My mother's example

When my mother passed away, I realized that I would have to learn how to be a mom without my mom.

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  • As the youngest child in my family, I watched my Mom spoil her grandkids and I always looked forward to the day when she would get to love mine.

  • When she passed away at 56 from lung cancer, I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to learn how to be a mom without my mom.

  • I was heartbroken. I was scared. I didn't have any confidence in my ability to take care of another human being.

  • When my baby girl was two weeks old, I remember feeding her at 2 a.m. and staring up at the ceiling asking myself "Is this my life? Am I going to be ok? Is she ever going to stop crying?

  • I pleaded to my Mom to help me.

  • My sweet baby girl is now 5 months old. I've learned so much. And I feel closer to my Mom than ever before.

  • I finally comprehend just how much she truly loved me. I realize how much she sacrificed. I want to apologize for every bratty remark I made and for every time I took her for granted. I wish I could tell her "I get it now."

  • But most importantly, I know that before she left this earth she had already taught me everything I needed to know about being a mom.

  • She didn't need to teach me the specifics: swaddling, solids or sleep training; YouTube and Pinterest could teach me that.

  • She taught me how to love.

  • When she sewed trampoline covers in the basement to make extra money, she taught me that when you want something for your kids, you will do anything to get it.

  • When she went back to school with four young children, she taught me it's never too late to become who you want to be. Children aren't an excuse for not accomplishing your goals, they are the very reason you have to fight for them.

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  • When she used her only break during her 12-hour shift to take me to dance class, she taught me selflessness.

  • She taught me that there are a million different iterations of what being a good mom looks like, no matter whether you stay at home or have a career. She was lucky enough to do both in her life.

  • She taught me that motherhood isn't a competition. She didn't waste any of her precious time on this earth trying to outdo so-and-so next door.

  • She taught me that being kind to others is the most important thing I can do on this earth. She didn't care if I was popular. But if she heard we were rude to someone? There would be hell to pay.

  • She taught me that sometimes the best thing to do is take a hot bath and deal with it tomorrow.

  • She taught that it is ok to ask for help. There were many times when my husband, mother-in-law, siblings and kind friends had to step in during my daughter's newborn days.

  • She taught me mental health issues are real. And getting help for my postpartum depression didn't mean I was weak, it meant I was strong enough to acknowledge it.

  • It has been two years since my beautiful mother passed away. I still miss her every day. When I'm having a first-time-mom freak out, I wish I could be reassured by her. I wish I could watch her hug and kiss my daughter. I wish I could celebrate holidays and milestones with her.

  • But what I wish most of all, is that she knows her example is the best teacher I could ever have.

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Kate Nash is an editor and writer for several publications. She received a bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has been married to her husband Steve for four years and they recently welcomed a baby girl.

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