There’s something nearly ubiquitous about moms—they give you tons of advice that you proceed to ignore and then later wish you hadn’t.
Moms are right quite a lot of the time, and I have a vague understand of why, now that I’m a mother too.
And it’s simple. It’s not complex:
Mothers have your best interests at heart.
So, here are ten things that my mom was right about.
1. People need space. When I was 14 and in a relationship with my boyfriend (now husband), I was definitely inappropriately possessive.
My mom told me that this type of behavior has the opposite desired effect. She also told me that if I wanted him to want to spend time with me, that I needed to give him the freedom to do whatever he chose.
Not shockingly, she was right.
If you’re in a relationship, you’ll find that, ironically, when you stop demanding attention that it’s usually more likely to come your way.
2. Take your shoes off in the house. This isn’t necessarily sage wisdom, it’s just good common sense.
3. Don’t be late. I was always late for high school. My hauntingly annoying alarm clock couldn’t even wake me up.
My mom explained to me that when you’re late, you’re placing more importance on yourself than on others.
In short, you’re being a self-centered asshole.
She was right.
4. Say please and thank you. They make everything sound nicer.
Please, stop farting and go use the bathroom.
Thank you for hugging me after my temper tantrum instead of fighting back.
You get the idea.
5. Be kind. My mom is the sort of lady who is kind to everyone.
She doesn’t treat anyone like she’s above them and she’s polite, even to absolute strangers, and, you know what? She’s got a lot of wonderful friends and people who love her.
See, nice guys (and gals) do win. So there. (Oops, wait a minute, my mom taught me not to gloat.)
6. Clean up. My mom is absolutely amazing at keeping a clean house. I am not. This did not work on me (but I tend to think that I’m still in the ignoring advice phase and will shortly be bumped up to the she was right, this works so much better status).
Regardless, I do feel better when I get off my rear and do the dishes and wash the laundry and, you know, take care of my surroundings…because I live in them…and that’s what you do.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on progress in this arena. (Although, for more accurate information, you should probably just go and ask my husband.)
7. Find joy in your daily life. Oh, I could write an entire book on the merits of this mindset. Come to think about it, I’ve definitely written several articles.
One of my absolute favorite things to do with my mom is go to the grocery store. Yep, the grocery store. Why? Because we have fun!
If you can’t smile and laugh and find the simple joy in those small, seemingly inconsequential aspects of your life and of your day, then, in my not-so-humble opinion, you’re missing the entire point—and you’re definitely missing out.
8. Eat together. We always ate together. It was a big deal in my family.
Sometimes you live alone and sometimes you work alone and sometimes you simply can’t or don’t eat with others—but try to as often as you’re able.
Once you do, you’ll understand immediately why this makes life better.
Food and love are meant to be shared. (And if you think that food and love are not one and the same, then you obviously haven’t tried my gingerbread.)
9. Say excuse me. For example: No, I’m not mad at you, but thank you for saying “excuse me” and going to the restroom.
10. Work hard—and then accept that some things are not within your control. Okay, that might have been a slightly lengthy intro line, but it’s true.
My mama always said to put effort into everything that I do.
If I’m driving, I pay attention to the road. If I’m listening, then I’m not thinking about what I want to say.
She taught me that life requires elbow grease and gumption—and then you have to learn to go with the flow and accept those moments where no amount of personal effort will change your circumstances.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. (Although, that was John Lennon and not my mom talking there.)
Still, same principle.
My mom has a lot of faith that things generally work out for the best if you also try—and, I don’t know about you, but I might be working on putting #10 into practice for much of my life.
My mom actually taught me a lot more than 10 good things. (Don’t worry.)
She also taught me where the forks go on the table and how to shop frugally; but, those didn’t make it on this list because they’re boring.
So thanks, Mom. If I can teach my little girl, your granddaughter, an ounce of the wisdom that you’ve imparted to me, then I’ll consider myself a success.
Now, if I could only remember where those darn knives go…
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Relephant: The Good Mother.
Ed: Sara Crolick
Photo: Blue Caleel Photography