The Best Advice You've Received From a Mother Figure

Illustration for article titled The Best Advice Youve Received From a Mother Figure
Image: Getty

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and what a strange time to celebrate. Even if your relationship with your own mom is contentious, maybe there’s another matriarch you’re thinking about this weekend. Personally, I’m considering my own mother, and her mother, and all the other women who’ve helped all the other mothers raise children and support families. For that reason, I think it’s time to share some of the guidance they’ve provided us over the years—from the seriously ridiculous to the undoubtedly profound. This week, I want to hear the best piece of advice you’ve received from a mother figure, however you chose to define it. Drop those in the comments below.

Advertisement

Now let’s take a look at last week’s winners. These are the weirdest things you’ve seen an animal do... and they are weird:

natalie, both of these are great, and for such different reasons:

One of my two dogs, Bella, is obsessed with any of the Bachelor franchise shows. I don’t know how she recognizes it (there’s no theme song or lead in to the show) but she will stop whatever she is doing and sprint to the living room to cuddle with me and watch the show. Once, after an especially long hike, she was sound asleep in my bedroom but came trotting out when the rose ceremony started—then right back to bed afterwards. I assume she must recognize Chris Harrison’s voice, but why she is so obsessed with the show I have no idea!

The weirdest/most amazing thing I have seen from any animal though was several years ago at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. When the van picks you up in Chiang Mai you watch a video about the park, the elephants, and the founder, Lek. There was one particularly moving story about an elephant who was blinded after her mahout stabbed her in the eyes when she refused to continue logging after giving birth and losing her baby. Because she was no longer any use to the mahout, Lek was able to buy her and bring her to the park to live out the rest of her life in a safe environment. When she first arrived at the park some other female elephants approached her, checked her out, and then ran the ends of their trunks over her face. Seeming to understand that she was unable to see, two of the elephants went on either side of her and helped guide her around the park, using their bodies to help her get from place to place. I had this thought of “No animal can be *that* perceptive to know that she needs to be guided around,” but sure enough when we saw her at the park she was being guided by the other female elephants. There were so many other incredible stories about these elephants, but it has always stuck with me how the other elephants knew that she needed help and stuck by her sides like that.

Advertisement

BlancheDevereaux’sRobeCollection, this seems like cartoon dog behavior:

I grew up in Vermont and my Dad loved to ice fish. We had a chocolate lab who loved water so much that he would put his head in every single ice fishing hole my dad drilled. The first time he did it I thought “there’s a mistake he won’t make again!” Wrong. He loved it. Came up, shook off, went to the next hole. He must have had the ice cream headache from hell.

smacd, I kind of love this?:

My grandma’s dog used to love to lie in the back yard when it rained. She’d get into the mud, lie on her back with all 4 legs stiffly in the air and NOT MOVE.

The first few times my grandma saw this through the kitchen window she’d run out thinking the dog was dead or ill, calling her name, but she’d lie motionless, eyes and mouth wide open, head cocked to the side, drenched and stiff and ignoring everything and everyone around her. Then after a while she’d just jump up and walk away.

Never could figure out what that was about but she did that often from a puppy till she passed at age 11/12. I really wish I had a picture.

Advertisement

Prairie, this is wild:

I was volunteering at an animal sanctuary. It had domestic and exotic animals and in a couple pens they lived together. A few of us were going to work on an enclosure that belonged to a border collie and coyote. They would be inside with us. The director warned us not to put anything down because the coyote would pick up and hide anything in reach.

As soon as we get inside, another volunteer put down tools to fix the fence and the coyote picked up a spool of wire three adult humans had to work together to get it back.

Shortly after that I was weeding when I felt my cargo shorts snag on something. I mindlessly reach down to free myself and my hand finds the coyote’s face. It was pulling hand pruners out of my pocket. The coyote pickpocketed me.

Advertisement

Kat Walker, I’d watch this:

I grew up on a small hobby farm, and my Dad liked to get up early on weekends to go to swap meets and buy pigeons for his increasingly-worrisome pigeon collection One day, my little sister Zoe tagged along with him, and when she came back, she had a baby turkey she declared was going to eventually be our Thanksgiving supper. Knowing how much Zoe loved animals, literally no one believed her, and by the end of the day the turkey was named Turk and was a beloved family pet.

Turk was a super tame and chill turkey. She also had no damn idea that she was a turkey. We didn’t have any other turkeys, or even animals similar to turkeys, so for two years Turk spent a few months rotating through different groups of animals, trying to figure out what she was.

First, she tried to be a human. She tried following us into the house, she tried eating our food, she tried doing what we were doing. This attempt was probably her shortest.

Next, she tried to be a duck. She’d splash into the water and try to swim, terrifying all the other ducks, she’d try to go into their coop and then mope when she couldn’t fit, she made weird squawking noises that were her attempts to quack. Obviously, it was getting nowhere.

Next, she tried to be a goat. She was about the same size as our pygmy goats by this time, and the goats weren’t afraid of her and didn’t mind if she wandered into their shed. This lasted a fairly long time, and one of the most joyous memories of my life was hearing a turkey repeatedly try to go baa.

Eventually, she got tired of being a goat and decided to try being a pigeon. She practiced flying and enjoyed perching on top of the pigeon cages (terrifying their occupants), and worked on making her gobble into a soft, peaceful coo.

Unfortunately, she still didn’t fit in. Poor Turk ended up spending a lot of her time alone. But there was a storybook ending waiting for her, complete with a handsome prince.

A wild Tom turkey showed up in the fall, spent a few weeks visiting and seductively inflating at her, and finally one day both Turk and her Beau disappeared. She finally realized she was a turkey all along.

Advertisement

Don’t be afraid to get sentimental in the comments below.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

conns23
eugene levy's eyebrows

My mom died a week ago tonight.  She was full of wisdom and sage advice that was stolen from her as she died slowly from cancer.  The path forward is uncertain and unfathomable, but I hope I can remember all she taught me and pass on all the advice and truths she bestowed upon my sisters and me to our kids.