If you were to simply look at my mom, you probably wouldn’t think she seems all that tough. Chances are she’s wearing bright colors, sparkling jewelry, fresh lipstick, and a beautiful smile. But I’ll let you in on a little secret — beneath her feminine charms lies one strong woman.
It’s a quiet strength, which I believe to be her greatest gift. (Goodness knows she has many.) Her strength is the kind that builds people up rather than tearing them down. It’s the kind that inspires those around her to be more like themselves rather than more like her. It’s a kind that speaks of faith, hope, and love without a single word.
Yes, my mom is a powerful woman. Not because of any job title (though I do greatly admire her career). Not because of what she sacrificed (she certainly never acted as though she did). And not because she demands the spotlight (quite the opposite, really).
My mom is a powerful woman because she knows it’s not what you do in life that matters, it’s how you do it. When you live a life of faith, kindness, encouragement, optimism, and love, you can’t help but find success — on your own terms.
Don’t get me wrong, my mom has faced challenges. Big ones. But through the hardest times, she didn’t give up — on those around her, or herself. She often quotes Robert Schuller with a smile, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
My mom? She’s done more than last. She’s thrived, inspired, and found the silver lining in every situation.
Since I was a little girl, my mom has called me her shining star. To this day, she finds cards, writes notes, and speaks words to remind me that she’s my biggest fan. And today, I’m honored to have the chance to return the favor. Because I’m pretty sure I’ve never told her she’s my shining star. Yes, I look up to her with awe. To her miraculous sparkle, to her steadfast spot in my world — and I feel at peace. Thanks to my mom leaning in — as well as letting go — I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Not only because my mom believed in me, but because she taught me how to find strength and faith in myself.
And that’s a mom — a woman — with the best kind of power, if you ask me.
We’re celebrating Mother’s Day by celebrating leaning in to motherhood, and by recognizing the extraordinary women that are our own mothers. We hope that it will inspire you to thank your own mother, or the mother who most inspires you. Find more letters and stories about leaning into motherhood here. And, of course, find your own Lean In inspiration at LeanIn.org.