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Life Lessons Series: Mother Knows Best

I've been so blessed to have such incredible people in my life who give me the best advice. These people have shaped who I am and they constantly support, love, and care for me no matter what happens. I wanted to share some of the best advice these people have given me over the years in a life lessons series. I'm also recording some podcast episodes where I go even more in-depth on each one of these lessons from the most influential people in my life.

To start off this life lessons series I want to share the Top 10 Things my mother has taught me over the years. My mom and I are identical. We love the same things, we hate the same things, and the same things drive us bat sh*t crazy. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, my biggest supporter and without a doubt my best friend. Anytime something happens in my life she is my first phone call. I feel so lucky to have such an incredible relationship with my mom. Sure, we've had our fair share of arguments but at the end of the day, those mean nothing compared to how much we love each other. I also feel so fortunate that she has passed on some truly amazing life lessons to me over the years. Of all of the lessons she's taught me, the top 10 lessons my mom has shared with me are included below (in no particular order):

Always take the time to get your nails done.

One of my mom's favorite things to do is get her nails done. It's one of those self-care things she passed down to me because we all know I love getting my nails done. For my mom though, I think it's more about taking time out of her day to do something for herself. My mom will do anything for the people she loves and she's taught my brother and me to do the same. But every once in a while it's nice to do something for yourself, and that's something my mom always made sure to teach us too!

Loving someone often means telling them what they don’t want to hear.

My mom is the QUEEN of this. She is the most loving, nurturing, caring person on earth but when it comes to telling us what we don't want to hear she doesn't hold back. My mom has always said that loving someone doesn't mean agreeing with everything they do. Looking back on my childhood and especially my teenage years I can think of so many times I was so angry with what my mom was saying...until I realized she was usually always right. Now that I'm older I am so happy my mom told me what I didn't want to hear at the time. I know my mom always has my best interest in mind and my mom loves me more than anything in the world, so for her to say something that she knows I won't want to hear, that to me shows me just how much she loves me.

Take the vacation.

One thing I love is traveling and I have my mom to thank for that. My mom loves traveling. Any chance she gets to go somewhere new, she'll take it. Growing up, she always made traveling fun and taught us the value and the privilege of traveling. My mom always makes vacations all about family and quality time. When we were little I remember her explaining to us why she would leave her phone in her bag, and when we got older she always made it a point to remind us how important it is to stay off our phones when we're spending time with family. What I love about watching my mom on vacation is how present she is. She takes her vacations as true relaxation time and disconnects from what's going on at home and that's something that has stuck with me even now that I'm traveling on my own.

Time with loved ones is worth more than anything else.

We've all faced the decision of spending time with loved ones or spending time working or honestly doing anything else. As a very independent, driven individual who thrives on being by myself, there are times I would find myself wanting to isolate myself in my room. But, my mom, who also recharges a lot by spending time by herself will always, always, always choose to spend time with her family over doing anything else. My mom values her family above everything and it is so incredible to watch how willing she is to drop everything to spend time with those she loves, even if it's a short amount of time.

Sometimes enjoying a night with friends is more important than sticking with your diet.

Especially at the start of the New Year, we're all so focused on diets and healthy eating. My mom is a rockstar when it comes to healthy eating and diets and getting back into healthy routines. But, I also know that my mom is always down to have a great night with good friends, good food, and good drinks. Something that I've always admired about her is her relationship with food and diets and the balance she has with her lifestyle. My mom is the first one to skip a drink or dessert because of her determination to stick to a specific plan but if she does get off her diet or plan for one night with friends she doesn't beat herself up over it. My mom has always taught me that balance is more important than any diet but even more than that she has taught me that there is no point in criticizing yourself because you wanted to enjoy time with friends and live in the moment.

Forgiveness is for yourself, not the other person.

This is where I still have a lot to learn from my mom. She is amazing at forgiving people who have done horrific things to her. Me, not so much. Actually, not at all. Heck, I'm still mad at people my mom forgave decades ago. Even though this is where I still struggle, I continue to learn from my mom's example all the time. She's always told me it's easier to move on and forgive someone because then you don't carry around a grudge. She's also always lived by the forgiving but never forget mantra which is, in my opinion, so much healthier than carrying grudges around for years. My mom is able to forgive someone and allow herself the space to move on from the pain and negative emotions that came from whatever that person did to her and she becomes even stronger because of it. Eventually, maybe I'll get to a place where I'm able to do that as effortlessly as her.

Being a Mom doesn’t mean losing yourself.

I like to think that being a mother is one of my mom's favorite things. I watch how she is with my little brother and myself and it makes me so excited for when it's my turn to be a mom. But something that has always stuck with me is how true to herself my mom has stayed. I've seen so many of my friend's parents lose themselves in their kids' lives and live vicariously through their children in an unhealthy way because they have nothing outside of their kids. My mom is not like that. While my mom's life largely centers around our schedules and she loves helping us achieve our goals and watching us succeed, my mom has never lost who she was before us. Sure, her priorities have shifted a little since her college days I'm sure but she still makes time to do things she loves. I think it's so important to keep your sense of identity no matter what or who comes into your life. Watching my mom keep her identity and still raise her children and be so supportive of us is something that I will always admire about her and hope to emulate when I have kids of my own.

Disney makes everything better.

Disney is my happy place, and it's my family's special vacation destination. Nearly every big moment and every special memory involves some sort of Disney vacation, or Disney themed gift, etc. My mom's love of Disney started well before she had children and it was a place that was special to my grandmother and my mom and then they passed that love down to us. What I've learned from watching my mother and her love of Disney over the years is that it isn't about the rides or the souvenirs. It's not about the hotel you stay at or how long you're there. It's about the magic and the feeling you get when your family is all together in a place they all love. My mom cries nearly every time we walk into the Magic Kingdom and certainly every time she watches the fireworks... and now so do I. Some of my greatest memories have been in Disney because of my mom and that's something that I will never take for granted. My mom's love of Disney has also taught me that you're never too old for princesses and magic, and there's always room in your life for innocent laughter and fun.

The smallest things make the biggest difference.

To my mom, large elaborate gifts are nothing compared to small gestures. It means so much more to my mom if I pick her up a coffee on my way home compared to if I buy her an over the top gift. In her eyes, small gestures like loading the dishwasher or helping out with dinner show more love and respect than simply giving gifts or doing nothing at all. I've also learned that sometimes these small things are just saying "thank you" or "I love you" or even just being there for someone after a tough day. Watching my mom interact with loved ones over the years and see how much emphasis she puts on the little things shows me how much of a difference it can make to someone. My entire day has been changed just from her texting me in the morning before I go into a crazy day at work and that's something that I hope to be able to do for those people I love and care about.

People who love you won’t expect you to explain yourself.

My mom has never once asked me to explain who I am. Sure, there have been times where I've had to explain why I did something stupid or acted a certain way but never have I felt that I needed to explain every part of me to her. My mom has a rule; if my brother and I are ever in a tough situation all we have to do is call and she'll be there to get us. The key here, we don't have to talk about it at all...until the next morning. Thankfully, neither of us has ever been in such a spot where we had to wake up and talk out some horrible scenario to our parents. But, there have been times where I've had to talk about difficult choices or situations with my mom. What I've learned from these times is that when someone loves you and truly cares about you, the conversation is less about explaining yourself to that person and more about how you can work through a given situation or emotion to get to a better place.

These are just some of the many, many, many things my mom has taught me! I hope some of these help you all and listen to my podcast episode where I talk even more about all of the lessons I've learned from my mom and why it's true that mother knows best!

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