Mama, What You Do Matters


I recently got to speak to a room full of moms, and each time I sat down to prepare for my time with them, the same image popped into my head over and over again. It was 2007, and I was in grad school. The class was on mentorship; each student had to have a mentor and be a mentor.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

The professor asked in our initial gathering to get us all thinking about mentorship. I wonder if he was as surprised by the answers as I was. I was in a male-dominated industry and school and one by one, grown man by grown man, cited his mother as the most influential person in his life. There were stories of mothers praying for their sons daily, showing up to all of their games, supporting them, calling them, loving them, cheering them on, standing by them and modeling what a good wife and mother is to them. When it was my turn, I answered the same.

When it was my turn, I answered the same. My mom. She’s been- by far- the most influential person in my life. My mind flashed to that time she drove two hours from Ventura to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to drop off a tuition check I had spaced on so I could register for my freshman classes at my impacted college.

I wasn’t a mother at the time the question was posed, I wasn’t even married, but I distinctly remember thinking,

Woah. Moms matter.

 Did you hear that, Mama? Moms matter. What you do, day in and day out, let’s be real; night in and night out, matters. I know it all feels unseen and unnoticed. You feel unseen and unnoticed. Sometimes you wonder if you’re doing more harm than good. At night, when your head hits the pillow, your mind swirls with all the things you did wrong that day. You blew up at the kids, burnt dinner, forgot milk at the store, missed that deadline at work. You list all the things you didn’t get to because you were trying to keep your head above water. But kissing that boo-boo, and changing that diaper, and reading that book; again, and playing with his Thomas The Train, again. It matters. You’re slaying it; even when it doesn’t feel like it. You’re raising, sustaining and shaping whole, healthy humans.

One day that’s going to be your boy (or your girl) answering the question,

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

With a hearty, My mom. You probably won’t be there to hear it, and that’s a shame because you sure deserve to, but Mama, you’re doing it, Keep it up!

Happy Mother’s Day.

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