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10 Lessons My Mother Taught Me That I Will Never Forget

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One question I always get asked is: “How did you leave your family behind?” And the simple answer is: I didn’t. They’re always in my heart, my mind, and blowing up my WeChat application. On our phones, we have a family group chat where we scream, confess, and gossip about everything imaginable.  Even my dating life is fair game.  We can express jokes through stickers, send voice messages or photos, and even drop our immediate location to reminisce about memories we once shared. It’s very much a virtual second home for me because I haven’t lived at home since 2009.

No matter where I am in the world, if I have access to data or wifi, I have access to my family; which allows me to participate in their lives regularly. However, there is a catch: it’s harder to tell when someone is struggling via the internet. You can’t read the usual physical signs and instead, you become dependent on each individual’s willingness to ask for help; which is something everyone struggles with. Good thing I have this blog where I blab about my innermost fears and personal struggles.

Like that’s never blown up in anyone’s face before.

But today it isn’t about me. Today is about the woman who has raised me for the last 23 years. She’s driven me back and forth from the airport at 3am and picked up the tab during emergencies in random cities around the world; she’s even battled my enemies, student loan officers, and ex-boyfriends head-on.

My Mom is pretty damn dope.

And selfless. She never got the opportunity to travel when she was young because she had responsibilities far beyond what should be expected from any young woman so she tells me that she’s living vicariously through me.  That’s why she put me on a plane when I was 17 and told me to go. Go be selfish and live the life you’ve always dreamed of.  She assured me that everything would be fine here at home and that I should run as far as I could take myself. So I did.

Mothers will always support their children. For richer and for poorer. Through sickness and health. From California to Massachusetts. Through Europe and Asia. Because love isn’t meant to be suffocated; it’s meant to fly.

 10 Lessons My Mother Taught Me That I Will Never Forget

 1. If you can’t do it yourself, pay someone.

If you want to delegate menial tasks, there’s no shame in that. Sometimes you won’t always have time to clean your own house, paint your own walls, or drive your kids around 24/7. Be efficient with your time and let someone else deal with the things you can’t be bothered with…perhaps consider hiring your younger sister, Roxanne. She has way too much time on her hands.

2. Remember your roots

You come from humble roots.  Blue collar folks.  Be proud of that and don’t ever treat someone serving you like you’re better than they are because you’re not.

3. Take pride in your appearance

It’s the first thing people see and judge you on.  Remember that.  Eat well and get regular exercise so you’ll look as good as you feel.

4. Invest in your mind

Beauty fades, but charm and wit is timeless.  Just ask your father.

5. Learn how to take care of yourself

Sleep is the answer to most of life’s major problems.  Make it a priority, get a regiment, and stick to it diligently.  You should also know how to do basic cooking, cleaning, and CPR… because you never know with your sister, Michelle.

6. Travel often

Because you never know when you’ll be able to again.  Some of these wonders might not be here in a few years so value the opportunity to see something generations after you might miss out on… and bring me back a magnet for the fridge.

7. The world isn’t actually falling apart

Everything is going to workout.  Trust me; and stop making those jokes about wanting to die young and beautiful…

8. Drop dead weight


 Some people aren’t meant to go the distance. That’s okay. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they were a bad person, it just means that who you are and what you need is different now.

9. Don’t be afraid to fight with someone you care about

If they really care about you, they won’t let the relationship collapse so easily. If they leave, then it’s their loss.  You are who you are and you shouldn’t have to apologize for that.

10. Being called a “Bitch” isn’t a big deal

Because that means you stood for something; and that’s the woman I raised you to be.

Sending love from Beijing <3

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  • Ashley

    Great list! Your mom does sound really dope!

  • Dear Wander Adventurer!

    I love your blog! I particularly love this one the most! I think you are awesome and a WILD ADVENTUROUS WOMAN!

    Thank you and keep being amazing!

    lotsa love

    Colleen in South Africa.

  • Well said, Vanessa! You are indeed your mother’s daughter, and that is a compliment of the highest order.

  • #2; it took me leaving my corporate job to cook for a living to fully comprehend this fact, plus I learned that those serving you are working A LOT harder than you probably ever have – for less money, and they do it with a smile.

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