Lessons from my mom

Happy Mother’s Day to you all, whether you’re a mother by birth, a step-parent, foster parent, or (like me) a dog parent. I look at my mother and reflect on how similar and different we are. Like most moms, she annoys me. She will talk me to death at least three octaves above normal if given a chance – but she’s my mother. She’s my living example of how resilient and determined a woman can be, even with multiple obstacles placed in front of them.

Here are some of Mama Juana’s best lessons:

It’s never too late to start over (reinvent yourself).
Which is exactly what she did. She left an unhealthy first marriage when divorce was heavily frowned upon, and raised four kids (at the time) by herself. She put herself through college and then nursing school. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that must have been for her, but she did it.

While unfair, there are times when you have to mask your pain in order to move forward.
I was raised to be an empathetic, but strong woman. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to ask for help because I’m used to solving my problems on my own, just like my mom. She would allow me to cry in her arms if something went wrong, but then also made me pick myself and keep going. She didn’t want any disappointments or setbacks to ever paralyze me.

Have a career, not just a job.
This was her wish for all of her daughters. Jobs come and go, but a career that you are passionate about, will last forever.

At the San Diego zoo
My princess Nena, mid nap


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