Metatalktail Hour: Mama Said May 13, 2023 7:22 AM   Subscribe

It's Mothers Day weekend in some places. What's something your mother told you that sticks with you? (Or a mother figure told you: TV mom, teacher, friend with strong maternal energy...) Advice, jokes, songs, shaggy dog stories, facts, aphorisms, etc.

Or just tell us what you're up to, how you're doing, who you're cheering for in the Eurovision Grand Final, how long you think theodolite can keep up her very impressive Jeopardy! win streak, etc. No politics please!

(Also, I like metatalktails, but probably won't keep remembering to post every week. So if other people have topics, feel free to jump on in next week. Not sure if mods can keep a queue of posts for weekends?)
posted by the primroses were over to MetaFilter-Related at 7:22 AM (52 comments total)

My mother, a child of the Depression, had a little motto which became so ingrained, at one of my brother's prompting, we all shouted it out, at her memorial service:
Use it up!
Wear it out!
Make it do
Or do without!
Once my older brother repeated this to an Army officer he was working with, said officer so impressed he whipped out his little notebook and wrote it down.
posted by Rash at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2023 [16 favorites]

I am not entirely on board with Australia competing in Eurovision.

I am entirely on board with Australia's entry this year.
posted by Dysk at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

The fact that this is the ONLY advice my mother ever gave me is tragically funny: "If you're about to go out on a date but you have gas, jogging in place will get rid of it!" (We actually do have a pretty good relationship, against all odds.)
posted by HotToddy at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2023 [4 favorites]

Mom didn't realize she was doing so at the time, but she taught me to set strong healthy personal boundaries.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:16 AM on May 13, 2023 [7 favorites]

On Mothers Day, I always think of my aunt, who was my mom's twin and the opposite of her in almost every way. I had the benefit of growing up queer with a mother figure who spent the '70s in San Francisco, and she was perfectly positioned to help me negotiate the hard realities of gay life as a late adolescent. One afternoon in college I'd called her to commiserate over the end of some transitory friendship. Knowing me at that age, I was probably trying to find all the ways to blame myself for whatever had transpired. She let me gas myself out, took a solid beat, and said: "Why does everybody have to like you?"

That sentence exploded my entire cosmology of human relationships up to that point. She saw me mirroring her sister's people-pleasing ways and taught me to recognize it. I wasn't naturally inclined to grant myself much forgiveness, and while it couldn't save me from the more insidious forms of codependency, it's helped me navigate a whole lot of deeply uncomfortable moments in platonic, romantic, and professional relationships. People will find you (strange / aloof / distasteful / unreasonable / difficult / etc) and it's completely out of your control, and actually fine in most cases.

I'll see myself out with a quote from the late, great Scott Miller, who released this song the same year of that conversation.

Hi, I'm Silent Steve—or Chatty Charles—I'll take requests
What kind of numbers do you think I'm going to need?
Finding ones to test themselves and come on like a sharpened pencil
Work inside the lines of someone's greed
I can't sit and make myself want nothing
But I won't go knocking doors to find out
How many tickets to me I can sell

posted by mykescipark at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2023 [7 favorites]

Label the behavior, not the person.

"My brother is being a jerk" --> ok

"My brother is a jerk" --> not ok
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:10 AM on May 13, 2023 [3 favorites]

Despite providing this prompt, I don't have a fun answer for it. I'm doing a mother's day picnic with Mom and sister tomorrow, so I'll try to note any particular witticisms or wisdom! My mom is awesome, but she's the source of so much of my worldview that it's hard to pull out a single piece to point at as "the thing my mom taught me."

