Life is filled with lessons.
We learn some lessons as a result of our failures and successes. Some are learned by watching others. Growing up, I didn’t always value the treasure I had in the blessing of my mom. Yes, she spent lots of time with us, sharing her love of baking and having discussions over the delicious biscuits she made several times a week.
I grew up thinking my mom was like every other mom. She wasn’t. I have met several women who have bad relationships with their mothers. The lessons they learned from their mother/daughter relationships are filled with pain, abandonment, and regret. While my mother is far from perfect, she has poured a tremendous amount of wisdom into my life. As an adult, I’ve come to realize how important mothers are to the growth and development of good, productive citizens.
My mother taught me by example.
7 Lessons I Learned by Studying My Mom’s Life
LESSON 1: Wake up early.
One of my most vivid memories from childhood is waking up to the smell of bacon, eggs, coffee, and homemade biscuits. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, my mom got up while it was still dark so that we could have breakfast ready for the household (v. 15).
Beyond making sure we could eat, waking up early allowed her to have a little me-time before she put on her mom and wife hat. In the quietness, she had an opportunity to prepare her mind for the day ahead. She positioned herself for success in our home and community.
As a mom and a business owner, I now find peace and clarity in the hours just before my family gets up to start the day. During the school year, I wake up at 6 am and follow a rather rigid morning routine that includes morning pages, reading, prayer/meditation, and self-care (hygiene). Most successful people wake up early.
LESSON 2: Be Present
My mom being present resulted from her respect for us, her children, as people. If we needed her, she set aside time to give us her undivided attention. Note, I wrote set aside time. Being a present mom does not mean stopping every time your child thinks she needs something. For you to be present with your children, they should also respect you as a person who has needs, desires, and responsibilities. We knew that our mom’s study and prayer time was sacred; we only disturbed her if there was a real emergency.
This lesson also comes in handy in relationships with my colleagues and friends. To be present is to value the people you come in contact with enough to set aside time to fellowship with them. Relationships must be nurtured, not networked.
LESSON 3: Work with What You Have (Be a Good Steward)
My mom and stepdad did not have a lot of money. However, my mother, an excellent home manager, made it a point not to be wasteful. While we ate a lot of homemade hamburgers instead of combo meals from fast food joints, we never went to be hungry, had our utilities canceled, or got an eviction notice.
Stewardship is more than taking care of bills and finance. It includes taking care of others (1 Peter 4:10). My mom took care of my grandmother until she succumbed to cancer. Afterward, she and my aunts became guardians of my minor twin uncles, watching over them until they because adults.
LESSON 4: Be Intentional
From waking up early to make breakfast to having a solid plan to keep three girls dressed and coifed appropriately, my mom knew what she needed to do and did it. She even ran a tight ship while she was in nursing school. The best part about it, her intentionality allowed her to do these things without an attitude.
According to BalanceThroughSimplicity.com, “Intentional living is a way of thinking about your life that’s purposeful and deliberate.” Your roles in life are often for a season, but your purpose is deeper than being a wife, mother, or worker. Your purpose is the reason you were created.
If I were to rank these lessons, this would be number one. Every other lesson banks on intentionality.
LESSON 5: Be a Peacemaker (Set the Tone)
My mom set the tone in our home. While we often argued—remember three girls lived in the house with only one bathroom—my mom didn’t allow us to fight or be disrespectful to each other. She taught us how to objective and considerate of others.
Being a peacemaker not only requires diplomacy, but it is also a direct result of being at peace with yourself. If you live in turmoil and chaos, you will not be a conduit of peace. Setting the tone starts with you.
Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
LESSON 6: Set the Standard (Be the Example)
My mom lived the standard she told us to live by. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Training is not telling someone what to do. Training is setting an example in the way you approach life.
We were raised not to use profanity – ever! Because my mother didn’t cuss, it was easy for us to see that it could be done. While I slip up on occasion, not using profanity helped me to build my vocabulary, and it still forces me to be thoughtful about my words.
Lesson 7: Do Not Allow Weeds to Grow (Nip It in the Bud)
Whenever my mom saw bad behavior in us, she put the breaks on. It didn’t matter if it was hearing about me cussing at school when I was going through a rebellious stage or if we went a few too many days without tidying our rooms, she guided us back to the standards she set for us.
In my personal life, I practice this. When I find myself not reading my bible or sticking to my plans, I audit and re-set. For me, weeds are YouTube videos about planning, productivity, and design. While I love YouTube and will start populating my channel (subscribe, please) soon, too much of anything is bad for you. It’s great to watch others do, but it’s more fulfilling in the long run to do things yourself. Instead of watching YouTube for hours on end, I limit my time to one hour a day. Do I always stick to it, no? But, having a plan helps me to focus on what matters most. And, one thing that truly matters is keeping the weeds at bay.
I’m sure I can come back to this post and add other lessons I learned from my mom. I’d love to hear some wisdom you learned from your mother. Send me an email or comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you.