26 Jul 2012

Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me

Ziegfield Girls – Alfred Cheney Johnston

I enjoy the company of my children’s friends so much… I try not to outstay my welcome… stay up too late with them… offer too many opinions… hang on their every word… I hope not. But I do have to tell you that they are such fun, so vibrant and full of a joie de vivre that is not only infectious but also completely enthralling. The good times we spend with our grown up children and their friends is different to the moments spent with our peers… being with my children’s friends is like being an observer in another world… it is familiar, yet I am not really a part of it… It is more a look, listen and learn kind of engagement whereas with my own friends of similar age I can be myself, be in the circle rather than looking in.

Last weekend my eldest daughter had a birthday party and invited a mix of school, university and work friends… all girls… it was a fabulous success. These 10 girls are all outstanding in their own ways… charming, gorgeous, highly intelligent and extremely successful. I was bowled over by their collective achievements and their phenomenal lives at such early ages… most were 27… and really going places… A trainee barrister, a group of bankers, an independent PR consultant, a social media expert, a commercial designer, a lawyer, a fashion consultant…and my clever baby about to start an MBA at London Business School… Quietly I was impressed with these down to earth young women who had ventured out into a tough global environment and were forging their way. I was reflecting on my own life at 27 and while I never thought I was a total slouch… it was a different world that I grew up in.

Why am I telling you all this? During the weekend so many of the girls were intrigued by how ‘I did things’… So many questions… about cooking, about flower arranging, about creating a home… about such simple things that I take completely for granted. They adored being in a home environment, in the country, away from the city and their hectic lives. Many of them had been to our farm over the years, yet each time they tell me that they love it more and more… They were like sponges, soaking up the atmosphere and the surroundings… trying to remember the parts in order to create a whole when their time as homemakers came. They were worried that they had spent so much time studying and working their way up the career ladder that they had never listened and learned from their mothers…  ‘But how do you know how to do this’…  The problem I had in answering their questions was that I had no easy answer. My homemaking is intuitive; a desire to create is in my genes and I learned from the best, a mother who was also a homemaker.

I lapped up their interest, as mothers I think we are so happy to accept the scraps of attention that our children and their friends bestow upon us… it’s not that we are needy, it is just that we love them so…and besides,  I was delighted to chat about this subject. The girls have spent so much time studying and working… in many cases living away from home… that the skills that my generation take for granted have passed them by. They don’t know how to cook… they all want to learn… for them, preparing food and entertaining is ordering a platter of sushi from the local take away. Their clothes are repaired at the dry cleaners… a needle and thread would not exist in any of their flats… and flowers are an over the internet order delivered by courier. As much as I was enamoured with their brilliance, they were enchanted with the way they were entertained. My response was that it didn’t matter at all… that they would know all these little things over time… that the skills they had managed to learn and implement were far more difficult than setting a pretty table… I was envious of their polish as performers in our changing world and in truth was dumbfounded by their concerns over more domestic matters… They were not so quick to agree… and I adored them for that… the value that they placed on the wisdom and talent of mothers was like nectar to me.

I could see that as successful as they all were, deep down, they were still little girls with old fashioned hopes and dreams… all of them are moving towards that time in their lives where marriage and family will confuse their professional paths… their lives will become a juggle and choices will have to be made. I believe that they they have listened to their mothers more than they know… As mothers we may often feel taken for granted and dismissed on occasion… our opinions left fluttering in the wind… but deep down, I know that our children pay serious attention and rely on our guidance to build the foundations upon which they build their lives. Are there things you wish your mother had told you?

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61 Comments

Anita Rivera

Good morning, Vicki!

I am not a mother, but rather, I am a French teacher. I taught full-time for nine years and will start in September as a substitute. I had the fortunate opportunity to listen in on many a conversation between very young and creative little souls that left me loving my choice to be a teacher. Always there, yet not really….I was a fly on the wall, listening and LEARNING.

