As millions of mothers in the United States celebrate Mother’s Day with their families this week, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some empowering life and money lessons from my mom who grew up at at a time when finance for women would have actually been a laughing matter .
Having grown up on a remote farm in Arkansas with ten siblings during the Great Depression, she was a primary influence in me creating Financial Woman; she was a woman ahead of her time, being financially savvy and forever the queen of positive cash flow at a time when finance for women was completely unheard of. How was that so?
As a teen, Mama borrowed $50 from her uncle to take the train to Memphis and get a job instead of doing what was expected; marrying a local farmer. Years later, she married my dad, and later created this rich lifestyle for us that she could have only done by having her tough past. Here are a few special nuggets of gold that I learned from my mother.
- Be resourceful. When you want something, instead of automatically thinking “I can’t have this because”, ask “how can I make this happen?” My mother’s resourcefulness included assembling and “antiquing” bedroom furniture, putting together an amazing stereo from a kit and designing and sewing beautiful and stylish outfits.
- Always keep a marketable skill. Even though my mother stayed home with my brother and me, she created a little sewing business making dozens of stunning costumes for the students at the dancing school I attended. Additionally, she kept her up her top notch typing skills that could have always secured employment if needed for maintaining positive cash flow no matter what.
- Choose bravely. My mother was the first girl to graduate from high school in her family. She walked alone along a dark road in the wee morning hours to catch the train so she could attend that high school miles away. She made a choice and did what it took.
- Dare to be different. She did what she needed to do to have the life that she wanted, not just what was expected of a woman in the 1940s.
- Define what you want and live from that place. She knew what she wanted, and, contentedly, she created consistent positive cash flow so my parents could put aside money to grow.
- Be happy. My dad teased that my mother awoke singing, and she did.
- Give to others. In her eighties (I’m not allowed to reveal her exact age), she still volunteers, and always has.
- Live with style. Mama always had beautiful flower beds that she planted and tended; we designed and created outfits from only an idea; she served Oysters Rockefeller and artichokes long before they were common. These were just a few of the ways she made every day special but uniquely stylish.
- Honor your blessings. Because of her challenging childhood, Mama “gets it”. Every day was and is still filled with things to appreciate.
Not only did Mama grow up in a time when finance for women was discouraged, women still actually left the room when money was discussed! Yet, she planned and spent wisely and with gratitude for what she had.
And speaking of gratitude, I realize that not everyone was blessed with a mother that modeled these values. Thank you for allowing me to share mine with you at Financial Woman this week.