Ode To My Mum: Why You Inspire Me

by Leviana Coccia

Growing up, there are a lot of moments when your mum is your worst enemy. She doesn’t want you to go in certain people’s cars, but these people are your friends. She makes you tell her everywhere you’re going and why, but you just want to do your own thing and not make a spectacle out of it. She stands up for you and sometimes embarrasses you when the last thing you want is to draw attention to yourself. She won’t let you get that beautiful new pair of shoes because they’re so over budget and she doesn’t understand how everyone else at school has them. She won’t let you go out with a boy you have a crush on because she has your best interests at heart but you, at the time, think it’s because she wants you to be miserable.

Then, you grow up and you realise that all the jokes you make are jokes your mum has made. When you accomplish something or learn something exciting, the first person you call is your mum. You stand up for yourself and enjoy making a point and driving it home. You also walk away from overpriced products – most times – and find more fulfillment in the sale rack. You cut people out of your life who only add misery, kind of like when your mum warned you about that certain someone. You ultimately become your mother and become grateful for everything she has ever said and done.

Many of us honour the inspiring women (and men) worldwide who make us proud to be alive. I choose to honour my mum. Here’s why:

  1. She’s never been afraid to speak her mind, and in turn, I’m not scared, either. She never made me feel I should be seen and not heard. It’s always been more of a, “Make yourself known child,” kind of thing.
  1. Her father (my grandfather) recently passed away and though she’s barely had time to grieve, she’s made time to ensure her mother (my grandmother) is taken care of. Plus, she’s helped me move into my first home, only months after the whole ordeal.
  1. I have really small toenails and it’s hard for me to paint them. When I paint them, it looks like I tried to do so with crayons! To this day, she willingly helps me by giving me free pedicures.
  1. If I’ve ever said, “I want to do this,” in terms of pursuing an academic programme, taking a leap of faith with a job or making an investment, my mum is the first one to say, “Do what you want.”
  1. She always tells me, “I’ve given you a life so you can live it, so please live it.”
  1. Never once did she tell me I should try to lose weight or stop eating to look a certain way.
  1. She will drop all of her plans to make room for mine, or someone else’s. It’s taught me to be selfless and listen to others.
  1. My mum enjoys fine things, but prefers to live simply. So, I’m okay with the simple things and find comfort in them.
  1. Her feet are about half a size smaller than mine but when we buy shoes, we try to find a pair that could fit us both… Contrary to the point above, the more shoes, the merrier.
  1. My mum used to sit through really horrible homemade CD’s with music from the early 2000’s. Though she definitely wanted earplugs to drown out the sounds, she’d be lying if she said she didn’t know all the words to “Get Busy” by Sean Paul. Well, at least the words everyone else knows. What are the words anyway? Mum?
  1. When I was a kid, my mum would plan the most creative birthday parties on a budget. Once, she covered the walls of my basement with old newspaper roll and my friends came over to celebrate my special day and draw on all my walls. We also made homemade pizzas.
  1. Though she was married in her early 20s, my mum has always enforced the “independent woman” motto on me.
  1. About to turn 25, there’s often pressure from the outside world to get married and have kids. My mum’s content that I have a cat she can look after when I’m away.
  1. Money has never been the be all and end all. My mum’s all for spending a good dime on a delicious dinner or a unique experience. At the same time, she’s frugal when she needs to be, so I never hear her complain about money. It’s taught me that happiness doesn’t mean a fat wallet or instant gratification as a result of purchasing material items.
  1. My mum is my concert buddy when the Backstreet Boys come to town. She gets more excited than me (well, maybe not, but still).

I could keep writing and writing and writing, but the point of this is to celebrate the women in the world who are a huge part of why we exist. If I’m half as good a mum as mine is, I will be happy. I’m so fortunate to be doing what I love with support from my right hand woman.

If I ever have children, I hope I can be selfless enough to give them experiences I never had. I hope I can encourage them to embrace their own personalities and goals. I hope they don’t feel they have to hide a part of themselves for me – or the rest of the world. I hope that if they learn only one lesson from me, it’s to stand their ground and fight for what they believe in. I want my kids to have a voice they are confident in using.

Who’s an inspirational woman to you? Let us know!

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