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14 Signs That You Have An Unconventional Mom

14 Signs That You Have An Unconventional Mom

Unconventional moms break the traditional roles of motherhood, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make excellent mothers. My own mom dabbled on the side of the unconventional mostly because she was ahead of her time. I didn’t realize this until I got older and became a mother myself, which is probably why I turned out the way I did. I became “that mom” — the one who wears the weird shirts and the cool shoes, the one the kids want to talk to, and the one “who let her daughter dye her hair pink.”

Being unconventional doesn’t mean you break with all tradition. In fact, we grew up with several traditions, especially around holiday time. My mom and I still appreciate and pass along things like etiquette and good manners to our children. We insist on thank-you notes and shaking hands and giving up seats for elderly. My parenting is unconventional in part due to my upbringing, my reaction to the cards I’ve been dealt, and the choices my husband and I have made because both of our children have congenital and chronic illnesses. We want to give our children ample opportunities to make choices, to make mistakes, and to make their lives great — which is the goal of every parent. I know I’m unconventional in my parenting, but I’m okay with being a bit outside the box.

Wondering if your mom is unconventional? Here’s a list of qualities to look for.

1. She doesn’t expect perfection.

This is a big deal. We live in a world where everyone has to win and everything has to be the best. Of course she hopes you’ll succeed and she’ll be your biggest cheerleader, she just won’t push you to win, win, win at any cost. You don’t have to be the best. You just have to be you, and that’s good enough for her.

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2. She lets you experiment.

Life is an adventure. You have to stick your neck out a little. You have to experiment. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes not so good. Like the time you poured dish soap in the jacuzzi to make bubbles and ended up with a foamy disaster. Or the time you thought you’d test your independence that first time your parents went out of town and, well, you know the rest. But experimenting also gave you the courage, skills, and knowledge you still use to this day. You can thank your unconventional mom for that freedom.

3. She looks pretty in party dresses, but can still rock graphic tee’s and Chuck Taylor’s.

Her sense of style may not fit the usual “Mom” mold, and maybe she teeters on the embarrassing side, but like it or not, her unconventional fashion is no statement at all. It’s just her being her, and that in itself is a statement you should be proud of. What’s she’s doing is raising you to like yourself and be proud of yourself (to borrow a phrase from Bridget Jones’s Diary) “just as you are.” I’m proud of my collection of high-tops and retro t-shirts, but love to put on the fancy stuff too.

4. She’ll never be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Or maybe she will, simply because it’s hot outside and you’re both hungry.

The point I’m trying to make is that she’s no stereotype. If she’s doing anything that fits a mold, it’s probably an accident or because she’s choosing it for another reason — that reason is usually you. She loves you and no matter what she does, against the grain or not, you’re her priority.

5. She’s not afraid to pursue her passion.

Yes, you’re her priority, but she’s not afraid to go for an opportunity in life. She’s just really good at making it all work out. Though your schedule may look like someone dropped ink on a checkerboard, be sure your mom’s got it (or at least, really good at pretending to have it) under control. My mom was a registered nurse who did the night shift to make it work for us. With three kids, our calendar looked like the cat threw up on it.

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6. She lets you dye your hair, get piercings, or dress differently.

Though this isn’t always the case, unconventional moms are usually way more lenient in the “get your freak on” department. This is especially good for teens exploring their inner selves. My mom didn’t love it, but she didn’t ground me for life when I graduated high school with purple hair.

7. She talks to you about the taboo stuff.

That’s right — I mean the stuff other parents don’t want to talk about. Sex, drugs, alcohol, STDs, birth-control, whatever. She’s so willing to talk about it that your friends come to her for advice. It’s almost embarrassing, but it’s also cool at the same time. It’s better to talk to Mom than to Google. Trust me, you get all kinds of weird YouTube videos and then viruses and it’s all downhill from there.

8. She not only listens to you, she hears you.

It’s great that you and your friends can talk to your unconventional mom about the taboo stuff, but what’s better is that she’ll actually listen to you. She doesn’t try to force her opinion down your throat. She doesn’t instantly judge you or try to change your mind. She hears you and then helps you figure out what you need from her.

9. She wants you to fail.

Read carefully: She wants you to fail. She doesn’t want you to be a failure. Failing is okay because you can learn from it. She wants you to use that moment as a tool. She wants you to improve and grow from that situation. Like the time I failed organic chemistry in college. Mom was right — I learned from that experience and even changed my direction in life thanks to that one failure.

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10. She doesn’t believe in doing things “by the book.”

That’s because she wants to frustrate the hell out of you. Because doing it the normal way is boring. Because you need to figure it out for yourself. Yada yada. Whatever her reasoning is, you’ll appreciate it in the long run. Especially when you get to college and get thrown into group projects and have to use your own brain to think outside the box. All that experience fending for yourself will come in handy.

11. She doesn’t gossip.

She won’t sit around the coffee shop talking about other moms or kids.

12. She doesn’t need money.

We’ve been rich, we’ve been poor. Mom found ways to make life cool either way.

13. She loves you differently from your siblings.

Say what you will, but it’s true. Unconventional moms have different relationships with each child and aren’t afraid to admit it. It’s not that they love one more than the other, it’s that they’re comfortable loving each child in his or her own unique way. Just because my brother gets a day with my mom doesn’t mean I have to get a day with her. Her gift to me might be something else.

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14. She loves you unconditionally.

No matter what you say or do, unconventional moms love their children… to Venus and back. (You didn’t expect me to go all traditional now, did you?)

Featured photo credit: anton petukhov via flickr.com

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Missy Mitchell

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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