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Photo: Valeriy Goncharuk
Photo: Valeriy Goncharuk

Remembering our moms’ wisdom

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you’re a mom like me I hope you are getting what most moms really want — rest, relaxation and “mommy juice” (that’s what my daughter calls my wine). Or maybe you’re a mom who prefers the royal treatment surrounded by the kiddos. Or maybe your mother has passed on and you’re finding ways today to honor and cherish her memory.

Whatever you’re doing, make the most of this beautiful day. There’s enough happening in society day to day to bring us down. Today should be uplifting and a day to think about the ways in which the women and mothers in your life, biological or otherwise, have influenced, motivated or inspired you.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution often tells the stories of women like this. Be sure to read the Mother’s Day-inspired story in today’s Living & Arts section by reporter Shelia Poole. It’s an endearing story about a local woman who celebrates Mother’s Day for those raising kids with disabilities, children who have no idea what Mother’s Day is. She reminds us that some experiences in life must be created.

As I prepared for this column, I was confronted with news that would have given me the perfect opportunity for a Mother’s Day reaction column. First there was the story a few weeks ago on AJC.com, “Dads are happier than moms, new research shows.” I had a mouthful of attitude in response to this but decided today wasn’t the day to quibble with science.

Then there was the news just last week that Georgia is among the worst states for working moms, from the personal finance website WalletHub. Reportedly, women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and more than 70% of moms with young children are working. And yet, women earn only 85% of what men made in 2018 and have far less upward mobility. Georgia ranked dead-last in the nation for work-life balance. Well, it’s no wonder dads are presumed happier. Ay-Yi-Yi, where’s that mommy juice.

The AJC hasn’t dug into this data extensively, so I decided it’s probably best for me to avoid getting too deep into either topic, not that I don’t have strong opinions about them. Instead I decided to share wisdom from the people we call mother, mom, mum, mommy, mama, ma or mamá. Inspired by Michele Slung’s book, “Momilies: As My Mother Used to Say,” I asked readers and AJC staffers about their favorite “momilies” and decided to share some of the responses.

Do you remember what your mother told you? What’s that thing you say that makes you sound just like your mother? The words bring a smile to your face every time. One of my colleagues recalled her mother reminding her to always have on good, clean underwear.

My mom always told me to never pass up a good shoe sale (I’ve taken this one too far and far too literally). She also told me that I could do anything and that I would be rewarded for working hard. She taught me to be true to who I am. And she showed me that true beauty and grace come from within.

Here are a few “momilies” from some AJC staffers and readers:

“The sun will come up tomorrow.”

-AJC Editor Kevin Riley

Mother: Georgine Riley

“Growing up, any time I was nervous … my mom would look at me and say: Smile. You’re so handsome when you smile. She still tells me that regularly and I’m nearly 30.”

-AJC Breaking News Reporter Shaddi Abusaid

Mother: Jody Maddock

“Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.” (Translation: “Tell me who you’re hanging with and I will tell you who you are.”

-AJC Watchdog Reporter Yamil Berard

Mother: Mirta Montes de Oca

“Be conscious when you cover unsavory people because it can weasel its way into a psyche and mama don’t want anyone messing with your good nature. And, always appreciate decent mentors and be grateful.”

-AJC Political Reporter Greg Bluestein

Mother: Lisa Karesh

“Head up, shoulders back, chest out. And, with regards to cooking … never fear the spice.”

-AJC Columnist Maureen Downey

Mother: Gloria Downey

“People are more important than things.”

-AJC Arts and Entertainment Reporter Bo Emerson

Mother: Lucy Kiser Emerson

“Two things you never want to be at the same time: loud and wrong. And, know who you are and whose you are.”

-AJC DeKalb County Reporter Tia Mitchell

Mother: Theresa Mitchell

“Two things I admire about my mom and hope that I’ve absorbed a little bit are her compassion for others and ability to put herself in other people’s shoes. She was in the church choir, and I remember one Sunday … someone got into the choir room during the service and stole money out of choir members’ purses. Rather than be angry about it, she said something about how she hoped that whoever took the money really needed it for food. Both my parents weren’t much for lessons and scolding – not that I remember, at any rate – and in that moment my mom taught me more about what mercy looks like than I probably could have learned in 1,000 finger-pointing lectures.”

-AJC Sports Reporter Ken Sugiura

Mother: Kaoru Sugiura

“You must think I am a fool. And, I hope you know your homework like you know that game.”

-AJC Enterprise Reporter Ernie Suggs

Mother: Thelma Suggs

“Take care of the Lord’s people and the Lord will take care of you”

-AJC Reader Tammy Soldan, Milton, Ga.

Mother: Marie Lourdes Phillips Kilkenny

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