In case anyone is interested but not prone to checking fanfare, PearlRose has a post up for Eurovision Grand Final chatter. Final starts at 2100 CEST/1500 EDT/1300 PDT. Don't be late; the first entry is one of the best/weirdest!
posted by the primroses were over at 10:13 AM on May 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

1200 PDT! D'oh.
posted by the primroses were over at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

My mother was a terrible person, so Mother's Day clangs hollow to me. However, I've been fortunate, late in life, to have a co-worker who is a great mom and who I can appreciate from a distance.
posted by SPrintF at 11:34 AM on May 13, 2023 [9 favorites]

My mom and dad got divorced my senior year of high school. (They both ultimately remarried and were very happy in their second marriages.)

My first years of college were my Mom's first years of being newly single. My Mom believed that you never knew what was around the corner, what was coming up. Although it is not in my natural temperament to think that way, I think about her words a fair amount.
posted by wittgenstein at 12:30 PM on May 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm with you, SPrintF. I've formed a habit of remembering Good Mom things that I overhear or that friends say to their children--stuff my mother never said, implied, or, as far as I can tell, even thought. Here are a few: "That's good, you did what you had to do to take care of yourself." "If anyone says that to you again, you come to me and I'll help." "You won't always feel this bad."

As for Mother's Day itself, I like to say, "Happy the Day When I Am Wished a Happy Mother's Day by People Who Assume All Women Are Mothers Even Though That Is Incorrect."
posted by scratch at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2023 [5 favorites]

My mother had a saying that I *think* she made up. She would say this when she didn’t understand: “I’m not sure I understand all I know about that.”
posted by dbmcd at 4:28 PM on May 13, 2023 [5 favorites]

This is my first Mother’s Day without mine, and I’m struggling with the prompt. I can’t remember a thing she said as I spent most of the last thirty years either doing my best to avoid talking to her, or gritting my teeth and asking my sister to pass her the phone when I called, because I knew it was the right thing to do. The last ten years or so, when she chose to totally isolate herself in my sister’s tiny condo (ruining the last 17 years of my sister’s life is on the list of things I’ll never forgive our mother for), she was sucked down the cable news wormhole, though luckily, I guess, it was MSNBC, not Fox, to the point that I had to make it clear that we wouldn’t be discussing politics if only because, even if we were nearly on the same side of things, I was calling to talk to her, not about what she’d seen on the news.

I’ve never been unaware that she was at least part of my decision to stay in Japan permanently, and that by deciding that, I was doing the “I only have to outrun the bear” punchline to my sister, who, when the time came, had to open her home when our mom ran out of other people to use, and I’ll never be able to apologize to my sister enough, and never not be the shitty brother who let her deal with all of that. I got to live my life in a foreign country, get married, and build a life, while she was stuck with her.

I’m trying. I know there was positive. Part of me thinks we’re supposed to say “she was survived by…” but we survived her, but barely, and with my sister much more damaged by her than I was. Parts of who I am are a reaction against her extremes. She was in incredibly poor health, but she was also an amazing hypochondriac, and did her best to Munchausen by proxy me and my sister. For me, that meant ignoring any possible illness or symptom of anything I’ve had for so long that I’m a goddamn mess, and any time I have to beg out of anything simply because I can’t physically do it, I feel like an utter failure. She was ridiculously late to everything, like *hours* late, which has made me absurdly punctual. I am the guy who arrives twenty or thirty minutes early to things, and gets a coffee to wait so I don’t show up too early. She taught me (by vivid example) how to use people, how to get them to do what you want, and I try so hard not to use that because I recognize where that left her, but goddamn, it can be so tempting, and I can’t lie and say I haven’t.

There are good things, or there were good things I was able to build on. She was a tremendous artist (though in that, too, I am conflicted, and have ugly opinions that I have only ever said to my sister), and, as a single mother with two children and no reliable place to stash me (my sister was older, and could feasibly take care of herself), would take me with her, driving through the Midwest, and even out to New York to various art shows. From the age of nine, it was sit and be bored, or make myself useful, and goddamn, did I learn salesmanship. I only ever dabbled my toe in it during college, but I’ve been able to get almost anyone to buy anything ever since. It’s not a career I would ever choose, but it’s still incredibly useful, but also deeply fucked that I find it hard to turn off the sales thing during simple social interactions, even if I have no idea what it is I’m supposed to be selling. Maybe some better, less fucked up image of myself, so this poor sucker, I mean friend, won’t look at the goddamn mess I am and do that slow backwards retreat from a situation they want no part of?

