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Things your mother taught you
Old 09-08-2021, 05:35 AM
  #1

What important life lessons did your mom instill in you? Any that helped or harmed?

*My mom believed in “taking care of your teeth and your feet.” We didn’t have much money, but she made sure we visited the dentist regularly and wore “good shoes.” Now I’m 70: my arches are awesome and dentists/hygienists marvel at my teeth/gums.

*My mom also believed “You can never be too rich or too thin.” This advice helped my fiscal responsibility but set me on a lifelong path of distorted body image.

What advice did your mom give?


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Old 09-08-2021, 05:46 AM
  #2

I grew up in a large family . My mother taught me to treasure the public library and to be very careful with money. We always found ways to repurpose and I found that to be so valuable as a teacher and parent.
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Mom
Old 09-08-2021, 06:31 AM
  #3

My mother stressed the value of education. You can never be too educated. Impressive, I think for a woman who was the first in her immigrant family to graduate from high school and who had a loving, hard working but illiterate father.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:36 AM
  #4

My mother taught me to raise my son by doing everything opposite of what she did. She was not a good mother.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:37 AM
  #5

Great question Amiga!

Helpful advice: Never put anything in writing when you're mad.

Not so helpful: My Mom was a rather large woman and she worried about people who were too thin and always warned us to have a little extra weight "so you have something to fall back on...." Well, every time I gain a few pounds I think Mom would approve.


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Old 09-08-2021, 06:48 AM
  #6

My mother had a talent for happiness. One of her favorite quotes: "If this is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you'll have a very happy life." She was kind and comforting, but she did not believe in long term wallowing and self-pity. In the face of adversity, she believed in positive action. You put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. That lesson has stuck with all her children.

She and my father believed in raising strong, educated daughters who were financially and emotionally independent. They also believed in happy marriages and supportive relationships.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:59 AM
  #7

My mother believed in the axiom, "Do work that you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." Teaching was that work for me. She also showed me by example that women could do anything men can do, and probably better...but you have to prove it. She was a time and motion study engineer for Glen L Martin (now Martin Lockheed) airplane factory during WW II.

She also showed me by example what NOT to do: get married, have babies, stay home because women "aren't supposed to work", but should let their husbands support them. She was not against staying home and raising babies (nor am I), but she found it so hard to give up work she enjoyed, along with the intellectual stimulation and camaraderie of the workplace, in order to be "Dr. Bob's wife" and "the D kids' mother". I was able to turn that on its head: dh stayed home with the babies while I did the work I loved. It worked well for us.

Mom was frugal, a child of the Great Depression. She never knew want, due to her Dad's German engineering skills and education and her Mom's Scotch frugality and careful household management, but she learned to "use it up, make it do, do without" and to "buy classic quality clothes because they never go out of style and they last forever." That stood me in good stead while doing work I loved, but not making much money at it...with my dh at home with the babies...However, my Gentleman Friend and I often laugh about our Scottish mamas and how we still are pinching pennies even though we have ample money at this stage in our lives! We will think, "Gee, it would be fun to have a boat for the lake" and then think, "Where would we store it? We would have to pay a fortune to maintain it. Boats are a hole in the water into which you pour money." And so the money stays in savings.
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:28 AM
  #8

Quality over quantity. My mom would always have designer clothes and bags, but would only shop the clearance racks. I would rather spend my on quality things than buy cheap things a million times.


I also learned to always send a Birthday card and Christmas card. Everyone loves getting happy mail. So I always do that!
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:35 AM
  #9

My mom taught me to wear white or flesh colored underwear under light pants.

I’m always amazed that women will wear colorful underwear with light pants. Maybe they want to be noticed?
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Mom
Old 09-08-2021, 07:48 AM
  #10

I was taught that any task was worth doing well; pay attention to details. Just like Lisa, my mother was a product of the Depression and her family suffered during those hard times. Frugality and making do was a true talent! She served in a secretarial pool for the Marines at Camp Lejeune during WWII and was proud of her country and her contribution. Her story of a Minnesota girl being introduced to southern grits is hilarious! She also repeated wise words her father taught her, "Each to his own", something I find myself saying more and more often.


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Things my mom taught me
Old 09-08-2021, 07:50 AM
  #11

Same here regarding shoes. My mom had horrible feet so she made sure we always had good, supportive shoes.

She taught all 3 of us that creativity should be explored in a variety of ways. And that there’s no such thing as too much glitter.
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Mom values
Old 09-08-2021, 07:54 AM
  #12

My mom made sure my brother and I were considerate. We were taught to think how our actions will affect others. We are considerate of others time/space/etc, and strive to help others whenever it is possible to do so. She had no use for selfish, egocentric people that only focused on themselves and their wants and preferences.

She also instilled in us the concept of family first. She always told us that no matter what we did, we could tell her and even if she didn’t like our choices, she would stand with us and support us through the consequences. She also made sure we knew that no “stuff” was worth losing family over.

Consequently, my brother and I never fight and always have each other’s back. After she died, I learned about things she and my dad had done for my cousins before I was born and it just confirms how giving she was especially with family.