Enjoy yet another fine day in the hills of PROVENCE…Anita

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Vicki Lee Johnston

This resonates so well with me. My daughter has just moved out – built her own house with her partner, is doing very well at her chosen career and is now having to go back to the basics of keeping a household … and I am delighted to say she is just like me .. the little things matter, the touches of love – the details … except that the struggle is that men often don’t feel this way and it is a big ask on a woman’s shoulders on top of all the business/social demands. I too am so proud to think she sees me differently now, that she cares too and acknowledges the touches of love that turn a house into a home.

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cheryl cusack

what a touching story Vicki.. so very true about today’s woman “girls” who dont know the simple pleasure’s of taking care of a home(cooking,entertaining,keep a household running)having said that they have more of a drive be successful..not that I didin’t(I had a wonderful career as a Flight Attendant,but have seen retired and enjoy the simple pleasure’s in life)they are a different breed as we were probably to out mother’s..

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sharon - my french country home

Goodness Vicki, what a wonderful time you have had, you must have been sad to see them go!
I love your phrase “the scraps of attention that our children and their friends bestow upon us…”. As we grow older we appreciate the interest of others so much more, but while we were young we simply took it for granted.
Lovely post, thank you
xx

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Kaaren Eastwood

I heard once from a colleague of mine that on her mother’s birthday all her mother wanted was her time. time to spend with her. As I get older that’s all I want too.

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Karen in CT

Sweet post, and so true in every way. I’m not sure my mother “told” me too much, but my sister and I became what we wanted to be and are very happy with our lives. We learned much on our own, but finding our way was part of the accomplishment.

Today we are grateful that our parents instilled in us all the morals and manners that they did, but not much more. I am a huge believer in the gene route, which is controversial. Each person is going to listen, absorb, or find their own way depending on their own unique DNA. I do, however, wish my mother had taught us to play bridge, it’s making a comeback. Best, love your blog.

Karen in CT

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Tracy

I wish my mother had told me that I was smart, beautiful and perfect just the way I was… and I should just be me and trust my instincts.

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Callie Grayson

Vicki,
Fabulous post!
I am not a mother, but I did learn to cook and crochet. These things I will pass down to my nieces since my sister was the younges and unfortunately she did not learn these things. She it trying now, but my eldest niece prefers my mums and my food.
I do have to say that my sister learned others things from my mum that I did not, and she will be teaching her children her nuggets of wisdom.
Xx
Callie

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david terry

Oh, Vicki, first of all, I hope no one minds my taking up a lot of “Scroll-down” space with this response to your posting.

That said?….this is my all-time favorite, quite hilarious, song/musing about “things my mother told me”. It’s by Carrie Newcomer (herself a mother of a teen-aged daughter and, rather obviously, more than a bit frustrated with the mothering-business when she wrote this). You can see the video of this (Lord…got to love youtube….EVERYthing is on it these days) by going to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoP8Ep8uthw

My Mamma Said It’s True Lyrics
by Carrie Newcomer

“Words of wisdom, I recall, my mama told me when I was small
There’s moral to each story
There’s one here if you listen closely
I’d fuss and fight and promise you
I would never be so uncool
But I’m surprised if I don’t find
I sound like you a lot of the time

If you can’t say nothin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all
Pride goes first before a fall
No one loves you like your mother
Someday you’ll like your little brother
Don’t run with that thing you’ll poke out an eye
Don’t wink at the boys when they go by
Never say never, thought I taught you better
Nice girls always wear a bra with a sweater

My mama said it’s true
But I disagreed.
Sometimes it sounds like you

Two wrongs don’t make a right
Dangling earrings are for just night
Anything worth doin’ is worth doin’ well
If you whistle in the dark no one can tell
Keep a penny in your packet keep a dime in your shoe
Wear clean underwear in case something happen to you
You can catch more flies with honey
Marry for love and not for money

My mama said it’s true
But I disagreed.
Sometimes it sounds like you
Now it sounds like me

She said Bread crust can curl your hair
It’s not polite to point or stare
If everyone else was jumping off a cliff too
You can be sure that I wouldn’t let you
Don’t wear white till after Easter day
I never spoke to your grandma that way
Get a real job, he wasn’t worth your time
If you don’t stop that then you’ll go blind

My mama said it’s true”

Level Best as Ever,

David Terry
dterrydraw@aol.com
http://www.davidterryart.com

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Vicki

I am listening to this now David … the ones left in my house wonder what on earth I’m doing! How you find these things amazes me… xv

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david terry

Oh, vicki…..I trained as a musician (classical piano) for thirteen years before moving on to going to gradskool in literautre for another thirteen years. I’m obviously obsessed with music and books…..habits I can indulge in, having been single for most of my adult life and having never had children (who do, I gather, require a considerable lot of energy and time). All in all, I’ve succesfully avoided most of the obligations attendant upon an actual, adult life.

