Chardonnay, Pantyhose, and Other Advice From My Mother

My mother, just like your mother, was big on giving unsolicited advice.  Some of it was good. Some of it, meh, not so much. But I will say, it was always memorable

Perhaps in the back of her mind she knew she would not live long enough to see me reach adulthood. She wanted her words to last. She wanted to make things stick. 

Perhaps she was just a good judge of character.

Perhaps she wanted to save me from the all grief and inconvenience that had come by her the hard way. Isn’t that what mothers do best? 

I don’t know.  But I’ll tell you this: I always carry pantyhose.

***ADVICE FROM MY MOTHER ***

…on kids with weird names

Make a special effort to be nice to kids with weird names. It’s not their fault their parents are idiots.

…on food
Never trust a skinny cook. They are trying to make you fat.

…on wardrobe
Wear nice clothes to the doctor, the lawyer, the accountant, and any other office where they might deliver bad news. That way, they will treat you better and the news won’t sound so bad.

…on controversy
Avoid people who avoid controversy.  People who are scared of controversy are scared of keeping their own opinions and defending what they know to be true. Those people will never defend you. Stay away from them.

…on shopping
Buy underpants in quantity. Buy shoes in quality.

…on shellfish
Only eat oysters in months that end in R.

…on vacations
Everyone should take their kids on vacation. It keeps them from having more kids.

…on friendship
When you go to recess or lunch and you see someone alone, be proud to be the first person to sit down by their side. Invite them to play with you.  Because, 1. This means you will never be alone. 2. You might be the first person to discover why they are special. This is a great honor.

…on laundry
When in doubt, rub with toothpaste and let it set overnight.

…on love
You have to love someone when they deserve it the least. That is when they will need it the most.

…on marriage
Only marry a man who loved you before you loved him, otherwise he will wake up one day and think it was all a trap.  Men don’t like to be trapped. Let them hunt.

…on dating
Look for a man who is nice to animals and waiters. Avoid men who talk about their mother too much.

…on religion
Religions are like armpits – we all have them, but that’s no reason to flap our arms around and rub them in each other’s faces.

on the color purple (and our neighbor’s obsession with it)
Don’t trust purple people. They are clannish and strange.

on people who tan too much
Don’t trust people who tan too much. Anyone who looks like a rotisserie chicken on purpose isn’t right in the head.

…on jewelry
The most beautiful women in the world never wear jewelry. They don’t need it. Roses do not need perfume.

…on grief
Grief goes better with chardonnay.

…on salty food
Salty food goes better with chardonnay.

…plane rides
Plane rides go better with chardonnay.

…on pantyhose
Keep nylons in your purse at all times. If you ever get lost in the forest, you can pull a thread, tie it to a tree, and keep walking. The thread will act as bread crumbs and you can be found or find your way back. (note: Mind you, I was about six when she said this and had no idea what nylons were, much less how to fit them in my Hello Kitty purse, or where to find a forest if I wanted one).

…on teachers
Expect 20% of your teachers to be bad at their job. This does not mean they are bad people, it just means they chose the wrong profession. Why should you suffer for their mistake?Learn to spot them and avoid them. For the other 80%, treat them as though they are the most important person you will ever meet. They probably are.

…on giving up
Remember, it is not over until nobody loves you, and I will always love you.

…on tipping
People who over-tip get treated nice. People who under-tip get spit on their steak.

…on other women
Look for women who are looking out for you as though it were their job. One day, that will be your job too. 

     …the list goes on.

Now I wonder; what advice did your mother give you?

I’ll bet, the best Mother’s Day gift you could give her this year is to follow it. Or better yet, write it down and send it to her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mommies, grannies, aunts, step-moms, godmothers, fairy godmothers, and any other woman who is hustling to make a positive impact on the life of a child. Sunday is for you :)

Update 5.14.12: Thank you to everyone for your kind words on these snippets from my mother. I can’t tell you how pleased she would have been to see total strangers approve of her theories on life. I can see her waggling her I Told You So Finger right now. But seriously, if you have a sec, please take a moment to write down the best advice your Mother gave you. I’m hoping to revisit this topic down the line and would love your input. Thanks :)

Comments

  1. says

    My Mother always told me that “every days is a new adventure”, advice that I now treasure. She also told me not to worry about going to sleep with a wobbly tooth as the worst that would happen is I’d swollow it and my bum would grow teeth and try to bite my hand in the toilet. She also said that before I speak I should think “is it true, is it kind and is it really really necessary”.

