“The warnings grew worse, depending on the danger at hand. Sex education, for example, consisted of the following advice: ‘Don’t ever let boy kiss you. You do, you can’t stop. Then you have baby. You put baby in garbage can. Police find you, put you in jail, then you life over, better just kill youself.” ― Amy Tan, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life
The rare advice my Mom gave did come from left field, but thank God it was not as daunting as the warnings issued by Amy Tan’s Mom. Moms will dish out advice, generally unsolicited. My Mom was a different bird; she had a unique way of seeing the world and responding to it.
Mom shared her opinions frequently but seldom words of advice. She was terribly in love with her kids and guided us the best she knew how. I found her funny and intimidating in equal measure. Some of her words of wisdom still make me howl with laughter.
You’re not old enough yet to read that. Her response after thumbing through one of my books. I was about fifty at the time.
You and your sister have terrible memories, you shouldn’t eat food with preservatives! She might be right about this one. Notice she did not say “you kids”; our brother can tell you what he ate for lunch on March 1st, 1978!
You should have your Monday Tuesday Wednesday clothes ready ahead of time! When we went on trips she insisted that we lay our “outfits” for each day out on the bed according to day for easy packing. Yes, we’re all just a tad anal.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice comfort to look pretty. The first time she said this to me I was the flower girl in a wedding. The dress was stiff fabric with an enormous thick, ruffled, barbed wire like petticoat and I wore headgear of some manner. The entire ensemble itched and scratched with every breath. Tiny Lady Gaga gone wrong. Although I confess to having worn uncomfortable clothes at times, about fifteen years ago I took them (all high heels included) to the Goodwill.
Children are to be seen and not heard. And they wonder why I’m an introvert.
It was between when we went and when we didn’t. Her recollection of when something occurred.
Hitch your wagon to a star! When I was small, I wondered a great deal about this advice. Yes, I had a wagon, but it was nowhere near tall enough to reach that high. In hindsight, this may be why I believe in magic.
Go take a bath! This advice rendered relief for any malady. A headache, broken leg, math test the next day, broken heart, or gas.
Ladies don’t drag their bottoms on the Floor! Advice to my one-year-old Chihuahua. Marley, fourteen now, still strongly disagrees.
Never trust a man who wears a necklace. Yeah she was pretty much spot on with this one.
Wear supportive underwear or a girdle if you have wiggle-waggle on the bottom. Still wearing Bikinis Mom, and yes I know I have some wiggle-waggle.
Look at you, that’s not you! For a few years, two little boys lived next door to my folks and followed my parents everywhere they went. (to their delight) The smaller one pointed to a portrait of Mom in the bedroom and asked who it was. When Mom told him it was her, he exclaimed “Look at you. That’s not you! This became Mom’s mantra anytime we had something on she didn’t like.
Nice girls don’t kiss boys. This, as I was leaving for a hay ride with a gaggle of teenagers. Total buzz kill.
I’m not very hungry tonight. Mom was a masterful country cook, me not-so-much. Nonetheless, I did most of the cooking when I was married even though my husband was a chef. When she visited, Mom would cut up her food, stir it about on her plate and try her best not to eat it. To circumvent this display, we just told her my husband had prepared the meal. She ate it and complimented it every time.
You can’t wear that dress, it’s so short I can almost see your twinkie. When shorter skirts came on the scene, she began this lament.
You need to gain some weight, you have no hips! Well, I have certainly have them now, in addition to several other blobs of unneeded adipose tissue. Happy Mom?
Honey, put this in your Bosom to keep your cash in at the casino. It’s worked for me. Mom’s advice to granddaughter Jessica when she moved to Niagra Falls. She handed her a tiny white fabric pouch.
Be sure and get a cute one. Her response when I told her I was adopting a child.
You don’t like to be told what to do, but everyone looks better with a little makeup. I was fifty before I ventured out of the house without makeup in fear that folks who saw me would turn to stone.
Your mouth. . .never mind. It’s too late now! Mom’s reaction to seeing my sister Jan’s smile after she had just spent a tidy sum on cosmetic dentistry.
If it has tires or testicles, you are going to have trouble with it! The best advice she ever gave me! Amen, thanks Mom, miss you so.
“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality.
It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” ― Erma Bombeck
I love this. Our mothers were very much alike. Probably a generational thing.
I NEVER leave the house without lipstick- it would likely disturb her eternal rest!!
Love you! LA
Where did we come from? Our mothers were so alike yet so different. I shall have to tell you someday in person.
I think all the Farley girls had some of the same advice. I miss my mom and wish she was still here to give advice and be interested in my life.
I know, I miss Mom and Dad terribly. Some days it is still so hard.
Loved this. I can’t share what my mom’s advise was publicly but it was about sex…what NOT to do 😊
Thank you for sharing this Karen. I so wish we could return to a time when our parents were young and healthy.