“Life doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mother.”
Life gains more clarity, or perspective if you will, as the years go by. Especially in how I view my mother. Now closer to thirty than twenty, and a mom myself with two children, a kind of appreciation has developed for my own parents. A kind that I believe only comes with the experience of being a parent myself. I know not all of us were lucky enough to have involved parents or even loving parents (though I truly hope you were), but my brothers and I were blessed beyond measure in our home growing up. Whether or not we choose to admit it our parents have shaped our lives, for better or worse, in ways we may not even realize.
I have been told many times that I am more like my dad than my mom. I believe that to be true. My mom’s personality and mine are very different. I say that still knowing, without a doubt my mom had a major influence on the woman, and kind of mother, I am today.
We owe much to the mothers in our lives. And for today I’ll reflect on just how much I owe to my own mother. Thanks to her I have learned to be confident as a parent, a homeschooler, and even as a wife. Through her practical and consistent wisdom throughout her years raising me and my brothers, a few lessons have stuck. Character traits in myself that I know have come from her. And for that I will be eternally grateful.
- Don’t be late, it’s inconsiderate to your hosts, venue, or event.
I still hear my mom’s words ringing in my ears everytime I am running late. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my mom’s punctuality, although thanks to her, I do my best to be to events on time.
- Quality over quantity.
Shop only when you need something, remembering the difference between need and want. When there is a need look for quality. Spend a little more and buy a little less.
- Gratitude generates contentment.
Owning less is great, wanting less is even better. This lesson comes not only from my mom but both of my grandmothers as well. I cannot recall ever hearing them complain about the things they didn’t have or a day that wasn’t going well. Oh, I’m sure there were times they didn’t have the best of everything and days no one would blame them for complaining. Instead, thankfulness has always shone brighter than their circumstance.
- If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
If you didn’t know this already, my mom was also my teacher growing up. I was homeschooled. I’m reminded as I type that she will be reading this blog post at some point and I have been checking and rechecking my grammar and spelling the whole way through. Aside from academics, I remember vividly my first job, at a coffee shop. I recall how shocked my employer was at how well I, a fifteen-year-old, had cleaned the bathroom. I was too because honestly, I didn’t do it as well as I could have, at least not the way my mom had taught me. My mom had instilled a work ethic in me that was even in effect when I wasn’t trying my best. Go figure.
- Read. Always.
Both of my parents had a hand in my love of reading. I’m sure part of it is just my personality, but even so I still vaguely remember the days of my mom reading to me and my brothers at bedtime. Reading is part of my everyday life. Reading opens your world to new ideas, new beginnings, and new adventures, and hopefully, I’ll succeed at passing that love of reading on to my own children, like my parents did.
- It’s not about me.
Focusing outside ourselves is really the only way to truly be happy. It takes practice, as selfishness is just a challenge of being human, but the more we focus on others the less we focus on ourselves. My mom taught me how to be selfless by her actions. How to choose to be selfless knowing its a choice we need to make daily.
- Be present.
Now as a mother myself, being present is incredibly important. Putting the phone away, the book down, or even passing on chores in the evening. My mom has always been available and is generous with her time and energy. I see this side of her, even more, today when her grandkids come to visit. She puts aside her extra activities and plays with them. Talks with them and listens. I count both my children very lucky to have not just one but two grandmothers who are “present”.
- Cook at home whenever possible.
My mom never considered herself a good cook (according to her, not me) but growing up I always remember a hearty home cooked meal at dinner time. A far cry from today’s fast food mentality. It was simple, frugal, and healthier. Now with my own family, most nights look the same.
- Everything in moderation.
Moderation is key. I’ve only truly embraced this in the past couple of years but I know how important this point is. My mom taught me this through her own example and I’ll be forever grateful. Moderation isn’t easily found in today’s culture. I am grateful that I had an example of it in my own life.
- If all else fails, take a bath.
An unintentional lesson on her part I imagine, but a lesson all the same. When things get overwhelming, the kids aren’t listening, your patience is running thin, take a moment to yourself. Regroup and refresh. Your family comes first but if that is going to happen don’t forget to take care of yourself too.
There you have it, ten life lessons from my mom. What lessons have you learned from your mother?