Mama Says


I was so fortunate to be raised by two loving, generous, good-humored, hungry, ball-busting parents.  Both my mom and dad taught me a plethora of life lessons that range from real to ridiculous.  Oooh man… these parents of mine loooooove a good life lesson.  They relish it.  My mama, in particular, is full of hearty gemstones for living.  She didn’t teach me much about eye-liner or kitten heels… that I sort of figured out on my own (by making soooo many mistakes trying to copy Blossom).  Mama-knowledge was more along the lines of ‘you know I raised you better than that, now act right and eat your apple’.  The older I get the more I appreciate the woman who raised me… mostly because the older I get the more I realize what a ridiculous youth I must have been to endure.  She’s a strong one and I feel blessed to have her.

Mama Says (or heavily implies):

–  Do not steal a person’s scissors.  More specifically, do not steal my scissors.  Just because you see scissors in the house does not mean they’re your scissors.  They’re for fabric, not construction paper.  Do not make the mistake of stealing my scissors.  Thank you.

–  We’re going to hem your pants and you’re not going to like it, but we’re going to do it anyway.  I don’t care if your friends at school don’t hem their pants.  If your friends at school tripped and fell off a bridge because they didn’t hem their pants, would you trip and fall off a bridge too?  No.  You’re welcome.

–  Always leave a place cleaner than you found it.  This often means cleaning a bathroom you do not want to clean.  Do it… even though you don’t want to.

–  No, you can not borrow my calligraphy pens.  Thank you for asking nicely.  Still… no.

–  Be the best of you that you can be.

–  ‘Shut-up’ is a bad word.  (Joy’s personal amendment:  unless you mean it in a good way.)

–  Donate everything.  Mostly your time and your clothes.

–  Happy 12th birthday.  I’m going to teach you how to do your own laundry now.  That’s that.

–  Hand-wash means wash by hand.  Follow directions.

–  Don’t do it.  You’ll get pregnant.  You really will…  don’t do it.

–  Don’t you dare come in this house pregnant if you don’t mean to be pregnant.  I don’t care if you’re 31.

–  You’re hungry?  Eat an apple.  You don’t want an apple?  You must not be hungry.

–  Yes I have Tums in my purse.  No, Joy… they’re not candy.  Get a hold of yourself.  Do you want an apple?  You must not be hungry.  Again… Tums are not candy.

–  I don’t put up with nonsense and I didn’t teach you to put up with nonsense either.

–  Doing things you don’t want to do when you’re a kid is really good practice for a being an adult and doing all the things that you don’t want to do… that’s why we’re picking you up from your best friends sleepover party early on Sunday morning and dragging you to church when none of your other friends have to leave early and go to church.  It’s ok that it’s not fair.  It’s ok that you’re whining.  You’re learning discipline and it’s a reeaallllyyy hard lesson to learn.

–  Because I said so.

–  Be braver than you think you can be.  Take my lead.


196 thoughts on “Mama Says

  1. what a GREAT post from a couple of GREAT moms! if EVERYone taught their kids these principles, the world would be a much better place and there would be a lot more kindness everywhere. just sayin.

  2. Love this!! The words “because I said so” hount me to this day ;) I don’t know how often I heard that….and I keep repeating it to my nephews constantly. Sometimes that’s just all you can say;)

  3. love your tribute! mama knows best! when i was a kid, i thought to myself ” i don’t want to be like mom; i’m going to do things differently.” of course, now that i have my own kids, i realize that mom did know best. And ya know what, i’ve turned into my mother! i catch myself saying the things that she used to say. i love your blog!!!

  4. eat an apple!!!!!!!! i do this one to my kids all the time! i may have become my mother… and that’s not a bad gig.
    my momma also used to pick me up from sleepovers for church. lesson learned. lesson appreciated. thanks for the reminders, joy!

  5. Wow–I’m only in my 30s (with 4 kids) and your mom and I say the same things. I like to think that I just have some old fashioned ways about me or that your mom was ahead of her time. ha ha
    *especially the laundry–no reason you can’t do it at 12 if you can reach the detergent and knobs, you are ready!

  6. I think your mom and my mom have the same philosophy on life. But my mom adds in, “No, you will NOT be carsick. We don’t get carsick.” and she wears a sheriff’s badge pin that says “Trailboss”. God bless our mothers!

  7. Loved these so much. And made me miss my mom. I hope my daughter reflects like this about me (she’s 24). And give your mom a big hug.

  8. the scissors rule: i learned early on that my children just wanted to use the scissors with the colored handles…..and so i learned to buy ugly sewing scissors for myself and leave the purple or red handled scissors for them…and the paper uses! and, voila, they stopped taking my scissors! much much easier than the frustration that existed otherwise!

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