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Five Life Lessons I’ve Learned As a Woman from My Mom

In honor of International Women’s Day today, I wanted to dedicate my latest blog post to one of the most important women in my life…my Mom. She’s a very strong, intelligent, elegant and unique woman and I have the utmost respect for her.

She immigrated to the U.S. from India with my Dad in 1971 and at the time, had two small children in tow (my older brother and sister). After my parents, older brother and sister had been living in the U.S. for a few years, my parents decided to expand the family and had my other older brother and then me. Growing up, my Dad was busy attending graduate school to obtain a second degree in engineering and progressing in his corporate career to provide for a family of six people. Therefore, my Mom was busy taking care of four young children and managing the home front, in a foreign country where English wasn’t her first language (though she majored in English in college back in India). It wasn’t easy, but she always found a way to be there for all of us (including my Dad) and made each of us feel like we were her top priority. She took care of us when we were sick, dropped off and picked us all up from school every day, drove us to our sports games, dance practices and other after school activities, managed our social schedules, helped us with our homework, cooked amazing Indian food for us and gave us so much love and emotional support. My Dad was of course involved in supporting and helping us as well, but my Mom was and still is the queen of our family. 🙂

She also made a huge sacrifice for us by not pursuing a career of her own (she always wanted to run her own import/export jewelry or clothing business) in order to raise my brothers, sister and me. And although she didn’t pursue her own career, she has always been a huge supporter and advocate of both my sister’s career and mine as well. She has consistently encouraged us over the years to find a way to be hands on mothers, while also having a career we love. To this day, she’s still the glue that holds our entire family together and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be her daughter.

I’ve learned so much from my Mom and therefore, I wanted to share five life lessons she has taught me over the years, including some of her most profound quotes and philosophies.

1.”Always practice moderation.” This philosophy could pertain to what you eat or how you spend your time or what you prioritize in your life. From her perspective, if you eat too much, work too much, exercise too much, worry too much, etc., you’ll find yourself out of balance, unhealthy and unhappy. Therefore, she has always been someone in our family who reminds us to stay balanced and keep life in perspective.

2.”No matter where you go or what you do, no one will ever let you forget where you came from, so make sure you don’t ever forget that either.” Being a first generation-born Indian-American and growing up as a minority in Wisconsin, wasn’t always easy. My brothers and sister and I wanted so badly to assimilate into the American culture and sometimes, it was at the expense of our Indian culture and upbringing  that our parents cherished so much and tried so hard to preserve for our family. Thankfully, her profound words have stuck with me and to this day, I truly cherish both my Indian heritage and American citizenship and celebrate and honor both every day for myself and my family.

3.”Be humble.” My Mom and Dad have always been very loving, intelligent, hardworking and accomplished people who are adored by many. However, they are both some of the most down-to-earth and humble people you’ll ever meet. They make everyone around them feel so special by focusing on others instead of themselves. And therefore, my Mom has always told us to be humble and not self-absorbed and I really have appreciated that example and message throughout my life.

4.”Have faith and be positive.” Whenever I’ve faced difficult and challenging times in my life, my Mom has always said these words to me and it has helped me tremendously. Regardless of your religion, believing in a higher power that is bigger than yourself and remaining hopeful, even in the most difficult of times, will provide you the strength you need to get through those times and come out on the other side.

5.”If you set your mind to it, you can do it.” Ever since I was a little girl, my Mom has always believed in me and had faith in my abilities, even when I didn’t have it in myself. Everyone needs that cheerleader in their life to help instill a sense of inner strength and confidence and I definitely have that in my Mom. I can call her anytime, day or night and she will be there for me unconditionally (as will my Dad).  I feel so grateful for this level of support, which has allowed me to go after my dreams, take risks and face challenges head on.

I think the two most amazing impacts of these life lessons from my Mom are that I work hard to practice them every day and I also try to instill them in my own children (along with the support of my husband). I truly feel I’m the woman I am today because of my Mom and therefore, on this special and monumental day of recognizing women all over the world, I’d like to salute and recognize her, because I love her so much and am grateful for her influence in my life.

I also want to wish all the women in the world a very heartfelt and happy International Women’s Day!

XOXO,
Reena