What We've Learned From Mom About House

What We've Learned From Mom About House

Why is a house, a house? For a lot of us, our mom is intrinsically part of the answer. When it’s the smell of lemon furniture polish once we walk through the doorway, new curtains in the kitchen to every season, crisp and clean laundry hanging on the clothesline, steaming food sitting on the kitchen table or simply the presence of family members, Mother is usually accountable for what we equate with “home.”

For the Mother’s Day, we asked you to talk about what you heard and cherished from your mom around the house. Take a look at 33 of our favorite responses.

“My mom and my grandma taught me that homes are to reside in, to not live for, and it’s functioned well. While I had been taught to maintain a clean house, and the best way to cook an average Southern dinner once the period is available, I was also taught that a basket of laundry having to be brushed, or a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, could wait. A very long talk from the backyard with your spouse, 30 minutes spent laughing in a silly TV program with your adolescent, a loved one or friend on the telephone having a shoulder to cry on — these matters should never have to wait. Your house will always be there. The people that you care about the most may not.” — gigi4bee

“My mom was a single mom raising two children with very little money. Sometimes, times were so difficult that the heating firm would cut us off and we needed to camp by the opened cooker to keep warm. I remember these times as super fun family moments at which we would do crafts in the kitchen. She understood how to create a terrible situation really fun! She taught me to find out how to fix things myself rather than purchasing new stuff. She taught me that elbow grease requires you much further than a wad of money. Most of all, she taught me that what makes a house a home is a purring cat on a windowsill, the smell of lemon oil rubbed into classic dressers and a welcoming kitchen table to sit and chat at. Now, I have a house of my own (with a kitty). I’ve got a decent paying job, but I believe in the magic of elbow grease and carpenter’s glue.” — ameliahanna

“To hire a maid! My mom was a place–World War II wife who appreciated her diploma and job over cleaning and cooking. Thank good for Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house for a taste of home cooking!” — lc29

“My mom did not care what the neighbors needed. We had no matching furniture, thank God. She and my father made the couch by attaching legs to a doorway and covering it with a mattress and pillows. It had been modernist. He would construct a tall box planter, and she’d make it a space divider with a large driftwood branch and invisibly assembled in the beach. They always rebuilt and redesigned the house for twenty five years. I heard from her that you could never own too many books or too much music or art.” — Fine Art & Portraits by Laurel

“I love my mom dearly. She is an excellent lady and grandmother who’d provide you the shirt off her back. But I heard from her to throw away things rather than stash stuff you don’t use in closets and under beds, rather than to purchase things to shop in such places simply because they’re on sale (she’s a small hoarder). I also learned to wash out my refrigerator occasionally and to keep my kitchen clean, clean, clean. Sometimes you learn to do things by having a good example of what not to do!” — krissyb92603

“My mom taught me that putting an onion from the oven, cooking anything you want, makes it look like you are always cooking a gourmet meal.” — AtWell Staged Home

“Mother was a so-so cook, could shrink a favorite sweater to doll size and piled stuff on the cover of the dishwasher until I put it away. But she could tidy up a space to make it look like it had been out of Good Housekeeping in record time. At times it’s the shortcuts which you recall the most.” — uberv

“My mom was a professional advertising copy chief writer when women in the office were secretaries. She understood how to play the big boys, and she had been twice as good as they were she needed to be, to rise to that degree from the ’50s and ’60s. She was talented and gutsy, and had no time to cook or wash a house. She hired someone on occasion to wash. I never learned how to cook anything but basic foods to feed my family, and now, in retirement, I am finally creating a knowledge of fine cooking.

