Lessons For Motherhood, Learned from My Mom

Originally posted on Lifetime Moms 5.12.12

Growing up, I lost count with how many times I heard my mom say, “Okay…just you wait…You’ll understand when you are a mother…”

And I also lost count of how many times I slammed the door and stomped off, screaming, “GOOOOOOHHHD-UHH. You are sooo, annoying-uhh!!!!!

Flash-forward about 2 decades, and there may have been a few times since I had my daughter that I’ve said to myself, “Okay, maybe she was on to something…” So in honor of Mother’s Day, here are few the things I now understand because I am mom – and because of my mother.

Stay Organized.

I have 3 younger sisters, which means my mother was in charge of 4 lives, plus her own and depending on how you look at it – my father’s as well.

And despite this, or probably because of this, she is the most organized woman on the planet.

Need new underwear? She has a coupon for a free pair – and most importantly – she can actually find it.

She actually makes grocery lists and sticks to them, AND she always knows what is on sale where.

Her checkbook is balanced to the penny.

The beds are always made, most of the time before breakfast is served.

These are always things that my sisters and I used to either be irritated by or make fun of, or both. Now that I am a mom, I not only admire her organization – I try to emulate it.

Family comes first.

Someone smarter than I said that “family is a soft place to land”, and my mother puts those words into action. It is the constant, in an ever changing world, and the strong family structure that she built (along with my dad) – has given me solace, even when I felt as if my world had been turned on its side. Because of this I recognize the importance of simply being a constant, consistent source of love in my daughter’s life, so she knows she always has a soft place to land no matter where she goes or what she does. I hope it too will give her the courage to be bold, and be brave.

Nothing is better than gathering family around the table for a wonderful meal.

I grew up in a time when my mom would take the phone off the hook when we had dinner together – every single night. As we grew up, it became more difficult to manage our schedules so they all lined up for nightly family dinners, but thanks to mom, we did manage to dine together most nights a week up until I left for college. Simply sitting at the table wasn’t the only thing that was important – the phone being off the hook assured that my parents were present.

My sisters and I would argue, play with our food, put on little skits for my parents, talk so much that they got annoyed (that was mainly me) – ya know – the average family dinner behavior. But what made it so special was that we had our parent’s full attention.Years later, the frequency is not as often as I would like, the amount of people has grown (thank God), the food keeps getting better, and the comfort is priceless. When Ellie stops eating dinner at 4:30pm, I hope to continue the tradition that began in my childhood – family meals.

Everyone is always invited.

“What do you mean they aren’t going home for Christmas?” …“Why doesn’t she just stay for dinner?”…“Tell him to stop being ridiculous and just come over for Thanksgiving.”

Anytime I ever mentioned anyone that I cared about had an uncommitted holiday or evening, the message was simple – “Tell them to come over!” And then the question was, “Okay, now what should I make for dinner?”

Just like I learned in my home, I always want Ellie to feel like our home is a place where there is more than enough love to share with others.

Believe in your kids, even when they don’t believe in themselves.

My mom has probably told me more than 10,000 times in my life that “You will be okay.” Some times I would scream at her and tell her that it was impossible for me to be anything other than NOT OKAY, and that she didn’t know what the hell she was talking about – while citing alllllll the reasons that It. Would. Not. Be. Okay. And most of the time she would say calmly, “Okay, but I still know it’s all going to work out.

The “it” has been ever changing, but the lesson in motherhood has been the same – there is nothing as valuable as having your own personal cheerleader in the form of mom. As another person that is wiser than myself once said, “Children are the sum what mothers contribute to their lives.”

Yes. Yes, we are.