Daughter, wife, friend, mother, and business owner. These are some of my favorite titles and I often look back to my own mother for many of the inspirations on how I live my life.

Speak Up

She tells the story of when I was four or five and wanted an ice cream cone at our local McDonald’s. She gave me the money and sent me to the counter. An adult stepped in front of me and started to order, so I tiptoed up to the counter and banged my fist down, saying “Hey, I was here first!”

I looked back at her, and she just smiled her approval.

Ladies, never be afraid to speak up and be heard. Your voice is important and valuable.

Be Fearless

Get a divorce – check.

Buy a house on your own – check.

Rebuild your life – check

Get remarried – check

Start a business – check

I doubt I would have done any of these things without her influence and seeing how she handled the trials she faced in her own journey. As a tough lady, she knows how to get things done.

Dress Nicely Even If You Don’t Feel Like It

My mom worked in retail and could sell anything to anyone. One day a lady came up to her and asked for assistance in selecting an outfit for a special occasion. When my mom asked her what the occasion was, the lady responded, “my funeral.” 

Mom didn’t bat an eye and started making suggestions. 

No matter the mood or situation, I always try to dress nicely and add a smile. This usually lifts my spirits and lets me focus on staying positive. Here’s an article on the psychology of dressing well.

Always Send Birthday and Holiday Cards.

I used to joke that my mother should have stock in the Hallmark Company. She had boxes of cards for every occasion. She would send cards on a weekly basis. Guess what? I do the same. I have boxes of cards for all types of birthdays, anniversaries, and major holidays. I love sending cards just to say hi and stay in touch. As our worlds becomes more digital, receiving a card in the mail with a handwritten note is a wonderful surprise. 

Here’s the twist in this story: my mom and I have had a very contentious relationship. We butted heads more often than a pair of mountain goats. We did not get along for many years and then she had a sudden health emergency. 

My mom, Kay Ross, died eight years ago. We never had a chance to truly reconcile. As part of my healing, I have decided to recognize her not by all the negative memories, but rather, as an agent for the strong, positive traits I choose to embrace.

Grieving a parent when you didn’t get along is a different kind of tough. Your memories are filled with so many examples of disparagement and disappointment. While our family held vigil during her last days, I happen to be the only one in the room when she passed. I held her hand and told her good-bye. 

Now I choose to reframe those negative memories into my own dynamic. 

I choose to speak up.

I am fearless.

I dress nicely even when I don’t feel like it.

I send lots of cards.

Ladies, being vulnerable is important in building our own confidence. We can share our vulnerabilities while knowing we are still strong, amazing people. Be fearless.