What My {Teacher} Mom Has Taught Me

Today, and this past week, mark two very important (Hallmark-created) holidays for which I’d like to take a minute to commemorate.

Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day.

I am fortunate to have been blessed with a wonderful mother, who just so happens to also be a teacher.


At the Lumiere brothers museum in Lyon, France. I had to translate all the signs, but Mom still apparently totally schooled me on the subject of French films!

It is because I’ve seen how hardworking and caring of an educator that my mom is that I appreciate the work teachers do. But it’s because of all of the life lessons my mom has showed me through example that I really know that I have a truly amazing Mother.

believe in yourself, be resilient


As a teacher in California (and an art teacher, no less), my mom went through a long period of receiving a pink slip at the end of every school year. Fortunately, she always seemed to survive the rounds of cuts. But before she could sigh a breath of relief, my mom never held back in pleading her case and standing up for herself and her job. Specifically, she has always been very passionate about sticking up for the arts.

She has never let the fact that she knows that art teachers are the lowest on the totem pole stop her from doing her job, and doing it well. In trying times, my mom’s advice would always be to keep moving forward!

a piece (or 2) of chocolate and a glass (or 2) of wine at the end of the day is a good thing

She might not believe this, since I give her judging looks whenever she mows down on a loaf of French bread, but I truly believe my mom exhibits a balance of healthy and indulgent that everyone should strive for. She has always had some kind of gym membership (when I was little, she did water aerobics, then later joined Curves, and now does yoga regularly) and didn’t let us indulge in fast food often as kids. My mom has a healthy diet, and cooks almost all of her meals. However, she never passes up dessert, and a glass of wine with dinner is a nightly occurrence in the Hanzlik household. (As it should be!)

let your creative juices flow


doing art projects with my Kindergarten class


…there was beer involved in the creation of these paintings.

With an art teacher mom, most people would be surprised to hear that I’ve never actually taken an art class. This is for one reason and one reason only: because I was a huge brat. My mom taught at my middle school and I did not want to be seen with her, let alone take her class. So I learned to play violin instead, and played in my school’s orchestra until high school. However, as any artist holding a masters in Art Therapy (AKA my mom) would know, painting watercolors isn’t the only way to explore your artistic side.

We made our own Christmas ornaments, used pulp to make paper, were dressed up in ridiculous homemade costumes…The creativity gene is strong in this family!

work hard, but give yourself a break sometimes

Like I said before, my mom is one of the hardest working teachers I know. She has taught the yearbook class at my high school for a while now, and I can’t believe how much detail, time and attention she puts into each book. I sometimes worry she works too much. But I also know that my mom always knows when to put her foot down and say no when too much is asked of her.

My mom is also the first person to tell me I “run too much” or that I need to get more sleep or take time off. Last year, a couple of days after I broke up with my ex boyfriend, I called my mom from work, pretty upset, and she just happened to be driving through downtown and offered to pick me up. We spent the rest of what I coined a “Mental Health Day” shopping, lounging by the pool, eating, and relaxing. It was exactly what I needed, and she knew it.

go out into the world


in Paris


at Place des Terreaux in Lyon (same clothes, different city, different day. haha)

I’m not sure that this is one my mom has really taught me, per se, but there is no doubt in my mind that I inherited the travel bug from my mom. She grew up in New York and moved across the country at age 23 to San Francisco, where she basically lived out a Pursuit of Happyness type scenario for a while. I similarly wanted to move as far away from home as possible when I graduated high school, but settled for beautiful Santa Barbara 😉 Hey, a 6 hour car ride is still pretty far!

snacks are totally legitimate meals


this is how we bake christmas cookies

No explanation needed 😉

love your mother


One of my favorites: a 4 generation picture. My mom, her mom, my grandpa, his mom (my namesake) and me

I think all moms have a strained relationship with their daughter at some point. The length of that period varies, I’m sure. I was a terror as a teenager…I didn’t get into a lot of trouble, but I was just plain mean at times (if the whole not wanting to be seen with my mom at the middle school was any indication!). My mom didn’t always see eye to eye with her mom either. But when my grandma got sick my senior year of high school, I learned the importance of cherishing your family, despite how much you might get on each other’s nerves.

My grandma passed away that summer. It was our family’s first real experience with loss…but it brought us closer. That coupled with going away to college certainly helped me appreciate my parents more.


I know now that no one knows me better than my mom. She’s the only person whose advice I will take 100% of the time. She is strong, stubborn at times, creative, caring, and fun. I can only hope to be half the mother and wife she is someday. I don’t know what I’d do without her in my corner! I love you Mom and I hope you feel how much I appreciate you every day!






Happy Mother’s Day!


7 thoughts on “What My {Teacher} Mom Has Taught Me

  1. This is the sweetest Mother’s Day post I’ve read today! Gah, you’re the best daughter 🙂 And thank you for sharing these lessons, we oftentimes ALL need reminders of these every now and again!

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