Wisdom of Our Mothers

I’m fairly sure my mom is The Best. (I mean, don’t we all think we’ve got The World’s Best Mom?) She spent her twenties teaching on Native American reservations, skiing in Colorado, and going to Europe to see my dad when he was stationed in Germany and Scotland. Before they got engaged, Mom Von was planning on moving to Australia to teach!

I will truly be proud if I turn into my mom when I (finally) grow up. In honor of Mothers’ Day, I asked my mom and aunts for words of wisdom to share with you guys. 
Here are some of the awesome things they said:
On life
“It’s much better to have an experience than a thing”
– Aunt Louise
“What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another. Be tolerant of everyone’s choices. Just because something is different doesn’t make it wrong or bad…it’s just different.”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
“Don’t save things for special or the future- wear your fancy coat, use your sterling.They should be for your enjoyment and pleasure. Your kids won’t want them when you die.”
– My mom
On happiness
“Happiness is a relative term. You make your own happiness. No one, not even your mother, should have to make it her goal in life to make you happy.”
– My mom
On career 
“Be ware of people who don’t like their job but won’t leave it. We spend so much time working – life’s too short to hate your job.”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
“Don’t expect to start at the top or have the perfect career right away. Be patient and have a long term plan in mind about where you’d like to eventually end up. But also be prepared to have to adjust things and go to “Plan B”.”
– My mom
On relationships 
“Work at them. Stay in touch. Call your cousin on the phone. Send your grandmother a card. You will never ever regret it. When you send a sympathy card (or other kind of card) be sure to write a short personal message.”
– My mom”Watch romance grow in this manner: respect, trust, sincere love. The lusty, amazing sparks of a new relationship may only start a wildfire which not only burns out your heart but all your innards as well.
Maintain your wonderful girlfriend relationships – you will always need those sisters!”
– Aunt Elaine
On style 
“Just be sure that your clothes and hair are clean.”
– My mom
“I know what is my style and color and what makes me comfortable and happy. Of course then there are the 5% of the chances I take that make me go….oh sure, I’ll try that, and I like it. Don’t get stuck in your box.”
– Aunt Louise
On finances 
“Don’t be too proud to take a job at a convenience store or a fast food restaurant.”
– My mom
“Instant gratification isn’t nearly as rewarding as working towards something by saving”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
General advice 
“Be nice to the janitors and other services workers in your apartment building or where your work.”
– My mom
“Don’t put it down, put it away.”
– My grandma
“It is better to “have it” and not “need”it”. Than to “need it” and not “have it”. Whether it is an umbrella or a savings account or anything else.”
– My mom”Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
– Aunt Elaine
What awesome advice has your mom (or a mom-like woman) given you?

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  1. The Dame Intl

    These are absolutely excellent Sarah! Thank you!

    My mom always said two things:

    Slowly, slowly, catch a monkey – meaning be patient.


    Never marry a man who hates his mother. Which is so true. All the men, including my father, who hate their mothers are not nice to their women. So now, whenever I am seriously interested in a guy, my deal breaker question is his answer to whether or not he loves his mother.

  2. Amy

    I love these 🙂 The one bit of advice that my grandma always trots out, and which I've actually started to say to others now, is 'This too shall pass'. It's totally true, and always gives me a sense of perspective.

  3. thehumblefoodie

    Moms always have the best advice. I especially love "Don't save things for special or the future"- whether it's china or a dream trip you've always wanted to go on, life is too short to make excuses. I'm learning every day how precious the time we have is.

    Some of my favorite advice from my mom (more an admonishment) was "You have the right to be mad or to have a bad day, but you don't have the right to take it out on me." So yes, you may get from that statement that I could probably be a moody little thing, but my mom has taught me to always treat others with kindness and respect. It also reminds me that I am the one responsible for my actions.

    Happy early mother's day to all the moms and moms-to-be out there!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      That's a good one! When I was younger and I'd complain about something not going well (usually because I'd failed to prepare/study/practice enough) my mom would level her eyes at me and say "And whose fault is that?" ;D

    • Lauren

      Ohhh the "and whose fault is that?" line – mums love that one don't they!

