Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.
Being a parent is the most undervalued job in America. It is sometimes mocked by those running the corporate world — if not by their words, then by their actions — and often is deemed as less-than by those who haven’t fallen in love with the idea of unconditional love.
Parenting, to me, could be seen as the human equivalent of entrepreneurship. Parents are chauffeurs, doctors, professional cuddlers, assistants, chefs — but most of all, parents are the building blocks of what the future will look like.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and while that statement may be true, I think it just takes one special person to make a world of a difference.
While our world today is in a political uproar, we, as parents, must ensure that our children are raised to understand that political climates should never steer someone from doing the right thing. As parents, it is our job to make sure we raise children with an impeccable sense of empathy, an overwhelming allowance for free-thinking and a lack of fear to express their individualism.
I dedicate this week’s column to the parents of the future. To single moms everywhere making the impossible happen. To single dads braiding the hairs of their little girls and playing dress-up. To the co-parenting parents, making it work for the sake of their children. And to the married couple, trying to keep a cheerful home while each working forty-plus hours a week.
This column is for you, but most importantly, this column is for my mom.
Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The road less traveled, or scroll down to explore more of her story.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and while that statement may be true, I think it just takes one special person to make a world of a difference. For me, that person has always been my mom.
From my earliest memories, I can remember my mom always trying to make sure everything in my world was perfect. My mom grew up in the tumultuous 1960s and ’70s in New York City, where the streets were filled with drugs, gangs and prostitution.
New York then was a shithole, and my mother was the rose that grew from concrete.
Having me at the early age of 21 as a student at the New York City Police Academy, my mom cut short her dreams for the sake of mine. She stopped time dedicated to her own tomorrow so that she could devote herself to the bright future she envisioned for me, and for that, I say thank you.
Mothers are often faced with the biggest challenge of parenting: work vs. children. After decades of debate and progress, the topic still lingers as a top-priority women’s issue.
I am appreciative of the women who stopped their dreams to take care of their children, because from that a generation of innovative women was born. A generation of women that will stop at nothing to ensure that our sisters in the future will never have to decide between a career and raising a family.
My mom chose her family.
The ultimate sacrifice a woman can make is to lose herself in the hopes of saving someone else. While I can’t change the past, I can certainly change the future for my two daughters, Brooklyn and Evian, and repay my mom by succeeding as a game-changer — in motherhood as much as in business.
My mom made that sacrifice so that I might never have to. Every morning, when I wake up, I am grateful for the opportunities my mom laid before me. I am in awe over her selflessness and I refuse to take it for granted, so I work as hard as I can, and I do it to pay my mom back for all those years she put me first.
Raising a family is as tough as it gets — but raising a daughter as a single mother, to me, is the hardest thing anyone can try to do.
Mothers want their daughters to be a better version of themselves. We ask that our daughters grow up to change the world, and we hold the next generation accountable to the future fortunes of all women. While that may be a heavy burden to carry, it truly is the most important thing we can instill in our daughters.
Throughout my adolescence I often rolled my eyes at my mother, who I thought was nagging; who I thought was never impressed with my straight As; and who I thought was never happy with my accomplishments.
As I reflect on this Mother’s Day weekend, I realize she wasn’t impressed because after all her personal sacrifice, the least I could do was the right thing for myself.
The least I could do was study and receive good grades and honor rolls. The least I could do was volunteer as a teenager to help the less fortunate and the least I could do was be a better version of her. The least I could do is devote myself to being the badass woman she always was and knew I could be.
Mom, you made the ultimate life sacrifice so I didn’t have to, and for that, I say thank you.
Follow Giselle’s inspiring story from the beginning: