5 Empowering Life Lessons I Learned From My Mother

Posted: November 2, 2015

A successful woman looks back at her childhood and tells about five affirmative lessons that she received from her mother on life, ambition and happiness.

A mother is a powerful inspiration in a little girl’s life. In fact, the first point of contact with the world and a child’s interactions with the mother lays the foundation for his or her conduct, thought process and behaviour in his or her adult life. As parents, it is not always about teaching the right things but also about setting the right example before our kids. The way we respond, react to situations and treat not just others but ourselves as well (with respect, love and care) is something the child watches and emulates.

My mother has been a big source of inspiration for me. I had written about why she is not an ordinary woman (I do not say this just because I am her daughter, but if I stand aside and take an independent view of this as well, I would not view it any differently). Some of the most empowering lessons that I have learnt and try to imbibe in my life through her are:




There is no limiting factor that can stop you from attaining your goal

If there is, it is a mere artificial barrier erected by you. Very often as we grow up and get comfortable with our routine, our daily cycle, the same old jobs, the comfort of our monthly salary, we just get complacent. At times we all want a change but we are afraid to break the cycle and do something different. We often say “Oh but how can we take up a new profession or switch our career, that would mean investing so much time and effort.” We may even have to get back to books, get a new professional degree, so is it even possible to study and write exams again? Sound familiar? I would say – why not? When a woman can do it in her 50s , so can anyone else.

My mom has had myriad experiences from working part-time in a bank, to working in sales, quitting it post my birth and taking up tuitions rather than sitting idle. She then ran a catering business, joined a school as a pre-primary teacher, worked in a call center and then went back to the teaching profession as a coordinator and is now finally the Principal of a school. Life has indeed come full circle for her. For some it may sound like here is a person who could not stay put in any one job, but I look at it differently since I know the reasoning behind the change. Not all of these were out of choice, some of it were compulsions due to the situation that warranted her to take it up. Like working in a call center to support us when we faced financial difficulties or giving up her full-time sales job in a government owned reputed industry because she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and bring up her kids.

These changes came with varied experiences and life’s lessons, which only made her stronger as a person and much wiser.

From working part-time in a bank, to working in sales, my mom later took up tuitions, then ran a catering business, joined a school as a teacher, worked in a call center and then went back to the teaching profession as a coordinator and is now finally the Principal of a school.

There is no job in the world that a woman cannot do

She once told me and she always does, “There is no job in the world that a woman can’t do, don’t make anyone indispensable in your life. Learn to be self reliant and set the right example before your daughter. This is the best gift you can give her.”

We have always been conditioned that some work is only a man’s work like electrical fittings, lifting the gas cylinder or heavy objects, house shifting the and so much more. I have seen my mother defy these age-old gender biases and take up whatever work comes her way. There is this attitude of “I can do it” which is a powerful example of being self-dependent. This does not imply you are trying to show off you are better off than a man, it just implies equality of the sexes. Wouldn’t we all want to see the day when a man would enter the kitchen without any inhibitions and the woman goes out to buy groceries, the day we could assume each other’s roles and switch them without finding it unusual? We can say then that we are in a gender neutral society.

Your passion, resilience and focus can get you anything you wish

Nothing can come in your way. The best example I could quote is getting back to studies at the age of 51 when pursuing a call centre job that required her to work in the night. She took up the Montessori teachers training course, attended classes in the day, studied, completed the household chores and  wrote her exams as well. And all this not after a good night’s sleep like most of us, but after a long night spent at the workplace. She scored the 2nd highest marks  in her class and the owner of the  institute was so impressed that she offered her a job of teaching further batches in that institute. Things went well thereafter and she moved out of the call centre and took up the job of a coordinator in a reputed school. All because she wanted to alter the course of her career, she wanted a change, she willingly took the risk and worked relentlessly towards her goal and the end result was rewarding. I still can’t fathom though, when did she sleep?

Be good to others and help those less fortunate when you can

She always believed that if you do this, the goodness will come back to you in some form or the other.

When my mom was an instructor at the Montessori institute, she met many young women who had taken up the course, and they were badly looking for a job to supplement their husband’s income. They lacked the confidence because of never having stepped out of the confines of their home. They also had below-average communication skills. Who would want to hire them then, in this age when confident English speaking people are always sought? Was there a place for them? My mother believed that by instilling confidence in them and helping them get jobs by referring them to schools looking for teachers, grooming them for the interviews and conducting mock interviews, she could make that difference. Many of them ended getting jobs, the love and respect and sense of gratitude that I see in their eyes till this date make me believe that goodness does exist and it pays off.

When my mom was an instructor, she met many young women who had taken up the course. My mother believed that by instilling confidence in them and helping them get jobs by referring them to schools looking for teachers, grooming them for the interviews and conducting mock interviews, she could make that difference.

When we do good to others, the Almighty blesses us with good things in life. This is something I have seen and it has reinforced my belief in doing good. Not that it may pay off every time and not everyone may be grateful but there is someone watching and balancing the scales.

Be vocal and do not suppress your voice

How many times have we wanted to shout out loud at someone, ask them to mind their own business or tell them that what they said is unacceptable but we have kept quiet in the fear of hurting them or just because they are senior to us at the workplace or by age. It is always about “what would society say and think of us.” It’s like all of us want to be the good boy/good girl in the eyes of everyone.  But when this good boy/girl is in trouble, is sick and needs to be tended to, is in a financial mess or any other problem, does society come to their rescue? NO. It’s you and your family who stands by you through good and bad times. So why care a damn about satisfying the false ego of society?

Not that we pick up a quarrel with someone on each and every thing, of course one needs to exercise tact and judgment and there may be instances wherein we choose to keep quiet and let it pass, but at times when things seem to be getting out of control, it is important to break the silence. This is yet another valuable lesson I have learnt from my mother when I have seen her give them a piece of her mind when required.  The attitude of “I live my life on my terms, if you don’t like it, that’s your problem not mine” is what has made me much bolder in speaking out my mind and not bend down to the pressures of society be it in terms of the age at which I chose to marry, procreate or any other matter when it came to defying the age old barriers set by society.

Above all, the unconditional love that she showers on us is what makes this bond so special. I only hope as  a mother I can set the right examples for my daughter and raise her as a confident young lady who loves and respects herself and chases her dreams with passion and vigor.
Image via Shutterstock.

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  1. Pingback: Sudha Samyukta: An open letter – what will happen next? | Speak Now.

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