Advice from Mom, Part I

1st October 2008

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 thoughts on “Advice from Mom, Part I

  1. Betsey

    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.

  2. Astrogirl426

    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 :)

  3. Ana

    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!)

  4. Tara

    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.

  5. Meg

    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.

  6. Swankette

    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.)

  7. Stephanie

    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)

  8. Sophie Roberts

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

  9. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    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.

  10. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    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.”

  11. Groovymarlin

    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. ;-)

  12. Jan

    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.”

  13. jill

    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!

  14. Steve

    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.

  15. Beth

    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.

  16. tulip

    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!

  17. Kate

    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.

  18. slub

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

  19. Amanda

    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

  20. Spring

    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?

  21. amelia

    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.

  22. Jenn

    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.”

  23. kate

    “Stop over-thinking everything.”

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

    oh moms.

  24. Amber

    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.

  25. dgm

    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.

  26. Stella

    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.

  27. April

    “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!

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  29. Shalah

    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!”

  30. Bran

    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.

  31. Makeshift Mama

    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.

  32. Shawna

    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.

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  34. kunti g

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

  35. Judith Burton

    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.

  36. alyce r

    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)

  37. Jerri Ann

    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.

  38. JJ

    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!

  39. JJ

    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?

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