  2. EveryGirl says

    My mom always told me, “You can’t control other people’s actions, you can only control how you react to them.” I find myself saying it to other people now!

  3. nutbirds says

    OMG, how wise. What else did she say? Sounds like a book. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Jackie Onassis wore hardly any jewelry. The Duchess of Windsor wore a lot.

  4. Muskokahandyman says

    Sounds like your Mother was a wise woman (except for her attitude towards jewellery–beautiful or not, one can always stand some bling!)

  5. Alittlejunkinmytrunk says

    Oh man I wish I knew you mom, she sound like a fun lady! My grandmother once told me that girls can’t grow up to be doctors because 1) men don’t like to be told what to do by someone smarter than them and 2) Ladies don’t want other ladies looking at their “lady parts”. hmmm interesting theory. That’s ok because I grew up to be a Goodwill Blogger. Who would have guessed? My mom’s best advice is ladies don’t drink beer from a bottle, and it is just as easy to fall in love with a pauper as a prince.

  6. Mary says

    my mother always reminded me as a child “the worst they can say is no.” i still repeat that to myself. thanks for sharing your mom’s advice!

  7. ajp2020 says

    Love your momma’s comments. Mine always said you could get more bees with honey than with vinegar and whenever I was dealing with my enemies I had to “kill them with kindness” and I would win them over. I kept a job for at least 6-10 months longer by confusing them this way, so it definitely worked. They thought for sure I would give in and quit, but I just smiled sweetly, worked nicely and kept putting that paycheck away for when they let me go. Mom was right on the money there!

  8. AnnasBananas says

    There are so many gems in the advice that my mother has given me, but there are two that stick out the most. “When you grow up, if you think I was the most evil, mean and nasty woman you’ve ever met, I will have done my job”. The other one usually happened when we threatened to run away. She’d take us to the end of the drive way and say “The road goes that way and it goes that way, if you can find somewhere better than here, go for it. But remember, that ‘somewhere else’ doesn’t have your Momma and you won’t find her anywhere else.” That was usually enough to keep us home. Because she isn’t the most evil mean and nasty woman I’ve ever met. She is kind, and funny and a fighter. And if that’s what being evil mean and nasty is, then I hope I get to be that way too.

  9. tracy b says

    I have tears in my eyes and goose-bumps on my arms…. what a great legacy your mom has left you. mothers are magical anf funny, funny people. I will have to add some of these tidbits to my mommy repertiore, and now I must go call my mom.
    Thank you auntie Peaches, you made my day.
    Tracy

  10. Ellicia says

    My aunt was a people person. Her advice for a less dangerous age was, “Don’t be afraid. A stranger is just a friend you haven’t made yet.” Of course, this was in a era when people didn’t lock their doors/

    Also, one of the most humorous I have come across recently is this one. Everyone should have a friend so close they will help them get rid of a body. Be there in a minute, no questions asked. I thought it was on your blog, but I can’t find a source for it any where now.

  11. says

    Great advice! Perhaps if the Husband and I had read her advice about vacations, things might be a teeny bit different for us right now…or maybe not!

    Best advice from my mom? Never let a Dr. give you a shot…always ask for a nurse!

  12. Anna Relle says

    Facing my very first Mothers’ Day without my mum… Your post made me sob, laugh and remember good things all at the same time. Thank you!

  13. Nicki says

    Fab tribute to your Mom, ‘ceptin’ that I do love the color purple!! My Mom’s best advice? “Never talk poorly about other people’s children because you never know what your own are going to do.” Now, I apply it to my BabyGrands.

    Every day is Mother’s Day. xo

  14. says

    Love this list!
    Best advice my mom gave me was when I was a terribly shy 2nd grader: “People who are shy come off as selfish…when you don’t talk to people because you’re shy, people might think that YOU think you’re too good for them.” Took that to heart and am now probably too extroverted…

  15. says

    When I was a child and then an awkward teenager, my mum’s advice usually revolved around making me seem more lady-like. It was usually along the lines of “keep your knees together”, don’t drink from the bottle, don’t use another person’s toothbrush…
    My favourite though is “stay up as late as you want, go out for as long as you like, as long as you feel safe, if not, call us and dad will come an get you, any time, day or night”

  16. SPStirling2001 says

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother . And I appreciate that some of her advice made me laugh out loud. Like mother, like daughter.

