My Mom Didn't Want To Be My Friend, She Raised Me Right

My Mom Didn't Want To Be My Friend, She Raised Me Right

There's a big difference between being a cool mom and being a good mother.
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One of my all time favorite things to do is go to concerts. Whether it's big, small, indoors or outdoors, I'm always down for some live music accompanied by shameless dancing. So when I found out Sam Hunt was coming to town this month, I didn't hesitate to buy tickets. I knew going into the concert that I wasn't super familiar with any of the opening acts, which meant I'd have plenty of time to do one of my other favorite past times: people watch.

If you've ever been to a concert before, especially a country music concert, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There is no shortage of cowboy boots, daisy dukes and photo shoots. Girls from age five to 25 walk around in their cutest country clothes, ready at the drop of a hat to shoot the next 10 seconds of their Snapchat story.

Typically at these events, not far behind a lot of these girls are their moms. What I witnessed at this particular concert was no exception. I saw dozens of moms walking around the amphitheater with their daughters. I watched them take selfies together. I watched them check their outfits and their hair in the bathroom mirror. I watched them dance and sing to every song, and I watched them act like they were just another one of their daughter's friends along for the ride.

As I saw them there from my back row seat and saw them act like friends instead of moms, I thought back to something my mom always told me growing up:

"I'm not going to be your best friend. I'm going to be your mom."

That might sound harsh at first, but I personally think it's one of the best principles she ever lived by.

My mom is one of those people who doesn't take too much stock into what other people think about her. That's one of the things I admire about her the most, so as my siblings and I grew up, it never worked to say, "My friend's mom lets her do this!" or "My friend's mom let's her wear that!" Those comments never got me anywhere. She never worried about what other people were doing or where other people were going. She never tried to be the cool mom. She just did her very best to be a good mom to me and my siblings.

My Pawpaw used a certain phrase all the time when my mom was a kid, and she adopted that phrase with us. She would say:

"You don't have to like me, but you will respect me."

When you're a teenager, respecting authority isn't always fun. You think it's so unfair when you don't get what you want. You think you should be the exception to the rule. You think you know what's best for you. However, as you grow up and grow out of your teenage mind, you start to realize that you don't have it all figured out. Even more than that, you start to realize that your parents might actually know a thing or two.

I took one step closer to that realization that night at the concert. I saw how important it was to see my mom as my mother and not my friend as I grew up. I gained a better understanding of why she raised me the way she did, and I became even more grateful for the benefits I've reaped from that parenting decision she made early on.

I have learned so much from my mom over the past 24 years. I've learned how to live a life that is honoring and pleasing to my heavenly Father. I've learned what it looks like to be a loving and supportive wife. I've learned how to treat others with respect, kindness and grace. I've learned how to work tirelessly and diligently towards my goals. I've learned how to have confidence in myself and to not put too much thought into what other people think about me, and I wouldn't trade learning all of that for anything.

Now that I'm an adult (or at least trying to be), I consider my mom one of my closest friends. We talk every day. She is my most honest adviser when it comes to my wardrobe, and she's always down to get coffee with me at Chick-fil-A. We are extremely close, and I truly believe that is due to the tone she set in our relationship when I was just a little kid. She wasn't my friend then so she could be my friend now, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Cover Image Credit: Kristen Camp

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Being A Part Of A Family Business Changed My Life

I think most people can remember the day, or at least the year, where summers changed from sleeping in and wasting the days away with friends to clocking into jobs and finding out the value of money.

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It was the summer after my sophomore year of high school when I made that transition, and to be completely honest I was excited. I didn't have a concept of work, or how menial and stressful it could be. All I saw was the paychecks and the freedom that came with earning money for myself rather than asking my parents for it.

In my hometown of Ludington, Michigan, the town lives and dies by the season, with beaches along Lake Michigan and a picturesque state park beckoning outsiders to kick back and take a load off. Little clothing shops and restaurants line up the main avenue, selling the name of the town and its amenities before the warm grasp of summer slips away. Music festivals and art fairs come around every so often, and the county fair serves as a proper finale to the season where Ludington is at its best. In the midst of the summer of 2014, I agreed to sell away my summers of rest and relaxation for biweekly pay and late nights closing.

An aerial shot of Ludington, Michigan

My first job came at one of the staples of my town, an ice cream parlor/restaurant called House of Flavors. My mom had worked there when she was my age and knew the owner personally. My interview was five minutes, basically asking when I could work, what I could do, and what size shirt I needed. I worked on and off in that place for almost 3 years, mostly in the prestigious position of ice cream scooper. I spent those summers working the madhouse that was the ice cream line. As the sun set below the lake, all the sunburned beachgoers seemingly found themselves lined up at the east door, dying to get a taste of any of the many flavors we had to offer. Night after I night, I found my head buried in a cooler, slopping these cold treats into cups and cones, handing them off with a smile, and replicating that routine until the door was locked. The first summer, I enjoyed the dynamic. The neverending slew of customers rocked us all night long, but that slam made the shifts fly by. Work wasn't the chore that I had always been told it was to be.