I’ve also known Carrie’s work for years and years. she’s an astoundingly lovely, wise woman in all ways possible, I think. Another quaker, by the way….

—david

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Pamela

How interesting that your daughter will be doing an MBA at the London Business School. I worked there in the seventies, liaising with the professors and lecturers to upgrade the collection of the school library. How times have changed – thank goodness! In those days, all the professors, lecturers and even the MBA students were men. Pretty much the only women were the library staff (even then the head Librarian was a man), the secretarial staff and the women who worked in the school dining area. It was also a very class conscious place: the MBA students used to turn up in their old school ties (Eton, Harrow etc) whenever they were attending interviews. Hopefully it’s very different now.

In regard to career girls and cooking/homemaking skills, it seems to be very difficult for young career women now to shift gears when they marry. My friends mostly say their daughters-in-law can’t cook and haven’t much interest in learning. For the first few years whenever we visited our son and DIL for a weekend, our son would ask us what we wanted from the takeaway. Or our DIL would take some packet dinner out of the freezer and heat it up. Now they have children she’s become more interested in cooking, has found her mother’s old cook book and enjoys trying out her recipes. When they stay with us I always make them a good home cooked meal and we sit down in the evening to a table set with flowers and candles and wine glasses. Our beautiful seven year old grand daughter is so interested in cooking and begged to be given jobs to help. So I’ve already begun training her. She loves it. I just hope her interest continues as she grows older. Best wishes. Hope your daughter enjoys the LBS.

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Mary Jo

So beautifully written Vicki, how lucky your daughter’s friends are to spend time with you. My mother was so convinced by 70s social change to make me free from sewing and cooking (two of the things I now think would’ve helped me most career wise, ha!) that I only wish that these things had been more a part of my education. But you’re right, it can all be learned later, it’s just such a life long pleasure, that I think we all as women yearn for in some sense. Love your prose!

xo Mary Jo

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Catherine

Ah, I know exactly what you mean Vicki…I love spending time with my daughter and her friends, as you say about your daughter and friends all very accomplished, wonderful young women…and as much as I love hearing about their world they too still like to hear of mine, surprising as I find that I also delight in it.
A beautifully, written post, as always.
I love the song left by David above, going to pop across to youtube now… ;-)
Catherine
xx
http://www.cashmerelover.com

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mary

Hi Vicki, I love this post. There are so many things that I wish my mother had told me and that I wish that I could tell my daughter–but sometimes, for me, it is best to keep a watchful heart. I will say that I seem to be getting wiser and smarter in the eyes of my children. .. I think that is a good thing?? The other day my wonderful daughter said: “I’m shocked at how much you know”–and I just looked at her and wondered. Have a wonderful day and congratulation on a birthday well spent. Mary

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david terry

Dear Vicki,

Once again at the risk of overwhelming your blog with too much “scroll-down” stuff…..here’s the loveliest song I know of (also written and sung by Carrie Newcomer) about a mother’s relationship with her daughter. It’s just…..stunningly honest and touching. Go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP23CqlT-QQ

“We’ve been so close together
Close from the start
And as you learn to walk away
Take care of your heart
And don’t forget your prayers
And whatever you do
Whoever, where-ever you are
I’ll love you

You’re all crushes and blushes
and brushes with insight
But you still sleep with your bears
Half of the nights
When you’re ready and willing
and you’re of the right mind
The right teachers come along
Most of the time

You were born in the morning
In the quiet place
You were born in the morning
to take my place
We’ve been so close together
Close from the start
and Damn the first man
Who comes to break your heart

You’re all long legs and long hair
And big wide eyes
With a hundred million questions
And a thousand hundred whys
And I wish I had the answers
But the best that I can give
Is to be a safe place for you
As long as I live

