Yesterday was my Mom’s 53rd Birthday. If you know me, you know that I am incredibly close with my mom, it’s weird for us not to talk on the phone multiple times a day and I tell her pretty much everything. We never really had that awful stage that most middle school aged kids go through where their parents are the worst people to be around – and that says a lot about her, because around 7th grade I had to be hard to spend over an hour with. For the past 24 years she has been an amazing mother to my brother and I and has taught us both so much. She’s the mom that all my friends want to hang out with – sometimes I think they might like her more than me, (no seriously, on her birthday one of them felt comfortable telling her to “turn up.”) She’s the number one person I go to for advice and after 21 years of keeping her wise words to myself I thought I would celebrate her birthday by asking her to share her top 5 pieces of advice – one for every decade. After being a little overwhelmed by the request she sent me a lengthy email with her advice, here they are summarized:
1. Try Not to Worry
Coming from the biggest worrier I know, this was a little ironic. But she realizes her weaknesses and sees that she has passed this trait down to me, so I think she is trying to correct it before it gets too bad. We’re both the type of people who assume the worse when someone is 5 minutes late and if I don’t call my mom back within 2 minutes of a missed call I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m dead. She described worrying as a “horrible time-sucker that serves no purpose whatsoever.” I guess this is something that we can work to fix together, and for those who don’t have this trait, do your best not to become a worrier.
2. Learn to Laugh at Yourself
My family’s primary dinner conversation consists of jokes about each other. My mom calls it “lovingly pointing out each others flaws.” We’re pretty ruthless and for years that was hard for me to deal with. But I have found that I have a lot tougher skin than some of my friends because of it. I guess that’s one benefit of having an older brother and about 5 of his friends who thought of me as a little sister. My mom said that being able to laugh at yourself can be a positive tool in social and professional situations, and I’m sure I will come to realize this even more as I get older.
3. Not everyone is an early riser – and that’s OK.
This one might be my favorite piece of advice. I’m an avid proponent of sleeping in and so is my mother. According to her, “Disregard all of the ‘self-help’ books and ‘25 things successful people do’ lists because they all say to get up early – it won’t work for you” I wont ever be a 5 am riser and neither will my mom, and now we can just accept that fact instead of losing precious hours of sleep trying to change it.
4. Value your family
I think my mom’s reasoning is a lot more valuable than my commentary for this one, so here is what she said: “You just won’t find anyone else, ever, anywhere, in all time, that will have your back and support you the way your family will. Who else would love you unconditionally, be proud of even your minor accomplishments and spend 4 days in Disney World with you while you cried uncontrollably for literally the entire time we were there – passing you off from family member to family member, as you had to be carried while you screamed bloody murder anytime there were lights, noise, characters or horses, but especially horses.” If I had a dollar every time I’ve heard about that Disney World trip…
5. Rise Above It All
Through all of the middle school cat fights and drama my mom taught me the valuable lesson of rising above it all. She’s always told me to ignore the drama and leave friends that bring you down behind, and as I grow up I realize this is precious advice. “Rise above it all and always conduct yourself in a manner that shows kindness, self-respect and humility. Be that person.”
I hope that you learned something through this post, and if none of this was new advice than I hope that you at least got a laugh out of the Disney story. Thanks for being the best, Mom. And happy birthday!
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