Thank You, Mom, For Being Strong Enough to Teach Me to Be Strong

If you’re ever struggling to define the word “strong,” here’s a hint: just look at your mom! Moms are some of the strongest people on the planet. We have to be! From the moment our children come into our lives, they need us to be everything. Teacher, nurturer, cheerleader, personal chef, accountant, and master of the bedtime story-we play so many roles in our children’s lives that need us to remain strong, even when we’re feeling tired and weak. No one weathers the storms of life with as much resilience as a mom.

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Thank You, Mom, for teaching me to be strong!

My mom is one of the strongest women I know. She became a single mom at the young age of 18 (that was the first of many surprises I gave my mom over my lifetime), so she’s been a mom her entire adult life. I can’t really say she raised me and my brother alone, she was strong enough and smart enough to ask for help from my grandparents, but she definitely did the majority of the work without any help. It was her strength and resolve to raise us to become well-adjusted adults that helped me when I became a single mom myself.

I never thought I’d follow in those particular footsteps, but life has a funny way of making history repeat. My son’s father is a great guy, but I had to make some tough decisions about whether the two of us were meant to raise Jacob together. He left when Jake was three to move three states away and I’ve been on my own since, for the most part. Like my mom, I was smart enough to know that I needed help, so she’s been helping raise Jake the way my grandparents helped raise me.

When I became a single mom, I was completely overwhelmed. It happened at probably the worst possible time. My mom was laid up in bed with a broken leg and my grandfather had just passed away. I spent most of my married life as a career college student, bouncing from one major to the next in an effort to find something that “stuck.” I had zero marketable job skills, aside from writing, and I didn’t yet know how to turn that into an actual career. I literally applied for 200 jobs, got two interviews and no hires. Everyone wanted someone with a college degree, and despite the fact that I had more credits than your average Master’s Degree graduate, they weren’t all in one thing.

There were times when I felt like I should just give up, when I didn’t think I’d ever be able to pull out of the funk that I was in, let alone support my son. My mom supported me more than just financially through that time. She encouraged me to turn my writing skills into a career and gave me the guts to do it. I was terrified that the writing world would eat me alive. I never thought I was strong enough to survive it. As usual, she was right. Her strength enabled me to become a stronger mom for my son.

Celebrate Strong Moms During the Olympics

Proctor & Gamble supports strong moms every day through their products, but their “Thank You Mom” campaign really kicks things up a notch during the Olympics. Their videos during the London 2012 and the Sochi 2014 Olympics were among the most viewed Olympic videos, and for a good reason. They’re quite powerful. Take a look at their latest Olympic video, “Strong.”


I love that this video isn’t all about winning the gold, but instead celebrates the athletes and the “mom journey” that helped them reach their full potential.  It’s so fitting because our athletes aren’t just rock stars in their individual sports, many are also the children of strong moms themselves. Any mom who has ever encouraged her child before a big game knows that our support plays a big role in their confidence. Would Gillette athlete, Ashton Eaton, be able to run like the wind without his mom Roz’ encouragement? Could Pampers athlete, Dana Vollmer, take on an Olympic swimming pool without her mom Cathy?

The video itself is inspired by P&G’s thorough research into what we moms really believe in and need. Did you know that 98% of moms were totally surprised by the actual demands of motherhood versus what they thought being a mom would be like? I know I’m one of them! I was completely unprepared for certain aspects of motherhood. Even my son’s birth didn’t go at all according to my expectations! I envisioned a movie-like experience, when in actuality he was born via emergency c-section 8 weeks early.

One finding that really speaks to me: 84% of moms who receive help caring for their kids still feel like they’re the family leader. I’ve actually been told that you can’t be a “single mom” if you have help from your own parents. That’s like saying you can’t be a parent if you hire a babysitter or send your child to daycare. My mom helps me out, but I am ultimately responsible for the financial and emotional care of my son.

For more interesting stats from the Mom Report, check out this awesome infographic:

Show your support for the strong moms behind our athletes by watching the “Strong” video and sharing it! Tell the world about your own strong mom on social media with the hashtag #ThankYouMom.

We’re all strong moms in our own ways, so tell me in the comments, what makes you strong? How did your own mom’s strength help make you the person you are today?

Nicole Etolen writes Pretty Opinionated; a lifestyle blog for women in general and moms of school-age kids in particular.

 *This post is brought to you by P&G. All opinions are my own.

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