The ice cream shop, House of Flavors, where I was first employed.

That feeling didn't last very long. Towards the end of summer, after countless nights of the same routine, something mentally changed. My outlook on work flipped, as my usual positive, optimistic view on clocking in was replaced with a sense of dread. On days I was scheduled, instead of looking forward to seeing my coworkers and seeing the happiness in people's faces I served, I thought about the downsides. I became selfish. I would "use the bathroom" during rushes, only to sit in the room behind the cone line and take a break. I would skimp out on some closing duties, hoping the closing manager would somehow overlook them (they never did). I constantly pondered calling in, and at times I switched with coworkers for BS reasons. I didn't care about the coworkers, my managers, or even the business. I was going through the motions, doing just enough to get by and not get canned.

Flash forward to the summer of 2016, and my family was in the midst of one of the most crucial moments of our lives. My dad has been a chef his entire life, and since I moved to Michigan from South Carolina, he had yet to find a job where he was in a true "chef" role. He had worked 3 or 4 restaurant jobs, each one a little better than the last, but he craved a larger role. His talent was boxed in these businesses, and he needed to spread his culinary wings to truly love where he was. This opportunity had finally come in the form of a little corner spot in the heart of Ludington, a restaurant that came to be known as Table 14. This was minuscule compared to the scale in which my father had worked back down south, but this corner is where he could finally have the control he had sought since arriving. His menu, his plating technique, his style, from the sauces accompanying his signature dishes to the color of the chairs in the dining room, he crafted a dining experience, unlike anything our small town has ever seen.


Table 14, my family's pride and joy

Despite his immense talent and years of experience, my dad couldn't do it alone. In an industry where reputation falls on the individual, my mom played the part. She is the jack of all trades, professional with distributors, customers, and potential branch-out opportunities, with a warm smile and southern comfort that made even the farthest of travelers feel right at home. Families face difficulties, and businesses twice that, and at times the clash of the two can make for some rough times both at home and at work. My mom isn't perfect, and balancing and organizing aren't strong suits for my family, but at the end of the day it's about effort and grinding through, and 3 out of 4 members of the family had it down pat from the get-go.

My parents, Howard and Laura.

The member who struggled with that concept was, well, me. My parents stressed to me the magnitude of this business, saying this was all our chips in one pot. This was my brother's college, my college, and the opportunity at making an impact in our town, one plate at a time. Immaturity got the best of me. For my first full summer, I was off my freshman year of college, and my primary focus, once I got back, was in the wrong place. I wanted a fun summer, one spent catching up with buddies I used to see every day in high school, spending long days at the beach and long nights around the fire. There isn't anything wrong with keeping connections, but my heart was in the wrong place. I spent my first summer working lunch shifts, knowing dinner was where the money was at. I worked all of my shifts, but that attitude I mentioned previously reared its ugly head once again. Complaining, skimping out on duties, I was continuing my downward trend from my last job. I went that whole summer with that mindset and would have most likely kept it up if not for an intervention.

The second summer began like the last, and rather than reach for the ladder to climb out of my rut, I opted for the shovel. My parents had had enough. One night they sat me down, and let me have it. Closing duties, mentality, effort, they hit on everything I was coming up short in. Two years prior, I had made a commitment to this business. Everyone else was doing their part, and I was lagging behind. They knew that I could be a pivotal part of Table 14, and I was too busy prioritizing temporary events to even glance at the bigger picture. This was the push I didn't know that I needed, and the next night when I clocked in I knew what was needed from me. I look up to my brother, Blaise, who works in the kitchen with my dad. The hardest worker in the business, putting his all into prepping, cleaning, knowing that no matter how menial the task, he was contributing to something bigger than himself. I took it all for granted, and no one inspires me more than he does. In times of stress or seemingly impossible circumstances, I look to him for strength, even if he doesn't see it in himself.

My parents and brother during our grand opening

I am not a finished product. This summer was my best, but it isn't my ceiling. The microcosm that is a family business can be applied to infinite situations in the real world. I was blessed to be put in this situation, and for every time the biz has knocked me down, it's lifted me into heights I couldn't have touched without it. The growth and maturity that I have endured are one of my proudest accomplishments, and my family deserves all the credit. Never take them for granted, as every pedestal they knock you off of is for your own well-being.

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