As a mother, I am doing what I can to instill proper values on my children. I do my darnedest to make sure they are always showing respect, mannerly, honest and always, always full of love and compassion for those around them. With toddlers, it’s more just getting them familiar with how the rest of their life under my authority will go.
As any mother or father would, I want to see my children succeed. I never want to see them struggle, but I want them to know what it’s like. I want them to know that in order to get what they want, they have to work and work hard for all their desires. And by working they can achieve anything. I don’t want them to feel privileged or entitled. Not that they ever could since we don’t have much and surely don’t come from a family of riches but if they ever seen the day that they established a lavish lifestyle for themselves, I want them to remember their roots and how they got to be where they soon will stand.
Being someone who has grown up in a life of struggle, from a young age living with my parents to trying to find our own place in life as adults, I’ve learned that these endeavors are exactly what I need to stay grounded and humble.
When I was younger, I thought the world was unfair and in many cases it seemed to be. My family, with my stay-at-home mom and stepdad who worked hard at all his jobs, could still hardly afford food. The bills didn’t stop coming just because we were broke and that left us with no choice but to accept food benefits, however we never abused them as there are many who do today. My brothers and I weren’t able to sign up for the sports we wished to play and going out to eat was never an option. It felt unfair that I couldn’t have a normal life. I couldn’t go to the mall buy all the “fancy” new clothes that all the cool kids were wearing. Going out with friends was rare as we never had enough money for me to spend. It was all unfair. I never understood how others seemed to have it so easy and could always afford nice things.
It wasn’t until my first job as a gas station clerk that I truly understood what being an adult is all about. It may not have been the most strenuous of occupations and most definitely not a permanent career choice, but it opened my eyes to many things. I put in many hours, taking any overtime I could get. I helped maintain a friendly atmosphere and bonded with all of my regular customers. Loved each of them like family and still continue friendships with them outside of Shell. I helped manage the appearance of the store and cleaned undesirable things that would make you gag at the sight of, among other responsibilities of the job.
Working at Shell taught me punctuality, responsibility, initiative and how to be a team player. Then came motherhood. While I was still working up until the birth of my second child, I still had to balance a work life with parenting. That in itself was a struggle. I had to learn sacrifice. I sacrificed my precious and valuable time with my girls that I can never get back, all to ensure they had what they needed and we could afford our own roof over our head. Even with both, my husband and I working, we still couldn’t afford a middle class life. We thought we were well on our way up to being “comfortable” since my husband had a new job that he loved and was quickly climbing the ladder earning raises until one day something unfortunate happened and he lost his job. All after I had already quit mine to take care of my girls while he worked.
At times, I still felt moments of resentment toward the rest of the world but I didn’t let it get to me. I had to learn that things happen, even to the best of people. I learned to live with it and instead of wallowing in the unfairness of life. I learned to make it better in the best ways I could- from baking and selling my own baked goods, painting and selling my paintings to doing photography all on the side. When I started doing that and no longer passed blame on others, I felt myself drifting into a happier, less bitter Samantha. A self that I could live with. One that pushed me to want to do better because I have little eyes staring up at me and watching my every move. All things you want for yourself become meaningless to what you want for your children.
My girls were my inspiration to finally stop with procrastination and get my butt in college. Even if I don’t get far with my newly acquired degree, at least they got to see me succeed. They got to watch me spend many late nights doing homework, sacrificing our playtime. They watched me come in the door super tired from putting in a long day in the kitchens, going straight to work at home to try and keep the house up and then back to cooking so that they and my husband have full bellies. As hard as it gets, I try to keep in mind that my sacrifices and all of my husbands will be well worth it all the in the future.
I try so hard to be a good role model for them in hopes they will never see me fail and if they do, I want them to see me getting back up and pushing forward no matter how great my obstacle. For me, that means never letting them see me break down and cry. For me, that means keeping my head up and for me, that means always being strong- if not for myself, then for them.
If we ever want our children to succeed we need to show them the way. We have to show them love and kindness. My days of parenting are nowhere near finished and I still have lots to learn. I know that I will make plenty of mistakes along the way but in those mistakes I will learn at what I need to do to be a better mom and role model. I can only hope that as they are observing my actions, that they too will learn as I did as a kid.
“It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings”- Ann Landers