My mom’s a piece of work… in the best way possible.
Practical. A Pep Talker. Realistic. Happy. Fun. Beyond Capable. Takes No Crap From Nobody. She’s actually the Real Fab Mom — focused, fun & fabulous after having babies. (I’m just pretending to be because I bought the URL and put my picture on the home page…)
I’m blessed to say she’s taught me (and is still teaching me) everything she knows.
She’ll hold my hand when I need it, but she won’t hand-hold me. She’ll boost me up until my ego is close to exploding from being too big, but also remind me that I’m not the end-all-be-all and that I’d better keep my head on straight (in the name of staying humble… some of you are laughing at this one and wondering, I know). She’ll give frank advice about what to do and when to do it (for any situation), but in the same breath will tell me to figure it out for myself and handle it… because I can.
Thanks to my mom, my sister and I have been prepared and equipped for (or, maybe brainwashed into?) having a wickedly-shrewd skill set for life. And yes, we’re pulling out all the stops to (hopefully) pass along mom’s life lessons to our own daughters.
Here are a few fun, frank and functional things my mom taught me. You might think they’re controversial… I think they’re absolutely fabulous:
1) MOVE FAST. Shop for groceries quickly. Push a stroller with purpose. Unload the dishwasher like it’s doubling as your cardio core workout. Fold laundry like you’re in a speed competition with your neighbor (and the winner wins a big fat prize). I’ve read a fair share of online chatter about not rushing our kids and allowing everyone do their own thing at their own pace… NO WAY. Please. How else are we supposed to create extra hours in the day [to finish all the things we need to do as women and mothers] if we don’t shave off extra seconds from those mundane tasks that require our time to get done? If you take care of the minutes, the hours take care of themselves… LIFE SKILL.
2) THINK AHEAD. In other words: Prepare for unexpected disaster. How else could I have ever pulled off a full-on 1st birthday party on the same day I interviewed Hugh Jackman? Or, returned home from an unexpected taping of The Maury Show to give my LilMiss a baptism celebration AND provide my LadyP with a family-wide, 30-person birthday brunch (that I hosted at my home and cooked myself) all within a 3-day period? I didn’t plan all of these wacky things to crash down at the same time (none of us do) but they did. Luckily, I’d been brainwashed to prepare for unexpected crash-downs all my life. Finish your homework long before it’s due (because you never know what will come up), shop for supplies 2 weeks ahead of time (because – again – you never know what will come up), maintain the cleanliness of your house (because you never know who might drop by unexpectedly). And on and on. LIFE SKILL.
3) STAY CUTE. (No. This is not sexist.) As a kid, I remember watching my mom apply her wine-red lipstick ALL THE TIME. “As long as a woman keeps herself looking cute, she’ll always feel young.” (Her quote. I repeat: No, this is not sexist.) Staying cute has less to do with how others see you, but more to do with making yourself feel good from the inside out. Or, from the outside in. Who cares which way it’s from frankly…. If you look good, you feel good. Feeling good leads to having a lift in your step. Having a lift in your step leads to a self-perception of having energy and vigor. Having energy and vigor reminds ourselves of our youth. Which makes us all feel good. And every mom needs to keep feeling good so that we can do our job well [raising kids]. LIFE SKILL.
4) DO THINGS RIGHT. Home cooked food trumps ordered food when you’re entertaining folks at your home. Send a card with a personal note that actually says something meaningful and might possibly prompt the person receiving it to keep it tucked away in a drawer forever and ever. Use formal dinnerware for holidays (and regular days too, if you fancy it). Wear a skirt or a dress to church. Carve out special time to practice your performance/speech/presentation/etc as many times as you need to so that you do it the way you want to do it on the day-of. Do. Things Right. LIFE SKILL.
5) GET IN THERE. My sister and I tease my mom about her constant “I can’t do anything on Sunday mornings because I’m playing the organ at church” commitments. We also revere her ability to question someone’s motives (face-to-face, with them sometimes starting at her in shock) if said person has pulled a crap-of-a-lowball-move in the name of trying to do something underhanded. Whether it’s about volunteering in your community, sticking your neck out for someone that needs extra emotional backup or calling someone out for doing something sneaky and wrong…. get IN there. Be active. Be vocal. Participate. Give your time. Give your energy. Protect what’s right. Contribute. Have an opinion. It matters. LIFE SKILL.
Of course there are tons of other valuable lessons (tons and TONS!) but if I start listing them this blogpost will go on forever and ever and never ever end. So I’ll skip the rest. The lessons above are the best ones anyways.
So thanks for the skills, Mom… We LOVE you!
All photos courtesy of gorgeous mother & extraordinary picture-taker Stacy Marini Photography in Fresno, CA. Call her. Book her. She’s fabulous.