I’m not going to lie, my mom’s the bomb. Somehow I really lucked out in the parent department and I have seriously two of the coolest adults in my life that are always there for me when I need ’em (and sometimes when I don’t). I thank my lucky stars every day that I chose to attend a University close enough to my hometown that I can come back whenever I’m in need of a good home-cooked meal without having to get on a plane or drive five hours.
With Mother’s Day creeping up (tomorrow), I found myself thinking about all of the awesome lessons that my mom has taught me over the years and I easily came up with a list of 20: one for every year of my life. In honor of my mother, I thought I would impart some of her nuggets of golden knowledge upon the rest of the world because hey… Momma knows best, right?!
1. Some people should just eat shit and die
The first time I heard my mom say that statement I looked at her awestruck. Growing up I always had a really hard time keeping friends, for some reason all of the girls in my hometown sucked. Trust me, they still do but now I live life with this little nugget of truth in the back of my mind. You don’t want to invite me to your birthday party but invite every other bratty kid in town? One sentence for you sister, eat shit and die.
2. Go play in heavy traffic
I was easily bored as a kid and was the queen of bitching about it whenever I wasn’t able to wrangle someone into playing house or dressing up as a princess or building a fort or whatever else my crazy imagination could come up with, with me. One day my mom just turned to me in exasperation and exclaimed a favorite quote she picked up from her mother-in-law and my grandmother, “GO PLAY IN HEAVY TRAFFIC VICTORIA”.
Needless to say, I found a way to entertain myself real quick after that little episode. I also learned a valuable lesson: Learn to entertain yourself, that way you’re not stuck with codependency issues as an adult.
3. Shake and Roll
Probably one of the more important lessons I learned from mom was that life isn’t always dandelions and unicorns. In fact, it tended to suck a whole lot more in high school when you didn’t get picked for the Varsity softball team as a freshman even though you worked tirelessly throughout middle school preparing for tryouts and deserved the spot. Instead, another girl got your spot because her dad managed the softball team and was the one who prepped the field before each game. Lesson: Life ain’t fair but you know what? You gotta shake and roll because tomorrow is another day…and another chance to let that girl hang out to dry when she strikes out in the bottom of the 7th, losing the game for the team.
I’m not bitter though, I swear.
4. Always wear clean underwear…and bring an extra pair of contacts
As a busy softball mom, we traveled pretty much Thursday through Sunday to different showcases every week from March through August…and I can’t tell you how many times I tore a contact on the field and had a meltdown that I forgot my extra pair. Have no fear though, because mom never let me down and always came back from the car with a set she had hidden away for “emergencies”.
Lesson: Prepare for the worst, you never know when life is gonna hand you a torn contact.
5. Never pass by a pile of junk on the side of the road without stopping to inspect it first
My mom is the queen of reusing and refurbishing. She outfitted my brothers entire first apartment in junk. Literally. In fact, on the first day of me purchasing my new convertible Beetle, we passed by a pile of wicker furniture that looked like hell on the side of the road. She squealed and had me pull over….five minutes later we were on our way again, with the roof down to accommodate the new lawn chairs sticking out of my back seat.
Lesson: Why buy new when you can get the same stuff for free? All it needs is a good coat of spray paint.
6. There’s no such thing as too much Pinot Grigio
Self explanatory. There’s no problem a little glass of Pinot can’t fix.
Lesson: Drinking sometimes takes the edge off life when you feel like it’s really taking a toll on ya.
7. Hire someone to take your math class so you finally pass it, just don’t tell me about it
I’m awful at math. I can’t even figure out the tip at a restaurant or discounts in the store. My mom was exactly the same way, and her wise words of advice to me while struggling through Algebra 1 for the fourth (I kid you not) time after failing out the first three were, “Just get a C and pass it, it’s not like you’re going to need to figure out what X equals in real life”. And in college? “Hire a nerd to go to class for you. Just don’t tell me about it”.
Lesson: Some things in life are impossibly hard to understand. Just do your best and always ask for help if you need it.
8. Replacing the Everclear in the bottle with water is not a long term solution
Yeah this happened. The first time my parents left my brother and I alone while they went on vacation was totally epic. We threw the party to end all parties…four nights in a row. We discovered the 100 proof Everclear in my mom’s cooking cabinet and duh. Jungle Juice. Nobody died, alright? It was all in the name of fun, and for the video of my brother on our pool table drunkenly singing Baby Got Back that we still watch to this day. Too bad we got caught when we forgot to replace the water we filled the Everclear bottle with, with alcohol again. Oops.
Lesson: Don’t take the easy way out, it’ll make you work harder in the long run (and cause you to be grounded for eternity)… just do it right the first time around.
9. Find your people
Like I said, I had a rough time making friends growing up. I still actually have a hard time with it, college definitely hasn’t been easy on me in that sense but my mom has a good point. In every group setting, there’s at least one person who gets you. Find that person and you’ll have your first friend.
Lesson: Friends aren’t going to materialize out of thin air. Put yourself out there and take a risk, you might be surprised who you meet.
10. Behind every successful woman is herself
For Valentine’s Day one year when I was single, my mom gave me a plaque with this saying on it. She told me to remember that nobody but yourself makes you successful, and that your drive is what will take you places. It was the perfect kick in the ass I needed to get me out of my pity party about being single on a stupid Hallmark Holiday and to stop stuffing my face with chocolate.
Lesson: You are the only person you can count on. Push yourself every day to be awesome.
