Life Lessons I Learned from My Mother

Being the last of eight children is a breeze. Being the mother of eight children is a challenge.

My mother became a mother in 1938 and had children in the house through 1983.

My father was an alcoholic and was not much help. They divorced in the 1960’s when a divorced woman was looked down upon in our small town community.

She still had five kids at home. She was a strict disciplinarian and used tough love many times.

I am so glad she did because it helped all of us face life head on with all the good and bad that entails.

From watching our mother, we learned how to take care of a home and children. We learned how to get a job and keep it (whether we liked it or not). We learned respect and how to treat our elders. She was a survivor and she passed that on to her children.

Pick Yourself Up, Wipe Yourself Off, and Keep Going

When I was a teenager, I did not care for the tough love approach. When things didn't go my way, I wanted empathy and sympathy. My mother might have empathized with me, but she did not show much sympathy when I was in a situation that was not life threatening.

I remember how I loved competing in District Choir contests. My senior year I did not make it to state and was crushed. It was a huge deal to me, and I was in tears. When I went home and told my mother, she told me there were so many other things in life I needed to concentrate on rather than my losses. She quite frankly told me, "Pick yourself up, wipe yourself off, and keep your head held high."

She was right. This lesson in showing strength through hiding weakness is still with me today. It is a great advantage to be able to show the world real perspective instead of whining about what I don't have. The wisdom in her words keep me grounded in what my true blessings are and keep me from complaining about things that will not matter in the long run.

Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You

With eight children, I am surprised my mother was sane in her old age. There were always arguments, struggles, and a feeling of getting revenge. When my brother and I fought and physically beat the tar out of each other, we were always trying to "one up" each other.

My mother brought us up in Sunday School and church. She had a grounded Christian faith, and she would sit us down and tell us the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." At the time, we might shrug it off but as we grew older, again, we saw the wisdom in those words. We realized it was much more work and hard feelings to figure out our little ways to gain revenge than it was to leave it alone. Now, he and I are great friends and laugh at our stupidity.

We also know how to treat others with respect. If we have a problem with a person, we figure out how to solve the problem instead of wasting our time on getting revenge or being angry.

The life lesson is to not waste your energy on those who purposely hurt you. Carrying around bitterness and thoughts of revenge will zap the strength right out of us. We are not doormats, but, again, her wisdom in using Christ's words have given us perspective.

How to Make a Budget

My mother had the best work ethic. Born and raised on a farm, having her own farm, and living in a city with a big family are only a few of her experiences. Through it all, she worked hard to make ends meet. We may not have always had what we wanted, but we did have what we needed. Leading by example, she passed the work ethic down to us.

With a large family, every cent was accounted for in the household. Frivolities were out, and levelheaded purchasing was in. As a pre-teen and teen, I babysat for a whopping five dollars a day or evening. I knew my mother could not afford to buy my school clothes. When I would see something I wanted, I would write it down and try to put the figures together to see if I could afford it. Sometimes I could, sometimes I couldn't. When I couldn't, I did not feel a big loss. I accepted it. I saved my money for only the things I either had to have or that I really wanted.

When I was about to get married, of course, I was consumed with my new marriage and how we were going to make it financially. I would make a menu each week and stick to it when I went to the grocery store. I cut coupons and went to the stores with the sales, even if that meant hitting each of the three grocery stores in town. Each time we had a paycheck, I had designated bills that were due with the corresponding paycheck. Her frugality is still with me today, and it keeps me from having eyes bigger than my credit.

How My Mother's Advice Made a Difference in My Life

My mother instilled great life lessons in raising her children. "Pick yourself up, wipe yourself off, and keep your head held high" has given me strength in difficult situations and kept me from whining about things that could have been.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" has given me perspective and situational awareness of others. I think about what the consequences of my actions could be on others before I act on an impulse. I think it makes me a better mother, wife, friend, and co-worker, too.

Living on little money and learning how to budget on what money I do have has taught me to realize the real blessings in life that have nothing to do with material goods. My mother's frugal living has helped me keep my family out of unnecessary debt and allowed us to never go without things we need. Saving for a rainy day has saved us many times. The discipline she taught me with money has allowed me to have things for my family that I see other families struggling with because they do not know how to budget or save.

