Saturday, February 19, 2011


Mothers.  We all have one.  They're a very maligned group, blamed for all manner of things, and the butt of insulting remarks (think "yo mama.." jokes, and words like motherf*****).  Whether we have a happy or unhappy relationship with our mother, they are a considerable influence in our lives.  

My relationship with my mother has not always been easy.  We have very different personalities and interests, and see things in quite different ways.  This has led to major clashes over the years, although both our attitudes have softened as we've got older.

My mother was born in 1930, so was a Depression baby.  Like almost all women of her generation, she learned to cook, bake, sew, knit, mend and grow a garden.  These skills were all passed onto me, and I'm grateful for them.

Through the recent changes in my circumstances, as well as the difficult economic times, I have turned my back on rampant consumerism and considerably reduced my discretionary spending.  The things that I learned from my mother have become more important to me as I reach for a simpler, more satisfying life.

What are the most important things that you've learned from your mother - good or bad?


  1. In no particular order:

    1. To be gracious - in accepting gifts whether or not you like them or understand them, in dealing with people even if they are driving you nuts, in all aspects of your dealings with humans I guess.

    2. The art of letter-writing.

    3. To sing and play the piano (she did both beautifully and I do miss our duets both vocal and instrumental). Although I don't play anymore, the gift of music appreciation started here.

    4. To give people the benefit of the doubt. Things are not always as they seem on the surface.

    5. A hardy protestant work ethic (which hasn't always been a good thing!)

    6. Faith in God.

    7. How to budget a paycheck and how to make do. She was about 20 years younger than your mom so definitely was effected by the depression. Waste not want not you know.

    In a lot of ways, I know I was a disappointment to my mother. I never had kids - she could NOT understand that, coming from that generation where family and children were everything and women stayed home to care for them. She also thought I should have gotten a teaching certificate like she had - as a back-up should I ever have to support myself and my husband through hard times. She really did think you could always get a teaching job, but even if that were true, the last thing I wanted to do was teach, after observing what she went through when she went back to it. Secretarial work suited me better and that has always been my back-up plan.

    She was my best friend, exasperated me at times, didn't get it, and got it all too well. I think a lot of people thought she was a doormat and weak, but she was anything but. And there was never any doubt about how much she loved me. So even with faults, of course she had them, I couldn't have asked for much better. I only wish she'd had a little more confidence in some of her abilities.

  2. My mother was a depression baby as well. Like yours Shirley, she cooked, sewed and did the most beautiful embroidery. She still has one piece she worked on at 16 years old and got a 1st prize for.
    We also didn't see eye-to-eye when I was younger, but as we have both aged, we are getting along well.
    The ups and downs of life haven't escaped either of us, and as I write, my Mum is facing things like cataract surgery and osteoporosis. Both of which have slowed her more than they should have.
    She is frail for her age, but not frail in spirit (usually).
    God willing, my Mum and Dad will celebrate 60 years of marriage next January (2012).
    That is probably the biggest bone of contention between us (not their celebration, but the fact that two of her six children have had marriages which did not last the distance). That's another story!
    She has a strong faith in God which has been both shared and passed down and I am so grateful for that.
    Your last paragraph sums up a lot: "She was my best friend, exasperated me at times, didn't get it, and got it all too well."