Mother-daughter relationships are rarely smooth. Most personal experiences, and what we see depicted in everyday life is often fraught with drama. Slammed doors, raised voices and declarations of war. The endless pressure to meet expectations, or conversely the zero belief in daughters and the consignment to failure and nothingness. Then we add the paradigm of guilt, a mother pressuring a daughter to have unfettered access to her life. Wanting voting privileges in marriages/relationships and parenting. All in an often-misguided effort to get a do over on life.

Fortunately, that was never my experience. As a proverbial daddy’s girl growing up, I often failed to appreciate the value that my relationship with my mother brought. Honestly, I took it for granted. But my mother is undoubtedly the main reason I am the person I am today. My father was awesome, but very strait-laced. In retrospect, I see the immense value that my mother played as the buffer. Allowing her second and wild child the opportunity to explore and have experiences. To blossom, grow and become myself. Oftentimes making borderline dishonest alibis for my whereabouts, but confident in the knowledge of my exact location and safety.  She facilitated and funded trips, listened without opinion or judgement, and was always present in a time of need.  Always a no pressure zone. Having her children fully confident in her unconditional love and support. She may not always like the things we do, but she would always love who we were. She had tons of gems too share. I’ll let you in on five.

Remember to be polite

This was part of the daily morning send off. My mother believes in the importance of being well mannered and has zero tolerance for rude children. She is by no way stuffy but understands the value of proper comportment and how you relate to others. The life lesson learned? People often respond better to polite interactions and a show of respect. That’s half the battle in getting heard. A simple “good morning’ counts as an acknowledgement of someone’s presence. And that makes a difference. Whether it’s in a professional or personal setting, people want to be acknowledged and recognized. Strategic human resource management training solidified that concept for me, but I learned this key concept from my mom.

If you don’t listen, you won’t learn

The teachers in the house are cheering. You can learn anything if you won’t listen. The information has to get in some way. And many of us don’t know and were never taught HOW to listen. We instead hear to respond. Often missing valid cues. This isn’t just about educational learning. It’s about vital social intelligence, reading body language. But we have to first be positioned to listen. What is actually being communicated? What are the underlying tones and micro expressions? I learned all this at my mother’s feet. The value of not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.

Choose your time and ask your question

Seems simple, right? But the power of timing is crucial. The answer will be either yes or no, but timing will often determine the response. What a power move to learn from a mom! Not just the strategy of the advice, but the counterpunch that I should never be afraid to ask a question. After all the response can only be one of two, yes or no. Hidden in this gem is the infallible belief that I have the right to ask the question. That by itself is such a confidence booster. The mantra was and still is, you are more than enough.

Every man is a man

Cultivating good self-worth in a teenage girl is a full-time job. I don’t know how my parents did it. But it can probably be traced back to this gem. We literally heard it all the time. “Wear your calico just as proudly as the other man wears his silk.” That statement is so multilayered. It not only addresses the issue of self-confidence, but the immaterial relevance of possessions. What you own doesn’t define you. And never allow temporary physical lack to influence self-perception. Did mommy realize she was being so deep? I have no clue.

What you don’t get this year, you’ll get next year

I really think she was just being slick with this one. Raising three children with my dad on a low income, inevitably meant that we went without a lot. The futuristic spin was probably her way of staving off the whining. But a lesson was there in the underpinning. You got to have goals. How else will you achieve next year what you failed to achieve this year? Mommy started my business! The idea of reevaluating your goals and reconfiguration for the next period in your life. Absolutely groundbreaking for the simple mother of three!

So that’s it, mommy’s five gems. Seen now as the ultimate coaching advice I could ever receive. Not all moms are as savvy as mine. I’m just enormously grateful that mine is still alive for me to appreciate her value.