How My Mom Filled The Role Of My Father
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, families are gearing up to champion the one woman who loved you since the beginning. She has literally made the conscious decision to put another human life ahead of her’s and quite frankly, I don’t think a day is enough to really show how much we appreciate them. But what about the mothers that had to be duel hatted? The mothers that showed you that tender loving care, but could easily turn around and discipline if you were out of line. The single mothers are the unsung heroes of this generation. My mother raised me and my brothers virtually alone and did a pretty damn good job. It wasn’t easy nor was it perfect, but she got it done.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2014, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. African Americans make up 29.4% of that. I want to make it clear that this is NOT me taking the opportunity to bash my dad for his absence. We actually have a really good relationship given the circumstances. This is my time to marvel at how my mom and other super women like her said F the statistics, we’re going to make it work. My mother had me at 16 years old. Before she was 21, my two brothers had joined the pack. As bad as it may sound, I’m proud to say that my brothers and I all have the same father, but sadly it enforces that key element we were missing.
I imagine that if a father wanted to teach his son about hard work, he would make him do chores instead of playing with his friends, take him to his job, or just explain to him the importance of bringing home the bacon for your family. I didn’t have that, but what I did have was a front row seat of how to turn nothing into something. At the age of 25, my mother work herself to the bone. She had two jobs, went to college part time, all while taking care of me and my brothers. It was like she had a 25th hour in her day and she had everyone wondering how she did it. Nothing stopped her from providing for us and I owe my work ethic to her dedication to her kids. She taught me about responsibility, sacrifice, but most importantly, that you never, ever give up on your dreams. If you fail, find another way. If you succeed, then it’s on to the next. That’s how she operated and it was instilled in me to keep it going.
Now there are certain things that you can’t talk to your mother about as an adolescent. You need a father figure to teach you certain things as simple as talking to a girl. My mother didn’t care about this unwritten rule at all. I was so embarrassed to talk to her about anything, but little did I know, she was giving me the best game that money could buy. We were so close in age that she could recall all the little tricks we would try to pull on the girls at school and she knew what the girls were thinking. For the record, my mother is 27 years-0 when it comes to being right about practically anything. The information she was giving me was gold, but unfortunately I was too shy to actually use it. So I passed it off to my friends and watched them win. It worked out for me because I ended up looking like a genius and used that info in my older years.
Your dad is supposed to be your hero. Someone who is immune to any and all wrong doing. So when you get into a fight, who do you go to? Of course the man of the house, but my teacher was a little different and surprisingly brutal. Yes, my mother taught me how to fight and she was no powder puff. She was a chick from Philly that talked trash and didn’t fight fair. In our lesson, she told me when someone wants to fight you, don’t panic. Stay calm, smile, and keep talking. Once you get close enough, swing as hard as you can into their jaw and don’t stop until someone pulls you off him. I was flabbergasted. Imagine an eight-year-old who saw his mother being the nicest person in the world to everyone she met, but when it came to fighting, it was to the death for her. I took her advice and no one ever messed with me. Not because I had to fight, but because I just repeated what she said to the other kids like they were my words. It worked like a charm.
So I’ve seen my mother struggle. I’ve seen her cry. I’ve seen her fight. I’ve seen her succeed and I’ve seen her fail, but nothing can ever change my perception of her. She made me feel like I didn’t need a father because she came with the total package. She didn’t take a class. She didn’t have a handbook. She just did it because that’s who she was. A super woman. So as we get ready to celebrate all the amazing mothers on their day, I want to take a moment to celebrate the strongest of the strong. The brain and the heart. The nurturer and the protector. The single mothers who stepped up when kids like me didn’t have luxury of a two parent home. I love my mom. And to all the moms out there, single or not, keep being super. If nobody else appreciates it, we do.
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.