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4 Things My Mother Taught Me About 'Breaking the Rules'

My mother was the first person I saw “break the rules” in order to create a life she loved. After pursuing acting and receiving an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, my mother decided it was time to switch gears, start a family, and pursue an entirely different career path. In her mid-30’s she had me and started on the path to becoming a pediatric audiologist. She is now a doctor and one of the top clinicians in her field. In other words, she’s a badass chick who has been blazing trails for me, simply by living her best life. Here are 4 things I’ve learned from my mom about owning your life and ignoring the naysayers.

1. You don’t always have to be on your best behavior.

Have you heard the expression, “the rusty wheel gets the oil?” Well my mom is pretty good at making herself heard. While it often embarrassed me in my youth, my mom made sure to speak up when it came to matters of unfairness (be it line cutting or job loss) and could never just “let it go." She taught me to stand up for myself and others and that being loud is not just for the men.

2. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Growing up, I had a great role model for what it meant to be an independent woman, who was still part of a loving family. I watched my mom switch careers, receive advanced degrees, all while working full time and raising me. While I'm not sure how much deliberation went into these decisions I'm sure a certain amount of "fuck it's" were thrown around in order to get to where she is now. I know things did not magically fall into place and any time sacrificed away from her family was well worth it.

3. Sometimes playing it cool isn't cool.

My mother never played it cool. You knew when she was mad because she told you. You knew when she was happy because she couldn't contain it. She called my friend's mothers when I broke curfew to ask where I was, never thinking about who she might be waking up. She is polite but straightforward and has no interest in placating anyone's bullshit. She's honest and has no pretense, which sometimes makes her cringworthy, but fuck it.....right?

4. You don't have to be bad to be a bad ass.

My mother was a straight-A student, a book worm, a sprinter, and generally a pretty straight-laced gal, but she will tell you to 'fuck off ' in an instant if you disrespect her....or me for that matter. She can bust out a religious hymn just as quickly as a Janis Joplin hit. She doesn't really drink, but when she does... Jameson. She's a cautious driver but let's loose on the dance floor. She curses but scolds me when I do. She isn't bad, she's just one hell of a bad ass!

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