My mother gave me invaluable advice on how to live and be a productive member of society. All of her children have excellent work ethic and a great sense of self and honor. These are lessons that have made a world of difference in my life and aided in building my character. They are lessons I have passed down to my children, and I hope they pass them down to their children. I don't think my mother could have given me any better gift.

Dedicated to my mother. I sure do miss her and her wisdom. I love you, Mother, and thank you!

© 2012 Susan Holland

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kelleyward 4 years ago

What a great hub! Your mom sounds like a wonderful influence in your life. I can't imagine what she had to face daily but it sounds like it made her stronger! Pick yourself up and move on is great advice! VOted up and Shared~

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YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

You are blessed to have an amazing mother, you have to wonder HOW she managed it. My amazing mother did not go through such tough times, but my wonderful grandma did. Your hub shows what strength of character means. I consider myself fortunate to have had such strong beautiful women as my example.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Kelley! She was a wonderful mom and tough!! I am so glad she raised her kids to be strong. Thanks so much for the votes and shares! :-)

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I would say those are some pretty valuable lessons! What a great mom! Knowing you as I do I would say you learned those lessons well. Thank you for a glimpse into your character! Great hub!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

YogaCat, my grandmother was a great influence in my life, too. My mother was the oldest of seven children then had eight of her own. The wisdom was just passed down. I agree - we had strong, beautiful women in our lives. :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi Bill, yep, I am pretty much an open book. I love to share the great things my mother passed down to me. I would put all her great recipes on hubs, but that means I would have to take pictures of MY cooking... I can't cook like my mother did. LOL

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Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Susan, I had to read this when I saw the title, as it seems we grew up in similar environments in some ways. My mother is great! She taught me values, too, like yours with frugal living and involving us in church and Christian principles, and by just being a good person. I also bought a lot of my clothes and other things in high school. It's neat to hear about your experiences! I think we were and are both very fortunate to have the mothers we were blessed with. Great hub. Voted up among others.Sharing!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

We really do share a lot in common, Victoria! I miss my mom so much, so give your mom an extra hug for me! :-) They are invaluable resources for our lives. Thanks for the votes and shares! :-)

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TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

"Pick yourself up, wipe yourself off, and keep your head held high" I just did this a few days ago. My ego is still hurting after an employee under my department did the unthinkable, posted a demeaning letter on the bulletin board about me. Of course, he resigned afterwards. I was aware that the act was emotionally triggered and it was up to me if I want to sue the person for character defamation. Forgiving heart and peace loving soul won in the end.

Good parents are God's blessing. I am so grateful I was given a strict father and a loving mother and both so responsible parents.

Voted up.

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justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

It's awesome how much our parents -especially our mothers -have influences our lives and the choices we still make mother taught me so much and I miss her so much each day!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

TENKAY, I hate that you went through that, but keep your head held high. Things will get better, and bruised egos heal. Been there, done that. If my mother had not taught me these lessons, I would be walking around with a chip on my shoulder blaming everybody for the bad things that happen in my life. Forgiving comes easier and faster than forgetting, but my mother taught me that it is so much better for me to try to do so. Best wishes to you and your situation. Sounds like you have the same great parenting behind you that I did. They are God's blessings to us; I hope I can be for my kids, too. Thanks for the vote! :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Teach, I understand. I miss my mother, too. They will always be with us because they influenced us so much and taught us so well. :-)

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rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

sholland, this is the best ever tribute to one's mom that I have read in a long time. There is wisdom in the sayings of people who have lived life the tough way and have come through in flying colors. These thoughts and actions are worth emulating and inculcating in our children.

Great hub. Voted up, awesome and useful.

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 4 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

Great Hub- your mother sounds wonderful. Not all of us have had such a good experience with our mothers however:(

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thank you, Rajan! We were poor, but my mother didn't let us know about those hardships. It was just normal life to us. She did have rules, and she was a disciplinarian. I am so glad. The way she taught us makes us appreciate things in life today.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Silver Fish! My mother was wonderful. It was my father who never cared or came around once I was born. That's okay - my mother made up for both. At times I didn't think I had it so great with my mother then as I grew older with kids, I noticed things I did were things she had taught me. Now that she is gone, I realize I didn't appreciate her the way she deserved. Again, with my father, I never felt any of these things.

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Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

This is a terrific hub about parenting and how your mother's approach of tough love taught you and your siblings so much. Your article was so interesting and engaging - I just loved it!

