Oh the Places You’ll Go:: Advice for Living a Seussical Life

March 2 is recognized as Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day. The day is a call to motivate all children to read, and also to celebrate the legacy of the legendary author.

Oh the Places You'll Go:: Advice for Living a Seussical Life“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is one of the most widely quoted literary masterpieces in recent years. A popular gift for graduates, students entering kindergarten, new babies, or a friend embarking on a new adventure, the light-hearted children’s book carries heavy messages.

Even more goosebump-inducing—it was Theodor Seuss Geisel’s last published message to the world before his passing in 1991.

Sherpa Seuss

For someone who never raised biological children, Dr. Seuss was a wildly popular author, entertainer, illustrator, and linguist. Children gravitate toward the whimsical characters, colorful illustrations, and fanciful language. And even if we didn’t realize it at the time, Dr. Seuss was our Sherpa growing up. He gently guided us through the mountains of childhood under the guise of blue-haired twins and questionably colored breakfast food.

While there are arguably numerous lessons that can be extracted from the analeptic prose of the acclaimed wordsmith, we are going to celebrate his birthday by unwrapping a few that moms may need to hear.  

15 Mom Lessons from Dr. Seuss

If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Have some fun, mama! Play that game with your kids. Go on a trip with your spouse. Sign up to try goat yoga {I’m only slightly afraid of losing a kidney}. We spend a lot of time making sure our kids are signed up for playdates, activities, and enrichment, but often don’t schedule ourselves for fun, too. And if you never did, you should.

My friends! Tell me! Do tell! Are you safe? Are you sound? Are you whole? Are you well?” – Horton Hears A Who

Check on your people. I guarantee you not everyone in your circle is “fine.” When you ask how they are doing, care about the answer. When you know it’s a lie, call it. Don’t force them to talk about an issue they aren’t comfortable sharing, but let them know that life is rough sometimes and you’re around if they need to share a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

And when you’re in a Slump you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” – Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Listen, funks are no fun. And getting out of it isn’t always easy, so give yourself some grace. Also, seek help. Go for a run, grab a friend for coffee, watch Beaches and have a good cry—whatever helps you process and un-slump.

Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A person’s a person, no matter how small!” – Horton Hears A Who
No one is any better than anyone else in the world. Support each other and quit tearing each other down. Give that frazzled mother in the carpool line a hand. Let the mom with the screaming toddler and spit-covered baby know that you get it—you’ve been there. {And maybe hand her a wipe.} Speak to the janitor and the person at the checkout counter. We encounter people on a daily basis that just need to be acknowledged to know that they matter.

I never take a step to one side.” – The Sneetches and Other Stories
Pick your battles is still good advice, but stick to your guns on things that truly mean something to you. What are your core values? For instance, I stay out of Facebook politics as a general rule, but I won’t just let someone flat out bully someone else either {private message was invented for a reason}.

Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Today is gone—and there’s not much you can do about it. You’ll have a chance to take on the world again tomorrow. But also, quit complaining so much. Some days are just plain rotten, we all know that. But I think that if you try, you can find something “fun” about almost any day. Were you able to feed your kids? Did you get a random hug or “I love you” you weren’t expecting? Did you catch your kids getting along when they didn’t think you were looking? Try looking for the fun in every day instead of focusing on the not-so-great.

You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.” – Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss
With our foster kids, we always followed the rule: you won’t like everything, but you have to at least try it once. Try new things—whether it’s food, activities, places, or even people. Stretch. You never know when you’ll find your new favorite thing. And surround yourselves with people who encourage you to do so.

You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” – I Can Read with My Eyes Shut by Dr Seuss
Put your phone down. I’m as guilty of this as anyone out there. Sure, snap the picture, but Instagram it later. Embrace the game night with your fam or brunch date with your friends. Savor the fancy date night with your spouse. If you are constantly living with your eyes shut—or looking down at a device—you’re bound to miss an awful lot.

So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!” – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss
Speak up! Speak up for yourself, your child, your friends. And teach your children that their voice is worthy of being heard as well. We always tell our foster loves, “Your feelings matter, too. And if someone hurts you, you tell. And you keep telling until someone listens.” I think sometimes moms need to hear that as well.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  – The Lorax by Dr Seuss
Whether it’s the planet, a relationship in need of repair, or an incredible social injustice, it does no good to stew. Take that pit in your stomach and turn it into actionable energy. Because we can’t always wait on someone else to do something—we can’t expect others to change if we aren’t willing to do a little bending ourselves.

It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” – The Lorax by Dr Seuss
Invest. Help shape your community by building up those around you. Generations coming after you need you to water them and shine your bright smiles in their direction. Sure, it takes a little time and intentionality, but you never know. Those seeds you plant in others along the way could eventually grow to be some mighty impressive Truffula trees.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.” – Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss
Even though that influencer you follow on Instagram—or maybe even your mother’s third cousin—looks like they are living a charmed life sipping mojitos by the pool in every other photo, I guarantee you they are not. Storms happen to everyone. And whether you are under a rain cloud or in the middle of a category 4 right now, they pass, too. Hang on, sister.

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Happy Birthday to You! by Dr Seuss
You cannot be replicated. Whether it is your contagious laugh, an affinity for numbers, biting humor, impeccable listening skills, or masterful cooking, there are things about you that no one has; and comparison is more dangerous than Russian roulette. In case you haven’t been reminded lately, there are people in this world that are out-of-their-minds crazy about your darling self.

I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.” – Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss
This game of life can be utterly and completely exhausting. It can feel like there’s often a role to play or dice to roll. But be aware that sometimes, you’re only in the race with yourself—and no one wins that game.

The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – I Can Read with My Eyes Shut by Dr Seuss
It’s true. Read anything—read everything. Find books on dinosaurs and travel pamphlets about foreign places. Scour food labels or read the back of your shampoo bottle. Read about your world and the things around you. Learn about more than just the space you inhabit. Make friends with monsters, float on candied lily pads down lemonade rivers through sugar plum mountains before you drift off to sleep with 12 dancing princesses.

As we celebrate National Read Across America Day and the birthday of Dr. Seuss, grab a book and explore. Whether you Hop on Pop or put sox on your fox, prepare yourself for an adventure because “A book is just like life and anything can change.”


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