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Words of wisdom, from one mom to another

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What's the most memorable advice (good or bad) you received from your mom? Our favorite parenting experts (that includes, of course, regular ol' parents) shared the advice that has stuck with them all these years.

Never leave the house without lipstick. Also, addressing my tendency to rationalize purchases based on how much they were discounted: Don't go broke saving money. — Erika Carpenter Rich, Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist

Look for the good in people. — Amy Rubinstein

You don't have to be the perfect mother. You just have to be good enough. — Suanne Laqueur

The most memorable advice my mom gave me was when, at the tender age of 10, I began to menstruate. I remember her walking me into the bathroom, smiling at me with beaming love and pride, and saying: "Now you're a lady, so always keep your legs crossed." This was very insufficient information and confusing advice. I was left to interpret its meaning. I took it literally. Keep your legs crossed so no one sees your private parts? My mother is the kindest, warmest, most generous and nurturing person I know. Like each of us, she is an imperfect human being. We all come with unfinished business left over from our relationships with our own mothers and fathers. My mom has inhibitions that left her very uncomfortable talking directly with her children about sexuality. This is a great example of why the courageous task of self-exploration is required of parents. — Fran Walfish, child and family psychotherapist and author of "The Self-Aware Parent" (Palgrave MacMillan, $17)

When a man wants to have sex with you, it's not a compliment. — Debbie Devine, co-founder, O-Mama.com

From my mother to me on her deathbed: Be yourself. — Paul C. Holinger, psychiatry professor at Rush University Medical Center

Best advice: The best time of your life should be today; what's past is past and the future holds no guarantees. So find joy in every day, no matter what. Worst advice: Clean your plate. — Dawn Lantero

A motto my mom lives by: "When there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time" (from the Baha'i writings). — Homa Sabet Tavangar, author of "Growing Up Global: Raising Children To Be at Home in the World" (Ballantine Books)

In our adulthood, whenever my siblings or I would complain about some rotten parenting practice in which my mother engaged in our childhood (forgetting to pick us up at Hebrew school, staying out all night riding the mechanical bull) she would say, defensively, "You kids didn't come out with an instruction book stapled to your foreheads." Which was lucky for her (ouch!) and me: In response, I wrote one. — Brett Berk, author of "The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting" (Three Rivers Press)

Don't ever lie, especially to your mother. — Amy Knife Gould

When I was a teenager, my friends were making plans to see Fleetwood Mac in concert and I desperately wanted to go. I'd never been to a concert. But my mom was a widow raising four kids on a teacher's salary, so we didn't have a lot of extra money. To my surprise, my mom said I should go. I asked her how we could afford it and she said spending money on an experience is much more worthwhile than spending it on things. Things will get broken, lost or forgotten, but the memories of that experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. She was right. Not only do I remember the concert in vivid detail, but I've also chosen to spend my money on experiences over things my entire life. It has made all the difference. — Mary O'Donohue, author of "When You Say 'Thank You,' Mean It … And 11 Other Lessons for Instilling Lifelong Values in Your Children" (Adams Media)

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