Lessons from Mum

My mum is wise and funny and – despite what I may have thought as a teenager – often right about most things.

A little while ago, she started sending me postcards with little life lessons on the back. The theme is “Bringing Home The Bacon”, so each note focuses on something work / life balance orientated. It’s her way of sitting down for a cup of tea with me at the end of a long day, even though she now lives four hours away.

When I was little, Mum worked full-time. She’d strap me onto the back of her bike, cycle across Bristol and teach a full day at school, before collecting me and cycling home. This was pretty much the case until my sister came along when I was four. Then Mum worked part-time for a while before returning to full-time work a couple of years later.

She has always worked incredibly hard and it’s only just in the last year or so – since retiring – that she’s enjoyed a proper break. She’ll cringe when she reads this, but she’s an example to me. When I feel dead on my feet, exhausted with the working mum juggle, I imagine her cycling up a steep hill in the pouring rain, with me wrapped up warm on the back – and I grit my teeth. If she can do it, so can I.

The thing is, being a teacher, my mum had lots of holidays. School holidays were our time together as a family to totally relax and enjoy each other’s company. Dad was a teacher too, so we’d go away for the entire summer and forget about normal life. Many memories were made on these trips. That was Mum’s way of keeping her work / life balance in check. Plus, she refused to do emails post-8pm.

Now, as I attempt to juggle the role of mum, wife, presenter, journalist, writer, blogger, general dogsbody, my mum is on hand to help with these little pearls of wisdom in her regular postcards.

There was this one, reminding me to be careful driving to work on icy roads…

Ice skatersOr this one, advising me to cut corners with the chores and enlist the help of dogs or toddlers…

Dog posting a letterOr this one, which is pretty self-explanatory really…

Skeleton at a computerBut my favourite so far has to be this one…

Life lessonsWhen I opened it, my mum’s distinctive handwriting was inside, with this message:

“Avoid focusing on the negative; the colours are grey and depressing. Try to keep positive and find colour and humour in the little every day things.”

Like I said, my mum is wise.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh my goodness – thought it was just my mum that did this kind of thing! As well as postcards, Mine was also a fan of post-it notes in random places when she visited – each with wise words on. She passed away when Gibby was 10 weeks old. I still miss her as deeply as I did in those first few minutes when she left me. This post made me think of her and smile – so thank you xxx

  2. says

    Ah wise words form a lovely mum. My mum passed away a couple of years ago too and like Minty I yearn for her and her wisdom. Molly your mums sounds lovely x

  3. says

    aw I love this. The best advice my mum ever gave me was the night before my first exam at Uni. I was in a blind panic, couldn’t remember a thing I’d studied and was convinced I was about to fail everything.

    My mum calmly and simply told me to go have a bubble bath. So I did. I closed my books, had a huge bubble bath and slept soundly. And everything worked out fine.

    It was only years later that she told me she was in a panic and didn’t know how to calm me down/advise me, so she told me to do the first thing that came into her head. Lucky for me, her inner wise owl was listening. Mum’s really are wise (even if they don’t realise it at the time!).

  4. says

    Your Mum sounds utterly wonderful. I wrote a post the other day to go live nearer to Mother’s Day on my incredible mother-she is the smartest and most caring woman I know and always so fair and never judgemental (hard to find that quality these days). She is also an inspiration. She emigrated to the UK, learnt English in a year-aced all her O’levels that year in a foreign language, got 4 A’levels, then 3 degrees incl a master of philosophy and PGCE and only stopped her PHD when I was a demanding 2 year old, returning to work when I was 3 changing careers, opening award winning restaurants. Incredible. When the tough gets going I always remember her determination, like you with your mum! We are lucky.

  5. says

    Wow that is such a lovely idea from your mum. I hope i remember it when I’m older; to do it for my own daughters when they’re grown up (Or will postcards be terribly old fashioned by then and I’ll just beam them advice by telepathy in some techno future?) Love the one about chained to the computer forgetting to eat – that’s very me!

    • says

      I think the fact “snail mail” is old-fashioned is what my mum rather likes. There’s something special about opening a card written by hand. Far easier to take note of what’s written inside than if it was a hastily read text message anyway. x

  6. says

    What a superstar of a Mum you have! I LOVE the postcard idea, and will admit that her advice on the last card, did bring a tear to my eye! :)

  7. says

    Oh Molly, your Mum sounds like an absolute gem! How wonderful it is to have our mums cheering us on from the sidelines, I too have a very supportive mother and it makes the world of difference to my life. I need to remember what you thought of her in your teenage years as I’m going through this now with mine!

  8. says

    This is just wonderful. What a fantastic idea. I sometimes look back through letters and cards that my friends and I sent each other during our teenage years, twenty years ago. Our kids will probably never have boxes of letters unless we send them some!

    My mum luckily only lives about three miles away, but I think I’m going to start a new tradition of sending things in the post. Something so tangible and permanent will survive the test of time, whereas Tweets, texts and emails will be inevitably lost in cyberspace at some point!

    Really glad to have found you on the Britmums’ carnival!

    Rachel

  9. says

    Oh wow, what an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing her pearls of wisdom with us all. I shall now also be conjuring up an image of your mum cycling steeply uphill in the wind and rain with you strapped on the back the next time I need a little more grit to keep going.

  10. says

    Oh Molly, this is a wonderful post! And very fitting as Mothering Sunday approaches. I have to say I often wonder how my mother and her mother managed to keep all the balls they juggled in the air. I sometimes wonder if I’m too weak and then I feel badly that I may setting a horrible example for my own kids. Some days I cut myself some slack when I think that all my family are in another country and friends are miles away, the internet is my connection to the world.

    I have to say its so lovely to know that you mum ‘has your back’ and such lovely clever cards :0) Thanks for sharing and I’ll take this time to say… ‘Happy Mothering Sunday’ I hope you get to put you legs up… and REST.

    • says

      I think being a mum is a tough job – whether you go out to work or stay at home with your kids. Either way there is guilt and we can be left wondering if we’ve made the right decision. We are ALL amazing – and you’re right to cut yourself some slack. That’s what my own mum would say anyway – and like I said, she’s wise. Happy Mothering Sunday to you too! x

  11. says

    Your Mum is AWESOME. That is all.

    Actually, no it’s not… I love this post, I love that you share your love for your Mum in this way, and your Mum is hilarious – I love the skeleton pic! I nodded in recognition… And I think I could take a leaf out of your Mum’s book with the no emails after 8pm rule.

    Usually when I read posts like this it makes me miss my Mum. And this one does too, but with a smile instead of tears. Mum made me a card for the 30th birthday, which I kept. She died six months later and I often look back at that card, and other things she made me, and I’m so glad I kept these little pieces of her. I hope you keep all your letters too… You could even make these into a little book and pass it down through the generations! Anyway, yes, lovely post. x

    • says

      I absolutely am keeping the cards – you’re right, they’re really special. I love the idea of a book too – thank you! I’m glad this post made you smile and remember your own mum fondly. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose your mum at such a young age, but I think if it was my mum, she’d want me to smile as you have done and celebrate the happier moments. Thank you so much for such a gorgeous comment. x

    • says

      I absolutely am keeping the cards – you’re right, they’re really special. I love the idea of a book too – thank you! I’m glad this post made you smile and remember your own mum fondly. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose your mum at such a young age, but I think if it was my mum, she’d want me to smile as you have done and celebrate the happier moments. Thank you so much for such a gorgeous comment. x

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