Mother and baby in home office

Of All Things MOM

It is a sobering and, at times, an emotional moment for me when I realize that for the first time in my life, that this Mother’s Day will be the first one without my MOM. I lost her to Alzheimer’s six months ago, and when moments of family celebration come along, and especially this weekend when there is a day dedicated to Mothers and Motherhood, it tugs on my heart strings. I am sustained by the fact that her spirit and love endures beyond her mortal coil, and that I carry within me some of her essence – as I do of my dad as well.

The mother and child relationship is symbiotic. As such it is hard to describe one without the other. I wondered from where the name ‘mom’ was derived. How the different names for ‘mom’ arose in different languages around the world. Some of it is tied to culture and language, but at the very core is the fact that human babies very much control this because it is hard wired into our brains as humans. It is tied to our survival, our evolution. It has to do with the need for humans to create simple repetitive sounds – the ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, the ‘papa’ and ‘tata’ – that a child needed to deliver in order to get their parents to address their needs

There are a lot of moms in the trucking industry. Some of the most amazing moms you will ever speak with. Many-a-day I will hear their pain, their frustrations, and sometimes their joy. The freight transportation industry is a tough one, but for many people it gets in their blood.

I stay in touch with customers at Tailwind Transportation Software by speaking with them on the phone. I speak to those exploring our trucking and freight brokerage software on our free 30 day trial, those customers who have bought a subscription and are now using our software, and finally, those folks who have used our software and moved on to something else. There is learning in all three of these scenarios.

I remember seeing a statistic that said that over 95% of truckers are male. In joining the industry 2.5 years ago I was amazed to see the dominance of gender in the ‘driving of trucks’.  But not that surprised given the demands that long-haul trucking in particular can place upon a family. It meant that in many cases the mothers stayed close to home to manage the household and children while dad was away driving across the continent. I make no value statement on whether this is good or bad – it is an observation. I do know that over the past 20-years I have seen more and more female bus drivers so I can imagine that we will see more female truck drivers in the years ahead.

But the thing I heard between the lines of my conversations was the sacrifice that many women were making in the smaller trucking companies. The work that they were doing, not only on the home front in a ‘one parent’ situation, but also the work they were doing to help the family in the administration of their trucking business. Many of them were just trying to find an easier way to handle all of the paperwork so that they could open up more slots for quality family time. And I could hear the toll it was taking in their voices.

With an industry that statistically seemed so dominated by men, I decided I would check to see how many female customers we had. In doing my research I found that 35-40% of our customers were women. Not all of these women were mothers, but our trucking software was of great importance to women – out of proportion to the gender ratios in the rest of the industry.

And I wondered if sometimes these women felt the world coming down on them. I wondered if they sometimes felt the way my mother must have felt the morning her eldest – her one daughter – left home with her new husband to live 500-miles away. I wondered if they sometimes felt like she did when she waved goodbye to her daughter and new husband at the back door of our house and turned around to summon up the emotional firepower and energy to once again handle the day to day needs and wants of the four boys still remaining at home.

And as she sat down and asked me to play a rather frenetic game of Crazy 8’s, I watch a big tear roll down her left cheek as she struggled to maintain her composure, just trying to distract herself in a card game from the overwhelming emotion of the event.

You see, it was at that moment in my life – at 10 years of age– that I saw my mother as somebody else other than my MOM. The moment when I realized that there was a person beyond all the MOMness that had dominated my life. Someone who had her own dreams and desires beyond the household and beyond her children.

When I think of our brand – our vision for helping people achieve things in their business lives and in their personal lives – I think of all those mothers I have been speaking to these past few years. I also think about all those men and fathers driving all over the continent for weeks, months… years.

But this weekend I will think about all moms, and especially my MOM, and I will hope that on this Mothers’ Day in particular that they will ‘Feel the wind at their back’.