I am an empathic person. Everyone has their own journey in life, their own way of going about things and their own way of self-discovery.  I cannot, however, stand someone who complains and whines and then plans to do nothing about it. I just cannot.

My Mama at my Graduation from the University of Notre Dame. - You Need Life Skills
My Mama at my Graduation from the University of Notre Dame.

I was raised by a woman who did not model whining and complaining. My mother is the rock star of my universe because this is a woman who decided that life gave her two options: shut up and get it done OR complain and do nothing.

Life ONLY offers those two options: Do or Complain. 

Sometimes Things Fall Apart

My mother did everything the right way. Got married then had babies. But Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart. Sometimes you can plan as best you can and STILL life doesn’t work out the way you want it to. She was left with the full-time responsibility of two small (and super cute) children. So what did she do?

She put on her big girl panties and dealt with life.

I remember my mother picking up fresh bread every single evening. She needed the bread because she would wake up before dawn to make sandwiches every single day for work. Every morning she made tuna and cheese sandwiches. Every. Single. Day.

My Sibling and my Mama with the puppies on her birthday!

The funniest thing is, it never occurred to me for years that my mother had no overwhelming urge to make sandwiches every day. I didn’t get that she did it for us, not because it was an overwhelmingly fun thing for her to do.

She sold those sandwiches for lunch money and money to pay the bills. Because single parenthood isn’t a fun and exciting place to be. And being broke only sounds good if it’s the before section of your Lifetime™ documentary.

Remember, nothing motivates like having a goal, seeing the consequences of failure, then crushing it.

The Best Cakes In the World Come From Hustle 

My mother bakes the most amazing fruit cakes on the planet.

Those who know, know how epic this cake is. I can’t wait ’til Christmas!

There are people in Jamaica who swear that they will eat no fruit cake but hers. I have a friend from South Korea who wants to open a restaurant in Seoul selling my mother’s cake. People from Latvia, Taiwan, The Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, and Ireland all agree that my mother’s cake is the boss. Come on people, I’ll make them comment on this article if you don’t believe me. It is the ONLY cake my brother and I eat. 

Mother, however, has had a lot of practice. You see, I remember doing homework while my mother was awake baking the fruit cakes. And the cheesecakes. And the Black Forest cakes. Because you must hustle and do shit OR complain. And my mother just didn’t complain. Why would you waste time doing that?!

The Story That Defines Me

There was one day when my mother woke up, made the sandwiches, dropped us off at school, went to my brother’s school for his PTA meeting at 10 a.m., went back to work, came to my PTA meeting at 6 p.m., came home, baked fruit cakes, and then helped me with my homework. Then, because the rental books we paid for hadn’t yet arrived, I borrowed a textbook from a friend to write out the information. I didn’t look like I was going to be able to write out the notes because of all the homework I had to do so MY MOTHER WROTE OUT THE NOTES WHILE BAKING.

That is my mother. That is the woman who hustled and made it possible for her two children to work and not complain. She modeled that for us.


Was she tired? I suppose she was. It must have been grueling to do this day after day. Did she need to vent? She must have. But my mother never ever made it seem as though life didn’t require her to hustle hard and do her best. And it never occurred to her that the tooth fairy or Spiderman or a rich billionaire was going to swoop into our lives and save us. So she had to do it her damn self.

This is why my brother and I have never had one job our entire lives. Why would we? We’ve seen what can be accomplished in 24 hours!

My mother hustled so that her children could get a university education. Hell, she did that twice for me. I am a lawyer because my mother believed in my dream then moved heaven and earth to help make it possible.

My mother believed in my dream to be an international human rights lawyer even though she had no clue what they did and constantly asked if I was sure someone would pay me. Because you can be absolutely supported while being asked if you have thought through everything. Support isn’t stupidity.

My mother derives no greater joy in life than making her children take pictures!

There Is No Complaining In The Winners Circle

When Sibling and I have sh*t to do, we do it. We hustle and we grind and we make it happen. And if it means getting involved in various clubs and societies and hustles to make it possible, THAT IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. Complaining never made anyone I know rich or comfortable.

You can vent, you can feel upset about the way life has turned out. You can be disappointed that your dreams aren’t coming true. You can cry that this isn’t what you wanted to be doing. That it isn’t where you wanted to be going. But get up. GET UP.

When Sibling and I were tiny! Look at my pretty Mommy!

There is no complaining and whining in the winner’s circle. There is only getting better, smarter, more resilient, developing grit, developing skills you need to take you to the next level.

There is no whining and complaining. I have no time and patience for it. And honestly, you don’t have the time to dream about what could have been instead of creating a brighter tomorrow.

Who is watching you? Who is seeing the way you deal with the world and learning from you? Who needs you to level up so their life can be better? Who are you letting down by whining and complaining?!

It is enough if the answer is “me”. You are enough of a reason to live a better life.


Happy birthday, Mum! May you continue to be blessed! 

Signature of Yoo Need More Jodi in blue - You Need Life Skills

What do you think? Join the conversation!

%d bloggers like this: