Moms, Your Influence Will Shape Nations and Change the World

 Everything I am I owe to my angel mother. -Abraham Lincoln

Think about your own upbringing. A mother birthed you and likely cared for you in your infancy. Never underestimate the power and influence of a mother. Her wisdom and teachings, whether good or bad, right or wrong, shape nations and change the world.

In studying biographies about the life of fascist dictator Adolf Hitler, it becomes apparent that his mother too played an integral role in his life and ultimately influenced his ideals. She fed his narcissism at a young age that no one was good enough for him and he stood supreme. 

Moms, Your Influence Will Shape Nations and Change the World | Houston Moms Blog  

How Did Your Mother Shape Your Life? 

Maybe you watched her apply her lipstick each day and no matter what she was doing—the dishes, going on a date, reading a book, grocery shopping, or folding laundry, she always wore her signature red lipstick. Maybe she taught you that too much education does not exist and that one must arm herself with knowledge. Perhaps, you watched her care for little children a certain way and now you employ those same sentiments with your own children. Or maybe she flirted with your dad and squealed with delight, when he brought home a flower or card.

Maybe she had a certain way of decorating the Thanksgiving dinner table and created traditions that many generations celebrate later. Maybe she had a way with making peanut butter jelly sandwiches “just right”, and then, cutting them into perfectly even triangles. Perhaps, you are a doctor or an engineer because your mother told you that you could be anything you wanted.

From Power Suit to Diaper Bag

Many years ago, I had the chance to listen to a lecture by the ingenious and magnificent Jeannie Johnson, professor of international relations at Utah State University and consultant for the CIA. Dr. Johnson has served in multiple capacities from intelligence officer for the CIA to serving at the US Embassy in Croatia to study Serbian reactions to NATO. She remains fluent in multiple languages and continues to study foreign policy and affairs. To say that she knows her craft is an understatement. One cannot help but feel a bit intimidated by her power suits and impeccable ability of application.

During said lecture, I remember hearing about all of her accomplishments and credentials. Then, I heard her speak of the current war happening in the Middle East. I felt confused at some points, because the knowledge seemed much different than what the news casters were feeding us. Her poise and ambition found everyone in the room enlightened. She used adjectives and language that I may or may not have written down to look up in a dictionary at a later time. And then, she took everyone completely off guard.

She described a morning that she arrived to her lecture hall to deliver some political science discourse. She watched the faces of the students around the classroom :: she could tell those that came to class unprepared and sat in fear, while others appeared to be intent on listening and soaking up every word—almost creating a shrine of awe and wonder.

Then, she commented that behind that power suit, hair neatly tucked away with a thick barrette in a flawless bun, and matte lipstick perfectly adorned on her lips, she thought about how this façade of intimidation masked her “real” life.

No one knew of the sleepless nights that she sat awake rocking her baby, or of the poopy diaper she had just changed minutes before coming to class. She felt like motherhood was the hardest and most thankless job she ever embarked on. She had all of these degrees, coupled with students who worshipped her, and national recognition, but she struggled being at home.

That same night, after finishing grades and making last minute notes, she phoned her husband to meet her at the mall for dinner. While she waited at the food court, tapping her fingers in a syncopated rhythm, she thought of all the things she needed to finish for the day.

Her thoughts were broken up, when in ran her toddler—arms wide open and pumping his little stumps as fast as they would carry him, he shouted, “That’s my mom!” Immediately, all previous thoughts and notions disappeared from her mind. At that moment, she knew she was doing her most important work :: being a mother.

Moms, Your Influence Will Shape Nations and Change the World | Houston Moms Blog

Thankless but Important Work

I’ve often remembered this story while wiping up vomit and washing endless sheets and towels from a sick child or carrying out consequences for said child’s misbehavior. Many aspects of it seem daunting and unfulfilling. Yet, we have those glimpses when we find out our child stood up to the bully on the playground and acted as a friend to the friendless. Or when we receive that note from our kindergartner that states we’re their “Most Specialist Parent”. When they’re scared or afraid, and those two little arms need us to hug them and hold them tight or another adult comments about what a responsible child they are, we know we’re on the right path.

Recently, my husband and I were making preparations for bedtime. We’d already hugged and kissed everyone, as well as finished scriptures and prayers. Lights were shut off and the house was settling in for some “zzzz’s”. Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, one of our children approached our bedroom. As he took a deep breath, we knew something was up and we prepared ourselves for the worst. Much to our chagrin, the worst became realized. With tears spilling down his cheeks, he confessed to us that he’d recently made some poor choices with serious consequences.

It was one of those moments that almost knocks the breath out of your lungs and you’re not sure what to say. You knew that at some point, you would have to experience one of these moments. You begin frantically combing through your brain to find the right words. What would your mom say? How would she handle this? You consider the consequences of your words and reactions and how they will influence your boy. Will they inspire change, remorse, and rectification, or will distance, self-loathing, and resentment ensue?

Thankfully, our 30-second brains kicked in and took over versus our 3-second brains that seem to spew whatever thoughts come their way. We had the opportunity to counsel our son and show him that we love him—always, no matter what. At the same time, we were able to take him by the hand and guide him through that painful process to make things right. Oh, it shook us to our very core and broke our hearts to watch, but how grateful I was to have that opportunity to learn and grow with him. How grateful I was to remember the experiences I had with my own mother and how she reacted when I delivered bad news.

In many ways, motherhood continues to be thankless. I don’t get a pat on the back from anyone for following through with consequences and being consistent. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. Our youngest boy often tells me, “This is the worst family I’ve ever had!” No one gives you a raise when you’ve made a huge step {i.e. conquered potty training or handled situations more maturely}. It will always be like this.

However, without all of these sleepless nights, tantrums, sibling rivalry, or other fun moments of mommyhood, the victories would not seem so amazing. Your vision might remain more clouded and you might not grasp just how important your work truly is.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent. -Barbara Bush

Moms, Your Influence Will Shape Nations and Change the World | Houston Moms Blog

Peeking Out of the Trenches

Perhaps, motherhood is our greatest achievement, because it’s also our greatest challenge. We learn that we have the chance to mold these little bodies into amazing, influential men and women. We get a front-row seat to their success and their stories.

Sometimes we are blinded by our present state in the trenches. We forget to look ahead and remember that this won’t be forever. Keep your chin up, Mamas. We can do this. Other moms survived and their children survived too. It’s all going to work out. You’re doing your best work…in your home…right now…with these little humans.

You want to build a fire underneath her and watch her soar.  It’s bigger than words. – Jodi Picoult

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