I’ve had 29 years to learn from my amazing mother, and I thought it fitting to share some of what she’s taught me, so I made a list of 29 life lessons I’ve learned from Mom. It was an easy list to make, as there were lots of lessons to choose from.
1. Homemade sugar cookies beat the packaged kind any day. Don’t handle the dough any more than you have to.
2. German Chocolate Cake, like so many things in life, is worth the tremendous effort it takes to make it from scratch. I rock a good German Chocolate Cake these days (it’s one of my selling points on the dating websites, even) and it’s all thanks to Mom’s tutelage.
3. If you’re running late and your hair is wet, sticking your head out the window of the car works just fine, as long as someone else is driving.
4. You are never too old to climb in Mom’s bed and be cuddled.
5. Service is the best way to show love. My mother’s whole life has been dedicated to serving children, and they all love her for it.
6. If your favorite t-shirt is wet and you’re in a hurry, throwing it into the microwave is not the best of ideas. It will then be hot and wet.
7. All of God’s creatures, even the smallest animals, should be treated with respect. I have seen my mother rescue rabbits, pigeons, cats, dogs, and even goldfish.
8. Braiding your hair at night will keep it from getting tangled. French braids work best, and my mom might be the best French braider ever.
9. Spelling counts, and a rich vocabulary is an asset. Practice this skill by reading.
10. Forgiveness, even if it takes a decade, is worthwhile, and forges stronger relationships and friendships. My mother is one of the best examples of this principle that I have ever seen.
11. The most significant thing you can do as a parent to guarantee a child’s academic success is to read to them as early and as often as possible.
12. Music is one of life’s great joys, and singing with family is one of the best ways to make it. Dressing your daughters in matching outfits and making them perform cute songs will always win talent competitions.
13. Parallel parking is a cinch when you have the right teacher. Small cars help too.
14. No matter how many times you water them, you can’t grow rocks. I know; I tried. More importantly, my mom taught me that making mistakes while you try new things is okay. It’s how we learn.
15. Mailboxes count as progress. Don’t get down if you think you’re moving too slowly. Just keep moving.
16. Education is worth whatever it takes. Watching my mother sacrifice to get her Bachelor’s and then her Master’s after her divorce had a tremendous impact on me.
17. The Church is true. Nothing will ever change that.
18. Dirty (ish) jokes are funny, as long as you don’t tell them to Grandma.
19. Makeup application is an art form, and needs to be practiced.
20. Traditions that celebrate the joyful moments in life are worth keeping, even if they make a lot of noise. This includes a pots and pans parade on the morning of the Fourth of July, no matter how much racket it makes.
21. When you make a commitment, keep it, even if it means staying up all night. I have seen her do this on several occasions, and it’s a quality I try (and often fail) to emulate.
22. Prayers are answered, and faithfulness is met with blessings. So pray often, pay your tithing, and do what you should, even if you’re struggling.
23. Don’t talk with your mouth full— choking stinks. Also, it’s gross.
24. At any point in any day, people are most important. People are more important than housework, money, or whatever concern may be at the front of your mind. Treat them that way.
26. Dating is easy. Just think about the other person’s enjoyment before your own. Flirt a little.
27. Children thrive when they are allowed to express themselves creatively, even if this means wearing a Pocahontas costume and galoshes to the mall. Let your children express themselves.
28. Mel Brooks movies are pretty dang hilarious.
And perhaps the most enduring lesson of all:
29. You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you have a mind to. So many times in life, we can’t choose our situation or surroundings, and we can never control other people, but we’re always in charge of our own personal happiness.
Thank you, Mom. I love you.
I’d love to hear lessons you’ve learned from your mom, dear reader. Please feel free to share in the comments!