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What Would Mom Do: Advice From the Generations

by Magnolia
Published on March 8, 2024

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It takes a village. Mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends, and mentors alike each offer their own kind of wisdom. In the stages and phases, peaks and valleys of life, these are the women who lift us up—and onward. These are the women who bring us into who we’re becoming.

This year for Mother’s Day, we wanted to center on generational wisdom, the idea that women from all walks of life can encourage and strengthen each other from varying vantage points and perspectives.

Which brings us to this. For those moments you ask, “What would Mom do?”, we’ve pulled together some motherly advice, both given and received, from our Perks members and wider Magnolia community. Keep reading for some encouraging words on womanhood…then, now, and always.

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What’s one piece of advice a woman in your life has given you? How has it shaped you—and how have you carried it forward?

“My husband and I struggled with infertility for eight years before we were able to adopt our beautiful baby girl. I wanted to be the best mother possible, but, as many first-time mothers are, I was wracked with insecurities. My next-door neighbor, who had three children, sensed my insecurity and told me to relax and not worry about being perfect. She said to remember this one thing: ‘You’re the only mother she has known, so she thinks everything you do is perfect…and it is.’ From that moment on, I didn’t worry about doing everything according to the books and simply loved my baby.” – Mimi B. (73)

“During a really tough, refining season of my life, my mom told me, ‘You are stronger than you know.’ Every once in a while, especially on more difficult days, I'll pull that line back out. What I love about this is that my mom didn't say ‘you're perfect’ or ‘there's no weakness in you’ or ‘you can do anything.’ But she did give me a good dose of perspective—that I am loved and valued (limitations and all), and there are reserves of strength within me I forget I have. She gave me the gift of remembering.” – McGee N. (29)

“When I was a young mom, a mentor told me: ‘Don’t worry about perfection. The kids won’t remember that the cookies were organic and made from scratch, but they will remember the time together and how you made them feel.” – Jennifer T. (52)

“I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Washington, DC. I see so much pain, and I also see how much love and community build resilience. My mom was the person who taught me to treat everyone as a friend, as someone to be respected—no matter how old they are, where they are from, or where they are now. I cannot thank her enough for this.” – Olivia H. (34)

“I’ve worked in sales my entire life. Twenty five years ago, my grandmother told me: ‘Focus on the people, the relationship with the people…the sales will come.’ I’ve carried this with me my entire career and try to share that same knowledge with others in sales I’ve met or mentored along the way.” – Kim B. (48)

“‘When making a big decision, think with your head just as much as your heart. Plan with purpose and patience.’ This is a piece of advice my great aunt gave me when I was struggling to know what to do with my life after trauma. She was like a second mom to me. She never had children due to infertility but always showed class, grace, and love—especially to her nieces and nephews who she treasured beyond any material thing.” – McCall W. (33)

“A 90-year-old mentor told me this several years ago: ‘Someday your eyes won’t see as well. You won’t be able to hear as well. Your bones will be tired, and you’ll spend lots of time in a rocking chair thinking about life. What you're doing now is what you’ll remember—so make every day something to remember.’” – Rebecca M. (64)

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What encouragement would you offer to women who are currently in the stages of life and motherhood you've walked through?

“Put down your distractions, look in the eyes of your children, and take it all in.” – Jennifer D. (51)

“I myself don’t have any children, but I’ve nurtured many young ones in all the stages. I find myself having less littles to nurture these days, but the skill never goes to waste. I try to nurture myself more as I have free time, and I can always find someone who needs a little love and tenderness—a meal, a card, an offer to babysit, or just saying ‘I see you.' to someone who’s in the thick of it. Embrace all the life stages, grieve the ones you weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to, and look forward to some of the best days you’ve not even experienced yet.” – Deb S. (39)

“If you have a mom here on Earth with you, don’t take her for granted. I’m grateful for the opportunity and divine power I have of being a mother and helping her memory live on through me.” – Jenny M. (46)

“It’s okay to take time for yourself. I’ve started painting again one day a week after a long hiatus, and it feels wonderful!” – Alissa U. (42)

“Enjoy the little things—the smell of your sweet baby, your toddler wearing his Halloween cape to the grocery store, the shoes by the door when kids are over, car rides with your teenagers before they can drive, a call from your grown child asking for their favorite recipe. Let your kids see all the emotions and know they can recover and move on. And always love your partner because after all these beautiful, tough, and challenging moments, it’s the two of you in the end.” – Julie F. (55)

“I would pass on the advice that mothers shouldn’t dwell too much on guilt. Thinking about things we regret we did or didn’t do won’t get us anywhere. It’s better to focus on the next day and know that there’s always a chance to do things better. Every day is a new opportunity to do something different or start afresh, with our kids, our spouses, or ourselves. It’s encouraging to know things don’t have to stay the same.” – Colleen M. (35)

“Remember to stop and enjoy the moment. The dishes or laundry will still be there—but the moment won’t be.” – Judy F. (67)

“Everyone has a story. Let your children write theirs and simply be an editor when they ask you.” – Jessica F. (42)


To the leading women in our lives: thank you. Explore our Mother’s Day Collection to find a celebratory little something…just for them.

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