Cause sometimes as a grown up
My strength is all sapped
And I’d give anything to sit in my own mother’s lap
But she’s long gone and long missed
The best that I can do
Is the love that she would have given to me
I’ll give to you

As far as I can tell
As far as I have seen
You couldn’t pay me enough
to go back to thirteen
When you girls find out
And get wise to the rules
And young women stand up
And honey, so will you

You were born in the morning
In the quiet place
You were born in the morning
to take my place
We’ve been so close together
Close from the start
and Damn the first man
Who comes to break your heart ”

Sincerely,

David Terry
dterrydraw@aol.com
http://www.davidterryart.com

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Tricia Heliker

Your post brought tears to my eyes. So, obviously I related to your beautifully expressed thoughts. Thank you for sharing and bringing your reflections into my day

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Leslie

Vicki,

I just loved this post. My daughter is 21 now and we will be hosting an event tomorrow which will give me the opportunity to enjoy these special moments with a group of young and accomplished young women. I agree with your observations and believe that it will all come together for them.. in time. As a 52 year old Mom with adult children, I realize time is limited with my kids as they begin their own journey through life. When they choose to be with us, it is always a special occasion. We are truly blessed to have our families.

leslie

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david terry

Hey “Renee finberg”…..my great-uncle, after his wife’s death, scandously re-married (in his late 70’s and during the 1980’s) a former Ziegfeld Follies “girl” (she was also in her late seventies by that time).

She was, as we say in the south, a HOOT and a half……I loved her stories of show-bizness.

I probably should emphasize that, in her late seventies, the lady still had great legs…..

—-david terry

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Braja Sorensen

What a wonderful post, Vicki…so deep yet simple and right on target; these incredibly accomplished girls, often we would view people like that with some wonder, certainly they’ve moved in a more swift and polished fashion to the point of their lives that is seemingly “high” from day to day, rather than how we were raised…more slowly, softly, not really understanding until somewhere about the 40 yr mark that, hey, the “highs,” that’s plural…it’s not confined to one thing or one element…and I think that’s what these girls have that perhaps we didn’t, this speed and swiftness and polish, so soon. Yet I know, because these same girls tell me, that they are in awe of us, too: when I look back over my 48 yrs and list my accomplishments, I, too, am slightly in awe :) When did that happen?! Ahh….I’ve no longing to be 27 again….I’m loving it where I am and wouldn’t want to have to do it in today’s climate…

Loving your site so much these days Vicki…I’m here, even if I don’t often comment. (Also need to chat about the book release, O Might Published One :)

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Katherine

I am a strong influence for both of my children, especially to my Daughter since she became a Mother. But I laugh every Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving when I’m cooking a huge meal for everyone – my children do not know how to cook a turkey. They are now calling and asking often ‘Mom, how do I do this or that’.
And the turkey cooking lesson is going to happen this fall for sure {Mom insists}.
I happy to continue to teach them and pleased that the things we enjoyed in our home are things they want to establish in their own homes.
The flip of the coin is that I am learning new things from them. I love that we have a close relationship.

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La Contessa

Beautifully PUT!I didnot have girls but BOYS…………so I will miss out on that chit chat………but I understand it.I also understand you loving to be around these creatures of beauty and youth.It is so enthralling!Thrilled to hear the party was a success!Mine too have just posted some snaps on the HEN HOUSE site.xxx

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Kriss

Thanks so much for this article Vicki. Of all your stories this is my favorite so far. I have gained so much insight from reading this today.

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Laura

Such a timely post Vicki…
My 28 year old son was here with 6 friends last weekend…all young attorneys. I felt similar emotions as I listened to these bright, successful twenty somethings share their world. Tomorrow I expect my son back…this time with his 26 year old sister for the weekend. I am so delighted to be in their company.
My Mom taught me so much about being a homemaker…but also about being a professional and most importantly…to be eternally grateful for all our blessings. I miss her!
Thanks for this beautifully written post…I enjoyed it very much!

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Elena

This post is so good that it made me teary eyed.

