What’s the best advice your mum ever gave you? Susannah Pearce rounds up the most memorable
You get to that stage in life when you realise that your mum was right – about that awful boyfriend, the purple spandex skirt and the effects of mixing grape and grain. If we’re lucky, along with a bit of nagging, our mothers will pass on golden advice that we refer to time and again. That comforts us when we’re sad, gives us hope when we’re lost, and makes us feel that someone understands what we’re going through.
My mum has given me some great advice over the years. When I started school it was, “Do your best and you’ll never be disappointed in yourself.” When I was a teen she said, “Believe in yourself and you’ll go far.” When I got married it was, “Never go to the loo in front of your husband.” Ok, so it’s been of varying quality but I can always hear her voice in my head giving me guidance.
After chatting on Twitter last week, it became apparent that there are plenty of lovely mums passing on advice to remember. “My mum always told me if you haven't got anything nice to say then don't say anything at all,” says Katie Barber. “Yes I do it!”
“My mum always inspired me… Her best advice was always treat people how you want to be treated,” says @Ami4levi. Medical secretary Caroll @xxCarollxx agrees, but adds that her mum stipulates, “even if they're being horrible”, which is much harder to pull off on a bad day!
“It's a good way to live, which I have passed onto my children,” says @therealnicebrit. “Kids often don’t realise that what they say or do to others can be hurtful, but when reminded of that phrase, it does hit home.”
Advice to help navigate life
Sometimes we need a little guidance from our mums. “Get a job, always have a job, always save and you can have a good life,” was the advice given to @PlanBPartners. “I did and I do,” she reports.
“My mum said be yourself and the people who matter will love you for who you are and not what you have,” says @MasterMich.
Hurrah for mums who encourage their children to go out into the world and try new things! “The best advice my mum gave me was to be adventurous, try your best and to keep close to your family,” says @MarieK14. “Always live life to the full and be happy!” advises the mum of @HelenAnnetter12.
"If you don't ask, you don't get!" says @CysticFibrosisM, mum to boys Daniel and Joseph with cystic fibrosis. “I’ve followed that motto throughout my fundraising years,” she says.
Sometimes it’s the little things you remember most. “Never knowingly pass a toilet" is one from @OddSocksAlex. “Wise words to live by, especially when travelling!” she adds.
“Don't eat cheap chicken! And always carry wet wipes,” offers @HannahHudson1. And finally my favourite, “Don't bother ironing your knickers! Life’s too short!” Thanks @kallikids for that gem, I couldn’t agree more!
Parenting advice you can trust
The really great thing about your mum is, well, they’re a mum. They’ve probably been through similar situations with you that you’re now experiencing with your own children. And unlike certain friends, they’ve got your best interests at heart.
"No-one knows your baby better than you do," @Wallprice says her mum told her. “It’s the best advice, especially when everyone is telling you what you should be doing. It's now the advice I give all my friends when pregnant as one size does not fill all, what works with one baby doesn't necessarily work for another.”
“When my daughter kept getting out of bed my mum told me to put her back every time and warned me that she will cry and it will upset me,” says @nobblybobbly46. “It worked after three days.” That confidence boost made it easier: “I learnt not to ever threaten to do things and not carry it through as children need boundaries and parents can say no,” she adds.
“I have a fab mum, utterly adored by her five children, 14 grandchildren and three great grandchildren,” says writer Joan Mcfadden. “The best advice my mum ever gave me was something she still firmly believes in: 'Don't criticise others, not least because you don't know what your own children might do.’
“Now I have four children of my own I see exactly where she's coming from,” continues Joan. “I think often parents enjoy getting a dig in about other children's behaviour, mainly because none of us are completely confident about our own parenting skills, so someone else failing can feel good!”
“Your children will never remember a messy house," @gettingstuckin says her mum advised her and she lives by it still. “Mine are never happier than when we're having fun and the place is a state!”
“Cuddle your babies. They grow up too fast leaving you wondering why you were so worried about routines and ‘getting it right’,” says @queenlushpants. “It’s the one I'll be telling my girls when they have their own babies!”
And finally, business entrepreneur Richard Branson joined in our chat to say the best advice his mother ever gave him was “not to think of myself – but to think of, look after, and entertain others!” And you can’t argue with that.
More great advice from mums on Twitter
“Listen with your heart and always do what's best for you” @Aneoewright78
“Never judge a person on a first impression” @baaaf459
“Tomorrow's another day untouched” @MSEDollyp
“’Just ignore it’ was the best advice ever!!” @LIzLintell
“Sometimes you have just got to relax and let go, there's always tomorrow” @LadyFranNico
“Put them straight in their own room and on the potty at six weeks!” @CJBowry“
“Don't worry about what other people's children are doing – they all walk and talk eventually so just enjoy the journey” @mummyadventure
“Always tell your children you love them and always talk to them” @MilkshakeMummy