Gini Dietrich

Happy Mother’s Day!

By: Gini Dietrich | May 8, 2011 | 

Ah Mother’s Day. A Hallmark holiday. A made-up tradition. One that is celebrated around the world because of something we conjured up in America.

But, regardless of it being a made-up holiday, it’s an important one. It’s a day for us to reflect on the people who gave us life, both biologically and raising us.

Some of us were adopted. Some of us were raised by a single parent. Some of us were raised by homosexual couples. Some of us were raised “traditionally.” Some of us were raised in split homes.

No matter who raised us, today is the day to celebrate our parents.

My parents were 23 when they had me. They were babies themselves. I remember being 23 and I had no business having a baby back then, let alone five of them by age 30.

Yes, my parents had five kids under the age of seven (I also have a younger half-brother who belongs to my dad).

Can you imagine? Five kids under the age of seven.

We didn’t have any money. We had one car that wasn’t big enough to fit all of us in it. We had one tiny black and white TV, which meant we didn’t really watch it. My mom made our clothes. She cooked every meal. She taught us how to be creative. She took us on “dates” to the fabric store or the grocery store because those were the only things we could afford to buy.

When I was in eighth grade, I wanted a pair of Guess jeans so badly I could taste it. Rather than go out and buy them for me (mostly because they could’t afford them), my mom taught me how to work and save to buy them.

When I made the cheerleading squad, I had to use my babysitting money to pay for my uniform.

I hated her for that. I hated that all of my friends had designer clothes and could go on school trips and do fun things and I could do it only if I paid for it myself. I hated that people would talk about movies or TV shows and I would feel left out. I hated that I couldn’t date or get my ears pierced or wear make-up until I was 16. I hated that I was always grounded (for life, she once told me) when my brothers got away with murder.

It just wasn’t fair.

And then I became an adult and I realized everything my mom taught me. Heck, still teaches me.

She taught me that anything worth having is hard work. She taught me you don’t have to wear a ton of make-up to be beautiful. She taught me how to shop consignment stores for high-end fashion (though I’m not nearly as patient as she is at that). She taught me that a good book is far better than any movie or TV show. She taught me that less is more. She taught me who I am and what I stand for.

She’s far more creative than I am. She’s far more patient. She’s a much kinder and gentler person than I can ever imagine being.

She is my best friend and my confidant.

I love you Skirsty, mumsie, mumsily, momma, mama mia! Happy Mother’s Day!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • bdorman264

    Wow, what a great story. I would say mine is very similar and the life lessons learned have been invaluable. At the time you don’t appreciate them as much but it’s probably what gave me my drive and ambition knowing if it was going to get done it was going to be because of me.

    One thing I could always count on from my mother was unconditional love. I don’t care how rotten I was, I was always her little Billy. Being the only boy w/ 3 sisters, guess where the rottenness came from? Yes, I was the one who got away w/ murder.

    My mother had a very hard life growing up and she struggled with some issues in her adult life but she was so giving and so loving a lot of the other stuff you were able to overlook. She’s not with me now but I would like to think who I am is from what I learned from her.

    Thanks for sharing your story as it opens that window just a little wider to let us get to know you.

  • ginidietrich

    @bdorman264 It hurts my heart to think about you not having your mom with you anymore. I tell my mom all the time she can’t die on me. We all hate our mothers at some point and then we become adults and realize how much they selflessly give as, you say, unconditionally.

  • Don’t you make me cry this morning you! I lost my Mother in 2005, shortly after Easter. I had a few good years with her before she passed.

    I am adopted. I was adopted when Mom was 36. My brother was 10 and a half when they adopted me. My brother is not adopted, and he looks just like Mom.

    I was a horrible kid and I am very fortunate that I had the chance to amend our relationship before she passed. My Mom worked hard her whole life. She wanted to be an English teacher, so she married my Dad, a high school dropout from the South Bronx, and corrected his spelling and grammar for the rest of her life.

    Some of my favorite memories of Mom are of the simplest things – just sitting watching Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! Mom was also the greatest Scrabble player I ever met. If you could beat her, I would tip my hat to you!

    Mom gave me my love of the English language, and I can’t help but think that she is proud of what I am doing with my life now.

    I wrote a tribute to her for Mother’s Day. Get a tissue before reading it though!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all us Mothers – here and here in spirit only!

  • M_Koehler

    Your brother did get away with murder….Very nice sentiment lil G. Even I called Carol today.

  • ginidietrich

    @M_Koehler SEE! It wasn’t just me being a brat. Matt and Jonathan BOTH got away with murder!

