1. Home
  2. Growing
  3. Up
  4. German
  5. In
  6. America
  7. Lessons I Learned from My Oma… Now I’m Sharing them with You
Lessons I Learned from My Oma…  Now I’m Sharing them with You

Lessons I Learned from My Oma… Now I’m Sharing them with You



What other Oma lessons did you learn??

lessons I learned from my oma
Oma and her dog, Ben

We are coming up on my Oma’s birthday, and although she’s no longer with us, I will never forget all the life lessons she taught me. Now, don’t go thinking she sat me down in front of a chalk board and hammered this stuff into my brain. Oma was way more subtle than that! (In fact, she was downright sneaky) And some of these bits of wisdom didn’t really “click” until I got a little more experience under my belt (Ok, I mean, I got old enough to figure it out).

Now, my Oma never went to college, or even high school. She trained in what we would call Home Economics on a Farm. So, maybe she wasn’t highly educated, but she was smart, practical, and a heck of a role model.

Since I’m pretty sure Oma Wisdom is universal… I thought I’d share my list of Lessons I Learned From my Oma… let’s see if you agree.

Lessons I Learned from my Oma

A simple meal of Potato Pancakes can be more delicious than eating at a fancy restaurant. Especially if she makes them with bacon…

Never Be Late! Granted, this is a universal German rule. But Oma taught me that if you are late… you might miss some extra juicy gossip, or worse, you might become the SUBJECT of gossip.

Open up your Rolladen (Window Blinds) early. This way the neighbors won’t think you are lazy and sleeping in every day. (Of course, the neighbors have no way of knowing if you take a nap after lunch)

Einen Kürzen (quick shot of Schnapps) at lunch not only helps digestion, it’s also a good way to ease into that nap.

The best time to Vacuum is at 5:30 AM. Apparently, this is when the dust bunnies are least active, and easier to catch. It’s also a good way to passive aggressively get your California grandchild out of bed.

Frische Luft (fresh air) cures all! Jet lag? open those windows and let in fresh air! Cooking? open those windows to let out cooking smells! Feeling tired or sick? Go outside and get some fresh air!

Drafts are deadly/ Es ZIEHT!. This might contradict the whole Frische Luft thing… but think about all the exercise you get opening and closing windows. Not to mention, it’s a great and constant topic of conversation.

You can’t spend more cash than you have in your wallet. If you don’t have the money, you don’t need the thing.

Keep your garden free of weeds. Not only does it look nicer, it’s a great way to keep the kids occupied. (They will only say “I’m bored” ONE TIME)

Laugh lines are much more beautiful than frown lines.

You don’t need Facebook to remember birthdays, just a little calendar book with nice sayings.

Keep your lower back warm, and the rest of you will stay warm. My poor kids almost passed out from heat stroke, because I kept them bundled up and wearing undershirts for year. Granted, Germany is a bit cooler than California…

One great way to keep leaves from falling all over your lawn is to climb up in the tree and rake them before they fall (this is a true story).

Talk back to the radio, it can’t argue with you.

Monday is Laundry day, it just is. I have rebelled by doing laundry on different days, but I always seem to forget to finish, or miss a load when I do this. Clearly, the universe (and Oma) insist on Mondays for washing.

Tuesday is Ironing Day. (See Above….) You do not want to leave a basket of ironing around the house… EVER! (Unlike Oma, I don’t iron dish towels… but I wish there was a Heißmangel for tablecloths in town!)

Always lick the bottom of the yogurt foil, always use the butter wrapper to grease your pans, and always use up the last of the stale bread as breadcrumbs. After being hungry, waste is unthinkable.

You don’t need a gym membership, you just need Keller (cellar) stairs. (And if you have a dog dann kannst du mit dem Hund Gassi gehen…. you can take the dog for a walk)

A piece of cake never hurt anyone, and a second piece keeps the first one company.

Dwelling on negative things doesn’t help. When something bad happens, talk about it, learn, and then move on.

Work hard, love your family, make lifelong friends, and squeeze every minute out of life!


I hope now that I can pass on these lessons to my kids, and eventually, my grand kids….


What other Oma lessons did you learn??

UPDATE- I’ve Gotten a few fore “Lessons” from Readers that I want to share-

Wer feiern kann, kann auch arbeiten- If you are able to celebrate, you are able to work-
Nothing like coming in at 4 am from a party, and having Oma wake you at 6 am with chores….

Was du heute kannst besorgen, verschiebe nicht auf Morgen- What you can do today, don’t put off until tomorrow- (I really have to get my son on board with this one)

“You can`t stand on one leg”– This is a follow up to the cake thing… One piece of cake, candy, yummy thing is never enough, there must be balance.





  1. I never met my two Omas as I was a late arrival, and sadly they died before I was old enough to meet them. However your articles resonate with me in every way!my mother beeing German used the exact words and phrases when I was growing up! I can still hear her now! I do enjoy your posts, as they bring back wonderful memories! Thank you, Elli

  2. I enjoyed the “Sessions I Learned from my Oma” section. Now that “I am Oma” too I can surely relate! Three grandchildren call me Oma (& one one the way in May 2018)! I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything – being Oma is AWESOME!

  3. I had a Grandmother and an Oma growing up. I loved to sit on my Omas lap and she told me: “Zotta powa am Kanowa” means “Old men with long hair” while she puled my hair gently. My Oma grew up in Poland, but she was German. My Grandmother kept all kind of things, like old pages of a calendar and she smelled like lavender. She wrote poems. This talent I did inherited from her. But I can’t remember any lessons, sorry. Only from my parents of course.

  4. Was du nicht willst, daß dir man tut, das tu auch keinem anderen zu. (What you don’t want done to you, don’t do to others).

  5. Here a few more:
    Von Nichts kommt Nichts – From Nothing comes Nothing
    Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof – Life is not a Ponyfarm
    Nimm dir Zeit und nicht das Leben – Take your time and not your life
    Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt ist des Talers nicht wert – The one who doesn’t honor the penny ist not worth the dollar


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *