How do you balance out being a mother and at the same time an advisor and coach to help your children accomplish their dreams, find financial successes, and achieve their personal joy? I’ve been asked this question because I take on mentorship roles in my professional and personal life. And I think it’s an interesting question and a hard balance to strike. To me, none of this starts when your children become adults. I believe it starts much earlier in life.
A good coach is one who pays attention to the talents, desires, and needs of people first and foremost. It’s on the foundation of that understanding that the coach can nurture and challenge growth. I’ve always been supportive and collaborative on what I’ve noticed my children were passionate about and liked to do. I learned early on that my daughter loved music. I tried various ways of introducing her to music so that I could learn what she really likes. Today, Sara plays many instruments and has started a career that combines her organizational skills with her passion for music. My son, Sam, in addition to having a natural talent for swimming, has always loved creating new things. From giving him Lego’s to joining in on imaginary games, I offered him the tools and means to grow this passion. Today, he has created a new beverage – BOMANI, alcohol-infused cold brew coffee. And now both Sara and Sam are thriving through their passions.
Although I’ve done my best to be a good coach, listener, and advisor, I believe it is my deep love, acceptance, and regard for my children that matters the most. I’m always here to mentor them if they choose to use my guidance. But I know it’s possible to receive advice and direction from other sources. It’s the safety, reliability and authenticity of my love and acceptance that have created the conditions for them to blossom. THAT is what I consider as my most important gift as a mother to them.
Acknowledge and Encourage Passions
My daughter Sara has always been very musical. Observing her interest in music, I introduced her to a piano teacher when she was young. But it was Sara that asked me if she could play the violin.This was pretty surprising to me! I didn’t know anyone who played the violin so I wasn’t sure where that idea came from. As she walked around and pretended to play the violin, I knew that I had to provide her with a chance to try it. I said ok; why not? Let’s find her a way to play the violin! The rest is history…Sara has played in a lot of venues including as the concert master performing at the Sydney Opera House.. We’ve been told by family, friends, and her teachers that she’s very musical and she has a natural ear for pitch. Today, Sara has moved on from violin to other string instruments. This early experience with music has shaped some of the most meaningful choices in her life.
Sara wanted to go to UC Berkeley and, of course, I supported that. But when she got into the university, the question of what she wanted to study was something that really mattered to her. The way I stepped into more of an advisor and coach role was by really hearing her out. I asked her a few questions, “What are your interests? What do you like to do? Where do you see yourself? What kind of activities do you enjoy? What do you excel at? What’s easy and what’s difficult for you to learn? What’s challenging?” By asking these questions, I was helping her create a personal inventory of where her true desires and talents are (Knowing full well that a person of 18 years old can always change her mind). But in doing that, it helped her have a conversation with herself about where she sees herself and what makes her excited. This exercise helped move her into the direction that ended up placing her on the right path with her major and career.
Stepping into the role of advisor was a natural progression with my son, Sam. This is because I am and investor and advisor to BOMANI, his new company. As expected, therefore, there are scheduled hours and meetings where I know I have to be a mentor to the entire team. It’s easy to transition between the roles of advisor and mother when I know exactly when he needs it and we’ve developed a wonderful working relationship that weaves into our roles as mother and son. Both Sam and I have grown through all of this and the bonus is that we’ve grown even closer to each other. I can’t wait to see him continue to thrive.
Provide Emotional Support
To me, being a coach and advisor is only secondary to being emotionally, psychologically, and physically available to my children. What comes first is true love, affection, care and support. There’s a reason why people love to talk about mothers as having unconditional love. Mothers can give you a chance to feel connected, attached, loved, and admired for just who you are. It’s also important to be emotionally available. Not only by making your children feel loved’ but also by making them feel like they can talk about and feel through their emotions. No matter what, there’s a safe place in my children’s relationship with me. And that, I believe, is a big part of my role as a mother.
One thing I do a lot of- even when talking about topics that seem like business or goal-related such as careers or living arrangements- is that I like to pause and ask both of my children how they feel. I do this even in conversations that seemingly aren’t emotionally related, I do my best to check in and ask my children how things are going. I make sure I ask questions about their homes, their friends, their hobbies, their feelings, and things that encourage them to open up if they want to. I want to create and continue a dialogue with my children that isn’t always goal-oriented. But rather one where they can come to me with anything they want to share about their lives. To me, being available and loving is very important. This openness and warmth is the foundation upon which their lives can be built.
Discover Your Balance
When it comes to being a mother, you have to give your love, support, attention, and all of the things that a child needs emotionally to thrive. However, the job of a mother is also very much like a coach and advisor. You have to understand your children’s talents, know what positions they can play by observing them, and give them opportunities and experiences. And then when they’re going through challenging trials, you must remind them what they’re good at and help them see their own goals and objectives so that they can reach what they’re looking for. This can be a tricky line, and it is ever-changing as you and your children move through life.
I’m lucky that with my children I’ve been able to find that balance. BOMANI is thriving with many opportunities arising as the world recovers from COVID-19, and Sam is growing as a business owner and finding his purpose and fulfillment in life. Sara ended up studying what she wanted at Berkeley and then graduated with high honors. She realized that she loves social media and marketing through her many internship opportunities and then combined that with her passion for music and that is why I believe she’s ended up at a job she really loves at TikTok. I know both my children are going to continue to evolve through their journeys, and as they do, I’m looking forward to continuing to find the balance they need from me as a mother. Without a doubt, I know no matter where they are and what they do, I’m always here loving them through it all…with all of my heart.