You can have a thousand friends and a bunch of siblings, but you’ll only have one mom.
That’s why I’d like to take time out this Mother's Day to offer my appreciation for my mom and, hopefully, give new moms some insight on how to raise a son.
I spent time with my father often, even though he and my mom were separated, but I grew up living with my mom.
While growing up, my mom has been accused of “spoiling [her] son too much” and “giving him too much freedom” by other family members who were more traditional in their parenting methods.
I suppose they had accurate reasons to criticize her. I didn’t do well in grammar school; I probably got an A about three times in my life.
In high school, I missed over 60 days of school in a row. I was a rebel and a bit socially awkward.
My mom has always been more of a caring and supportive friend, while I went out into the world and learned about life through trial and error.
She was certainly there to offer me wisdom in hard times, and discipline me when I did wrong, but she generally let me learn for myself.
Now, as a father to a 6-year-old little girl, I try to think back to the times when my mom made decisions about how she should raise me, so I, too, can raise my daughter in a way I can be proud of.
My mom didn’t raise me in a strict manner. I think at the foundation for her parenting methods was freedom. She gave me freedom to fail and freedom to try again.
This ultimately led me to do things I would have never thought I'd do. I live my life in constant gratitude of her for giving me the freedom every child wants when they’re young.
Here are the top five times my mom made a decision that ultimately turned out to be beneficial to my emotional wellbeing and career path:
When she let me drop out of school
When I was 16, I just couldn’t stand school. I hated every part of school and felt like I just didn’t fit in.
I hated school so much because I loved education, but I didn’t like the system, and I was frustrated it was seemingly the only way to obtain an education.
I spoke to my mom about it and offered her an alternative to school: teaching myself pretty much everything.
This may be controversial, but there’s no question my mom must have had a huge amount of belief in me to let me leave school to pursue my dreams.
That same belief served as a powerful fuel for me to start believing in myself and, ultimately, accomplish things that, for most high school dropouts, are near impossible.
When she let me take over her desktop
When I was 9 years old, my mom had a desktop computer. It was one of those Gateway computers with Windows 95 software installed.
She bought that computer for her and her work. I used to go on occasionally to play games, but eventually started surfing the Internet.
After numerous software downloads and hundreds of saved documents, her computer always kept crashing or getting viruses -- so much so, she would eventually have to buy a new computer.
Still, she let me explore and poke around on a computer she couldn’t afford to mess up. Doing so has led me to my career path in technology, and it’s the reason why I love my job today.
If she hadn’t let me use her computer without restrictions, I’m not sure what I would be doing today.
When she supported my career change
The thing about supporting your kids dreams is you’d prefer their dreams to be consistent. Otherwise, you might get worried they’re drifting off too much.
I first wanted to be in the music industry; I wanted to be a rapper and music producer. Later, I wanted to get into the self-help industry and publish books and offering coaching.
Then, I wanted to be a computer programmer so I could code my own apps. Now, I do a little bit of everything and my website demonstrates that.
For my mom, she believed in me so much, despite me changing career paths multiple times (and leaving school to do so), she still supported my decision with no hesitation. Throughout it all, my mom stood firmly by my side.
When she didn’t judge me for my beliefs
I grew up in a semi-religious home. We went to church and took it seriously.
When I decided to move on from religion and explore other beliefs, my mom never condemned me or disowned me for doing so.
Now, we have beliefs about the world and life that are near total opposite, and it hasn’t affected our relationship one bit.
When you can refrain from judging your kids when it comes to life biggest questions, I think that's an example of unconditional love. I’m lucky to have it.
When she sent me money when I needed it
Like most Americans, my mom is not wealthy and is barely making middle class. So, when she sends me 50 bucks, it feels like 5,000 bucks.
If I had rich parents, sure, I’d still appreciate it when they helped me financially, but there's something to be said about parents who give despite having very little.
I hope I can have as much love and patience for my daughter when she gets older and asks me to pay for her plane ticket to LA because she spent it all shopping for clothes.
When she ignored the times I was mean to her
When someone is mean to me, I can get quick-tempered. My mom is the same way, so it baffles me she is willing to ignore it when I do it.
It makes feel two things: 1) appreciation because I know how she is with others, and even though I’m her son, she’s not expected to just take my sh*t, and 2) guilt because 99 percent of the time, she doesn’t deserve whatever rude tone I'm using and I'm usually just having a bad day.
Say what you want about my mom, but I wouldn't trade her for any other mom in the world.
When I think about how things could've been different if I had a rich mom or a mom who were stricter, I sincerely doubt I'd be truly happy with who I am today.
As a parent, I applaud my mom, as she is a true catalyst for believing in your kids.