Advice my Mom gave me without knowing she gave me advice. Some little things and some with great importance. I've failed miserably at most of these but am grateful for my Mom who taught them to me.
1. Play the guitar and sing sitting outside her bedroom when she can't fall asleep.
2. Serve dinner every single night at 6:00.
3. Serve it with a smile like is a joy and wonderful privilege to do so.
4. Show respect to your husband, always. Never raise your voice even if you want to. It builds a beautiful marriage. Never ever let your girls see you argue. (yes, I never ever saw my parents argue)
5. Be generous.
6. Love the holidays. The tiny little things will be remembered. Love each and every one of them. The little heart box of chocolates on my pretty plate on each Valentines day meant so much. The simple Easter basket with sweet things, the stockings at Christmas. Each gift was so thoughtfully given. Never ever throw a few things in a stocking just to get it done. Be thoughtful, give less but make it meaningful.
7. Wrap beautifully. A pretty package is delightful and makes you feel so loved.
8. Make your home a warm, loving, sanctuary; a place that feels good the moment they walk in the door. Think about the senses; does it smell oh so good with something on the stove, does it feel good, how does the food taste... all of this matters when building a home.
9. Change the sheets often and on a schedule. And do it for them. Sure, you can teach them to change their own sheets but what a sweet thing to do for them week after week, year after year after year. Getting into crisp clean sheets feels like a warm hug. Especially when they're a teenager and they don't think they need a warm hug. And don't worry that if they don't change their own sheets when they're ten "what will they do when they're on their own" Guess what they'll do? They'll learn how and every single time they change their own children's sheets they'll remember how loved they were growing up. And what a sweet mother they had.
10. Be patient. (why did I not inherit this?) Never raise your voice at them. Wait. Breathe. Think. And then discipline in love. Never shout at them. Never get angry and have a temper. Wait. Breathe. Think. Speak to them in a low, slow, loving voice, even when your want to explode. Always. (how did she do this over and over and over?)
11. Bake weekly. Have homemade desserts on the stove with wrap over them for them to enjoy.
12. Have faith. Show them that faith. Bring them to Mass every single week. Show them you need it.
Show them you love it. Plant those seeds and water them often as they grow. You know they'll need that when they're grown.
13. Take care of yourself. Exercise. Get good haircuts, wear some make up but not too much. Looking pretty makes you feel good. Wear clothes that need to be ironed. You'll look so much better in an ironed blouse. And then do that for your children..
14. Be content. With the home you live in. With the car you drive. With the clothes you have. With the toys your own. Love the home you have. Love the car you drive. Love the clothes you have. Love and enjoy the toys you have. Don't always be wanting, needing, having to have the next best thing. Be content.
15. Be humble. Let your work be for the Lord. Don't brag, don't show off, don't even care if anyone ever knows how gifted, smart, talented you are. Just be the best you you can be.
16. Teach them how to be mothers starting when they are little. Show them how to play with dolls. And love dolls. And never want to ever grow out dolls.
17. And this my Mom taught me without knowing how much I'd need this advice in my motherhood with both Anna and Abigail. If God gives you children with special needs just do what you have to do. Don't waste time complaining. Push the worry away with faith knowing God is with you, helping you raise that child.
18. And then after all of that always be happy (no... rejoice) in the choices them make for the life they want. Be thrilled for them when they choose their husband. Let your heart be filled with gladness when their child might not look anything like them and come from the other side of the world. Rejoice and enjoy them as adults. Give them their space but always be there if they need it.
I know that I could easily write more advice to myself from my Mom all day but I'll let that be what it is for this year. I'll leave saying that my Mom taught me how to be a mom by example. I'm one tenth of the mom she is and was to me when I was little. But I'm grateful for that little one tenth. Happy Mothers Day mom and thanks for teaching me so well.