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 “She wanted to be an English teacher, so she married my Dad, a high school dropout from the South Bronx, and corrected his spelling and grammar for the rest of her life.”

    That made me LOL!

    I can’t deal with you and @bdorman264 losing your moms. I seriously tell mine she can’t die. I’m lucky in that she had me so young. Hopefully I have her another 30 years.

  • KDillabough

    Gini, thanks for sharing your story…it brings lots of images and memories to mind. But I’ll be brief: the most important thing my mother taught me was this when she ingrained in my psyche the quote: “This above all, to thine own self be true.” I live it every day.

    Happy mother’s day to all. Cheers!

  • G,

    Hallmark has created many holidays, but Mother’s Day isn’t made up to sell cards. Started in US as a Mother’s peaceful protest against war. Still a good concept. Happy Mother’s Day, to all Mothers and all that celebrate Moms.

  • Mom. A pretty special word. A pretty special feeling. A super special person in my life.

    Thanks, Gini, for sharing your story. It reminds me even more deeply what I love about my own mother, and all she has done for me.



  • Love your ‘ode’ to your mama, Gini. I feel the same about mine! We’re truly blessed and like you, I can’t bear the thought of my mom not being here (not literally beside me, but a phone call away). Big hugs to your and your mom today! xoxo

  • M_Koehler

    @ginidietrich And I totally defended your honor when one of them was being less then kind.

  • bdorman264

    @ginidietrich @NancyD68 It’s all good; it appears you have a great relationship with your mother so cherish that as much as you can. Squeeze every little drop out of the relationship.

  • ginidietrich

    @KDillabough Wise, wise woman!

  • ginidietrich

    @barryrsilver I stand corrected! I thought it was, indeed, a Hallmark holiday.

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison And big hugs to you and your mom!

  • jeanniecw

    What a nice message to your mom. I feel the same way. I am the youngest of 5 kids and often marvel at how my parents handled that. I lose my cool with the 2 I have, I can’t imagine having 3 more underfoot. What lessons we get are really from who they are, not what they do. I try to remember that with my own parenting. This day rocks! YAY MOMS! 🙂

  • JoyFull_deb She sounds like an incredible woman, Gin…Happy Mother’s Day, Skirsty!!! (((HUGS)))

  • Tears. Love this. Love your mom and the loving, firm parenting techniques she employed to raise such a beautiful person! Happy Mother’s Day to your Mom and to you Gini, as you help raise a better world.

  • Leon

    G’Day Gini,

    Thanks for such a delightful piece. Pity youse Americans can’t spell ‘mum.’ Our fourth child was born shortly after our eldest turned 6. Our eldest grandchild is about to turn 18. That means that I’m old enough to be your father Gini. So listen up!

    Dunno that I know much about parenting. The one thing that I was obsessive about while our children were growing up was the importance of family. I kept on repeating things like, “Look after each other. When the chips are really down all you’ll have is family” and similar stuff.

    It seems to have worked. They all still talk to us and enjoy each other’s company. We’re a bit ambivalent about Mothers’ Day. My mother regarded it as far more important than her birthday. Julie’s family ignored it as crass, vulgar commercialism. Opposites attract…..!?

    Here’s a little joke to tell you ‘mom.’

    Why do grandparents and grandchildren get on so well?

    Thay share a common enemy!

    It’s OK Gini, you’ll get it when you’re a granny. But tell your mother anyway.

    Make sure and all that



  • ginidietrich

    @jeanniecw LOL! I love that you’re so happy to be a mom today. Your Facebook update made me grin. You have a couple of pretty great kids who make me feel guilty for teasing you in the slightest!

  • ginidietrich

    @JoyFull_deb So funny – I couldn’t say Christy when I was little and it kind of stuck. Even Mr. D calls her that now.

  • ginidietrich

    @MimiMeredith Hey! I was JUST going through the Counselors schedule and making sure you were on my calendar. And then here you are!

    It wasn’t easy and I sure didn’t like a lot of the parenting techniques when I was a teenager, but I know I’m a much better person for it.

  • ginidietrich

    @Leon I think you’re absolutely right there is nothing more important than family. After all, you’re right that when the chips are down, they’re usually the only ones who remain.

    I would love it if Americans used “mum,” but it’s not in our vocabulary. Perhaps if I ever have children, I’ll teach them the word.

    Hope you’re having a fun Sunday!

