Initially, I was just going to text this person to tell her what she meant to me and then I realized I have a blog! And I can tell EVERYONE* how amazing she is.
The woman that inspires me the most? My own mother, Miss Mary T.
Yup, I’m lucky enough that my female role model is someone I can tangibly reach out and talk to whenever I want (and she’d probably like it if I actually did call more).
Why does she inspire me, besides the obvious fact that she has had to deal with me for the last 30 years? Well…why don’t I just tell you!
My Big Fat Greek Family:
Have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Since they’re about to put out a second one, I assume most of you might have. Well if you have, that’s basically how my mother grew up: born to Greek immigrant who came through Ellis Island (Papou!), my mother and her two brothers were first generation Americans. My Papou lived the American Dream: left his home country of Greece for a brighter land, married a fellow Greek, had three children, opened a diner, and supported his little family, providing them a better life with more opportunities than they would have had if they’d stayed in Greece. If that’s not the American Dream, then I honestly don’t know what is.
Got That Paper:
Okay, so nowadays, this likely isn’t anything to write home about. Most people get bachelor’s degrees in their sleep and it’s really only ‘impressive’ if you have a PhD. Well, when you are the first generation in a family to go beyond a seventh grade education, it’s a pretty big f@#king deal (relax Ma, I’m quoting Joe Biden so you can’t get mad at me for swearing). My lovely mother attended the University of New Hampshire where she received a BA in History.
It’s important to remember what degree she received as it makes her story all the more impressive later on…
To be fair, this isn’t really my mother’s greatest accomplishment but again, it gets more impressive later on: Mary had two kids, myself and my older brother. While it’s great to have one child, it’s usually the second that is the best – I’m not being arrogant, it’s just facts. Sorry.
Before hashtags were a thing, before I even know the struggles that women went through in the workforce, before I was even aware of the gender gap, my mother was quietly dealing with all of it. As a college graduate (again, with that History degree), my mother started her career in an entry level position at a financial company. By the time, I strolled into her life, she was a compliance officer. As a small child, I had no idea what that meant (I still kind of don’t) except that she ‘told people the rules’ – something mum was very good at especially when you took into account the fact that I’ve never been super into following instructions.
Over her career, my mother has managed to rise through financial companies to land Vice President positions and is routinely mistaken for a lawyer. She has faced discrimination in some companies she’s worked for solely based on the fact that she is female – passed over for promotions and routinely making less than male counterparts. Yet, she has continued to work hard and diligently in every position she’s ever held.
All The Single Ladies:
My parents divorced when I was quite young and even prior to that, my mother was the main breadwinner. As a sidebar, I will state I love my father but right now, this isn’t about him (sorry, Fatman!).
My mum supported and raised two children on her own, paying for everything from food to education to hockey gear to summer camps to European vacations. Both my brother and I attended private high schools, two of the most expensive out-of-state public universities, graduate courses in the United Kingdom, and do you know who paid for them? My mother. Yup, that’s right – I am one of the few blessed individuals to have graduated college AND to have earned a master’s degree with absolutely no student debt. Zip. Zero. None.
Along with paying for our educations, I have traveled the world – literally – with my mother. I’ve been to England, France, Iceland, Germany, Ireland, Greece, just to name a few, all with my mother footing the bill. She has bought me clothes, expensive bags, makeup (I fully blame her for my addiction); she has treated me to fancy dinners and dozens of Broadway shows; she paid for my brother’s decades long hockey career (if you think that’s cheap, you obviously don’t know that one pair of skates costs about $300).
All of this has been achieved independently – there was no multi-million dollar investment from her parents, there was no trust fund, or time to take off backpacking the world – instead it has been a lifetime of hard work, perseverance and dedication that has driven her. She is still a person that worries about leaving me with a healthy inheritance – because she is a lunatic. If she spent every dollar she ever earned, I would be happy for her because she’s earned it.
Mother, May I?:
My mother is someone I turn to for advice on a gamut of problems. She lost her own mother at 18 – another thing I admire her for because I’m 30 and I couldn’t even imagine having gone through my 20s without her. Besides offering advice on my career and how to handle myself, she urges me to lead a healthier lifestyle (I’m working on it – I promise!) and to be a better person. She’s interested in my life – the friendships I have, the career I’ve chosen, and the (usually nonexistent) love life I have.
We’ve had our differences – I am entirely too stubborn and too much my father’s daughter – but I have never felt like there was anything I could say or do that would force my mother to abandon me or make me go it alone. I probably don’t tell her any of the above enough, so I hope this helps her to realize what an amazing woman she is.
So, Happy International Women’s Day, Ma! And to every other female out there struggling or succeeding, we’re all boss bitches.
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