Mighty Life List
Oct 1 2008

Advice from Mom, Part I

Wear the tight dress. You won’t have that body forever.

If there’s a nuclear war, head north. There will be less fallout up there.

Don’t tell contractors what to do, it pisses them off. Ask them. And bring beer.

If you’re lost in the woods, follow a stream downstream and you’ll find houses.

The more they process the food, the more you have to pay. Buy the whole chicken.

If a bear attacks, curl into a ball to protect your internal organs.

If someone needs money enough to beg for it, give them a dollar.

If you boil willow bark and drink the tea, it’s like taking asprin.

You should iron that.

If something big stabs you, leave it in until you can get to the hospital.

Put a little lipstick on, Margaret.

You need to learn to shoot a handgun.

72 Responses to “Advice from Mom, Part I”

  • Betsey Says:

    I love this advice! My mom taught me the lipstick thing and added earrings to it too. To this day, I can’t leave the house without a dab of eyeliner, mascara, and at least chapstick or gloss.

  • Sarah Says:


    The red lipstick is on sale, 4 for $20. Usually lipstick is like, 1 for $20. How exciting is that? Take some motherly advice and buy some.

  • Sarah Says:

    …Alas, no red velvet.

  • Katherine Says:

    Please thank your mother for the bear advice. :) After Grizzly Man, my deepest paranoia has been how to escape an angry bear.

  • Nothing But Bonfires Says:

    I love it! Well done, Maggie’s mum. I may need to print this.

  • Sue at eLuckypacket Says:

    Oh — I think I love your mother. And now I see where you get your wit.

  • amy Says:

    you could collect this all over the place and bind it up in a little book. Lerv it!

  • Astrogirl426 Says:

    I love this. I love even more that I knew the big ones (lost in the woods, ask the contractor, curl into a ball, head north). Your mom would be proud of me :)

  • Ana Says:

    My favorite from my mom is: Go to the party; you never know who you’re going to meet. (I met my husband at a New Year’s Eve party that I almost didn’t go to… heard that voice in my head and went anyway. My parents met at a party — my dad stole my mom from the host of the party. My dad’s parents met at a party — my grandfather was found asleep under the piano after the party ended and my grandmother must have found that sweet!)

  • sonnie Says:

    Is your mom preparing you for the apocalypse or maybe even zombies?? haha.

  • Tara Says:

    You’ve either got a really really good memory or walk around with a notebook tied around your neck to make notes. And with a mum dishing out wise words like that, I wouldn’t blame you.

  • Meg Says:

    My favorite: whatever creams and moisturizers you use on your face, use on your neck. And always stroke upward on your neck as you rub it on.

  • Swankette Says:

    Your Mom is 99% spot on, but I must politely disagree with the statement “If someone needs money enough to beg for it, give them a dollar.”

    (Coming from the sister of someone who has all of his financial needs met through his disability payments, but I have caught him panhandling for money on several occasions simply because he was bored and is the first to admit that when he has panhandled in the past he used the money to buy booze. And I know he’s not the only one.)

  • Stephanie Says:

    Every one of these made me smile. My mom passed in ’02, but I still remember her advice.

    “Bread will go right to the belly. Look at me. I love bread.”

    “A pet dog should be female. A pet cat, male. Trust me on this.”

    “Leave it alone” (referring to the zit on my forehead)

  • Jaybird Says:

    From my mama:

    Never try to fill the inside straight.

  • Sophie Roberts Says:

    The best advice my mum gave me? If someone asks you to marry them, and you can’t say yes straight away – say no.

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey Says:

    Awesome! Although, supposedly with the bear thing – you are supposed to stretch out as big as possible and wave your arms. Be big and mean and scary. Or maybe that is with a mountain lion. Ask your husband.

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey Says:

    Oh, and in all seriousness, the single most valuable thing my mother ever said to me (given my abusive alcoholic father):

    “If you ever *need* a drink, that is the time when you absolutely positively should NOT have one.”

  • Groovymarlin Says:

    Fascinating! My mom gave me a lot of advice, but nothing ever remotely close to this:

    “If something big stabs you, leave it in until you can get to the hospital.”

    I mean, wow. She was more like “wear clean underwear if you go somewhere in a car, because you just never know.” Also she said “You can wear anything, you’re so tall!” a lot. Then used it as an excuse to buy me very colorful clothing instead of my preferred black. ;-)

  • Jan Says:

    With my mom, the make-up thing was mascara. I have dark blue-gray eyes and very fair skin and my eyelashes and brows are so fair an aesthetician once told me “they’re almost clear”. I now pay that aesthetician to dye my lashes and brows with soy-based dye. Worth every penny because I can look everyday presentable without mascara (she acknowledged grudgingly).

    “Learn how to accept a compliment.”

    “Don’t sit so close to the TV.”

