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20 Things Our Mothers Told Us When We Were Younger That We Should Have Listened To

Mother’s Day is coming up. I'll most likely forget and end up calling her Sunday night, hastily thanking her for giving me life, then later berate myself for not taking the time to really explain how much I truly appreciate her. Or I'll wish I ordered her flowers and cards and showed her my gratitude through money earned and spent.

In reality, no homemade or Hallmark card can ever really communicate exactly how much we owe to our mothers, how much we respect and appreciate them after years of ignoring their advice, scorning their tokens of wisdom and hating their presence. After growing up, getting hurt and learning our lessons the hard way, we've realized we should have just listened to our mothers the first time.

But we had to learn that way. We had to see for ourselves that nothing is free in this world and good things really do come to those who wait. We had to freeze in short sleeves to learn to bring a jacket and get arrested to learn that nothing good really does happen after 2 am.

So in light of all the lessons we learned the hard way, and to truly express how much we appreciate them, here are all the lessons our mothers taught us that we wished we listened to when we were younger.

If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Is

I learned this lesson though Craigslist, although I could have learned it years ago. There's nothing like finding a perfect apartment on Craigslist below your price range to realize that nothing that good is real and almost always a scam. As kids, we grow up with sparkling eyes and unsullied experiences, thinking that everything is how it seems. However, nothing is ever as it seems and our mothers learned that harsh reality long before we were born.


There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

While I always thought that my mom was a cynic, I never understood that she was just someone who had experienced more life than I had and knew all about scams and fine print. While I was so excited about my opportunities, she took the time to look at it objectively and always found a catch.


Nothing Good Happens After 2 am

While nothing good happens after dark, all the fun seems to. When she gave you curfews and made you stay in while everyone was having fun, you thought she was just being neurotic, until you finally went out and realized all the bad stuff you really do get into happens at night. Though we love going out, we've learned the hard way that the hangovers, arrests and mistakes aren't always worth it and 2 am is most definitely only trouble.


You Will Regret Not Playing An Instrument

All those piano, violin and guitar lessons down the drain. All those years we could have been practicing and developing into awesome musicians, we spent fighting our mothers. Well, now it may be our biggest regrets. Because now, as we’re older and wiser, we realize that life would be immeasurably better if we could just play one instrument.


Your Looks Aren’t Everything

No matter how many times she told you this, you refused to believe that anything was more important to your happiness than how you looked. Those who didn't listen to their mothers’ warnings usually ended up vain and shallow, their happiness coming and going as fast as their looks dawned and faded. The sooner you realize this lesson and start putting your worth outside of your skin, the sooner you can find real happiness.


Being A Good Person Will Get You Further

Sticking to your morals and your instincts will always get you where you need to be, even if it takes you longer. Screwing people over, lying and scheming your way to the top may get you places faster, but the consequences are almost never worth it. By the time you get there, you just wish you had done it the right way.


The Truth Will Always Come Out

It takes a long time to realize that lying is never worth it and the truth can never be kept away for long. Countless times our lies have backfired or been exposed and we ended up worse off than if we had just told the truth. This is one lesson we should have just believed, because the lies were never worth the pain.


Your Health Is More Important

Perspective is everything. Life is all about how you look at it and the sooner we started putting things into perspective, our lives just look better. So what if you're having a bad day? You still have your health. You can walk and enjoy life, unlike so many others. Life would have been a whole lot easier if we understood this idea back when our mothers tried to explain it to us.


Don't Leave The House With A Wet Head

That was definitely a lesson we had to learn for ourselves. Unfortunately, it almost always resulted in a cold, a horrible hair day and a sloppy appearance. There's no reason to leave the house with a wet head and you could have saved yourself some shame by just taking the advice when it was given to you.


 Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Waiting for good things to happen seemed like a lazy and unmotivated lesson as a kid. However, we've grown up to learn that good things are like relationships, they happen when you aren't expecting them and don't push for them. Those who are rewarded in life are almost always those who waited for their turn.


Patience Is A Virtue

It took many years of impatient fits, tantrums and aversion to delays to realize that patience is most definitely not something we're all born with and it should be admired and worked for. Those who have patience are people to be respected because it's one of the better qualities we can hope for.


Don't Burn Your Bridges

Don’t burn bridges with your friends because when they make up, you’re stranded on the other side. Your mother knows better than you that there's going to be a chance that you need to go back over that bridge one day. Unfortunately, we've taken some time to understand the meaning of the lesson, as we've pissed off the wrong people and ruined opportunities through arrogance.


Forgive And Forget

There's nothing more exhausting and painful than holding on to a grudge. From their years of experience they've learned that life is too short to waste while being angry and bitter. Relationships are too rare to throw away on grudges and resentment and we've already lost too many friends to refuse to take this advice any longer.


Manners Go A Long Way

Manners go a long way, as we've learned from the off-putting feeling we get when we're around people without them. We hate people who don't say thank you or hold doors and subconsciously judge those who don't know how to eat properly or act correctly. Though we hated when they'd remind us to keep our elbows off the table and sit up straight, we're thankful next time we're eating with our boss and his investors.


Always Speak Up

Don't let people walk all over you. When our mothers were being curt with the sales lady or the telemarketer over the phone, we died of secondhand embarrassment, not realizing they were just sticking up for themselves. For years our mothers told us to be strong and vocal, never letting anyone take advantage. This lesson came the hard way the first time someone screwed with us. Speaking up comes from having confidence and self-respect and our mothers were beacons of strength.


Save Your Money

Right now I bet you wish you had all those Christmas checks your grandma sent you over the years. But instead you spent them on Pokemon cards and Beanie Babies. Now we're thanking our mothers for all the times they made us save instead of letting us splurge on clothes from Abercrombie and Limited Too.


Money Can't Buy Happiness

Just because people have money, doesn't mean they're happy. It took a few trips to our friends’ houses with the pools and finished basements to realize all the toys in the world couldn't keep their parents from getting divorced or their parents from working more than they see them. Money is great, but it isn't the solution.


Don't Worship False Idols

This may be a religious ideal, but it's pretty universal. Don't spend all your time caring about the Kardashians or your life will be filled with nothing but superficial evils. Though we spent our adolescence looking up to Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, we've learned that false idols always fall, just like mom said.


Just Be Yourself

It took some painful years of awkward adolescence to realize that copies are way worse than originals. When our mothers wanted us to dress like ourselves, we had to follow what everyone else was wearing. Years later, we've realized that being unique is not only respected, but the only thing we should be in this world.


Do It For The Experience

All those chores, church trips and days of service we just didn't want to do were always atoned with this phrase. We hated them for making us do stuff that would hurt now, but would make us more “well rounded” for the future. Though we hated them then, we've realized now that they were right. There's a lot in life that's done solely for the experience and not everything is going to be worth it in the moment.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Lauren Martin

Freelance Contributor

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