In many ways, being a parent today is a lot easier than it was before we all had home computers with tons of parenting advice right at our fingertips. Not sure why your two-year-old will only eat white foods? Google it. Perplexed as to why your five-year-old suddenly wants to sleep with you instead of in his own bed? Pose the question on your favorite message board for 10 answers within the hour. As I was growing up, my mom seemed to have the answers long before the internet did — but it was not until I became a mom myself that I realized how wonderful she really is.
My mom has taught me so much and I hope to pass those same lessons on to my children. She credits the library and the bookstore for helping her navigate the terrible twos and the hormonally charged teen years — however I know her parenting instinct and loving warmth played a huge role also. Here are the top 10 things I learned from my mom.
10. Always look for the silver lining
My mom has a way of always seeing the positive in every situation and teaching us to focus on that positive outcome. She was practicing The Secret long before it became a best-selling book.
9. Dress the part
When you look good, you naturally have more confidence. Dress like you already have the job, and you will most likely get it.
It is amazing how far being polite and smiling will get you (although a stern look has its place, too!). Keeping a positive attitude draws positive people and experiences to you. Be kind, whether it is to that stray animal in the road or a stranger who just needs a smile.
7. Children learn what they live
My mom is a big believer in the Dorothy Law Nolte poem, Children Learn What They Live. A couple of my favorite lines: “If children live with sharing, they learn generosity. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.”
6. Don’t watch too much TV
We actually grew up without cable (gasp!) and even had one year when we didn’t even own a TV (even bigger gasp!). What did it teach me? How to be creative and entertain myself.
5. Face your worst fear
If something seemed scary to me, my mom would always ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” By talking through it and facing my fears, it didn’t seem so scary after all.
4. Healthy habits
Take your vitamins and drink your milk and make exercise a regular part of your life. Growing up, we always had fun staying active. Whether it running around the track, playing tennis (actually just chasing tennis balls!), doing a Joanie Greggains workout tape in the living room or even just going for a long walk, she taught us the importance of staying healthy.
3. Protect your youth
Wear sunglasses and don’t squint. Squinting causes wrinkles.
2. Wheat germ is a cure-all
Put wheat germ in everything. It adds a crunchy, rich flavor to everything from cookies to cereal and is chock full of healthy ingredients. She was also the Sneaky Chef before it became a best-selling book!
1. Create fun family traditions
Making a big deal out of holidays, such as birthdays and Christmas, makes kids feel special. You don’t have to buy elaborate gifts; just start fun traditions, such as baking Granny Dot’s cherry pie every Christmas Eve or sending us amazing care packages once we moved away from home.
Thanks Mom, for everything you have taught me and continue to teach me.