My Mother’s Living Legacy and How She Just May Be Cooler Than Her Kids

To quote Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. ” 

As a later-in-life parent, I’ve come to the realization that you never truly appreciate your Mother’s advice until you become one.  It’s easy to go through life letting every piece of unsolicited motherly advice drive you insane.  However, it’s not so easy to take a step back and put yourself in her shoes.  Whether you follow her advice or not, it is engrained in your mind – in my case, along with the Mrs. Poole-like voice that offered it.  Inevitably, you’ll find yourself willingly or unwillingly passing the advice down to the next generation.

So on this Mother’s Day, I offer my Mother’s Living Legacy:

Always Wear Your Lipstick.  You don’t look finished unless you have your lipstick on.  (Refer to Wear Some Color when picking out a shade.)

Let the Caller End the Conversation.  I’m assuming this rule is published in some type of etiquette book.  For years I just thought this was her way of keeping us on the phone because she was bored.

Know Your Movie Stars.  Every household has their own normal.  In our house, it was perfectly normal to receive an education about movie stars.  Most mothers quiz their children using mathematical flash cards.  We received our education being quizzed on Entertainment Tonight.  My mother has been known to call certain members of the family (by marriage) “a dumbass” if they don’t know their celebrities.  Everybody knows who Keely Smith is right?

Send Greeting Cards.  My mother without fail, sends greeting cards for every occasion. 

Never Wear Your Blueberry on Your Ovaries.  Translated:  If you want to have children, don’t wear your cell phone on your waist.  And, if you are going to talk on your cell phone, put on a hazmat suit first and; whatever you do, don’t hold your cell phone close to you.

Don’t Let Housework Rule Your Life.  Growing up, we had a sign in our family room that said, “Bless This Mess”.  It drove me crazy at the time, but now I can really appreciate that we were free to actually live and relax in a comfortable, cozy environment.

Teach Your Grandchildren About Elvis, Doris Day and Esther Williams.  O.K., so these celebrities are not astronauts or dignitaries, but they do have their place in history.  My daughter thought Elvis was a character like Mickey Mouse or Big Bird.  My mother gave her the Elvis Live in Hawaii Concert DVD and a white jump suit that she wore for 6 months straight.  Words I never thought I would hear from my two year-old daughter, “Mommy, my eagle is coming off my jumpsuit!”  My mother also had her watching Doris Day’s “Calamity Jane” and Esther Williams movies in their entirety.

Bored?  Put On Some Records and Dance.  This is one piece of advice I wish I had followed.  We used to roll our eyes when she made this suggestion.  Dancing is something I still can’t do unless I’ve had several cocktails.  And even then, I resemble Elaine dancing from Seinfeld.

Wear Some Color.  The woman dresses like a rainbow from head to toe.  The philosophy is that it brightens your personality and adds cheeriness to a dreary day.

Do All Your Shopping At QVC.  To her defense, I have not been given one crappy item from “the Q”.  In my father’s defense, she could still shop there exclusively, maybe just not so often.

    In compiling this list of motherly advice, I also had an epiphany that my mother just may be cooler than her kids.  And to this realization she would firmly respond, “I told you so.”   

A mother can offer the best advice in the world but it’s still a crap shoot whether her children will actually follow it.  Exhibit A:  Yet as I write, I sit here in my spotless family room, wearing a gray pullover, no lipstick, listening to PBS and no Mother’s Day Card yet purchased.  

At the very least, my mother can take comfort in the fact that her advice made a great blog post and is now available for the world to follow – or not

Happy Mother’s Day!  You’re the coolest!

What motherly advice will you pass down to the next generation?  Is your mother cooler than you?


5 thoughts on “My Mother’s Living Legacy and How She Just May Be Cooler Than Her Kids

  1. Yep – it’s a hit – she’s a wonderful mother and wife.

    Oops, I forgot it’s “Uncharming” – so, add “mostly” to the above.

  2. My mother’s gems?
    Always wear a slip. You can ruin a perfectly nice outfit with bad shoes. Don’t call boys. When selecting a dinnerware pattern, choose one that a fried egg will look good on. Don’t buy any product from a door-to-door salesman (if said product is so great they’d sell it in stores). Use 1/2 the recommended amount of laundry detergent, and the classic quip in reference to Church-y folks….”Mr. Business went to church, he never missed a Sunday. Mr. Business went to hell for what he did on Monday!”

  3. I love your posts. The Mrs. Poole and Elaine references make this one. BTW, I took a Zumba class this winter and made the mistake of looking at myself in one of the mirrors. I looked just like Elaine. I love to dance. So, I just pretend I look like Jennifer Beal’s Flashdance dance-in and try to stay away from mirrors.

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