Pipa Gordon

Things that mums say….


With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to share a bit of motherly wisdom. My Mum has had a rough old ride right from when she was a child and then to top it off, she had a stroke when she was in her 40s which left her paralysed down one side but despite everything, she’s been my rock and I adore her. I have definitely picked up some of her phrases over the years and often hear myself passing them down the chain so, time to celebrate and reminisce, here goes with my top five most memorable phrases that Mum used to say…

It’s the hours before midnight that count

I used to battle her on this one when I was younger however she couldn’t have been more right! I honestly do not know how people function on low sleep. I need between 8 and 9 hours and I really struggle the next day if I don’t get them, or if I did but they have been after midnight (fortunately they rarely are!). So just call me Cinderella, I’m nearly always home (and in bed!) before the clock strikes 12!

Pipa Gordon

Always check your “rear view” in the mirror

My Mum was a really skilled dressmaker and had buckets of style so I always paid attention to her advice in this area. This particular phrase has always stuck with me. It’s not the easiest of angles to check though is it? She used to make most of my clothes growing up, we would spend hours choosing patterns and fabrics in the local haberdashery, markets and one of my fondest memories is on holiday in France, when she took me shopping into little boutiques, I LOVED my pedal pushers from that trip! I think I learned from a very early age that I could stamp my sense of individuality out through what I wore and that it was a safe place to be able to express yourself.

Pipa Gordon

If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all

I love this one and it’s definitely one that I find myself reciting to the children. I think it’s more prevalent now than ever as through social media, words can often be thrown around quite thoughtlessly. It’s a very tame example but my brother came for lunch this weekend and brought me a box of chocolates, ones that the children know I really don’t like at all. I was thrilled that they both kept their mouths firmly shut rather than dropping me right in it by letting him know how I really feel about them. Some things can and should be left unsaid!

You reap what you sew

This is another one I reel off to my children, I think it’s an excellent one. In relationships, in life, in work, in everything pretty much, you get out what you put in. “Simples”. My Mum used to say it until she was blue in the face, I don’t think it meant much to us in the moment but it’s definitely stuck. I think sometimes as parents we just have to keep drip feeding some of these wisdoms and it’s not until our children become adults that we get to see if it went in!

Pipa Gordon

Choose your battles

Oh my gosh, this has never been more true than in parenting however it’s one that definitely leaks across all areas of life. We can’t win everything, we can’t change other people and life throws enough involuntary battles at us anyway. So see the best in people, give the benefit of the doubt and always be kind (also a Roald Dahl instruction, as typed by my step-grandmother, his typist).

So there we go, five golden nuggets from my Mum.  If you can think of even just one that your Mum passed to you, then please leave it below… I think we can all benefit from our collective mothers’ wisdom and it’s a lovely way to celebrate them, whether they are still with us or watching from afar.

Much love

Pipa x


  1. Gregory Burslem March 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm -  Reply

    Hello Wonderful Pipa.You’ve made today slightly better(Mums Funeral Today).So my nugget is “Be Better than lying”
    Thankyou Sweetness???x

    • Pipa Gordon March 11, 2017 at 11:53 am -  Reply

      Oh Greg, so amazing of you to take the time to write a comment on such an emotional day, what a lovely tribute to your mum though, thank you. Sending lots of love to you at this difficult time. It’s always great to hear from you here and on twitter. Take care xx

  2. Christine Parker March 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    Aww …lovely blog Pipa…. I lost my mam 23 yrs ago and I miss her every day … I grew up hearing lots of the sayings you’ve mentioned … but now I care for my elderly pops one that keeps coming to me is … you only get out of life what you put into it …. I think she’d be happy the way we’ve turned out …. X

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:12 am -  Reply

      Hi Christine, gosh that must have been hard for you. I bet she’s really proud watching you look after your pops the way you do. Lots of love xxx

  3. Cindy Corrigan March 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm -  Reply

    What a good topic Pipa, my Mum used to say when asked if we could do something ‘we’ll see’, how I hated that growing up, but found myself saying it to mine. Another little gem was ‘Don’t be sorry, don’t do it’ great when you had just done something that was not good. I agree with your Mum though, I always told my children to keep their counsel when met with bad manners and unkind people, I would point out that one should feel sorry for the nasties as they obviously had an unhappy life. I hear my children now passing on these nuggets to my grandchildren and that makes me smile.

