My mom has dispensed so much advice over the years. Some of it solicited, most of it not. I'm a typical daughter and that means that I've listened and followed some of mom's advice yet completely ignored other bits. The older I grow, the more I realize that I really should heed my mom's advice, something I wish I'd embraced when my 15-year-old self thought that I knew more than my mom and used Sun-In despite her warnings not to. My punishment for not listening to mom? Ronald McDonald colored hair. 

Don't get me wrong - I've always heard what my mom has to say and have definitely learned a lot from the advice that she's doled out, but I've also learned a lot just by watching her. As my mom steps into her 60th year on this earth today, I give you 10 valuable life lessons that I learned from my mom all of which have had a profound impact on the person I've grown to be.

  • Traci Taylor

    Always Be Kind

    Oh, man, do I struggle with this one, especially when I feel like someone is coming at me. I wasn't born with patience, it's something I'm still learning. I sometimes have a sharp tongue. However, each time I feel myself starting to think of mean things, I can hear my mom's voice telling me to just stop. Stop and just be kind because kindness will accomplish much more than nastiness will.

  • Traci Taylor

    Take Education Seriously

    Whenever I've had a chance to be educated on something- anything- I've jumped at it. My education hasn't always come from a classroom either; I've learned from watching, listening, doing, and researching. My mom has always pushed me where education is involved and has always said that knowing a little about everything is better than not knowing anything. I've found myself in some interesting conversations thanks to mom's push for me to have a clue about things.

  • Traci Taylor

    Speak Clearly

    I used to detest the way my mom and grandma would chastise me if my speech was sloppy or if I didn't enunciate my words. My mom was (and still is!) a hardcore stickler for using proper grammar, both written and spoken. I can remember one time when I was talking about a shirt and said "butt-in" and I was forced to sit at the table and say "but-ton" over and over to remind me of the proper way to say the word. Mumbling was another thing we weren't allowed to do in my house. We had to speak at a decent volume and with clarity. Little did my nine-year-old self know that being forced to repeat a word until I said it correctly would be exactly what I needed for the career I would pick as an adult.

  • Traci Taylor

    Always Find Something to Be Thankful About

    You know that crushing feeling when you've put a lot of thought into a gift for someone and they blankly stare at it or mutter "oh?" Or worst of all- they don't say "thank-you?" I hate that. I was raised to always find the good in something. So for instance, if someone gave me a gift certificate for facial waxing, instead of complaining or taking their gift as an insult, I would thank them by saying something like "thank you, I've heard that waxing is so much faster than plucking."

  • Traci Taylor

    Look in on Your Neighbors

    No matter where my mom has lived, she has always made a point to get to know her neighbors and to offer them help whenever possible and I've carried this with me as an adult. Sometimes it can be tough because a lot some people are standoffish, but trust me, if you wave to your neighbors each time you see them, they'll eventually break down and wave back. Some of the people that I've grown to love the most have been those who started out as neighbors.

  • Traci Taylor

    Include Everyone

    I don't think I ever had a birthday party where my entire class wasn't invited- even the kids I didn't like so much. As an adult, some of those kids I didn't care too much for have thanked me for including them and a few have even told me that mine was the only party they were ever invited to. Sometimes tossing a little kindness can change lives in ways that you can't even imagine.

  • Traci Taylor

    Work Hard and Efficiently

    I was raised to work both hard and with efficiently and rarely do I find myself bored because I'm always finishing one thing and moving on to the next. As the saying goes, "the devil makes work for idle hands."

  • Traci Taylor

    Eat Meals Together as a Family

    Some of my greatest memories are of conversation around the dinner table- it was the place where our family was able to regroup and reconnect. My husband and I work crazy schedules, but each day we try to carve out a sliver of time to have a sandwich together because sharing a meal together really is important.

  • Jay Long

    Admit Mistakes and Give Credit Where Credit is Due

    My mom held us accountable for our actions and there's no doubt that it set me up for handling the real world. Too many people don't admit when they're wrong or they've messed something up because they're scared of the consequences. But you know what? That's what life is about- there are consequences for every action, whether good or bad. Another big thing drilled into me was to give credit where credit is due. Claiming someone's thought, idea or suggestion as your own is stealing and while you might get away with it for a while, eventually your theft will catch up with you and the whole situation will end up being much worse than it needs to be.

  • Traci Taylor

    Embrace Change

    I was born on the west coast but eventually found myself on the east coast with living stops in several states in between. No matter where my family lived, my mom pushed me to meet new people rather than to just stay in a little bubble. We moved a lot when I was a kid and I met some really great people and was forced to open myself up to new situations which helped when I reached adulthood and moved state to state for work. I'm proud to say that I have friends all over the country and change doesn't scare me, it excites me because it means a new adventure and new friends are on the horizon.