Voted up and shared!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thank you, Stephanie! Many people would not approve of the tough love approach today, but I adhere to it. :-) I appreciate your kind words.

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bizwin 4 years ago from England, UK

You practically sum up how each person's life should be in this world. If each individual should try to do unto other people what they expect others to do unto them, this world will be a better and peaceful place for us all. But the reverse is always the case, others expects you to treat them well in turn they reward you badly. Great hub. Voted up and across. Thanks for sharing.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi Bizwin! I agree with the first part of what you say, but I don't agree that the reverse is always the case. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life and have had complete strangers help me, so I do think the message is still there. :-) It's not that I haven't been treated badly; it is just that I choose the let the good outweigh the bad. Thanks so much for dropping by, voting, and sharing. :-)

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grinnin1 4 years ago from st louis,mo

A great hub! What a wonderful example of self-empowerment. And eight kids- wow. I think there is much truth to what you say. Today we coddle and spoil a bit too much, then the kiddos get out into the real world and have no idea what to do. I think that your point about empathy is excellent. If we show our kids that we understand how they feel, but also set an example for how to move on from hurts, fears, dissapointments; then we are giving them the tools they need to look out for others and at the same time look out for themselves in this big world we live in.Thanks for great writing! Inspiring!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Grinni! I agree with you completely about spoiling our kids by taking the blows for them or protecting them too much. They have to learn how to deal with things in life. I am grateful my mother helped me by stepping back and not giving into my hurt feelings. She was not one to wallow or to give sympathy to wallowing. I am so glad. :-) Thanks for your kind words.

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teaches12345 4 years ago

My compliments to your mother, she has raised a well balanced daughter who faces life with faith and grace. I do love your Old Mother Hubbard photo, it is a good play on the topic (gave me a smile!). I enjoyed the inspiration in your topic and the encouragement to face life with courage. Voted up.

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mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Your Mother reminds me of my own wonderful Mother who taught me valuable lessons that I have tried to pass on to my children. We have a duty to our offspring to guide them and teach them, not to try and protect them from every little bruise in life. Great Hub. You got my votes.

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always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is a great story. Mothers who instill values such as these are the epitome of happy families. So many today have such debt because they think they must have everything. I was taught to be saving and i still love to bargin shop..Thank you for sharing...

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Oh, Teaches, you are too sweet. I thought of that picture because my mother's church had a tribute to her for her service to God a year before she died. They started out the program with, "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do." We were all laughing because my mother ALWAYS had children around her. She definitely had to have courage to face some of life's situations. So glad she taught us kids how to do the same. Thanks for dropping by and the vote. :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Mary, sounds like you and I were very fortunate! I am sure you have tried to pass it down to your children just like I have tried with mine. Thanks for the votes!! :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hey Always Exploring, my mother taught me to be frugal, too. My kids didn't always get what they wanted, but they had what they needed. I think my mother taught us so many great things that I have tried to teach my children. Thanks for dropping by! :-)

diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

My mum was a lovely, sunny person, but the only lessons i could have learned from her was how to chain smoke (I never did) how to make bad choices in life partners (I did), and how to become an alcoholic (followed slavishly for 30 years).

Yur parents are like winning or losing the lottery!


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sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Your mother sounds like a wonderful person. We learn a lot from our mothers whether we realize it or not. The values she passed on to you will be passed on to your children I am sure. Our society seems to be losing many of these values and I think it is a real shame. Voted up and awesome! Have a wonderful day! :)

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AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I appreciate the things we have learned from our mother's. They make us who we are today. Your mom instilled all of the right rules to live by. Youngest of 8? Bless your mom's heart. You are lucky to be the youngest, I was the oldest. Thumbs and shared. :)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi Bob, my dad was a terrible alcoholic who was mean and abusive when he drank. I was fortunate. My mother left him right after I was born. Some may wonder why she didn't leave before having 8 children with him. Well, she still loved him for the person he was when he didn't drink. Then, there is also the stigma that used to go along with being divorced in a small town in the 60's. She was judged for that in our (then) small community. She was basically a single parent for many years. She had a wonderful support system in my grandparents. She did a great job with what she had.

