The first women we learn from are usually our mothers. Not always, but often the first role models for how we want to be as women in the world is our mother and/or grandmothers.
The women around us are those from whom we learn what it means to BE a woman – and how to enact our strength and our femininity.
Our mothers and grandmothers also show us how to take care of a family, how to take care of children and a partner, as well as other extended family members. They show us how to interact with our community, and in our church.
Our mother shows us the importance of work, and responsibility, and getting things done.
They show us how to deal with money, and our resources. They show us how to deal with difficult times, and how and when to show our emotions.
There is so much we learn from our mothers – both what we want to do and what to avoid – and we are immensely grateful to them (at least, I know I am for mine!).
Often, however, what we do not learn from our mothers is how to be a career woman.
So while we can look up to our mothers for a number of different characteristics and traits they’ve taught us, it is not common for us as Latinas to have a mother who was a businesswoman or a professional.
For me, I learned kindness, acceptance, connecting, and open-mindedness from my mother. My mother showed her emotions, including her love and affection, for me and my brother. I saw her cry when she was hurt, and smile, laugh and sing when she was happy.
My mom is the one that always comes off the airplane with new friends (with whom she’s bragged about me). I used to be embarrassed that she talked about me, but now I’m glad that she’s proud, and realize it’s part of who she is.
She’s the one who keeps in touch with people for 50 years, and the one who loved all of my friends, no matter how much trouble they’d gotten into.
There are a number of traits for which I look to my mother as an example. I am lucky she was my mom.
However, when it comes to the professional setting, I didn’t always know how to behave since I had no example to follow. Sometimes this was a good thing – I used my friendliness to get me through, and got to decide how I wanted to interact with my professional colleagues. Sometimes this wasn’t such a good thing – like when I didn’t know how to deal with difficult people in the workplace, or what to ask for from my bosses and mentors.
Role models are so important, and I am glad for the example my mother set for me, and at the same time, I learned that I had to have additional role models for the kind of woman I wanted to be in the professional setting.
As we start the new year, and look forward to the goals and aspirations we set, I am grateful for the foundation I have, as well as serious about the steps I need to take to get to the next level.
Thanks, Mom, for not only being an example for me, but for helping me set the foundation for who I am – and supporting me to make it to places you had never been, but aspired to for me! And thanks to all those other women to whom I’ve looked for role models of strong, successful businesswomen.
Role models are powerful, and our early ones even more so. What did you learn from your mom? What did you need to look elsewhere to learn?