I do not have daughters, but I have three handsome grown sons that are in their late 20s that have dated many young women who are clueless to domestic bliss. One of my sons was engaged to someone who could not and refused to boil water, and after three years of cleaning up after her, cooking for her and the nightlife moments, he called it quits because she did not want to settle down. Mind you, he has his own house that is a block from a nice elementary school. She has a 6 yr old daughter whom he adored (not his child) and moved her in. But she could had no love for a beautiful home life or even trying to fake it, lol. All three of my sons are domestically and joie de vivre TRAINED! They work, cook, clean, entertain, enjoy life, go antiquing, fix up there home and constantly tell me that the women they meet in their age group do not want anything to do with a beautiful domestic lifestyle. They want a career and to just party it up.

I find this sad, but I do understand because I have met so many married and divorced women in their late 40s-50s who still to this day will not buy a decent bath towel or set of sheets to sleep on, much less fresh flowers to put in a vase. They pass this attitude on to their daughters and sons. They will shop for clothes, travel to party, and talk about their careers, but when you walk into their homes you fill like walking right out. They have come to my home, gasped at the beauty, and then talked about me as if I needed therapy, LOL.

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Pamela

I have no daughters either. Like David Terry, there were mostly males born on both sides of our family. My husband’s father was one of three sons and so was my father. Most of their offspring were boys too. So when our son married we expected his children would be boys (particularly as our DIL’s father was also one of three boys). Not a problem of course. But we were thrilled to bits when they had two beautiful daughters. So now I’m beginning to enjoy all the girlie things with them. They already adore pretty things and nice clothes, love shopping, flowers and animals and painting pictures and they’re very loving and affectionate. They love to wear my jewellery and accessories and are always trying things on and asking for their pictures to be taken wearing my things. They also have beautiful manners. So even though my dear DIL really only began cooking in the last few years and tends to do it more as a special occasion than everyday (her father brought her up to be a career woman and not to do household work) – she is a wonderful mother and our son a wonderful father. Hopefully one of these days your sons will meet the right girls too. Grandchildren are wonderful! Best wishes, Pamela

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Heather in Arles

Do you remember me saying that when I first started writing my blog I wouldn’t read yours for worry of being overwhelmed by how good of a writer you are? Because you make it seem so effortless? This post is a perfect example of that.

I actually read it earlier but like to take time with the good stuff to mull it over, not just gulp it down. And I am so glad that I did because now I have the additional treat of reading all of the comments, including the beautiful songs that Mr. Terry provided.

When I moved to NYC in the late 80s, I did not know how to boil water, let alone keep a home. This, despite that my Mom was an amazing homemaker. I think that she just wanted to spoil us by not having us learn those things, plus both my Sister and I were so career-oriented. I had a lot of catching up to do!

And as for things that I wish she had said? Well, I love my Mom so very much but I would have loved to have heard “This is how you balance a check book”!
xo,
h

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david terry

Oh, Heather…isn’t that second song just the loveliest thing? I’ve played it for friends of mine who are mothers, and they just start crying (Happily, I should add).

I should stress that I don’t really know anything about the bond between mothers and daughters. My grandather had three brothers, who had 2-3 sons, all of whom had 3-5 sons. My brothers and cousins all have only boys.

The only females we’ve had in our family for at least 90 years are ones we manage to convince to marry-into it, or canine ones we buy (we have many dogs….foxhounds and beagles). My own mother has often wryly remarked on this fact, as she raised three sons.

Obviously, if Henry VIII had our genes, England would have gone through a lot less trouble for a couple of centuries….

talk to you soon, Heather…..

David “Know a Good thing When I See It” Terry

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Shelley

Vicki, what a wonderful post – you have written so well what many mothers of daughters have probably so often thought or felt. Thank you! My girls are both “back in the fold” so speak – like you I so enjoyed their twenties and the time spent with their gorgeous friends – I was always amazed they wanted to include me! Both my daughters are in their thirties, and married with babies of their own – we are at the stage you speak of in your final paragraph – I think girls do listen to their mothers more than they know. Thanks for your clarity of thought – I wish I could write like you.

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Suzanne de Cornelia

I think the most important thing a mother does is to create a lovely, affirmative space and atmosphere that is an oasis

Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly—were first and foremost mothers. Our children might be proud of outward accomplishments….but mostly they’ll remember and profit by the way we make them feel affirmed, cared-for and loved.

