People will judge you by the company you keep.
I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. This is why I had to stop hanging out with trolls. They’re not good for my karma. And pimps. I’m sorry, if you’re a pimp, we can’t be friends. Mom says no.
If you don’t like how something tastes, you don’t have to eat it. But taste it first.
This was quite a change from my youth, when Mom’s general rule was “You’ll choke down what I cooked, and I'd better hear a 'thank you' for it!” (Also a rule in my house to this day.) Believe me, it was quite a revelation when I discovered that my mother had stopped eating black jellybeans. “I don’t like them,” she said. (Neither do I, but the genetics behind why my mother and I have the exact same preferences in both food and shoes is a conversation for another time.)
I parroted back her mantra from long ago. “But—but—that’s wasteful!”
“Jellybeans are cheap enough. Try every flavor, of course. But if you don’t like ’em, toss ’em. Or leave them for your father.”
Stop complaining that you’re turning into your mother.
It’s when you look in the mirror and see Grandma looking back that panic is warranted.
If you want something done, learn how to do it.
I should point out that this is something both Mom and Dad have advocated all my life. Because of their guidance, I have in my lifetime: soldered a pipe to fix a leak; changed a car battery; applied for, cut through red tape for, and received a waiver to both install a septic system and drill a well on a 1200-square-foot piece of property in an ecologically protected area; sewn pillows, made my own pants, and patched a couch; and laid down new flooring. Piece of cake!
If you can’t do it yourself, ask your father.
But only if you’re really, really sure you can’t do it yourself. I had to turn to Dad when my water heater gave up the ghost (all over my basement). But I was able to watch and help him install the new one, so I still learned a little bit.
Express yourself with words.
Mom says she’s not a writer, but she sure does have a fabulous way with words. One of my favorite family expressions comes right from Mom: “Move your face closer so I can slap you.” It’s a joke in our family, but when I want to express my displeasure with someone, these are exactly the right words to use. Complaining because you’ve lost ten pounds and now you’re too thin? Sad that the BMW you just bought doesn’t have butt massagers installed in the seats? Is life just too darn good to you? Move your face closer.
Don’t feed the mogwai after midnight.
I think Mom taught me this. Nope, wait, that was Gremlins. Mom said, “Don’t talk to that scruffy guy in the trench coat—he's a flasher.” Also a good rule to follow.
Speak softly, and in Connecticut, you know you can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, right, dear? Ah, Mom. You don’t mess around with her.
There are other women, of course, who have also had a part in raising me: my Aunt Joanne (“The company of cats is often preferable to the company of people”), my Aunt Bea (“Why have one cat when seven will do?”) and my Aunt Joan (“Don’t look at me like that—all of your aunts are cat people, apparently”), for instance. Even my sister (“You’re putting on too much blush! Stop! Sto—fine, if you want to go out looking like a clown, go ahead.”) Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wise women in my life.