Home > Random Musings > Things My Mother Taught Me

Things My Mother Taught Me


Even now, it seems like my mother has skills that I’ll never possess. Like sewing, for instance. No matter how much I try, my stitches look like I’ve made them with my eyes closed. One-handed. Really. It’s not pretty. There’s also the fact that her coffee always magically tastes better than mine, just like her tuna salad. It isn’t that I make either badly (I make good coffee), but hers always seems to have that Mom Magic element to them. It’s uncanny.

She’s the woman who stayed up until three in the morning, sewing a hoop skirt into my pink dress (it was for a birthday party when I was about eight), who handmade my Halloween costumes every year (and still would, if I needed her too–Jem and the Holograms is next!), who took me to the doctor every time I was deathly ill (and let’s face it — that happened a lot when I was little), who drove me everywhere I needed to go (and all of my friends, too), who never said ‘no’ even when she thinks she should have, and who still puts up with me somewhat gracefully, even in all my crazy madness.

She’s the person who believes in me, when I cannot believe in myself. Who tells me that I’m more capable than I think, even if I don’t quite believe her. And she’s the first person to call ‘bullshit’ when I chirp out, “I’m fine,” when it’s clear that a) I’m not fine, and b) that I’m a really bad liar. She’s also the person that you should never go Christmas tree shopping with, unless you have really quick reflexes, a camera, and are ready to laugh. But that’s an entirely different story.

There are so many things that I’ve learned from my mother. Too many to list, honestly. But I’ll share a few with you.

  • When cooking, cook as if you’re feeding the whole of Asia. No one should go home even remotely hungry. Also, make sure that you cook something for everyone. Trying to feed a vegetarian a steak isn’t exactly being a good hostess.
  • You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. There’s no cause to be unnecessarily nasty. Often times, being extra nice will annoy a crappy person more than getting angry.
  • Don’t let anyone walk all over you. If someone’s doing you harm, speak up. Stand up for yourself. (Okay, that’s a work-in-progress.)
  • Sometimes, you’ve got to fake it until you make it. Confidence matters, and the illusion of confidence works just as well.
  • Don’t throw spaghetti on the ceiling. That’s a waste of good pasta.
  • Sarcasm is a way of life. Learn it, live it, love it. Without it, life can be a bit boring. Bring on the snappy comebacks.
  • Help people when you can. Because you’d want someone to do the same for you — and it’s the right thing to do.
  • Never do something just because other people are. That’s not being your own person. That’s being a lemming.
  • Never underestimate the power of a hug, laughter, or bursting into song. They’ll make your bad days better. I’m not entirely sold on the song part, but nobody’s perfect.
  • Always try your best, regardless of what you’re trying to do/accomplish. Do things you can be proud of.
  • Never talk to strangers, or offer to help them find their lost puppy. If I hadn’t been warned of that as a kid, I would’ve fallen for that trick, I’m sure. I like animals. I’m trusting. Bad, bad combination.
  • Makeup should enhance your beauty, not make you resemble a clown. Or a raccoon. Less is more.
  • Don’t let fear hold you back. The only person that will be sorry is you. (Occasionally, I slip up on this, but again — human!)
  • Push forward. Don’t wallow.
  • Never underestimate the importance of family, even the crazy relatives generally mean well.
  • Always park under a light, and carry a scissor in your purse/car.
  • Wear a hat when it’s cold. I’ve finally gotten the hang of that. Of course, it might have something to do with my strawberry shortcake hat. It’s so cute.
  • Really listen to people when they speak. That’s a skill that not everyone can master.
  • Own up to your responsibilities, regardless of what they are — a diabetic cat, for instance.
  • And, lastly, always wear sunscreen, never smoke, and if you drink, don’t drive.

There are so many other things that my mom has taught me, shown me, or helped me to understand. I could keep going on and on, but my fingers are tired…and I need more coffee.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

  1. May 8, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Beautiful post, Ali! It sounds like your mom and my mom have taught us a lot of the same lessons, particularly parking near a light and the less makeup is more thing. Tell your mom I said “Happy Mother’s Day!” if that’s not too weird. 🙂

  2. May 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    i like your mother. thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Anonymous
    May 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Awesome post! I hope one day Emma writes a list like this for me. And more importantly, I hope I’m sober enough to read it lol!

  4. May 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day to your mom…who has raised a really wonderful daughter! xoxo

  5. May 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Not throwing spaghetti on the ceiling is certainly a good lesson. 🙂

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