      My mum likes to use that on me whenever I call up complaining about the hangover I am experiencing.

  4. Kaisa

    Such cute photos and great advice. Oh yes and we all have the best mom! 🙂 My mom is just such an inspiration in many ways, but the older I get I notice I inspire her as well (she's totally the most hip and cool "old" person around at her work and places). I remember when I used to complain that other kids this and that then she always said: "I don't care what other kids say/do/have."

  5. Emma Trotter

    The best advice my mum has ever given to me is this;
    "What other people think of you, is non of your business"
    I love it, it reminds me that just because someone thinks something about me, it doesn't have to affect me or my life. Wise words from a wise woman.

  6. Katie Lee

    Love it! This is better than you described. So many great life lessons to store away for the perfect day.

  7. Sarah @ Marvelous-Darling

    Sarah, I almost started crying, and nothing makes me cry. I can't take it! So much love!

  8. Jenny

    This is inspiring – I don't have a close relationship with my mother and can't think of any advice she's given me. It has never occurred to me to ask, but like anyone who has lived experiences, I'll bet she's got all sorts of good advice. Thanks for opening my eyes!

  9. Carrie Rosalind

    This is such awesome advice – aren't moms the best?! My fave is from your grandma: "Don’t put it down, put it away." Must remember that!!

  10. Janice

    Thanks for passing along all of this wisdom. They've got some really great stuff! I especially love the one On Happiness, and putting things away, not down. That would save so much time!

    My great-grandma always used to intone, "Willful waste makes for woeful want." when she saw us youngin's tossing out perfectly good food or being careless with our nice new clothes. To this day, whenever I let veggies go bad or clean out my closet I hear her voice in my ear reminding me to value what I have, and not to create unnecessary waste.

  11. Amelia

    My mom always said "when you don't know what to do, do the next thing". She originally meant it towards homework, when I didn't know the answer to the question in front of me. Since then, however, it's become my go-to problem solving process when I'm stuck in a tough situation – "what is the next thing I need to do?"

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      That's great! Applicable to so many things!

  12. Gem Wilder

    You have some wise women in your life. Lovely. Also, that perm is epic.

    The best advice I ever got from my Mum was this: "There's a bitchy bully in every workplace. Just make sure it's not you." She was also a fan of the classic: "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't sway anything at all."

  13. Claire

    What a heart-melter of a post. I, too, want to be my mom when I grow up. Definitely sharing this with her.

    Also, those baby pics? Adorable!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks! I've had the same nose forever! 😉

  14. Monique

    I run a small t-shirt brand. My mom's advice is printed on a shirt and it's one of my most popular designs. She told me "The sky is not the limit, you are". It's something I think about all the time.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      THAT IS SO AWESOME. What a great mom!

  15. Kaitlin

    My mom always said "Those who talk bad or gossip about another are just threatened or jealous." So true, and it's a great reminder for me to check myself when I'm tempted to gossip.

  16. Amy

    This is all great motherly advice! However, not everyone has a great mother to celebrate. For anyone out there struggling with the relationship they have with their mom, especially on Mother's day, please visit Toxic Mom Toolkit on facebook, you're not alone. http://tinyurl.com/d9u7pcv

  17. Anonymous

    "You should always care but not always mind" – My Mum x

  18. A Lady Reveals Nothing

    "Happiness is a relative term. You make your own happiness. No one, not even your mother, should have to make it her goal in life to make you happy."

    How brilliant to turn this sentiment in on oneself! I've 'in adulthood' adopted this philosophy…but the backwards version in terms of the other person…"I shouldn't try to make it my goal in life to make that person happy…"

    This puts the responsibility on me. (No problems here, I'm ALWAYS happy…) But, just so you know…Brilliant!

  19. Ben Simon

    I recently blogged about the impact of my mom's rule: you're not allowed to say you're bored. My brother read the post, and had the exact same reaction.

    In short, it was a terrific life lesson and one I try to teach the children in our life.

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