By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

Have you ever sat down to make a list of all of the things you learned from your mother? In all of these years, I’ve never actually made a list, but once I got started, I couldn’t stop! So far, I have 73 items on my list.

I was amazed at just how much I learned and integrated her wisdom into my own life each day. They do say that you become like your mom and I’m so glad I did because my mom has become my own words to live by.

I’m dedicating this blog to all of you mothers, mothers-to-be, and other women in your life who have been like a mother to you.

I also want to take a moment to say that being a mom to my 2 sons, Sean and Kevin, is the most important and most fulfilling role I have ever had. I don’t know if they are reading this blog, but if they are known how much I love you and admire you … And that being your mother has been gods greatest gift to me. Thank you, guys!

As a little bit of background, I grew up in a family with five kids. Our dad was a pilot, we were an Air Force family and had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I went to 9 different schools and lived in 9 different homes.

I always admired how our mom made all these moves and transitions seem so simple and that somehow, she also made them fun!

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My Top 8 Lessons I Learned from My Mom About Keeping Life Simple:

1. Smile! You never know what someone’s going through

I can still feel her elbow poking me in the grocery line encouraging me to smile at the clerk who look like she was having a bad day.

She taught me how that one simple smile could make a difference in someone’s day.

2. Learn to listen. That’s how you learn about people and what matters to them

Being heard… really heard matters. It tells someone you were interested, that you care about them and what they are saying.

Mom taught me the importance of creating a true connection with people by simply listening to them

3. Be curious. Ask questions

This really mattered to our mom and now, to me. As we traveled the world and lived in many different areas of the country and Europe, she had the ability to engage anyone in conversation by simply asking questions.

Being curious expands your thinking and your worldview.

4. Make mistakes. It’s OK, but learn from them

God knows I’ve made my share of mistakes so I’ve learned a lot along the way.

Growing up with this simple mantra allowed me to take more risks and grow from each success and each failure.

This simple lesson taught me to assess what I learned so I can grow from it.

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5. Embrace our differences

As one of 5 kids, we were each unique and she had the ability to make each of us feel special in our own way, embracing both our strengths and weaknesses.

This simple lesson taught us how to respect and embrace others and our differences

6. Take time for yourself. Self-care is not selfish

With 5 kids, I never did figure out how she found time for self-care, but when I think back, her self-care was time on the golf course with her dad, playing bingo with her sisters, or playing bridge with her friends.

She discovered simple pleasures that restored and rejuvenated her.

7. Nurture relationships regularly

It takes time and effort to build and staying healthy, loving relationships. Take time each day to:

  • Make that phone call to someone who needs to hear from you.
  • Reach out, and send a handwritten note to make someone’s day.

It’s that simple. It cost nothing other than your time.

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8. Make time to help those in need

Don’t talk about it. Do it.

  • Visit that elderly neighbor who might be lonely.
  • Deliver a home-cooked meal to someone who is struggling.
  • Volunteer your time to help someone each day.

As small as these efforts might seem, they will make a difference.

These simple life lessons were her legacy. They have become my words to live by.

I encourage you to write down you top lessons that you learned from your mother about keeping life simple, and focusing on what matters most.

For those of you who are moms are still with you, make sure you spend precious time with them this Mother’s Day. Make sure to tell her you love her and what a difference she’s made in your life.

It’s that simple.

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