27 Things I Learned From Being Raised By a Strong Single Mother

#4 If someone's a jerk to you in traffic, wave and smile

It was just me and my mom growing up. We were like the Southern version of Gilmore Girls. My mom with her long Texas drawl, me with my polite naivety. We might have been tiny, but you could always see us coming a mile away with our identical dark brown hair and eyes. Our manic energy, a byproduct of taking on the world together, could fill any room, whether we were simply grocery shopping or applying to my top university. We were gonna get it done, and get it done right.

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I always thought this was a normal childhood, but now that I’m a bit older, I see it was a little bit different than most households. Because of it, though, I have become a wonderful/sensitive/roll up your sleeves/take no sh*t/ but always be kind, kinda girl, and I thank my mom for that. Us, taking on the world just the two of us, informed everything about who I am as an adult, especially the things I’m proud of.

So, step into our little corner of the world. Here are the 27 things I learned from growing up with a single mother, and I’m hoping you a can take something away from them too.

1. Education is the most valuable thing a girl can have. Doing your homework is actually a privilege.

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2. There’s no shame in going to a movie alone. Same thing with eating dinner.

3. It’s never too early to understand 401ks, IRAs, how to do your taxes, and how interest works. START NOW.

4. If someone’s an *sshole to you in traffic, wave and smile. It kills them.

5. A dog (or two or three) makes every home happier.

6. You’re never too old to learn something new or start a new dream.

7. No matter how in love you are, who you marry, or what your circumstances are, always make your own money or have your own money saved. Always.

8. Be honest about what hurts. Have a good cry every once in a while.

9. Always ask people about themselves. And listen. Really listen.

10. It’s okay to ask for help. You’ll actually learn a lot more by doing so.

11. That being said, you can do a sh*t ton on your own. Like carry and set up a Christmas tree, fix a leaky faucet, navigate Italy by yourself when you’re lost.

12. Learn how to become an amazing gift giver.

13. There’s no shame in a TV dinner once in a while.

14. Oprah is a goddess. Listen to her.

15. Learn to pack light. If you’re traveling alone, you gotta lift that thing all by yourself. Don’t expect some charming Frenchman to come swooping in.

16. A nice belt truly completes an outfit.

17. You’re never too old to get your heart broken.

18. You’re never too old to heal from a broken heart.

19. Read everything and anything. Reading is a luxury and a privilege.

20. Chipped nail polish looks sloppy. (Sorry mom. Please don’t look at my nails right now).

21. Eating pizza in bed while watching a movie is literally the greatest Friday night.

22. You can be a writer if you want to be a writer. You can be a dancer if you want to be a dancer.

23. “I can’t” should not be in your vocabulary.

24. Always ask for late checkouts at hotels.

25. That thing you must have will ALWAYS go on sale. Wait for it.

26. Love is a very special thing. Always be open to it, no matter how many times it doesn’t work out. And when you find it? Appreciate it like crazy.

27. Floss. EVERY DAY.

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