11. There’s nothing that a good spray of Lysol can’t kill
Shudder. My mom hates germs, but she’s also extremely practical. Traveling out of state to play ball every week was an expensive job, considering we would be staying at hotels for three nights at a time for basically half the year. We always booked the bargain hotel rooms but I’ll be damned if we set foot anywhere near the doorway before she went into the room with a can of Lysol to kill any nasties that were waiting for us in the bed we would share. All in the name of showcase softball, god bless you mom.
Lesson: Lysol will save you money. Money that you can spend on something you care way more about, like the new bat that helped you break your career home-run record or brought your batting average to the highest on the team.
12. You know it’s love when you use the poop emoji
My mom is super savvy. So savvy, in fact, that she learned how to install emoji’s on her phone by herself. Impressive, right? Her first emoji conversation with me lead to the discovery that only the people you truly love get the poop emoji… because they’re your favorite piece of shit out there.
Lesson: Don’t abuse the poop emoji. Save it for those people that you just can’t live without.
13. Stop and feed the birds
As a huge fan of nature, my mom goes out of our house in Montclair every morning and feeds the birds. She’ll sit out there for a good long while just communing with nature. I never got it, until one day I saw a chipmunk run up to my mom and basically sat at her toe like, “Hey lady, where’s my breakfast?!”. I realized right then and there that nature is something a lot of us don’t take the time to appreciate, and that from then on no matter where I was…I was going to stop and feed the birds every once in awhile.
Lesson: Life happens fast, don’t get so caught up that you miss the little things that really matter.
14. Screw Tupperware, leftovers are best eaten from Ziplocks
My mom is a firm believer that Tupperware is a total waste of space. In Elementary school, I was known as the girl who would eat her pasta at lunch out of a Ziplock and I remember getting a few funny stares the first few times I did it. Then, at the end of the lunch bell I would throw my baggie and plastic fork into the garbage and skip out to recess. The rest of those bitches that were staring at me? They had to tote their thermos and lunchbox and Tupperware around with them for the rest of the day before final bell…trust me, by the end of the year not a single piece of Tupperware was in that fourth grade classroom.
Lesson: Don’t make life harder then it already is just because you want to fit in. Sometimes, everyone else is doing it wrong. They just need someone to show them the right way.
15. You’re never too busy to volunteer
My mom actually wrote a whole blog post on this… she is an avid volunteer in our community and made sure to pass that down to me. She always said that staying busy helps you get more done in a day, and I have to say that I totally agree.
Lesson: Lazy people never get anything accomplished at the end of the day. Make time to volunteer and the rest of your schedule will fall into place like clockwork.
16. “It’s better then a poke in the eye with a sharp stick”
One of my mom’s favorite sayings refers to complaining. She never did like people who complained particularly those who were being unnecessarily ungrateful about it. Got a Grande Starbucks drink but ordered a Venti? Shut the fuck up. It’s better then a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Lesson: Don’t be ungrateful and never forget you are lucky to be where you are. There’s a whole lot of people out there who are a whole lot worse off then you.
17. Don’t ever accept being “Ma’am”-ed. We are “Miss”es.
My mom looks damn good for her age. Not saying we get comments that we look like sisters or anything (my blonde hair makes that pretty much impossible) but she definitely looks about 8 years younger then she actually is… and because of that she will never accept being called “ma’am”. She only had to correct the waiter once at our favorite Mexican restaurant before he scurried away redfaced. From then on out, everyone knew that we were to be referred to as “Miss”es.
Lesson: Never act your age, always act younger. Who actually aspires to be old and stuffy?
18. Don’t accept any parking spot unless it’s right outside of the mall entrance.
My mom is also the queen of parking. That lady has the best luck when it comes to the mall parking lot, so much so that even now when I can drive I always make my mom take it for fear of ruining the good juju or whatever she’s got goin’ on with the parking gods. Her theory is that some people are meant to walk. The ungrateful or conniving or not very nice people are the ones who are supposed to make the trek from the outer limits of the lot but us? No way José. Sneden women deserve only the best, even if it means circling the lot for ten minutes before picking a spot worthy of us.
Lesson: Don’t settle. For anything. You are worth so much more then cut rate, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
19. Let someone else take the poison off the top
When drinking a can of soda, one never actually knows where that can has been prior to you putting your lips on top. Meaning, someone very easily could have done some nasty crap to the top of that can, do you really want your lips to be touching that? My mom’s method of avoiding unpleasantry is actually brilliant. Give it to someone else to take the poison off the top. If they keel over, at least it wasn’t you…right? (Side note: I was the one who always took that first sip growing up. Thanks mom. I love you too.)
Lesson: If something looks sketchy, send someone else to do it first. Chances are your gut is right and that person’s gonna kick the bucket.
20. If you’re ever in trouble, call me. I’ll pick you up, no questions asked.
The most important lesson that I’ve learned from my mom over my 20 years on this Earth is that she is always, always there for me. At 2AM, drunk, and unable to drive my car because I was stupid and drank on an empty stomach, my mom will be there pulling up in her SUV ready to take my stumbling ass home. At 8pm on a Friday night when I’m bawling my eyes out with mascara running down my face because my friends stood me up for our plans to go out, she is there for me with a box of tissues and glass of Pinot. My mom has always had my back, and that’s why this Mother’s Day I’m planning on spoiling her rotten because damn. That lady deserves it.
I love you Mom!