From a distance, my mother and I couldn’t seem more different.
She lives on a farm on a little gravel road. I live in a high-rise apartment in the largest city in the country.
She got married at 20 and had five children – a girl and four boys. I got divorced at 31. I don’t want children.
My mother spent her adult life raising kids, tending to sheep and chickens, sewing clothes by hand, building a family, and running a farm. I have spent my adult life getting degrees and promotions, teaching, writing, and building a business.
As a teenager, I decided I didn’t want my mother’s life when I grew up. Raising a bunch of kids, living in the middle of nowhere, sewing children’s clothes – it was all so…old school. No freaking way. I did not want the kind of career my mother had.
Or did I?
As it turns out, I want exactly the kind of career my mother had.
I want to call my own shots and do things my way. I want to do work that feels good to me, regardless of what other people think. I want to follow my passions and curiosities, and make things and help people.
Just like my mom.
My mom loves her work. She loved raising a bunch of kids in a creaky old farmhouse. She loves sewing children’s clothes; she’s been doing it for almost 40 years. She loves taking care of her chickens.
When you look up close, we’re the same, my mother and I – each blazing our own trail, just in different directions.
My mother is one of the most badass pioneering women I know. So is my grandmother. So was my great-grandmother. I come from a long line of women taking no shit and doing their own thing, and I only recently connected those dots.
Growing up, I couldn’t wait to shake the dust of the little farm community I grew up in, and the people in it. As a kid and teenager, I thought that they were “settling” and that I was somehow better for wanting something “more”. Pretty arrogant, right? We just wanted different things.
And at the same time, we all want exactly the same thing – to stitch together a life that feels good, fits perfectly, and is made with love. Kind of like the hand-made clothes my mother lovingly sews on a dusty road in a creaky old farmhouse.