“That said, my mom had a heart of gold and was the stone and anchor to my brother and me. She’d do anything for anyone (and did), and taught me that the significance of honesty and love by her example. She fought an 11-year struggle with cancer, never complaining, mostly upbeat and consistently with a zest for life which reminded us of the importance of living every moment fully. She taught me what was important in life, and showed me how to die with grace and even humor … and I miss her daily. Materials like cleaning and cooking, I will teach myself.” — appytrails

“‘When you’re creating corn tortillas, and a hole looks, you can patch it up. Flour tortillas will need to be treated with caution, since in the event that you tear a hole into the dough, then you have to roll it back up and let it rest.’ If I applied this to anything in existence, it meant several items, like housework, are not that important. Others — like one’s union, mortgage, etc. — you have to be careful with, since patching the holes up requires greater effort than if you’re careful from the get-go.

But, really, my mom was talking about tortillas. And her recipe/lessons continue to feed my ever-expanding tummy and that of my spoiled friends and hubby.” — tiachocolate

“My mom is amazing at taking care of a house, and has consistently worked full time outside the house. She taught me to be great at what I care the most about and allow the small things slide. For her, so we use the kitchen twice per year and eat out, so that she had more time to spend with her children! For me, that usually means hiring someone to clean for the identical reason!” — docmack

“Momma has been gone for more than 25 years, but I still see her everyday in the matters that I do. I visit her in the granddaughters she never lived to fulfill. She also gave me traditional Southern hospitality skills and challenged me to find imaginative ways to be frugal. Most of all, she taught me to place people before matters, and that’s what really makes a house a house.” — kathleen MK

“My mom has helped me be a fantastic homemaker, as all of my close and dear ones state. The most important lesson she taught me was to be organized in all of my work, rather than leave anything for tomorrow. It makes life simpler.” — California Fence Company

“Just one of many thing my mom taught me was to not touch her walls. ‘Please don’t place your palms on the walls,’ she’d say. As a youngster, of course, I could not figure out what the big deal was. Now I have to occasionally, but politely, ask my children’s friends to not touch the walls. My children have already learned this lesson. She never revealed her hiding spot for her good deck of playing cards. She simply never understood that my sister and brother and I needed her deck since ours was overlooking a scoop or two and everybody understood the queen of hearts had a bent corner. I have a hiding place of my own, today.” — Susie Q Design Studio

“My mom raised three boys and me the only girl. It was hard to keep the house tidy, but she did it. Her pride and joy was her big linen cupboard. Her sheets and towels and tea towels were always folded ‘just so’ and by size and color. She stated that it was the one spot in the house that was hers, and she believed she at least had control over that one spot in the house that the boys had no interest in messing up! I’ve kept her up tradition even to how she folded towels. I like my husband, but if he folds, I covertly refold to my mom’s layout and standards! Long live the beautifully organized linen cabinet!” — cfumerton

“My mom was really pleased with her house; memories of my youth were of her walking people around the house like they were on a trip to all the chambers. The house had to be always clean, especially the kitchen. Now, I’m pleased with my house and I always make sure it’s inviting. Although I never really show people around, it is always visitor prepared.” — molewane

“Saturday mornings were for cleaning house. No matter what was happening that day, beds were changed, laundry done, carpets vacuumed, furniture dusted. And no load of laundry was complete without a good dose of bleach. I’m 46 and I still have clothing with minimal bleach stains dotted here and there — little Mommy kisses! My mom died in January, so that my feelings are extremely raw still. However, my memories are strong” — maggiemalone

“My father was an Air Force sergeant, and our loved ones moved around a lot. Once we lived on a base in old barracks which was converted to housing. This conversion left to be desired. There was a wood post in the center of the living area. Our mom had no money for decorating, but she made the best of everything. She attached 45 documents to brackets to create little shelves wrapped around the post. She bought ceramic little musician figures in a dime store and placed one on each album. I could write pages about what she taught me, but that is my favorite of her creative homemaking tricks” — graciann

