Mother’s Day honors the women who raised us and, along the way, provided us with a lifetime of lessons. Whether it was to cook eggs in butter or how to stand up for yourself, Mom’s advice has always been sound and worth sharing. The wisdom they pass down should be held close and reflected upon often. As your giver of life (or a stand-in who filled the role of Mom for you), these wise women deserve more than just a day of recognition. That said, we are starting Mother’s Day celebrations early by hearing from 19 locals on the great lessons they learned from their mothers.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
“Try not to sweat the small stuff. If it won’t continue to affect you in six months, it isn’t worth your worries; also, keep a stocked pantry and fridge — last-minute get-togethers with friends are so fun and doable if you’re always ready to host; Trust God and you’ll end up where you’re meant to be; there’s no reason to pay full price for anything! It’s so much fun to score a good deal or turn someone else’s trash to treasure. I could go on and on. She was the best.”
Rachel Molina, RN, BSN
A smile is the best makeup.
“My mom always told me that a smile on your face was the very best makeup (especially back when I was 13 and she wouldn’t let me wear makeup). She also grew up on a farm, so she always appreciated the importance of fresh, local foods. I remember going to Spring Hill with her to pick strawberries, and we would make homemade strawberry preserves together. They were the best!”
Emily Frith, owner, The Corner Market
Prioritize time with close girlfriends.
“My mom died at age 59 from a brain tumor (I was recently married but had no babies … yet), so I never had the chance to learn about parenting or marriage or career from her. What I did learn was really driven home to me through the period of her illness — which is prioritizing time together with close girlfriends.
“Invest in fun with your besties and make time to create ‘friend’ traditions. Mum organized five-year reunions for her college nursing pals, annual weekends with her curling team and canoe trips with her high school mates. They put on silly skits, drank lots of wine and adventured to the Yukon together. When she was very ill, all those women rallied around her to support us through her final days. I was humbled by the depth of her community and the hilarious stories they treasured.”
Martha Ivester, city manager, Nashville Google Fiber
Set your mind on what you want.
“Set your mind on what you want, and do what it takes to make it happen. If it’s a horse you want, get good grades; if it’s fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams, work hard.”
Anna Page, owner, Rebel Hill Florist
It’s the dog’s house, too.
“My mom loved dogs. If her dogs climbed on the furniture, which they always did, or got the house muddy, she said to remember that ‘it’s their house, too.'”
Anne Davis, campaigner for Karl Dean
Stand up straight.
“My mom, Pam, is a believer in all things good. The word encouragement transcended from her to me. The things I got to do as a kid were her way of letting me know her love for support, confidence and growth.
“She let me paint my room any color I wanted (lime green with Indian print curtains!); I painted a scene in our bathroom; I wore wacky clothes; I afro-ed my hair; I drove a 1964 VW van; I wore construction boots to my high school graduation; I ate my experimental vegetarian lasagna and smiled every time; I would rearrange her living room, and she always loved it. I am pretty sure she did not like everything I chose to do, but there were always silent words of encouragement and a billion hugs. She believed in the expression of one’s soul and how it helped form who you are … and did I do this for my kids? Hell ya!
“I would watch my mom stroll around the poolside, modeling the latest beach fashion, trying to encourage ladies to make a purchase. So cool as a young teen to have a model for a mom. Taking me along was a fabulous outing, but I believe she had ulterior motives … she was the posture police! My mom was the epitome of perfect posture. My sister and I had the ‘book-on-the-head’ training camp to help us complete our education of standing erect … with an emphasis on constantly holding your tummy in and shoulders up high. Oh yes, and lungs out. Thank goodness my sister and I were not gifted with ‘outer’ lungs so there was no fear of the ‘stare’ from young boys.
“It is also possible that my mom may have been passing down a family trait that her own mother enjoyed: jamming her finger in the middle of our backs every time we stood or sat next to her at the dinner table — it was always me. Well, it worked. I am following tradition from my Mimi and my mom and have made it my life’s ambition to have that invisible thread yanking on me every day of my life. (Today, it takes three threads!)
“As I picture my mom swirling around the pool in her flowery Lilly Pulitzer, I am thankful for my great posture and wonder what the hell happened to my own slumpy shouldered kids!”
Be business-like and professional, honest and kind.
“The greatest lessons I learned from my mother were how to be business-like and professional, honest and kind. Also, the importance of documenting things!”
Cheryl Pickney, property manager
You can do anything.
“My mother was a very special woman with amazing intelligence and talents too vast to list. She taught me some very important lessons at a very early age. Among them: You can do anything … literally. And this was at a time when many opportunities were limited for young women. A college education is a requirement. Marriage is secondary. Know that you are loved beyond measure.