My mom was the kindest, most giving person I’ve ever known. I hope I can be half the woman she was.
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Lessons from Mom
Old 09-08-2021, 07:55 AM
  #13

My mom taught me the value of hard work, independence, and education. She was a divorced mother of two who never asked for help, worked overtime at a variety of jobs to support her two children, and was an evening community college student all through my middle school and high school years. She graduated from California State University at the age of 45 when I was a college sophomore and then she became a public school teacher.

When my mom retired at the age of 69, she changed to my district and continued to work as a substitute teacher for almost ten more years. All her sub jobs were exclusively at the large HS where I taught, and she was a popular sub. I think she wanted to keep an eye on me, and make sure I was OK.
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Advice from my lovely mother
Old 09-08-2021, 08:16 AM
  #14

When I was a teenager, my mother told me that once I chose to have sex, I would want to continue, so .....and then she kind of petered out because I don't think she had thought about what to say next. She just knew she was supposed to talk to me about sex.
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Old 09-08-2021, 08:40 AM
  #15

I love these.

I always remember my mom saying “you never know what goes on behind closed doors,” meaning you never know what’s happening in private.

She also taught me that you never know other people’s “saurus” (Yiddish word for pain).

What she didn’t teach me was how to budget or handle money.
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:06 AM
  #16

She taught me grace, dignity, respect. At the end of her life, she lost her short term memory so she often forgot the names of people and she said with her brilliant smile, "I'm so sorry, I've forgotten your name. My name is ...." They'd smile back and tell her their name and the conversation would continue.

In my first year of teaching, my mother gave me the best advice: I had a VERY challenging child in my class and one day, as I complained about her yet again, Mum said, "it sounds like you need to love her." I exclaimed, "Love her?! I don't even like her". Mum said in her gentle way, "you don't have to like her but you do have to love her." I remembered those words many, many times over my career.

She was only a so-so cook. She taught me many things that I had to unlearn. I had to unlearn how to cook fish: she would take one of those blocks of frozen fish (remember those? they were vile) and put it in a hot oven until it became a block of, I don't know, dust? that had a vague fish flavour. No wonder we all hated fish.

Great thread, amiga13!

ETA: There wasn't money for my mum to go to university, there was for her brother but not her. Even though her brother died in the war, they used the money saved for him to go to university for something else. It was the norm at the time but she never really understood why she had to quit her job when she got married. She made sure we all went to university and had a career in something we loved to do and that we all knew we could continue to work after we got married.
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:07 AM
  #17

I was taught graciousness and kindness from my mom although I doubt I'll ever be as good at it as she was She also told me to ignore all parenting books and just love my kids and do the best I could.

My grandmother always said "you need to suffer for beauty" and "shoot me if I ever wear old lady shoes" These lessons I did not learn but I always think of her as I spend about 5 minutes doing hair and makeup and then put on my comfy, supportive boots.
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life lessons
Old 09-08-2021, 09:14 AM
  #18

My mom was what they now call a Tiger Mom. Extreme expectations that were rarely met. I learned to give my own kids the space to allow them to be themselves, find their own interests, and be happy.
Quote:
Frugality and making do was a true talent!
My mom was also very frugal and made do, having gone through hardships during WW2, and I am grateful that she passed this on to me.
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:33 AM
  #19

My mom always stressed the importance of an education and being able to support yourself since you’ll never know where life will take you. Her first language wasn’t English and she only had a high school diploma, but she made sure all of us graduated from college.

She taught me to be a good listener. She would always listen to my long rambling stories of work or kids. She never gave advice unless I asked but just having her listen without being judgmental, was such a comfort. That’s what I miss the most.
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Mom
Old 09-08-2021, 09:57 AM
  #20

My mother taught me so much it is difficult to choose one thing to share. I guess I will say that she taught me that God comes first and family second. She was always there when a family member needed help so she taught me that by example.
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My mom taught me
Old 09-08-2021, 10:01 AM
  #21

  • How to sew my own clothes
  • How to have a strong work ethic
  • How to cook without a recipe
  • Live your life the way that makes you happy. Don’t worry about what others think.
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:23 AM
  #22

One of the lessons I learned from my mother was not to hide my academic accomplishments--but never to brag about them either. (I come from a line of well-educated women. My grandmother graduated from Ohio State pre WWI.) Good advice.

She also passed along a comment from my kindergarten teacher to the parents--"I promise not to believe everything your child says about you, if you promise not to believe everything they say about me."
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:45 AM
  #23

My mother did her best. She was a teenage mom with 4 kids married all her life to my bully of a father.

She gave me a love of reading. I am an avid reader and life long learner because of her.

