My mom, Heidi, has done some pretty cool stuff in her life. She lived in California for a while in her 20s, riding her bike to work every day before it was a “cool” thing to do, she’s traveled by herself to Mallorca, Turks and Caicos, and Italy, and she was an au pair in England after college. My mom has also gone through some incredibly tough things - like taking on the role of caregiver for my grandmother in the last year or so of her life, before she died of leukemia. Through it all, I’m always amazed by her strength and sense of self. She knows who she is and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself or make mistakes. She’s the most human, kind, loving, fun person I know. (And you should see her on the dance floor.) Here are the standout tips I've picked up from her:
1. Really listen to people. I’ve learned this through my mom’s example. When you really listen to someone, you give them an incredible gift: You make them feel important. I remember reading an anecdote recently about a mother and her little boy. After telling her son I love you, he said, “I know.” So she asked him, “How do you know?” The little boy said “When I talk to you, you stop whatever it is you’re doing and listen.” That’s quite a wonderful bit of dedication, right? We can’t always do that perfectly all of the time, but it’s a great way to show someone you really care about them: pay attention and listen!
2. “You look better in simple outfits.” When my mom first told me this when I was a teen, I admit, I felt a bit insulted. As I grow older though, I realize there is such truth to this statement. The more accessories and flashiness I wear, the more overdone an outfit looks. I find when I start with simple pieces - a black fitted t-shirt and well-worn skinny jeans - I can add, say, a scarf or a ring that make it look more “me.” There’s actually two lessons here: one is knowing what looks good on you. That takes time and experimentation. The other is to err on the simpler side when dressing. Need more convincing? Coco Chanel said it best with her famous quote, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” It works for me every time.
3. Take care of yourself. When I have one of those crazy weeks where there’s too much on my plate and I’m overwhelmed, my mom always says “You need to take care of yourself.” I admit, I usually roll my eyes. But of course, she’s right. How could something that sounds so simple, often be our last focus of the day? We need time to relax, to eat healthy meals, to see people we love, to have a laugh and not feel so serious about life. Whatever it means to take care of you (lately I’ve been obsessed with New Girl marathons during my downtime - they always, always makes me laugh), commit to making it a regular thing. Literally mark time in your calendar for relaxing. In the end, as my mom always says, no one can take care of you as well as YOU can.
As I’ve gone through the stages of my life so far, my appreciation and awe for my mother has grown. She’s my rock.
She is the first person I call when everything falls apart.
She is the person I miss when I’m sick.
When I need a voice of reason, she’s the one I call.
I can tell her anything and she’ll take it in stride, she doesn’t judge, but she’s honest. She is the best listener I know.
She has passed her everlasting love for the beach and the ocean to me; it is my favorite place on earth.
I hope I have a relationship that’s just as strong with my own daughter.
To my dear mom (and to every mother out there) who works hard each day, at home, at work… To my mom and every mom (and woman) who listens, comforts and gives unconditional love, you are AMAZING. It is your kindness and love that makes the world go round.
Happy Mother’s Day!