Tan fat is better than pale fat, pick your battles, and you don’t have to love every moment of being a mother: what ACMB team members learned from our mothers.
“Mother knows best.”
That saying is cliché, but I say it’s true. As a mom, I certainly think I know best when it comes to telling my kids what to do. Mom’s way is the highway, all the way. And, as much as 13-year-old me and 19-year-old me and 24-year-old me would be horrified to admit it, as a daughter, I admit my mother knows best.
I learned a lot from my mother. Funny thing is, I’ll be 50 this year and I don’t think I’m done learning things from my mother.
The most important lesson I learned from my mom is that I’m in charge of my own mind and, perhaps more importantly, my own feelings.
I uttered the words “you make me feel” during a heated adolescent argument about I-don’t-remember-what. I may have said, “You make me feel guilty,” or, “You make me feel inferior,” or something else fueled by drama and my misguided sense of justice. I don’t remember. But I do remember what my mom said next:
“No one can make you feel anything but you. You are in charge of your feelings. No one else. You can choose to feel hurt, happy, or miserable.”
Those words have stayed with me all these years, and you know what? They’re true. While others can certainly influence your emotional climate, we’re all ultimately in charge of our own feelings. Thanks for that, Mom. I think I’m a much better person for learning that life lesson. That, and “once you start shaving your legs, you won’t be able to stop and you’ll wish you had waited a little longer.” Ahem. You were right about that one, too.
I asked some of my fellow Alamo City Moms Blog contributors what they learned from their moms, and here’s what they had to say:
Taylor: “That everything goes the way it’s supposed to go. That we shouldn’t try to control everything because really it’s all so out of our control…and that that’s OK. Faith, strength, and perseverance are what I’ve learned from my mom. Also, how to love unconditionally.”
Maggie: “Pick your battles.”
Bridget: “Family is everything.”
Jessica: “‘Always check for paper before sitting.'”
Erin: “Mine said, ‘Forget the paper, learn to squat!'”
Dawn: “I learned to laugh from my mother. Even at the lowest of times, my mother finds a way to laugh and taught me that a sense of humor about life can make even the worst of things more bearable. And also that breakfast for dinner is perfectly acceptable.”
Brooke: “Pretty is as pretty does, tan fat is better than pale fat, and one should learn all of the words to songs from the 1950s and sing them as loud as possible.”
Taylor: “I’ve also learned that you can love, love, love being a mom and still think motherhood is really hard. That it’s OK to not be in love with motherhood every minute of every day.”
Amy: “I learned the value of making things by hand or from scratch.”
Amanda: “‘Don’t back up. Only you can be in charge of how you feel.’ Also, every time we walked out of the house: ‘Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t have sex. Wash your hands. Be nice.'”
Michelle: “‘A smile is always beautiful, welcome, and appreciated. Read voraciously. Burst into song whenever the mood arises. Be silly with reckless abandon.'”
Ashley: “‘You may not care that you look like a slob but another person will. First impressions are important.’ Also, ‘Call me when you get there, and call before you leave.’ Although this advice was meant to be for things like riding my bike to a friend’s house or partying in high school, I still call home to this day when I travel.”
Denise: “When I was younger I had severe eczema: on my hands, arms, legs, even my face in the winter. I never once felt ashamed or that I should hide it. I wasn’t pressured to look a certain way. Looks were not emphasized for acceptance: ‘You be you.'”
Erin: “So NOT what you’d probably find today, but I LOVED hearing two things that totally surprised me, coming from my mom, as I grew into an (young) adult. First, she never read my diary (and duh—I wrote a lot). Really? Never? My super amazing mom said she promised herself she would only ever read it if she feared I might be in serious trouble and need intervention of some sort. Oddly enough, I believe her. Second, she told me she and my dad (but mostly her) knew about many of the escapades I thought I was getting away with. Parties, “sleepovers” at my friends’ homes, and late curfew returns when I thought I glided in without her “awakening” (she never slept until she knew I was home). I don’t think I could do any of this today. Maybe I’m too outspoken, too curious, too much of a hovering mom at times. But as an adult I really appreciated her giving me that space and knowing in the big picture she trusted me…which is why I probably won’t be able to parent that way. I KNOW what I was doing!”
We learn from our mothers, and our daughters learn from us. Some of us may have even said something like, “OMG, I’m turning into MY MOTHER.” And if you haven’t said that, don’t worry—you probably will at some point.
In celebration of the powerful stories of motherhood, the Listen to Your Mother Show is coming to San Antonio this year. Thirteen local mothers are taking the stage to tell their stories of motherhood. Heartwarming, heartbreaking, poignant, funny, messy, and sleep-deprived stories of motherhood.
The show is at The Tobin Center on April 23rd at 2:00 P.M. Tickets are only $15, and proceeds benefit CASA. Grab your mom, your daughter, or a group of girlfriends and treat yourself to an early Mother’s Day event. The show lasts about 90 minutes, and you’ll leave smiling…unless you have ice cubes in the place where your heart is supposed to be.
Alamo City Moms Blog is giving away TWO tickets to Listen to Your Mother!Two Tickets to Listen to Your Mother: San Antonio on April 23