Women are always learning from other women. My seven-year-old daughter could not look more different from me, but we stand the same way with our hands on our hips, she uses the same turns of phrase as me, and she even drinks out of a cup the same way I do.
We soak up the ways and words of women around us from the day we leave the womb, and that continues through school, work and on social media.
So in honour of Mother’s Day, I asked the important mums in my world for their advice to get through life with as few bumps and bruises as possible. I know Mum’s Day is a day of dread for those of you who have lost their mums or do not have children, but this advice is universal.
My mother-in-law Betty has four kids and a wicked Irish sense of humour. Betty’s laugh is infectious and most troubles in life are shared over champagne and a patient ear. Betty taps her champagne flute when it is empty, which means she needs a top-up. Betty’s only fault is that she is completely biased when it comes to her seven grandchildren, and we often laugh at her comments on Instagram, raving about the beauty of each one.
“My advice to my kids has always been to believe in yourself,” she says. “Love yourself (but not more than others) and treat others with compassion. Never give up in life, as every situation can be fixed. Ask for help when you need it. And lastly, ‘try’ spells ‘cannot’.”
My wise mother-in-law has also followed her mum’s advice (who had 11 kids). Granny Reilly’s advice is so simple: “Always find something good about someone. They may have nice teeth. If you look hard enough there is always something nice to say.”
My Grandma used to say: “Do not have high expectations of anyone and then you cannot be let down.” Funny, but very true.
And my own mum did an amazing job raising three kids by herself. At 77 years of age, she is as feisty and independent as ever. She has always taught us to keep friends close and to dress warmly, no matter the occasion. This used to drive me mad as a teenager when I had a flat stomach and crop tops were in fashion, but my mum forbade me to wear them. Looking back I think, well played, Mum.
My mum’s best advice to other mums is to “constantly remind your young children there will be consequences if they do anything wrong, as you must teach them right from wrong; they must learn from their mistakes and they must learn responsibility.”
We will not be inviting my mum to stay until we clean off the black felt pen after our three-year-old decorated our white walls.
And I will leave the last words to Mum: “Have a good sense of humour and treat people as you would like to be treated, as life is short but oh so wonderful!”