When I was much younger and a lot less wiser, I can remember thinking that my Mom continues to say the same things over and over to me. When visiting friends, I would hear their Moms say some of the very same things. It was almost as if they all went to the very same Momma Class 101 to learn these phrases. Just as I am sure that they thought we all got together to learn how to let their cliche phrases go in one ear and out the other. Turns out they were right, all along.
As time passed, it just so happened that my friends and I found ourselves using some of these words/phrases with our own children. Then the BIG surprise comes when your own children have children and these words are coming out of their mouths to your very own grandchildren. It must be something in the DNA or a hormonal thing.
All joking aside, it seems that these are wise words of advice to get along in life. These are the 'soft skills' that you don't always get from a formal education. It is what we learn at home and it is up to the parents to teach it. Let's go over a few of them. I am sure that some of you can add many that I left out. Please don't hesitate to add them in the comment section at the end of this blog.
- Respect your elders - My brother and I lived with our Mom and her Mother and Father. All three of them taught us at a very early age to always respect our elders - ALL elders! Being from the South meant answering with a "mam" or a "sir" with that yes or no. To this day, I still find myself answering all elders using these words.
- Early to bed, early to rise - There was a time that I thought just because they were tired does not mean that I am. When I was a tired Mom of younger children, all I could think about was getting both kiddos to bed so that I could go to bed. Yet, when I was a teenager and going out with friends it seemed to be repeated even more. I learned that once I had my own children I could not go to sleep until they came home safely. There was no rest for the weary. I do know that my own children are in the early stages of this cliche with my grandchildren. All of our grandchildren are under the age of 5. Surely you remember those young ages? Just the age that can really totally wear adults out and hope for an early bedtime so they can get some rest. It is after all, a proven fact that we function best with a good night's sleep, both for work and school. The time will come when it all goes smoothly until the teenage years come into view.
- Afternoon Nap Time - I know that I am not alone in remembering this ritual. It was not until I had my own children that I came to recognize the importance of this. In fact, I had an older neighbor who looked remarkably well for her age. She asked me whether or not I took a nap when my children did because this is what she said kept her looking younger. I admitted that most of the time, I used nap time to clean things up around the house. Her wise advice to me was that every one needs a nap. There has been research proving that a 20 minute 'power nap' can do a world of good for all adults. I have heard that a lot of famous leaders follow this advice simply because it lowers stress, can help lower blood pressure, and can motivate the brain to think clearly again.
- Be thankful for what you have - It is part of my positive mantra that I say to myself now as an adult. I believe we all need to be thankful for what we have and not ever take it for granted. Thinking about all the things that you are grateful for, or even making a list helps you see just how good you have it. Sometimes, we have to pull ourselves up from the world throwing messages towards us such as do this, do that, work more, work harder...this just tends to cause more stress and higher blood pressure. One particular story that comes to my mind is when my Mom sat me down to tell me to be careful what I asked my Papaw for, because he would fly to the moon to get it for me. For some reason, even though I was a young age, this stuck in my mind. (I think that I was trying to imagine how he would get to the moon). Be happy with what you have and let surprises play out spontaneously. Have a grateful attitude!
- Keep your hands washed - Goodness gracious, even to the point of getting a little step stool for me and my brother; no one was going to get by with dirty, grimy hands or even ones that looked clean at our house. With all of the germs out there, it is a good thing that I did follow this, even though as a child, I constantly had to be reminded. My kids did too. I am sure all kids do but it is a healthy habit that you want them to continue with for life.
- Eat your veggies and fruits - I have become aware of how important this is. For those who go to the extreme and become vegetarians, then I say good for them. I can't go that route, however, I am well aware of trying to get in the recommended about of 5 a day. Most children have some veggie or fruit that they just will not eat. Having a child sit until they eat it all is not very healthy, in my opinion. Find the veggies and fruits that they do like, simply to make everyone a happy camper. Many times the crunchiness of raw veggies (which are even healthier than cooked) will stir up an interest in a child.
- Don't sweat the small stuff - If you have even a touch of OCD, then you will drive yourself over the edge if you continue on that path. My Mamaw was the one in our household who would be the one to calm everyone down with her gentle southern drawl by telling us to sit down and think if what we were babbling on and on about was really that important? She could have written the best selling book by Richard Carlson called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. It came out in the late 1990's. Mamaw was so ahead of her time, even though she used her own words to give us this same message. As an adult, I have found my own way to step back and stop worrying about all the little things that can turn my day into a disaster if I allow it. Teaching children at early ages that it is okay not to be perfect and always have the ideal situation is an essential life lesson. Make the best of what you can. No need to throw a tantrum over some trivial event. I am here to say that there are plenty of adults who do this very thing. I
- If you keep making that face, it'll freeze that way - This one is actually true and it is as healthy for you to follow as the ones I listed above. How, you ask? Of course, when this was said to me, it was because I was being a sassy little brat making ugly faces or frowning pitifully because I did not get my way. As it turns out, if one does continue to furrow their eyebrows and frown more than smile, scientific research has proven that deep creased wrinkles will appear faster than if you had choosen to smile. TRUE!
A few quick phrases that we all heard and need no explanations at all:
- because I said so, that's why
- quiet down, I can't think
- one day you will thank me
- if all your friends jumped off the bridge, would you
- don't use that tone with me Missy
- your room looks like a tornado came through
- beds are not made for jumping
- close the door, you don't live in a barn
- do you think I am made of money
- put a coat on, you are making me cold
- say that again and I'll wash your mouth out with soap
Let's just admit it right now, that most Moms will always be full of Momisms. You can't run from it. Luckily for me those words of wisdom stuck with me and there will be ones that pop out of my children's mouth that they remember hearing me say. One of my children's pediatricians said to me that they teach the medical science side in med school, however, he has learned even more over the years from thousands of mothers who can't all be wrong.