Wisdom from Our Mothers

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 As Mother’s Day approaches, we all find our thoughts turning to our moms, whether they’re still here on this earth or gone but remaining in our hearts. We remember the nuggets of wisdom and advice they imparted to us.

My own mother had many gems she tried to instill in me, including the hoary maxim, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” but her byword, always, was “moderation.” If I may say so, she preached moderation immoderately.

What are some of the words of wisdom that mothers of other area residents gave their offspring?


Rich James, Palm Springs:

When I was in grade school, I distinctly remember my mother telling me “Always cultivate friends.” It was an interesting choice of verb, and I always did, and continue to do, just that.


Rev. Gloria Stanchak Alexander, West Palm Beach:

Mom always said, “Call me anything, but don’t call me late for dinner.” It was funny, but it was a great way to deflect some bars that label and also helps when we get involved in contentious issues.


Blair Critch, Fort Lauderdale:

Like many young brides, I ignored quite a few of the words of wisdom my mom offered about marriage…and I paid the price. In a nutshell, she said “If you do it, he won’t.” By “it” she meant housework and child care.


In the early days of our marriage we were making great money, so a housekeeper did the heavy work. By the time I had my two sons, the crash of 2008 had made our lives a bit leaner, but I figured that since I was a stay-at-home mom, that meant that I should do all of the cooking, cleaning, child care, and things like garbage duty, light repairs, and even locking up at night.


I assumed Ryan would effortlessly step in and shoulder his share when I went back to work, but my mom warned me that I had spent years “training” him not to help.


Mom, you were right! It took many, many months for my husband to view the home as a 50/50 partnership when it comes to the work that it takes to run our family, but thank goodness, now he does. I will give the same advice to my daughters-in-law some day—and hope they actually take it.


Deena Padnis, Parkland:

My mother, Naomi, always told me to fold a $20 bill and hide it in my wallet and in the car, just in case of an emergency. Sometimes I’ve run out of cash and needed that $20 bill.

The other great piece of advice is to always have food on hand in the event someone stops by. My mom loves feeding others. Since I’m now living in Florida and originally from Philly, I get many unannounced visitors. Luckily my mom’s words of advice have stuck with me. We always have food.


Shirl Solomon, Palm Springs:

Wisdom from my Yiddish momma: In my late teens I had many beaus but was dating one fairly regularly. My sister, Sophie, some five years older, was more attractive, more intelligent, and more talented than I, but somehow not as lucky with the opposite sex. My mother approached me one day and asked if I had serious intentions with this one persistent beau. When I replied “No,” she suggested that I tell him and free him to date my sister, Sophie.


Today, they are both deceased, but they had a wonderful marriage for 55 years. In Yiddish we call this “chutzpah.” My mother had a lot of that, and I love her all the more for it.


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