    Love Cindy

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:17 am -  Reply

      ha ha Cindy, I catch myself saying “we’ll see” to my children every now and then and I can see how frustrating it is for them …but sometimes we can’t give a succinct answer immediately …I then remind them that patience is a virtue!! I agree with you on being patient also with those who have had a difficult ride, however it’s a tricky one as I’ve seen too much patience offers space to be bullied so there’s balance to be had too …a hard one for kids to learn. I think being able to get their heads around kindness and healthy boundaries helps there. Gosh we could chew the cud on these things for hours couldn’t we? xx

  4. julie cattell March 9, 2017 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    hi pipa ive loved reading the thing moms says . my mom would all ways say what goes around comes a round and that is so true its made me smile . sadley she past away when i was young but she left me with wonderful knowledge to pass on to my two daughters . and a very happy mothers day to you and your mommy xxxx

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:38 am -  Reply

      Thank you Julie, and a happy mothers day to you too! I hope your girls spoil you xx

  5. Jan Gurmin March 9, 2017 at 7:53 pm -  Reply

    Your mum sounds a bit like my mum but the funniest thing she said to me and my sister was you can’t go swimming cos your swimming suits are wet that’s mums for you but we wouldn’t be without them xx

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:38 am -  Reply

      I think that’s hilarious Jan!! xx

  6. Rebecca March 9, 2017 at 8:53 pm -  Reply

    That’s so funny reading this blog and reading your mums sayings. My mum used to say the first four of yours too. They are so true too. My mum also was a dressmaker and made all my clothes growing up. She also made me some beautiful evening dresses for me in my late teens and early twenties. Sadly my mum died suddenly in 2010 (only 69) and I miss her so much. I am so blessed though to have had a mum like her and my dad too (also died suddenly in ( 2015). They instilled so much into me and I have so many happy memories.
    My mum always said that you shouldn’t save things just for best. Wear the nice things you have be it jewellery, clothes or even perfume. She was right…life’s too short and the nice things we have can’t be enjoyed in a box or wardrobe can they? She wore the gold watch her parents bought her for her 21st everyday along with her other jewellery. I wear the watch for special occasions because I wouldn’t want to lose it or damage it. I hope she wouldn’t be cross with me. I do however wear her wedding band and engagement ring everyday all be it in a different form. I had them made into a pendant.
    The other thing I remember was her saying how putting on lipstick always made her feel “ready”. I totally get that one! The funniest saying which must be a Yorkshire saying…If it was raining hard she would say “it’s raining like it’s one o’clock”!! I’m still trying to work that one out.
    I always enjoy your blog updates. Sorry for the long message, hope you don’t mind. Xx

    • Pipa Gordon March 24, 2017 at 11:56 am -  Reply

      Hi Rebecca …(sorry I have taken a while to reply to your message, I’m not sure what happened there!!!) …anyhoo, I’m totally stumped on raining like it’s 1 oclock ..I wonder where on earth that came from??!! Your mum sounded great, and I bet she loves the fact that you treasure her watch and wedding jewellery the way you do. I did the same with my grandmother’s engagement ring, I had the stones put into a cross pendant so I could keep wearing them. Lovely treasured memories, that’s what’s important in life … love. Take care and thanks for your message, sorry for missing it first time around, still not quite sure how, seeing as it’s the longest!! 😉 Much love xx

  7. carol wilde March 9, 2017 at 10:09 pm -  Reply

    my mom always said about sewing if you start well and end well it will never come undone

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:17 am -  Reply

      Oh I love this one Carol, thank you! xx

  8. Susan March 9, 2017 at 10:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi pipa, yes my mum says your last 3 all the time! Maybe they all say them! They’re good though. Your mum has battled a lot and come through with a significant disability. You must be proud. As she is of you no doubt. It’s a tough old world which leaves us weary enough without picking extra battles I think. Enjoy your weekend x

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:18 am -  Reply

      Thanks Susan. Yes, she’s quite a trooper! I’ve often thought of doing a one woman play to tell the whole story …one day maybe xx

  9. Eileen Mahoney March 9, 2017 at 11:10 pm -  Reply

    just curious Pipa, is the woman with the spot dress and a baby your mother and you or you and your daughter? Its hard to tell because the fashion has come full circle but If it is your mother, you are sooooooo alike!!

