My Mom Is Not My Best Friend, But She's The Best

My Mom Is Not My Best Friend, But She's The Best

A declaration of appreciation for my mom.

clareleo
clareleo
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My mom is not my best friend. She has reassured me of that since I was little. "I'm not here to be your friend," was repeated whenever I tried to get away with something I shouldn't have or go somewhere I had no business going.

Do not confuse this with my mom being any less wonderful, any less appreciated, or any less loved than all the moms who try their hardest to be their daughters or sons friend.

In fact, I'd argue that it makes her the best, most appreciated, and most loved.

My mom has always been tough on my siblings and I but in the best way. She's held us to high standards that I am now just becoming overwhelming grateful for. She is comfortable with the word "no," and somehow always knows right from wrong, even when the lines are ambiguous and fuzzy. She is, quite simply, the strongest woman I know.

My mom and I laugh together, as best friends do. We go on Panera dates and get our nails done together, just as best friends do. And she encourages me to go after anything that will fuel my happiness, as a best friend does.

However, behind my siblings and my safety, my mom's main priority is assuring her children are good people with loving hearts, as she is. She has taught me to give unrequitedly, love passionately, and to always be the bigger person.

She has taught me that it is okay to fail, the emphasis is on the grace of your return. She has comforted me when necessary and thoughtfully showed me the error of my ways when I've made a mistake that I was not wise enough to notice at the time.

The greatest thing my mother has done for me is having the courage to be a mother.

She has played the bad cop, knowing that fights and anger would erupt. She fought through the tough times of raising three children, she said "no" when necessary, and she showed us the other side of things when we were unwilling to listen. All of this was carried out with strength and the understanding that she was forming three humans that would be genuinely good people.

My mom was (and is) wise enough to comprehend that she was creating a girl that would someday be the best version of herself, with an open mind and generous heart.

So, while my mother was not my best friend that idly adopted a strategy of appeasement and let me do whatever I pleased, she is the best mother in the fact that no one could love their children as much and no one could go through motherhood and the shaping of three humans as gracefully or as courageously.

The only thing left to say is "thank you," for preparing me to take on a beautiful world and for being strong enough to sometimes say "no."

P.S. My dad is just as wonderful and I am just as eternally thankful. Be patient, his time for praise is coming!


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An Open Letter To The Fatherless Girl On Father's Day

So this father's day, be proud of the person you are and still try your hardest to celebrate.

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Father's Day, it comes around every year. It is a nationally celebrated holiday and people plan parties surrounding this day, but some do not think about those who do not have a dad. Maybe you have an estranged relationship, maybe he walked out, maybe you guys are fighting, maybe you never met him, or maybe he passed away. It will be okay. Trust me, this will be my eleventh Father's Day without a dad, and yes they have gotten easier.

My dad passed away back in 2008, so I strive everyday to make him proud and even though he is not here I will still celebrate him on Father's Day. He was the dad that every little girl would want.

For those who lost their dad's, this is for you:

Live each day for him, celebrate him on Father's Day. For however long he was in your life, he shaped you into the person that you are today. Yes there is now a piece of you missing on this day and everyone wants to post a picture of their dad and makes you miss yours even more. But celebrate him, celebrate his life, celebrate his legacy. But it also a celebration for all the father figures that came into your life to help you grow up and give that advice that you needed to hear.

But I also understand that not everyone has a great relationship with their dad, so this is for you:

Celebrate those who have helped you get to where you are today. Life can't be perfect and just know whatever your situation may be, it made you stronger. It taught you to fight for what you want. It taught you to be independent and strong. Celebrate with your friend's dad who probably helped you in a time when you really needed it.

There might be some jealousy as you see people posting and talking about gifts they are getting for their dad. I get it, but just know it will be okay and this is only one day out of the whole year. But also do not forget to thank to all of the father figures that helped throughout the years. So this father's day, be proud of the person you are and still try your hardest to celebrate.

Cover Image Credit:

Jordyn

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

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When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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