A Better Daughter: Working with family

I’m working on being the best daughter I can be, but sometimes my role as daughter also blurs into co-worker and employee.

Several years ago, when my family moved to Texas from Nevada, my parents bought a small business. The small business, had 3 separate parts, one oil change facility that served our average day customer, had a gas station, and did state inspections. Another part was a one bay stall that serviced large 18 wheeler vehicles and did state inspections. A third part was the “office,” this part eventually became my career. And I truly do love where I’m at and my job, the road here has been FULL of bumps. I wasn’t expecting any of this and sometimes I can sit back and see things through clear glasses and see that had things gone differently, other parts of my life would be different too, but the road went this way and I’m beyond grateful for this bumpy road and the destination.

I’ll start from the beginning, when we bought the business, I was still in high school. Of course it was my family business and I wanted to be involved, fortunately, they needed the help and I became a part time cashier. I held this position for several years. I’ll be the first to admit that I took advantage of who I was, I was the owner’s kid, I was young and spoiled. I did have the business and my parent’s best interest at heart but I also was reckless and growing up. I called in more than I should of, I broke rules, I talked back, I walked out, I did not respect my position or my parents.

Two months prior to me turning 21, my parents were in very serious automotive accident. Immediately I told myself, it was time to grow up. My family was hurting and I needed to put me aside and help them. I was miserable in college, I believe by this time, I was on my third major. I convinced my mother and father to let me drop out of college and take over where my mother needed me, up until this point, I was still only cashiering part time, my mother though was running the “office.” Yet she was going to be in the hospital for months, someone had to take care of things. So with her help, from the hospital bed, we got me trained and up and going. That was years ago, she’s back to work, we’ve built a new office, we’ve taken on more tasks, and we work side by side, her desk is 4 feet away from mine. We’re a team.

But we’re not a team, she’s my mom AND boss. That’s hard yall. When the accident happened, and the months that followed, I needed her, but I also had to grow up and depend on myself. We struggled with the roles of mom and daughter, of employee and employer. And we still do, to be honest.

In the fall of 2010, I decided I needed to go back to college and finish up. So I did, I still worked, but in my mind, I was going to move on after college. I remember the months before I graduated, coming to the realization that I’d be leaving my family’s name, my family’s investment, the business I loved, leaving it all. I couldn’t do it. I decided to stay.

I know I will do this for the rest of my life, I know that I know this business inside and out, I know that I do a good job, I know no one is going to care as much as I do…But what means the most to me, I know I don’t want to work with or for anyone else by my mom. She’s my best friend, she’s my boss, she’s my partner in crime.

We have our good days and we have our bad days, but I think if family can find a way to work together, to respect each other, it’s a beautiful thing. Sure there are days and sometimes even weeks that we forget to be mother and daughter and spend too much time being employee and employer, but sometimes, that’s all we have time for.

 

A Better Daughter: Being the daughter

Why are mother daughter relationships so complicated? I know very few who don’t have some difficulties. Maybe because it never fails that they’re both similar they butt heads. Or maybe because moms are harder on their daughters because they’ve been there, done that, know better? All I know is they tend to be, shall we say complicated.

Mine and my mother’s is no different. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been so worth it. I’ll be the first to admit that I put her through hell growing up. I know at times I purposely tried to hurt her, but you know what, she NEVER cried. At least not in front of me. Now that I’m older and able to look back at things, I can’t imagine the hurt she felt. And we are so close now, she’s admitted she would cry in the shower, far away from where I could see or hear. I’m already praying for my daughter and I, I know we’ll need all the prayers we can get. But I also know we’ll make it through just like my mom and I did.

At times there are added difficulties to the mother daughter dynamic. We’ve faced some and years later I think we’re finally figuring out how to make it work. Several years ago, in fact I was 2 months shy of 21, my parents were in a horrific automobile accident. I was miserable in college, so I volunteered to drop out and take over running the businesses (we owe and operate two). So I did, I had to learn from the floor up, up until that day I had nothing to do with the business. My mom ended up being in the hospital for almost 3 months, she was completely broken. In those months something changed in me, I went from a girl to a woman. I had to, I gave myself no other option. My mom faced many difficulties, both physical and mental. She will never be the same and either will our relationship. When she finally came home from the hospital, she still needed quite a bit is assistance for a few more months. Her body and mental strength didn’t recover the way we’d all hoped and in many ways they never recovered back to before the accident. Things are different now, but that ok, we still have her.

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Not long after my mom got up and going, my dad’s cancer decided it was its time. It reared its ugly head full force and we all focused on my dad. Sixteen months to the day after my parents accident, we kissed my daddy goodbye.

In less than 2 years our entire world was completely changed, and it was never the same.

Because of my mom’s injuries in the accident, there were times her physical pain weakened her. There were times the medicine required to make her comfortable made her weaker in other aspects. Because of her brain injury, there were times her mental and emotional strength lacked. And because she raised me to do so, I wanted to take care of her.

We butted heads a lot of times, but the one thing I’ve realized in the years since is that no matter how much she hurts, no matter her emotional pain, no matter her mental standing, she’s still MY mom. I think it’s hard, for many years, our parents take care of us, then things switch later on in life and our parents sometimes need us to take care of them. But no matter the roles, I think it’s important to remember that I’ll always be the daughter. She’ll always be the mother.

My mother is a shining example of strength, very very few people know of the difficulties she faces, she keeps them to herself, she’s proud that way. She’s too strong to let anything break her. And I should always be her daughter and need her, as my mother. She earned that title, Lord knows.

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