Written by Abby Littleton

What my mother taught me

In the “nature vs. nurture” psychology debate, there are two ways to determine human behavior. Nature, your genes, or nurture, personal experiences. In my mind, it’s a mix of the two with one main source: our mothers.

My mom, me, and my sister

I am who I am because of my mother.

I am very lucky to be one of Peggy’s two daughters. Of course, I’m biased, but my mother is a saint. She is one of the kindest people in the entire world. She would do anything and everything in her power to make sure her loved ones, especially my sister and I, were happy and safe. She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever witnessed. She is strong and mighty and has powered her way through the hardest of times, including divorce and cancer.

She’s also a wonderful teacher. And in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some of my favorite lessons she’s taught me:

Don’t take yourself so seriously

Yes, she’s sweet and professional, but she’s also very silly. Ever since my sister and I were kids, she always knew how to make us laugh.

One summer afternoon, when I was about eight and my sister was 13, she came home from a long day at work, put on a bold floral outfit, tossed her hair in pigtails and popped a large wad of gum in her mouth. She told us to stay in the house as she set up our evening activity on the deck. Very confused as to why our mother looked/was acting like a 20-year-old, it all made sense when she invited us outside to see what she had been working on. My mom had transformed a portion of our deck to look like a nail salon, and she, the spunky nail tech. We spent the night gossiping and laughing as our mom painted our toes and fingers and sang girly songs with us.

Take home lesson:

Don’t take life so seriously! You’re never too old to have fun and make others happy along the way.

The Golden Rule, reinvented

Most of us have probably heard of the “Golden Rule” growing up: treat others the way you wish to be treated. I love this rule and love the spin my mom put on it while raising two daughters.

You are not better than anyone else. However, no one is better than you.

Short, sweet and to the point, right? We were very fortunate growing up. We attended private schools, wore cool clothes from Old Navy (with the occasional piece from Limited Too), we never worried about eating nutritious meals. But we were raised “humble as pie.” Just because someone didn’t look like you, dress like you, act like you, didn’t mean they were less than you. They were your equal. As were the people who had much more than we did. We were all equal.

Take home lesson:

Be nice, but don’t let people walk all over you.

No stress

As I mentioned above, my mom has conquered many stressful battles in her life. Knowing that my sister and I are like her in that we can get easily stressed, she added the “no stress” term to our vocabularies. She helped us realize how something that might seem like the most stressful situation in the world can be managed and handled with no stress. And if it’s out of your control, it’s out of your control.

Take home lesson:

Let go of the things in life you can’t control. Breathe through the hard times because in the end, it won’t seem so bad.

I hope these lessons resonate with you, and to all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

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