I hope you have some good childhood memories with your mum. :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hey SG, I am doing everything I can to keep those values going into the future. All the wonderful comments, including yours, tells me there are other people who want these values to continue and will be trying to share them in their families, too. :-)

Thanks for dropping by and the votes!! :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi AEvans! Yes, I am lucky to be the youngest. I got the best part of my mother because I had her to myself after all my siblings had left home. She was the oldest and always had kids around her from the time she was two years old. Even when I left, she had grandkids who were still under her influence. I feel very blessed.

Like my mother, I bet you learned responsibility at an early age and that is also a blessing, though I am sure it did not feel like a blessing all the time. I loved my oldest sister and all those who came after her. My siblings played a big role in my raising. My mother was the glue that kept the family together during some really hard times. Again, I was blessed with my mother and my siblings.

Thanks for dropping by, the votes, and the shares!! :-)

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lasertekservices 4 years ago from Fargo, North Dakota

What we are and what we have become is a mirror of what our mothers have been. Thanks for sharing.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

I agree, LaserTek, but I am not nearly as good as my mother. :-) Thanks for dropping by! :-)

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Pinkchic18 4 years ago from Minnesota

Great pearls of wisdom! These are all important for everyday living. Very smart mother you've got!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thank you, PinkChic! She was a very wise mother, and I was blessed to have her.

Thanks for dropping by! :-)

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

This is beautiful advice from your mother Susan - pick yourself up, dust yourself off, keep your head high. I think these are words I will teach to my own children...genius! I love hearing stories about strong women and mothers who passed their lessons on to their children. But I think my favorite line in the whole Hub is: "With eight children, I am surprised my mother was sane in her old age" hahah I second that, I second that! I am afraid three will do me in.

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marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Just catching up gradually and wanted to congratulate you for completing the 15/30 March Challenge.

I love this piece as I believe both our Moms had similar values, passing their strength and wisdom to us.

Voted UP & UABI. Hugs, mar.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi Ardie! The sanity comment can go for all of us raising children, but 8 of us with who are so different, yet the same. WHEW! LOL We are all clowns and we all had our own baggage as kids that she had to deal with. She had to teach us to pick ourselves up to go on, or she would have been constantly trying to PULL us up. LOL She was great.

So glad you dropped by!! Thank You! :-)

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

You are so sweet, Marcoujor! My mother was a storyteller and she was a wealth of wisdom. She had her quirks, as my kids would tell you I have mine. Wouldn't trade her for the world. I really miss her. Thanks for the votes and HUGS back to you!! :-)

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raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

Your mother is a very tough lady, raising you despite what she has been through...i admire her for that...i'm so glad you share this with us...

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Raciniwa, yes she was very tough and very good at doing the right thing as a parent playing both father and mother. Thank you for your kind words. :-)

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barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

It sounds like you have a great mom who raised you well, and you are following in her footsteps to raise your children the same way. These are definitely good life lessons. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

BarberGirl, she was great! She had to be with so many of us and only one of her... Well, I guess she didn't have to be, which makes her all the more great to me. Did ya catch all that? LOL Thanks so much for your kind words.

Thanks for dropping by! :-)

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ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Your mother has taught you some great lessons. My mom also taught me the value of money and budget tips I still use today. Thank-you for sharing your family information with us. I vote up.

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lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Awesome hub! Life lessons I learned from my mother: let's see. My parents are authoritarian and tough love was their approach to discipline. Just like you, I was looking for empathy and never got it. My mom was always the strong one more than my dad, but my dad always went along with whatever my mom said. Pick yourself up, wipe yourself off and keep going. This is exactly the message that I received from my parents as well. As far as your question, I have a strong value system till this day, which were instilled in me since I was young. My mother taught me to honor and respect myself so others could respect me. Secondly, she taught me a good moral foundation as well as encouraged me to pursue an education and career. I'm sure that you can relate to all of this. While tough love approach is good, it also leaves you with a lot of pain. My mother never cared to have an emotional relationship with me. Either she didn't know how to or plain and simply didn't care. As a result, I'm a very strong person inside. As far as arguments, I made a decision to stop arguing with my mother long time ago until I realized that she wasn't going to change her ways. No tears either.. that was a sign of weakness. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us and giving us the opportunity to express ourselves too.

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John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub sholland. It's really important to share stories like yours with the world, because, you hear so much about poor parenting nowadays.

