13 Things I Learned from My Mom


by guest blogger Maya Rodale, author of smart and sassy romance novels

My mom and I don’t always agree (especially on the subjects of makeup, heel height, and when to see a doctor) but she’s imparted many excellent bits of wisdom and life advice that have served me well.

In honor of Mother’s Day (coming up soon—quick, go shopping!) here are 13 things my momma taught me:

1.  Be generous.

2. It’s funny when you fall over (as long as you’re not really hurt). The real lesson here: Don’t take things too seriously, especially yourself.

3. Talk about sex! She has a great list of tips on how to talk to your daughter about sex. As a result of her openness and support, I’m not angsty when it comes to discussing sexy stuff (the good and the bad) or even describing it in exquisite detail in my romance novels. Being able to talk about sex has made life less stressful and far more pleasurable. 😉

4. Follow your passion. When I wanted to major in something offbeat and vaguely unemployable, she encouraged me. As I’ve turned that degree into a job writing romance novels, she has been my biggest champion. I’ve never had to hide or apologize for what I love to do, which is wonderful.

5. Cook good, simple food. Because the ability to nourish oneself is the most important, fundamental skill a person can have.

6. Always buy organic.

7. Be curious. Read a lot of different kinds of books. Travel to new places.

8. Love what you love, even if people laugh at you. I laughed at her when she told me about her passions for reading romance novels, doing yoga, and listening to country music. These days, I write romance novels while listening to country music after going to yoga class.

9. It’s not a mistake if you learn from it.

 10. You’re not done with the dishes until you’ve wiped the counter and squeezed out the sponge. But making the bed is not necessary.

11. Surround yourself with soft things. Cashmere shawls invite hugs and snuggling. Plus, life is too short to spend it wearing itchy sweaters.

12. Recognize that you’re 21 and live on your own and you can get a dog if you want to. That’s a really specific example, but DUH! How many of us are legal adults who don’t realize that nothing is actually stopping us from doing what we want? Just do it!

13. Share the love. My mom worked hard and for long hours when I was young. I was lucky to have my grandma, my awesome aunts—Heather and Heidi—and my extra mom, Gigi, to take care of me and teach me things. There is always enough love to go around, so don’t be afraid to let other people in and share!

Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

What did you learn from your mom?

MayaRodalephotoMaya Rodale is the author of multiple historical romance novels, as well as the nonfiction book Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. She has a master’s degree from New York University and lives in Manhattan with her darling dog and a rogue of her own. Her latest book is The Wicked Wallflower. Visit her online at mayarodale.com, or say hello to @mayarodale on Twitter.



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8 Responses to 13 Things I Learned from My Mom

  1. Donna in Delaware May 2, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    You are a fortunate woman! When you asked that question, “What did you learn from your mom”, I had a block. I, at this moment, can’t think of a thing, or nothing much. She was a young mom, either always working, or going out with her girlfriends and men friends. Later on she taught me a few things, but I learnt PLENTY from my loving grandmother, may she rest in peace. She WAS, and IS my mother. Almost everything that I know, am, or hope to be is because of HER! She taught me how to love, forgive, share, behave at home and in public, how to dress properly and present myself in public, do my hair, garden, eat properly at the table, clean the house and myself, you name it, she taught it!

    I’ll never forget all that she has done for me. She was wonderful. My mother and I have a decent relationship. I don’t blame her for the choices she made. She learnt from them, a bit late, but learn she did. I lived with her for sometime in New York. That was fine, because I am a person who doesn’t like to make waves, we got along and that was that.

    Never forget the positive things that you mother taught you Maya. They will be with you long after she is gone, and resonate with you when you have your children, if you do. Keep her words in your heart, mind and spirit. Believe me, if you start to screw up, you’ll hear from her!

  2. Jane from Wisconsin May 2, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Oh my gosh! What didn’t I learn from my mom!?! I never thought of writing this down and I am tearing up as I do. (happy, fond tears)… I have told my mother many times what I learned from her, but it would have been sweet if she were able to pick up a note and read it as a reminder. She passed unexpectedly last August. She was such a strong person (I called her my Little Army Sergeant). 1) She taught me to work hard and not complain. 2) If the job was not done right, it was not done. 3) ALWAYS feed people that need nutrition, but NEVER let them know you know they are having a rough time. Instead, pretend you made too much and can’t fit it in your freezer. 4) If you have one chicken, or one pound of any meat, you can feed up to ten people. By adding beans, tons of veggies and a starch, a little can go a long way. 5) NEVER toss items out, donate them because there is always a person in need. Also, don’t sell items if you don’t need the money, donate them instead. 6) Love everyone and help everyone. 7) Do not allow people to treat you badly. 8) Stand up for what you believe in. 9) Don’t worry about things you have no control over. 10) My favorite… Do not expect to be perfect, because if you were, you would be Jesus Christ and we all know there is only one Jesus Christ. and…. my list can go on and on. 🙂 Happy Mothers Day!! Blessing!

  3. Kathleen May 2, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    L O V E.

  4. Alice Green May 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    It took me a lot of years and tears to finally learn one very important thing from my mother: Even if my own mother doesn’t love me, that doesn’t mean other people in my life will also not love me. And I guess one other lesson as well – that if I love myself, just as I am, eventually I realized that it wasn’t anything I did that made her the way she was. My Grandmothers did love me, and other ‘mother’ figures over my life helped me to overcome a difficult childhood. It takes a village to raise a child, I’m so grateful for those villagers who helped me along the path, even if they didn’t know what a gift they gave me.

  5. maria (farm country kitchen) May 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    I can’t believe it took me until 1:25 to read my own blog and see what a LOVELY gift my daughter has given me!!!!!!!!!!! Maya, you make it easy to be a good Mom. Well, except for the food issues, but whatever. We survived, didn’t we? I LOVE YOU!!!! XOXOXXOO Mum

  6. Georgene May 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    Mothers. Yours is very special. I have had the pleasure of watching you both grow into loving and kind women. Your Mom is always there for you. I know she loves you with all of her being. You will always be my ” extra daughter”. Love

  7. Vanessa May 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Having a not-so-ideal relationship with my mother, I watched you two and thought,”That’s what I want if I ever have a daughter!”. And I was lucky enough to have a lot of other fantastic women like Heather and teachers at Moravian to guide me to being the person I am today. So thank you to all my surrogate mothers, who gave me the strength/still give me the strength to be the mother I am today. And to the two of you, who are a constant inspiration!

  8. Beth Adair May 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    I love this! What a great article, and so well illustrated on how fun and insightful your relationship is with your mom:) Parents can have a big impact, I’m lucky too that I’ve had good influences from both. I learned a lot from my mom, mostly to always have a good time and be happy, but she did instill in me not to take any crap from a man, and not to do anything “halfass” (hence a clean room better also be vacuumed). Her later years of dimensia and other mental issues have taught me that this senior change has done nothing to her sense of humor. Even if she forgets who I am occasionally with dimensia, she makes me laugh, and nothing is ever sad about her illness. She makes everyone laugh, and I’m glad that is what i’m also known for, laughing. She was a talented and gifted flute player and youngest one in the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. I thought I was cool at 5 years old when I got to wait backstage for her to finish on nights she had to work.

    Glad to see Maya, that you’ve inherited your mom’s writing talents and passion for it. I’d love to know what the “food Issues” that y’all had were, but nonetheless, I view both of you very strong women. No doubt you both work very hard.

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