“Growing up with a single mom was hard on both of us at times, but one thing I never uttered was love and bliss. We were a group. I had been an only child, so it was just us two women, although we lived with household and in flats for more than a decade whilst life piled itself around us, ‘house’ consistently felt like a house. These items are what I’ve taken and use in my everyday life because of mom: 1. Food is unique, but the act of making it’s more special. It doesn’t matter how much time it requires, or if it ends up just OK; it had been worth the time you chose to create it because you cared enough to try; two. Cleaning is always more fun with songs to dance to; 3. You can wash every space twice, but whenever someone enters the house, it doesn’t matter because family and friends are there to share it together; 4. Sometimes you just need to order pizza, pop into a movie and ‘take the telephone off the hook,’ and you shouldn’t ever feel guilty about taking time for yourself; 5. Love is the foundation of household; cherish it and share it daily; 6. You don’t always need a man to do things around the house; should you learn a skill on your own (like repairing the drier or patching a wall), you gain not just a skill however pride in a job well done” — Amy Secretan

“My mom taught me that family is the most essential thing. You could live in a tent, a mansion, a castle, a hut … it does not matter just as long as you have your family. And there is always some little thing that you can do in order to make it all home. She’d take a little doodad gotten in a yard sale and find the perfect spot for it that our house always seemed nice. She taught me how to stretch a buck and reside on a strict budget, which has come in handy many times. She taught me how to cook. My sisters and I would make biscuits standing in a seat so we could get to the bowl.

“She taught me that you have a huge lunch on Sundays and rest throughout the rest of the afternoon. She taught me to always consider the underdog. She taught me how to laugh. To be considerate, to say, ‘Yes ma’am,’ ‘No sir’ and ‘Thank you’ To hold the door for the person behind me. To never whisper if someone else was in the area. To be there for your family. To always have an open door whenever they need to come home” — lisaew54

“My momma was never overly concerned with a sparkling house when we were children. She favored a comfortable, loving home where my brother and I and our friends were always welcome to play and grow. She said, ‘I don’t mind the mess. I can have a clean house when you children are gone’ She says the identical thing today with her grandson, whom she watches while her hubby and I are at work. The size of this mess = the quantity of fun!” — natlizan

“My mother’s announcement on housekeeping was, ‘A little dust won’t ever kill you’ She was fairly critical of what she deemed ‘perfectly maintained homes with dirt swept under the carpets.’ She had been a lot more worried with new linens, a fresh refrigerator, and wash floors, kitchens and baths than feverish straightening up for business. Of course, she grew up with a maid, a cook, etc. . was truly at a loss when she married. Much to my husband’s dismay, I tend to follow along with her beliefs. I prefer a warm, homey house to a perfectly arranged residence. I don’t like to sit vinyl; I don’t want to sit on the edge of furniture I want downtime and comfort from my work life. So what if there’s occasional dust or pet hair? I’m pretty sure it won’t kill me” — Vicki D

“Where do I begin? My mom was about love and respect than cleaning house, but having a husband and five children, she maintained ours sterile and things going along. We did not have a lot — dwelt in the country without a washer or drier, so of course the clothes got dried online. I still cannot figure out how she did it all. My mom taught me that things weren’t to be stored for specific days, that days were unique. To this day I use my grandma’s ‘Sunday’ silver for everyday use — why not? I may not be here tomorrow. I don’t know whether this has to do with growing up in the South, but Mother did teach me to wash the walls on a regular basis; I guess that had to do with living on a dirt road for so many years, but even though I reside in town today, I still wash my walls at least two times per year!” — bundle53

“Every part of our house was fresh and clean, polished and scrubbed. We never gathered stuff and consistently did the huge jobs together. And thus we heard, and yes we had fun studying. Nobody died from the physical labor, and it took until my parents were in their 80s before we finally convinced them it was OK to hire a window cleaner. We all (three sisters) pretty much do exactly the same. It is just part of creating home … house.” — Jan Moyer

“My mom would have been the first to say that she was not much of a housekeeper; we often ran out of toilet paper, and there wasn’t a pencil or pair of scissors to be found. But she was a wonderful homemaker and also our (many) places were always filled with flowers and the smell of lemon blossom. Afterwards, when she could manage cleaning ladies, things were always clear, but I instead treasure those ancient, cluttered years” — Jane Walker

“I am quite grateful to have had my mom for the first 17 years of my life. She raised eight children, maintained our house comfortable and inviting (everyone hung out and sometimes stayed at our place), made tasty food from scratch daily, had a massive vegetable garden, was an incredible seamstress and knitter and just all-around handy individual.

