The Value of a Good Mother
Like most of you, I love my mother. Everyone knows that your mother is your first teacher. Although not formally trained in finance, my mom was a master at what folks used to call Home Economics. My dad was a hard worker but did not make a lot of money. Mom was tasked with feeding, clothing, and educating my five siblings and me with limited resources. To say my mother is frugal is an understatement on par with saying that some people in Knoxville enjoy watching football.
Mom was a master at her job. We kids had no idea of our frugal living because we wanted for nothing and it was all we knew. We lived very modestly, but it did not feel that way because everyone we knew had a similar standard of living. There was also no portrayal of lavish lifestyles by the media. I can remember walking through the grocery store wondering why anyone would buy such expensive bread. Didn’t everyone know that bread was half-price at the “day-old” bread store? Today my family pays for a laundry list of services that my mom and dad would find unbelievable, like TV, cell phones, pedicures, personal trainers, lawn care, etc.
Dad traveled Monday through Thursday (believe it or not) selling envelopes. Mom would go to the grocery store once a week on Thursday. This was a mom who added water to the milk jug to stretch it until it was time to buy more. We ate well Thursday through Sunday because Dad was home, but on Monday through Wednesday Mom had to piece together meals with whatever had not already been demolished by six children. It was tradition to have a bed of noodles covered by the week’s leftovers on Wednesday night. Mom called this creation “something over noodles.”
Family was everything to mom and she took her job of raising children very seriously. She focused her family on living out our faith, education (going to college), working hard, and “becoming good citizens.” Although I did not hear much about finances in my home, I learned by observation.
Mom has now reached the ripe age of 94. She is not in a razor-sharp mental season of life, but the teaching continues. One of the many notions she pounded into us kids was, “If you want to have friends, you must be friendly.” Recently I paid a visit to her retirement community. Mom reported that several of the “girls” on her floor had passed away and were replaced by new residents. When I asked her how she felt about this, she responded, “I am trying to be friendly and make new friends.” This goes to show that a good mother is always in teaching mode, even when she is not trying!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there doing today’s heavy lifting of raising a family. Time changes how a woman mothers her family, but nothing changes the value of having a great mom!
An edition of this column will be featured in the May 14th Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Meet the Author
Tom Coulter, CPA
Tom is the President and a founder of Meridian Trust. Tom graduated from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in accounting with honors, in 1978. Tom previously worked for the international accounting firm, Deloitte. He later joined the financial medical advising firm, FIS Associates, before founding Meridian Trust in 1997. Tom has worked extensively in retirement planning, taxation, estate and financial planning and investment management. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and the Tennessee Society of CPAs (TSCPA).
Tom is also credentialed as a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) by the AICPA.