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Teresa @ Splendid Sass

Vicki-
Thank you for putting this into such eloquent words. I feel exactly the same way.
I grew up with a mother who was a homemaker and learned early on how to entertain, cook, be a mother, and take care of a home. At that time that is what was expected of us, but now we do it all.
I do it all because I love to entertain and be a homemaker, but necessity dictates that most of us have to work too. My problem is I love to do it all. I am hoping that my daughter doesn’t feel the same way. The goals of our children are so much more structured and difficult than the ones we had. While I lived the life of a professional woman in a man’s world, I continued to do it all. It was tough, but I loved it.
I hope that my daughter chooses what she loves without trying to run the world.
Happy Thursday.
Teresa
xoxo

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Sylvia

My mother taught me how to give my own children reasonable freedom, as she had done with the three of us….however only now as a mum do I understand just how much emotional strength you need to summon up to let them go forth and discover for themselves…..and mine are only three under six!

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Alison

Hi Vicki,
my daughter left home to “spread her wings” to travel straight after school, giving up an IT business scholarship to university . I have to admit my devastation was enormous , both her leaving home so early and the opportunity she was not taking. I should have known, she has never conformed in her life! However in her travels she worked long and hard to support herself and typically for a traveller mainly in hospitality . She ended up running a a cafe that baked all their own produce : bread, cakes, absolutely everything. In fact I feel indebted to this wonderful owner now, who became a bit of a mentor. My daughter learnt skills she will have for the rest of her life. She can whip up anything, quickly , efficiently and cater for a group of friends instantly. A wonderful hostess. And typical for my feisty, independent daughter she is a successful business woman with an adorable partner and wonderful home. And only 24 ! And yes, there is no university degree but I so admire her choices, they have been brave and gone against all what her friends have done. But wow, how diverse her experiences and skills.
And your post has reminded me that home making skills are still so important – to create and maintain your own little spave in the world with love. Many thanks for your lovely thoughts. Alison

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Francesca Muir

How wonderful that you are still, and have been able to give these girls so much – by giving them the simplest of things – a safe and wonderful place to call home. You have also given them amazing memories to take with them – such a joyous post and so beautifully written. Thank you – and isn’t it wonderful to have a house full of young spirits, interested and eager to learn about what comes so naturally to you? In a way you are another mother to them. Have a lovely weekend. F x

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Garden, Home and Party

Vicki,

I relate to so much of what you wrote. I raised sons and have been delighted to be in the company of their friends, who are all every entertaining and sweet. Both of our sons picked up my enjoyment for cooking, a fact my DIL and son #2’s fiance, appreciate. There is something so enjoyable about spending time with adult children. Hubby and I have decided its just one of the perks of parenthood.
Great post.
Karen

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Louise Percy

Vicki, thank you for this beautiful post. I hosted by daughter’s 30th birthday party here in Perth last month. She is a VP at Deutsche Bank in Sydney. She had friends from all stages of her life here. It was such a joy for me to have her life long girlfriends saying how wonderful it was to be back in my home. And the evening only improved whe she and her boyfriend announced their engagement…more opportunities to catch up with all the “girls”! I hope you have a super weekend. Louise

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Helen Tilston

A brilliant post and one which has me reflecting. Congratulations on raising your daughter to have a career. The domestic side can be learned when the time arises. I find it so encouraging to read that these young women are out in the world, as professionals. I am also confident that they will be better leaders and managers.

Helen xx

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Melissa

Hi Vicki,

What a beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading this, it makes me realise how family and my best girlfriends are the most important thing, how much I love my Mum, all that she has done for me and continue’s to do for me.

Thanks for the lovely read.
x Melissa

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Catherine

My mother became very sick when i was 12 and passed away several years later. Because she was so sick, i didnt have her presence there during the ‘developmental years’. No one is to blame, the focus of the entire family was my mom and her declining health. I was the oldest of 5, with the youngest being a baby. I missed out on having a mom. I love seeing people who have these types of relationships with their daughters and sometimes feel a tad jealous. I was pertrified when i started my own family. I did not want girls. I just was afraid. I didnt have an example to follow. I had 2 boys and have enjoyed them so much but now that they are in college i miss not having a daughter to connect with.
Maybe a daughter-in-law?

