What happens when you ask people from all parts of the world of all ages and all circumstances for what their mother meant to them and what she has taught them? You laugh, you cry, and your soul fills up with feelings you can’t describe. To every mother, this is for you. Mother dearest…
You Itch, I Itch
My favourite memory of my mother is when I was 7 years old and had the chicken pox. I was so distraught that she used stickers to mimic any spots I had and would sit around with me all day, moping and whining about the itchiness. We’re a team, she would say. You itch, I itch.
Red Lipstick Fixes Everything
No matter how hard your day is, red lipstick will fix everything. That was her motto.
Love Yourself Enough To Feel Beautiful
Mascara fixes everything externally. Love fixes everything internally. My mom would always tell me that.
She never found love – was divorced three times – but the mascara was always on point! Maybe it was a metaphor. Love yourself and you’ll be fixed internally. I’m not so sure but it must be that because this woman was so full of self-love and class. She passed away a couple of years ago but even until her final days as the cancer took everything that made her special away and her lashes were practically gone from chemotherapy, I made sure her eyes looked as bold as possible with some eyeliner on the lids just to make her feel beautiful a little while longer.
She Is My Childhood
My mother was the funniest. She would wake us up every morning as kids, barging in clucking like a chicken. I’m in my mid-twenties now living with my boyfriend. My alarm clock is the sound of chickens clucking. He thinks it’s strange. I think it reminds me of my childhood so the chicken sounds stay!
Not Having A Motherly Relationship Sucks
I don’t know if this counts the same because my mother and I never had a close enough relationship where she’d teach me things. But indirectly, she taught me a lot. Like to be open and close to your daughter or you’ll have no connect to her life at all and it’ll suck big time.
Words Of Wisdom
My mom taught me:
- When you dress good, you feel good. Always look the part.
- Cut dairy out of your diet. Your skin will thank you.
- If the date is awful, don’t pretend you enjoyed it or you risk leading him on to think you’ll go on a second.
- Be informed about everything in the news, history, pop culture, and any other possible point of conversation. You never want to sound dumb.
- You’re only young once so enjoy it.
Not A Failure
I told my mom I was going to submit a paragraph about what she’s taught me and she texts me back: “I taught you something? I guess I didn’t completely fail. How much alcohol should I pick up for the New Year’s party?” Yeah, that’s my mother. She had me when she was 16 and did the best she could and honestly, I think I ended up better than any of my friends who grew up in a nuclear, middle-class family. I had much less but it pushed me to do so much more. I’ve accomplished more this year than most people I know will accomplish in the next five. This isn’t to brag about me, in fact, please keep this signed off anonymously. This is just to say the most important thing my mother has taught and given me is my drive, vision, and resilience. Of course, the quirkiness is there too. Her text is the epitome of our relationship. My mother is my biggest inspiration but also my biggest embarrassment when she gets so kooky. No matter what, I love her and just so you know, she picked up more alcohol than needed.
Rules Of Etiquette
Dear mother, thank you for teaching me the common rules of etiquette in all situations. I wish other mothers took the same time to do so with their kids. My generation seems like a hot mess of wild hyenas.
Spirit Of Intelligence
Oprah was my mom’s spirit personality. I don’t know why, I never got into the obsession. My spirit personality is Snooki. Clearly, my mother is more intelligent than I.
No Car Could Ever Repay Her
I was raised by a single mother. I was only six when my father left us – the youngest of four. But I never saw a tear out of that woman’s eyes. When he left, she said he just went on a vacation with his buddies and she may have to work some extra hours at the bakery while he was gone. As the months passed by, we saw less of my other but somehow, someway she always managed to have dinner ready when we’d be home from school even if she wasn’t home when we got there. She’d come home in time every night to get us all ready for bed and tuck me in and read to me. Little Woman was our book.
After a month had passed, she sat us down with a massive dinner followed by a galore of baked goods. Until this day, the words cut like a knife. “Your father went on a permanent vacation. I don’t know where he is and if he’ll ever come back, but the five of us together will get through this and I promise life will still be wonderful in our home because we are a strong team”. She told us this with a broken smile. From that day forward, she continued to do everything she could for us. Her income alone was not enough to hold on to the house we were living in. We moved into a three bedroom apartment.
