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8 Controversial Lessons My Mom Taught Me

Nobody does it like a mom, especially my mom. She's a real piece of work in the best way possible. She won't handhold me, but she'll hold my hand when I need it. She'll tell me to figure things out for myself and "handle it," but will also be the first to offer frank advice about what to do and how to do it.

As one of her biggest fans, I will spill that my mom equipped my sister and I with, arguably, the most wicked skill set for life. Her guidance has been valuable and relevant beyond all measure, and I am so thankful for it.

However, in this parenting age we're in, I'm afraid that many people might find her wisdom controversial. Here's what I was raised with:

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1. Don't be shallow, but definitely stay pretty

Looking good helps you feel good, which makes you more productive.

There are more important things than putting on lipstick, but just because you want to keep up appearances and look good in the mirror, doesn't mean you're vain. Looking good helps you feel good, which makes you more productive.

2. Always be kind, but tell someone off if they deserve it

Stand up for what you believe in and be vocal. If someone lies, cheats, mixes the pot or does something underhanded, call them out. Call them out and stay away from them going forward. Life's too short to get walked on.

3. Yes, spanking is sometimes necessary. (Sound the alarms here.)

After talking, after holding, after sending into multiple time-outs, after talking again, sometimes one controlled spank on the bottom is necessary. That's all I'm going to say about that.

4. A homemade dessert is always better than a store-bought item

Yes, there are definitely times when the best thing you can offer to the school bake sale comes from the grocery store, but let that be your very last and most desperate option. Make an effort to put personal effort into things first. It makes you learn. It makes you feel capable. It matters.

5. Do not leave your house unless it's (mostly) clean

Best way to instantly feel overwhelmed? Walking into a filthy house after a long day. Fun is important, but just pick up the toys and put the dishes in the sink before you take the kids to the zoo. It'll keep you feeling sane ... and hopefully also teach your kids to clean up after themselves.

6. Move fast

We all want and need more time in the day. If you take care of the seconds, the hours add up. Not to mention, moving quickly gets your heart rate up and can also double as a mediocre cardio workout. No trip to the gym required! (More cake, anyone?)

7. Date as many people as you can

(This advice came for my teen years, obviously. And, notice I said "date" and not anything else.) Dating different kinds of folks makes you learn all kinds of things about who you are and what you stand for.

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8. Be realistic with your goals

My mom always encouraged my love for performing, but consistently made sure I was aware of the reality and risks associated with pursuing a career in entertainment. Go for your dreams, but make sure you can pay for food and rent. Keep doing what you love, but make sure you can support yourself. If things don't work, it's OK to reinvent and set a new course that will move you towards success. In other words, know when to fold 'em.

And the wisdom continues as I raise my two daughters. (Thanks, mom.)

Image via Jill Simonian

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