As a wife, mom and woman, my brother has given me the best pieces of advice that I can remember.

I’m your typical little sister. I think the world of my big brother. Growing up, I thought he could do no wrong. As young adults, I definitely told off quite a few people in defense of him. My parents raised us to be close despite our occasional bickering. I love him so very much and we are so very different.

morehouse man, spelman woman... i refused to go to college away from my big brother

morehouse man, spelman woman… i refused to go to college away from my big brother

The obvious difference is that I’m a female and he’s a male. But he’s also unmarried and has no children. We live totally different lifestyles. I’m a wahm of 2 two who lives in the ‘burbs in the South and he is a world traveler living in the city in New York. We are so opposite that we’re an awful lot a like and I guess that’s why advice from someone who’s so different made so much sense for me.

You’re Incapable of Creating Relationships that Aren’t Superficial

At first glance, this is almost an insult. In fact, I’m pretty certain that it was meant as one since he said it to me in one our only adult arguments. I had just graduated college and our family reunion had recently ended. Somehow or another word had gotten back to him that I’d said some things he didn’t like. I don’t remember whether or not I said them but I remember when he told me that I would never be able to have a relationship that meant anything because I lacked the ability to be vulnerable it felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. He was right. I’m not that girl who has all these close friends. I don’t keep in touch with people that I went to high school with. Hell, I barely keep in touch with people I went to college. If it weren’t for social media, there’s maybe a handful of people that I would keep in touch with. But what he said to me was right and it stung like hell because it was coming from one of my favorite people in the whole world. It hurt even more because I knew it was true but it was also something that we had in common. The fact that he acknowledged it in me communicated that he HAD to have seen it in him as well and was working to fix it. And now I was alone in this issue.

After my first half-marathon... He registered for it with me and ran it no questions asked.

After my first half-marathon… He registered for it with me and ran it no questions asked.

Sometimes the best advice is the toughest to hear. If I was going to get where I wanted to be in life period I was going to have to be more vulnerable in general. I had the biggest wall up–one sometimes I couldn’t even get past. It wasn’t until I started dating my husband that the wall came tumbling down. But daily I would work at increasing my vulnerability so that I could become better, stronger, wiser.

Make Your Bed So That You Can Sleep In It

It was 2008. I knew that I wanted to file for divorce from my first husband. I hadn’t told anyone and finally I broke down on the phone with my brother. Anyone who knows him knows that he’s rather calm, cool, and quite monotone. He speaks very matter-of-fact and simplifies things. After I’d cried my heart out and shared with him my hesitation (see, my ex and I had secretly eloped in 2007 and people slowly found out about it. Doing this caused so much tension in my family! On 8.8.2008, we had a public ceremony and reception. My family still pretty much hated me–and him. The whole thing was rather ridiculous and I’m so happy for divorce! I digress…) in filing, he asked me what I wanted to do without thinking of how anyone outside of myself. I wanted the divorce. It was then that he told me that I should do whatever it is that I wanted to do. It was my life and I should do what I wanted with it. He told me, “You’re the only one who sleeps in your bed at night with your decisions. Fuck what anyone else thinks. Make your bed so that you can sleep in it at night. Everyone else will be sleeping peacefully in their own.” This has gotten me through so many decisions in my life.

You’re Not A Terrible Mom, Every Baby Either Falls Or Is Dropped

Oddly enough, when mini fell the very first time, it was my brother I wanted to talk to. Again, with tears streaming down my face I told him about how I turned my back literally for a second and mini reached for something next to the bed and down she went. I cried longer and harder than she did. In fact, my crying made her stop. After I told him about how horrible of a mother I was because she’d had a tumble, he asked me if she bounced. LOL!!! I still laugh at this! Granted, he has no children but he’s everyone’s God-father and babysitter so he does know a little something about babies. He laughed as I got myself together and reminded me about how my dad dropped me when he was throwing me up in the air and how I turned out just fine and that more importantly, mistakes happen and that doesn’t make me a terrible mom. Now as a mom to abc, I was able to share this with the hubs when she rolled off the

my college graduation

my college graduation

bed on his watch.

There Is No Competition For Which Mom Is the Toughest 

I cried the first time I dropped abc off for daycare. It was a half day and I went on a field trip with mini. But I couldn’t keep it together. After I’d dropped her off, I made the mistake of going back in and checking on her and she was crying. My baby was crying!!! I calmed her and left but I called my brother in the car. The tears came and there was nothing I could do. After my brother listened to me fumble over an explanation about why I was crying and how I knew I shouldn’t be crying he simply said, “It’s ok to cry. This is your baby and you love her. Once you become a mom there’s no competition for the toughest moms or the ones who don’t cry.” The fact that he was able to normalize it for me and then make me laugh by reminding me of the times when my mom dropped us off is amazing to me.

My brother has never been a mother. He’s never been a wife. He’s never been a woman. But he’s given me the best advice in the world for me to tackle these roles. For this I’m grateful. I know that my days of calling him in tears aren’t over but I know that more sound advice is waiting for me on the other end of the line.

What great advice has been given to you over the years? Who did it come from?