  • KarenBice

    Great post, Gini. I know what it’s like to be a single parent and have my children ridiculed because their clothes are second hand, and their school meals are subsidized by the government. I was raised in a middle class home myself and never knew what it was like to go without anything. But, I divorced in a poor economy years back without many marketable job skills. I gradually increased my job skills and returned to college. I did the best I could, but sometimes one’s best is never good enough for others. And, kids don’t appreciate what’s important until they’re older. My daughter had a hard time with the ridicule the most. And, there really wasn’t anything I could say or do to fix the situation. But life is not fair and you just carry on the best you can. Anyway, your post is a great tribute to your family, especially to your mom. Loved it.

  • @ginidietrich I can’t wait to see you on Thursday!! I wish your mother was coming, too! Have a good week and safe travels, Gini.

  • ginidietrich

    @MimiMeredith You travel safely, too!

  • ginidietrich

    @KarenBice Unfortunately kids are really mean and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it. I would guess your daughter has very tough skin and has confidence to shake off the ridicule now. And, you’re right, we do the best we can with what we have. But we don’t always understand that until we have perspective.

  • KarenBice

    @ginidietrich I would be the first to say my daughter has very tough skin. 🙂 But she also has a big heart. She tries to help those who are having problems, whether it’s lack of food, clothing, shelter, etc. She does what she can to help others, and this means a lot to me. It means that something good came out of such a hard time for all of us. Thanks, Gini.

  • Less is more. Having you Mom care for you is really all that matters and your Mom is amazing.

    Wow! I really loved this post Gini and yes, you’re still grounded.

  • ginidietrich

    @johnfalchetto My mom IS amazing! That is very true! She ungrounded me a few years ago, but it was well into my 20s before she took that back.

  • DHLasker

    Wow! Your mom has had a tremendous positive influence on your life. So cool (but “sucky” while it was occurring) to have been taught to appreciate anything you wanted in life, while growing up. My parents had three of us under the age of four, I can only imagine almost doubling that amount in just about twice as many years. Holy extra super deluxe patience and potential “Calgon, take me away” moments. Props to your mom and her 5 aliases. 🙂

  • @ginidietrich Frankly, I thought it was, too. I was looking for an intro to a post about Mother’s Day gifts and thought why not start with a brief history. Found the site I linked. Luckily for me, you wrote this lovely post and I was able to share what I had learned.

  • ginidietrich

    @DHLasker I hope she’s reading the comments so she can see all of the nice things you’ve said!

  • ParkRidgeDDS

    Wow….first of all, thank you for sharing some of your story. It is a lovely story actually. A story of lessons taught with love. And since I know how lovable you are, it speaks to the success of your Mother’s loving efforts. And second…this post, I am guessing, is one of the best Mother’s Day presents your Mom has ever gotten….it goes right up there with hand made cards and finger painted art and clumsy, cuddly 4 year old hugs that woke her from her Sunday morning sleep. The nice thing about recognizing our Mom’s on Mother’s Day is that what we really realize is what a gift we are to each other….as she has brought love and lessons to your life,, so have YOU brought her joy and delight. xoxo

  • Gini,

    I’m going to have The Franchise Princess read this.



  • WHPDave

    Beautiful story of your Mom, and bless you both that you still have each other. Cherish each moment!

  • DHLasker

    @ginidietrich @bdorman264 How cool is that, that your mom offers unconditional love, always. I can say unequivocally, that my mom also offers that unconditional love, even when we disagree. We’ve never been upset with each other to extent of not talking to each other. I love my mom for that, unconditionally. 🙂 One of the greatest lessons I have learned from my mom, is when a person is being rude to me, shower that person with kindness, and in most cases, the interaction with that person has changed to be more positive. It works surprisingly well, when executed. And, sometimes it is too difficult to respond with kindness. My mom also made it possible, by example, for me to be a journalist, covering awful/gory breaking news and not letting my feelings get in the way of the job. Not necessarily good for the cache of emotions that were stored away and avoided during that period of my life, yet very good in being strong and emotionless when needed.

  • Love this post, Gini, and the sweet picture to go along with it. Thanks for sharing :).

  • ginidietrich

    @ParkRidgeDDS She said, “This is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me” and I knew I had cemented my position as favorite child forever. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @FranchiseKing Unfortunately we just don’t get it until we’re older. The Franchise Princess will get it. And soon she’ll be BEGGING to wear the crown in public.

  • ginidietrich

    @WHPDave I do cherish each moment. She’s my best friend and it’s hard for me to think about life without her.

  • ginidietrich

    @KatieFassl That’s my mom with Olivia, my brother’s eight-year-old!