As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s something of a tradition to recall favorite pieces of advice moms have passed along to their children.
You know, everything from “If you believe something is impossible, it will be” to “If you ever find the perfect bra, buy six.”
But the shocking truth is, mothers don’t start out knowing everything. They learn as they go along.
With that in mind, we thought it might be illuminating to ask an assortment of Spokane area mothers just what experience has taught them about the job of being a parent.
What, in their eyes, is important?
Brenda Fisher has been a mom for just seven months. But she knows what she would tell a prospective new mother. “Don’t be nervous, you’ll know what to do,” she said.
Coeur d’Alene’s Gratia Griffith is about to become a great-grandmother. And she said one crucial thing she has realized about her relationship with her children is this: “There’s a time to quit being a mother and start being a friend.”
Kitty Kennedy has come to believe that one of the best things she can do for her children is to take good care of herself and of her marriage.
Another thing she holds dear is the beauty and simplicity of the household rule that says, “If you whine, you’re not getting it.”
Endicott’s Janette Wold said that one of the truths that stick out in her mind is the need to make sure children realize that actions, both good and bad, have consequences.
So many mothers. So many perspectives.
“Don’t let the small stuff get you down,” said Linda Waddell.
“Remember that the rotten times are what help you really appreciate the good times,” said Lisa Davis.
Valerie Snipes, who noted that teenagers excel at spotting parental inconsistencies, said, “Don’t make a rule that you cannot enforce.”
“Work on patience,” said Karin Petersen. “And try to keep your sense of humor.”
“Spoil ‘em and love ‘em to death,” said grandmother Sue Quinn. “I spoil my (grown) daughter rotten to the core.”
Tracy Kiehl suggested that one valuable way for a mother to keep up with the realities of childhood in the ‘90s is to get regular reports from the front lines. “You need to really listen to your children,” she said. “I mean REALLY listen.”
Kathy Hatcher said she thinks that instead of trying to wield an iron fist in every single situation, a mom has to know what she herself really believes is important. And then she can decide when to lay off and when to lay down the law. “Pick your battles,” said Hatcher.
“Lots of hugs and kisses,” said Cheri Ritter.
Kris Lamberson said the best advice her mother gave her was to go to the University of Washington instead of Washington State. But the one thing she thinks mothers ought to impart to their children is a belief in the adage “Never say never.”
By that, she doesn’t mean she advocates advising kids to live without a moral compass.
“I just think it’s important that they be encouraged to be open-minded and experience what life has to offer,” said Lamberson. “Encourage them to travel.”
The kids can always call home on Mother’s Day.
Another mom said the best thing mothers can do is to make sure they don’t
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Staff illustration by Charles Waltmire