The bond between mother and child may be the most special bond that exists, so we’re excited to share a special Citi Habitats Mother’s Day feature. We asked our agents to share what important lessons they have learned from their mothers, what they value most about their mothers, what they learned by becoming mothers, and what they most hope to teach their children. At the top of our feature is Mother-Daughter real estate team Lorett & Jillian Vigon (pictured above), who answered our questions and shared what it’s like to work together in the world of New York City real estate.
Jillian: My mom is my best friend and there is so much I value about her. We have an incredible friendship which translates into us being a great team because we understand each other well. She is always positive, never lets stress get to her, and she puts so much love into what she does and towards every client we work with. She is also a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful teacher who exudes love, compassion, and confidence. The most valuable lessons I have learned from her are compassion and patience. Because she is someone who loves helping people, her compassion translates from her personal life into her business ife – and the way she raised me has given me the opportunity to emulate her both personally and professionally.
Working together is easy because we work so well together. It can be challenging at times because we sometimes don’t know how to draw the line between what is work and what is personal time: sometimes we’ll go out to dinner and we’ll continue to talk about what we do, the clients, the board packages, etc. It will still be fun because we’re very passionate about what we do, but finding a balance can be a challenge sometimes. When you’re as passionate about your work as we are, sometimes we have to remind ourselves to “turn it off… tomorrow is another day.”
Lorett: Becoming a mother has taught me so much! It has surely taught me patience. When I gave birth to Jillian, my closest friends had moved out of NY to raise their kids. Our family all lived in England and Canada, and I lost my parents before she was born. So I embarked on motherhood with no training about how to handle a baby or raise a child and no immediate support system. I admit my guilt for having always been the type of person who went into a restaurant and if there was a baby crying, I would think, “Oh please quiet that baby!” When I had my daughter I was still that way, even though it was my own child! And so I found a way to calm her; I found a way to have patience with her. I found that if I were to mirror her energy when she was screaming in pain whether it was an accident or trauma when she was upset, that wouldn’t work. What I learned to do was to come from a place of calm. And that actually carried over into my real estate business; in the classes I teach today, I teach that helping clients can be like rocking a baby – when they are freaking out because of the stress and the pressure because everything has to be done in a New York minute. When you’re rushing to try to get an offer in on an apartment; that same calming, hand holding, and empathetic communication is required. Take a step back to breathe and listen – really listen to the other person and their feelings. Having her as a child taught me the patience I needed for this business, and I’m really grateful because it’s helped me succeed and it’s helped my clients as well.
I have always focused on teaching Jillian about strength and resilience. Real estate has given that to me and now it’s giving these traits to her. Being strong and resilient gives her confidence in her own ability to be there for herself and for others and she is a true model of this. She is charitable and caring. If she sees an elderly person crossing the street, it doesn’t matter if we are on our way to an appointment. Jillian is the one that will stop and help that person, even if it takes a few extra minutes. I’m proud to have raised a daughter so giving and kind.
Working together is easy because it’s literally fun: we laugh together, we finish each other’s sentences, and our clients think we are adorable. I bring a lot of experience to the table and my daughter brings a very youthful energy so everyone we work with can relate to us. What can be challenging about working together is that as a Team Director overseeing a successful team of 9 agents, I’m naturally a control freak. It’s taken some letting go to recognize that my sweet little girl has become a 24 year old, thriving, young professional woman. I’m learning every day that I can give her more of “the power” and take a step back, because she really is the best! I know that my daughter will go on to continue the legacy of our success and everything that she aspires to do.
The most lasting and valuable lesson my mother has taught me is to be resilient. She is from a remote town in the Italian countryside and grew up during post war times. She moved to the United States when she was 23 and had me shortly after. She has a strength and dignity that I value so highly. She instilled it in me; our strength and resilience is how we are most alike. Now I have a five year old boy. Even though doctors told me I would never be able to have children naturally, he was the best surprise; a beautiful and perfect gift (born on my birthday)! He has brought so much love to my life. Since having him I’ve understood that patience, kindness, and love are key. Through him I have learned to be present in the moment instead of worrying about the future or judging the past. I now understand my mother so much more and I look to her for patience when I’m struggling. She exhibits a patience with him that is enviable and is what connects us more now than before I became a mother.
My mother, throughout my life and still today, has always been my biggest fan, supporter, and greatest source of inspiration. No matter what has come my way, my mother has been there for me.
