Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! And especially to mine—I seriously hit the mom jackpot with her. This is admittedly one of those “Ok, Nicole, we get it…you like to write” posts, but I couldn’t resist the chance to reflect on some of the (many) ways my mom has guided me on the path to health and happiness.
Mom’s Healthy Life Lessons
Mental/spiritual health is just as important as physical health.
My mom is the most spiritual person I know. She seems to radiate inner peace, and it’s especially apparent in the way she deals with adverse situations (I’m in awe of the calm she’s able to maintain). Our feelings and emotions impact our bodies as well as minds (stress is the perfect example of this), and I truly believe your state of mental health is just as important as exercising daily and eating wholesome foods—my mom has always been the perfect example of this!
While she’s not the biggest fan of exercise (although she has started to do pilates DVDs and light cardio—you go, Mom!!), my family always swears she’ll live to be 150 years old. She meditates, prays, is emotionally wise, and I swear it manifests itself physically—she looks ten years younger than her age!
When a person says or does something mean to you, it’s probably because they don’t like something about themselves.
I was a very sensitive child and took any sort of negativity towards me extremely personal. Even constructive criticism could crush me, so you can imagine how mild middle school teasing made me feel. Back in the day, I was really into school—I literally did homework for fun. One of those kids. So while I wasn’t bullied by any means, the occasional one-liner about my nerdiness was inevitable.
In one particular instance, the boy I had a crush on made a joke about me staying inside and doing homework on the weekends (which I totally did, for the record). I very vividly remember my mom explaining to me that the teasing didn’t mean he didn’t like me as a person. Maybe he was struggling in school and it made him feel bad about himself to see me excel at it. Maybe he had an unhappy family situation at home and that’s why he didn’t want to stay in on the weekends, and he envied my happy home. Maybe he was the object of teasing in his friend group and the only way he knew to deflect it was to make someone else the brunt of jokes.
Now, we were in the sixth grade. I highly doubt that the boy was jealous I spent my free time doing homework and was getting better grades than him (LOL), but my mom’s words stuck with me and apply to interactions you’ll have with people all your life. Bottom line: Happy people who love themselves and their lives don’t feel the need to put others down. If someone is trying to make you feel bad about yourself, 9 times out of 10 it’s coming from a place of insecurity or unhappiness. When you realize that, you’re much less affected by the negativity.
If you’re full, stop eating.
I used to laugh at how my mom would have one teeny, tiny bite of food left on her plate and claim that she just couldn’t possibly finish it. It’s half a spoonful of potatoes and one pea—just eat it, Mom!
“I’m full—why would I eat it?”
Such a simple concept, but certainly not an easy one for a lot of (most) people! Emotions, social influences and so much more besides hunger often shapes our eating habits. Without even putting thought into it, my mom is the queen of portion control because she just listens to her body. Eats when she’s hungry, stops when she’s full. It’s one of the reasons she’s always been “naturally” thin. I admittedly am not as good about this as she is—I definitely have to put thought into stopping myself with treats like peanut butter and ice cream—but I’ve always admired her intuitive relationship with food.
Take up space.
Growing up (and still a bit today), I was quiet, sensitive, and really wanted everyone to like me. The result was that I could be a pushover and often let people take advantage of me; I would shy away from conflict instead of standing up for myself. It was a reoccurring theme in relationships, friendships, and one time on a family ski trip, my mom even noticed it in my body mannerisms on the slopes.
“Stop letting people cut you off! Take up space! Claim your territory!” She made me play a game for practice where she’d poke her hands at me and I’d have to swap them away (LOL).
It took some time and maturing, but I’ve realized it goes beyond wanting people to like you—it’s about liking and valuing yourself enough to not let people take advantage. Take up space in this world! You’re worthy of it!
Nature provides us with (almost) all we need.
I had to add the “almost” in there because if I break my femur in half, I’m not going to rub tree sap and river water on the bone and hope for the best, but my mom has always been into alternative medicine and natural remedies. Garlic and oregano oil for warts, pee for poison ivy (don’t ask…seriously, you don’t want to know)—you name the ailment, my mom had a natural solution for it.
And beyond natural healing, she has always kept the house full of organic food and natural products. She even makes her own toothpaste and uses limes as deodorant (I give her a hard time about that last one, but I’m sure it works haha). I’m so thankful for the healthy home I got to grow up in because of her!
I used to make fun of my mom’s “weird” ways (angsty teens are the worst), but I love that I’m becoming more and more like her as I grow up. It’s funny how as a teenager you think your parents are complete idiots and then as you grow up you realize “Oh shit. I’m the idiot.” To me, my mom is the most spiritually wise person I know, and her advice is beyond value.
So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thank you for all that you do, and please don’t be mad at me for posting pictures of you to the internet. I LOVE YOU!