Mom, Advice Columnist?

I have an idea. Well, my friend Deb’s idea really. Last week she called me and said, “You should have your mother do an advice column on your blog.” I laughed.

“I’m serious. It would be so funny because she’d start off all her answers with ‘What are you crazy?”

We laughed even harder.

Hmmm…maybe my readers would send in their dilemmas. Who couldn’t use a wise Polish woman’s sensibilities to help with those hard to navigate conundrums? Especially when it’s not your own mother and there would be no inherent conflict, i.e.: I told you so.

On second thought….

Actually, what my Mom will do is say nothing- which is the worst kind of I told you so. It’s like ’ I told you so’ to the max! To the 10th power. It’s so deep an ‘I told you so.’ Her silence reverberates like a gong. She says nothing and it’s all I need to know. It’s good to have this. So I know when I’ve royally veered off track.

Not only is my Mom fortified with post-war Poland sensibilities, but with her love for Dr. Oz, Oprah, 48 Hour Mystery, and Pass Book Savings Accounts, she’s bound to hand out some wisdom nuggets.

And you may even act on them.

Find me on Facebook and message me. I promise to keep your question confidential. Perhaps from time to time I could feature one in my post.

I could call her column:

Pani Matusiak’s Wszystko w Porządku — Mrs. Matusiak’s Everything in Order
Ask Jannett’s Mom
….because let her worry about someone else

I joke. But not really. My mom has doled out good advice. Seriously. The most level headed woman I know. Conservative? Yes. Low on drama and tears? Yes. Ability to plow through heartache? High.

Did I really need an elaborately carved wooden Indonesian headboard (slightly damaged) for $500 at Pier One Imports when I first moved to Denver?

I walked out of the store reluctantly and called my mom in the parking lot. I wanted to tell her about the unbelievable deal I just found marked down from $1,200. (She can’t resist a good deal), but my deep subconscious knew why I was calling her.

If you ever want to kill an impulse, call my home number. Ask for Halina. You’ll end up driving home and investing 2% more into your 401K plan. Trust me your bank account will thank you.

Later I decided I didn’t even like the headboard design that much. It would have been an expensive mistake. I’m so glad I didn’t buy it.

I take care of most things that I buy. So that sucker would have stayed in my life forever.

Here’s the thing though, I would have bought it if I loved it to death. I would have bought it if I weren’t newly settling into a place. While my fantasy impulse was saying ‘BUY! BUY! BUY! This is so awesome.’ The voice of reason was saying, ‘Don’t do it, dummy!’

I’m glad the voice of reason is louder than my impulse voice; most of the time anyway.

This is an interesting thing I keep coming back to with my parents’ values. They are instilled in me and yet I somehow find myself resisting them. Do I really need x thing? If so, why? Or why not?

What I find myself so deeply resistant to are these phrases: ….save money for later…in the future…when you retire…someday…when you….if you…

I know you understand me when I say, haven’t we all seen it all go wrong?

The vacation never taken, the retirement never enjoyed, the suffering that comes too soon and in spades to ones we never expected.

The end, it just comes too quick; the future, unpredictable.

I don’t advocate for reckless behavior, because it’s good to strive for balance day to day. But what is that balance?

Some years ago, I said to my Mom, “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow!” My go-to response.
She responded, “Don’t say that.”

I planned and went on a trip to Paris on my own.

My choices have to make some kind of sense. I want to enjoy the way I move through the world. Even if at times it is confusing to know what is right for right now and what will be right for me in the future.

But I think it comes down to this one single question: with anything I do and with anyone I engage with—

Does this enrich my life?

What does my Mom think of this philosophy when she has bank rolled me in the past?

8 comments on “Mom, Advice Columnist?

  1. Margaret says:

    I LOVE the idea of advice from someone else’s mom. Hah! Brilliant. So much love and wisdom in this piece.

  2. Someone else’s mother as Jiminy Cricket? I love it.

    Advice is harder for me to seek these days, though I continue to do so with those I trust. I notice that the better I get at dealing with tough choices, the more intricate the next choices become. The question is no longer whether or not I should do something, but how to go about it. For example, in dealing with difficult people, sometimes I know that I must speak up, or walk away, or offer an alternative… but my phrasing, body language, and actions all must combine in a personal dance that reflects me in an honest way, and the results are beyond my control. If the person responds by upping the ante, I wrestle with what to do if I must run into them again. Sooner or later there comes a moment when only I can decide what to do, on the spot.

    That blows.

    • Jannett Matusiak says:

      Thanks for the great reflection Cara! Yeah, on the spot is so tough. I always think of the “right thing to say” an hour after the moment. I guess even when we don’t choose the right thing to say or do on the spot- it is an honest representation of where are at processing things. People you trust and sound advice are always good things to rely on! Thanks for reading.

  3. Denise Karabinus says:

    An Advice column is a brilliant idea. I’ve often stood in front of my washer staring down a particularly challenging stain and thought, WWHD “What would Halina do?” I’m not kidding. I think Mrs. Matusiak would have all kinds of well delivered advice for the younger generation backed up with the sage wisdom of someone who indeed has been there before. I enjoy your larger questions about how to best enjoy living in the moment as well and this would bring a wonderful balance to the discussion. So my first question invokes both sides,”While enjoying a particularly rousing evening of Netflix in bed in the pitch dark I bounced my glass of red wine off the wall, now it seem to be permanently stained- is there any way to recover from this evening of debauchery or is this mark a permanent reminder of living in the moment?

  4. Jannett Matusiak says:

    I’ll ask Halina. I’m not sure my mom has faced wine-on-the-wall stain. That could be a reminder of living in the moment. But until I can contact her, try some baking soda paste and water? Gently rub it out.

  5. Adam Matusiak says:

    “If you ever want to kill an impulse, call my home number. Ask for Halina. You’ll end up driving home and investing 2% more into your 401K plan. Trust me your bank account will thank you.” I’m still laughing out loud :-)…. So true… Kidding aside, Mom and Dad came to this country with lint in their pockets and found the American dream. If only we could be so bold.

    • Jannett Matusiak says:

      So true Ad. Not only that bold..but to make as many sacrifices! I am where I am today because of their ethic. I’m coasting on the backs of their labor. Every generation making it better for the next. Humbling. Inspiring and paradox making.

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