    “It’s better to let a plant get a little dry than to over-water it.” (This from a woman with the greenest thumb EVER.)

    (Again with the greenery) “For watering your plants, let the water sit out uncovered a day or so to let chemicals like chlorine evaporate.” (Is this true? I don’t know but I damn sure do it.)

    “If you like him, of course you should call him.”

    “Stand up straight. Pull in your stomach.”

  • alexis Says:

    love it! thanks for sharing :)

  • jill Says:

    Ditto on the Lipstick advice from my mom… She also said, “No shoes on the table or hat on the bed.” Oh, and never to end a sentence with a preposition.

    I’ve noted yours down for future reference… Thanks!

  • Steve Says:

    The most memorable advice from my mother is:

    “Marry the first time for love, the second time for money.” It always struck as particularly negative for her.

  • Beth Says:

    My mom’s advice was, “I know sometimes we get lonely, but that doesn’t mean we lower our standards.” This was in reference to men, of course.

  • tulip Says:

    I love all the lists that you do. This is no exception! I’m posting it next to the bathroom mirror so I can remember to get right on that handgun training! ;) I’m with sonnie, I thought of zombies too!

  • Heather Says:

    Boy did Steve Irwin need some of your Mom’s advice.

  • Kate Says:

    My mom’s best advice: “You’re a beautiful, smart woman. In your life, some people won’t like you because you’re beautiful, or because you’re smart, or because you’re a woman; believe in yourself for all three and you’ll be fine.”
    Of course, she was biased!

    Thanks for sharing, Maggie.

  • Spandrel Studios Says:

    From my mom:
    “Most people will eat a homemade lasagne.”

  • Hi Kooky Says:

    Smart mom. I can’t wait for part two!

  • slub Says:

    Maggie. You’re awesome. And beautiful. And your son is the CUTEST male child on earth, and I don’t really like kids.

  • Amanda Says:

    Oh, man, the first one knocked this list out of the park for me. My great-grandma’s philosophy was “if you got it, flaunt it but don’t be a hussy about it.” :D

  • Avery Jones Says:

    From My Everloving Nana:

    Men spend 9 months trying to get out and then spend the rest of their lives trying to get back in. :)


  • Ricki Says:

    We can learn a lot from our mothers. They certainly had style in their day and I’d love to look as glamorous and relaxed as this lady.


  • Spring Says:

    Gosh. I have just reached the age (25.5) where I realize that lipstick has become necessary. I reached this conclusion based on looking at the pictures of me in Paris last week, when I was suffering from jet-lag and therefore a ghastly complexion.

    Shopping this weekend for the perfect shade/brand. Any tips?

  • amelia Says:

    I can hear my mothers voice saying “wouldn’t you feel better with a little color on your lips?”

    but my favorite from her:

    “never curse a stomach bug, it’s a diet in disguise”

    welcome to my world.

  • Isabel Says:

    I *knew* I should have put the red lipstick on this morning.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  • Jenn Says:

    Add to this list:

    “Eyeliner on the top of you lid makes eyes look small, use sparingly”

    “Learn to cook 2 signature dishes that are crowd pleasers – people will think you’re an overall good cook”

    “Never bake pastry on a cloudy day”

    “You can never own too many little black dresses”

    And most importantly….

    “Never make a decision after 9pm at night.”

  • kate Says:

    “Stop over-thinking everything.”

    “Nothing helps you get over a lost love like a new crush.”

    oh moms.

  • Amber Says:

    Sounds like a good mom. And, holy crap, widely knowledgeable.

    My mom isn’t big on maxims, but I learned some valuable lessons based on what she refused to buy me when I was a kid. Her most common reasoning was, “That’s overpackaged.” Or, “It’s not on sale.” Conservation and frugality, it turns out, are useful habits.

  • dgm Says:

    My mom, who is Irish, warned me never to wear green with orange.

    I tell my daughter that the best way to survive insufferable people (mean ones, arrogant ones, obnoxious ones, catty ones) is to imagine that they are characters in an ongoing play that would not be very interesting/amusing without them. They are necessary to drive the plot forward.

  • Stella Says:

    Haha, love it. My mom preaches the “wear a little lipstick” one. Instead, she says it like “Nena, why don’t you put some color on your face.”

    The other one my mom ingrained in my brain was “always wear nice underwear. You never know.” Of course, I’m sure mom didn’t mean it for encounters of the amorous kind, but it was worked. Sadly, I only started practicing it after I had to be taken to the hospital and all I could think about besides the pain was: don’t let the doctors see my ratty old underwear.

  • April Says:

    “If you’re lost in the woods, follow a stream downstream and you’ll find houses.”

    I used to think this too, until I read what happened to James Kim. Sorry to be a downer, but that doesn’t always work!

  • Ann Says:

    Your mom is AWESOME.

