10 Things My Mother Taught Me

*Today’s post is from Mother’s Day 2011 as it’s one of my favorite Mother’s Day posts, and it still holds true.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers who have joined the rank of “Mom”, whichever way brought you here.*



There are SO many things we learn from our mothers: to tie our shoes, to say “please” and “thank you”, how to cook (coughs), to be kind to others. Really, we learn to be good humans, if we are fortunate enough to be blessed with a loving, caring mother.  So in narrowing down the list, I decided to skip the obvious things and go with those that really resonate when I think of my mom.

Make Your Bed – seems, silly, right? However – I literally cannot leave the house without having all the beds made. We weren’t allowed to leave for school with an unmade bed; this used to drive my sister NUTS. She would say “Why can’t we close the door?” to which Mom would reply “It makes the hallway dark – so MAKE YOUR BED.”  Needless to say, I can’t get into an unmade bed at night. It makes me downright uncomfortable.

Lesson learned: get your ducks in a row, and everything will flow from there.

Yelling Accomplishes Nothing. Just ask my kids. Hopefully, they will learn the lesson eventually. (I still haven’t.)

You Don’t Have to Like It, Just Do It. My mom does not love to cook. To be honest, she’s stated in subtle ways that not that much into food, in general, and this does not make an inspired cook. But she did it, every night, like it or not. She even cooked stuff she didn’t like because it was good for you. (Me? A brussels sprout will likely NEVER cross my children’s plates, because I can’t stand them, and I’ll eat them for No One.) Although, the results are still out about the beefy burgers, Mom….

You Gotta Step Up To the Plate – Bless her heart, my Mom stepped up to the plate on many an occasion so that she wouldn’t see us miss out on things. Bluebirds leader resigns? She took over the troop so we would be able to attend. I KNOW she hates crafts, so this was pretty big.  Oh, and when she coached the cheerleading squad at St. Patrick’s? Um, yeah. Give me an “M”!…..

I have to add, since she so kindly reminded me in the comments, one year for our grade school Christmas party she dressed up as Rudolph. As in, the Reindeer. Yes. The things she did for her kids…

Lesson learned: sometimes you have to just have to step up to the plate if you want to see something happen.


To Know What’s Going on in your Children’s School, Get Involved. My mom dove into the PTA and was involved in everything when we were in grade school. The reality is, if you want to get to know the teachers and what is going on at school, volunteer in a classroom or with the PTA (or PTO or PTFA). You want your teachers to love your kids? Don’t let them read your blog. Just sayin’….

Red Wine and Chicken in the Microwave = Purple Chicken. (I have not tried this one. Thanks for the lesson, mom).

Lesson learned: the microwave is for reheating, not for cooking – unless it’s popcorn.

Wooden Spoons are Scary (or, Props are Good). We were never, ever chased with one, or hit with one, but when an angry Italian is waving around a wooden spoon, children back down. She had a good habit of smacking hers down HARD on the countertop to make a point.

Lesson learned: You don’t have to BE mean. You just have to let them know you MEAN whatever it is you say.

The CrockPot Doesn’t Cook if you Don’t Plug it In. I’m sure my Dad just snorted coffee through his nose at this one, but it IS true. You also must always take the shrink-wrap off of the ham before putting it in the roasting pan.

Lesson learned: Rushing gets you nowhere, and you have to remember that there are going to be things in life that are just assumed. Double check on those anyway.

No Matter How Much You Love Your Kids, You are Going to Bump Heads With Them. I did it, my sister did it, and she never gave up on us. Now, I bump heads with Boo (we are too much alike) and with Pea (she needs her Mommy but doesn’t like to be TOLD what to do) and I just have to roll with it. Count to ten. Get on with it. And there is always wine for after bedtime.

Lesson learned: The “mother’s curse” – “may your kids be just like you” generally holds true. My kids are just like me. Or my husband. And sometimes, the behavior that drives you the most crazy is likely due to a trait you share.

Everything has its Rightful Time. One distinct memory of my mother is that of her vacuuming.  Constantly. Also, she was ALWAYS curled up with a book. Proving, of course, that you always need to make time for you along with the chores.

Lesson learned: make time for you, because the floor/dishes/laundry WILL be dirty again tomorrow.


And because I really stink at editing and I lost my ability to do math after my second child, I’ll leave you with one more:

Motherhood is an Underappreciated Job. I mean, seriously, how often do kids REALLY appreciate all that their mothers do for them – the sacrifices they make, the early mornings, the late hours, the catching-puke-in-your-hands. My mother was a master at making money stretch, and her budgeting system still confuses me to this day, but darn it, it worked. She was teased for her cooking, but the fact remains that none of us went hungry. She was strict, and we were straight-laced kids – and for that, I’m grateful too. It just took me a while to get here.

Lesson learned: “I’ve become my mother” are four of the most eye opening words I’ve ever uttered – and your kids likely won’t truly appreciate you until they reach adulthood.

So for all that you’ve taught me, intentional or not (including to be able to laugh at yourself), thanks Mom.

I love you.


Three Generations – Mothers and Daughters



Today’s post was in response to one of five writing prompts listed for this week’s Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: “Ten Things My Mother Taught Me”.



  1. I didn’t fully appreciate my mom unitl I had two kids. I have a wonderful husband. She did it on her own and got a college degree but I never remember her missing anything. I do remember her staying up all night and looking tired. I love my mom

  2. My mom hated to cook and has passed that trait on to me. Luckily my hubby enjoys cooking, and not just on the grill. Otherwise we’d have saltine crackers and grapes every night!

  3. Great list! Moms have a lot of wisdom, don’t they?

  4. Great list! And very funny. Purple chicken? Making sure teachers don’t read your blog? hee hee hee. Loved it.

    SaucyB recently posted… Delusions of Grandeur

  5. Thanks Jenn, TEARS and remembering. Still have the spoon. Want it sent in Sams birthday package. Forgot playing Rudophs at the xmas program. Someone brought that up recently. Your family probably thanks you for not taking after me with the cooking. You did forget the tuna noodle casserole without the tuna. Love you.

    • Well, actually, while I DID forget playing Rudolph at school (now that shows some dedication), maybe I didn’t forget the tuna noodle casserole without the tuna, or dad’s ham and mayo sandwich without the ham….
      but if you want to call yourself out…well…this is why I love you!

  6. These are great! Love number 8….sounds exactly like something I’d do!

  7. My grandmother was my mother growing up. She was nuts about us making up the beds in the morning too. And just last week I forgot to plug in the crockpot!

    Hug sand Mocha,

  8. these are great and so true! I wanna know more about purple chicken!

  9. Jim McCarrens says

    Here is my 2 cents- remember Mom making a pumpkin dish .She put eggs ,oil and pumpkin filing in the built in counter top mixer.Didnt have it hooked in right -she hit the switch and the bowl went airborn eggs -oil- and pumpkin dripping off the ceiling. She ran out of the room crying and your father cleaned it up.

  10. Nice post about your mom. We always had to make our beds too so I just always have. My mom was also a big time reader and we had a very close relationship.

    Stopping by from writer’s workshop. Here’s links to mine if you get a chance to visit:
    http://karenzemek.blogspot.com/2011/03/story-of-love-writers-workshop.html and

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: