“Who is your role model?”, asked my interviewer as I was appearing for MBA admission in one of the most prestigious institutes in the country.
Though I have been blessed to have multiple role models from Mother Teresa to Indra Nooyi to MS Dhoni, there has been one role model that has been consistent throughout my life.
So without wasting any time, I quickly responded, “My mom!”
When her own parents refuse to support her against her abusive in-laws and husband, my mother went back to part-time college to complete her education. My brother was 7 and I was just 5 years old. She used to take care of her two kids in the morning, handle abusive husband and in-laws, and in the night, she would burn the mid-night oil to stand on her own feet for herself and her kids.
She finally got her degree when I was 10 and immediately found a job as a professor.
Within no time, she made it very clear to the family to end the abusive treatment towards her otherwise she will file a divorce and raise kids on her own. Realizing how strong-willed she had become over years, not just her husband but also her in-laws started putting their act together.
It amazes me how this woman came a long way from spending a major part of her life in the shadows of others to being her own person.
She grew up at a time when men held all the power, both at home and in the office. Despite that, she stepped out on her own. She not only showed society what a strong woman is capable of but also showed her daughter how to stand for herself when no one else does!
I know I am not the only daughter, who is blessed to have a role model in their loving & caring, yet strong mothers.
If you ask us, what we love the most about our moms or what is the best thing that she did for us, we may not point to one specific thing. Because there are so many ways our strong moms illustrated how to have one thing that women in our patriarchal society need the most i.e. The Unwavering Courage!
So, on behalf of every strong daughter who has been raised by a strong mother, here is a small note of gratitude for their big contribution:
Dear Strong Mom(s),
As we refuse to bow down to a patriarchal society, we know we couldn’t have done it without our strong moms. You have been there for us without any terms or conditions. You are the ones who have shown us how courage looks like. And, though you deserve much more than just a thank you note, here is a small note capturing a few things that we are thankful and grateful for.
Thank you for introducing us to the world and letting us know that we are our own masters! We are the captain of our own ship!
Thanks for raising us as strong souls who could not be shattered by the cruel world. Thanks for giving us the same opportunities and love that you have given to our brothers. Thanks for teaching us the power of honesty and hard work. Thanks for making us realize our worth and not letting us settle for things and people, who don’t deserve us. Thanks for encouraging us to push our limits and turn our dreams into reality.
Thanks for holding us tight every time we broke down.
Thanks for not letting society shatter our dreams and confidence. Thank you for supporting me when no one did. Thanks for standing up for me and making sure we are well treated. Thanks for cutting ties with those who disrespected your daughter. Thanks for putting us first, and letting people know no one is more important to you than your daughter.
Thanks for being wind under our wings.
Thanks for showing us that no one can stop us and how we can fly and touch the sky. Thanks for showing us how strong women stand for themselves and their tribe when no one does.
Thanks for everything!
P.S. Supportive fathers and mothers are equally important to raise independent and strong daughters. This post is not written to devalue or ignore the contribution of fathers. It is just to applaud the great contribution of strong moms in raising strong daughters in a patriarchal society.