She taught me how to cook. She showed me how to make rice on the stove, to bake chicken breasts, and to steam vegetables, and she had me make Shabbat dinner, probably also around the age of nine. It didn’t become my weekly responsibility, but we would take turns, and I was in the rotation. Whether or not cooking for others as a way of showing love came from her, or if that’s my own thing I added in, I don’t know, but I know that she showed me how, and then left me in the kitchen to find my own way, and there’s a direct line between that, and the experience of opening my own short lived restaurant, which is, to this day, the experience, the people I came to know through it, and the friends I still have from those days, the best thing I’ve ever done.

I can’t change things. She’s gone, and for us, it’s the long slow process of dealing with that, and recovering from her impact on our lives. It doesn’t change the fact that so much of what she did to us was because of what was done to her. She deserved better. She deserved a life less full of the hurt and damage that shaped her, and made her unable to avoid passing that on.

I guess, from not just her, from both of my parents, that’s the thing I’ve learned, that no matter how hard I would try, I wouldn’t be able to avoid passing this shit on. Not having kids doesn’t necessarily just happen, but both Mrs. Ghidorah and I are okay with that decision, each of us for our own reasons.

Happy Mother’s Day, I guess.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:28 PM on May 13, 2023 [29 favorites]

The only phrase of hers that I’ll use occasionally is “Better than a kick in the teeth with a frozen boot.” This accurately describes my childhood
posted by shock muppet at 6:25 PM on May 13, 2023

I like it, very picturesque!

The phrase my friends and I used was "Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick" - until one of them got the words mixed up one night, and thereafter we used "Better than a sharp in the eye with a poke stick".
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:35 PM on May 13, 2023

‘You’re too young to have so much gray hair.”
posted by hwyengr at 7:24 PM on May 13, 2023

No comment on my mom. But being a good parent is a difficult task, there is not enough time, not enough moments, not enough security, not enough sleep, but seeing them develop into the people they are, already, is the best.
posted by Oyéah at 8:06 PM on May 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

Greet the day with an open heart, and clean up your damn room!
posted by hairless ape at 10:43 PM on May 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

My mother, rest in peace, had the unique ability to talk to little children for a long time. She would call my house when my kids were 7-8-9 and around those years and talk to my boys for like 20 minutes each and my daughter for like 45 minutes. My daughter would bring me the phone after the kids had been on the phone with her for well over an hour. I was always surprised she was still on the phone. I used to then get updates on my own kids from her.

I asked her how she could talk to them for so long and get so much information. She always said, "Not talked. I listened". My kids, now 20 years later still remember talking to Grandma all the time.

My mom taught me about "yes days". When I was young, without telling us, she would make a day a surprise "yes day". "Mom, can we have ice cream?" Yes. Can we go to the toy store? Yes. She would say yes to any request that would not hurt us. It took until we were like 13 to catch on. I continued the tradition with my kids. Two or three times a year, it would be a yes day.

I also remember backwards days when we would have hot dogs and tater tots with a milkshake for breakfast and scrambled eggs and bacon for dinner

My mom found a healthy balance between being stern and having fun.

Her favorite saying was, "This too shall pass."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:05 AM on May 14, 2023 [15 favorites]

Jeff Beck "What Mamma Said"
posted by mightshould at 3:00 AM on May 14, 2023

My mother is a pretty nice woman, but the thing that has stuck with me the most was, "You shouldn't choose that red dress for the dance. Red is a slut color."
posted by Night_owl at 4:47 AM on May 14, 2023 [3 favorites]

This is from my maternal grandmother: God gave you two ears and one mouth, so listen more than you talk.

As it happens, I was a very shy child and haaaaated asking for help, so my mother turned that one around: God gave you a mouth, so use it.

