Your mom probably had a lot of things that she planned to teach you. She wanted to make sure you knew how to have manners and how to be a good friend. She wanted you to learn how to operate the oven without setting the kitchen on fire and maybe even the basics of using a glue gun. She wanted to show you that it’s important to appreciate your siblings and to send handwritten letters to the people you love. You’re obviously grateful for all of this wisdom, which is part of why you can’t wait to celebrate Mother’s Day.
There were other lessons that Mom taught you as a kid, though, that maybe neither of you realized were being communicated at the time. Looking back, you can probably start to notice the behaviors that she modeled for you and how her simple way of being helped shape you into the kind of kick-butt person that you are today. Scroll down for more, and prepare for some serious reflection. Did my mom really do that? Yes — she did!
1. No matter how you’re feeling, sometimes you just need to get out the door. There were days when Mom was tired, days when you and your siblings had been driving her totally crazy (yup — we’re talkin’ to you), days when the last thing she wanted to do was put on shoes or a bra and face the world. But guess what? She did. Even if it was a struggle, you watched her do it, and that example has probably stuck with you on the days that you didn’t feel like getting out of bed and putting on a bra yourself.
2. Simply being there for someone is often the best form of support. Your mom may not have always known what to say or what to do to make you feel better when you were having a hissy fit over missing a birthday party or hurting from a broken heart, but simply knowing that she was sitting with you probably helped calm you down and put those breathless sobs to rest. As you’ve grown up and become a support system for others, you may have found yourself similarly unable to actually fix a problem for someone else… but you’ve come back to those emotional moments with your mom and learned that simply being there in a tough moment can be enough.
3. Dessert can be a bargaining chip, a consolation prize, or a celebration. Sometimes, you were bribed with ice cream. Other times, you got to have a sweet treat because you lost a big game — or maybe because you won! Mom knew that there was almost never a wrong time to have dessert and, for better or worse, you still use your favorite sweets as a way to mark the highest of highs and lowest of lows.
4. The way you talk to yourself matters. If your mom was really good at encouraging you and telling you how great you were, she probably instilled in you a great sense of self-esteem and confidence. If, on the other hand, she wasn’t so hot at praising you for your accomplishments and recognizing all of your amazing qualities, you may have struggled over the years to give that positive self-talk to yourself. Either way, you’ve learned that much of the way you perceive yourself comes from other people and that you can magnify those perceptions depending on how kind (or not) you are to yourself. Speak to yourself lovingly!
5. Attitude adjustments and time-outs are actually really important. You probably hated these phrases when you were a kid, but we’re willing to bet that you now see the value in Mom’s insistence that you squelch bad behavior with alone time or an intentional mood adjustment. Even if you don’t call it an “attitude adjustment” or “time-out” anymore, you definitely take yourself out of negative situations as an adult — and that all comes from Mom.
6. No two families are exactly the same. Your mom may not have looked or acted like your best friend’s mom, and your family probably operated differently than all of the other families in your neighborhood. While this may have felt like a bummer back in your elementary school days, what it’s taught you is that no two childhood experiences are identical, which has (hopefully) given you a hefty dose of empathy for others who you’ve met later in life.
7. Boundaries can be a sign of love. Getting in trouble as a kid was absolutely no fun, but looking back, you’re probably pretty happy that your parents disciplined you every time you tried to hit your brother or cheat on a test. Even outside of parenting, we adults have to set boundaries with the people we care about so that we can demonstrate our love without getting hurt (or being a party to others getting hurt). Your therapist might be encouraging you to do that in your friendships and romantic relationships these days, but your mom was probably the first person to show you how it’s done.
8. Even adults mess up sometimes — and that’s okay. There’s no such thing as a perfect person, and that goes for moms too. Growing up, you saw Mom make the occasional misstep, but more often than not, you still idolized her just because, well, she was Mom! We have our mothers to thank for showing us that it’s perfectly acceptable not to get it right all. the. time.
What’s the best lesson you ever learned from your mom? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)