• Nora Kerr

Listen to Your Mother


To Moms: Keeping kids alive while on a quest for fun.

Mother's Day is coming up so this month we wanted to honor the moms and mother figures who have graced our book pages with their brilliance, wisdom, and humor. As one mom said, 'Listen to us! We know what we're talking about!' So without further ado, here are some of my favorite lines from this year's mothers and also fond memories of Mom.


"My mother was never harsh but I always knew when she meant business and why she was disciplining me. She was a tigress. She fought for what she believed in and would do anything for her children.”


“I never saw my mother wear jeans or pants her whole life. It was dresses or skirts, always, even just to go up to corner to the store. Even in the last years of her life, she’d want her hair done up in rollers every night. She was also an avid wrestling fan! I don’t know where that came from. We would watch wrestling all the time and she got such a kick out of it. She was sure it was the real thing—we could never convince her that it was fake.”


"My whole life has been a quest for fun. If it’s not fun, then we’re going try again tomorrow."


"My mom went to school through the sixth grade and was only 15 when she left Ireland for the United States. She came alone by boat, traveling 7-10 days to get here. I can’t imagine it. She didn’t talk much about it other than saying she would never ride a boat again because she was so sick from the trip over. I don’t blame her!”


“My mother was 5’10! She was a towering presence. She went to secretarial school for two years and then WWII started so she left Kansas to go to DC and work for the government. She was a master at shorthand and helped with the war efforts. It was the patriotic thing to do."


"As the third boy, my mother wanted a girl so badly that when I was born, she didn’t have a name picked out for me. After days in the hospital, the nurse said to her, ‘You are being released tomorrow and you’ve got to pick a name for this baby.’ She still didn’t want to, so the nurse asked, ‘What’s your husband’s name?’ and that was it.”


"My mom saw that I was always putting my friends before myself and reminded me to know my worth—to be a good friend but also realize that the only person I could control was me. She has a unique understanding of people and how they work, but always from an optimist point of view. She sees the best in people.


“I started acting out and was pretty obnoxious to my mother. I was rebellious and angry. Looking back at it now, I know it was a reaction to my background and losing the only father I ever had. Later, I asked my mother how she could stand me and she just said ‘I loved you.’ That was my mother. For her it was that simple.”


“Our television would break, and it was never quickly fixed. My mother would tell us to go read a book.”


For being Irish, my mom was a good Italian cook! One of her cousins was Italian and taught her the basics. We had macaroni several times a week and I preferred my mother’s sauce over my Italian grandmother’s.”


“I look more like my father, but I have more of my mom’s personality. I’m quieter and would prefer to operate in the background. That was my mom to a T. You do what you have to do and don’t expect anyone to make a big fuss out of you.


“My mother made liver and we all hated it. We would pretend we were eating it and when she wasn’t looking, we’d take our pieces and hide it under the dining room table where it would sit for months. She’d ask how the liver tasted, and we all lied and said ‘Great.’ ”

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 48 and it was pretty bad. It was jaw dropping. They had missed it for six or seven years on my mammograms and when I went to a new doctor, they found it. They were worried, so I was extremely worried. You just hope and pray that you survive and if not, you get to heaven a little bit sooner. We all have to die sometime but it’s like that country song, ‘I want to go to heaven but I don’t want to go today.’"


“My mother was a great cook but she never taught me. To this day, I can’t cook a roast beef- I burn it or it’s raw. I never figured that one out. All my cooking was learned from trial and error, lots of error.”


“I always wanted a big family. We may have gotten a couple extra but that’s OK. The third child was hard, but by the fourth, we got the hang of it. They played well together and there was always someone to hang out with. If you got mad at someone, you just went to the next one.”


“On my tombstone, if it says I was a good mom, a good daughter, and a good friend, I will have lived a life well lived. I also want to tell my family that I’ll be watching them from above so they better behave!”


To all our mothers and mother figures out there sharing your wisdom and nurturing the next generation, a very Happy Mother's Day to you. A special shout out to my mother, Mary Ann Walsh, who was an expert at keeping the peace while raising four kids. To most any of our requests, she'd simply say, 'We'll see.' I have found this sound advice to apply to many of life's questions. Thanks, Mom.