Brilliant bit of modifying the parenting to meet the needs of the child.
posted by basalganglia at 5:31 AM on May 14, 2023 [6 favorites]

Wisdom from my mother that has thus far held true:
“If someone doesn’t like both dogs and cats at least a little, don’t fully trust them.”
“All ways of making potatoes are good, but when roasting them, if you can wait until just before they start to burn everyone will ask you for the recipe but never be able to make them like you do.”
“You don’t have to like most people, but you do have to put up with them.”
“If the door is cracked you can just come in, but try to be quiet. Don’t wake me up unless you’re bleeding, something is on fire, or you just threw up.”
posted by Mizu at 6:12 AM on May 14, 2023 [4 favorites]

My mom’s parenting philosophy was “pick your battles.” I’ve found that really hard to apply, not because I like fighting, but because I’m not in this alone and I find myself conscripted into the battles of other people sometimes. But I’m quite sure my mom was right about that.

I got a card this morning from Little e that included the hand scrawled line “you fight to support me,” and it definitely got a little dusty in here.
posted by eirias at 6:54 AM on May 14, 2023 [7 favorites]

In 2000, I took an 8-months trip across Africa by motorcycle. When I got back to the Netherlands, she came to see me almost as soon as possible. She hugged me, then looked me over thoroughly, and then said: "You've grown."
I was 32 at the time, so she did not mean physical growth.

My father was worried and scared throughout those eight months. The first thing he said when he saw me again was "Good. Now never ever do that again."
My mother was worried too but she was also happy that I was getting to have a great adventure. She realised that it was dangerous but she trusted me and also saw the good side of going on such an amazing trip.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:57 AM on May 14, 2023 [12 favorites]

My mom always said "it's better to be independent" rather than relying on the kindness/support of others when setting off on any endeavour. She meant that it was fine to work with/cooperate with people, but you should always have a plan to take care of yourself by yourself just in case any promises are broken or support falls through.

Although that advice felt harsh sometimes when growing up ("what do you mean I can't trust my best friends?"), it has stood me in very good stead throughout my life. Not only has it meant that I've accomplished more of my own goals than average, at least among my peers, it has given me agency and choice in many situations that might have been toxic if I'd felt that I had no option but to stay in them.

A largely unstated corollary of this advice was her philosophy that the kindest thing you can do for someone else is to foster their independence, which also felt harsh as a kid, but has now become one of my own deepest personal beliefs.
posted by rpfields at 10:08 AM on May 14, 2023 [2 favorites]

"When you're making big decisions, it's great to have a Plan A, but it's equally important find something inspiring/to look forward to in your Plan B (and probably a C, D, E & F), because the disappointments will come, but so will the rewards, sometimes even especially in the places that you don't initially expect. Most of us aren't lucky enough to get our first chance at or first choice of anything in life, but almost none of us are aware of how many beautiful and extraordinary paths are still available to us."

I literally think about this every day.
posted by thivaia at 12:12 PM on May 14, 2023 [5 favorites]

My mother, rest in peace, had the unique ability to talk to little children for a long time.

I call my mother The Toddler Whisperer because she can do the same. She applied for a job at the University of Connecticut's Early Childhood Education Child Lab and was accepted; the job technically required candidates to have a Masters' Degree in Early Childhood Education and Mom only has a BFA in painting, but she exudes such obvious This Person Is Good With Little Kids energy that they made an exception.

We spoke this morning by phone. I sprung for a box of donuts from Donut Plant here in NYC shipped there via GoldBelly (I was going to make a cake and mail it but that didn't get done in time); turns out that donuts were the better idea anyway, because she started reminiscing about getting donuts from a local spot in the town where I grew up and how it's been SO long since she had a proper donut, so apparently I done real good. She's doing a little gardening today and then likely will join my brother's family later in the afternoon for a spell.

