SURVEY SAYS: Mom’s Words of Wisdom

Mom’s are good at offering words of wisdom, advice or comfort—from the clichéd ones all moms use to more personal ones that come from experience.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers to share words of wisdom, advice or comfort they remember their moms telling them. I also got their comments about Mother’s Day.


The moms’ (and grandmothers’) wisdom shared included some my own mother said, such as “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” and “Be careful what you [ask for], you might get it.” And there were many others I have never heard, including one I thought was clever, “There are two things for dinner: take it or leave it,” and one I found amusing, “To each their own….said the old lady as she kissed her cow.”


Mom’s Words of Wisdom

  • Be careful what you want, you might get it.
  • “You are a grown up when you do what’s right because it’s right and for no other reason.”
  • My Mom would always tell me to save for when I am a “big girl.” If there was some trinket I wanted to buy she would explain that it would not mean much to me in time and why not save my money instead. I did and have been a saver my entire life. My first significant purchase as a “big girl” was a car followed by a condo. Thanks Mom. Not surprising, I am responsible for my employer’s pension and 401(k) plans.
  • The ONLY advice my mother ever spoke to me was “Make sure you buy furniture before you get married.” I’ve never understood the significance of this statement.
  • 1) I will always love you; no matter what you do or what you say 2) there are two things for dinner: take it or leave it
  • Live on your own and support yourself before you get married. Then you will never feel stuck if something goes horribly wrong. I have passed this advice along to my kids.
  • Handed down from my grandmother: “Don’t put all your goods in the shop window.” “No one buys the cow if they get the milk for free.” “Whistling girls and cackling hens always come to some bad end.” From my mother: “Your brother only teases you because he loves you.” “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” “You’ll understand when you become a mother…”
  • “Go outside!! I’ll call you in for dinner.” It gotten me better health by being outside my whole life now 🙂
  • My mom always told me that one goal of being a parent should be to make your kids’ lives a little better than yours was as a child.
  • Never do anything you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Nothing good ever happens after midnight.
  • She led by example more than words. To be independent, strong, self-assured, hard-working, honest. My mom gave everything she had to her family, friends and career. Not only was she a fantastic mother, but a great friend as well.
  • Two sayings stick in my mind: “Can’t never did anything” and “Leave a place better than how you found it.” (The latter one was generally said as we were cleaning up after a picnic or camping).
  • If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.
  • You can’t change people, but you can change how you react.
  • These actually came from my grandmother whenever we would say something about someone else and what they were doing/wearing: “To each their own….said the old lady as she kissed her cow.”
  • You don’t lie well. Don’t make a habit of it. I also think a derivative of the “what would Jesus do” is “what would your mother say if you tried to explain what you’re doing to her”. If it’s “I’m proud of you,” then do it. If it’s “you were raised better than that,” then don’t do it.
  • My grandmother had a plaque that hung in her farmhouse kitchen: My house is dirty enough to be happy, clean enough to be healthy. She lived by this as to her family time was more important than whether the dishes were washed right at that minute. Wonderful words of wisdom that we have carried on in our house.
  • “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That is the WORST piece of advice to give young girl. I was so afraid my mother would find out I wasn’t nice, that I never said a word or stuck up for myself. I allowed everyone to walk all over me. I finally grew a spine in my 20’s and have not had any bad ramifications. Do not give this advice to your young daughters!
  • You better get an education. You want something to fall back on other than your butt.
  • Don’t ever change who you are.
  • My siblings were born 3 years apart; I was 5 years after my brother. My siblings would tell me I was a mistake and our parents never wanted me. I went crying to my mom, who told me we were all mistakes and she never wanted any of us. I felt much better.
  • My Mom had a way with telling us “No” without having to say the word. My favorite was when we were teenagers and whining about having to have something that Mom thought was over the top, her response would be “Yeah, and people in hell want ice water.” With a teen of my own now, I think of her every time I get to use it. Miss you Mom!


Readers’ comments about Mother’s Day included some expressing gratefulness for having their mothers still alive and some saying they miss their mothers. They also included a mother’s perspective, suggestions that everyone should treat their mothers well every day, and one comment that may make your mouth drop open as it did mine. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “My mother passed away in 2004 and I still reach for the phone to call her. Never forget to call her or give her a hug. Tell her you love her. Someday you won’t be able to.”


Thanks to everyone who completed the survey!


Comments About Mother’s Day

I’m blessed to still have my mother, as she approaches 90.

I am blessed to still have a vibrant and healthy mother. Many of my friends and extended family have lost their’s. Appreciate what you have while you have it.

We should be celebrating Mom’s every day, not just once a year.

When I was a child, I though mothering stopped when children reached age 18. When I had children of my own, I thought at some point I would transition from mother to friend. Turns out even if mothers become friends, they never stop being mothers. I also thought mothering would get easier as my children got older. Turns out it gets harder because the boo boos get too big and serious to cure with a kiss and a hug. If you are lucky enough to still have a mother to visit, let her know how much she has impacted your life.

Pretty dubious holiday, we should be thanking our mothers every day

My mother passed away in 2004 and I still reach for the phone to call her. Never forget to call her or give her a hug. Tell her you love her. Someday you won’t be able to.

How wonderful life could be if children treated their mother every day the way they do on Mother’s Day!

Something that should be a beautiful day filled with love is overshadowed by the retail industry trying to profit from the day.

I’m not currently a mother but I do have a dog…my mom still gets me a card for mother’s day – it brightens my day and makes me know that she thinks of me and knows that I care for my dog like a mother would! It also makes me and my husband laugh pretty hard too!

While I love my mother dearly, this “holiday” has gotten out of hand and very commercial. We have an understanding in our family (all three, soon to be four, generations) that getting together for a meal and spending the day in each other’s company is far preferred to spending hard earned money on a gift and an outrageously expensive card. Such a Hallmark holiday!

I hate mother’s day. My mother is 91 and Mother’s Day involves way too much planning for a meal she can eat & taking her to my house & trying to get my brother to come visit her. It’s MY job to make sure she has a nice day, and she’s very high maintenance at that age–a walker and a special diet, begging my brother to show up (he’s only 1 hour away), etc. Ugh.

I think we should celebrate our mothers every day, not just on Mother’s day. Remember, mom won’t always be here.

I hate Mother’s Day. Someone had a kid; big deal.



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Strategic Insight or its affiliates.