For Mother’s Day, we spoke with four women from different career and life paths. They live in different cities and span six decades in age, but all are united in the wild and wondrous journey that is motherhood. “What did you learn from your mother and how do you apply this pearl of wisdom in your own parenting?” was the one question we asked. Here are their thoughtful insights, tips and meditations. Happy Mother’s Day!
“My mom cultivated in me a sense of wonder. By example, she taught me and my sisters to stand in awe of simple moments. Whether she was pointing out a hawk flying across the backyard, or delighting in the way moonbeams bounce off the water at high tide, or driving miles to an open field to have us watch the Perseids in August, my mom’s exuberant celebration of moments—not things—has been her greatest gift to me. It’s something that I try to impart to my own daughter every day.”
Erin Boyle is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. On her popular lifestyle blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, she shares stories and tips about living simply in the city. Erin’s forthcoming first book, Simple Matters, champions the idea that less is more and a clutter-free lifestyle is good not only for the environment within a home, but beyond it, too.
“As a mother to three beautiful, big-hearted, hilarious and excruciatingly pokey young humans, I’ve learned a few things: I’m stronger than I ever knew; patience is everything; and I’m a 24/7 teacher, even in those moments—most importantly, those moments—when it’s not intentional. Kids are emotional sponges, and you can’t always choose lesson time. Like those running-late mornings when my already-cold coffee spills in my lap on the way to school at the same time I realize my five-year-old is wearing mismatched shoes and my eight-year-old forgot his violin and the baby is gnawing on a week-old pizza crust she dug out from the depths of the car seat folds. Every mama needs a mantra and mine is: patience, kindness, humor, patience, kindness, humor. If I can teach my kids how to keep perspective and meet the world with kindness, I’ll have passed along one of the best gifts that was ever given to me.”
Meghan McEwen is a Detroit-based mother of three, the innkeeper of Honor & Folly, and a writer, whose work can be found in Condé Nast Traveller, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, Afar, and on her travel blog, Designtripper.
“My mother was Buddhist by her very nature. She lived in the now. I learned a lot from that attitude. A certain calm in the chaos of events. Let things be that you cannot change—it gives you peace. My mother cared about her garden, the flourishing of animals and human welfare. I was well prepared to raise my own three sons through her forbearance.”
Beatrix Ost is an artist, writer and producer of both theater and film. Born in Munich and living between New York City and Charlottesville, Virginia, she authored her childhood memoir My Father’s House in 2007. The sequel, More Than Everything, will launch soon.
“A tip I learned from my mother: Don’t sweat the small stuff and prioritize what is important. To me, it’s an approach to a more minimalist life. As a designer and artist who strives to perfect a craft that requires patience and precision, I struggle to find a good balance when creating a home for my family that is just as perfect—it’s a near impossible task. As a mother to a three-year-old, I have to remind myself that it’s okay if the milk spills all over the couch or if there are crayon marks on our Eames chair, because at the end of the day, it’s just a chair and a couch. I try to stay as true to the process and journey with my daughter and family as I do in my own work.”
Silvia Song is an artist and designer living in San Francisco. She is working on several upcoming projects, including the group show “Woman in Craft” at the Curator’s Cube, Tokyo, this September.
In general, as Americans, we’re busy people. With work, family, and a variety of other responsibilities,...