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:37 am -  Reply

      Hi Eileen, yes it’s my Mum wearing the black and white dress, she’s holding my little sister and I’m in the smocked dress, aged 7/8 xx

  10. Christine Jones March 9, 2017 at 11:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi pipa such a lovely blog and precious and lasting words from your mum… Thank you for sharing those. I always said the If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all one and now say it to my grandchildren.. Also You reap what you sow is another.. My favourite one was one my mum used to say and she said it to us before she left us for her heavenly home was, Love one another and look after one another as I ve loved you!!! And when I was finding things difficult she would say, Come on love, don’t give in!!! You can beat this… She was right, I did !! Also, If you have faith as a mustard seed you can move the mountain! I know some of those are in the bible and her faith grew stronger after we lost my dad when I was 16 she was 49.. So now I follow her lead.. And when she cooked anything, I would say, How have you made this? With a bit of this and a bit of that and a LOT OF LOVE!!! I think you get some idea of my mum and she sounds a lot like your mum, a fighter and an inspiration Pipa.

    Sending happy mothers day prayers for the wonderful blessing of precious mothers and to you too. Happy Mothers Day Pipa!! X

    With much Love Christine. Xxxxxxxxx

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:40 am -  Reply

      Awww thanks Christine. I love that your Mum used to tell you not to give in, I think that’s a really powerful skill to give to any child, the ability to keep on fighting! Your mum sounds as if she was bursting with love and strength, what a fabulous woman! Happy mothers day Christine, lots of love to you too xxxx

  11. Ellie March 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm -  Reply

    My mum always says “look after yourself because if you don’t others won’t” – so true! I always say to my kids “it will all work out in the end, because ultimately it always does”. I am never sure how much of what I say gets absorbed but the other day I caught Mr 12 consoling the dog who was whining because we were going out without him. It made me smile to hear the kiddo uttering my very words to the pup to comfort him!

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:42 am -  Reply

      Oh bless him …as parents we often don’t get to see the fruits of our labours so I bet you were chuffed to bits, I think that’s a lovely story. You’re so right on the “It’ll work out in the end” too, it always does xx

  12. Christine March 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa my mum died when I was fourteen. Then my dad died when I was seventeen. There was six of us I was the youngest. As children we used to play and over the top. She use to say you will be crying before the nights out. She was right.
    Take care X

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:43 am -  Reply

      Gosh Christine that must have been hard!!!! I was fostered for a while when I was 14, it’s such a fragile age! Your comment reminds me of another one my mum said too “It’ll end in tears!” …so true. Lots of love to you xx

  13. Fran Whitehead March 10, 2017 at 6:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, what a lovely blog. As a child I was very fortunate to have my great-granny live with us. Her favourite saying regarding helping someone….”If it is good enough to think of it’s good enough to do”. Mum always says…(whit’s fir ye won’t go by ye)”What’s for you won’t go by you”.
    Happy Mother’s Day Pipa.
    Fran x

    • Pipa Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:44 am -  Reply

      Hi Fran ….I LOVE LOVE LOVE that!!!!! “if it is good enough to think of, it’s good enough to do!” ….I’m totally going to adopt that!! Thank you xx and happy mothers day to you too xx

  14. Denise Hamilton March 13, 2017 at 8:53 pm -  Reply

    My mum always said “Don’t envy anyone for what they have”
    ” Because you don’t know the pain they have trying to hold on to it

    • Pipa Gordon March 21, 2017 at 1:53 pm -  Reply

      Oh Denise that’s really wise!!! I like that, thank you xxx

  15. Yvonne Field March 15, 2017 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

    I really enjoyed reading your comments about your lovely mum. My mum is marvellous for her age of 83 all i can say is that i hope i am like het at thst age I love het to bits xx

    • Pipa Gordon March 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm -  Reply

      Oh how amazing Yvonne, it’s all in the genes!!! xx

  16. June Binks March 15, 2017 at 11:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pippa, my mum always told us as children not to be unkind to people as you haven’t walked in their shoes. I now say the same to my children and grandchildren. I think it’s so true. Xx

    • Pipa Gordon March 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm -  Reply

      So true June, so true, we can be so quick to judge if we don’t think that way xx

  17. Emma April 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, just read your blog, how fab it was.
    My mothers little pearl of wisdom to me and my siblings was

    Never look down on someone unless your helping them up.

    Something I have always tried to live by.
    Stay true to yourself ,Cheers ?

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