“Because I said so!” These are words we’ve all heard from our moms, at one time or another. It probably was valuable guidance in that moment, even though it wasn’t the nugget of wisdom we expected to hear.
This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the exceptional wisdom moms bring to our lives. Here are some sage words of motherly advice, shared by friends of Aroundabout Local Media.
Bettie Jolly Sleeth, TowneLaker community board member
“Mind Your Manners were words I often heard from my mother, Lorena Butler. Perhaps it meant not being so unruly as those boys that I grew up with, my brother and several male cousins. But I always thought it was more than just etiquette, because of my grandmother, Betty Cox. ‘Miz Betty’ always preached respect, and don’t ‘disrespect’ others, especially teachers. Education was very important to my grandmother, since it was not valued when she was a girl growing up in rural South Alabama. Today, I sometimes still hear those words from my mother and grandmother. Being courteous, minding my manners and respect seem very important in today’s society. It is just a simple way to better understand other people.”
Jeff Moon, Woodstock city manager
“I think the best advice my mom ever gave me was: ‘Always be nice to people you pass as you move up the ladder of success, because you could see them all on the way back down.’”
Jim Imbriale, Attorney
“My mom, Florence Imbriale, always said, ‘Remember to always clean behind your ears!’
This is us before my wedding 12 years ago. She passed three years ago and I sure do really miss her and her wisdom!’”
Sonny Sellers, Pastor of Bascomb United Methodist Church
“Best advice from my mom: ‘Don’t do something just because everybody else is doing it.’”
Beth Fornuto, Photographer
“Recently, my 88-year-old mother said not to overlook the blessing of suffering in your marriage and/or family — whether it be financial, spiritual or physical. It is in these times when you become the closest and discover what truly matters in life. My mother has been a widow for over 30 years. Cancer rocked our world when I was just in high school. She said, looking back, she would not wish to change a thing and that the six months of my father’s fight to live was the strongest their marriage had ever been. He had also found eternal salvation during that time. She also said to never stop praying for your children. They may have seasons of rebellion and bad decisions, but they will eventually come around, so just keep praying.”
Scott Coleman, Community board member
“Patsy Coleman, my 83-year-old mom, continues to be one of the wisest people I’ve known. She somehow kept my brothers and I from getting into too much trouble while growing up in Roswell. Among her nuggets of wisdom:
• You never know who is watching.
• What goes around comes around.
• You are known by the company you keep.
• Think before you speak.”
Jay Baker, Director of communications for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Pam Wood Carnes, Cherokee Chamber of Commerce president and CEO
“My mother, Dianne Wood, taught me from a very young age to be mindful of what you do and say, as there is always someone around that knows you or your family. Yes, I did grow up in a small town, yet I find, no matter how large the world around us becomes, there is always someone hearing our words and eyeing our actions. Just last Christmas, my mother gave me a framed message stating, ‘There are always three choices in life: Give Up, Give In, Or Give It All You’ve Got.’ My mother has always given it all she’s got, and I’m proud to have been a part of her journey.”
Laura Mikszan, Fitness/Health Coach
“Keep an open mind and a sense of humor … utilize both to compassionately serve others. Always use good grammar, and NEVER end a sentence with a preposition!” Laura’s mother, Elizabeth “Betsy” Baker, passed away on Jan. 27.
Cheryl McKay Price, Screenwriter
“The best piece of advice my mother gave me was to follow God’s will for my life. Even when that meant leaving her and Dad behind in North Carolina as I moved to Los Angeles to pursue writing. She stood firm in her support of my God-given dreams. She’s always been my biggest cheerleader in my pursuit of writing faith-based movies. Naturally, she’s very thankful we moved to Woodstock and are no longer 3,000 miles away.”
Stacy Brown, Marketing manager, city of Woodstock
“My mom has always encouraged me to cherish my relationships. She tells me to enjoy my sons and be grateful for time with them. She does the same thing about my dad, and did the same with my grandparents. It says a lot about what she values. I think that’s so wise, because what’s more valuable than the people in our lives?!”
Donnie Henriques, Woodstock mayor
“My mom always told me that if you arrive for an appointment on time, you were late. Something that has stuck with me to this day.”
