Tag Archives: Advice

Words of wisdom from a loving mumma

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I was going through a bunch of my old papers at mum and dad’s house the other day, and I came across a letter from mum, from 2002, just before I went overseas for 2 years. It was advice mum wanted to pass on to me to help “get me through life”. Reading it, I wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously; laugh because some of it I had taken on, cry because it reminded me of mum as she used to be.

So, in the spirit of sharing loving advice, here are these words of wisdom from my mum, almost 10 years ago:

  1. Remember always think of other people and not about yourself.
  2. Never drop your standards, always put your best foot forward, never dress in a slovenly manner. And always have clean shoes. It is not too late to change.
  3. If you haven’t got something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.
  4. Don’t worry about sex again, it will be wonderful once you meet Mr. Right.
  5. Once you have completed uni (at this stage I had no intention of going to uni!) get a safe job in public service; you will live longer and feel secure.
  6. This is a quotation from Charles Kingsley: “Be good sweet maid and let who will be clever”. Guess this doesn’t make sense to you. In a nut shell I would like to think of goodness as honesty, tolerance, trust, generosity, and kindness, to oneself and others. Remember this through your life.
  7. Don’t let anyone know if you are down on your luck and never boast about good fortune to someone less fortunate than yourself.
  8. Try not to cry in public and never let people know that they have hurt your feelings. (This is old fashioned now, my dad used to tell me this).
  9. From now on be careful who you associate with. If you mix with crows you will crow like them.
  10. If your second toe is longer than your first toe you have profound will and determination. (Boy, is it ever and do I ever!!)
  11. Always go for quality instead of tat and rubbish. You mostly won’t appreciate this at the moment.
  12. I remember already telling you this but never leave home without a change of underwear, you might get caught.
  13. If you look a million dollars you’ll make a million dollars.
  14. Make sure when you complete uni get a job where you go to work in a suit or smart attire.

It was really nice to read this after such a long time, and now, as a parent, I can really understand where mum was coming from. So I decided I should come up with a few pieces of advice for my boys when they’re older. I have a few already under my belt but the rest will have to come slowly, I think.

What about you? What was the best piece of advice you ever received and who was it from? What was the best piece of advice (or worst) your parents ever gave you? What would you want to pass on to your kids?

Advice: the good, the bad, the ugly.

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My last post got me thinking about advice. The good, the bad, the ugly. And the downright ridiculous. I’ve had some crummy advice in my lifetime. The one that stands out was the beginning of my VCE, year 11, when our teacher told us NOT to pick subjects just because we liked them, but to pick them because they’re useful. You know. Like maths, english, and science. The smart subjects. The higher scoring subjects. It still makes me angry to this day that I was so naive as to listen to that god-awful advice. Don’t pick a subject just because I like it? What great advice! I mean, I don’t need to actually do WELL in the subject do I? Oh no, just passing it will be fine. And guess what? It will all be worth it ten years down the track when I find myself in a sticky situation and think “Gee I’m glad I stuck out general maths, or I’d never know how to change a tyre/manage money/stick to a budget.” So what happened? I picked maths, because, you know, everyone needs to know how to count right? That’s why calculators weren’t invented. And then what happened? I FAILED. F.A.I.L.E.D.

But there has been many pieces of advice that I’ve taken hold of and kept with me throughout my life. Valuable pieces that have helped me through a plethora of circumstances and situations. 


1. Never rely on anyone but yourself (credit given to my mum)

This is a useful piece of advice for work, home, or anywhere really. If you never rely on anyone else, you’ll never be disappointed, disillusioned, or dependent. While it’s nice to have a partner do things for you, or work mates help you out, once you come to rely on them you lose control over your life because you’re handing it over to someone else. This also counts for never relying on parents, spouses, friends, family, or children. The only person in the whole world that you KNOW you can rely on WITHOUT FAIL is yourself.
2. There’s no such thing as “can’t” (mum again)
If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it, no matter what. If you don’t get it, you don’t want it bad enough.
3. Nothing in life worth having comes easy (some movie, but it really struck a chord)
The things that are really worth having in life are the ones you need to work hard for, and sometimes fight for.
4. If you don’t make time to do the things you love, how can you be the best mother you can be? (Catherine Deveny)
This is so true. Too often lately have I been feeling guilty for wanting to forfeit my motherly duties for some peace and quiet, a good book, and some quality writing time. And for some reason I am overcome with guilt every time this thought pops into my head. But getting advice like this from someone who is successful at home and in a career is heartening.
There are other bits and pieces of advice I’ve lived by throughout the years, but these are the ones that have really hit home with me, and will probably stick through the rest of my life.
What are the most valuable pieces of advice you’ve ever received?