Important lessons from my mother

Reflecting on what it means to be a woman this Women’s History Month

Anna Malesiewski, Features Editor

In commemoration of Women’s History Month, I have found myself reflecting on influential women – those whom I know personally, those I look up to from afar, those of the past and those of the present.

Of all the women whose lives I have reflected on this past month – like Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of the Washington Post, or Nicki Minaj, the rapper who just recently achieved the most No. 1’s in iTunes history, surpassing Drake, or my dear friend Chloe Forbes, former editor-in-chief of The Gannon Knight – none have taught me as much as my mother.

My mother is the most paradoxical woman I’ve ever known – she is strong yet soft, outspoken yet reserved, hilarious yet serious and vulnerable yet impervious.

By her example, I’ve learned to be my own paradox. And I think that lesson is valuable for all women.

The beauty of femininity is its multiplicity. Women are and can be so many things all at once. We are beautifully diverse and wonderfully divergent – women break the mold, yet the mold for women is the fact that we break it.

Women are no longer just caretakers and homemakers. We can be anything we want to be – engineers, doctors, construction workers, welders, writers and the list goes on. I knew that from a young age because of the example my mother set.

My mother is also the hardest-working person I’ve ever known. She not only gives her best to her job, but she gives her best to our family. As a child, I watched my mother work, clean the house, do yardwork – which she loves to do – and maintain multiple side hustles. By my mother’s example, I not only learned that it’s acceptable for women to be everything they want to be, but also that they can be everything that they want to be if they work for it.

My mother also taught me about self-esteem and self-respect. Granted, it’s difficult to not let the world and social media consume you. But my mother never has. She doesn’t care what anyone (except God) thinks of her and what she’s doing. She knows her value, whether others do or not.

She doesn’t lower her standards for anyone, either. My mother has always shown me how to have high standards and seek out people who meet them. She doesn’t drop her expectations to meet other people; she waits for other people to rise to the occasion and meet her where she’s at. She keeps her circle small, but those who are in her circle are high-value and extremely respectable.

My mother has also taught me how to support others. She is not overly forthcoming with affection, but there is never a doubt as to whether her love is there. She is the best listener – and although she uses words where needed, her words are full of wisdom.

Throughout my life, my mother has taught me how to be a woman worth celebrating. By her example, I not only know what a good woman looks like, but also what a great woman looks like.


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