Claire Frost, Contributing writer
“When I was a brand new mom, and staying home with my daughter, I couldn’t understand how anyone ever was able to do this. My mom said, ‘You just need practice. You’ll see. All of a sudden, it will be like you grew two new arms.’ As per usual, she was 100% right and, to this day, that’s one of my favorite pieces of advice/comfort to offer to new moms … because it’s true. No one was born a mother. You learn. You adapt. Your instincts take over and you’re doing it.”
Elisabeth Stubbs, Local business owner
“My mother was a voracious reader. This philosophy, from a famous book she loved and introduced me to, has served me well in life: ‘Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all … tomorrow is another day!’”
A Stepmom’s Guide to Mother’s Day
Stepparenting is one of the most challenging things an adult can take on, and, according to recent statistics, one in three Americans is part of a stepfamily. But, when I became a stepmother almost nine years ago, I could find very few people who wanted to talk to me about my new role, and even fewer publications and resources.
As a result, most of us use the old “trial and error” approach. Every once in a while I get it right, but I’m definitely still learning. One thing I know for sure: While being a stepmom can be tricky on a normal day, it’s much harder on Mother’s Day.
Let’s face it, even if you are crushing the stepmom game, and you’ve never made a mistake (I don’t know any stepmoms like this, but let’s assume they exist), you do this job knowing you will always come in second place. And that’s the way it should be.
Since I have two sons of my own, I’ve always understood that part. I don’t expect or even want my stepsons to celebrate me on Mother’s Day, but it’s perfectly OK to celebrate the sacrifices and love you pour into children you haven’t raised from birth.
Here are some tricks I’ve learned from my stepmom tribe over the years, to keep this day from becoming one of heartbreak.
- Talk to your spouse. This may seem like simple advice, but if you’ve ever been a stepparent, you know that bringing up your spouse’s children is the trickiest of all conversations. Most of us say we’re fine, even when we aren’t, because we worry we’ll say the wrong thing. Keep the conversation focused on you, and not the children. It’s OK to say, “Sometimes, I feel hurt that …” My husband is great at getting me special cards that celebrate my contribution to his children’s lives. They don’t say “Happy Mother’s Day,” but, rather, thank me for being a part of the story.
- Plan an event, outing or special meal with your stepchildren on another day. Blended families are used to shifting dates. If you can celebrate Christmas on the 27th, you can celebrate being a stepmom any day you want, but you need to be very clear that you are not celebrating being your stepkids’ mom. This is the line that never can be crossed. They already have a mom, and blurring that line can cause confusion and conflict. I know one blended family that celebrates Bonus Day in between Mother’s and Father’s days. They spend the day at a water park, have a picnic, and no friends are invited. It’s a day for just them. It is important for you and your new family to create your own traditions, without stepping on ones they created before you came along.
- Create your own Stepmom Day with others who share that special title. I have a lot of friends who aren’t stepmoms. But, I have learned that it is vital to have people around who also are on this journey. I need these women to share my stories with, to ask advice from, and to encourage me. I have one friend in particular with whom I meet for coffee weekly. So, grab your special stepmom tribe and go do a paint night or see a movie. If Leslie Knope can create Galentine’s Day, there is nothing stopping you from going to brunch with your favorite stepmoms. And, if you don’t already have at least two stepmom friends, find them.
- Treat yourself! Speaking of “Parks and Recreation,” I choose to follow the advice of Donna and Tom whenever I’m feeling down. Now, your idea of treating yourself and mine are probably different. Mine actually changes, depending on the situation. But, whether your idea of self-care involves a spa day, a hike in the woods or exploring a bookstore for the afternoon, this is important for any stepmom. Most of us are so busy navigating the kids, and their diverging schedules, that we rarely have time to be alone in the bathroom, much less an entire afternoon to dedicate to something we love. This is the perfect day for you to celebrate how well you are doing!
Stepparenting is tough, and watching your hard work be ignored can seem like the ultimate slight. But, you have to remember that you can write the next chapter of this story. You can, and should, make the choice to celebrate being a blended family any day you want. The key is to remember that you married someone who truly loves and trusts you enough to allow you to co-parent the most important people in his life.
That’s a celebration every day.
– Merry Quarles