In my twelve years of experience as a mother, I have found myself doing a lot of the same things my mother did. Not on purpose, mind you, because I never wanted to be like my mom- or so I thought. But even during my first years of mother/wife hood, I seemed to automatically begin doing those things that I remember quite fondly as a child.
Let’s make it a movie night
Every Friday night my mom and I would go to the Chinese food restaurant down the street from our home in Chicago and order take out- shrimp egg foo yung, shrimp fried rice, and an order of egg rolls. Then we would go further down the block to 79th Street Video to rent two or three movies for our own private viewing party. After “Dallas” and “Falcon Crest” left us with our weekly cliff hanger, we would commence to watching our movies together. That tradition has been carried on with my family.
The medium on which the movie is viewed has changed (no longer are we trekking up to the local video store to check out a limited number of video tapes), we are now able to watch a movie at home with just a simple click of a button on the remote. Bu no matter how we do it, now or in the future, family movie night is a special event that I hope my children are able to share with their own families.
Change your bedding every week
“Why do you have to change your sheets every week?” This was a question asked by a friend one day when she stayed the night one weekend. My response…”Doesn’t everybody?” Apparently not. She wondered why there was a need to change our collective sheets every week, as opposed to every other week or at a frequency more “normal”. This routine made all the sense in the world to me. Though it was a tedious task, it had to be done. Who wants to roll around in more than a week’s worth of nighttime sweat? Who likes to lay their head in a dried pool of over seven days of slobber? Or roll around in cracker crumbs left over from a Wednesday snack session? Not me! And my momma taught me not to…
Just as my mom taught me, my household changes our bedding on a weekly basis. I think I’ve taken it to another level by adding a little once over with the vacuum. Hey! Don’t judge me, that’s just how I roll.
Speaking of sheets…
Always have at least 4 different comforters that match the color scheme of your bedroom
Once again, this was exceptionally normal to me. As a child I had a beautiful blue comforter with dinosaurs on it, a two-tone red and white comforter, and a couple of others I don’t recall at the moment. I like having variety without completely changing the look of my room…and believe me, my room had a look. I had a dinosaur border around my room that matched the blue comforter (all primary colors), a bright yellow wall, plush red carpet that must have had double padding (from Empire Carpet), a tall, plastic yellow shelf, a red and yellow Little Tikes picnic table, red vertical blinds, and various primary colored wall hangings. I loved my room! How else could you pull together such a décor without the matching bedding?
Today, I have about five totally different comforters that all match the color scheme and style of my room. It’s amazing how small, frequent changes of décor can drastically change your mood, your attitude, and your comfort level in a room which should be your personal sanctuary.
Never buy at retail
From a small child through my teen years, my mom and I used to spend most of our weekends trolling our fave discount retailers or department stores for the best deals. I was taught as a very young that you can most certainly get quality clothing and household goods at an affordable price. As long as you weren’t quick to buy those big fashion trends “of the season” or were willing to wait for a sale, you could get exactly what you wanted for a significant fraction of the retail price. I anticipated and enjoyed our shopping trips together.
TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, and any department store clearance racks are and continue to be my go-to places for great deals. I know that many of my friends truly abhor going shopping with because I can never get excited for them when purchasing an, albeit, awesome item, for a not so awesome price. I have set prices in my mind that I refuse to go over, no matter what the item. For instance, I cannot bring myself to spend over $20 on a pair of jeans or over $15 on a button-down work shirt. These standards are not preposterous, as they have been proven to exist. I know that on any given day I can go to TJ Maxx and buy a quality pair of jeans from $15.99 to $19.99 or purchase a white button-down from The Limited for $13 on sale. And these are not 1992 prices, I’m talking within the last two months. And if you’re willing to wait a whole season to rock a new outfit, buy clearance items at the end of one season to wear in another. Getting a $3 bikini at beginning of Fall will look awesome for the following year at the pool. Buying a $20 peacoat at the start of Summer will look just as good as the same one someone else bought for $200 just three month prior.
I have ever known of this awesome way to shop if it were not for my mother.
Don’t be afraid to make changes to your home décor
At least every four to five months, my mom would complete a deep cleaning and massive furniture remix. I learned that this was to ensure that we were not collecting things that we no longer had a need for. There was no such thing as hoarding in our house! There were times I would come home from elementary school to find my old stuff animals were gone or clothes that could have lasted maybe one or two more days before getting too big were gone. My entire bedroom had been rearranged and the living room no longer looked the same. This had been done all in one afternoon and with zero budget. She simply took items from one room and swapped them for items from another.
I do the same thing in my house with my husband and he actually enjoys doing it. I call him the Master Arranger because he has a great eye for furniture placement. We’ve redone all of our rooms at least six or seven times since we’ve moved in. We’re not afraid of color either. Our half bathroom has seen at least 4 color changes, the home office has undergone three colors alterations, and the game room is at its second color palette. All courtesy of Home Depot’s “oops” paint section- $5 per gallon…thank you very much!
With all five of these great tidbits from my mom, I would not be the person that I am or the mother that I am. My kids look forward to our Friday night movie night, love getting/changing their sheets and blankets to discover what they will have next, and have fun rearranging their room from time to time.