....I meanwhile have just come in from a 5-hour shift in the community garden; we were supposed to be putting in a whole bunch of native perennials the city's garden program was giving out to all the gardens, and I called a work session and put out the call for volunteers during my shift. One person showed up and could only stay an hour, so we did the bulk of the work....and then right when I was about to leave about 5 other people came to work on their own plots with only one saying "oh yeah, you had perennials you need help putting in, right?" We had only one flat of black-eyed Susans to go, so I handed them to him (he said he knew EXACTLY where he could put them) and I came home.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2023 [2 favorites]

My Mother was probably bipolar, certainly an alcoholic, def. self-medicating. She didn't much enjoy having a bunch of kids; it's always been a day of conflicted feelings. We eventually had a relationship, but never a Hallmark card one. I spent the day with my grown kid and his sweetie, who I like a lot. He was affectionate, we told stories, I asked about stuff (He didn't experience significant bullying in school, whew), I brought brunch, we took a drive and a hike, and it was a lovely day.

Parenting is a ton of work, parenting a difficult kid even more so, having a co-parent who is adversarial, angry, vengeful, just sucks so much. Happy Mother's Day to MeFite Moms, daughters, sons, non-binary kids. Most parents do the best they can, sadly, it's often woefully short of the mark. Hugs, a shoulder, good wishes to anybody feeling needy.

My Mother's Day gift is that my son will help me do some projects that need an extra set of hands. On my way home, a nearby community is having heavy item pickup. I scored some tarps needed for a landscape project, and 2 director chairs in excellent condition. totally chuffed with this bonus.
posted by theora55 at 6:20 PM on May 14, 2023 [6 favorites]

For me, that meant ignoring any possible illness or symptom of anything I’ve had for so long that I’m a goddamn mess, and any time I have to beg out of anything simply because I can’t physically do it, I feel like an utter failure.

Awww, I am sorry. My mom was like this too and I am a little like this too. For me, time helped.

Yesterday was a weird perfect storm in that it was the anniversary of my father's death (in 2011 but I have Buddhist family members who always note it which is nice but also less nice) as well as Mother's Day (she died in 2017 but we just sold her house earlier this year). I had to drop my car at the mechanic in the next town and my friend who was my ride home was like "Let's get an early dinner" which would have been nice except the restaurants were PACKED and only then was I like "Ohhhh right!"

My mom was mean as a snake but also charming and charismatic. I liked her a lot as a person and really didn't like her as a mother because her parenting was largely performative. THAT SAID, she was fierce as a momma bear if someone crossed her or us. I remember when I was a little kid, maybe eight, I had to pass a guy on the sidewalk who reached out and smacked me on the ass for some reason. My mother was behind me and she chased that guy down and yelled at him. My French teacher called me a bitch once. My mom nearly got her fired. But her rage could be indiscriminate. When the DMV told her she needed to get a new license photo taken during a time when her hair was messed up because of chemo, she yelled at a clerk who probably couldn't have changed the policy (she eventually got the keep the license photo she had until her hair grew back in). One of the things I remember from my childhood was a lot of yelling (her and my dad). One of the things I do not do is yell.

After she died, we were cleaning out her file drawers and found a folder just called "Bitchy Letters" which were carbon copies of all the rage-y letters (mostly righteous, not always) she'd sent to people. When we had her memorial service--a huge outdoor affair that I swear half the old timers in the town came to including her mailman and her oil deliveryman--we picked a few of those letters (one about us having to stand outside and wait for a school bus which was often late, one about my sister being mistreated by the school nurse when she'd gotten her period at school) and dramatically read them out loud. People laughed because we could remember her weird rage and how it was, most of the time, directed in the right direction.

Good (retro) luck theodolite!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:51 AM on May 15, 2023 [18 favorites]

My mom is not much of an advice giver, but one thing sticks with me. Everytime I think about a crappy situation in life, and think to myself, "that's not fair," I hear my mom's voice saying "Life's not fair." It's harsh, but true. Nothing is owed to me, and there are no promises of fairness, so it's sometimes helpful to remember that that's just the way it is.
posted by hydra77 at 9:21 AM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

When I was around seven years old, I was watching a movie with my mom. The scene was a couple eating at an outdoor café. People were crossing in front of them, walking on the sidewalk.

