Lessons from my mom

by | Jan 25, 2018 | Soul notes | 0 comments

As I write this, it is my mom’s birthday, as well as the anniversary of her passing and so naturally, she is in my thoughts and in my heart a little bit more than usual today.

My hubby asked me if I was sad, and with a bit of contemplation, I realized that I was no longer carrying the heavy weight of grief that comes with losing a loved one.

No, today is a happy day. It’s a day I get to celebrate the truly “full of life”, brave and deeply loving woman I got to call Mom.

And if you have read my blogs or posts before, you might know that my mom was not the typical mom. They say there is a fine line between genius and madness – well, I think my mom struggled to keep to one side of the line.

In celebrating my mom today, I would like to share with you some of my mom’s favourite sayings and the associated lesson.

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom

This was probably one of my mom’s favourite sayings. I never really understood it until recently. You know sometimes you hear things and you think you understand them, but then something drastic happens and suddenly the phrase or quote or even word takes on a whole new meaning. Well, I have always understood conceptually that life is short and that we need to seize the moment, but when my life got turned upside down and it felt like I was being spun around in a washing machine with no way of getting out, the true understanding started to seep into my being.

After the turmoil and finding myself back on my own two feet, my life took on a whole new meaning. I started appreciating the little things. I started loosening up and relaxing into the flow. I started laughing again. And I started to understand that life is for living – every damn day! It’s for laughing. It’s for loving. It’s NOT for sitting behind your desk all day from 9 to 5, paying your bills and dying. Life, you see, is far too short to stuff a mushroom!

Vat hom Fluffy

Picture two middle-aged women (my mom and her closest friend Jan), driving to Cape Town, with Jan behind the wheel. Now, Jan was (and probably still is) a very nervous driver. Jan was always too nervous to do anything other than coast slowly behind cars. She was too nervous to overtake. She was too nervous to reverse. She was too nervous to park unless there was loads of space all around. Driving was just not her thing.

But my mom was her biggest supporter and kept telling Jan that she could overtake, that she could go a bit faster, that she could reverse out of the narrow parking … and when we took our annual trip up to Cape Town, she would encourage Jan to share the driving with her.

And so, picture two middle-aged women driving to Cape Town with my brother and I excitedly chattering in the back.  Every now and then, my mom would shout out: “Vat Hom Fluffy”.


And Firmly.

Dave and I would almost jump out of our seats in surprise.

But, it worked. Jan would then put foot, and bravely overtake the car in front of her.

Eventually, my brother and I would join in, and all three of us would be shouting “Vat hom Fluffy” as soon as an opportunity to overtake arose.

The lesson? Don’t coast through life, falling in line behind the car in front of you. Don’t let your fears stop you. “If you think you can’t, you can’t” and “if you think you can, you can.” And trust me, YOU CAN!!!!


My brother and my husband are about to go for a run. At that point in time, my hubbie was an active runner. My brother was not.  It was a sweltering hot day.

My mom sees the two of them planning the run, and she starts to get nervous. She starts to worry that Dave, my brother, is going to try and keep up with Ryan and that the heat is going to work against him.

But, she doesn’t want to make a fuss.

So, as they are leaving – she tries to call out to my brother without anyone hearing: “Dave, DBC.”

“What’s that, mom?” Dave asks.

“DBC” she says, a bit louder.

Of course, we all turn around now because we all want to know what DBC means. So, now we are all staring at her waiting for an explanation.

“Don’t Be Competitive” she says sheepishly.

And we all laugh.

I guess it was one of those “you had to be there moments” but Dave and I still use this acronym whenever it’s appropriate, and have handed it down to our kids.

Because, even though my mom had no need to worry because Dave is a grown man who knows his limits, the fact is that we have been taught to be competitive and sometimes it just isn’t necessary.

Having fun is more important than being competitive.

Yes, you heard me. Having fun is more important than winning.

I watch my kids at school and I often think that they do things to win, rather than to simply to experience it. Take soccer for example. An 8-year-old does not need to feel the pressure of winning. Let them simply enjoy playing.

And on that note, I am going to get back to doing what I enjoy – which is helping women get clear about what it is that they truly want out of life, and then to bravely live it.

I am not doing it to win at life, but to ENJOY life. Lucky me, I say!

Thank you, mom for all your awesome lessons.

If I could sum it all up, you taught me to:


unashamedly ME,

no matter what.

As Etta Turner says, “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.”



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