10 Things I've Learned from my Mama

My mother taught me a lot. As in, she taught me everything I know. I owe the majority of my success in life to my mother.  In high school, all my friends would complain about their mothers and how terrible/awful they were. I honestly never did. I just got lucky.  Not only has she been my primary source of nurture and support, but she has always been my best friend. Over the last (almost) 24 years, she has moulded me and helped me grow into the woman I am. Here's my very condensed list of 10 things my mother taught me!

1.What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger
I remember hearing this a lot in middle school and high school. You know how as a teenage girl, everything is the end of the world. Like every swim race I didn't win, or test I didn't ace, or boy who didn't like me, it was like how will i go on?!?!?!? my life is OVER! I think I genuinely questioned how I would live through some of these things. I can still hear my mom's voice saying, "If it doesn't kill you it will only make you stronger." Even as an adult I tell myself this at least once a week. I've learned that I can survive heartbreak, disappointment, regret, and physical pain, everything that doesn't kill me, and I can become better, stronger through the process. Whatever I'm experiencing in the present is going to help me get through a more difficult situation in the future.

2.You can't control anyone else; You can only control yourself.
With how often we moved around I feel like I was always meeting and getting to know new and different people. Sometimes there were people that were really difficult to get a long with. Some days I'd come home from school and tell my mom all about these situations where friends or teachers were being unreasonable, impossible to deal with. She would always tell me, "You can't control anyone else; You can only control yourself." If I wanted a situation to change, I'd have to change my approach. Consistently this has come in handy as I've dealt with people who are different from me. It's not up to me to change or control people. All I can control is myself and how I choose to deal with a situation.

3.Laughter is the best medicine
Some of my favorite memories are just random moments, grocery shopping, road trips, gardening on a saturday morning. My mom and I could just laugh and laugh for hours because each of us genuinely thinks the other is the funniest person on planet Earth. Sometimes when we are together Zack and my dad won't even hang out with us because we are laughing so hard at our own jokes. There are still days that I call my mom because I know she can make me laugh. She knows just how to help me find humor in hard times.

4. I'm good enough. Great even. 
High school can be really hard. I moved from Southern California to Cedar City, Utah the summer before my senior year of high school. I had been the "new girl" in school like too many times to count by this point, so I felt really confident going into this new school. This was a much smaller school than I had ever been to and once a few girls decided they didn't like me, a good chunk of the student body had made up their mind about me. There was a group of girls who openly called themselves the "I Hate Sally Club" and put little badges on their binders so everyone knew. For some reason this barely bothered me. I felt like I really knew who I was and I liked who I was. My mom always built me up. She had always focused on and praised my strengths, and helped me to work on my weaknesses. I never doubted for a second that I was loved. So when these girls were openly proclaiming their hate for me, I was able to shake it off, because I knew that there must be something good within me, something worth loving. I hope and pray everyday that I'll be able to teach my children this, and instill in them confidence in who they are.

5. A good night's sleep is worth its weight in gold
Almost 90% of the time I would come to my mom crying she would say to me, "are you tired?" I'd get so mad. Like she thought the only reason I was upset was because I was tired. How dare she?!? Well 90% of the time she was right. Because as a hormonal teenager, a student athlete, a crazy college student, and now a new mother,  I have consistently been sleep deprived. She has taught me that I should always face a problem with a good night's sleep under my belt. She told me the worst advice she got when she got married was to never go to bed angry. Staying up all night to fight when you're over tired will only make the problem worse. When I got married she told me, "If you guys are really angry, sleep on it. Then deal with it in the morning when you're well rested." Such incredibly wise advice. It has always served us well.

6. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
I mostly learned this by default after hearing her tell this to my older siblings a million times. All three of my siblings liked to test the boundaries with my parents, but I was always the angel who never did anything wrong. (or so I like to think!) But, nonetheless I have found its application in my own life.

7. Prayer changes things
I know that my parents lost many nights of sleep worrying about each of us and the decisions we'd make. It was incredibly painful for my mom, in particular, to see us make bad decisions and then have to live with the consequences. I remember having family prayer and I could just feel how genuinely she was praying for each of us. Once we were out of the house she had even less control, and worried even more. She once told me that she felt like the only thing she could do was to pray. She prayed to know how to help us, asking for our protection, and that we would encounter the things we needed to find our way. No matter what happened, she never stopped praying for us. Even though time would pass without communication between her and my brothers, she was still able to have an influence in their lives. They were still being blessed and protected because of her prayers. I have seen miracles in each of our lives that I know are a direct result of my mom's faithful prayers.

8. Home is wherever your family is
My mom was born and raised in a house that she didn't move out of until she went to college. The majority of her family never moved more than 50 miles from that house. In fact, her brother and his family still live in the exact same house. Once my parents were married she moved away and then they moved at least 40 more times. I'm sure she missed her mom and her siblings. I'm sure it was hard that she was only able to see them a few times a year. But when she got married and started a family it became her number one priority. She supported my dad in all his ambitious endeavors, and she packed up and moved her family wherever they took us. I'm so grateful for her example in this because I've chosen a life that has taken me far from my parents and siblings. They are still some of the most important people in my life, but I know that my husband and my baby need to be my number one priority. Instead of focussing on all the fun my family is having without me, I have tried to put my energy into making a home for Zack and Gunner. We'll continue to pack up and move several more times in the future and I'm okay with that, because even though we dream of living near family someday we've got each other. And home will continue to be wherever we are together. 

9. Being a mom is worth the sacrifices
My dad started his undergraduate education a few weeks after their fourth child was born. At 31 he was just getting started on his career path. Living on enlisted military pay was a stretch for a family of six. But my mom was determined to make motherhood a priority. She never took a job that took her away from her family. When things got really tight she took a job cleaning an ice cream parlor in the middle of the night. Literally. She went to work at midnight and worked while we slept so that she didn't have to leave us with someone else. I'm sure we could have used the extra income she could have brought in with a full time job, but she always made her family her number one priority. To her, being the primary influence in her children's life was more important than the money. Sacrificing the income, her own dreams, and especially a lot of sleep, was all worth it to be a mom!

10. I can do hard things
As a young adult, my mom found the gospel and chose to be baptized into the Mormon Church even though her entire family was Catholic. She served an 18 month mission in New Zealand only a year after she was baptized. She married a Navy Sailor who swept her off her feet, away from everything that was comfortable to her. She joyfully raised four strong, confident, independent children as she moved from state to state, country to country. At 50 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and has never spent a single day letting it hold her back. She lives a fuller, happier, healthier life today than ever before. I know I can do hard things because I have seen my mom do a lot of hard things. She has never allowed her circumstances to dictate her attitude or her actions. I know that I can do hard things because she has never allowed me to back down from a challenge. She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, work hard for the things I want, and most importantly persevere in times of trial. 

I owe so much of who I am and what I’ve done to her time and sacrifices. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t strive to be a little more like her. 
I love you Mom!

P.S. Watch this video!!! Its the sweetest, best ever!

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