#MothersDay: 10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Mother

If there’s one person who is largely responsible for the person I am today, it’s my mum. From picking on all my bad habits to making sure I’ve got my affairs in order, she looks out for me every single day — all the while managing an entire family, household, and career by herself. If this isn’t called having super powers, I don’t know what is. When you really stop to think about it, you wonder: just how do mothers do all that they do with such perfection?

Among the zillion things I’ve learned from my mother over the last 24 years, here are 10 things that I’m sure you all will be able to relate to. Regardless of where you come from, if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s SUPERMOMS!

1. Dress fabulously, irrespective of where you’re going.

My mom believes in waking up early and putting on her best clothes every day. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the waking up early bit, but she always sets such a great example by practicing what she preaches. She’s always dressed well, even if she’s just bustling around the home. I don’t think she has “wear at home” clothes at all. You can’t tell if she’s headed to the market for vegetable shopping or to catch up with friends at a fancy coffee shop. Her makeup is always on point. Even her nightwear isn’t shabby or oversized (like mine). She’s right when she says that you want to get things done when you’re dressed up.

2. Follow your instincts.

It’s so easy to follow the herd, without thinking for yourself and what you really want. I don’t remember a single time my mother asked me to fit in or follow the crowd. She’s all about believing in yourself and doing what makes you happy. My parents eloped to get married 32 years ago, and she’s been a badass ever since. Her sense of self is so strong; I’m glad she makes me work towards the same every single day.

3. Take care of your happiness.

While most parents scream, “Save every rupee! Walk to work if you have to!”, I’ve always seen my mother splurge on things she loves. Now don’t get me wrong — she isn’t one to blow up an unnecessary sum over something exorbitant, but she does like to treat herself to something nice every now and then. This is what I’ve learned from watching her: taking care of yourself while making a living should go hand it hand. Treat yourself to a spa day or that long overdue visit to the salon, buy those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or that jewellery piece you’ve been lusting after for so long. If you can’t make yourself happy in little ways, I doubt you’ll be able to do the same for anybody else.

4. If not now, then when?

I remember having friends who weren’t allowed to wear shorts after school or denim skirts to college. And I was so glad my mom let me wear whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased. In fact, each time I feared wearing a micro mini, she was the one to convince me otherwise. She would say, “If not now, then when?” If that’s not a good attitude towards life in general, I don’t know what is.

5. How to multitask.

While I’m nowhere close to managing my life and the lives of my family like my mother, I can’t get over how she handles ALL OF IT without breaking into a sweat. Learning to multitask and doing everything well, now that’s an art. If you’re someone who can handle multiple things at once, you know how good that feels and how much you can get done in a short span of time.

6. Don’t follow trends.

You know how your mother alway quips,” Oh, we used to wear this when we were in college!”? My sister and I grew up listening to how trends keep going out and coming back every few years. What we were wearing now, mom had already worn when she was in college. From pinafores to flatforms, you name it and our mothers have beat us to that cool girl staple. While I laughed about it then, I understand now why not following trends matters. Having a sense of style and owning it means having an identity that’s yours and yours alone. Mom’s still got clothes from 30 years ago, some of which I’ve inherited. Trends will come and go, but having a strong sense of what YOU like and are comfortable wearing is THE most important thing.

7. Let it go.

Irrespective of what or who it is, mom just cannot hold a grudge. Whether it’s me she’s had an argument with or her best friend from school, she’s able to let go of stuff so easily. She doesn’t carry any argument to the next day, something I find impossible to do. As much as you want to let go, sometimes people are assholes and that makes it pretty hard. I’m still learning to master this one the way she does.

8. How to wear makeup.

While most people need to Youtube how to wear winged eyeliner, I’ve got my very own personal vlogger at home. Like a lot of young girls, I grew up watching mom put on her makeup and picked up a few life lessons along the way. She prefers subtle eyes and light lip shades now, but I’ve learned most of my advanced makeup skills from her. She has a good eye for trends, and always has a point of view on my crazy makeup experiments. She may not be crazy about Ruby Woo or Candy Yum Yum, but she’s the best makeup critic there is.

9. Nothing matters more than your peace of mind.

Not all fights are worth it, and eventually, you learn to pick your battles. After a while, you get to a point where you choose peace of mind over who is right and who is at fault, and frankly, that’s all that really matters in the end.

10. How to shop smart.

I mostly shop by myself or with friends now, but I couldn’t be more grateful to have mom around in the initial years to teach me the importance of value. Just because something is expensive that doesn’t mean it’s fabulous; similarly, don’t think everything that’s cheap or on sale is a steal. When we went shopping together, we’d actually go through four rounds before finally picking up something. We’d start by shortlisting what we liked, and once we were through with checking it all, we’d go through them again and ask, “What will I wear this with?” “Do I have anything else just like it?” “Do I really need it?” and finally, “Is it really worth the money?” Apply this wherever you go and you’re sorted!

Shachi Lavingia

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