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pve

Vicki-
I just visited my Mother. My 85 year old Mother and I am still learning new tricks. I think there is something so fascinating about Mothers and all the knowledge and nuances they add to one’s life.
I learned to make a mean pie crust, a home made soup, a smile is the best accessory and to always know that there are many far worse off. To always chin up, keep a fuzzy brow and enjoy life.
Great post….could be an entire blog….dedicated to all the Mother’s and things we all could benefit from – no matter how old.
pve

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Kaaren Eastwood

Thank you vicki for making my day. I am an Australian who loves reading your books and blogs. last night I watched the Australian mini series Paper Giants about Ida Buttrose and Kerry Packer making the 1970’s .CLEO magazine. We certainly have changed the world for women As I have worked all my life since turning 15 went back to university and got 2 degrees while raising children etc…..I to thought I could do it all . I did it because I loved every minute of life I know see my own daughter trying to do it all and think slow down enjoy it all goes too quickly my own mother wanted a better life for her children just like we do . She was a homemaker boy did I learn a lot from her and also leant that I couldn’t live her life just like our daughters cannot live ours. let’s all choose our own path and be grateful we have been so fortunate to have been given these opportunities.

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Judy Bales

Hi Vicki…I really identified with your touching thoughts today about being a mother. I have 3 grown children, like you. My daughters are 36 and 33 and married with 6 and 2 children, respectively. My son is 29 and not married, but with a “seemingly serious girlfriend”. In fact, if it were not for them, my husband and I would move to Provence in a flash! We were greatly honored when our oldest daughter and her husband called us last week when we were in France, to ask our advise about if they should sell their house and move to a new and more expensive home given the market here in California. It is wisdom to gain insight from those who have trod the path before us. I still value my Mom’s and Dad’s opinion and count it a great blessing that they care enough to be involved in my life, even though I am a grandmother myself!

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Melinda

Dear Vicki,

Im a homemaker in my 40’s- I married and moved to a remote Australian property and really that was pretty much the only option.
I taught myself to garden, cook, sew, paint rooms, raise babies and create what for my family was a “home” ( all with advice from my far away mother ! )

We have since moved and Im still homemaking. I do wonder if my children wish I was like most of the other mothers, busily juggling work and home – they have said as much….

I like to think that they will be grateful one day for the mother that came to all their school / sport events, who made fresh wholesome meals, who was there after school to hear about the day over afternoon tea, who repaired their clothes, had flowers and candles about the house, had their friends over and generally tried to give them a “home” to remember.

Your post has given me hope that its not all just a hopeless pursuit, far lesser by comparison to the high flying career girls.

Creating a home takes work, thought, creativitity, attention to small detail, motivation and dedication. I find it rewarding ( for the most part) and hope that my children will have strong memories of how a home should feel.

Lovely post xx

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Vicki

A mother’s heart makes a home and serves people’s needs – which is the example Christ set in the bible. To be great, learn to serve. Life is about other people not just yourself. That’s what the younger generation are hungry for – to throw off the bridle of narcissim and live life for love, not JUST for money or title. My pastor’s wife said in her last hours; You must LOVE MUCH. I think youth are hungry for substance. There is a great beauty in the substance of older women. I have always much admired the older women, her well-rounded character, the softening features that are slighly imperfect like a rose that is aging slightly. Much more interesting then the perfect rose-bud. No, you older ladies relax. You’re okay. Hopefully over the time the younger generation can keep a right spirit in all that they do and know that it’s NOT all about prestige in the workplace. I’m sorry everyone, I have to say that. I just finished looking at photographs of a lady with her 4 young daughers who spent 7 years on the mission field in the Pacific Islands. A lawyer, a doctor? No, a mother. And talk about freedom and JOY beaming out of every facet of her face. Island living would have helped a lot. The light and ease in her countenance is palpable. She’s now back on mainland Australia and the youngest girl is now 18. But this island life has shaped them and they ALL know how to live in the moment and to debrief when life gets too demanding,serious or heavy. We’re not here for that. We are here to be happy, to be joyful, to enjoy the blessings of life and this beautiful world. Achievement will FOLLOW naturally. If it’s at home, fine. If it’s in the workplace, fine. So let’s all just CHILL and enjoy our lives under the sun. I think we should forget trying to impress the world and just be ourselves with whatever task is at hand. As the aged comedian Jerry Lewis said…’I pass this way only once…” Consider.

