Mum knows best, right? Well, if we’re being honest we don’t always believe this despite the fact that it’s true.
In celebration of the women who raised us, supported us and who love us unconditionally here are the five times my mum knew best.
1. Go to uni
Finishing high school was the most amazing feeling. There was no way I wanted to go back into a classroom learning environment if I didn’t have to. My parents are highly academic: Mum was the first female ophthalmologist to perform laser vision correction in Australia, and founded 12 Personal Eyes surgeries across NSW and ACT. So when I decided I didn’t want to continue on to university, it didn’t go down well.
Mum pretty much kicked me out of home. Eventually I took her advice and started a Bachelor of Finance at Macquarie University. This became one of mum’s greatest ‘I told you so’ moments. Without my degree, I wouldn’t have been able to get a credit licence, which I needed to start up finder.com.au.
2. Stop playing games, get off your butt and do something
Since I intended to skip university, working was part of the grand plan, but I’d be lying if I said I never procrastinated. It’s not that I didn’t care; it’s just, like many guys in their late teens, I enjoyed playing video games more than I enjoyed studying or thinking about what was next.
Mum is a very motivated and driven person; many of my earliest memories of her involve working. If she isn’t juggling 10 things at once she doesn’t feel productive. So I’m sure seeing me, her only son, lounging around and whiling away his days in front of a games console was incredibly frustrating. I remember mum constantly bugging me and pushing me to do more. She’d tell me to stop playing games and actually get up and do something with my life. This constant nagging finally nudged me into action, and Frank Restuccia and I founded Freestyle Media, our first marketing business.
3. Take care of yourself; mentally and physically
Mum exercises at least nine times a week. Growing up I always admired her for this. In saying, this I also rejected her attempts to coax me into exercising. I still have flashbacks of being forced to attend aerobics classes with her and my sisters. I’d sit at the back of class wishing I was anywhere else but there.
But as I got older, and especially through my divorce, I began to take her advice and invest more time in exercising. Looking back, I can now see the importance of physical fitness to helping my stay focused and perform at my peak. Despite my initial disdain for exercise, mum taught me that there are many benefits to staying fit and healthy, and I’ve tried to instill this idea of good health within the business. I encourage the finder crew to also lead a healthy lifestyle: we run weekly boxing classes and group training sessions for the City2Surf. We also offer a free nutritious lunch every day.
4. Kids actually like boundaries
Mum taught me that children want boundaries. As a child this frustrated me beyond belief. I always wanted to cross those boundaries and test my mum. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to do what I wanted to, so I found creative ways to get around them. This is something that I’ve taken with me into later life.
I’ve never been the one to play by the rules and have always wanted to see how far I could push mum before being reprimanded. Now that I’m a dad, and looking back on decisions I’ve made in both my personal life and with my business, I respect my mum for the values she placed on boundaries. I can now see that she knew best and I feel oddly appreciative of the boundaries she set for me and my sisters, because now I know the boundaries to set for my own children.
5. Don’t dwell on the problem
One of the greatest lessons my mum ever taught me is to not dwell on things, and just get on with it. This was really valuable during my divorce. I would go over to my parents and sometimes bump into my ex. As much as this was difficult for me at the time, my mum’s ability to not dwell on the problem but to find ways to move through it, especially for the sake of her grandkids, is something I admire. Mum would call herself Switzerland.
She remained neutral in the divorce, and her overall ability to distance herself from something emotionally and to focus on finding a solution, is something I’m very thankful for. Mum definitely knew best and I hope to carry this lesson with me into future problems.
Fred Schebesta is co-founder and director of Australia’s most visited comparison site, finder.com.au