“Since I lost my mother at 29 (she was 49), her guiding principles and love have been a foundation for me that has remained through all these years. I could never thank her enough.”
Linda Roberts, president & CEO, Therapy Systems, Inc.
Do something kind.
“If you’re having a bad day, do something kind for someone else. An act of intentional kindness takes your focus off self and makes your problems seem smaller.”
Carley McIntosh, territory manager, Volunteer Welding Supply
Wait to give advice until you are asked for it.
“My mum never complains, is always interested in other people, is a great conversationalist and is the last one standing at a party.”
Ed Nash, Ed Nash
Be true to yourself.
“My mom taught me the power of being true to yourself – the importance of carving out your own path, and not just following someone else’s. My mom never once told me that I was doing something the wrong way, but instead encouraged the ways that I would approach things in my life. It gave me a confidence in my individuality. I’ll always love that about her.”
Matt Reed, realtor, PARKS Realty
Adapt and thrive.
“My mother was 12 years old and living in France during World War II. What would seem like a difficult and painful childhood to most, my mom said over and over again that she was so thankful for her ‘rich’ childhood. One of her favorite stories was about a time when she and her cousin, Odette, were bringing home cheese and eggs from the mountain farm where they hiked to regularly. Coming back home on their sled, somehow the eggs got loose and rolled down the mountain ahead of them and were cracked. They decided the precious eggs could not be wasted and the two of them ate all of them right then and there! (Yes, they were raw.) She carried this trait of resourcefulness and preserving all the rest of her days. Throughout her life, whatever situation might present itself, she would adapt and thrive.”
“Ina Jean Huskey, my artistic, creative mother, taught me to think big well before it was acceptable for women. She entertained with style and grace in our home. She founded Huskey Catering, our family catering business, by hiring her five children and my father, who already had a full-time job. She used to say to us, ‘I am a great businesswoman.’ The business provided the money for college tuition for each of us, but in fact, the business was the source of the best education any of us received. Mom said that she was teaching us how to ‘meet the public’ as we delivered the sandwich route and served as many as five large weddings a weekend.”
Juli Mosley, retired engineer, Barge Waggoner
Make time for friends.
“[My mother taught me] to make the time to enjoy your friends and make a true effort to be there when they need you. It’s important to surround yourself with good, Godly people and take care of each other.”
Kendra La, co-owner, Plaid Rabbit Gifts
Be happy with what you have.
“There will always be people who have more than you, and there will always be people who have less than you. Be happy with what you have!”
Macy Mulligan, Co-owner, Plaid Rabbit Gifts
Do for “the least of these.”
“When I think back to the lessons I have learned from my mother, there are too many to possibly count. She taught me everything from how to do a cartwheel in the backyard when I was 5, to how to search for quality furniture in a thrift store as a recent college grad. But perhaps my favorite lesson that she has taught me is how to do for ‘the least of these.’ My mother has dedicated her life to volunteering for the poor and the hungry, and it is through her that I have learned how to be a servant to others.”
Betsy Van Jura, history teacher, Battle Ground Academy
Mind your manners.
“My mother was brought up in an era of social graces where you set the table for dinner and even dressed up for travel and shopping. And she passed on the importance of good manners, which I’ve carried with me to this day — both personally and professionally.
“I remember my brother asking why it mattered if he had his elbows on the table during supper if he knew not to do it in public. And she would reply, ‘If you don’t practice at home, you won’t remember to do it anywhere else.’ As I got older, I realized that etiquette is nothing more than a common concern and consideration for those around you. And through additional guidance and study from Emily Post and Letitia Baldridge, I’ve built on the foundation my mother taught me to better help my clients with etiquette and protocol — from ensuring that a table is set properly to guidance on invitation wording and addressing. As I often tell my clients, ‘I’ll tell you what’s proper and traditional, and you decide if we follow the rule or bend it.'”
Amos Gott, AmosEvents
Remember who you are.
“Always remember who you are — upon leaving the house and hanging up the phone!”
Aimee Tait, business development, Discovery Communications
“The greatest lesson I learned from my mother is to be present. She was always interested, always involved and always supportive in all of my endeavors. She taught me the value of looking someone in the eyes when they are talking to you so they know you are listening and that you care. It has served me well in life and in business to live by that example!”
Brad Ramsey, Brad Ramsey Interiors
Guess what? We launched a brand-new podcast called “Southern Voices.” Take a listen to our very first episode, which, in honor of Mother’s Day, is all about motherhood. Click here!