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trish Murphy

Hello Vicki,You have encapsulated what we mothers all think or have musings about.I have loved reading this post and all the comments including David Terry!s lyrics from the songs.We all love our kids dearly and strive to make a happy loving and nuturing environment that they love to return to.My eldest has flown the nest to the UK and I was worried how he and his girlfriend would manage in the domestic department but they have embraced cooking which was quite foreign to them!We all do too much for our families but I love being a homemaker and I work as well so I do hope a few things have rubbed off on my daughter and other son!My daughter has an interest in cooking due to her boyfriend loving it not on my part!We love nothing more than being around the dinner when we are all together just chatting and enjoying each others company.Home is where the heart is.
Have a lovely weekend.x Trish

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Dianne

Hi Vicki, such a thoughtful post and wonderful responses from everyone. Just wondering if you have read “Things I wish my Mother had told me.” by Lucia van der Post. It’s a great read and full of ideas and information. Looking forward to future posts. Thanks again Dianne

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Rena

I wish I would have told my mother….how much I loved her, how grateful I am for all she has done for me….and much more. I realized it too late and I am deeply sorry .

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Victoria Goodings

I’ve been pondering “things I wish my mother told me” so much since it came up at the weekend. I’m sure it’s something we’ll think of many times in the future but I do think there is a shift around this age of 27. I find I turn to my mother and her girlfriends more and more for their valued opinions and advice as we find ourselves (with tentative pride) now creating our own homes. We are exploring, to various degrees, the worlds of cooking, baking, entertaining and cleaning. It amuses me the lessons I do and don’t tell my mum – the little intricacies like shaking clothing properly before hanging them out to dry (a lesson from my flat mate who after 18 mths living together finally told me about ‘the solid shake’ that makes for less work on the ironing board) to putting washing detergent in the dishwasher when we ran out of tablets, and the shambles that created. (won’t be telling mum about that one!) Living overseas, I’ve also enjoyed being exposed to different styles of entertaining. The differences are curious and I’ve loved discussing them with my mum. I take it for granted she knows it all, and she normally does. We look up to you mothers so much and I find it so funny to think that you were consciously being tentative with your time with us and not offering too many opinions, when it was us hanging on your everyword! We were captivated!

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Amy Kortuem

This is so lovely, Vicki. I can just see those young women gathered around you, thirsty for information on how to live a stylish, beautiful life. You’re an inspiration!

Lately, my Mom and I have been talking on the phone every day. She’s going through a difficult time – her best friend has terminal cancer. But in these talks with my Mom, secrets of how she lives her life are coming out. I’m drinking them in, each one of them!

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thyme (Sarah)

My husband often says to my son, “Riley, listen to your mother…if you were in the wild…you would have been eaten. this. minute.” We always chuckle but look at him and shake our heads with sincerity. My daughter (who is 18) recently said to me, “Mom, if it weren’t for you, we would have been eaten in the wild so long ago…Dads are so great, but we all sure do need Moms.” It was the first time that I saw her looking on admiringly at me and my heart just soared into the future when I think she will see and appreciate all of the hard work that goes into mothering.

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david terry

Dear Vicki (a couple of days after my initial posting)….I’m so glad to see this outpouring of genuinely emotional and sincere responses to your posting.

I thought it was the best & loveliest thing you’ve ever written on this blog of yours.

Admiringly,

david Terry
http://www.davidterryart.com

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Mary

The best post – you really and truly are a great writer, and thinker, Vicki. I shared this with my hubby as I just couldn’t let it go without being able to talk about it with someone. I’m always sad when I see young women with no homemaking skills…….guess that’s why family, neighbors, and friends are always asking me if my sewing machine is open to fix a little something or other!

Great……..you are special, and your kids will be too.
Mary

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