Mother Knows Best: 10 Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Life, Love, Health and Happiness

May 14, 2017

It amazes me how much the saying "mother knows best" rings true in my life. Granted, my mom isn't always right (although I'm sure she'd beg to differ), but I'd say she is about 98% of the time. Another thing that amazes me? How much I love this woman. We drive each other nuts from time to time, and we've certainly had our fair share of fights, but the connection I have with my mom is something that I can't ever find the words to explain - it's something that can only be felt. It's the connection I have with her that makes me believe in something bigger than ourselves. It keeps me motivated during the toughest times, and grateful during the darkest times. With each passing day, I grow more and more sentimental just thinking about how wonderful she is, and how lucky I am to have her in my life at all, let alone as my mom (seriously, what did I do in my past life to deserve this honor?!)

In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share some of the most valuable lessons my mom taught me throughout my childhood and teenage years, and the lessons she continues to teach me now in my twenties. I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the most important woman in your life - whoever she may be.

1. If a boy really likes you, he will let you know

It happens to all of us - women and men - particularly in our teenage years: when something nice happens between us and the person we desire romantically, we try and convince ourselves that they desire us, too. Let's be honest: in middle school, if the boy you liked said hi to you in the hallway and smiled at you, you hoped for the best. Early in my pre-teen years, my mom made it a point to tell me, "if a boy really likes you, he will let you know." She went on to say that you won't spend months wondering, because he'll tell you or make it incredibly obvious (as in, he'll ask you out on a date). This harsh yet necessary piece of advice saved me a lot of embarrassment and self-loathing in my high school and college years. When I see women trying to convince themselves that a man cares for them as more than just a friend, when that man has never truly said or done anything to support that thought, I feel bad that they didn't have my mother's voice of reasoning in their head. Seriously, thank you for this, mom. 

2. Nothing can replace face-to-face contact or a phone call

In a world filled with people who are increasingly obsessed with staring at screens and hitting "like," my mom remains an advocate for real human contact and the good ole' phone call. Growing up, she didn't let computers and social media take up too much of my time (which I thank her for now, even if I threw a fit back then) and she's always reminded me that human beings have an innate thirst for face-to-face contact and human touch, and it's a thirst we need to quench.

3. The sooner you take care of your skin, eyes, posture and body, the better

When I turned 20, my mom gave me an anti-aging moisturizer. She also made the font on my phone larger, she bought me a back cushion for my desk chair, and she's always pushed me to get off my butt and get moving. Even though I tease her about all of these things, I appreciate her for reminding me that looking and feeling good in the later half of your life relies heavily on how well you treated yourself during the first half. And she's living proof of this: at almost 55, her skin looks like that of a 30 year old's.

4.  Be patient and be kind, but don't let people take advantage of you

As someone with one of the kindest hearts out there, my mom has always reminded me that we're all human beings with our own struggles. We're beautiful in our own ways, and we don't deserve to be judged or judge others by our exteriors. She taught me that kindness reciprocates, and patience is a virtue. She's also taught me that you need to be assertive in life, and you can't be too nice to the point where people take advantage of you. Stick up for yourself and be kind to yourself - no one will respect you if you don't respect yourself.

5. Put yourself out there and do what makes you happy 

One of the things I most admire about my mom (even if it sometimes makes me cringe) is that she really doesn't care what people think. If she's comfortable in an outfit, she's happy. She wasn't afraid to own the stage when she was in drama in high school, she'll happily bring the house down with karaoke and she loves to strike up conversations with people wherever she goes. Considering she's one of the happiest people I know, I think it's safe to say we should follow in her footsteps.

6. It's healthy to be a little selfish

Too tired to go out? Don't want to clean the house after you worked a 9-hour day? Not in the mood to make an hour long drive when someone could visit you? Say no. The people who love and care for you will (eventually) understand. We all deserve a break every once in a while. Don't spread yourself so thin that you aren't able to be yourself. You can always take a rain check.

7. A glass of red wine a day can help keep the stress at bay

My mom is basically the face of this movement, and I don't think I need to convince anyone that it's a movement worth joining. ;)

8. Invest time in your female friendships

My mom is amazing at fostering her friendships. She sees her best friend multiple times a week and gets together with her group of girlfriends every month (in addition to planning a big girls trip every year - without any husbands or boyfriends). Let's be honest: there comes a point where men don't understand women the way women understand women - and that's totally understandable. My mom is all about women supporting women and girls having their girl time. The older I get, the more I realize how important my female friends are ... and I love my mom for always pushing me to spend more time with them.

9. Take time to make - and preserve - your memories

I'm so grateful that my mom made it a point to be consistent with arranging family trips, friend play dates and celebrations for every birthday and holiday. She made so many of my dreams come true, and gave me an incredible, beautiful and exciting childhood that I still think about every single day. Better yet - I can relive those memories whenever I want, thanks to the fact that she was adamant about taking home videos and preserving photos in albums. A trip down memory lane is available whenever I need one.

10. Growing older is a blessing, and life is meant to be celebrated

Here comes the big lesson. The one everyone needs to read, especially during a time when bad news is all too common and, on a personal note, I'm hitting a quarter of a century in age: every year you grow older is a blessing. About to turn 30, 50, 80? You made it another year in this crazy, beautiful life, and that is something to be celebrated. Growing older is a privilege - it isn't guaranteed. You have one life, and you deserve to enjoy it, and create happiness whenever and wherever you can. Thanks to my mom, who made us celebrate her 50th birthday three separate times, I never grew up watching someone who dreaded hitting another milestone year. I saw someone who welcomed it with open arms, a big smile, and a grateful heart full of love. For this lesson, I can't thank my mom enough - and I couldn't love her more.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!

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