Kids who grow up where I did, as poor as we were, to parents as young as ours, do not achieve what I and my siblings have achieved. The odds of us escaping poverty, getting college degrees, and excelling in our fields were incredibly low the in the world we were born into. The world counted us out the second we took our first breaths.
The world didn't take into account the mother who would raise us. My mom raised us to be fighters, thinkers, trailblazers - a scientist, nurse, teacher, cop, each committed to public service, caring for others, and making the world a better place.
My life often feels impossible, fantastical, an affront to the statistics and a slap in the face to social systems that limit the mobility America once prided itself for.
I'm only an exception to the rules because my mom taught me to work hard.
I'm only beating the odds because my mother did - a teen mom who sent all four of her children to college, who never gave up no matter how hard it got, who put aside her own dreams to see that her children had opportunities she never had (not that she had to or should have).
Life has been hard for a lot of moms out there. And I want every mom to know that not being able to afford a Florida Power & Light bill that has tripled overnight does not make you failure, losing your job during COVID-19 and falling behind on rent does not make you a failure, your child struggling in school does not make you failure, wanting time alone does not make you a bad mother, enjoying your job does not make you a bad mother, not wanting more kids does not make you a bad mother, breastfeeding in public does not make you a bad mother, bottle feeding doesn't make you a bad mother, none of the things that we typically measure success by ever makes you a failure or a bad mother.
In fact, loving your kids, caring for your kids, getting through those hard times... that's success. That's being a good mother.
I send my love and appreciation to all mothers today who have given so much of themselves to not only their children, but to the world.
Though I know it may be rough for my mom to listen to me talk about how hard life was for us growing up, I do it knowing we only made it through because of her pluck, determination and profound love for us.
And because I know my mom is my biggest fan, and has read this entire post... Thank you, mom. For everything. I love you.