There are so many reasons to love May, starting with Mothers’ Day! What a beautiful time of year to reflect on all that our mothers have done for us. Whether your mother is still with you or not, and whether your relationship is one that was rocky or smooth, mothers and mother-figures teach us so many of life’s lessons. I’m daily thankful for the lessons from my mom.
With Mothers’ Day coming up, I wanted to reflect on life lessons that my mother has taught me. It’s hard to believe that my mom has been mothering my older brother and me for over 50 years now (shhhh…don’t tell her I told you!). While in my teens, I was pretty sure I knew more than she did, but it didn’t take long once I had my own kids to realize what an amazing resource she is.
She knows ALL THE THINGS. If I need to know how to cook a ham, fix a ceiling fan, buy a stock, handle a work situation or find a shade-loving perennial, I know she will help me. Not only does she know stuff, she loves to figure it out if she doesn’t.
Here are just some of the many lessons I have learned from my mom.
Lesson 1: Be a lifelong learner. My mom knows so much because she is a lifelong learner. She is curious about everything – popular TV shows, genealogy, how to fix things….She is always asking questions, reading, attending events, joining clubs and finding ways to learn something new. She inspires me every day to be curious. With an undergraduate degree in biology, she went back and got her masters in education while raising us kids, and spent much of her career in higher education. That just might be the reason I ended up here as well. Learning lessons from my mom is a constant and lovely education.
Lesson 2: Joyfully serve your family. My mom finds joy in serving her family – making the food, cleaning up, tending the yard. In my whole lifetime, I have never heard her raise her voice and yell “why is it my job to come up with all the meals every day and how do 5 people dirty 20 cups in one day??”. So, when I feel like shouting these things, I try to remind myself that it is a gift to be able to take care of my family, just as she took care of us for all those years. She is an amazing cook too, and food just tastes better at her house than anywhere else. Maybe because she always seems to prepare it with so much love.
Lesson 3: Eat lunch at noon, and dinner at 6. Ok – so most days I fail at this one. But for years our family of four had a schedule (and my parents still do), and we ate together in the dining room every evening. While our mealtime schedule might be a little crazier today, this structure instilled in me the importance of family meals with my three kids, and scheduling time to stay connected over dinner. Rarely do we miss, and it is a true joy to catch up on their days. This lesson from mom is a piece of my life I’m still grateful for.
Lesson 4: Say yes to adventure. My family is full of overthinkers. We think of all the reasons not to do something, and why it might be too dangerous/expensive/risky. But in the end, my mom almost always says yes to adventure. My parents taught us to love vacations, embrace the beauty of God’s creation, connect with each other and explore the world.
My mom was a high school exchange student in Germany, and travels as much as she and my dad can, visiting the Holy Land, and cruising to Russia. We’ve watched the sunset in the Gulf together, met distant relatives in Germany, and snorkled in Belize! I might not have had the confidence to do all of that, and share new adventures with my kids, if it weren’t for my adventurous mom!
Lesson 5: Value family and family history. Know your people, and where we come from. My mom spends hours researching on Ancestry.com. She values family history, and helps me to see how important it is. Not only are our ancestors important, but our aunts, uncles and cousins. We don’t have a huge family, but staying in touch with the ones we have is worth making time for. And if I need her to come the two hours to my house for any reason, she and my dad will be there, as they show us all the time how much our family means to them.
Lesson 6: Spend wisely. We definitely watched our pennies growing up. I still remember the one pair of special school shoes I got every year, and slept with them by my bed so I could admire them in the morning. Now my mom and I love to shop and my kids have way too many shoes, but we definitely still like a good deal. One of the best lessons from Mom was she taught me to never pay full price if it can be avoided, and only spend on things that will truly bring you happiness. She still cuts out coupons for me, and before I buy something big I usually think “what would mom do”.
Lesson 7: Be a good listener. I call my mom every few days, and she always makes me feel like she has been waiting to hear my voice. What a quality to have – to make people feel so special, like you have been waiting all day to hear from them. She listens to my latest saga of busy schedules and sick kids, or to the kids talk about their games and practices like it’s the most interesting news in the world. I try to listen like that to my family, and to my friends, but I’m not sure I pull it off as well.
These are only a few of the many lessons I have learned from my mom. She has brought me a lifetime of love and gifted me with these life lessons and more. (Dad has taught me plenty too…stay tuned for Fathers’ Day).
It makes me wonder what kind of mom I am, and what lessons my children will learn from me. I hope that I have continued to pass along many of these to my kids, as they are important ones! And I sure am grateful to my mom on Mothers’ Day for everything she has taught us, and for making me feel special every day.
What lessons has your mom taught you? My friend and fellow blogger Meghan wrote this very poignant blog on lessons she learned about parenting after her mom was gone. And here are some beautiful tributes to moms from former bloggers.