To celebrate Mother’s Day is to honor the love and happy times we have shared and look to the future to honor our mothers and grandmothers, never forgetting their indelible influence on our lives. They made their mark on us in our formative years to have purpose and goals in life. They inspire us to be ourselves and develop our talents to share with the world. They taught us that beauty is only skin deep, the heart is the source of our strength, and family is forever. From always having fresh flowers on hand to the perfect way to ice a cake, our moms taught us how to make a house a home. Below, The Cottage Journal team has rounded up the top lessons we learned from our mothers, from serving to loving and everything in between.
In honor and with great pride, I remember my mother on this holiday, and I only hope I can pass along part of the inspiration she taught me. Just one of her famous lines was, “Put a little lipstick on—your day will be much better!” My sister and I tend to repeat that to our daughters, too, in her honor. “Grandmom always said . . .”
My mom is not an outspoken personality like me, but she has an incredible gift for quietly nurturing the things and people around her, fostering season after season of new life, beautiful blooms, and fruitful growth. Her green thumb in the garden is truly a sight to behold! Those gardening gifts were not ones I inherited, but the principles she’s shown me in the garden have translated into tangible gifts that easily reflect how kind and beautiful she is. She’s able to quietly sow seeds of life and truth and pour her resources of time and love into others. She’s shown me the importance of eliminating weeds or the things that could choke out your harvest and rob your reward—a process that is arduous and uncomfortable but a necessary chore to help produce the very best crop—and that pruning and refining isn’t just for aesthetics but also for the health of the garden. Equally impressive is the way she displays a graceful patience while she waits to reap the harvest of her labor. My mom is an incredible friend, wife, grandmother, listener, advice-giver, comforter, shopping partner, traveler, hard worker, and has the very best laugh I’ve ever heard. One of the things I love most about her is the way she speaks truth into my life and finds ways to gently remind me that I don’t have to be the best at everything—including a fabulous cottage gardener—to invest the time to sow seeds, plant roots, and beautifully bloom in any situation.
I’ve learned a lot in my mom’s kitchen—although she’s a woman of many talents, I have more memories of baking with her than I could ever write in one place. But not all of the lessons I learned had to do with the best way to ice a cake. Whether with her culinary creations, her quilts, or her family Christmas gifts, my mom has always put an emphasis on personalization and presentation. For her, making beautiful things isn’t just a hobby—it’s a way to make people feel special, welcome, and loved. By turning everything from home décor to sugar cookies into a life-long ministry, my mom taught me a lesson I’ll always be happy to have learned.
My family moved into a modest home in the suburbs when I was just eight months old, and this is where my parents still reside. Our home was always full of personality, with pictures of my brothers and me crowding the walls and our colorful drawings framed and put on the fridge. My mom didn’t follow the latest trends; instead, she opted for timeless style in a comfortable way, creating a home that three kids and multiple pets could enjoy without destroying. She taught me that in the pursuit of having a beautiful house, never be willing to sacrifice having a home to actually live in. Messes and laundry and such could wait; what mattered to her was that we were happy and that she had the opportunity to share in our happiness. In fact, though my parents ached to move for years, they decided not to so we could stay close to our friends. She always put us first, and still does to this day.
My mom has always been my favorite person to learn from. She has shown me what it truly means to be a helper. She’s great at just about everything she does: gardening, decorating, cooking—she’s a pro at them all. I love to watch my mom prepare for guests coming over. She somehow perfectly times out the food to be ready (and delicious) at the right moment, keeps the kitchen clean the whole time, all while having a glass of wine in her hand. My mom has also taught me how to make a space a home through always having fresh hydrangeas in the house, perfectly “chopped” pillows, and never an empty fridge. I hope to make a home one day as beautiful, welcoming, and gracious as the one my mom created.
My mother has taught me many things like baking, sewing, and even how to change a flat tire, but one of the greatest things that I learned from her was kindness. She is always giving and never asking for anything in return. She loves to serve her family as well as others—whether it is to offer a place at her table, a pillow from her bed, or a ride to somewhere . . . anywhere. If she isn’t serving, my mother is leading by grace or sharing her knowledge of many things to all those around her. Her love is unconditional, and her heart is amazing. And learning from my mother’s Christian example, I strive to be kind and hope to be half the mother she is to me and my three sisters.
My mother is special in a lot of the ways that other people’s mothers are: She’s funny and kind, strong and independent, she makes the best jambalaya, and she knows her way around a home renovation project. What proves she’s a phenomenal woman, though, is the fact that she carried me for 43 weeks before finally inducing labor. It was the first and last time I was ever late for anything and a wild story, for sure, but it mirrors our entire relationship over the last few decades, from trying to help me make friends in middle school to guiding me into adulthood: She has always let me take my sweet time, known when to give me a push, and helped me when my sweet time has turned bitter. With that level of patience, support, and love, how could I not think she’s the best?