Why Mothering Matters: Thirteen Things My Momma Taught Me
“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”
– Elaine Heffner
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I got to thinking about all the fantastic life lessons my Mom taught me over the years – in her own weird, wonderful and highly effective way.
So I jotted them down in this blog and thought this would be a perfect way to kick-off the Mothering Matters 2016 blog series.
Here are the 13 things I learned from my Mom (a.k.a. Momma Pope):
1. A love of animals
We always had pets growing up. And my Mom always took me with her to the vet whenever we had to take a pet in…sometimes even when the time came for a beloved pet to be put down. I learned to love and respect animals, how to care for them properly and treat them kindly – and when to let them go 🙁
2. A love of theatre
My Mom loved to go to the theatre to see plays and musicals…and she always took me. From a very young age, I grew to cherish that moment right before a play begins – when the theatre lights dim and you just never knew what was going to happen on stage. It is perhaps no surprise that I became a playwright.
3. A love of travel
Momma Pope loved to travel – and she usually took me with her. But not always. Sometimes she went on her own…and now that I’m older and on my own, I totally get that. As fun, exciting and interesting as travel can be, it can also be challenging, expensive and exhausting. Learning the ropes as a young traveler is a heck of a lot easier than when you’re an old fart.
4. Proper nutrition
My Mom was a nurse and did a stint in community health – so she knew the importance of balanced nutrition. To this day, I cannot eat a dinner that does not include vegetables and I have to have fruit and some sort of protein for breakfast.
5. The importance of strong interpersonal skills and making people feel welcome
Growing up, my Mom and her Mom (my Grandma, Nan Nan) liked to have tea parties in our home. And since I was the only girl in the family, guess who got to serve all the ladies their tea & cookies? What this did, however, was teach me, at an early age, how to interact with people who were not my family or friends. This early exposure to dealing with people has come in very handy over the years. I can network a room like nobody’s business and I know how to make guests feel welcome in my home.
6. The importance of getting away
When life was getting too hectic, my Mom had the wisdom to get away – even if it meant just staying at a local hotel for a night or two. Time away from home often helps give one a different perspective.
7. How to handle money
I learned the money basics from my Mom early in life: saving, investing, staying clear of debt and living within your means. But I must confess to not necessarily practicing them very well…at least, not until circumstances forced me to. My Mother was a shopper through and through – but as much as she loved buying shoes, she loved buying stocks more.
8. Do the most important thing FIRST in the day
Then it’s done!
Be thankful for all that you have…and write a thank you card when someone gives you a gift.
Momma Pope was a single Mom. She ran the roost. She ran her own life. She handled her own money. She worked full time and raised kids. My Mother did what she had to do – and what she wanted to do. This may help explain why I have been single for so many years…which is not necessarily a good thing. I have much to learn about how to compromise 🙂
11. Learning is a lifelong process
My Mom was still taking University adult-education courses in her seventies.
12. Stay active
I was very fortunate to be able to do all sorts of sports when I was a kid and young adult: soccer, downhill and cross-country skiing, ballet, basketball, badminton, etc. I don’t do those particular sports much anymore but I do keep active on a daily basis: walking, hiking, yoga and dancing. Movement is life
13. Get out into nature
I remember hiking in the mountains when I was six. They weren’t necessarily big hikes we went on – just enough to get us out into nature, burn off a little steam and eat yummy trail mix. Hiking is still how I spend the majority of my weekends – trail mix and all. I just add more chocolate chips.
And since I was the youngest, after my brothers had left home I got stuck doing the bulk of the gardening. I wasn’t too fussed about it at the time but it sure comes in handy now, caring for my own garden…and somewhere along the way I learned to love it.
14. Bonus (sort of ): Listen to your conscience
Momma Pope was unbelievably good at making us kids feel GUILT. As a result, all four of us have an extremely strong (and loud) conscience. This can be a real pain in the ass at times – because let’s face it, life is a heck of a lot easier if you don’t always listen to that little voice inside your head telling you what is right and what is wrong.
But, as our Mom also taught us, life isn’t supposed to be easy. Yes, it can be lots of fun and a great adventure at times. But if we want a better world, then we have to help make that happen…one good decision at a time.
I would love to hear some of the things YOUR Mom taught you, so shoot me an e-mail if you like!
To learn more about the Mothering Matters blog series and/or to subscribe, please click here.
Related blogs by Maryanne:
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.