Her great words of advice to me when I married were “always have your own car.” Even though she had a tyrant of a husband she always had her own car to drive when she needed it. That was quite a bit of independence for a woman in her era. I always took this advice to mean so much more - be independent and live your own life! I took those words to heart.
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Old 09-08-2021, 12:41 PM
  #24

The main thing I learned was to be resourceful and not buy something new if the old one can be fixed. I learned so many craft skills and how to make things.
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Old 09-08-2021, 01:21 PM
  #25

*Education is important and it's just as important for women as it is for men, if not more so because...
*Marriage can be great but women should not get married for the sake of financial or emotional support.
*Financial stability is important but don't attach your ego to your belongings.
*Always see the best in the people you love. (She might have taken this too far - to the point of being blind to the flaws of her loved ones.)
*Never have sex with a stupid man unless you want to raise stupid children.
*Always wear sunscreen. Cancer is no fun and who wants to look old before their time? (I think she was a little paranoid about this because I was the "paleface" in the family. She always worried that I might get a bad sunburn because I burned so much more easily than she did.)
*Take care of your feet. She did not teach this by example. She had terrible problems with her feet from squeezing them into pointy-toed pumps for too many years and she injured her toes more than once by doing heavy work in open-toed shoes.
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Mother
Old 09-08-2021, 02:32 PM
  #26

My mother taught the value of a good education. She felt it extremely important for a woman to be able to support herself and not be dependent on a man. She learned this lesson from her father who raised six girls. My parents had a wonderful marriage, but she was there because she wanted to be, not because she needed to be. She had a tremendous work ethic and passed on a Christian heritage to her 3 children.
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Old 09-08-2021, 02:38 PM
  #27

My mom taught me the value of books. She also taught me to reward yourself with ice cream. And that nothing good happens out late at night. When she watches the news she goes out of her way to point out all the bad things that happen late at night.
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Old 09-08-2021, 03:20 PM
  #28

My mom taught me to use and love libraries.
She also taught me how to use the public bus system.
She took us to church.
My mother had limitations; she had Schizophrenia and was an alcoholic.
I believe she did her best for her children. She tried to fulfill the reunification plan so her children could return from foster care. She attended all the classes required, taking the bus for transportation.
She struggled to be compliant with her medication. In her last 20 years she remained compliant in spite of severe side effects, including tardive dyskinesia.
At the end of the day, I can say that she tried. She fought many demons, but she did fight.

Dorothy
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Old 09-08-2021, 03:35 PM
  #29

Things my mom taught me . . .
  • get an education
  • have your own career
  • be financially responsible
  • take care of yourself
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Old 09-08-2021, 04:06 PM
  #30

My mom always taught me if you have a job interview and you don’t hear anything back, always call. I got a few jobs that way!

My mom taught me that when there’s an issue with a (school) parent, not to let it ruin my night because I wasn’t ruining their’s.

She also taught me to ask, the worst somebody can say is no. You don’t ask, you don’t get!
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mom lessons
Old 09-08-2021, 04:14 PM
  #31

I don't remember my mom ever giving me advice. But I think I learned by some of her examples some good lessons/life skills.
Just like her, I love reading and always having tons of reading materials on the coffee table and nightstand.
Just like her, I enjoy tidiness.
Just like her, I hold on to notes, cards, and travel logs.
Just like her, I try to prepare and eat healthy foods for the most part

Thought provoking thread!
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Old 09-08-2021, 04:15 PM
  #32

My mom taught me:
how to sew and now I love to quilt!
the more independent you are the better - she was fiercely independent
the love of reading
the joy of friendship - she had many friends and cherished her time with them

She was very critical and often criticized me. I finally realized that she was unhappy and stopped taking it personally but it took me a long time.
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Mother
Old 09-08-2021, 06:21 PM
  #33

She taught me the joy of reading!
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My mother
Old 09-10-2021, 04:22 AM
  #34

*She taught me to treat others equally. She never considered herself better than others. She taught this by example. She would seek out people to be friends with that others might not at church and in the communities where she and my dad lived.

*She and my dad took my brother and myself to church and provided our spiritual needs.

*She was truly interested and cared about other people, their families, and their lives.

*She also taught me to do my very best to finish what I started.

*She was the greatest encourager and helped me to achieve any goal that I wished to obtain.

*She was always there for me.
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:45 AM
  #35

Determination!
My mom grew up during the Depression and lived on a farm with her father (who divorced my grandmother when she was 5). She graduated high school at the age of 13 and finished college at 17. She moved into an apt. about 2 hours from her home and started teaching immediately.

When I graduated college at 23, I moved 6 hours for a teaching job. I knew no one anywhere close by, but was determined to make it on my own.

Many years later after my father died, she lived on her own for 20 years. At age 76, she sold her house and moved here.... again no one close except for my family. She made friends immediately with everyone in her apartment building and found a line dance group to join as wells as walking 2 miles everyday. We had 8 years together before she passed away. She helped me with the kids while I worked on my National Boards and took home from school when they were sick. She went to all their soccer games, meets, and dance recitals. She was determined not to miss anything they were involved in.

I hope I can do that for my kids someday.
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Old 09-12-2021, 06:45 AM
  #36

My mom taught me everything. I adore my mom. The biggest thing I got from her is that as a woman I can do whatever I want to do. Nothing can stop me if it is something I want. She taught me all the homemaking skills she could (sewing, knitting, cooking) and encouraged me to take Industrial Arts in school. That was I had my own basis of knowledge. She also taught me unconditional love. I am fiercely independent due to her encouragement for me to live for me before I decided to settle down and marry.
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