Growing up, our most-hated three-word sentences were likely, in ascending order of awfulness, “Clean your room,” “I said so,” and “Mother knows best.” It’s not that we were ungrateful for Mom’s endless stream of advice; we just wanted to figure things out ourselves. (And hey, even that is a testament to our moms giving us opportunities to feel independent!)
Still, our mamas stuck by us through all of our phases — from lovable toddler sidekick to angsty, emo teen (guilty) to much more mature adults — and they continued to shower us with their love and their best motherly advice to this day. Some tidbits, such as “a clean space is a productive space” and “brush your hair before leaving the house” were small, but useful reminders to invest in self-care routines. Other tips, like “trust in yourself,” resonated more deeply and helped shape who we are.
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While making our beds still doesn’t rank as our favorite activity, many of us at SheKnows and StyleCaster have grown to appreciate our moms’ words of wisdom. Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite pieces of advice from our mothers.
Expand your mind, expand your world
“‘Did you read today’s paper?’ My mom asked me EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at dinner growing up. I generally rolled my eyes. It wasn’t until I was much older and had long moved out from my parents’ home that I came to appreciate the value of global awareness my mom had worked so hard to instill in me. It’s a good part of the reason why I’ve committed a majority of my career to journalism and civil rights. Knowing what’s going on in the world is critical to building more inclusive communities so that my child can have a better future. Thanks, Mom, for nagging me!”
— Allison Hope, Parenting Writer, SheKnows
“To recall all of the advice my mom has given me would take forever, but when it comes my beauty routine, she’s taught me the power of perfume. Her vanity is never without at least five, and though she never told me directly to go out and buy one… watching her face light up when spritzing was always inspiring. Now I keep even more in my rotation and love every single one. It’s the pick-me-up I never go without. Thanks, Mom.”
— Nikki Brown, Senior Beauty Editor, StyleCaster
Don’t fret about them
“I went to a private school in Greenwich, CT, and graduation day is sort of like a big group wedding, where all the girls are in white dresses, and we walk down the aisle to our non-existent grooms. So, I was nervous, as one is at their wedding graduation day. And while I was getting ready that morning, I said, ‘What if I fall, Mom?’ And she replied… ‘Who cares? Who’s going to be looking at you?’ And then she left the room. As she walked out of the room, I remember asking, ‘Aren’t you going to be looking at me?’ No answer.
She later explained — and by later, I mean six years later — what she meant was that people are too concerned about themselves and how they look, that they won’t even notice you half the time. Thanks, Mom. (I’ll thank her for that in six years.)”
— Reshma Gopaldas, Vice President, Video Programming, SheKnows
Flaunt what your mama gave you
“My mom always told me: Stay blonde, and wear a padded bra.”
— Ashley Britton, Graphic Designer, SheKnows
The best way to the heart is through the stomach
“My mom has never been big on doling out Dear Abby–style advice (that role in our family is fulfilled more so by my dad), but if there’s one key takeaway she impressed on me by leading through example, it’s that food is love and one of the most tangible ways to show someone you care. Whenever I’ve encountered adversity in my adult life, my mom would be there armed with a turkey meatloaf or baked ziti to fuel my perseverance. Now that I’m a mother myself, it’s no small irony that I spend my precious free time either batch-producing meals for my son or planning what new recipe to try on him next. They say you eventually turn into your mother, but in this case, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing after all.”
— Cristina Velocci, Director of Editorial Operations, SheKnows
Pragmatism at its finest
“My mom told me: ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you never get in a car with someone who has been drinking’; ‘allergies are cured by exposure’; and ‘as long as your extremities are warm, you are fine.’ #SallySkey”
— Sam Skey, CEO, SHE Media
Follow your dreams
“Never give up on opportunities or passions — whether it’s a hobby or career — because you’re afraid you won’t be the best. The reality is that you’ll always be able to find someone who is ‘better’ than you, but just remember there are so many people out there who would give anything to have your opportunities and your talent. It’s not about being the best; it’s about doing your best, working your hardest, and following your dreams.”
— Caitlin Flynn, Health & Parenting Writer, SheKnows
Everything will be just fine
“The best advice from my mom? Was advice from her mom: ‘Oh, honey. This too shall pass.'”
— Jennifer Mattern, Parenting & Entertainment Writer, SheKnows
Know your worth
“My mother taught me so many excellent lessons, like the benefits of washing my face every night and why it’s important to follow through with commitments, even if they’re no fun. (We had a sign in our bathroom that read, ‘Put on your big girl panties, and deal with it.’ I still regularly think of that advice.)
But the most significant wisdom my mom ever shared with me was to find my confidence, value myself, and fight for my dreams. Without her support and encouragement, I may never have found my voice or given a career in writing a real shot. I’m forever grateful for her love, and, I know I’ll pass her teachings along now that I’m about to be a mother to twins.”
— Madison Medeiros, Parenting Writer, SheKnows
A version of this story was originally published in April 2019.
If you’ve got kids of your own, keep them occupied with these printable Mother’s Day coloring pages today — so you have a minute to call your own mom.
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