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Three Important Lessons my Mother Taught Me

Updated on May 26, 2015

Although it's hard to pin down only three important things my mother taught me, I've chosen the three I always think of when I think of my mother.

Mom and I loved to x-country ski and had so many laughs - especially when we wiped out!
Mom and I loved to x-country ski and had so many laughs - especially when we wiped out! | Source

1. Be Able to Laugh at Yourself

My mother often gave me this advice, especially when I was a teen. That's when everything seems like the most important thing ever and you want to die if you get embarrassed. But our whole life is full of these embarrassing times.

Although you can use laughter as a great way to avoid dealing with something, it really is one of the most useful tools I know. Mom was right in teaching me to not take everything so seriously. Life can be so darned hard that laughter is the only way to survive.

Plus, I've found that when you laugh at your own mistakes or goofiness, it deflates any power someone else may have thought they had over you! It's like saying, "Nya, nya - beat you to it!"

And we all know, it's even been scientifically proven, that laughter is good medicine - so laugh it up!

My mom (in the dark dress) graduating from Finishing School in the mid 1940s
My mom (in the dark dress) graduating from Finishing School in the mid 1940s

2. Always Be Neat

This isn't about fashion or vanity. This is about reflecting your self-respect on the outside so that everyone else can see it and feel it.

My mother didn't teach me that you had to have the nicest of everything or that you had to dress in designer clothes. But what she did teach me was to wear clothes that were clean, fit well, and flattered me. She taught me to always make sure my hair is combed and that I didn't look like a slob.

To this day, even if I'm running out quickly to the store, I might change a shirt, add a little lipstick, or comb my hair. I'm not making a fashion statement, but I will tell everyone that sees me that I respect myself and that they should too.

I'm sad to see what a lost art this is now-a-days. There are flattering clothes for every size and price point. It takes little time to run an iron over a shirt or choose one that doesn't highlight a muffin top.

And besides, you never know who you'll run into - like that ex-boyfriend from years ago or the person who might interview you for your next job!

Whale Tail


3. Always Wear Clean Underwear for a Trip

OK, this seems obvious, but no list from my mother could be complete without this gem!

It had obviously been entrenched in her so completely that she passed it on to me, even as she laughed while lecturing me about the virtues of clean underwear - because you never knew.

Of course, this advice wouldn't be so funny or epic without the real-life lesson she gave me. As a kid, we drove 2 hours every weekend to an old house we were restoring. My mother wore her work-on-the-old-house clothes, taking a break from her restrictive pantie-girdles. One time, we had a car accident and my mother was hauled off to the ER in an ambulance. Deliriously, she moaned to the EMT that her mother had always warned her to wear clean underwear for a trip. Even the ER nurses heard her lament - broken ribs be damned! Well apparently, the problem was more that she was, um, commando (really, those girdles were horrendous, so....)

But I could also extend a modern version of this advice to the shocking number of women who do the equivalent of plumber's pants: don't have a "Whale Tail!"

I often see women with low rise pants that show quite a lot of their thong above their belt line, even in professional environments. These are called "whale tails"! Most of the time, I doubt their purpose is to look "sexy". I believe they just forgot to think about what they looked like from the back or the length of their shirt. To all women I say, THINK ABOUT IT.

Wisdom For My Daughters

I hope that I've been able to pass these three little gems along to my daughters. And maybe someday, they'll get to do the same with theirs. Of course, I wonder what their top three will be!


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    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 12 months ago from Maine

      Alun, so funny! My husband works at a hospital and has been doing a project in the emergency department. He reports a common worry from women who end up there is the underwear worry, at least according to the nurses! Although, I'm quite sure the panty-girdle thing is from a different era. Thanks for your comment!!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 12 months ago from Essex, UK

      Hmm. An interesting selection of useful tips mbwalz. What can I say?

      No1 - I can certainly identify with and agree with, and for so many reasons. The world can be a stressful, worrying place to live, and there's no need to make it worse than it is. Good advice to live life a little bit more lightly, smile a bit more, and not take things too seriously. If everybody did that, it would make for a better world.

      No2 - Listen I'm a guy who lives alone. So neatness by any definition is not top of my list of priorities!

      No3 - Clean underwear, pantie-girdles, whale tails? No, sorry - as I said, I'm a guy, so I'm not even going to discuss this one! Much too dangerous :)

      Best wishes, Alun

    • avee-angel18 profile image

      avee-angel18 4 years ago

      Hey...nice one...mothers will be mothers..always right..:)

    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 5 years ago from Maine

      I'm pretty sure I am too! One of my daughters threatens to put "Make sure you get some protein" on my gravestone!

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

      some of the things mothers say!!!!!!! I think I'm just as silly.