"Those nobodies keep blocking everything," I complained.
"Those aren't nobodies," my mom said, "They're the stars of different movies we're just not watching right now."

Thanks, Mom.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2023 [22 favorites]

When I was about 9, I was having a hard time with an erector set, and got audibly frustrated. My mother came in from the other room to see what the fuss was about, and said “Why don’t you just give up?”

That stuck with me for a long time.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:26 PM on May 15, 2023

"We did the best we could." I will take that aphorism to the grave.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:47 PM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

My calculus teacher, Mrs. Nathan, used to say "Practice makes better" and I use that a lot. She wasn't my mom but I'm pretty sure that every female presenting teacher has been called "mom" by a student at least once.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:29 PM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

"You have a funny body."
"You have such a weird body."

"I never said that."
"I never did that."

In the 1978 Christmas letter when I was 8:
"[bendy] loves singing in the choir but she can't carry a tune in a basket!" and "[bendy] played the violin this year and she scared all the snakes out of the back yard!"

"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
"You should..."
posted by bendy at 9:28 PM on May 15, 2023 [4 favorites]

My mother was big on family. She would say that you can disagree all you want with your brothers in private or home but you always stick up for your brothers r in public.

That was abused by my older brother. He would get in fights or even pick a fight knowing I would get involved if need be. Broke my hand in a fight my brother started.

I used to tease my brother about it too. "I stuck up for you today. Jimmy said you eat shit on white bread, but I told him you don't eat white bread."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:28 PM on May 15, 2023

Literally the only advice I can ever remember my mother giving:
1) Nothing good happens after midnight.
2) Never trust a man with a van.
posted by amarynth at 7:14 AM on May 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

You’re too young to have so much gray hair.

My mom used to say, "I'm too young to be this old!" and boy do I feel that these days.

(She's still around, she just doesn't say it anymore, I guess now she feels old enough to be as old as she is.)
posted by solotoro at 7:51 AM on May 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

I'm eventually going to get a chicken tattoo in honor of my mother and the best advice she has given me.

She's a great adherent to the basic tenet "be kind" but she's also a major proponent of the complementary tenet "let people be kind to you," with a dash of "seize the opportunity" thrown in, and for me, that's primarily been translated into the shorthand "take the chicken," based on two stories:

1) from Huckleberry Finn: "Every night now I used to slip ashore towards ten o’clock at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen cents’ worth of meal or bacon or other stuff to eat; and sometimes I lifted a chicken that warn’t roosting comfortable, and took him along. Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you don’t want him yourself you can easy find somebody that does, and a good deed ain’t ever forgot. I never see pap when he didn’t want the chicken himself, but that is what he used to say, anyway."

2) from a joke/parable that a friend told her. I've never been able to find the source of this story, but the basic outline is that a rabbi was meeting with a guy in need and offered him a chicken for food. The guy resisted, saying that he was fine, he really didn't need it that much; the rabbi repeated his offer and the guy resisted some more and finally the rabbi lost patience and cried out "Don't be a schmuck, take the chicken!"

I like to think I've learned over the years not to be a schmuck and to take the chicken when I get the chance, as well as to give a chicken if I can.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:42 PM on May 16, 2023 [12 favorites]

My mom was pretty great and I miss her every day. I am trying to remember various things she said - she was smart and witty and hilarious - but the only thing I can remember offhand, from when I was trying to get over a boyfriend, "Men are like buses. Just wait a while, another one will come along." I always thought that was pretty funny and not untrue when you are young, swap out genders as applicable. Yesterday evening I was having a spat with my grown daughter and I said, "Now don't go adding two plus two and getting forty-seven" which I thought was a good one I should remember and use again. My best friend's mother told her, "For every door that closes, another one opens, but sometimes it's a really long dark horrible hallway in between doors." That's one I think about a lot.

