They are one of the fist people we look up to as children, because they seem to have everything figured out.
Entrepreneurs, who often view their businesses as their babies, have their mothers to thank. There’s no vacation as an entrepreneur. Around the clock, you are thinking of ways to improve your business and promote it in a way that reflects positively on both you and your chosen industry. Motherhood never takes a vacation either. Long after the nest is empty, mothers still love their children all the same. The exact level of nurturing and attention mothers give to their children is the same as what an entrepreneur needs to give their business. Growing a successful business and growing a successful child both involve a degree of care that only a mother can bring.
There are plenty of resources available to educate you on both motherhood and entrepreneurship, including courses and programs designed to prepare you for the sometimes-harsh realities, but nothing can prepare you for the investment you’re about to make aside from experience itself.
This is also why I firmly believe that mothers make some of the best entrepreneurs. Being a mother requires setting boundaries, continuous learning, non-stop attention and care, and a plan for the future. Sound familiar?
It’s because great mothers build great entrepreneurs. Everything your mother does for you, she does without a shred of selfishness. She isn’t looking to build her personal reputation on you, rather, she sees you as an extension of her life and love. When you are sick, she’s the one nursing you back to health. She’s your trusted guide when you are lost. When you finally mature and enter the world independently, everything she has passed onto you lives on through your actions. Now let’s change the context.
Everything successful entrepreneurs do for their business, they do without a shred of selfishness. They aren’t looking to build their personal reputation on their business, rather, they see it as an extension of their life and love. When times get tough, entrepreneurs are the only ones nursing the business back to health. They are the trusted guide for the business when it gets lost, and when the business has matured and developed a name for itself in the marketplace, everything entrepreneurs have imparted onto it lives on through its success.
If your mother is still around, give her a call and tell her how much you love her. Let her know how important she is to you. Share with her how your day, week, or month has been, and ask her how hers was. Consumerism and Mothers Day go hand-in-hand, which is unfortunate, because many people lose sight of the true purpose of it: to celebrate motherhood. Twenty minutes of your time will provide her with days of happiness.
To all of the mothers out there, thank you. Thank you for being there for us, for raising us, and for being strong female role models. Thank you for nurturing some of the world’s greatest people, and for providing a sounding board for the world’s greatest ideas. You are one of the most important people in modern society, and today is your day.
Have a great Mother’s Day.