Real Simple staffers share the can't-miss advice we've learned from our own moms.
Marty Munson: When my sister was picking out her wedding china, my mom encouraged me to select mine, too, even though I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time. When she bought me a number of settings, she said, “You don’t have to be married to have nice things.” (BTW, I still love my china and use it all the time.)
Joele Cuyler: Every time I called my mother to boohoo about something, she would remind me that things could be much worse and point out some real-life tragedies for perspective. It always made me reflect and feel grateful for what I had.
Jenny Brown: Whatever dire situation I think I'm in, my mom finds a way to make me laugh about it. She teaches me to approach life with a light heart.
Amy Maclin: Always be curious. Curiosity cures almost anything—boredom, sadness, awkward silences.
Casey Tierney: My mother taught us to cook and to uphold the sacred family dinner.
Jackie Monk: Don't judge a book by its cover. And know how to write a complaint letter.
Sarah Humphreys: "There's a lid for every pot." (So true.)
Danielle Claro: My mother taught me to be happy with the way I look naturally—and saved me from a potentially tragic perm in the eighth grade.
Kathleen Harris: The key to a great party: good food, open invitations, and the promise that it will happen again next year.
Noelle Howey: Have strong opinions and care passionately about what goes on in the world.
Nicole Sforza: A crossword puzzle can take your mind off just about anything.
Pam Grossman: "People who seem the least lovable need love the most."
Lauren Epstein: Write a handwritten thank- you note (never e-mail!).
Lori Seto: To be a mom. She was unselfish and had faith in us but didn't suffer fools.
Terri Schlenger: Try to find the positive side of every situation, no matter how unpleasant—and the hidden goodness in every person, no matter how unpromising.
Maura Fritz: Never change who you are for someone else.
Westry Green: Other people aren't paying as much attention to me as I am, so I shouldn't worry about every little thing I do.
Tova Diamond: When I have a lot on my plate, she tells me I can't swallow an elephant whole: "One bite of the elephant at a time."
Maya Kukes: My late mother used to remind me to "lighten up." Those two words usually had the power to snap me back to reality.
Erin Henry: Respond rather than react. A visceral reaction will make a heated situation worse, but a thoughtful response can open up a dialogue.
Julia Edelstein: The importance of thank- you notes and how to write truly memorable ones. Each had to be eloquent, personal, specific, warm, and long, and of course convey extreme appreciation.
Randi Packard: That my brothers are the only friends I can be 100 percent certain will be my friends forever.
Mary Kate McGrath: To "make a plate." There's no greater kindness than to open your home—and kitchen—to someone.
Kaitlyn Pirie: "Life is too short to read the same book twice."
Alexandra Gonzalez Repetto: How to fold a fitted sheet so it lays completely flat; how to make homemade crispy French fries; and the importance of making time for myself—no matter how hectic life gets.
Claudia Bloom: "Hate is a very strong word, honey."
Ashley Tate: "Remember who you represent." Knowing that my actions reflect upon a larger group (family, friends, coworkers) helps keep my emotions in check during stressful moments.
Dawn Perry: PB & J tastes really good when someone else makes it for you.
Didi Gluck: "Don't worry if you can't fall asleep. It just means you'll sleep great tomorrow night."
Stephanie Sisco: "Never underestimate the power of a nap."
Tanya Christian: To not doubt myself. Her exact words: "You don't tell yourself no. Let other people tell you no."
Lygeia Grace: Eating local is always tastier, new isn't always better, and always stop at a yard sale.
Kelly Clark: Not to take everything so seriously and to laugh often, even at myself.
Nancy Negovetich: "I like my food well-done." So in short: no light gold chicken skin, no beige potatoes, no wet pizza.