I've shared in previous posts how my mother influenced me (*cue loud rock music*) and given the national holiday in honor of mamas everywhere, motherly guidance has been a topic of conversation bouncing around Chez RLD this past week.
Mia's mother, Bonnie, is a beautiful, fiery soul whose courage and determination is mirrored in Mia and her older sisters. Growing up in the foster care system of California, Bonnie, at the age of 15, would travel 20 miles each way to high school in order to live with a caring family and complete her degree at the school she thought best for her education. Very brave.
Mia's parents, Ralph and Bonnie Hernandez, at a wedding
"My mother's entrepreneurial spirit and head for business has also played a major role in my professional direction," Mia shared with me in between creating a passionfruit beurre blanc and grilling sea bass filets. "Know how we joke about me being 'The Mayor'?"
(We do...Mia will talk to a rock in a supermarket and be engrossed in hand shaking and hugs at an industry event in seconds).
"It's due in large part to my mother taking me to Toastmasters, Rotary, and Chamber of Commerce meetings when I was in grade school. She was a human resources director in the hotel industry so networking and spreadsheets filled my world as a kid. Also, healthy eating and exposure to fine dining at an early age...that's where the appreciation for food comes from."
We know others who have sited their mothers as sources who inspire them professionally so through the magic of email, I inquired, "How did your mother influence you and if you're a parent, how do your children inspire you?"
Here's what our sweet friends shared. Grab your Kleenex.
Kelly Aull / Mint Weddings
My parents absolutely played an inspirational role in my career as an event planner and entrepreneur. My mom always taught me that if you want anything, you can have it; you just have to work hard. She also told me that I would probably make a better boss than an employee. :)
My mother never went to college. She stayed home to raise my sister and me. When I was in high school, she started working. She set her goals on the highest position available in a huge organization and today, she has reached that goal - she runs the whole show! That is truly inspirational to me. My parents are my biggest fans and my kids inspire me every day. My kids push me to do better so that I can be more, provide more, be a better person...I would do anything for them.
Thomas Bui / Thomas Bui Lifestyle
My parents own a pharmaceutical company in San Diego so growing up I was surrounded by their wisdom and knowledge about making the best deals. To this day, my mom will negotiate with several manufacturers for the same product. My dad encouraged me to get my MBA 10 years ago before I started my event design business. He also said "You need the creative aspect to brand yourself but must know the ins and outs of daily business operations."
What influences me most is seeing how hard my parents work to survive in this country. We left Saigon 35 years ago when the North Vietnamese Communists took over the South. We left with NOTHING except the clothes we were wearing. Coming to the States, none of us in my family spoke English. My parents learned to read and write English, and entered the work force, each working two jobs to provide us with the basic necessities. At the age of 45, my dad went back to pharmacy school. My mom worked three jobs to support my dad, brother, and me.
America is the land of opportunity; if you want it, it's yours. Only in this country can you go from rags to riches.
Jessica Gillon / Events By Design
Not only is my mom one of my business partners but she is the one who planted the event seed. My mom was a hard-working single parent but somehow, she managed to make everything beautiful. Our dinners were usually at the table displayed like something you would see in the movies. There was always a bread basket and a glass butter dish. The entree and sides were always in serving bowls and platters. All of my misfit friends LOVED coming to my house for dinner. To this day, those friends tell me it is one of their best memories. My mom's attention to detail was, and still is, absolutely amazing to me. I have always had a creative mind but her attention to detail is something that I have admired and strive for since I was young.
My boys inspire me to remember what weddings and event were created for and what is important...family and friends celebrating a monumental moment in life.
Elizabeth Seaton / Posh Paperie
My mother and grandmother were inspirational to me in starting my business. They encouraged me every step of the way and told me to believe in myself. My mother is also so helpful in the business. She babysits every Monday so I can do meetings/deliveries/etc. She is also creative herself, so I frequently run ideas by her and ask her opinion. She has helped me to design some of our most amazing and custom invitations and she has come to my rescue when I need assistance with assembly.
My own sweet girls are very inspirational to me as well. I do the business for them so that I can "stay home" with them and so they can see their mom as a strong business woman and entrepreneur. Even at ages five and three, they love the invitations and designs...love to keep the "extras" and tell me constantly, "Wow, Mommy...that invitation is SO beautiful!" I love them with all my heart and am so thankful to be their mommy!
Catherine Bachelier Smith / CBS Weddings
My mother hosted parties as far back as I can remember. She cooked, cleaned, and decorated for all her large parties and was always a gracious hostess. She is my muse. Her ease and grace are most influential...she was never nervous and always excited.
My sons never care what we are eating or what the decor looks like. They care about spending time with friends and family - this is my great lesson.
Many thanks to Kelly, Thomas, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Catherine for sharing their touching stories. Please share how your mother (or grandmother, or father, or...) influenced you to be who you are today in our comments section!