Great hub - voted up


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Caries Mission 4 years ago from Greenville, South Carolina

What a wonderfule hub. I agree with John that it is very important to share your story because parenting is not what it used to be. When most of us were growing up, we had parents that cared, and at the time we didn't understand the rules and disciplines, but now we look back as parents and understand that they were shaping us for what life would bring us. They made us strong and aware of the different choices and obstacles of life.

Thank you so much for your story. Keep up the good work.

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PinkPurl 4 years ago from Lowell, Michigan USA

Great hub, it's great to know that there are loving caring mom's to help get us on the right path. My mom was a lot like yours, she helped me to realize that life goes on.


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ForLoveofCupcakes 4 years ago from Chicago

What a great hub! It's so sweet and classic. As a preschool teacher, I'm afraid not nearly enough parents teach their kids the golden rule.

Thanks for sharing! :o)

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TripleAMom 4 years ago from Florida

It would be so nice for everyone to have the opportunity to be raised in this way. With Mother's Day coming, recognizing amazing moms like yours is important. I was not so fortunate, but I hope to be raising my children with better values. Hopefully they are learning the things you did as a child. Great hub and voted up. Definitely will follow you as I saw some of your other hubs I'd like to read. :)

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Shee Macusi 4 years ago

Awesome !Inspiring ! :)) Splendid Hub

ooh .. I Miss My Mom So much

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Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Wow, what a great hub about your Mom. She taught you all some good stuff. Great life lessons. Never give up. What is the worst that can happen. Her two favorite mantras. There are 8 of us too. She had great respect for her mother and mother in law. Great Hub. Voted up and shared.

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anivardiashvili 4 years ago from Georgia

Great Hub! I'll share it :)

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qmfaisal 4 years ago from Dhaka

That's very insightful and inspiring! I particularly liked this bit- "Pick Yourself Up, Wipe Yourself Off, and Keep Going". So many times I feel like leaving at a point but this line is going to be a great motivation for me. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

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Torys Ten 4 years ago from Central Utah

Sholland, great hub. I love life stories and enjoyed this tidbit of yours. I have eight kids (five still at home). My wife makes do on little money (and is amazing with it) so the bit on budgeting rings a bell. I'm glad to hear a potentially tragic situation with your family turned out so darn good. Keep up the good work!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hello All! I apologize for not getting back to you in a timely manner. I am overwhelmed by all your kind comments. Many of us had/have a strong mother in our lives who have taught us keys to living a full life. My mother was very wise, and I was very fortunate to have her. There were some tough love times that included many teaching moments.

Thank you all for commenting, voting, sharing, and especially reading. :-)

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lorlie6 4 years ago from Bishop, Ca

When her kids were emotionally/physically injured in some small way, my husband's mother used to tell her 7 children to "rub some dirt on it, then get on your way".

I think that's the same philosophy that I read here, sholland! Mothers are invaluable role models in so many ways.

Thanks for this!

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Lorlie, yes, good mothers are invaluable. I just hope I was able to teach my kids as well as she taught us.

Thanks for dropping by!! :-)

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gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Excellent hub. Some great life lessons from your mother.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, GM! She was a wealth of knowledge and love.

I appreciate you dropping by!! :-)

Marley Monroe profile image

Marley Monroe 4 years ago

Awesome! thank you for passing on such great lessons and wisdom from one mother to another.

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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thank you for reading, Marley! :-)

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Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

hello I LOVE YOUR HUB.. your mother sounds wonderful I lost my mom 1 1/2 years ago. she was the wisest person I knew.. and no one can top her now in my eyes..thank you for writing about your life and your mom.. I can relate to your wonderful hub



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sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Debbie! I lost my mother 3 years ago this month, and I feel the same about her as you do your mother. They sure were special. I know you miss her every day just like I miss mine. A wealth of wisdom...

Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing. :-)

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georgialgal1984 3 years ago from United States

What a beautiful tribute to your mother! She sounds like such a loving and strong woman. I have learned a lot from my own single mom, who worked hard, for my brother and I. There is strength in the struggles of life. Hope you have a wonderful day~

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sholland10 3 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi Georgia! Thanks! She had lots of practice by the time she got to me (I was number 8). I hope you have a wonderful evening/day, too!!

Thanks for dropping by! :-)

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    Susan Holland (sholland10)706 Followers
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    Susan is the last of eight children, has raised two productive members of society, and has spent 25 years teaching high school kids.

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