Mum's Pearls of Wisdom

Posted on 25th April, 2015


Back in March, my good friend Jen Gilroy wrote a blog about motherly advice, to coincide with Mothering Sunday. It was a heart-warming piece and the comments that readers left were equally thoughtful.... which made it rather difficult for me to leave a comment, because the advice I got from my late mum apparently wasn't in keeping with the advice given by everyone else's mothers. But if you'd ever met my mother, that wouldn't come as a surprise.

Now that a few weeks have gone by and Mothering Sunday is some distance away, I thought I'd let you in on the advice I received from my mother.

When my brother and I were around 7 or 8 years old, we were given pocket money for the first time. This is the advice Mum gave us.


To my brother, she said, “You must be careful with your pocket money and learn to save up, because one day you'll have a wife and family to support and a mortgage and bills to pay, so you must start being careful now.”

To me, she said, “You must spend every penny that comes your way, because one day you'll have a husband and children and from that day onwards, you'll never have any money to call your own.”

She then added, “And you must always give your husband the best piece of meat.”

And in case you're imagining her as a downtrodden little mouse with a frilly apron and a 1950s complex, you couldn't be more mistaken. My mum was a big-boned, robust woman. She was quick-tempered, impatient, opinionated and judgemental, but she was also enormously generous and had an exuberent sense of fun. She was guided by a strong sense of duty and always did what she believed was right, no matter how inconvenient or downright difficult it might be.

Having read her motherly advice, perhaps you can appreciate why I didn't feel it sat comfortably in among the wise words about consideration and love and do-as-you-would-be-done-by that characterised Jen's blog and comments. And don't get me started on Mum's idea of careers advice for a daughter....

Have you ever received any unconventional or - let's face it - downright sexist advice? Do you give your husband the best piece of meat?! Do tell. I'd like to know I'm not alone.


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Comments (9)

Thanks for your comments, Jan and Jackie.

I do like your mum's piece of advice, Jan, and I'm not surprised it has stayed with you. A sound piece of advice lasts a lifetime. But you're right - there are times when we are required to blow our own trumpet and it isn't always an easy or comfortable thing to do.

Jackie - at the age of seven , it never occurred to me to ask!
Did she say why he had to have the best piece of meat?
One piece of advice from my lovely mum wasn't sexist or eccentric, Sue, but has stayed with me. 'Compliments should always come from someone else; never boast or brag.' In an interview situation, I always had to push this to the back of my mind when asked something along the lines of 'Please tell us why you think you're the best candidate for the job'!
I love the sound of your great-aunt, Jen. She sounds a real character. When I started to read your comment, I was expecting the reason for not marrying until 50 to be so you could build up a nest egg - the real reason was much better! Thanks for making me laugh.
I had, to put it politely, an eccentric great-aunt. Before I'd hit my teens, she'd already advised me to hold off on marrying until I was at least 50. That way your friends would be established and could afford to give you nice wedding presents! She married late and never seemed to like/want children so I guess it worked for her!

Happy I inspired your blog and thanks for the lovely mention.
Mine was certainly, as Cathy suggested in her comment, a very feisty woman. Does that mean yours was too? Thanks for dropping by, Frances.
I like the sound of your mother. Mine would have enjoyed her company!
" You make your bed, you lie in it," does seem rather bracing advice to give a bride waiting to leave for the church. Sounds to me like your dad and my mum would have got along fine.

Sorry to hear about the disastrous lamb joint - hope today's Sunday lunch fares better.

Thanks as always for dropping by, Cathy.
On my wedding day while waiting for the car to take us to the church my dad said he only had one bit of advice: "You make your bed you lie in it!"
Your mum sounds like a fantastic, feisty lady.
As for the meat........ The piece of lamb I roasted yesterday was so tough I don't think either of us had a best bit.
Great blogpost again Susanna.