The M Dash

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Things Our Mothers Never Said (But We Picked Up Anyway)

May 10, 2018 | Filed in: Your Brain

The list of things our mothers told us over and over is long: Stand up straight. Make your bed. Don’t leave things until the last minute. But there are implicit lessons that we simply absorbed by watching our mothers as they went about their lives. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked a few MM team members to tell us what they learned through osmosis. (Warning: These things may come as a surprise to their mothers.)

“I learned the importance of balancing hard work with relaxation from watching my mother. When I was growing up, she was building her own business and she worked a lot. But I also remember her always being around to spend time with us on the weekends, or taking time to relax on the beach in the summer. I know that it made her better at her job to have those moments of relaxation, and it taught me to prioritize balance in my own life.”

—Caroline, Senior Marketing Associate

“My mom taught me how to enjoy the occasional extravagance. Whether we were having a night out at the theater or indulging in a fancy tasting menu at a restaurant, she showed me the value of investing in experiences that I know I’ll remember for years to come.” 

—Jessica, HR Coordinator

“My mother showed me the power of listening. She’s an amazing woman with multiple Master’s degrees who believes that everyone has a story, and even the most frustrating situation can be made better by listening. When I was younger and displaying a great lack of patience, she would turn to me and say, ‘Erica wants patience and she wants it now!’ I grew up to get a Master’s degree in Sociology, which requires the ability to listen deeply and pay attention—skills that she instilled in me despite my impatience growing up.”

—Erica, San Francisco Pop-Up Manager

“My mom showed me the power of being intuitive in the kitchen. She can create a delicious meal out of what anyone else would consider a virtually empty refrigerator. She often cooks without recipes, combining ingredients and spices she has on hand. The magic in cooking like this is that you’re liberated from the constraints of a recipe, and can experiment to your heart’s content. Watching her do it made me a more confident cook.”

—Alex, Editorial Associate

“My mom taught me resilience. If something didn’t work out in her favor professionally or personally, she would take some time to mourn her loss, but she always pushed to rebuild and move forward. Now, when something doesn’t go my way, I know how to bounce back and keeping moving forward.”

—Audrey, Senior Customer Experience Analyst

“My mom modeled for me the importance of knowing your priorities, and the power of creative problem solving. She found a job she loved, which also allowed her the flexibility to control her own time, so she could be there for the important events in my life when I was growing up. She had to make some trade-offs, for sure, but she always did so on her own terms. Because of her, I’ve seen that there are many ways to build a career and a life, and that a little creativity and flexibility can go a long way.”

—Kate, CRM Director

“My mom taught me not to be afraid to indulge yourself when the occasion calls for it. It’s allowed me to carve out really good quality time in my life. Indulging yourself doesn’t always have to be about material things: It can be about taking an afternoon to go the park, or to go to a museum. It comes down to being able to take care of yourself when you need to—I definitely got that from her.”

—Miyako, Co-founder and Creative Director

“I like to think I’m the funniest person in the room, and I’m pretty sure I get that from my mom. She’s one of the most fun and friendly women I know, and she’s had a lot of success in her life due to her positive attitude and ability to crack a joke when things get tough. She showed me that laughing off an embarrassing moment or making a joke during an awkward encounter goes a long way toward making the situation better. And for those times that laughter doesn’t work, she taught me to have a scoop (or four) of Ben & Jerry’s.”

—Annie, Customer Experience Associate

“My mom showed me the importance of hard work and routine. She went into the office every Saturday morning, and she would bring me with her and set me up with coloring books and games in a conference room while she worked for a few hours. Afterward, she would treat us to lunch at our favorite café, followed by a stop at our favorite bookstore. She never complained about having to work on the weekends, and I’m impressed to this day by how creative she was in building fun and mother-daughter time into her weekend routine.”

—Katie, Associate Director, Service Operations

“My mom showed me how to cultivate simple pleasures that bring joy. There are things that she loves, like gardening or having the occasional slice of apple pie for breakfast, that are so easy to do—and you can just tell that they make her day. Finding out what those things were for me (taking a book to the park, for instance) makes it easy to feel happy and content at any income level or stage of life.”

—Sarah, Content Director

“My mother taught me how to charge fearlessly ahead in life, while also knowing when to take a break. We went hiking a lot when I was growing up, and the rule was that I could run ahead for as long as I liked, but whenever there was a fork in the trail it was time to pause, get my bearings, and let everyone behind me know which direction I was headed. In her own life, my mom is curious and driven, always charging ahead with new ideas and projects. But her respect for thoughtful decision-making, wise counsel, and contemplation keeps her—and me—grounded.” 

—Sofia, Merchandise & Planning Coordinator


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