THEY teach us pretty much everything – from manners and morals to telling the time and tying shoe laces.
Whether we are four or 74, mums are usually the first people we turn to for advice – and maybe a cuddle. To celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow, KATE JACKSON asks six writers to share those little gems their own mums passed down to them.
GROWING up, it was just me and my mum and the things she taught me would fill a book.
But if I was to choose just one piece of advice that stuck and sustains to this day, it was: “Earn your own money.”
“Then,” Pat would add, “you will only ever be in a situation because you want to be in it, rather than because you have to be.”
It’s a mantra I have passed on to my own daughters, who are all strong, independent young women with a fantastic work ethic.
My mother, who continues to be a force of nature to this day, was supportive but not pushy, firm but always fair and rarely, if ever, raised her voice.
She had “a look” that would stop me in my tracks.
But most of all, it was simply the thought of disappointing her that kept me on the straight and narrow.
On the rare occasions I would fail to return home by the time allotted (in the days before mobile phones) she would hop in her Morris Minor van — often wearing her nightie — and drive around the local streets looking for me.
My mother, who continues to be a force of nature to this day, was supportive but not pushy, firm but always fair and rarely, if ever, raised her voice
Once, seeing her turn the corner, I dived into a nearby hedge rather than face her wrath, emerging a couple of minutes later to run home and await her return while claiming I had been back “for ages”.
It infuriated me at the time but as soon as I had kids of my own, I understood.
IT was back in 1959 when my mum Anne had me aged only 18, which meant she was still young during the Swinging Sixties in Glasgow.
She was so stylish and trendy. Thanks to her, I grew up listening to some great music.
I loved trying on her clothes and shoes and playing with her make-up. I wish I’d inherited just a little bit of her terrific sense of style.
She also taught me to read and write before I went to primary school — there were always books and newspapers in the house. She instilled in me a love of reading and passed on a strong work ethic.
Mum is very much a “do as you would be done by” woman. She taught me to treat people with respect and to remember that you never know anyone’s story until you walk in their shoes.
She also believes we should seize the day and never keep anything “for best”.
If you should get a gift of expensive perfume at Christmas, she says use it every day instead of keeping it for big occasions.
Mum reckons every day should be considered special.
She is full of energy and curiosity, and that’s something I have inherited from her.
The only thing she hasn’t been able to teach me, despite many efforts, is to make her famous chicken and vegetable soup, which should be available on the NHS as a cure-all.
WHEN I was 25 and about to become a father for the first time, my mum Emmie told me: “Your life is not your own when you become a parent.”
I have never forgotten her words. My mum has been dead for 20 years next month.
I learned many things from her. She faced both life and death with courage, defiance and humour.
She had six brothers and a husband who had been a Royal Navy Commando, but was the toughest of the bunch.
In the last year of her life, when she was dying of lung cancer, she never lost her smile and never gave up hope she would beat the thing that was killing her.
When my own time comes to leave this life, I hope I can face my fate with just half of the grace, dignity and smiling bravery of my mum.
She taught me how to live and how to die. My mother prepared me for fatherhood like nobody else ever could. She told me that becoming a father would be the biggest change ever in my life, and she was right.
She was a brilliant mum. We had our ups and downs but I never doubted for one second that she loved me. I am a better man, and have been a better parent, because of her.
She taught me how to bring up my children with her wise words, and shining example of what a parent should be.
My mum taught me how to be a parent. More than this, she taught me how to love.
FORGIVE me for sounding like a Hallmark card — but as I’ve grown older my mum Lesley has become my best friend.
She’s stylish (no coincidence I began my career in fashion), kind (I won the Heart Of Gold award at secondary school) and gives the best advice.
But the one thing that has stuck with me is her mantra to “put on some lippy and you can take on the world”.
I have never seen her leave the house without a splash of red, coral, brown or pink on her lips.
And it is not because of vanity or for approval from anyone else.
It is because a simple smear of lipstick can make a woman feel confident, powerful and ready for whatever life might throw at her.
I have seen my mum, on days when life has been unimaginably tough, put on a pair of dark glasses to go with red lips. It is like her war paint.
Ever since then, I have adopted the same motto.
I can’t count the number of times I have felt exhausted, hungover or just a bit sad, and a dash of lipstick has immediately made me feel so much better.
Of course, Mum has made sure she passed on a barrel-load of encouragement to my sister and I throughout the years. But she has always supported the fact we should never underestimate the power of lipstick.
Or a good cup of tea.
MY mum Kelly’s best advice was: “Make sure you take time to enjoy your children.
“They’ll be old for a lot longer than they’re young, so give them as many cuddles as you can while you have the chance.”
It’s the biggest cliché in the book but it is ridiculous how quickly your children grow up.
I’ve got five and it’s still all gone by in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe I’m the only one in the family who still wants to go to Legoland this summer.
Parents have to lead by example and that was what my mum was best at.
Mum always put my sister, my dad and me first.
She still does, and selfless giving is priceless.
Even now she’s full of “encouragement”, but doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear. It drives me slightly mad but criticism that comes from a loving place is invaluable. My dad is nearly 90 and needs a lot of looking after. Mum’s devotion to him is staggering. I’m so proud of her.
She’s always told me that if I set my mind on something, I can do it. Anyone can probably achieve what they want if they are determined enough, but it does help to be reminded.
There have been periods when I’ve been reasonably rich and periods when I’ve been massively skint.
But being part of a loving family is the greatest wealth you can get or give.
Love you, Mum
HOW to fight for what I want and get it was the biggest lesson from my mum Trudy.
She taught me this so well that I have never questioned whether I can do something.
If I fail, it is only because I didn’t try hard enough.
This is true feminism. I worked hard at school and I have the job of my dreams.
She gave me that — her gift to me in the cradle was to have ambition.
Her parents left school when they were 16. She was a grammar school kid who became a historian and a teacher.
She was a Baby Boomer and a beauty, but never let men give her the things she wanted. She preferred to get them for herself.
She has read thousands of books and seeks knowledge like other people seek air. Ignorance angers her.
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But when she isn’t reading, she is having fun. At heart, life is an adventure to her. I remember her only really being angry with me once in my childhood, when I couldn’t be bothered to work for an exam and got a bad mark.
She was bewildered: Why would I fail when I didn’t have to? What was wrong with me? I also remember her pride when I got a Saturday job at 13 — it was expected — and saved up for a record player.
“Money is freedom,” she said, “go get some.” And I did. When I married, I said to her: “Everything I have that I value, I have because of you.” I meant it.
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