On my ninth birthday she threw a huge party and as we were cleaning up, she gathered us up for what became a usual monthly family meeting between the five of us. She was promoted to a managerial position at the bakery, she said. As she told us that our financial situation will soon get better, she broke into a smile bigger than ever. Our financial situation wasn’t awful – she never left us needing for anything. But her happiness caused by this promotion was enough for us to cheer.
Life went on as usual and she was the lead commander. She continued to grow her passion of baking and started a small baking business from home on the side. When I was 14, she officially left the bakery she worked at to officially launch her own at a new location. Sales were doing great and the bakery was the cutest place to be. My mother raised the four of us wonderfully, working overtime every week to ensure we had everything we needed and more, plus building her own business dreams. She did everything with stride, love, and determination, and I will never understand how.
I was 16 when my eldest sister was getting married and the unexpected happened. My mother sat us down and told us our father wanted to come back into our lives and walk my sister down the aisle. Despite abandoning us and my mother, she convinced us of the importance of forgiveness so for her sake, we welcomed him into our lives again.
He had a new wife and two children. My mother opened our home to his new family with open arms. I know I would never be able to do such a thing with any grace but I also know I am nowhere near half the person she is.
Today, I’m 26. My father and I are on decent terms and it’s nice to have him around, but most of all to let go of the anger I held against him for all those years. However, my mother and I have a relationship so tight knit it goes beyond any description. She developed me into a strong, independent, business savvy woman. I watched her build a legacy out of nothing. My dream was to make sure that when I had something to give, I would. And now that I have everything to give, with a successful career to brag about, I bought her a car. I know a car doesn’t repay her for any of the things she has done for the four of us, but it felt good to know she did so good with us that we are finally able to take care of her in return because I would be nowhere and nothing without my mother the queen.
My Only Daughter, The Tomboy
My mom is a hairstylist and make up artist. I’m a tomboy. Needless to say, I don’t think she’s happy with the outcome of her only daughter. But that’s her fault since she had me last – the youngest of six kids, the first five all being boys! Those jerks toss me in the dirt so much, she’s lucky I hated dresses. I love her and she is super talented but sometime I wish she’d stop her subtle comments about my looks needing to be more ladylike.
Blood Doesn’t Always Define Family
Thinking about how my mother has shaped my life feels hard and distant. But as I’ve grown older and gained some distance from my teenage years, I’ve also found clarity. Was my birth mother the best woman she could be? No. Are there still lessons that I’ve learned from her? Yes. The greatest lesson she’s taught me is that of grace. Finding the grace to forgive her and let go of the past, even in the face of our inability to reconcile, has been one of the most trying and hard-earned lessons of my life but it’s a lesson that simply cannot be ignored. To not find grace means to not find peace. But the person who has taught me incredible resolve and true determination is my adoptive mother. When I moved in with her, she was a single mother of six taking me in as the seventh. She was divorced and doing the best she could to make sure we were all clothed, doing the necessary things we needed to grow to be successful, and still enjoy our childhood as it should be. Today she’s remarried, but she remains to be one of the strongest, fiercest, most loyal women I know.
-Dannie Lynn Fountain
Mother’s Many Mantras
Some things my mother has taught me:
- Life is short, enjoy every second of it.
- Never stop learning. Not the schooling part, the learning part. Never put an end to the expansion of your mind, creativity, or knowledge.
- Whenever you’re sick, drinks lots of tea, pile on the concealer, mascara, and red lipstick and you’re good to go. Sick is the excuse of the lazy. Unless it’s a gross and contagious flu, then stay in bed for the sake of others.
- Men will always be boys at heart, but there’s a cuteness to it.
- Marriage is so special so never settle for someone because if that leads to a divorce, you are shattering one of the most special connections in the world.
- Wear some colour. Black is basic. Everyone wears black.
- There’s no shame in working small time jobs like a waitress, cashier, or cleaner. You’re still making a cheque. You have to do whatever it takes until you make it. People will judge the homeless for not doing anything and they will judge the cashiers at Walmart for not amounting to more and they will judge the secretary for just being a secretary and they will even judge the manager because he’s not the CEO. Who cares?
- No matter how much progress has come of the world, it’s still hard to be a woman. So keep your head held high no matter what.
