Real Simple staffers share the can't-miss advice we've learned from our own moms.

Mother kissing child
Credit: Melanie Acevedo

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.