We Got It From Our Mamas
The best advice the BWH team has received from our Mothers
Today, our team members share what our mothers have taught us about life, hardships and kindness. While Motherhood takes many forms and Mother’s Day looks different for everyone, we hope that whatever it looks like for you, you find solace in it and hold the mamas in your life a little closer.
I wish there was a witty and memorable line or phrase I could pinpoint when it comes to advice from my mom—because trust me, there has never been a shortage of one-liners—but one of the general lessons I’m most grateful for is the importance of being independent. Both my mom and dad gave me a ton of freedom to think freely, formulate my own opinions and trust in my abilities from a young age. This came, of course, with its own set of pros and cons—which have followed me into adulthood and continue to shape who I am today—but I wouldn’t change it if I could. My mom, specifically, has shown me (rather than told me) what an independent woman looks like. She’s strong as hell, tough as nails and doesn't depend on anyone else to get where she needs to go. My mom is a babe who hustles.
Besides teaching me how to fall asleep (“Close your eyes, take deep breaths, stay very still and think good thoughts.”), eat no-bake cookies out of the pan and smash the stems of lilacs to keep their blooms alive longer, the biggest lesson my mother imparted on me was the simple confidence that because I had seen her do hard things, I could do them too. (Oh, and always wear sunscreen.)
I think the technical term for what I do is “catastrophizing”—imagining in vivid detail the absolute worst-case scenario for future events. It’s not a new quirk; I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, spiraling irrationally about things outside of my control. Every now and then when I’m on my way down the grim slide, I remember how my mom would distract me and offer a gentle reminder to loosen my grip on order and predictability. I hear her voice singing playfully in my head: “Que será, será. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que será, será.” Some things are beyond our control. Que será, será.
When I was just four years old living in Albania, my mom entered our names into a visa lottery hoping she’d get the chance to give me (many) more opportunities than she ever had. She did this knowing full-well that if we did win, she’d be leaving her home, our entire family and ultimately, everything she ever knew behind with no idea of when she’d return. As I write this sitting in a coffee shop in sunny Florida, I think of just how much I’ve gained through her sacrifices. My mom has been a constant presence in my life and someone who I know I can, without a doubt, always count on. She’s taught me to do the best I can, to come from a place of understanding and to always be grateful for what I already have. She’s shown me the true meaning of unconditional love, and for that I am eternally thankful. Te dua shume, mami.
I could say so much about my mom, because she is truly the strongest and hardest-working woman I know. I think out of everything I’ve learned from her, the most impactful thing she’s told me is to always be an advocate for kindness. Despite facing so many challenges throughout her life, she continually goes out of her way to help others, no matter what it means for her. She taught me from a young age that you never know what someone is going through, and being a listening ear or even just simply smiling at a person might be the only kindness they’ve received that day.
My mom told me, “What you focus on expands, so be careful what you focus on.” I think about that all the time.
When my family first moved to America, turn-by-turn navigation systems did not exist. My mom found her way around town by getting lost. Frequently. When I turned 18 years old, I got my first car and the one piece of advice she gave me was to get lost. Just those words. I have learned my way around thanks to this, but I have also applied that concept to everything in my life. The feeling of being lost is uncomfortable and terrifying, and I have taken many wrong turns while trying to find my way. But there’s a rewarding feeling that comes when you realize that those turns have led you exactly where you need to be, and in order to get there, I had to get lost.