By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Steve Hartman from CBS Sunday Morning had a hilarious interview with his children on this past Mother’s Day. The segment started out talking about the trophy you can buy for your mom that says “World’s Best Mom”. Ironically, the statue is that of a man, but I think it is supposed to resemble the Academy Award trophy. He interviewed several children, including his own, about why their mom should win the trophy. As you might expect, many of the answers were things like “she loves me” and “she takes care of me”. Here’s where the hilarious answer came in.
As Hartman was discussing these answers with his own children, you can see the lightbulb go on in his 10 year old’s mind. Hartman’s older son had just said something to the effect that everyone thinks their mom is the best when his 10 year old came out with this realization, “maybe I just have adapted to my mom and so I think she’s the best.” Kudos to Hartman for not busting out laughing at that one! Hartman proceeded to say what a special Mother’s Day greeting that would make, “Thanks, Mom! I’ve adapted to think you’re the best!” If only everyone could speak with the raw, unfiltered honesty of children!
As Mother’s Day was just celebrated, my own awesome and deserving of the “World’s Best Mom” Award, Colleen, remains top of mind. My mom is my example of how to be a mom to my own kids, and she is one of my best friends (and, no, it was not always that way). I have learned, and continue to learn, many lessons from my mom and thought it would be fun to share some of them with all of you!
Here’s my Top 10 Life Lessons from My Mom (that you might want to adapt to your life):
10. Be a Good Host
My mom knows how to throw a party, and she leads by example on how to be a good host. The secret is very simple - make everyone feel welcome. Greet everyone, take their coat. Point them to the snacks, beverages, and bathroom if they are new. Then, in a laughing voice, invite them to make themselves at home because you aren’t waiting on them. Then, get your mingle on. My mom would probably say making sure you only invite people you like is also helpful. Point being, if you opened your home to them and thought they were worth inviting, treat them as such.
9. Creating moments worth remembering takes effort
My mom always knows how to make moments worth remembering. Sometimes this is the perfect, thoughtful birthday or Christmas gift; other times this is making your favorite dinner just because. Putting in a little extra effort to make a moment special is one way to show your love to someone else.
8. Show up as the biggest cheerleader
My mom is one of the best cheerleaders, and she still is for my kids and their events. She rarely missed a tennis match, soccer game, show choir competition, band performance, dance recital...and, the list goes on as I loved to do all the things. Not only was she there, she was all in with the photo buttons and appropriate sports paraphernalia on. While I may have feigned embarrassment, I loved every second of it. If you are going to support someone, be present and go all out!
7. Fair isn’t always equal
I said my mom (and dad, too, can’t forget the other half of the duo) rarely missed my plethora of events. Some were missed because my brother had a conflict, and, being younger, his options of getting to said events were more limited at times. There were other times that I thought my younger brother got this or that easier than myself. My mom didn’t go down the rabbit hole of explaining perspective to a whiney pre-teen or teenager; she would sternly say, “fair isn’t always equal”, possibly followed by “I would get it when I was older”. Guess what? Now that I am a parent myself, I 100% get this. No child is the same so the best you can do is try to be fair. Sorry for all the sass, Mom.
6. Do your best
Early on, I put crazy pressure on myself to be “perfect”. It was my mom that helped me start correcting this faulty mindset. She would simply remind me that all you can do is put in the work and do your best. If it doesn’t work out, learn and try again. She knew I was capable of great success and reminded me that I was the one putting pressure on myself.
5. Loyalty is important
My mom is one of the most loyal people I have ever met. She will move mountains for the people she loves. While loyalty is a high priority, you should also be cautious on where your loyalties lie, not everyone or every relationship is created the same. While you can still be friends, match your effort and emotional investment in a relationship with the other person.
4. Be a parent, not a friend
This was particularly prominent during my teen years. I remember being “so mad” that my mom wouldn’t let me do something that someone else was allowed. My mom was no nonsense when it came to this; she was my mother, not my friend. What I didn’t realize then that I do now was she was looking out for me when my underdeveloped brain wasn’t. She took my harsh words and made the unpopular decision. And, later, after my brain was finished developing and I was a grown up, then we could be friends. Sorry for being a jerk, Mom; don’t worry, Liam and Lucy will pay me back in spades.
3. Actions speak louder than words
We have all heard this one. This is all about follow through, and one that my mom demonstrates. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you make a commitment, keep it. Hold up your end of the bargain. Going hand in hand with this lesson, be mindful of where you are spending your time; it’s easier to follow through when your commitments are in alignment with your priorities.
2. Say what you mean
People are not mind readers. You need to tell people what is on your mind and ask for what you need. Through example, my mom made me realize being a direct communicator is one of my unique strengths.
1. Always be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe
Each of us has unique gifts and talents that the world needs. Never apologize for letting your light shine. My mom warned me that the process would make others uncomfortable, and I would find myself at crossroads; one path would suppress my light in favor of being well-liked, one would let my light shine but might be at the cost of being on the end of criticism. It would be my choice which path to choose. If you choose your path from a place that is aligned with your values, you can’t choose wrong. And, always stand up for what you believe, even if it’s unpopular.
Now that I am a mom myself, it has happened. I open my mouth and the words of Colleen come right out; even the ones I said I would NEVER say like “fair isn’t equal” or “because I said so”. All the pieces fall into place and come full circle when you start experiencing motherhood yourself; I now understand my mom in a deeper way than ever before. I am so grateful to have the mom I have, especially when I know several of my close friends would give anything to have one more Mother’s Day with their moms that have passed.
Thanks, Mom, for all that you have done and continue to do for all of us. You are a hard act to follow but I will do my best to continue to adapt these lessons into my children’s lives as you did to me.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.