Home About Me Awards Favorite Blogs Momformation Favorite Adventures

10 things my mother taught me

Have you had that moment where you realize you sound like your mother? Then did you have the moment where you smiled because you realized that your mother was right and sounding like her made you even more proud to be her child?

I was adopted at birth and I’ve always felt the person I am is a product of my environment, nurture over nature. In 2008 I met most of my birth family and came to realize that while I am my parent’s daughter, there are parts of me that also came from my biological parents. It makes me feel very well rounded, to be such a nice mix of nurture and nature. And it makes me feel very lucky to have an amazing family and now an amazing extended family. The story of finding my birth family is a good one and I’ve been working on putting it in writing, which I hope to share soon.

Because of an unselfish act by a young woman not ready to be a mother, I was blessed with an amazing family and a mom who has, basically, taught me everything I know.

Even with my penchant for being long-winded, there is no way I can possibly capture all the wisdom, gifts, gems and advice she has passed on to me but for Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop, I am going to share my top ten.

10 Things My Mother Taught Me (in no particular order)

1. “If you don’t know what a word means, look it up in the dictionary, use it in a sentence and then it will be yours forever.” My mom said this to me on many occasion as I was growing up and it works.

2. How to drive a stick shift. She had me stop on a hill (going up), take off my shoe and feel the clutch with my bare foot. We were there for a long time, it was incredibly frustrating for both of us, but I can drive a stick shift.

3. Patience is a virtue. Was she always patient with us? No. But she taught me the value of patience and how having it and exercising it rather than flying off the handle makes just about any situation bearable and allows you to really enjoy the things life has to offer.

4. Kids thrive on structure. My brother and I are only 13 months apart, my dad traveled for business and my mom worked. Maybe the structure was as much for her benefit as for ours but we had a set dinnertime, a set bedtime, chores and certain household rules we had to follow. Now that I have kids of my own, I realize how much smoother life is when structure and discipline is involved in the daily routine.

5. Manners matter. My brother and I addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. XXX, and to this day I still address some of my folks friends that way. We answered the phone “Gunnarson Residence” until we were in college, we had to ask to be excused from the table, we said please, thank you, excuse me and pardon me. It may seem like a little thing but it’s so noticeable when you are around kids who do not have manners and it is so nice when someone tells you how polite your child is.

6. Use babysitters. Parents need downtime, married couples need adult alone time, dads need boy’s nights, moms need girl’s nights and sometimes you just need to be alone. If you don’t have family to help, hire someone.

7. Be present and make the time. With my dad’s travel schedule and two kids in sports and other extracurricular activities it wasn’t easy for my mom to be in two places at the same time but she always did her best and never made me feel as though she was choosing one kid over the other. And she always, always, always answered the phone or came to where ever I was, if I needed her right then and there.

8. Listen/hear. Listening and really hearing what people are saying is an important skill. I can always count on my mom to listen to me and to just know what I need without me even having to say it.
9. Experience as much as you can. We were exposed to so many different things and traveled so many places as children and although we didn’t love everything, having the opportunities to experience so much has made me a better person. So be it travel, reading, plays, sports, food, music, whatever; the world is exciting and meant to be explored.

10. Always believe in yourself. My mom is one of the strongest people I know, she is smart, dignified, capable, funny and just knows how to figure stuff out. She’s taught me to be strong, independent and self-assured and I hope I can pass all that along to my children.

And a few others for good measure…don’t smack your gum, boys don’t like girls who swear, don’t rush growing up, if you don’t like something about yourself, then change it, wear lipstick, say your prayers, and always wash your face and brush your teeth before bed. :)

I love you mommy!

(of course, my dad, brother, husband, aunt, cousins and certain friends (you know who you are) also had a hand in helping shape me into the person I am today, so know you are important to me, but this post is about my mommy).




  1. To this day, I STILL refer to some adults as the name I learned when I met them, "Mr. Cornish. Mrs. Wallace."

    Old habits die hard. :)

  2. Your mom was a smart smart woman. No wonder I like you so much. :) Great life lessons that I'm sure you're passing on to M & F.

  3. I hope I am as good a mom as mine is. :)

Speak Your Mind