  17. Jenna Bustamante says

    Your mother seems like she was wise and witty rolled into one. We don’t know it at that moment when the advice is given, but mothers DO know best!

  18. Deborah Rolston says

    Some of my mothers gems:

    Always see how a man treats his mother, because that is how he will treat you (in the end).

    Children should be managed in the same way as little animals. Food,

  19. says

    My mom was funny and wise, except when it came to men. The best advice she ever gave me was “don’t trust them even when you love them”. She also said a good friend will talk you out of killing your enemy. A great friend will help you hide the body…

  20. Susan G. says

    My grandmother gave me at least two pieces of advice that I can never forget:
    1. “Don’t throw out the dirty water until you have clean.” (I know she was referring to a guy I was dating!)
    2. She was in hospice care and my husband and I were building a home when she said to me,
    ” Get your name on the deed!” I like to keep reminding my husband of her parting words. My name IS on that deed , and we are living in our home for 25 years.

  21. Jennifer says

    I don’t know about advice so much, but my mother is a purple person, and I can’t agree with your mother more…my mom is extremely clannish and strange :) (but I love her very much anyway)

  22. philsmom57 says

    This list is absolutely wonderful.

    My three favorite things my mother told me (that I didn’t appreciate then, but do, very much, now):

    1. Never miss an opportunity to compliment someone, It might make their day, and it costs you nothing.

    2. If you can’t find the tine to do it right, how are you going to find the time to do it over?

    3. You have to love your children enough to let them hate you.

  23. Michelle Marie says

    My mom always told me and my brother that we best learn to get along with each other because someday we might be all each other has. My brother is my best friend, we are both in our 40’s and text or talk everyday and truly enjoy spending time together. We still have our dad, but we also have each other. I feel sad for folks who have no relationship with their siblings, but I am grateful for the relationship I have with mine and I am grateful to my mom for being so wise in her short time here.

  24. radioradio says

    “Remember, it is not over until nobody loves you, and I will always love you.” What a lovely thing to say!

  25. Heidi The Merry Magpie Vintage says

    I’m sharing the playing at recess one with my 7-year-old daughter. Thanks to your mom, I’m going to sound really wise. :)

  26. Kara DeCarlo says

    Kindness counts.
    That’s the one thing she told me, demonstrated to me, and encouraged me by being herself.
    The things she didn’t say, but taught through her actions:
    We only get one planet, so treat it well.
    Don’t eat food with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
    Be a listener, not a chatterbox.

    And recently (when she was diagnosed with a dairy allergy):
    Eat as much cheese as you can now, because someday you may not have that luxury.

  27. Mare says

    my mom used to say, “remember, you are special and unique, just like everyone else” but my dads advise is wha t I rely on most…………. “don’t let the bastards wear you down”.

  28. Catherine says

    My favourite advice from my Mum (and what I remember actually following) was to always put myself in another person’s shoes to understand how they might feel in any given situation. Especially if I had teased or been mean to someone else (hey I had 5 siblings – meanness was sometimes part of the landscape…ha ha).

  29. Mrsjuliedavenport says

    My mother taught me:

    Listen to what people say, and believe what they say. If someone says, “Oh, I’m a terrible person, ha ha ha.” Believe them. They aren’t kidding somewhere deep inside.

    Always bring a sweater/jacket.

    “Inch by inch anything’s a cinch.”

    Life is too short to eat rice cakes.

    …and so much more.

  30. says

    wow!!! i loved each and every advice written here…. and whats amazing is how universal they are… :) This article just made me miss my mum so much…. living away from mothers after marriage is the most difficult thing…. because i feel no one will ever understand you the way she does! thank u!!!

    My mum’s lesson to me has always been to not judge any person for who they are…. and that just opens up a lot of people to great friendships!!!

  31. PeachesFreund says

    I learned that one about the compliments from a former boss — so true. Can’t tell you how many friends I have made by being quick with a compliment. #3 is a great one.

