Life Lessons from My Mother

On this Mother's Day, I wanted to share some of the nuggets of wisdom I learned from my mama. From footwear to being an interesting person, Kim Ricketts has instilled some great life lessons in her three children along the way. Mom knows best, and we're all the better for following her advice.

Updated: September 01, 2009

Motherly Wisdom


1001 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

Lesson: don't knock it 'til you try it. The Ricketts family has two mealtime rules: kids eat what adults eat, and you're not allowed to say you don't like a food you haven't tried. During childhood, this instilled a sort of eccentric culinary palate that remains with me to this day. At age three, I asked for scallops for snack time at a friend's house. Today, I'll order any sort of offal on the menu. Next up: Quinn's veal testicles. Mom says she won't eat them--but has she tried them?

Elliott Bay Book Co

1521 10th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

Lesson: read every day. Every day in April during Poetry Month, we'd open our lunch boxes to find copies of poems nestled between our apple and PB&J. We spent childhood evenings being read to, falling into a pattern of turning pages before bed. Books have always been central to our lives, thanks to Mom--who has always worked with books and instilled a love for them in all of us. I can get lost in the creaky-yet-homey Elliot Bay Book Co. for hours, especially now when sustained with food by Tamara Murphy.

Lambs Ear Shoes

617 North 35th Street, Seattle, WA 98103

Lesson: wear functional shoes. This is a lesson I am still learning. I am notorious in my family for choosing style over function--particularly with shoes. There was that platform flip-flop phase (hello, mid-90s), and now my current obsession: high -heeled boots. I trudged around a Vashon farm last weekend in 4-inch heels, proclaiming the brilliance of being lifted out of the puddles by the height. My mother's perfected the art of functional style--wearing super-cute shoes without the pain or potential danger of falling.

35th Street Bistro

709 N 35th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Lesson: drink coffee after having wine at lunch. On my birthday last year, Mom took me out to 35th Street Bistro to fete entering my mid-twenties. She ordered us two glasses of bubbles, and I looked at her warily. "I have writing to do this afternoon!" She laughed. "Oh honey, the trick is to have espresso afterward. It cancels it out!" Almost a year later, this lesson has served me well after celebratory lunch meetings.

Seattle Art Museum

1300 First Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Lesson: only boring people get bored. We learned early on never to announce a hint of boredom. Mom would respond one of two ways: a) "Then maybe you should [insert grueling chore here]" or b) heavy sigh followed by, "That's too bad--only boring people get bored." Entertaining ourselves became a triumph over mediocrity, a way to prove to our mother we were interesting people. One of my favorite boredom cures is wandering around in the Seattle Art Museum, happily lapping up old and new masterpieces.