The relationship between a mother and daughter is a delicate and sacred one. My mother is young. I mean she hasn’t even jumped over the 50 hill yet. Yes, she was a teen mom and I am her oldest child. I grew up watching her grow up and the closeness in our ages made for some dramatic, fun, exciting, and crazy times in both of lives over the years.
These are the lessons that helped me navigate most of my 20s :
- Beauty & Confidence: My mom taught me the value and meaning behind dressing for success even if you don’t feel successful and looking like a million bucks on a dime of a budget. I never once saw my mom leave our home without looking “put together” and her confidence was always sky-high. My mom was the Beyoncé in her group of friends (she can sing too!) and when I was young, all I wanted to be was pretty like her. Thanks to my mom and other women in my family I don’t have the issues that many young black girls face about their bodies and skin tones. I was taught very early on that my skin was beautiful and my hair, although super thick and curly was to be envied. I know the value of loving myself first because of my mom.
- Love: Although hard to watch at times, I watched and learned how to love a man with everything AND when to walk away before he took everything. I watched my mom go through a few bad relationships and luckily I was right there on the sidelines taking notes. When I started dating I already knew how to spot out “bad guys” and I steered clear. When I found myself in a relationship with a sociopath who started to let his true colors show, I recognized the red flags and quickly ended things between us. I never had to relive the pain she suffered because she talked to me often as a child about loving myself, respecting myself and most importantly she constantly told me to be better than her and to make better choices in men.
- Friendship: I’ve watched my mom be the most amazing friend to some of the most undeserving people. Yet she was still 100% compassionate and genuinely nice, no matter what someone else may have said or done. My mom has the ability to find the good in almost everyone. I inherited the same exact traits. Throughout my life, I’ve found myself in unlikely friendships with people who others have discarded. I never judge my friends or care about what other people say about them or our friendship. I learned to look beyond the surface of people because a great story and a person in need of love often lies beneath.
Ask any person over 25 what it was like being raised by a young single mother and the lessons and stories you hear will run wild from the good and bad. I have no idea what it is like to grow up with both parents in traditional roles in the home and out in society. I do know what it’s like to have a young, beautiful mom who loves happy hour, makeup, travel and cooking as much as I do.Of course I’ve learned so much more from my mother but these are the lessons that I find myself referring back too often these days.
Every experience is a lesson and there is always something to learn.