  • jennifer Says:

    i love this list and i also can’t wait for part II. though i don’t know if i agree with the begging bit.

  • fredlet Says:

    “Eat all you can then rub the rest in your hair.”

    Its a bit telling about my family…

  • Christa Says:

    “Don’t tell everything you know”. -actually from my grandmother, Claudia Jo.

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  • Shalah Says:

    I LOVED these. My mom’s for me was “Stop slouching! It does not make your boobs look smaller it just makes them look like part of your gut!”

  • Bran Says:

    one I am surprised not to see here s this: If you manage to find the perfect lipstick go back and buy 5 because when the first runs out it will not be available any more.

  • Makeshift Mama Says:

    I love these!

    However, the bear one is only true of grizzlies/brown bears. You can also climb a tree to get away from a brown bear. Black bears, however, will not stop until you are dead, so the fetal position won’t help. They also have curved claws that are excellent for climbing. If you meet a black bear, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! And I learned this from a wildlife expert in Alaska, not trolling the net.

  • Shawna Says:

    I think my mom is pretty much the antithesis of your mom. She almost never wears makeup and wouldn’t go near a gun. I’m pretty sure she’d expect me to BE the contractor.

    Still, she’s big on recycling and composting and independence and those are pretty good lessons/values too.

  • Romancing my Addictions: 10 Things Says:

    […] Advice from moms (from Maggies page here) […]

  • Geek's Dream Girl Says:

    My favorite bit of advice from my mother:

    “Never let a boy tie you to the bed. Then he can do whatever he wants.”

  • kunti g Says:

    If mom intended to scare you from leaving the house without lipstick, mom is a bitch and you are a whore

  • Matthew Says:

    Real nice from the previous commenter. Lets hunt him down and put lipstick on that pig.

  • rachel, a southern fairytale Says:

    Hell yes!!! These are fabulous :-)
    Bah to naysayers and trolls. Get back under the bridge where you belong. Jealousy looks good on no one.

  • Antisoccermom Says:

    Thank you for the thumbs up! And the review!

  • Helen Jane Says:

    My favorite advice from my mom is,
    “If you don’t A-S-K,
    you don’t G-E-T.”

    And you know?
    She’s right.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Judith Burton Says:

    My mother’s famous advice; wash your hands, get organized and don’t waste, has has kept generations healthy, wealthy and wise. And her best advice of all; never wear underpants with holes in them. These have proven to be very important practices in all of our lives.

  • Auntie Raina Says:

    Topic: !!!!!!!!!!!!
    #54: ??????????????

  • heather Says:

    “Heather, never let a man put his penis between your legs….”

  • Maggeh Says:

    Oh Heather, that is still my all-time favorite bit of mom advice ever. Cheers.

  • alyce r Says:

    we grew up by the beach and heard this all the time,
    “if you drown, i’ll kill you!!!”

    (said with both a wink and serious face, all at the same time)

  • Jerri Ann Says:

    I couldn’t help but add my thoughts to this, you can obviously see I grew up in the Bible Belt of the south, lol. It won’t post til after 2pm tomorrow afternoon. I’m gonna get part two as well, I live such a sheltered little life. I couldn’t resist.

    By the way, would you care to join us in de-lurking day tomorrow. I have buttons and code on my blog if you wanna use one of them or make your own, I’m just trying (while I am sick as a dog) to do a few things that do not require all my energy…I need energy to whine a lot so people around me get the picture.

  • Robin Says:

    Be beautiful on the inside and you will be beautiful on the outside.

  • JJ Says:

    My Grandmother lived to 105 and her favorite saying was “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, there isn’t a man a woman can trust” Another favorite was “Man plans, and God laughs.” That one is so true!

  • JJ Says:

    I just thought of what my mother always told me. “In order for a relationship to work, the man has to love the woman a little bit more.” I don’t know why that has always stuck with me?

  • Mom~E~Centric » Blog Archive » While I’m Complaining, I’m, at Least Reading Other People’s Blogs - Part ONE Says:

    […] Anyway, in my reading, I ran across these two posts by Mighty Girl and I couldn’t help but compare.  I’ve written in great length how my mom is very different than I am and that I have more of my father’s traits.  That alone makes it difficult for my mom and I to see eye to eye very often. […]

  • Mom~E~Centric » Blog Archive » While I’m Complaining, I’m, at Least Reading Other People’s Blogs - Part ONE Says:

    […] Anyway, in my reading, I ran across these two posts by Mighty Girl and I couldn’t help but compare.  I’ve written in great length how my mom is very different than I am and that I have more of my father’s traits.  That alone makes it difficult for my mom and I to see eye to eye very often. […]

  • teenage girl Says:

    lipstick is for grannies.

  • Jen Says:

    Teenage girl, most women in their 20s wear lipstick, not just grannies lol.