Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Mama Says
By Maggie Toussaint

My Mom as an older teen

With Mother’s Day on May 10, I reflected on life skills my mom taught me. Manners were the first thing she drilled into all of us kids. We had to speak and comport ourselves a certain way. Before you start thinking we were putting on airs, we weren’t. We were a blue collar family all the way. Mom taught us to treat others as we’d like to be treated ourselves, and she always championed underdogs.

Mom stressed that it wasn’t enough to take care of yourself. Looking out for others was important. This was easier when I was a kid because my world was much smaller and I had fewer health challenges. I’m not out on the frontlines helping now, but I help with behind the scenes stuff. As an introvert, that suits me better.

Leading to another point she taught, be true to yourself. It is much easier to go through life knowing who you are and what you like or don’t like. Living a lie is never good as it can destroy you from the inside out.

The most important thing Mom taught me was “you can do anything you put your mind to.” This was mind-blowing to a shy girl growing up in an isolated fishing village. My first reaction to anything different/new that came up was to shake my head no as I physically retreated. But, life is everchanging, and I’ve encountered many situations to date that seemed impossible at first. Instead of allowing fear to close my mind, Mom’s words rang in my ears and gave me courage to accomplish more than I ever dreamed possible.

Book writing for publication is a good example of her influence. I liked writing stories from the first time I ever put pencil to paper, but I had no training in plotting, characterization, dialog, setting, pacing, or tension. My first book-length trilogy, long deleted and mercifully forgotten, was beyond awful. Even so, Mom believed in me and she read everything I wrote during her lifetime. It took me ten years to write a story that was up to market standards. During that time I sought advice through writing organizations, reference books, and critique groups. Gradually, my writing improved and now I’ve published twenty-two books.

Mom would’ve loved the title of my latest culinary cozy: Seas the Day. That slogan would’ve been right in her wheelhouse. Taking charge of yourself, helping others, and moving forward each day with grace are Mom’s prescription for life.

Though restrictions for the pandemic may be lifting in your area, I hope you will “Seas the Day” and yet still exercise prudence when it comes to your health.

For a chance to win a digital or print copy of Seas the Day (US addys only for print books), share something your Mom taught you as a comment.

Also, be sure and click over to enter our monthly Booklover’s Bench contest. Entries are welcomed between May 1-18, and the winner will be announced on May 19. CLICK HERE.