My Mother's Day was pretty dire. It was very hot, and my daughter had to work, and I had to watch Toddler, who was cranky with the heat and my son does not do holidays and birthdays as a matter of some supposedly Marxist principle. However at the very end as it cooled off my daughter came home and gave me a card and some radical stickers and my son brought me a piece of cheesecake and a lemon bar for his sister, which was unexpectedly kind. That was a nice illustration of a mom saying from up thread that I like a lot too: this too shall pass.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:05 PM on May 16, 2023 [8 favorites]

Mom was never much of a fan of giving advive, or any sort of guidance, really. What always stuck in my head was one time when she sighed in exasperation and huffed “ you are SUCH a ( last name). You can’t even THINK about having a good time unless you’re fed, watered and rested.” Even now when I feel myself getting irritated for no reason I’ll pause and mentally check off if I’m “ fed, watered and rested”
posted by jacy at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2023 [3 favorites]

Not in what she said (& she died when I was 11, so don't remember her words much), but what she did: we were on a cross-Channel ferry, three of us on a bench and this uptight gammon came and sat opposite us ... three minutes later a flock of seagulls flew over and shat all over this guy (& missed us 3' away), gammon was aghast, groaning, reaching for hanky .. mum goes "that's really lucky you know" and just laughed, he stamped off grumbling.

I've done this a bit since as opportunities for humour are rare, so grab them when they come by, can usually apologise (or not!) if it goes awry.

She was unusual, Romany, probably a faerie (and certainly fey), and likely a spy.
posted by unearthed at 1:20 AM on May 17, 2023 [2 favorites]

My mom has given me lots of excellent and funny advice over the years that helped me become empathetic, solvent, and organized. But the one essential relationship lesson she taught me by example long before she told me in so many words, was, "It's better to be alone than to wish you were." More fun useful on a daily basis, though: "Always pee before you leave (the house, the restaurant, etc.) because you'll never known when you'll get the chance." My sister learned that the hard way when there was a traffic jam on the Peace Bridge.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 9:20 AM on May 17, 2023 [2 favorites]

Mama said there’d be days like this.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:27 PM on May 17, 2023

(I was just waiting for someone to reference that song so I could post the video!)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:24 PM on May 17, 2023

“If you want to be interesting, be interested.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:16 AM on May 18, 2023

"Let's not and say we did." (When one of us suggested something stupid and/or dangerous like trying to jump our bikes over the kiddie pool)

"The HARD thing to do and the RIGHT thing to do are usually the same thing. Sorry sunshine."

There's a lot my mother could and should have done differently, but I'm sincerely grateful to her for giving me and my siblings a sense of empathy and a moral compass.
posted by peakes at 4:27 AM on May 18, 2023

Whenever I tried to get away with something and my mother found out, when she got upset I'd ask, defensively, "What's wrong with it?" and her response was always "You know what's wrong" which was true.

The following advice isn't from my mom although being a thrifty consumer it's certainly a technique she utilized: Shop Around, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
posted by Rash at 11:36 AM on May 18, 2023

My mother was very young when she had me, but she impressed upon me from an early age to never mix finances with a romantic partner and you know what? She basically saved my life. Thanks, Mom.
posted by annathea at 9:38 AM on May 25, 2023 [2 favorites]

My mom was a Weight Watchers leader who had me on a diet beginning at the age of 7.

After labor and having my first baby, my husband ran out to get me my favorite noodles and upon return, I gleefully and HUNGRILY opened the container and she said, "You're not going to eat all THAT?" in a tone of disgust.

So yeah, thanks mom. The good thing is I managed to raise a healthy family whose motto is, "Just eat the fucking cupcake." Seriously. My kids made me an audio piece of artwork that has their voices saying that.

Just eat the fucking cupcake.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:13 AM on May 26, 2023 [2 favorites]

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