Yes, yes, of course I’m listening, Mom, I used to say as I invariably tried to tune her out. Listening or not, I remember all the (seemingly) nuts advice my mother insisted on sending my way in the name of “helping” me become a better person. These familiar sayings, hurled in my general direction, had a surefire way of making me roll my eyes. But eventually, somehow, they made sense and were often weirdly prophetic. Here are a few Mom-isms that stand out in my mind:
*It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. (And then I got punched in the gut.)
*Be mean to someone and you can be sure they’ll never forget it. (And then I lost a best friend.)
*Always go to the party. You never know who you’re gonna meet. (And then I met my husband.)
*Yes, of course beige is a colour! (And then I learned to build a wardrobe.)
Even though back then, I didn’t appreciate all the ways in which Mom’s lessons would stick, and help pave the way, I do now. And that’s why I so love the newest Listen to Your Mother book to hit the shelves—just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s called Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee, and it’s a compilation of essays that illustrate the power of a mother’s life lessons, passed on. Before you even read the first story, the acknowledgment says exactly what I want to do this Mother’s Day: give Mom her due for her foresight and wisdom (it’s about time, don’t you think?). For our mothers, our grandmothers, and all of the motherly womenfolk who have influenced our lives for the better. Even if it didn’t seem so at the time, we were listening to you.
You should buy this book for any mom worth her salt this Mother’s Day—or you can win one of three copies by entering the contest below.
Because we hate spoilers more than anything, we’ll just let you glimpse the collection by sharing some unforgettable Mom-isms that are worth passing on.
The fun starts with a story in the Introduction by book editor and and curator Crystal Ponti. At 10, she was desperate to rid herself of the dark hair she noticed sprouting on her legs. Her mother’s response?
*The earlier we women shave, the faster and more lush it grows back.
Aha. But then, after friends tried to pluck out her hairs at a party, Crystal took matters into her own hands, and shaved her legs from the bottom up—all the way up.
Her grandmother was horrified.
*Only trollops shave above the knee!
And so it goes.
Here are some more brilliant lessons learned from mothers, just to get you thinking:
*When you measure your success against outcomes, you’re more likely to be disappointed. You can only control what you do, not the outcomes.
*I love you. Not your behaviour. You.
*Always have a twenty dollar bill hidden in your wallet for cab fare. If you ever want to come home early, you won’t have to rely on someone else to get you there.
*A boy won’t die if he doesn’t have sex. Really, he won’t.
*Don’t return anything under fifty dollars.
*Just because you say “yes” once doesn’t mean the answer always has to be yes. Give yourself permission to change your mind. You don’t owe anyone anything. Repeat, you don’t owe anyone anything.
*If you like birds in your backyard, you can’t get a cat. If you get a cat, you can’t feed the birds. The whole world works on this kind of rule, if you think about it.
*You don’t really know who anybody is until you’ve been to their house. Keep this in mind when you keep your house.
*There are a lot of stupid people in the world. Get used to it.
*Do what you’ve got to do and move on.
*People don’t age in a straight line. When life is hard, we look a little older, and when the hard times pass, we look a little younger again. In other words, don’t fix your wrinkles; fix your life and the wrinkles will take care of themselves.
*It’s only hair.
*Nobody likes an old dick.
And on that note, we wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day.