“She taught my brother, six sisters and myself that we could create, mend or do anything with determination and elbow grease. That can-do attitude has served me well as it comes to home repairs, renos and projects. I miss her every day, and I’m pleased to state that her legacy lives on in her children.” — mizmolly

“Things I learned from my mom regarding the house: 1. Always, always, always keep it clear. It doesn’t matter whether it is a shack or palace … cleanliness is essential, especially in the restroom. 2. Never underestimate the ability of a well-made bed. No one will ever earn a bed like Mommy. Seriously, she’d make the bed picture shoot–prepared every morning 3. Buy just what you can afford, or store up for the things which make you joyful, rather than attempt to stay informed about anyone else’s pocket or taste. I lost my mom in January, however I visit my house as a reflection of how she raised me to take care of what you’ve got, even if it isn’t much to anyone else. For that, and so much more, I am forever thankful for my mom.” — kcaliz310

“There was so much my mom taught me about maintaining a house by example — routine maintenance, keeping things neat so that you can find exactly what you need, the pleasures of baking and sewing and painting on your own. However, what she taught overtly: If you are feeling bad, clean your house and make a large pot of soup. I do, and these two simple things really do help my view.” — arloahart

“My mom is amazing and has taught me much! Including: 1. Decorations are required by every vacationwhen by putting them all up, no time to cook dinner is left. That is why God made pizza. 2. Playing, exploring and learning are more important than a clean house, unless guests are coming. 3. Kids who don’t really understand money yet will do cleaning and organizing chores for 50 cents an hour or two. 4. ‘purchase that? You can make one for half the cost!’ 5. Latch-hook rugs and lacquered 1,000-piece puzzles could be hung next to van Gogh and Picasso prints. 6. Family is more important than anything else you might ever have in a house.” — Elena Vega

“I recall my childhood home as a welcoming refuge from the outside world, and being greeted by the smells of furniture polish and good food once I walked into the door. My mom taught me to cook and to sew at a really early age, and that I insisted that the house be given a thorough cleaning each Saturday morning before any other weekend activities, a clinic I continued with my own children. I’m really thankful for all those lessons.

“But she was apt to grab your coffee cup and wash it immediately after you chose the final sip, something I let go of after I had children. Sometimes, as another reader pointed out, you really do learn what not to do.” — bonnieinflorida

“My mom taught me the value of variety and change in one’s house. Growing up, I saw her shift our kitchen curtains with the seasons. She taught me how to sew, so today I am able to make my own curtains, pillow covers, slipcovers and table runners. Like my mom, I change them frequently!” — housecat

“I had been raised in a logging camp in North Idaho. My mom was a Great Depression kid. She taught me that what makes a home is safe refuge, love, a warm bed and healthy food. My mom could do anything without a everything was homemade. She’s cooked, gardened, sewed, canned and wasted nothing. Her biggest gift to me was reminding us to think always of those who had less. As well as telling us to go outside and play, tough it out and don’t bleed on the rug!” — jabalshams

“My enthusiasm to decorate for and celebrate the holidays must have come from my own mom. I used to love when I came home from school for Christmas break, stepping through the front door and watching my first glimpse of this banister decorated with greenery and hanging stockings. Come to think of it, I posted last winter about stuffing adorable stockings and mailing them to my stepdaughter and her roomie … Mother made traditions special, and I try.” — Lanie Brown

“I think that it is a component of her Mexican culture, but my mom taught me Kitchens are not just for empty stomachs; they’re for dancing feet and heart-to-hearts. The kitchen should feel as the safest area in the house, and there’s absolutely not any place someone will probably be open with you than more than a cup of coffee at the kitchen table or more than a pile of dishes in the sink. My mom is a counselor to relatives, friends and the plumber, and her kitchen is her office. I like that, and I hope my kitchen is going to be as frequented as hers someday.” — Nellie Rose

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