Five Things My Mom Taught Me

Around the Way Ness
3 min readMay 18, 2022


Photo of the author’s mother circa 1992

There were lessons my mother taught me that I couldn’t appreciate until I was a woman. There were even more lessons that I couldn’t understand until I was a mother. There are lessons that are hitting me hard now that she isn’t here for me to discuss them with her. Today would have been my mom’s 64th birthday. I spent so much of my adolescence and 20s angry about all that she didn’t teach me or offer me, that I often overlooked all that she did. I wish, more than anything, that I could go back to some of our conversations and just say thank you. She wasn’t always right but God knows she wasn’t always wrong.

Here, today, I share a few gems my mother shared with me:

  1. NEVER give a man money. -My mother was adamant about this. She told me to always remember two things: 1) When a man works, he’ll make more money than you 9 times out of 10. 2)There will always be more reputable ways for men to make money than there are for women.
  2. Never say what you won’t do. -My mother always hissed at my sisters and I when we judged others. She assured us that “you never know what you will do until you are in that situation.”
  3. Appreciate what you have to show God you can handle something better.- This has truly motivated me during harder times to take care and keep striving toward my goals. It also reminded me that at the end of the day, sometimes the blessing isn’t yours yet because you aren’t ready to have it.
  4. If a man tells you to shut up, quickly stand up!- A long-running joke in the family is that the quickest way to see one of the women on her feet is to walk into the room and say shut up. Although we’ve taken the expression literally, I have also realized as a woman that it means that when men try to oppress/suppress/repress you, you need to make sure you stand firm and tall and fight against it.
  5. People remember two things about you: the good and the bad. It’s up to you to decide which one they can’t forget.- I realize at the end of the day, people make up their own minds about you despite what you do but this has been a helluva lesson in regards to first impressions and networking.

I could go on because, truthfully, my mom gave me a lifetime's worth of valuable lessons and I’m still realizing some of them each day. I’d give anything for another few years with her but I’m grateful for the life she gave me.

So, today, on what would’ve been her 64th birthday, I liked to say “Thank you, Mom. I hope that you are being celebrated in heaven the way you deserved to be celebrated on earth.”



Around the Way Ness

Both a keeper and a weeper. A writer, a wife, a mother. A former, yet forever, librarian. Currently, a mental health therapist and an adjunct instructor.