Guest Blog: A Mother’s Influence
When it comes to overall health and wellness, so much informs our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. It’s what we see, hear, taste, see and simply… what we experience. And, it starts from the very beginning.
When I think about my own journey as a mother to my two sons, I tend to look at everything I do through the lens of my kids’ eyes. It’s never far from top of mind that they are soaking it all in – our mannerisms, tones, the things we say and the things we do… as well as the things we don’t say and don’t do.
Words to Live By
The way I grew up and the influence of my own mother certainly has been significant in who I am and the way I live my life as a woman and a mother. In reflecting on what I learned from my mom, a few key themes surfaced:
- Take great care of our bodies and minds
Eating well and moving our bodies never took forced effort in our house, it just was the way we lived. To use food as an example, growing up my mom cooked pretty much all of our meals from scratch whether she was a stay-at-home mom during the early years or whether she was juggling a full time job as a nurse. This was a priority for her. She would be grating coconut, chopping vegetables and preparing ingredients to make a delicious Indian dish for dinner any given night of the week. AND, it was never “too much work” nor was she ever “too busy” to prepare a fresh, home cooked meal. And to this day, even in her retired years, she continues to cook from scratch for both herself and my father.
Along with other childhood activities and sports, we grew up being active as a family. We all loved playing tennis. I have memories of summer weekends playing tennis with my sister, friends or family or watching my parents play in the adult tennis leagues or spending time riding bikes or at the pool. Even now, my mom wakes up early and does her yoga and meditation routine daily and she exercises regularly. The only difference is that she has now traded in her tennis racket for golf clubs!
- The importance of connection, love and support
Still to do this day, my mom’s smiles and heart felt love and support surrounds me and my family. It’s like a sixth sense. You just feel it and know it. It’s genuine and it’s unconditional. As a 41-year-old woman, there is comfort that my mom still provides by her just “being there.”
- No matter how busy life gets, make time for those in your life
Along similar lines, my mom has been a connector in our family. She keeps in regular touch not only with her own siblings but with my dad’s too, as well as cousins and of course my sister and I and our families. It’s not just a check mark off the list. She cares deeply. And keeping all those relationships strong, front and center takes priority.
- Be a strong, positive role model for others, especially your kids
Most people who know my mom know her big warm smile. She’s never the center of the party, in fact, she’s more of a homebody! But she is always kind and respectful to others and that’s one of the many qualities I learned by example.
Be A Good Influence & Remember Where You Come From
Also, set out for what you want to do, but be fluid with your plans as they may change or need to adapt. My mom grew up in India and of a generation when women were just starting to get out of the home and work. She completed her nursing degree in India and although she had been working already for many years as a registered nurse in the US, she went back for her Bachelors in Nursing when I was in high school. In fact, we graduated the same year. I am sure there was even more she would have liked to do, but we were proud of her. My sister and I also witnessed her (and my father) become a United States Citizen after decades of being permanent resident, green card holders. As a first-generation born American, I watched my parents find balance between maintaining and integrating their culture and “becoming American” – and sometimes this was a challenge. But they were always grateful for the opportunities they were blessed to have and didn’t take anything for granted.
The list is endless. And there’s nothing novel or earth shattering here; it’s actually quite significant and simple. “You are what you do, not what you say you will do.”
When we look at our society today, we each need to remember that each of us are accountable. As mothers, we bring in these beautiful, innocent human beings into the world and realize that some aspects of who we are will be innate, some things learned. Ask yourselves, what can we do to help shape and influence these people to be loving, peaceful, healthy human beings? I am full of gratitude each and every day to have this privilege to be my mom’s daughter and to have the opportunity to be a mother to my two sons.