Housewives Ramona Singer talks about the woman who inspired her the most.

Ramona Singer started her first business when she was 29 years old. Her businesses include Tru Renewal skin care, True Faith Jewelry, Ramona Singer Collections on Amazon and Ramona Singer Jewelry for HSN. Ramona’s latest venture has her expanding to the wine world with Ramona Pinot Grigio.

My biggest role model has been my mother. I was the oldest of four children and my mother was a victim of domestic abuse. When I was growing up I would say ‘Why don’t you leave daddy?’ She would tell me that she had no choice but to stay. My mother was supposed to go to college but she got pregnant with me, and that ended that. And there were no shelters for women suffering from domestic abuse, as there are today (that’s one of the reasons I support women’s shelters).

Growing up, my mother wanted to make sure that I didn’t make the same mistakes she made. She told me to develop my own career and become financially independent. Even with a great marriage, she would say, when you are your own person, your husband will respect you more.

After high school, I studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. While working on my two-year degree, I realized I wanted to get a B.S. degree in business. My father told me he wasn’t going to “waste any more money on me” as I would just end up getting married and having kids. I remember so vividly first the anger, then the determination to prove him wrong. I was going to make something of myself and I was going to become successful. So I took a student loan, worked 30 hours a week and took 21 credits each semester. Nothing was going to stop me and I thank my mother for encouraging me to keep going.

After college I became a buyer at Macy’s. Then, at 29, an opportunity came up for me to start my own business, RM Fashions, and I went for it. At the time I knew I wanted to have a family, and wanted to have the flexibility to make my own hours. Over the years, I’ve been able to spend time with my daughter when I wanted to because I have my own businesses. Another benefit of being an entrepreneur is that there’s no ceiling on your income!

I have a lot of acquaintances who are very wealthy but had to sign pre-nups. When the marriage fails then where are they financially? Not in a good place. Because I developed my own career and my own business, I was able to marry for love, not for money. My husband and I are partners and I’ve never had to be subservient to him. This stems from my mother’s lessons on the importance of independence.

My mother was a great role model for other reasons as well. She instilled in me the joys of creating a home and family life. My mother taught me how to cook, bake and sew, which led to my interest in fashion. She was a great entertainer and passed that joy onto me. I learned that you can have a beautiful home, regardless of money. If you can’t afford Lenox or Wedgewood, you can buy beautiful dishes at a thrift shop for next to nothing. What’s important is that you have pride in your home and family. At night, my husband, daughter and I sit down for dinner to share a meal together and talk. Even if we have takeout, we’ll use nice plates, and sit at the table as a family.

What I believe is that women need to realize the impact they have on their children. Women are the biggest role models for their children. This is something I personally realized when my 16-year-old daughter Avery wrote a report on her biggest role model. She chose me – and this is, in part, what she said: “Despite not having a great childhood, [my mother] persevered and promised herself that she could have a better life when she was older. Her story inspires me to believe that one can achieve one’s dreams if he/she believes in oneself and remains optimistic. She wanted to be successful and make her own money, which is a lesson she always drills into my head. She is my role model because she became successful on her own, and she is a great mother and wife.”

I’m sure my mother would be as proud to read those words, as I am today.