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What My Mother Did Right!

Updated on March 3, 2010
I am glad I listened to my momma.
I am glad I listened to my momma.

Mother Knows Best


What My Mother Did Right!

When I moved away from East St. Louis, IL in 1984, I was appalled when I entered the real world and felt ill prepared. It was immediately clear to me all the things my parents did wrong and I wrote them letters detailing every one of them. I was furious and felt I had to re-raise myself.

As I continued to grow and mature, I soon learned what most parents do, you don’t have a lot of what you need when you become a parent, so therefore you cannot give what you don’t have. This is why I did not shy away from therapy when my daughter began to exhibit teenaged behavior. Much of my mentality was still so close to hers, I had to seek clarity to learn it was only I; I could control.

Therapy helped me focus on dealing with my own emotions, feelings, thoughts, desires, needs, expectations, hopes, dreams, and wants, (wants, being the least, because they change the most). Oftentimes the things we want take us on a rode to disaster. If you have endeavored to change your poor habits, start with saying no to your wants. Your life will be so much more fulfilling.

Anyway, as I began on what has been a marvelous spiritual journey, I started to look at my mother in a different light. This was after I wrote the first part of my autobiography, Telling the Truth and Shaming the Devil.  I was still very wounded and confused when I wrote the book. After it was published, it was as if a huge dark cloud was removed from over my head. I felt free. Liberated and I celebrated the fact I felt so good. I continued to look at me. Doing so has allowed me to appreciate my mother.

What She Did Right

Most importantly, she feed me and kept me alive during the most crucial first years of my life. She talked to me, a lot. I do not know what about, but I remember being talked to at a very early age.

She had very high expectations of me. She forced me to compete and to show and be present. She showed me, on a daily basis how a woman walked through the world. She held her own and never backed down. She said what she had to say, good, bad, right or wrong. She was who she was at any given moment, day by day.

She was, and still is, a woman of service. People from all over the city knew of her because of her unflinching generosity. She is for the community, and her surroundings. She has stayed and fought the good fight.

 She enrolled me in classes, took me on trips, taught me to ballroom dance, taught me to value myself, taught me you have to spend money for money to work, taught me you can live off your own back, taught me, she taught me, my momma taught me.

She did my hair. I had the luxury of living with a hairdresser, so it was given my hair would be looking good, especially if I was going somewhere. She taught me I did not have to be ashamed about being a woman. She showed me, which taught me the importance of learning to become agreeable. Although she was not agreeable, her level of lack of disagreeableness, taught me if I really wanted to “make it happen” I had better learn to agree to disagree.

Sometime when we do the wrong things, because our intentions are truly right and good, good things come out of those wrong things. This has been the case for many black mothers. Their methods, their ways, of going about things were not right on many levels, but it is because their intentions were right that the majority of us have turned out all right.

All right is about as good as it gets these days. People are settling for mediocre lives. No excitement, no expectations, no sense of adventure. Almost everybody is looking for someone else to blame for their unhappiness. By now, everyone should know, no one else can make you happy. Things can’t make you happy. Money can’t make you lose weight, (look at Oprah), and it most definitely can’t buy you love, (look at Oprah).

I am writing this because many of us have issues with our mothers, and well deserved, but I will say, if you are almost fifty years old and you’re still crying over what your momma did or didn’t do for you, boo hoo, (look at Oprah), I feel sorry for you.

What is the point at being alive during the best time in life, and you’re stuck on stupid. I’ll tell you this, I’d hate to be single, have all the money I want in the world, could literally have any man and don’t at 50. What is the point? Especially if this is what you want. Now, I’m not saying I’ll want these things, but we all know people who do.  We create the lives we have and the one we want. It won’t be until we recognize this fact that we’ll get what we need and desire from life.

I’m glad I sat down and thought about what Mom did right. It has helped me be the dynamic woman I am today. Thinking this way helped soothes whatever remaining wounds that may be connected to her. Ultimately it is about seeking self-knowledge and learning to deal with your own personal limitations. By looking at what she has done right, I have had to accept when I was wrong and she was right. To my credit there are few times. Mainly because I was a pretty good kid and I left home emotionally very early.

She was right when she told me I would have it hard because I am black, fat and a woman. All these factors have come into play in very negative ways throughout my 48 years. When she first said it, I was upset at her. I took it personally and felt like she was trying to hold me back. This became a doubled edged sword for me as I tried to untangle myself from her. On one hand, I adored every word that came out of her mouth, on the other; I thought she was a nut. It was only when I began to believe in the promptings of my soul, whether they coincided with what she thought or not, was I able to come into my own as a woman, whether I was fat, black, or being the female I was born to be.

When I got older and recognized these factors were being held against me, I fought them. Had she not done the right thing and brought them to my attention the implications are far reaching.

Thank God for my mother. I appreciate her greatly.


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      8 years ago

      Process through? I made it through the fire and I don't even smell smoke.

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      8 years ago

      Yes, it's obvious! I'm about half way through your book, and my head reels at the events you had to process through.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My words reflect the amount of self-reflection it took to wrote this piece.

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      8 years ago

      It's unfortunate that parents can't be perfect, but it does seem more productive to appreciate and recognize what they did right rather than dwell on what went wrong. I would hate if someone just focused on all my mistakes. Not to say the past shouldn't be dealt with, because it needs to be done in order to move forward, but wallowing never benefited anyone. Good words Wanda.


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