My parents were holocaust survivors and my mother taught me I could do and be anything. Even though the time in which she lived was more of a man’s world than today, she made me believe I could do anything. When we came to America, she learned English right away and made my brother and me get involved in all school activities. My mother opened up a stand on 110th Street and Park Avenue and would stay up all night sewing so that she would have something to sell in the morning. She was quite a lady. She taught me that the greatest reward for raising children is when they lead to the ultimate regard: grandchildren. I now have 6 grandchildren ranging in age from 2 years old to 18 years old. The best part about being a grandmother is that I can focus on only the good stuff; I never discipline them and I give into everything! The black and white photo was taken when we received our papers to come to the USA.
What I love most about being a mother is the sense of family. Getting married is one thing – we bonded, we became a family through marriage – but it wasn’t until the day I became a mom that I really felt the unity between us. We really became a family. It’s something I can’t explain, it’s in your emotions, it’s in your spirit, the feeling of family. Before I became a mother, life was more about what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go. I had goals and dreams that were all about me. Then once I had my children, I realized what absolutely unconditional love is. As a mother, it’s easy to take that unconditional love – but we also have to give love unconditionally. Even at the worst times – the little ones could be screaming, crying, or when they get older they might have their own opinions we disagree with – but to love unconditionally, we have to take a step back, listen, allow our natural instincts to guide them, and always show them love. As a result of having children and experiencing this love, I have become more calm and balanced towards the world. Whereas before I might have gotten upset or been impatient when things weren’t the way I wanted them, I’ve learned to accept that things are the way they are and I don’t have to change them. This has been great for having a peaceful mind.
One of the most valuable lessons my mother has taught me is to always do right by people and treat others with respect. Seeing her do this all my life, both professionally and personally, has set a great example and I can only hope to maintain the same level of integrity that she has always shown. I am so grateful to her!
A key lesson my mother has passed on to me is to love life and find something to enjoy every day.
When I became a mother I learned what unconditional love is. This love for my child is like a well of strength and energy that makes me like a lioness protecting and watching over her cubs. No matter how dark the day is or how great the danger, there is nothing that will stop me from protecting my little one. This love gives me the ability to do more than I ever thought I could. A mother’s love is unconditional and infinite!
As a mother I have always tried to instill in my son kindness, confidence, to always do his best, and above all, to be a gentleman – respectful of women. Of course I can’t take all the credit but he’s become that and more. For the past 22 years that I’ve spent at Citi Habitats, he’s not only worked here but played softball (and outstandingly) for the Citi Ballers. You might say he’s grown up with Citi Habitats. Having lost my mom as a child, Mother’s Day was the one holiday I used to dread, but for the past 28 years, having a child of my own has taught me unconditional love and is now my favorite day of the year. My son makes sure to make it special and isn’t that all that matters?
My mother lives by the adage best expressed by Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Presenting yourself well shows respect for yourself and others, and no one can ever take what you learn away from you. I am most fortunate that my mother, a member of the “Greatest Generation,” continues to teach by example. She has always been bold and fearless. When she was 19 (in the 1950s) she decided to seek opportunities outside of her small Pennsylvania town, so she ended up working in Manila, the Philippines, for the US Federal Aviation Administration. She was able to travel the world with her job, and, as a result, she has never been someone who would say, “You shouldn’t try that” or “You shouldn’t do that.” She has always also had a natural fashion sense. She made the suit she is wearing in the photo with me as a baby (which was taken in a Zeckendorf townhouse), she made a prom dress that could be sitting on Madison Avenue – and this was just a hobby for her – but she has always had a good eye in terms of interiors, and she has always been 5 to ten years ahead of trends.
When people think of a nurturing mother, they often think of a warm and fuzzy kind of person. My mother is whip smart, funny (she’s like the Dorothy Parker of our era), very well read (she’s been reading the New Yorker since she was 11), and yet she is nurturing in a non-typical way. If you think of the birds that encourage their young ones to fly outside of the nest, that’s what she does. She paves the way for you to do what it is that you are passionate about, and she gives really practical advice. Her advice is not necessarily always going to be touchy-feely, she’s going to base it on her experience. It’s that boldness, that fearlessness, the way she leads by example, that I admire most in her. The way I see her live her life, the way she has her act together, that’s the biggest takeaway for me. It’s a high standard, for sure.