Rules for Living: 5 Things My Mother Was Right About

When I was a kid, I thought a lot of the rules my mother imposed on us were capricious and arbitrary. It seemed like she was abusing her power, forcing us to conform to standards that didn’t make any freakin’ sense. To my pre-adolescent thinking, she was just being unfair. As an adolescent, she was clearly deliberately stifling my creativity and individuality.

Now that I’m a mother myself, I’ve done a 180. I get it. She wasn’t being unfair. She wasn’t thwarting anything. She was trying to simultaneously keep me alive and not lose her mind!

I now hear myself saying things she said to me and my sister and, far from lamenting the fact that I’m turning into my mother, I rejoice in knowing that I’m doing some of the kind of things that made me into a decent adult. The small things turn out to be really good rules for living and impart bigger lessons than I knew.

Here are five things my mom used to say to me that make perfect sense right now.

  • Rules for Living: 5 Things My Mother Was Right About 1 of 6
    mom was right
  • Eat What You Like, Don’t Eat What You Don’t Like and Don’t Talk About It 2 of 6
    mom knows best

    Anyone who's ever cooked a meal for a picky little kid knows the bubbling rage when your carefully prepared food is met with complaints. My mom hated the complaints. She took them personally and it hurt her feelings so she told us to leave the negative words unsaid. That lesson carried through to a lot of things in life. It's a practical variation on don't saying anything if you can't say anything nice.

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  • No Singing TV Commercials 3 of 6
    Mom knows best

    TV commercials are catchy and annoying. Getting them caught in your head is sublime torture. Having them sung tunelessly and relentlessly by a toddler is maddening. My mom wouldn't let us sing them, not just because of the annoyingness, but also to force us to use our imaginations instead of letting marketers rule our thoughts. To this day, I don't wear logos and I limit stuff with licensed characters because of this.

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  • No Singing at the Table 4 of 6
    Mom knows best

    Singing at the table is mostly just annoying. I didn't think it was annoying as a kid but my mom sure did and I was expected to respect that. It took a long time to understand that I should take other people's preferences into consideration but that lesson has stuck with me.

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  • Don’t Scream Unless You’re Bleeding From Three Places 5 of 6
    Mom knows best

    This is my mom's variant on the lessons of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. There's a time and a place for screaming bloody murder but an argument with your sister over a toy is not that time or place. I learned to save the hysterics for true emergencies rather than ramping my reactions up to 11 every single time I was upset.

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  • Sometimes The Screwin’ Ya Get Ain’t Worth The Screwin’ Ya Get 6 of 6
    Mom knows best

    This was wisdom my mom shared with me when I was a pre-teen. She got it from her father and it's probably the most perfect piece of advice ever handed down. It inelegantly  but clearly suggests thinking through the consequences before you act. It works in all kinds of situations: gorging on cake, yelling at someone for a momentary slight, spending a ton of money on something silly. Mom and I still dredge it up regularly, usually when some politician is involved in a scandal where the screwin' he got wasn't worth the follow up screwin' he got..

    Photo credit: photo stock

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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