  32. PeachesFreund says

    I’m sure that’s not true ;)

    However, I will admit, I wear gobs of jewelry when I am feeling not-so-pretty. I like to think it’s making up for the rest of it.

  33. Lauren says

    These are wonderful! One of my favorites from my mom is, “You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.” Thank you for sharing this!

  34. Saraphm says

    My mom took it a step further, and said if they say no, ask why. sometimes there isn’t a reason, they’re just in the habit of saying no.

  35. says

    I will not burst into tears. I will not burst into tears. I will not burst into tears. Aw, there you go, too late.
    My Mum will come over for a visit in two weeks (she only manages to make the trip about once a year) and I have been fretting, planning and fretting some more for weeks now. She’s the most important erson in my life, and looking at that picture of your Mum on the swing trying to hear those quotes in my head in a voice I imagine could be hers is… kind of strange and immensely touching.
    Finally I can see where you get it from! The big personality, the eye for small things, the sparkle. The very first comment by radioradio nailed it, ’nuff said.

  36. Fsaunders says

    Oh, I can believe it. Shy really can come across as stuck-up.

    My roommate is incredibly shy. I know what a cool person she is because I know shy people need a little coaxing (I was one) and I took the time to get to know her. She likes going to house parties, but is too shy to talk to people and is content to just sit by the wall enjoying the atmosphere, or just talking to one person quietly. She leaves early because she’s an early riser and tires out quickly.

    I have a friend who doesn’t like my roommate. He thinks she’s stuck up because she hardly talks to anyone, even when asked a direct question, and doesn’t hang out long enough to get to know people. He thinks she’s a wet blanket because she doesn’t participate and makes others feel uncomfortable just by being there.
    I told him to just ignore her, rather than get frustrated trying to interact with her.

    My roommate thinks my friend is a loudmouth jerk who wants to be the center of attention and won’t let anyone get a word in during a conversation, or one-ups everyone’s stories. She thinks he ruins parties by monopolizing everyone’s time bragging about himself.
    I told her to ignore him and just talk to the people she likes out on the patio or in the kitchen.

    Seems to be working, I haven’t heard complaints from these two about each other in a year! I almost thought they’d start dating because they talked so much about each other : )

    My lesson from all this: Give everyone a chance to get to know you. Talk to people but don’t over-do it.

  37. says

    Reading through all of this wonderful advice, and I was thinking that I don’t know if my mom actually gave any advice like that. Then I remembered: “Something will present itself.” And it is true. When I have a hard time making a decision, or when things are going a bit rough, something does come along to make it a bit more clear. Oh, and the other is “go wash your face and put on some lipstick”. In my mom’s world, that makes things better. And it does work on some level, it really does.

  38. says

    My mom would always say ‘Treat people as you would like to be treated’ however in my many years this mostly doesn’t work. I used to be a nice person now I just “call it like I see it” if they are proved to be undeserving of me being nice to them since I am a Nicehole now. Most people don’t like getting a taste of their own medicine.

  39. says

    Great post! Just found your blog and really adore this post. My mama always said, “Teach your children to be lovable. That will take them much farther in life than any other quality.”

  40. Anonymous says

    Hi my Mom, who is still alive @ 93 but unable to give much advice now, gave most of her advice through her actions. She wanted us to be individuals so she didn’t give advice verbaly, she let us experience life on our own with her examples to follow. I learned from her example that being a lady was caring for others, not caring what others think about you. That life is to be lived in the fullest, that tears and laughter are acceptable most of the time and not to take oneself too seriously.

  41. Anonymous says

    Hi Aunt Peaches.
    Just came across your blog and this post. I love it and I think I love you too. You seem very kind and uber cool.
    I have yet to find a blog that spoke to me so well. You have a wonderful way with words and you are funny.
    I feel like you and I would be fast friends if we lived in the same city.
    Have a lovely day,
    Smiling Around Really Always Hushed

  42. Anonymous says

    When I was in 9th grade (1980), my mother told me if I learned to type I’d always have a job. She was right.

  43. says

    I just ran across your blog today looking at your BEAUTIFUL coffee filter roses. Almost every one of your Mom lessons made me laugh and remember both of my Grandma’s & my Mom’s & all my aunts lessons thanks for lighting up my day with this post….Thanks again Linda Lee

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