Things My Mother Taught Me

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of you with sons, daughters, and fur babies!  I hope that you’ve had an awesome day.  You totally deserve it, you rockstars.  In honor of today, I wanted to do something a bit different and give a shout out to my own mom.  Somehow she managed to impart some pearls of wisdom throughout the years filled with laughs, tears, arguments, and my bad teen fashion choices.  Let’s take this day to celebrate all of the things our moms taught us.

1) Wear Sunscreen – Seriously.  Unless you’re a purse, the crocodile look is never in style.  I tell myself that this piece of advice is why I still get carded frequently.

2) Trust No One – Ok. I might actually take this one a bit far sometimes since I’m paranoid, but I’ve managed to avoid a lot of bad stuff by being aloof and neurotic.

3) But Be Kind To Everyone – I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember my mom making a single sexist, racist, or ageist comment.  She never put down others for being overweight.  She always treats the elderly with respect.  She regularly engages in random acts of kindness for strangers. Basically, my mom taught me that it isn’t cool to be a dick.

4) Treat Yourself the Way You Want to be Treated – In all honesty, I was a pretty spoiled kid.  I probably got way more than I needed, but the good thing about this is that I don’t feel guilty for treating myself.  So many women don’t take care of themselves because they think it’s selfish or they’re waiting for someone else to do it.  Just buy yourself the damn flowers already, ok? You’re worth it.

5) Protect Yourself – This is an important one. Whether it’s learning how to use a gun, practicing safe sex, or telling an overly touchy date “that makes me very uncomfortable,” don’t be afraid to speak up or do the things that you need to do in order to feel safe.

6) The Joy of Cooking is a Wealth of Knowledge – My mom is an awesome cook.  This is NOT a trait that she passed along to me.  Luckily, she did teach me that the next time I forget how to boil water, I can consult The Joy of Cooking.

7) A Good Book is a Girl’s Best Friend – Of all of my childhood hobbies, my love of reading was the one my mom indugled most often.  She took great pride in the fact that both of her children were bookworms, and she always encouraged our love of good books.  I learned early on that I would rather curl up with a great story than go to the hottest party, and I’ve never regretted time spent reading.  I have since regretted many times spent partying.

8) Save for a Rainy Day – I’m lucky to have parents who modeled good money habits.  Although I probably splurge more than necessary, I also recognize the fact that shit happens.  Seriously, people.  Start contributing to your company’s 401(K).  Save a small amount from each paycheck.  Start today.

9) How to Spot Belleek Pottery and Appreciate Antiques – My parents used to sell antiques and dragged me to countless auctions, shops, and dumpster diving trips (don’t judge…you can find awesome stuff on the side of the road).  My point is, I credit my mom with teaching me to love vintage clothes, to know that I’m not a fan of Belleek, and to recognize that some really ugly things can be made beautiful with a little creativity and elbow grease.

10) “Always Be a First-Rate Version of Yourself Instead of a Second-Rate Version of Someone Else” – I think Judy Garland said it best.  My mom always taught me to be myself, even if no one else really “got it.”  I’m sure that she was embarrassed of her kids’ wacky ways more often than not, but she never let on that she was.  Instead, she told me I looked pretty in my wannabe Courtney Love kinderwhore dresses and danced with my brother to songs from Fiddler on the Roof.  My brother and I were always encouraged to be open-minded and curious.  We were taught to stand up for what we believed in, even if it meant standing alone.  And in high school, it usually did.  But the great thing is that the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been able to find people whose crazy matches my own.  So let your freak flag fly proud!

Ok…now it’s your turn. What lessons from your mom will you always remember?