Since becoming a mother, I’ve caught myself saying things that MY mom and dad said to me when I was a child…Things that I thought I would never find myself saying because they bothered me so sometimes!
1) I’ve adopted the phrase “First things first” when talking with C, a phrase that my mother LOVED to use with us when trying to drive home the point that before you could get to the “fun” activities, you had to go through the more routine, practical activities. For example, before we were allowed to watch a TV show or go to a friend’s house, we had to finish all of our homework…She also used this phrase to remind us of the order of importance of different activities – i.e. Going to mass on Sunday took precedence over getting to a birthday party on time, Getting our work done took precedence over talking on the phone, etc.
2) Another favorite was, “Children in Africa would walk 10 miles for that _____ on your plate.” I remember having a vivid image of a child walking 10 miles through the African desert just to get my portion of fried eggplant, or whatever it was that I didn’t want to eat on a particular night at dinner. But of course, we use the same phrase with C when we can’t get him to eat the spaghetti sauce that has “green stuff” in it
3) One of the phrases that I hated the most was, “Looks like you woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning,” reserved for mornings when I was particularly grumpy. I used to say to my mom, “First of all, I’m not grumpy, and second of all, you’re only making me madder by saying that!” I was about to say this to C this morning at breakfast when I decided that I would spare him this snarky comment – isn’t there something in the Bible about not provoking our children?
The other day I was in Banana Republic and I heard a woman say something that my mom would NEVER have said to me in a million years…The woman was a well-dressed, trim, very put together mother shopping with her teenage daughter. She held up a skirt and said, “Melissa, this one is a wider cut, so it might actually look good on you.” I nearly marched right over there to tell that mother how damaging such comments are for a mother to say to her daughter, but I chickened out. My mom never had anything but good things to say about my appearance or that of my sister – THANK YOU mom! There are so many awful messages out there for teenage girls, and I can’t imagine hearing those same messages from my own mother! Of course I didn’t escape the body angst that most teenage girls go through, but that was mostly because of my own issues, another story for another time
So, here’s to all of those phrases that we swore we’d never say, and now find ourselves saying Do you have any to share with us?