Ten things my mother taught me

I may be biased, but my mother is pretty great. And as a part of a new series - Ten Things Tuesday - I want to start with ten things that my mother has taught me over the years. 

Family is who you make it. 

Family is so important to my mother. She will drop everything to help a family member in need (she even hopped on a plane to be with me during labor - even when the first labor was a false alarm). She also believes that family is not just who you are related to. She values friends like sisters, my husband like her son, and her students like children. She'd do anything for her family and I have come to expand the definition of family because of her. 

Pour love into your work.

My mother is one of the hardest workers I know and she absolutely pours her heart into what she does. She treats her students like they can do anything even when they are dealt bad hands. No matter the task or job, she does it with the same energy and devotion as she does everything.

Foster your creativity.

I think my mother is on to something. She has always encouraged our creative as well as our analytical sides. We have always been surrounded by paints and markers and crayons and yarn and fabric. We got to dance and play musical instruments and play outside. I truly believe that I am where I am today because of her devotion to creativity.

Wear sunscreen.

Simply put, sunscreen is important for every day. She always told us stories about how she used to tan with baby oil until she was burnt to a crisp. Now she has to deal with annual skin cancer screenings and occasional laser removal of pre-cancerous spots on her skin. We were slathered with sunscreen growing up and it is a habit I have prioritized today. SPFantastic. 

Dance like no one is watching.

My mother is the type of person to dance in the middle of a crowded store when a good song comes on. As a child, it mortified me, but as an adult, I do the same exact thing. She taught me to be myself no matter what. She taught me that my interests are important and I should do what I love, watch the movies I want to, read the books that interest me, and do not compromise.

Insurance is worth it.

My mother has always stressed the importance of insurance - medical, dental, car, liability, home, etc. Even though it may seem tough to make those steep monthly payments, insurance is incredibly important. There have been times where the proper insurance has saved us financially. Paul and I now make sure we have all we need to protect ourselves. 

Don't neglect your relationship.

My mother and father have always said, "the D-Word is not an option." They have prioritized their relationship over the years and fostered their marriage. They show affection, go on dates, and love unconditionally. They have shown me that marriage is forever but that it also takes work. 

Dessert is not optional.

I grew up surrounded by candy, chocolate, and treats of all shapes and sizes. My mother firmly believes that if you don't make something forbidden, then you can learn to just enjoy a small portion and move on. Dessert is my favorite meal of the day, but I never overdo it on dessert. I have learned to enjoy sweets without feeling guilty. I have treated every thing the same way - and it's okay to indulge sometimes. 

Laugh often.

Laughter was a staple in my house growing up. My mother laughed at herself and made our home fun. Learning to see the humor in every day is one of the most valuable lessons she has taught me. Sometimes life is really, REALLY hard, but finding a little joy can make everything just a little brighter. 

Special occasions are to be celebrated.

We celebrate everything in my family - birthdays, graduations, milestones of all shapes and sizes. She never forgets to send a card and she always has some sort of holiday decorations in her house. I, too, believe that even the smallest things should be celebrated. Today, I hope that I can celebrate her just for being my mom and for all the amazing things she has taught me.