Live Life Mother’s Day is coming up this month, which means you’re probably already seeing a lot of touchy-feely stories in the news and happy faces on billboards and in TV commercials. I’m not sure how much those ads are meant to reflect reality, but for me personally, my relationship with my mom was never that simple. To put it bluntly, my mom raised me alone with no money, and she was an angry woman who wouldn’t hesitate to whoop me when I misbehaved. But she was also the most thrifty, tenacious person I’ve ever known. I learned a lot from her — good, bad, and ugly. She passed away a while back, so we won’t be spending this Mother’s Day together, but I know that without her I wouldn’t be the same man I am today. In last month’s newsletter, I told you a bit about what my life was like growing up in the Iowa projects. This month, I want to take you back there again to help you understand my mom a little better. For some context, back then we were so broke that we bought everything on a payment plan. Even our cheese wasn’t really ours — I remember my mom making payments to a guy who used to come by and sell it in huge blocks. Because she was a single mother, those payments always fell on her shoulders. Despite financial, mental, and physical struggles, my mom passed on some valuable life lessons to me. She taught me to always be clean and courteous, and drilled into me how important it is to work hard and save money when you can. She used to say, “If you don’t have any money, just don’t go to the store.” She was also incredibly tenacious. If she got an idea in her head, not even a train hitting her full-speed would make her change her mind, and I’m sure that’s where I got my stubbornness. Both thrift and tenacity
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY WHAT I LEARNED FROM GROWING UP WITH A DIFFICULT MOM
have served me well in life and helped me build my business into the success it is today.
than she used to be. She always had a smile on her face, and she loved to come around and spend time with my kids. She’d give them baths every night and a glasses of juice every morning, and she called them her beautiful babies. It’s that side of my mom I sometimes miss. If your mom is still around and the two of you get along, I hope you get to spend Mother’s Day together. As I always say, the days are long but the years are short — so enjoy them while you can!
Looking back, I can see that my mom was a walking contradiction, like all of us are to a degree. Yes, she carried a ruler in her purse, but she was also the one who took the lead in organizing parties for all of the kids in the projects. She would walk all over town, knocking on doors and asking businesses to donate so that the poor kids could have something to unwrap for Christmas. When someone turned her down, she’d keep pushing until they gave in and contributed to the fundraiser.
By the time I had kids of my own and she became a grandma, my mom was a lot less angry
“Despite financial, mental, and physical struggles, my mom passed on some valuable life lessons to me.”
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