“You’re spoiling that child! She’s going to grow up thinking the world revolves around her!”
From the time I was a small child, friends and family warned my mom that her parenting would ruin me. They said I would grow up selfish—that I would expect to have everything handed to me on a silver platter.
It’s true that I didn’t suffer many consequences when I misbehaved. And they were right that my mom rarely told me no when I wanted a new toy or outfit.
But, that’s because my mom, like many single mothers, often operated out of a sense of guilt because my dad wasn’t in the picture. That led to more freedom and fewer consequences—every child’s dream.
But all of those well-meaning family and friends didn’t consider this:
I watched my mother struggle.
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I was with her at 2 a.m. when she would get me out of bed, wrap me up in comforters, and put me back to sleep on 50-pound bags of flour and sugar so that she could start baking at her small cake shop downtown. I was with her the day we arrived at the shop to find it had been broken into the night before. I was by her side when the pipes froze in the winter, when we got locked out of the house, and when we had a flat tire on the side of the road.
I witnessed every struggle.
Many parents try to guard their kids from any type of hardship they go through. And if their kids happen to see it, they feel guilty. Maybe it’s because we want to protect our children. Or maybe it’s because we live in a world where the standard is to appear wealthy, successful and Pinterest-perfect. The pressure to keep our kids from seeing any type of struggle, imperfection or inconvenience is real.
But I can tell you from experience: It’s the struggle that made me.
Not only did I watch my mom hustle and grind every day, but I also watched her overcome. I watched her work hard, and I saw her hard work pay off. I watched her hope when situations seemed hopeless. I watched her persevere with an absurd level of persistence. I watched her do the right thing, even when it cost her.
I watched the way she treated every single person with kindness. I watched how she went above and beyond for her customers. I watched how she always paused and talked to homeless people—even in the middle of the night when we were downtown unloading bags of powdered sugar.
I watched her.
She worked harder than anyone I’d ever seen, gave generously of her time and money, and loved every person without limits.
Best of all, I watched my mother shine as she stepped into her God-given gifts. Despite every hurdle she had to jump over, my mother persisted as she chased her dream. I grew up knowing what it looks like to be a woman who wakes up every morning to make an impact doing what she loves.
I love how Dr. Meg Meeker says,
“The most powerful way to teach a daughter how to enjoy life and find her true purpose is to let her see her mother do the same.”
That’s exactly what my mother did for me. From watching her, I learned about sticking to your values and the importance of integrity and good character. I developed resilience, persistence and high self-esteem. I am who I am today because of everything she and I overcame together.
Watching her even inspired me to start Business Boutique. Today, I have found a deep sense of purpose helping women just like mother overcome fear so they can step into the big plans God has for them. Business Boutique would not exist without her. Simply watching her find and live in her true purpose lead me to mine.
So what if she gave in every time I wanted a new coloring book at the grocery store checkout line? In the grand scheme of things, did it really matter that she was a bit more lax with me than other parents were with their kids?
The truth is, she might have spoiled me, but watching her and learning from her example is what created the very best parts of me. She was—and still is—an incredible mother.
Friend, hear these words loud and clear today: Who you are is more than enough.
Whether you’re a single parent or just an exhausted one, don’t be sorry for the struggle. Your child will grow and learn from watching you get over the hurdles. It’s those same struggles and victories that are forming you into the person God created you to be—and it might just create some incredible qualities in your little ones as well.