- Travel as much as you can to as many places as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place forever.
- Remember where you come from and give back every chance you get.
- No matter how old you get, your mother will always know best for you (this is still debatable though).
Run In Heels Honey
She always said learn how to run in heels honey, that’s how you scare them away. The one who are turned on by it, those are the keepers. I still don’t know about this mantra of hers, but I do know my mother is one interesting soul filled with spunk and if it worked for her, it’ll work for me.
Never have I ever fought with my mama. Seriously. I’m 22 and we have never had a single argument. I’m convinced that there is something wrong with us!
Can We Play, Mommy?
There’s this notion that a woman must achieve anything and everything to be considered worthy or ‘enough’. She has to have a successful business or career, have a great degree, get married to a wonderful man, and raise some great kids. She has to do it all with grace and no complaints, and only then could she be a winner. I always hated that notion. I mean, that was my mother. Everyone looked at her like she was top of the world successful and happy. She did and had it all. But I’d see her tired eyes every day and as a kid, it would haunt me. I did everything possible to avoid ‘bothering’ her. Sure, maybe we as women could do it all. But we can’t do everything perfectly all the time. It’s just draining. We can’t be everything for everyone at every time and in every place. We just can’t physically do so or we’ll slowly lose our content place in life. My mother claims she’s happy but I question it all the time. I have a successful career but I gave up the ‘family life’ for it. Can I have it all? Maybe one day. Maybe I’ll be my mother. I just hope in doing so, I don’t look sad and tired all the time because that’s a great burden to put on your children who want nothing but to play with their mommy for a little bit.
No One Is Beneath Me
This question is hard to answer because I don’t know what my mom didn’t teach me. Everything I know how to do and everything I’ve learned about life was from her. Except riding a bike and driving which my dad gets full credit for.
If the main question here is what the most valuable thing she taught me is, I guess it would be to never treat people like they’re unworthy. She is the kindest soul and shows respect to every single person regardless of their age, occupation, ethnicity, or class. This lesson took me far in life in terms of personal relationships.
My current boyfriend of six years is a successful entrepreneur, founded a start-up tech company that’s been doing very well. We’re a power couple in every sense, as I am the VP of business development at a successful company myself. However, when I first met him I held a service managerial position at the same company and he was a janitor in the office tower. We met while he was unclogging a toilet in the ladies washroom – talk about romantic. He told me the washroom was currently out of use and I told him all I needed was a mirror to reapply my lipstick. Next thing I knew, I was in there for over ten minutes talking to the guy unclogging the toilet, having a better conversation with him than I have had with any male my age recently. When he shyly asked me out for dinner the week after, he did so with a box of chocolates. “The garbage under your desk is always filled with chocolate wrappers so I thought this would be fitting to get into your good books”, he said to me. How could I say no to that?
I went home that night and told my mom all about it but finally said that it obviously won’t go anywhere since he cleans toilets for a living. I never saw her look at me with such disappointment. Little did I know that before she found success in advertising, she too cleaned toilets for a living. She was a cleaner on hire by the families of the rich kids she went to the same high school with. My mom opened my eyes to a different perspective with her revelation to me, one which showed that your occupation truly doesn’t define you and how often, these same people we look down on will surprise us more than we could ever imagine. And he did surprise me. Our first date was better than any date I’ve ever been on. By the fifth date, I could look him in the eye and think that this was my person. And he is my person. My incredible other half.
Thanks to my mom, I didn’t miss out on such a rare and genuine love. Thanks to her, I learned the value of smiling at my Starbucks baristas every morning and asking them how they are. Nobody is beneath me. In fact, thinking that anyone is beneath you simply means that you are the one beneath them.
She Set High Standards
My mom had me at 17. She raised me alone. I developed early and had a bigger build than most of the guys my age, and she was very petite. As a teenager, people would always confuse us for a couple. We’d laugh about it all the time but realistically, my mother is such a queen I don’t know how I’ll ever settle with someone. She has to be as special as my mother is. The woman raising my kids with me cannot be any less. The only difference is unlike my dad, I’ll be around to enjoy our life together.
She Will Always Be Missed
It’s been 11 years since I lost my mother. The pain never goes away. Funny enough, the biggest thing she taught me was that time heals all wounds. Go figure.