Happy Mother’s Day to all of the beautiful ladies who kiss boo boo’s, make lunches, chauffeur kids around, and are on the clock 365, 24/7. Being a mother is one of the most gratifying yet challenging jobs I’ve ever had to do. As a mom, my goal is to raise my children to be respectful, kind, and loving human beings. Most of what I teach my kids comes from my own life experiences. But, I also share the nuggets of advice I received from my mother.
My mother was a fiery, red head (Clairol Sparking Cherry to be exact), 5’2 Mexican lady with a whole lot sass. Carmen was witty, fun, driven, and full of wisdom.My mom filled our home with love, laughter, and music but what I remember most was her countless sayings and phrases. Mom had a saying for everything. Some were funny and others were words that I still live by. I have my own kids now and I’m passing those sayings and phrases that I still treasure the mos to them. Alright guys, these sayings were in Spanish so I will do my best to translate them in English.
1, “Dime con quien te juntas y te dire’ quien eres” Basically this translates to: “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” My mom would always tell us to choose our friends wisely. To surround ourselves with people that will lift us up. For the most part I think I did pretty good in this area. Two of my very close friends are from back in elementary school. Although we live in different parts of the world today, we still keep in touch. Thanks to technology, we have a an ongoing group text where we share the latest updates in our lives, take strolls down memory lane, share recipes, and send funny memes. Whenever we get together, we pick up right where we left off. I share this saying with my kids but I also added my own words of wisdom. “Surround yourself with people that you aspire to be like.”
2. “No escupas hacia arriba por que te cay en la cara“. English version, “don’t spit up in the air because it will land on your face”. Ok, this one sounds gross but it’s a metaphor. What my mom meant by this saying was, don’t judge others because it could happen to you. This saying holds true to this day. And, this is something I tell my kids. We all have our trials and tribulations. Everyone has different opinions and backgrounds. People handle situations differently. Who are we to judge? There were times in my life that I judged someone else for handling a certain situation in a way that I did not agree with; it wasn’t until I went through the experience myself that I realized that I had judged too quickly.
3. “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. No translation needed here. Straight shooter; no chaser. Guys, I can’t tell you how many times I heard this growing up. Lordy! Carmen was a perfectionist and very particular. If she went to hairdresser and it was 2 millimeters off how she wanted it, she would come home and cut her hair. Mom sent me to the grocery store one day to get a can of tomato sauce for her rice. I brought home the wrong brand of tomato sauce! You don’t mess a Mexican mom’s arroz or any food for that matter. I was so upset because I walked to the grocery store to get this single can of sauce. My response was, “why didn’t you go to the store you yourself then?” As the last word left my lips, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I soon realized my fatal mistake. Mom gave me that look (you know which one). I provoked the dragon and she was going to unleash her fury. Carmen went into her 30 minute lecture that started with “if you want something done right” followed by “in life, you’re going to learn”…… After that day, I always got that right brand. I learned my lesson. I’m not as gangster as my mom in this area. If my husband loads the dishwasher and the coffee cups are not all facing the same way, I just smile, say thank you, and restrain my OCD from showing its face. But if there is something I want done in a particular way, you bet I will do it myself.
4. “Don’t count on money you don’t have in your hand”. My mom was very financially savvy. She could make a dollar stretch. This was a golden rule. Mom had several retail stores which did well but it also depended on the economy. The money she made from sales was divided between supporting the household and reinvesting into the business. I don’t even think my parents ever had a credit card. When I was in my early 20’s I would spend money faster than I was earning it. i wanted the latest trends, shoes, accessories. I wanted what I didn’t have before my next paycheck. After years of living this way, a constant circle of never being caught up, I finally got it together. I created a budget and recorded everything I spent. Having a budget helped me plan ahead, have an emergency fund, see how mindlessly I was spending money, and spend only what I had on hand. I still, to this day, keep a spreadsheet of my monthly budget.
5. “You can wear a five dollar shirt and make it look expensive”. Are you seeing a trend here? Financially savvy. My mom was always put together. Carmen had a closet full of colorful dresses, skirts, colorful blouses, jewelry, and heels. You’d think that she spent thousands of dollars on her wardrobe but she was a bargain shopper. And if she couldn’t find piece of clothing she wanted, Carmen would make it. I will never forget my favorite Halloween costume of all time that she made. I was a pink genie complete with puffy glittery pants, sheer fabric skirt, and a head piece. She always would say, “you can wear a five dollar shirt and make it look expensive by the way you put it together. But most importantly it’s about you carry yourself”. You can have something expensive name brand but if you are not confident and carry yourself with grace it won’t matter how much you spent. There isn’t a price tag on confidence. I think this is were I get my passion for finding inexpensive pieces and putting an outfit together. I share this phrase with my step-daughter. There is nothing more eye catching than a woman with confidence.
The last phrase I think all parents have said and we’ve all heard, “wait until you have your kids!” Well mom, I have my kids and I have a lot of respect for all you did. These kids drive me to drink some days but I love them more than anything in this world.
Happy Mother’s Day!