Happy mother’s day, mums! I’m celebrating my 16th MD this year. My first was the day after my son was born, way back in 2004. I was recovering from a 40-hour labour and Max was already showing signs of being a “non-sleeper” (as the midwives so mildly put it). To say I was overwhelmed and in over my head is an understatement. That feeling has basically never left me.
Which reminds me of the best advice my mother ever gave me. It came six weeks later after Max was born. Mum had sent me to bed just after midnight, telling me she’d wake me when Max needed a feed. She then sat up through the night, patting Max back to sleep for as long as she could to give me the first solid five hours of sleep I had had since his birth. When I stumbled into the lounge as the sun was rising, protesting that she didn’t have to do that, she simply said, “You take care of my baby, and I’ll take care of mine.”
I’ve been trying to do right by my mum by taking care of her baby ever since. It’s definitely made it easier for me to take care of my own.
To celebrate the wisdom and wonder that is the mum, we asked a bunch of wonderful women to tell us the best piece of advice their mums had passed on. We can think of no finer way to celebrate mothers than to pass on their wisdom and their love.
The best advice my mother ever gave me
“My mum told me to marry a kind man, and she was exactly right. Kind men make wonderful fathers.” – Amy, 37, mum of two boys, 7 and 11.
“Mum warned me that love wasn’t enough, you have to like someone more. She was right, I divorced my first husband and I like my second much better.” – Rachael, 42, mum of girl, 14 and boy, 4 and step-mum to two girls, 16 and 13.
“Don’t ever do for your husband or children what they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves.” – Ade, 39, mum of three boys, 11, 9 and 5.
“My mum told me to always sleep naked and ‘that stuff’ would take care of itself. It was as cringe-worthy a moment as it sounds, but I reckon she might be right.” – Lisa, mum of two daughters, 18 and 13, and three sons, 16,15 and 9.
“Mum embarrassed me endlessly at my wedding by getting drunk and slurring ‘Never stop dating your husband‘ right in my ear, but really loudly so everyone could hear, at least 25 times. It’s wise advice that I remember every day. The memory of her wine breath on my ear still makes me shudder a little bit, though. Which seems fitting.” – Jodie, mum of sons, 9 and 6.
“Your husband will be around long after your kids have left if you look after him right.” – Baydan, 48, mum of two sons, 19 and 16.
“Give a relationship everything you’ve got, except your independence.” – Robyn, mum of three step-daughters, 17, 14, 10.
“‘Nie wywołuj wilka z lasu‘, which is an old Polish saying that means ‘never call a wolf out of the woods‘. In other words, don’t make life harder for yourself than it already is.” – Lena, 40, mother to daughter, 14 and son, 12.
“That old saying, ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ was ingrained in my brain by my mother since birth. I reckon its saved my sanity many times. Just get the small jobs done and out of your head!” – Nicole, 46, mum to daughter
“The best advice my mother ever gave me was, ‘With every kick, you get a boost.’ I had no idea what she was talking about for many years, but now I understand that you learn something important from every setback.” – Lucy, 44, single mum to son, 14.
“The smallest steps still get you to the finish line. She’s never been a rusher, my mum.” – Amy, 37, mum of two boys, 7 and 11.
Try this: 10 ways to make today a good day
“Focus on the ‘what next‘, not the ‘what if’. My mum passed on when my kids were small and not a day goes by when I don’t miss her big time. It’s hard not to think ‘what if’, but I try to take her advice.” – Danni, 33, mum to son, 11 and daughter, 8 and step-mum to daughter, 8.
“Instead of asking ‘why?’ all the time, try asking ‘why not?’” – Ann, mum of four, 16, 15, 11 and 9.
“Don’t lie to anyone, especially not yourself.” – Rebecca, 44, mum of four
“An early night is always a good idea.” – Sally, mum of three, 15, 14, 11.
“Every child is unique, which means you need to be four different parents.” – Rebecca, 44, mum of four
“The best advice my mother ever gave me was, ‘Allow your kids their freedom as soon as they feel ready, not when you do.'” – Anna-Maria, 49, mum of daughter, 17.
“Stop teaching and just watch instead.” – Delphine, 39, mum of three boys, 11, 9 and 4.
“Widen your circle as big as you can – your friends, your routine, your world. It takes many different perspectives to raise a whole child.” – Abby, 36, mum of two sons, 9 and 8.
“More doing, less thinking.” – Raelene, 38, mum of daughter, 17 and son, 11.
“Try saying, “I don’t know, what do you think?” to your kids more often.” – Lisa, mum of two daughters, 18 and 13, and three sons, 16, 15 and 9.
“When my eldest started school, Mum turned to me and said, ‘The golden rule of parenting bigger kids is to praise often, question regularly and criticise never.‘ Which is all well and good, but I remember being criticised all the time, so maybe it’s something she came up with later? LOL.” – Annabella, 44, mum of daugthers, 16, 13, 10.
“You can always start again in the morning.” – Jodi, 31, mum of sons 10 and 8.
What’s the best advice your mother ever gave you?